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The New Film Red Tails Will it be Any Good? Does it Matter?

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Admittedly, I'm biased; I go out of my way to support anything featuring Black folks on any platform or media.

The film Red Tails is another example. I've had a page setup waiting for the publication of a review for a couple of weeks: http://aalbc.com/reviews/red_tails.html Unfortunately, that review will not be available until AFTER the film has been released. My reviewer can not view the film until Friday. This is not normally a good sign and generally indicates a weak film as negative reviews can kill an opening.

Rottentomates, my main source for film reviews, as of the time of this post (1:20PM GMT -5) only shows one critic's review: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/red-tails/ A Google search does reveal other reviews, but I suspect they were published despite an apparent embargo, barring the publication of reviews prior to January 20th.

If the film turns out to be weak should we continue to promote and encourage others to see it?


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In addition to a couple of TV documentaries, there was already a movie about the Tuskeegee airmen, made a few years ago, starring Laurence Fishborn. As I recall, it seemed to be a very definitive telling of their story. Why would George Lucas pour millions of dollars out of his own pocket to re-tell this story?

Lucas, the mega rich producer of Star Wars fame, just happens to be engaged to Melody Hobson, a black woman who is a media maven from Chicago. Maybe he was tryng to impress her....

There are other stories out there about the heroic roles Blacks played in World War II. Wonder why Lucas didn't choose one of them to tell. If he really wanted to earn high marks from the black community, he could've told the one about the black soldiers who were dishonorably discharged after they refused orders to continue to do the hazardous duty job of loading torpedoes on submarines, an extremely dangerous job only assigned to black units, one where a large number of black soldiers were blown to bits in an accident that occurred while they were doing this. This is a story America likes to sweep under the carpet, so George might have passed on it.

But,- I guess that any movie about Blacks starrig Blacks should be supported, as along as it is not demeaning in its depiction. I guess.

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@ Cynique - I did see Lucas with Melody on a commercial (I want to say they sat down with Oprah), and I wondered the same thing.

I will probably take my little boys to see this movie, but I do wish the filmmakers in general would get some of the other stories out there. But like Cynique mentioned, it's hard to tell many of our stories without showing the raggedy side ("ratchedness") of America. smh.

As usual, we'll take what we can get. Thank you for giving us a crumb. Mmmmm, love those crumbs! Okay, let me stop. I'm in a mood today. I should just log off, go to sleep, and start over later. <_<

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I inserted the following video to help promote the film Red Tails on AALBC.com for free

This is the last time I will do such a thing.

I'm tired of promoting big budget films from majority studios, books from majority publishers, and big time authors for free -- just because they are Black or selling a Black product.

These people and entities have the most resources and are best able to support their MOST ardent supports via an ad ad buy or mutual promotion.

Rottentomatoes, critics are blasting the film.

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I'll go see it this weekend because I promised to be a part of the groundswell. I venerate the Tuskeegee Airmen. I also know this is fairly well known and well traveled territory. Dare I say it is an easy film to make. And/But I long for more. And I realize this film will probably be okay as a shorthand form of history. It will appeal without ruffling any feathers. To those who have a financial interest in the film, I say "Best of luck." For the rest of us: I give it two big shoulder shrugs.

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I'm tired of promoting big budget films from majority studios, books from majority publishers, and big time authors for free -- just because they are Black or selling a Black product.

I must say I don't blame you one bit! These above-referenced entities/people are not charity cases. It is only reasonable that they should pay for advertising. Shoot, if I can scrape together my little nickles and dimes to pay for an ad (which I plan to do soon btw... :D ) then surely they can have their accountant send you a check. "I'm just sayin'."

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Breena, My reviewer, Kam Willaims, who was forced to wait until opening day to see the flick, described it as "very good, not great, but solid and entertaining" The critics on Rottentomatoes are still slamming it, however the audience reaction is mostly positive. The real story will be told by this weekend's box office. AALBC.com's review will be posted here: http://aalbc.it/red_tails and will be favorable.

I also don't like the whole idea put forth that if Black folks don't all go out in mass to see Spielberg's George Lucus' flick then we'll all be punished by not getting another positive Black film out of Hollywood. Do we have so little control, that we HAVE to go see whatever they produce for us?

Breena, authors like you are the reason AALBC.com exists -- full stop, end of story, period. When platforms like mine extend themselves to promote, for free, the efforts of the rich and powerful we do so at the expense others who would be more supportive, authors like yourself.

If independent platforms are to, not only survive, but grow we can not afford to support those who really don't support us. When you support independent newspapers, magazines, websites, filmmakers, you give them the power to to tell the stories that are untold and important.

My free support of corporations ends with Red Tails. I'll pubs reviews, but unless they take an ad that is it. I'll divert my energies more constructively.

By the way, welcome to the new discussion board and THANK YOU sharing your thoughts on this platform, 'cause I know you could have replied on Facebook. You really do get it. I wish others did as well.

FYI, Roland S. Jefferson send this out in an email today

A note about the new film 'Redtails"... The very first attempt to make this movie was not the 1996 movie with Lawrence Fishburn, but the mid-1980's movie starring Henry Fonda and Billy Dee Williams. In fact filming had already started in Italy when Racist Paramont executives suddenly pulled the plug. I don't remember who the director was, but the producer was William Trowbridge, husband to then gossip maven Rona Barrett. And because my cousin was one of the pilots in the 99th (he was B.O. Davis's wingman on combat missions) I had a chance to read the script which was excellent and written, I might add, by one of the white bomber pilots who was grateful for the 'Redtails' heroism. I would love to see the footage that was shot before the project was shut down. Perhaps a letter writing campaign to Billie Dee Williams or Henry Fonda's agents might pressure Paramont Studios into to releasing the footage. Don't take my word for any of this...look it up in the trade papers, Daily Variety

Writegirl -- Exactly!

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Troy, you keep giving Steven Spielberg "credit" for this movie which he had nothing to do with. His "Star Wars" partner George Lucas is who financed and produced it. I understand that the 19 million dollar second place box office take was twice the amount "Red" Tails was projected to open at. Black ticket buyers were probably the major audience this movie attracted, and they are apparently content to be entertained, caring nothing about cliches and stereotypes or critical reviews or who reaps the profits. Consumerism not capitalism is what defines the black community. Too bad that when it comes to "spending", money on enjoyment rather than time on education is what it involves.

As an aside, during WWII, my older sister met a Tuskegee airman at a USO center in Chicago and he became of of her many penpals when he went off to war. He sent her a picture of himself in full flight gear, and it sat on her dresser all during the war. I don't know whatever happened to him or the picture, but I certainly wish it had been saved. Little did I know then, that the good lookin guy staring out from that frame was someone one who belonged to an elite and legendary group that would one day become famous. I do remember his name. It was Roosevelt Layton. And 70 years later, I salute him. Better late than never.

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Lucus/Spielburg, 6 of one... sorry for the sloppiness I'll go back and correct my entries.

Roosevelt Layton! Wow Cynique it would really be great if you still had that photo.

Cynique you really do have a talent for concisely stating ideas that would require many more words from me:

"Consumerism not capitalism is what defines the black community." is precisely the difference!

Consumerism is the fuel that feeds capitalism, I just wish we were not the fuel all the damn time. I'mm gonna do some research on Layton. I'll post anything of interest I find.

Oh yeah, I published Kam's review of Red Tails http://aalbc.it/red_tails

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AMAZING!! I assuming that Layton was a Tuskegee airman because that's where all of the black airmen were trained. At that time there was no Air Force as we know it today. Back then, the air force was a division of the Army. I can still see Roosevelt, now, wearing his leather bomber jacket with its fleece collar and an "ace cap" with goggles pulled back on his head. Thank you!

BTW, I only mentioned the Spielburg /Lucas thing because Spielburg has a controversial history in regard to black movies due to his affiliation with "The Color Purple" which met with disapproval by many in the black community because it portrayed black men in a bad light. I think after that, Spielburg became a little gun-shy when it came to directing black movies...

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Yeah it looks like this guy passed in 1978 at the age of 58. We can be absolutely sure it is him but I suspect the odds are there are just too many correlating fact and the name does not strike me as very common.

I just posted an interview with Ne-Yo, who also stars in Red Tail. he is reading an interesting book



AALBC.com Interviews Ne-Yo on his role in Red Tails

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I saw the flick yesterday. It was a sufficiently entertaining film. As long as you did not look at it as a lesson in history (unless you were a student of propaganda), were able to suspend disbelief, and were not bothered by shallow characters, plot and dialog -- it was all good. Indeed this flick was no different that many actions flicks.

Kola, when you say part of "the Black women Boycotting the film" are you talking about an organized effort? I'd be interested in learning about a group of Black women not interested in seeing Nate Parker, Terrence Howard or David Oyelowo.

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I guess you don't read the Black women's blogs, Troy.

There was a call for a boycott before the film even opened but everyone tried to ignore those blogs.

The 2nd week box office fell by 53%

Gee--what you think caused it to crash that severely??

According to "Ticket Box-office Tracker".....Older black women have been supporting the film

strongly. But overall, Black women's audience is very low.

How many Black Women really want to pay $16 to watch themselves erased from history & watch

a Black man romance a white woman?

All 2,000 of the Tuskegee airmen married Black women BTW. And there were Black Female Pilots

& soldiers in Italy with those men. Not to mention 900 Black American nurses were imported to

Italy to take care of the pilots. CNN recently reported on several "love stories" that were quite

epic between Black Male & Female Pilots during that era. None of that was shown in the movie.

NONE of the actors you mentioned are interested in Black women--they all married White. So yes,

many DUMB black women are fawning over men who would never notice them. But the "thinking" black

women are not supporting this movie and the box office shows that.

I do notice a STRONG WHITE AUDIENCE attended the opening week, though.

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Kola Boof,

Ooooh wow you hit the nail on the head with this one! I was planning to go...that is until I did a lil research and discovered the missing presence of Black women. Sigh...wish I can say I was shocked. At the end of the day it'll just be another "Black Movie" that I won't be paying my hard earned money to support.

The sad part is that the Black actors, writers, and directors who worked on the project more than likely noticed that "something's missing" but were too concerned about pleasing the crowd and getting paid. Money makes people do dumb *ish*. I guess they're trying to say that nobody wants to pay to see Black families or Black love unless it's a comedy of sorts. Sounds like a setup to me - and we've seen it before. Divide and conquer is such an old concept. When the hell do we stop falling for this crap? Ugh. Whatever!

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No Kola I was not aware of an organized effort. As you can see from my commentary I had issues with the film before it opened as well. The issues are related. I felt a little alone leveling any criticism against the film. Everything I heard has been rah, rah, rah.

But funny you should mention it. Today I posted a review of the film Extremely Loud (1 star - http://aalbc.com/rev...emely_loud.html). In reaction to the review a sister wrote:

While I did not think this was the BEST ever movie I came to appreciate it by the end. The first third is a bit dry but then it blossoms into a poignant and maybe even important portrait of a family learning to live again and to connect to one another. Your reviewer continuously describes the boy as an orphan. He is no such thing. And that exposes your reviewers profound flaw. He ignores the mother. I venture to guess he is (andI have to assume this is a male reviewer) so neglectful of women that when women are on the screen it's time to refill his popcorn bag. Sad. There are so many men like that. I see my sons act that way. So, I watch movies with them and I make sure they hear the dialogue women speak in the movie and ask them what she said. Troy, I don't know you but that review does your site a disservice.

I wrote in reaction:

@Marlene Thanks for the feedback. While one review does not make a website I have forwarded your feedback to Kam. Kam (a he) has any feedback he would like to share I'll post it here on his behalf (he is not on Facebook).

Your perspective regarding the male reaction to women on the big screen "time to refill his popcorn bag" is fascinating. I wonder if others reading this share that perspective? Now that I'm sensitive to it I'll think about film in general.

To your point Marlene, the last film I saw was Red Tails (http://aalbc.com/rev.../red_tails.html) There was only one woman with minor role and she could not speak English. Not one Black woman. No flashbacks to a girls friends back home. No images of mother at home worrying -- nothing. Hummm....

Then you start really thinking about it and it gets scary.

At the end of the day independent Black voice willing to say something negative about Red Tails are too disjointed and obscure to have a real impact on the masses.

When I saw the movie yesterday ($6, 10:30 AM matinee in the heart of Harlem) it was with a crowd of mostly Black people. The two sisters who sat behind me seemed to love the movie -- that is what I gathered from their continuous conversation. I over heard one teenager say it was the best movie he ever saw. I was gonna turn around and say something but then I thought all the movies he would remember were released after 2000. He probably do not even know who Spike Lee is.

I don't think there was even a photograph of a Black women in the Red Tails.

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