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BLACK IS KING: Ghanaian Film Maker, Blitz Bazawule, Directed Beyonce’s Visual Album

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A stunning and deeply great trailer for Beyoncé‘s Black Is King, a forthcoming visual album she wrote, directed, and produced, dropped over the weekend. This is not the first time Beyoncé has hopped into the writer or director’s chair. However, the trailer for The Lion King star’s latest project (in production for a year!) hints at this maybe being her most epic creative undertaking to date — and yes, I’m including Lemonade in that statement.

Black Is King uses the music of Beyoncé’s 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack, which was released alongside the live-action(ish) remake of The Lion King directed by Jon Favreau and Donald Glover. With songs like “My Power,” “Mood 4 Eva,” and “Brown Skin Girl” as the foundation, Black Is King is a visual album which breathes life into the lessons of The Lion King for “young kings and queens everywhere,” as a press release notes.

Imagery from The Lion King is made a reality and brought to the center of the frame, with Beyoncé also making appearances throughout the visual album — but not necessarily appearing to be the star, so to speak. Instead, the spotlight is shared by a a diverse cast telling the Beyoncé-penned story. The trailer for this project is a work of art in and of itself, featuring gorgeous shot after gorgeous shot of Beyoncé’s vision writ large. If you’re not clearing your schedule to watch Black Is King, you need to get your priorities in order.

Black Is King was written, directed, and executive produced by Beyoncé, and weaves in contributions from creators like director Blitz Bazawule and Oscar-winning production designer Hannah Beachler—who made history in 2019 as the first Black designer to win in her category, thanks to her work on Black Panther.

Here’s the synopsis for Black Is King:

This visual album from Beyoncé reimagines the lessons of The Lion King for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns. The film was in production for one year with a cast and crew that represent diversity and connectivity.

The voyages of Black families, throughout time, are honored in a tale about a young king’s transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity. His ancestors help guide him toward his destiny, and with his father’s teachings and guidance from his childhood love, he earns the virtues needed to reclaim his home and throne.

These timeless lessons are revealed and reflected through Black voices of today, now sitting in their own power. Black Is King is an affirmation of a grand purpose, with lush visuals that celebrate Black resilience and culture. The film highlights the beauty of tradition and Black excellence.

Based on the music of The Lion King: The Gift, and starring the album’s featured artists and some special guest appearances, “Black Is King” is a celebratory memoir for the world on the Black experience. Videos for “My Power,” “Mood 4 Eva,” and “Brown Skin Girl” are extravagances of elegance and soul. The film is a story for the ages that informs and rebuilds the present. A reunion of cultures and shared generational beliefs. A story of how the people left most broken have an extraordinary gift and a purposeful future.

In Theatres

Charlize Theron’s ‘The Old Guard,’ Netflix’s Most-Watched Movie, Is Another Franchise-Starter That’s Just Set-Up For The Sequel

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Netflix’s The Old Guard is a $70 million prologue to a sequel that, even with strong initial viewership, may never actually get made

As expected by everyone paying attention, The Old Guard, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and written by Greg Rucka (and adapted from on his comic book), is this morning’s most-watched movie on Netflix NFLX -4.2%. It would be something of a calamity if the film wasn’t at least in the top ten, considering the media attention and star power (specifically Charlize Theron in the lead role) for this $70 million comic book/superhero movie, although the idea of it earning mostly positive reviews and still ending up behind the likes of Unsolved Mysteries and The Lorax would have qualified as an all-too-fitting metaphorical irony. Nonetheless, we’ll see if it has any more staying power than, offhand, Eurovision, or whether it’s a one-week wonder.

If it continues to stick around, then I’d argue that the film will be an example of a rare movie that broke the cardinal rule of franchise-building and got away with it. There’s plenty to admire about The Old Guard, such as the strong performances (Chiwetel Ejiofor gets several lovely moments), an emphasis on character interaction over spectacle and the unapologetic LGBTQIA representation that plays like a dare to “old Hollywood” to get its act together. However, I didn’t care for the film as much as many of my (very smart) peers because it played less like a movie and more like a TV pilot or feature-length prequel to the next chapter. Yes, in a skewed way, it played the same game that usually dooms franchise-starters.

To be fair, the film, which stars Theron as the unofficial leader of a small group of seemingly immortal mercenaries, doesn’t quite err as badly in this regard as Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, Jon M. Chu’s Jem and the Holograms or Kenneth Branagh’s Artemis Fowl. The 124-minute, R-rated actioner does give you enough of “what you came to see,” namely Theron and her team (along with new recruit Kiki Layne) killing bad guys and looking cool while doing it. Its sins in this “glorified TV pilot” arena are more about how much of the film is spent with past-tense exposition and world-building, as well as leading to a conclusion that merely teases a more interesting status quo/more interesting movie than the one we got. Most Popular In: Hollywood & Entertainment

I didn’t think the action scenes were all that engaging, as there seemed to be a disconnect between the poignant conversations about morality and mortality and the deluge of faceless murdered goons who may be less “bad guy” and more “security personal just doing their job.” That’s always been a pet peeve with me (see also: The Matrix lobby massacre). Otherwise, the action sequences are indeed well-staged and well-edited by Terlyn Shropshire. But the core issue, to the extent that it matters, is the fact that The Old Guard didn’t feel like a singular feature. No spoilers, but it felt like set-up for the actual movie, with (like Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels) that obnoxious “You’ll get to see this cool adventure… next time!” tease.

The question is whether that this film debuted on Netflix and not in theaters merited the presumption that we’d get another one of these. You can argue Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom acted as glorified set-up for Jurassic World: Dominion, but A) Fallen Kingdom felt like a stand-alone movie and B) Jurassic World earned $1.671 billion worldwide so its sequel being successful enough to merit a third film felt like a safe bet. And it’s entirely possible that Netflix will announce on Monday that The Old Guard 2 is “in development.” Save for (offhand) To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and The Kissing Booth 2 (debuting July 24), it’s not like Netflix’s library is filled with sequels to their successful originals.

It’s a little ironic that The Old Guard premiered just days before the 20th anniversary of Bryan Singer’s X-Men, a film that felt like a new kind of franchise-starter, one that played like a TV pilot that ended with a glorified “To be continued!” The whole “first movie is set-up” gambit, inspired by comic books and episodic TV which can spend the first issue/episode on table-setting, is now almost a sub-genre unto itself. What was unusual in 1985 with Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (still waiting for that adventure to begin…) is now almost par for the course. But its application in cinema (Jem, Warcraft, Fantastic Four, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) almost always results in a one-and-done franchise.

I like the folks involved with The Old Guard. Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights and Therons Atomic Blonde are modern genre classics and I loved Rucka’s run on Detective Comics in the early 2000s. I will express artistic disappointment and still cheer commercial success. If we do get The Old Guard 2 which gives us an adventure based on the notions teased out at the end of this movie, it will be a somewhat unprecedented victory. However, if The Old Guard is a hit but the sequel still ends up in the same development hell as Bright 2, then it’ll be just another feature-length tease for a franchise that never actually came to be. Considering Netflix’s self-proclaimed status as a Hollywood disruptor, that would be bitterly ironic.

Scott Mendelson/Forbes.com

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Movie News

Ghanaian Actor, Michaela Coel, Reveals Why She Turned Down Netflix’s $1 Million Offer for ‘I May Destroy You’

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British-Ghanaian actor, Michaela Coel can largely credit her breakout success in the U.S to Netflix, the domestic distributor of her acclaimed comedy series “Chewing Gum.” She fronted the 2018 Netflix musical film “Been So Long” and Netflix also released “Black Earth Rising” starring Coel, outside the United Kingdom in 2019.

This would have made Netflix a natural destination for Coel’s latest project, “I May Destroy You,” but the creator walked away from a mega-deal in order to maintain ownership of the series.

In a new profile published by Vulture, the actor reveals that Netflix made her an offer for “I May Destroy You” in spring 2017 worth $1 million. The series is based on Coel’s personal experience of being sexually assaulted during the making of “Chewing Gum.” Coel, who wrote all 12 episodes of the series and co-directed nine, stars as a young writer struggling to come to terms and process a recent assault. Coel turned Netflix’s $1 million offer down because they wouldn’t allow her to retain any percentage of the copyright. The creator even ended her relationship with CAA after it “tried to push her to take the deal” with Netflix since CAA “would be making an undisclosed amount on the back end.”

Coel told Vulture that she tried negotiating with “a senior-level development executive at Netflix” in order to retain “at least 5 percent of the copyright.” According to Coel, “There was just silence on the phone. And she said, ‘It’s not how we do things here. Nobody does that, it’s not a big deal.’ I said, ‘If it’s not a big deal, then I’d really like to have 5 percent of my rights.’ ”

When Coel bargained down and asked to own just 0.5 percent of the copyright, the Netflix executive said she would have to run it up the chain while adding, “Michaela? I just want you to know I’m really proud of you. You’re doing the right thing.”

“I remember thinking, I’ve been going down rabbit holes in my head, like people thinking I’m paranoid, I’m acting sketchy, I’m killing off all my agents,” Coel said. “And then she said those words to me, and I finally realized — I’m not crazy. This is crazy.”

Coel eventually pitched “I May Destroy You” to the BBC in the fall of 2017 and the network offered her everything she wanted, from “a seat at the table on the production side” to “full creative control and the rights to the work.” HBO would join BBC as a co-producer of the project. The show debuted in June to some of the best TV reviews of 2020. IndieWire’s Tambay Obenson gave the series a perfect A grade in his review. Read Coel’s new profile in its entirety on Vulture’s website.

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Arts & Culture

Nollywood Actor, Linda Osifo, Covers VL Magazine July 2020 Issue

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LAGOS STATE – July 12, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Dedicated to all health workers all over the world putting their lives on the line to save lives and on its cover for July 2020, Vergeria Life (VL) Magazine host Nollywood actor “Linda Osifo”, who, in an exclusive interview, talked current projects , thoughts on the covid – 19 pandemic and many more. This edition also embodies amazing stories and articles surrounding social life and business.

“I know these are trying times as the pandemic is still on but nevertheless, we would definitely see this through with God on our side and also by following safety precautions given to us by the WHO. I would like to encourage everyone to keep staying safe as this is the only option we have. I pray God will always provide for our needs and protect us, this is not the time to be sad or feel neglected, always reach out to people.” She said

See photos below;

Credits

Photography: @dap_shooter
Styling/Creative Direction: @thafashiongawd
Makeup: @annklairmakeup
Hairstylist: @ariyikhair
Outfits: @yinkasamuels @chunnie.official
Graphics: @freshmonigrafix
Cinematography: @glitzmediahouse
Founder & Editor-In-Chief: @oleleoflagos

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Coming Soon

THE CROWN: Netflix’s Biggest Shows Set Wrap Up After Its Fifth Season

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Earlier this year, it emerged that The Crown, one of Netflix’s biggest shows, would wrap up after its fifth season. But it has reversed course, as it’s returning to creator and writer Peter Morgan’s initial concept of a six-season run for the Royal Family drama.

“As we started to discuss the storylines for Series 5, it soon became clear that in order to do justice to the richness and complexity of the story we should go back to the original plan and do six seasons,” Morgan told Variety in a statement. “To be clear, Series 6 will not bring us any closer to present-day — it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”

By the time it ends, The Crown will cover Queen Elizabeth II’s life up to the early 2000s. So, it won’t touch on more recent events, such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure from the Royal Family.

Filming on season four wrapped up just before the onset of COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK. That season is expected to hit Netflix later in 2020, a year or so after season three premiered. It’ll bring an end to Oscar-winner Olivia Colman’s two-season stint as Queen Elizabeth II, as Imelda Staunton is taking over the role for the final two seasons.

– www.engadget.com

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