Octavia Spencer

Recent Articles

Snowpiercer is an imaginative, smart sci-fi film

By Howard McQuitter

Contributing Writer

 

Snowpiercer is Joon-ho Bong’s first English language film. It is imaginative and smart, putting to shame most contemporary American films in the same genre(s).Bong’s (Mother, The Host, Memories of Murder) Snowpiercer is a piercer, a mindblower, a film that lies on the brain, with surprises and all. Mr. Bong takes the plot from a French graphic novel written in 1982 telling of a futuristic world catastrophe. Threat of global warming causes several dozen nations in conjunction, and in an attempt to prevent global warming a chemical is put in the upper atmosphere. Yet the plan backfires, bringing on a new Ice Age. Continue Reading →

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Too many loose ends in Get On Up

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

Any actor hired to play “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” in a biopic expectedly would be challenged at every split or scream he’d attempt in character on screen. Chadwick Boseman demonstrated this as he played the late James Brown in Get On Up, based on the legendary singer’s life – the film hit theaters today (Friday, August 1). “It’s hard to do James Brown,” says Kenny Lang, adding that it takes “a high energetic actor” to portray the singer. He and Sybil Lang saw an advance screening of the movie July 29 at AMC Southdale Center 16 in Edina. “I was hoping the story would have more on [Brown] up to his death [in 2006],” says Sybil Lang. Continue Reading →

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This week’s Entertainment spotlights!

 

 
The Music
 
Emeli Sande
Thurs., Aug. 1 • Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-339-7007 or www.hennepintheatredistrict.org • Her album, Our Version of Events, was the biggest-selling album of 2012 in the UK, and The Times of London says that she “combines Winehouse sass and Nina Simone purr.” She has recently toured with Alicia Keys who was so impressed with her, that she co-wrote three songs with Sande for her own album, Girl on Fire.  

 

 
Naughty by Nature
Fri., Aug. 3, 9 pm • Insert Coins, 315 1st Ave. N., Mpls., 651-564-4016 or www.insertcoinsmpls.com • Naughty by Nature stop by Mpls. Continue Reading →

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This week’s Entertainment spotlights!

 

 

 
The Music
 
2013 Carifest
Fabuluz Friday, Fri., July 26, 8 pm — 2 am, Knights of Columbus, 1114 American Blvd. W., Bloomington • Zizzling Saturday Outdoor Festival, Sat., July 27, 11 am — 10 pm, West River Parkway (between Plymouth Ave. and Broadway Ave.) • Carifest is an annual Caribbean cultural event featuring colorful Caribbean flair, live calypso and reggae beats, vibrant parade costumes and more • Performers include, Avi and the Supertones featuring Princess Anisa (Orlando’s #1 Chutney band), Emmanuel Brown, Jumo Primo, Dheeraj Gayaram, Scrouge, 9Tomorrows and more • For more info, visit http://carifest.org/

 
Dakota Street Fest
Sat. July 27, noon — midnight • Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-332-1010 or www.dakotacooks.com • This is a free outdoor music festival on Nicollet Mall with four music stages, great food, drinks and activities for all ages • Acts include Debbie Duncan, Sonny Knight and the Lakers, #MPLS, Irv Williams, Toki Wright & This Debris and more.  
Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers
Sun., July 28-29, 7 & 9 pm • Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-332-1010 or www.dakotacooks.com • Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins is one of New Orleans’ biggest personalities. Continue Reading →

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The Music

 
Alexander O’Neal with Cherrelle
Fri., July 19, 8 pm • First Avenue & 7th St. Entry, 701 N. 1st Ave., Mpls., 612-338-8388 or http://first-avenue.com • The pair reunite to sing their duets “Saturday Love” and “Never Knew Love Like This,” along with their respective catalogue of songs.  

 

 

 

 

 
Bayfront Reggae and World Music Festival
Sat., July 20, 11 am • Bayfront Festival Park, Duluth, MN, www.bayfrontreggae.com • Celebration of reggae and world music • Ethnic food, beverages and artisans • Performers include Richie Spice, Everton Blender, Christopher Martin, and Alex Marley.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience
Sat. July 19, 8 pm • Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-332-1010 or www.dakotacooks.com • Grammy Award-winning Terrance Simien plays Indigenous Creole Zydeco. Continue Reading →

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Recognition of Black women in American film industry still the exception, not the rule

 

 
Movies, Media & More

Dwight Hobbes

You really have to wonder whether Black women are ever going to get from the American film industry the break they have long since earned, which is to say it’s gravely doubtful. White men who wield the power don’t show any signs of doing anything of the kind. Nor do White women. Not even the liberated liberal ones who just love to strut around as living breathing examples of social progress and always seem to have a special Black girlfriend on-call to trot out at upscale parties and other see-and-be-seen social events. Black men in the business, they, generally speaking, are just plain sorry when it comes to holding the same door for Black women that they themselves walked through when it was grudgingly opened. Continue Reading →

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Maid in America—Oscars tend to award Black actors playing stereotypical roles

 

 

When Viola Davis lost the Oscar for best actress portraying an African American maid in Katherine Stockett’s The Help to Meryl Streep portraying former Britain Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, there was a collective sigh of relief from many of us African American sisters. Tulane University Professor Melissa Harris-Perry, the author of an upcoming book on racial stereotypes, summed up my feelings best when she told MSNBC that ”what killed me was that in 2011, Viola Davis was reduced to playing a maid.”

Earlier during the Academy Awards ceremony Octavia Spencer won best supporting actress for her stereotypical role as the sassy, tart-tongued, “mammy-fied” maid, Minny Jackson, in The Help, making Spencer the fifth African American woman to receive the coveted Oscar, and the second sister portraying a maid. Sixty-two years earlier, in 1940, in Jim Crow America, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Oscar, for her supporting role as a maid called ”Mammy” in Gone with the Wind. When civil rights groups, like the NAACP, criticized McDaniel for her portrayal as “Mammy,” McDaniel famously retorted, ”I would rather get paid $700 a week for playing a maid than seven dollars for being one.”

Knowing of the controversial legacy stemming from McDaniel’s role, Davis told Fresh Air’s Terry Gross her ”role of Aibileen, in the hands of the wrong actress, could turn into a cliché… You’re only reduced to a cliché if you don’t humanize a character. A character can’t be a stereotype based on the character’s occupation.” Davis contested she gave depth and dimensionality to her character by pulling from the actually lived experiences of both her mother and grandmother, who worked as maids. Continue Reading →

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