Steve Jobs Passes

With public anticipation running high, Apple Inc. co-founders Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and Steve “Woz” Wozniak get ready to unveil the first Macintosh in 1984. Jobs must also deal with personal issues related to ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan and their young daughter Lisa. Eventually fired, Jobs launches NeXT Inc. and prepares to release a new computer model in 1988. Ten years later, Jobs is back at Apple Inc. and about to revolutionize the industry once again with the iMac.\

Steve Jobs

This screening is one of two opportunities available for Tuesday, October 20.  Please see the previous post for ticket information about catching The Last Witch Hunter, which was filmed here in Pittsburgh.  Choose wisely.  In the meantime, if you’d like to see Steve Jobs, please comment below with your favorite Apple product.  And if you’re not an Apple fan, then surprise me! 🙂

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

UPDATE:  I got the passes late.  I’m sorry.  Please print off the pictured tickets below:

STEVE JOBS - E-PASS - PITT - 10.20

Woman In Gold Passes

Start the week off right with a Monday Night screening…

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Woman in Gold, which opens April 1st, is the remarkable true story of one woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage and seek justice for what happened to her family. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), she embarks upon a major battle which takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the U.S. Supreme Court, and forces her to confront difficult truths about the past along the way.

The advance screening will be held tomorrow, Monday, March 30 at 7:00PM at the AMC Waterfront 22. Please visit: http://www.gofobo.com/itRIS86281 for passes.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Selma

Dozens of films have been created to depict the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—but none have been as riveting and piercing as ‘Selma’. In delicate detail, the movie highlights the three 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches which ultimately led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The movie also resurfaces sensitive topics like MLK’s marital infidelity, FBI wire tapings and intimidation tactics, and the initial pushback from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

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Directed by Ava DuVernay, the movie has a crowded lineup including David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Common, Lorraine Toussaint, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Oyelowo and Ejogo were spitting images of the Nobel Peace Prize recipient and his late wife. From voice to posture to presentation, the pair is the most potent part of the film. Their lonesome moments together on screen echoes true unification of one of the greatest couples of all time.

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Even some of the notable moments in history makes your whole body shake in disbelief when ‘Selma’ reenacts the occurrences. For example, the 4 little girls and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church is one of the country’s most heinous crimes. We ought to all be familiar with it, but for some reason when DuVernay gives her rendition of the bombing it takes cinematic recreation to a whole new level.

The same approaches civil rights activists displayed in 1965 are mirror images of the work being committed today. Riots and protests have emerged all over the country for Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner. In my mind the biggest uproar has been in the small suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Ferguson has drawn thousands of people in hope to get answers and justice.

Selma is the ideal learning tool for this Black History Month. As the first major motion picture depicting Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, ‘Selma’ can be a direct connection to opening up conversation about other tense cities like Watts in 1965, Los Angeles in 1992, and even, Ferguson in 2014.

Gun violence and police brutality in 2015 is what voting rights was in 1965– a call to action to promote unity and change. Fifty years later, racially motivated disparities of the world are an opportunity to respond like they did in Selma. Anytime we witness a racial injustice or inequality it is our duty to mount up in the same fashion as the leaders in Selma.

The most rewarding part of Selma is the showcase of the unsung heroes like Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young, Viola Liuzzo, John Lewis, James Reeb, and Ralph Abernathy. American history injects lethal amount of untold truths surrounding African American history. As a child, I was taught the bare minimum about slavery and Martin Luther King Jr. was the poster child for the Civil Rights Movements. It is pure excitement when movies like Selma, 12 Years A Slave, and Lee Daniels’ The Butler can bring cinematic clarity to these unknown circumstances of historical events.

DuVernay wasted no time getting straight to the point. My only question is: Where has Ava DuVernay been? Although she has other smaller film projects, we, as movie spectators, need more from her cinematic bank. Her delivery was mere perfection and visually, trumps every introductory African American History course by strategically focusing on the height of Dr. Martin Luther King’s career and intricate details that surrounded it.

5 STARS: ‘Selma’ is the best film of 2014 and serves a timely purpose in the wake of the civil rights and liberties that are currently being taken advantage of. This film is a fruitful yet frightening, gut-wrenching yet glorious reminder that Selma was just a battle in an on-going race war.

 

Get On Up DVD

The biopic depicting James Brown’s life as the Godfather of Soul, Get On Up, will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 6th, 2015. Movie Scene Queen is giving away a handful of DVDs!

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Rated PG-13, Get On Up stars Chadwick Boseman in yet another career-making performance as James Brown, with a stellar supporting cast that includes Oscar®-nominee Viola Davis, Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Oscar-nominee Dan Aykroyd, Craig Robinson and Jill Scott. James Brown’s ferocity, talent and ambition propelled him from his hardscrabble South Carolina roots to some of the most prestigious musical venues in the world, earning him a reputation as “the hardest working man in show business.” Get On Up takes audiences behind the scenes of his brilliant, six-decade-long career for an uncensored look at the turbulent forces that drove the legendary performer.

Please comment below for an official entry. Winners will be announced on Friday, January 9th.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

And the winners are…

Ronnell Perry

Asia Sims

Elio Wade

Selma Passes

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SELMA is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s SELMA tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

A special screening of Selma (PG-13) will take place at South Side Works Cinema on Tuesday, January 06, 2015, beginning at 7:30 PM

Please comment below with your favorite movie based off of American history.  I’ll start with mine- Ghosts of Mississippi (1996). 

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Dear White People Pays Homage to Spike Lee

An ongoing race war explodes when White students host a Black hip-hop themed Halloween party on an Ivy League campus in Dear White People. Starring Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, and Dennis Haysbert, this was no ordinary college party. This event, which has actually taken place on campuses like Pennsylvania State and Arizona State Universities, literally included black painted faces, dreadlock wigs, fake guns, and loose imitation gold chains. Mockery at its finest!

The plot line is stronger than a racist college party though, reopening a can of worms that Spike Lee has been using as race bait since 1988. Dear White People is Do The Right Thing (1989), School Daze (1988) and Jungle Fever (1991) neatly rolled into one tongue-biting package. Director Justin Simien pays mad respect to the Brooklyn native and every serious message he has ever tried to convey. Lee is notably mentioned in the movie, solidifying my exact premonition- Dear White People is a deep deference to the type of movies Spike Lee has created.

The movie kindles the most perpetuated stereotypes from educated Black men only desiring White women to Black women confirming to the physical looks that society demands. Black women rock long, blonde weaves (which I have done before) and tote obviously unnatural eye colors (never), while White women put unknown substances in and on their body to look voluptuous and darker. A lot of overlapping issues such as societal configuration and self-image all closely aligned with racism and the overall theme of the film.

Tyler James Williams has emerged from his Everybody Hates Chris shadows and blossomed into a well-diverse young man. The 22-year-old, who most recently made his first appearance on this week’s episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, plays a homosexual outcast named Lionel Higgins. In a matter of 108 minutes, makes Williams’ character a reflection of America’s deepest fears- homophobia and xenophobia.

Watching Dear White People should be the prerequisite to every post-secondary course surround race relations and film. The movie serves as our modern day Higher Learning (1995), pushing the envelope with just a little bit more pizzazz and intellect. Justin Simien, even in his beginning stage, is sitting on more than just a film festival favorite, it’s truly a goldmine.
This movie also positively eludes to the fact that ‘some’, not all, White people are insensitive racists. And the racist enemy can also be our own filled with self-hatred. But in order for the world to have courageous conversions about race in this country this movie is not only important, but a necessity for all.

For my own personal application, and by default, I find myself being the Sam White in every meeting and movie theater- the woman with good intentions but previously labeled as the angry Black woman. At times, being forced to speak for other African Americans who may not know their rights or even some who are unaware of the fight. Most times as the only African American in a room filled with White colleagues, it is my duty to not make my presence a burden but rather an asset.

5 STARS: The overall battle of race in America is a never-ending quarrel. It is films like Dear White People that bring the most penetrating issues to the forefront of mainstream media. Black directors like Justin Simien, Spike Lee, Ryan Coogler, and Steve McQueen are taking real life accounts and creating timeless cinema.

Dear White People,


I urge you to see Dear White People. Don’t assume this film is a tactic of reverse racism. Yet, open your minds and hearts to witness a fictional glimpse of actual racial turbulence.  Matter of fact, everyone should see this movie- not just White people.


Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

The Good Lie

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The Good Lie is a biographical film directed by Philippe Falardeau about the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanual Jal, Corey Stoll, and Sarah Baker, the film features Witherspoon as Carrie Davis, a staffing agent who helps Sudanese refugees relocate to the United States.

While roughly 2.5 million people were killed during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005), the Lost Boys of Sudan- groups of over 20,000 boys who were displaced and/or orphaned- took their chances of relocation to the United States with a lottery. Paul (Jal), Jeremiah (Duany), Mamere (Oceng) and their sister, Abital (Wiel) were lucky enough to get on the list.

Their inevitably challenging transition shows the difficulty of simultaneously adapting to American customs, getting a job, daily living as an immigrant, and coping with the trauma from their previous experiences. That is no easy task!

The true stars are not the big Hollywood actors like Reese Witherspoon or Corey Stroll, but the actors who played Sudan refugees. Emmanuel Jal, Ger Duany, Arnold Oceng and Kuoth Wiel are actual Sudanese refugees. It was clear that the actors used their firsthand knowledge and accounts to effortlessly excel in these roles. They were compelling, convincing, and remarkably powerful. To see real Sudanese refugees tell their stories through this movie was the most rewarding experience.

The Good Lie is a tearful journey and carefully illustrates the horrific scenarios young Sudanese children experienced. Equally important, the movie provides hope for all.

Warner Brothers Pictures and Movie Scene Queen invited members of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation to The Good Lie screenings. Hundreds of movie goers packed the Homestead theater and PBMF members receive VIP treatment, enjoying the movie weeks before its Pittsburgh release.

PBMF The Good Lie Screening

Pittsburgh Black Media Federation members at the October 14th screening of the Good Lie: (left to right) Sheila Beasley, Tory Parrish, Brian Cook, Merecedes Howze, and  Clarece Polke.  (Photo by B.Cook/Golden Sky Media)

PBMF President Tory Parrish thought the movie provided “insight into both the brutality of war and the resilience of the human spirit. It’s a thought-provoking film that stays with the viewer well past the duration of the movie. It was sobering and heartening.”

Sheila Beasley, the organization’s Soul Café Subcommittee Chair, attended the movie screening with her mother. “The movie, The Good Lie, was a great story that needed to be shared to bring awareness to the horrendous journey of Sudanese refugees and the nuances settling to American culture. This movie stays with you!” says Beasley.

4 STARS: As Americans, I believe we so easily overlook the more sensitive needs of less fortunate countries. The Good Lie not only opens blind eyes to the destruction and civil war aftermath in Sudan, but the movie also sheds light on the need of compassion for others- regardless of race, sex, or economic status.

Fury Passes

April, 1945.

As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

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On Wednesday, October 15th, Movie Scene Queen is hosting an advance screening of Brad Pitt’s new movie, Fury.  To download passes, please CLICK HERE.  If you’re able to get two passes, please comment below with the phrase- “I got mine!”

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

The Good Lie Passes

After their village is destroyed and their parents killed by Northern militia, Sudanese orphans Theo, his siblings and other survivors make a difficult journey to a refugee camp in Kenya. Thirteen years later, the group get the chance to settle in the U.S. They are met in Kansas by Carrie Davis (Reese Witherspoon), who has been charged with finding them jobs. However, seeing how adrift they are in 20th-century America, Carrie endeavors to help them in rebuilding their shattered lives.

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There will be two screenings for The Good Lie (PG-13)…

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

AND

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 @ 7:30 pm. 

Both screenings will be held at AMC Waterfront 22.  Please comment below with your interest and what date you would like to see the movie.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Throwback Movie of the Month: Dark Girls (2012)

The paper bag and snow-and-blow tests are direct derivatives of the 1712 Willie Lynch Speech that taught White slave owners how to put African Americans against one another based off of weight, class, skin color, and age. Willie Lynch’s advice to Virginia slave owners were to use our differences as a competitive separation tactic to better control slaves. Three hundred years later, society is still popularized with social trends like #teamdarkskin and #teamlightskin. A 2012 documentary closely looks at one group of Black people whose pigmentation has been less than “fair”- Dark Girls.

Dark Girls Film Poster

On Saturday, June 21st, Rights and Responsibility, an organization that uses film and other media to focus on human rights issues impacting people of African descent, held its first screenings in nearly 3 years. Dozens of spectators gathered at the Carnegie Library’s East Liberty Branch to watch the 70-minute documentary, Dark Girls.

Rights and Responsibility Executive Director, Dr. Aisha White, welcomed everyone and then introduced a powerful performance by Love Front Porch’s Vanessa German. Once the movie was over, a panel discussion, moderated by Demetria Bocella, included race relation experts like Dr. Stanley E. Denton, Associate Professor of Education at Point Park University, Dr. Beverly Goodwin, Professor of Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Yolanda Covington-Ward, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, University of Pittsburgh.

The documentary, directed by D. Channsin Berry and Actor Bill Duke, has six segments: The Impact, Family, Men on Women, Women on Men, Global, and Healing. The Help star Viola Davis might be the most well-known account in Dark Girls. Davis, who is sprinkled throughout the film, gives a brief synopsis on her childhood about being dark skinned, raised in a predominantly White neighborhood and how she was too Black for her neighborhood but also, coincidentally, too Black for her “Welfare camp” also.

While Dark Girls features expert commentary from historians and psychologists, it also had distinct accounts from African American men and women. We even heard from a couple White men who like Black women. But, who we failed to hear from was- White Women. Not one White woman was featured in the documentary to give us her opinion on the Dark-skinned Black woman. I found that very interesting!

The short film made several references to Black men about how they indulge in light-skinned or White women, prefer dark skinned women, or simply did not have a preference. But the film failed to have a serious, educated rebuttal from White women. And even though light skinned women where in the documentary, it would have also been enlightening to get their feedback as well.

The behavioral dynamics between women are a huge piece of the colorism, specifically the roles non-dark girls play in the perpetuation of stigmas that shadow dark women.

This might be slightly off topic, but I hate when people say they only date a specific race, especially Black men. To make such a sensitive decision, leads me to believe that the person is naive and immature. I would never limit my opportunities by saying that I only date Black men or White men. More specifically, I would never say, “Oh, I only date light-skinned men.” It just sounds close-minded and idiotic.

Dark Girls most informative part is about family and how parents are a child’s initial reassurance and boost in understanding, development, and self-esteem. LaQualla Davis, 30, thought Dark Girls “finally shed light to an issue within the Black community that needed to be exposed.” Davis, a dark-skinned woman, attributes her high self-esteem and confidence in her early values that were instilled by her parents. She recalls her mom always calling her “beautiful” and embracing her equally regardless of her dark skin.

3.5 STARS: Dark Girls is an ideal stepping stone to start healthy dialogue about colorism, but it is not the premiere premise or remedy to the issue. It’ll take more than a few dozen stories to solve this problem. The healing process is multi-dimensional and requires historical knowledge, self-esteem, and professional guidance in order to break the barriers of colorism for all people.

Dark Girls was released on DVD in September 2013 and is currently available on Netflix and Red Box. And if you need to borrow my Netflix account, let me know!

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