Category Archives: movies

AfroBeatles: Fela + The Beatles. Yoda is real.

The AfroBeatles. John, Ringo, Fela, George and Paul.

The AfroBeatles. John, Ringo, Fela, George and Paul.

I’m sitting in NY Penn Station jamming to an AfroBeatles mash up.

I’m sorry.

What’s an AfroBeatle?

The Afrobeatles are an imaginary group from an alternate universe.

It’s The Beatles meets Fela Kuti.

In this alternate universe, these two musical icons (who, through fate, were never able to collaborate in life) create a musical journey and show us what the “what if” would have looked, sounded and felt like.

This universe contains a series of music and video mash ups of the AfroBeatles musical collabos.

Right now, I’m rocking out to Drive My Car with ODOO.

Its a mash up of the Beatles’ Drive My Car from the Rubber Soul album, and Overtake Don Overtake Overtake (ODOO) from the Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 album of the same name.

This is an assignment I’ve been given by Yoda.

Not this Yoda. The real Yoda.

Not this Yoda. The real Yoda.

Who is Yoda?

He’s my sensei.

I’m his student.

Digital kung fu.

Per Yoda: “If we transplant a concept of any serious value in the digital space, it will germinate and grow. But you must be attentive to it for it to initially sustain itself.”

So I’m documenting AfroBeatles.

Which I’ve just planted in all of you.

Did you see what just happened?

You’ve become part of Yoda’s experiment.

You’re in the Petri dish.

You’ll probably never experience his all-seeing eye.

But it’s on you.

No camera necessary.

You’re already a blip on his mental radar.

You wouldn’t even know how to avoid it if you could.

It’s been trained on all of us for a long time.

I. Sound. Crazy.

One day, you’ll think back on this post and be like “Oh yeah. He did say that was gonna happen.”

That being this AfroBeatles thing.

You’ll be able to point to this post and know when you were officially put down.

It may be because we took a walk down AfroBeatles Lane together.

Or because one day you see your neighbor on TV talking about their “walk down AfroBeatles lane” from an AfroBeatles concert in London.

And you’ll wonder, “how the hell did they get to London?”

I never really listened to the Beatles back in the day, so this will be somewhat an education for me.

Sure, I know a few of their songs, but I can’t say I’m familiar with their full body of work.

My “assignment” from Yoda is to document the AfroBeatles movement.

Including the symposia where the project will be discussed, the concerts and screenings taking place along the way.

Of course, you’re invited.

And I’ll gather more data about you.

I’ve been reflexively typing as I’ve been listening to this, so AfroBeatles music clearly has a creative effect on this listener.

My feet have been tapping this whole time, and I’m bopping my head.

Outside looking in, there’s a dreadlock on the train jamming to something.

Baby you can drive my car…

But if you got up close you would see me rat-a-tat tatting on this iPad.

Anyway, here’s how to formally participate in Yoda’s experiment:

1. Visit AfroBeatles.com (it’s a work in progress)
2. Listen to any mash up in the timeline.
3. Decide for yourself, the minute you finish listening it, within five seconds, whether you want to walk down AfroBeatles Lane.
4. If “yes” document your walk down AfroBeatles Lane. Read the blog, listen to more tracks, download, like, share, comment and become a fellow blip.
5. Record where you are the day AfroBeatles becomes mainstream.

Yoda predicted lots of blips.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Oh…welcome to my world.

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Fast and Furious 6 was sick! Or was it seven?

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This past Friday, I (along with tens thousands of other movie goers) took in Fast & Furious 6.

As the title connotes, this was the sixth installment of Fast and Furious.

If you thought that the series was starting to lose its pale, becoming just another rehashed plot line, you couldn’t be blamed.

But you’d be wrong.

I can sum up Fast 6 in three words:

What. A. Rush.

Non-stop action from the door.

Or from the word “go” rather.

Mind you, I’ve never seen any of the Fast & Furious franchise in a theater before.

I like driving fast cars and all, but a movie built around driving fast cars?

Not so much.

I’m not a teenage boy with muscle car fantasies.

My first car was a two-tone Ford Escort.

Station wagon.

Clearly not the demographic they’re targeting.

I was content to wait for it to hit Netflix.

That is, until I saw it in theaters.

And now I am remiss that I didn’t take at least the original or Tokyo Drift in on the big screen.

There is something to seeing car stunts larger than life that made Fast 6 super exciting.

It’s not like the movie was all stunts and driving.

But mostly.

There were some genuinely humorous moments.

Provided primarily at the expense of Tyrese.

Why a Black man got to be the butt of all the jokes?

Why is the man always trying to demean a Brother?

Why can’t old blue eyes be comic relief?

Oh wait, I’m sorry.

I didn’t even realize I had my black beret and leather gloves on.

My bad.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Fast 6 was more than just fast cars.

It included the return of Michele Rodriguez.

You know, Letty.

Who was supposed to have been killed in Fast & Furious.

So you know all Fast aficionados were like “WTF?!”

I know I was.

If you’re not up on Fast at all, Letty is Dominic’s (Vin Diesel) wife.

She went undercover for Brian (Paul Walker) and was discovered.

Bad things happened after that.

Very bad things.

We all thought she was dead.

But Fast 6 keeps you guessing.

As I do, I checked to see if there was a companion app in the App Store.

Of course, there was.

fastandfurious6thegame

Fast & Furious 6: The Game includes five player modes that transport you into the world of fast cars.

I'm not really into games.

I’m not really into games…

I don’t really do games, so I had to feign interest just to check the app out.

But I will bust that ass!

…but I will bust that ass!

But if you dig racing games, or have time on your hands, I’m sure The Game makes for hours of mindless entertainment.

Anywho, the movie was great and the ending was a doozy.

I don’t do the spoiler thing, so I won’t go into any level of depth about it.

Although, I will say this: don’t leave until after the credits have rolled.

What comes next will knock your socks off!

You can thank me later.

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Live Long and Prosper. Or not. But go see Star Trek.

star_trek_into_darkness-HD

In case you weren’t aware, I’m a trekkie.

Don’t get it twisted.

I’m not a trekkie trekkie.

I don’t don pointy ears and get all Comic-Conned out or anything like that.

My greetings do not involve splitting my middle and ring fingers in a Vulcan salute.

You'll never see me doing this.

You’ll never see me doing this.

Aside from Captain Kirk and Dr. Spock, I couldn’t tell you the real names of any of the actors from the original series.

But I get my Star Trek on.

And I’m a purist.

Any of the various Star Trek spin-offs can sick a duck for all I care.

But I will curl up with a hot cup of cocoa and a snuggly blanket for a Star Trek marathon.

And watch any rerun of an original Star Trek episode as if it were the first time.

So it was with unbridled excitement that I took in the latest installment and went where no man has gone before

Except the folks who caught it before me on Wednesday or Thursday.

Or all the media folks who got the advanced screening.

But I digress.

Friday, I saw Start Trek Into Darkness and it was everything I’d hoped it would be.

In fact, it was a little more.

I hadn’t expected to laugh as much as I did.

Into Darkness was peppered with genuinely humorous moments that had me literally laughing aloud.

I was going to say laughing out loud, but than I would have been soooo predictable, and I hate that.

I also copped the Star Trek Into Darkness app.

startrekapp

Because they had one, that’s why.

No, seriously, it’s a cool app that appeals to the trekkie trapped inside all of us.

When you get the app, you start as a non-commissioned officer.

Complete a few missions, and watch your rank rise to Cadet, then Crewman and on.

Missions include ‘listening’ to portions of episodes on Hulu, visiting URLs and answering trivia.

I was ashamed about how little I initially knew about my beloved Start Trek, but my perseverance was quickly rewarded.

And now I’m a Petty Officer, so take that!

But back to the movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed all 2 hours and 20 minutes of it.

It was fraught with incredibly exciting and suspenseful moments.

Lucky for you though, I’m not one of those dickhead spoilers who spill the beans and give the entire movie away.

You can read Rotten Tomatoes for that.

But I’ll say this much: Ricardo Montalbán is probably pissed.

I brought the original pain! You better recognize!

I brought the original pain! You better recognize!

Now because I know many of you aren’t up on Star Trek, like I am, I will leave you with this bit of advice – go see the movie.

But in case my persuasive writing isn’t enough, peep the trailer below.

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WTF is a Blipp? Augmented reality, that’s what.

blippar

Flipping through today’s Metro I came across an article about Iron Man’s Tony Stark (a/k/a Robert Downey Jr.).

With my tickets to Iron Man 3 already secured, I paused to see what insight I could get before the movie tonight.

Former bad boy…

Drug habit…

Avengers..

Blah, blah, blah…

Wait, what’s this?

“Blipp This!”

Hmmm…

“If you want to try on the Iron Man suit, Blipp the photo below..”

Blipp the photo?

WTF is a Blipp?

Curious, I download the Blippar app and point it at the page.

Blippar – who comes up with this shit?

Anyway, I launch the app and a zillion little red dots scan the page until they lock onto something, and then this..

Metro before Blippar...

Metro before Blippar…

Becomes this.

Metro after Blippar.

Metro after Blippar.

Pretty cool.

Not novel, but cool.

Clicking on the tabs, I was able to put my face inside the Iron Man suit (snore), and read (another) review (snore).

The exclusive interview with Don Cheadle was a pure tease, because the link didn’t work.

It was so exclusive no one could read it? watch it?

Who the fuck knows.

App fail.

Nice try though.

Blippar is one of the latest entrants into the augmented reality space, giving traditional two-dimensional ads a three dimensional makeover.

And providing brands and advertisers, with the ability to create interactive, feature-rich opportunities to enhance audience engagement.

While still in it’s infancy, there is a lot of promise in augmented reality.

Metro touted today’s issue as it’s first “interactive edition” which means that there are more to come.

I previously wrote about my experience with Spiderman and an augmented cereal box.

Back then, I was talking about Aurasma, one of the early entrants into the space.

Since that time, many more players have joined the race.

Did you notice the rhyme in those last two sentences? Space, race. I’m a poet and don’t even know it!

Blippar has been doing some really cool things with a number of brands, including Bud Light, Justin Bieber, Wrigley’s gum and Dominos.

You can check out their Blipps page to see some of them.

One of the limitations to widepread AR adoption, though, is the fact that you’ve got to download an app to take advantage of it.

Most people aren’t going to do that, especially if there are competing systems.

Think QR codes and Microsoft Tags.

It’s not like anyone who already had a QR code reader installed on their device saw a Microsoft Tag and was like, “Oooo! I really want to see where that takes me, let me go to the app store and cop that app.”

And it’s highly unlikely that once someone selects an AR app, they’re going to get a second (or third) one to view a different promo.

Hopefully one day, this functionality will be built directly into your device, with handset manufacturers utilizing a uniform AR platform.

With the AR space still so fragmented it will probably be a while before any app achieves a significant foothold and/or becomes the standard.

But seeing another use of augmented reality in the wild tells me that an AR future is not far off.

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Screen Free Angela at a theater near you with Tugg.com!

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners poster

Last night I attended the world theatrical premier of Free Angela at the Schomburg Center in Harlem.

The room was packed with Hollywood and entertainment luminaries including Will and Jada Smith, Ruby Dee, Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Harry Belafonte, Hakim Green, and Common, to name but a few.

Along with about 150 others, we watch rapt, as two tumultuous years of Angela Davis’ life, and an equally tumultuous period for Black people in America, played out on the big screen.

The Director, Shola Lynch, used Free Angela to transport viewers into events that my generation was too young to remember, but for many, represented a glimpse into the not too distant past.

Where the struggle for equal rights, equal treatment under the law, and equal opportunity was a daily, hard fought one.

Where the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., were still freshly etched on the Black psyche.

Where the Black Panthers stood not for militants, but rebellion against the oppressive discriminatory treatment of people of color worldwide.

But the story of Free Angela is not, I repeat NOT about Black people – lest my white readership be shook.

It’s about how this relatively unknown intellectual became a global icon and one of the most recognizable figures of her era.

It’s the story of the lengths the government went to capture, arrest and try a woman they deemed a terrorist threat.

And the remarkable courage of a defense team, Angela Davis, and countless supporters worldwide fighting for her freedom and ultimate acquittal.

I’m just flapping my gums and not getting to the point…which is….

GO SEE FREE ANGELA AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

The movie comes out this Friday, April 5th to select AMC theaters nationwide.

I say “select theaters” because its a documentary.

And as such, it’s not gong to get the same theatrical run as say, G.I. Joe, or Jackass or The Croods.

You know, quality theatrical fare.

So you may not find it at a theater near you.

But if you don’t see it in your local movie listings, all is not lost!

You can Tugg it!

What’s Tugg?

It’s like on-demand at theaters.

Tugg lets you bring the movies you want to see to theaters in your area by arranging screenings.

Free Angela at Tugg.com

Through the Tugg.com website, you can request that a movie be screened at your local theater.

Using Tugg is an easy four-step process:

  1. Request a screening. Let the folks at Tugg know that you want to see Free Angela and they’ll set you up with the tools to get your screening on and popping.
  2. Spread the word. Let your folks know that you’re bringing Free Angela to a local theater and to reserve their tickets. Tugg has all the social media plugs you’ll need to spread the word far and wide.
  3. Meet the threshold. Step 2 is uber importante because if your folks don’t reserve enough tickets, the movie won’t be screened. And that would suck.
  4. Enjoy the show. No explanation needed.

Now you’ve got to set up an account in order to user the service, but the minor inconvenience is well worth it.

And once you’ve created your event, all you’ve got to do is promote it to your peeps.

How simple is that?

Anyway, now you know Tugg, how to use it, and what you need to do if you can’t find Free Angela on Friday.

Please forgive my gushing like a schoolgirl earlier.

It might have been my proximity to all the superstars at the screening and after party at Red Rooster.

But Free Angela was dope.

So if there’s no local theater showing it, remember: Tugg it!

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Free Angela hits theaters April 5!

I’ve been talking Free Angela for a little over a year now.

Like an annoying gnat, I’ve been buzzing in your ears about this great documentary by Shola Lynch.

Well it’s officially official.

Free Angela will be in theaters April 5th.

And now the fun begins!

I’ve been trying to convince Shola to do a soundtrack and mixtape for over a year.

And CodeBlack is on board.

I’m thinking Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Jill Scott, Pharoahe Monch, Sharon & The Dap Kings.

Here’s a teaser of what we’ve been brewing up in the lab.

Free Angela Soundtrack Rough from Stephen Chukumba on Vimeo.

Tell me what you think.

Are you feeling it?

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Free Angela is coming! Free Angela is coming! (Did I say that Free Angela was coming?)

wanted_angela_davis

Why all the excitement? You ask?

Well, if you follow my blog, Twitter or Facebook with any degree of regularity, you’ll notice that I talk Free Angela every once in a while.

For the uninitiated, Free Angela is an independent film by Shola Lynch.

The film follows the manhunt, arrest, trial and acquittal of Angela Davis in the late ’60s.

It’s Shola’s second independent film.

And it’s getting a whole lot of attention.

The movie screened at the Toronto Film Festival late last year, to rave reviews.

And the buzz has been building ever since.

About a year ago, I first wrote about the film, where I alluded to some heavy hitters backing it.

At the time, I had the inside scoop.

But I couldn’t tell you who they were, because the deal wasn’t done.

But now it’s done.

So without further ado…

Will Smith.

Jada Pinkett Smith.

Jay Z.

Overbrook.

Roc Nation.

These were just a few of the more notable names backing this project.

But now there’s a MASSIVE distributor (who I am not yet at liberty to disclose) on board, assuring that Free Angela will not be some art house, fringe movie, showing at The Angelika.

Or straight to DVD.

Nope.

Free Angela And All Political Prisoners (the full title of the movie) will be coming to a nationally distributed theater near you!

Soon.

The film was originally slated to be released in February.

Why do movies about Black people always have to come out during Black History month?

But they’re planning a spring release to properly market and promote the film.

All I can say is that I can’t wait!

We’re talking a New York premier…

Red carpet…

Premier parties…

The works.

And I’m particularly excited because your’s truly will be front and center!!!

Sure, I’ve been around celebrities all my life.

Note to self: qualify this later.

No big deal, no sweat.

But I’ve never walked the red carpet.

And I’ve never been attached to a project with this much collective star power.

So you’ll forgive me if I gush like a school girl for the next few months.

Post flix from the premier like a starstruck fan.

Or prattle on endlessly about my experience afterwards.

Because that’s what I plan to do.

So stay tuned for more Free Angela updates.

If you haven’t seen the trailer, here it is:

And if you have a chance to see the movie – don’t miss it.

Power to the people!

Black_Power

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Django. The D is silent.

django-unchained-poster

“Kill white folks and get paid for it? What’s not to like?”

This is only one of the more outrageous lines delivered by Jamie Foxx’s character, in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.

I spent New Years Eve at an AMC in East Hanover delighting in the latest Tarantino installment.

If you’re unfamiliar with how Quentin gets down, be warned.

In all of his movies, blood, guts and carnage are the order of the day.

Django Unchained is no different.

I daresay it’s more gory than Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds.

But don’t let the gore dissuade you from seeing, what, in my opinion, is one of his best films.

Django Unchained tells the slavery era story of an unlikely friendship between Django, a freed slave and Dr. Shultz, his mentor (played impeccably by Christopher Waltz) and their journey to rescue Django’s wife Broomhilda (yes, Broomhilda) from the Candyland plantation.

Don’t let the name fool you.

There are no gumballs or cotton candy at Candyland.

But I digress.

The cast features Foxx and Waltz, as the principal characters, but is rounded by Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel Jackson and Kerry Washington, who each put in exceptional performances.

Samuel Jackson is flawless as Stephen, the ass-kissing house slave (cum right-hand-man) to Candyland’s plantation owner, Calvin Candie (aka DiCaprio).

And DiCaprio is thoroughly believable as the consummate plantation owner, oozing with palpable disgust for the black bodies he owns.

I won’t bore you with a play-by-play, but if I were Siskel and Ebert, I’d be giving this movie a two thumbs up.

For the true cinephiles out there, there are two apps, which let you get into the movie right from your iPhone.

Django Unchained app screenshotsThe first, the Django Unchained app, lets you explore the characters, view images and videos, download wallpapers and ringtones, put your face in a Django Unchained poster, and buy tickets to the movie.

The second app is a game.

Django's Bounty Hunter 1800Aptly titled Django’s Bounty Hunter 1800, you assume the role of Dr. Shultz, the bounty hunter, and help rid the town of Greenville of criminals.

It’s a shoot-em-up style game, where you’ve got to click to aim and tap to shoot at various criminals on the screen.

Hugo_terminated

Both apps are distributed by The Weinstein Company, who have made a meaningful attempt to integrate their app with the movie.

If you haven’t see it, go see it.

If you’ve seen it already, see it again – it’s that good.

Anyway, here’s a clip.

Enjoy!

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Arbitrage. Avarice, greed and death. Go see this movie.

Friday night was date night with wifey.

She said something about dinner and a movie in Montcleezy, and I was like ‘cool’.

So she picked me up from the Bay Street station and we headed over to Clairidge Cinemas for the 7:20 pm showing of Arbitrage.

I had never heard of the movie, but it had Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and some Victoria Secrets model (Laetitia Casta).

That was enough for me, and I had high hopes for this movie I had never heard of before.

I was not disappointed.

Arbitrage is a thriller that focuses on one man’s greed and attempts to avoid the dire consequences of his actions.

The film is remarkably well done, as I was literally on the edge of my seat agonizing over the fate of Richard Gere.

Although his character is totally crummy, you can’t help but sympathize for him.

I was secretly rooting for him, throughout the movie, even though I thought he was despicable.

Whether it was his daughter, wife, mistress, business partners or friends, Gere’s character puts himself above them all.

This was originally going to be a post with a ‘spoiler alert’ but I didn’t want to ruin it for anyone who might be interested in seeing it.

So I’ll leave you with this trailer instead.

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