Promised Land

Matt Damon re-teams with the director of Good Will Hunting.

River of No Return

Marilyn Monroe explores the Wild West.

Satellite Boy

Pete lives with his grandfather in an old abandoned outdoor cinema.

Wuthering Heights

Forbidden love in the United Kingdom.

Cafe de Flore

Vanessa Paradis in an emotional French tale.

Labels: ,

9 Rides

I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about 9 Rides, and that's a good thing. It's a winding road of a film, and I fear that it may get lost beyond the film festival scene. That's kind of tragic, but it's also beautiful because it exists. This revolutionary piece of cinematic art exists. That warms my movie fan heart. 

Matthew A. Cherry shot 9 Rides on the iPhone 6s (with the help of a really cool add-on lense). The film had its world premiere at SXSW over the weekend. That in itself, is wonderful and revolutionary. The fact that a black filmmaker can create a feature film on an iPhone and have it screened at a major film festival is revolutionary stuff. Like Jean-Luc Godard type revolutionary. Matthew A. Cherry is reshaping the the way black filmmakers are perceived in the industry and he's becoming a trailblazer in this digital age. 

As I watched 9 Rides I was reminded of films like Ramin Bahrani's Man Push Cart, and Matt Porterfield's Putty Hill. These films are long and observational by nature, but in the best kind of way. I'm not sure if most people would appreciate the artistry there. If you've seen those films then you'll understand why I like 9 Rides. Films like Man Push Cart, Putty Hill, and 9 Rides are powerful in a subtle slow-churned way. 

9 Rides
is about an uber driver and the passengers he picks up on New Year's Eve. The driver is played by Dorian Missick (one of the hardest working actors in "black cinema." He's an actor who just needs one iconic film or TV role to push him into the next level of stardom). Of all the short stories that 9 Rides featured, two of the "rides" stick out the most: The outstanding scenes where Missick's character totes around a group of rowdy millennials and gets stopped by the police. The other remarkable ride is when he tries to help a woman in need from her abusive "boyfriend." Those stories, those moments of human connection, were packed with emotion, and they highlighted the strength of Missick as a leading man, and spotlighted the relevance of Cherry as a director dealing with delicate subject issues in a poignant way. 

9 Rides
was good, but it wasn't "perfect." I would have liked to see Missick's character outside of the car more often, and I would have enjoyed more lingering shots of Los Angeles at night. The film offered some of those, but not enough. I wanted the film to slow down and let me sink my teeth into the characters. But I'm not sure if that would be possible outside of turning 9 Rides into a mini-series or TV show, which would be pretty fasinating. It has all the right ingredients for a long-form platform. I guess my only real complaint is that I wanted more, which isn't much of a complaint at all. I'd like to see what Cherry can do with a bigger budget because so far I've been pleased with his work. 

I feel like Matthew A. Cherry is on the path to crafting his magnus opus and strengthening his artistic voice and style. I've written about Cherry several times on this site, and it should be no surprise to those that follow me on Twitter that he's one of my favorites in the Subtle Core movement of black filmmakers. 
9 Rides makes sense, it's ingenious and clever filmmaking. It's a true example of the spirit of indie cinema. The kind of daring work that I'd like to see more black filmmakers take. 

Bottom line: If you appreciate films that make you feel like a "fly on the wall" as you watch naturalistic scenarios then 9 Rides will be a treat for you. 


Poster - Day Out of Days

I'm intrigued by this. How women get "aged out of acting." Several articles have been written about the disparity of how women get treated vs. men when it comes to casting and acting careers. An older male actor stays "sexy" and marketable longer as a lead whereas an older female actress often becomes "the mom" and gets stuck in supporting roles. 

Day Out of Days explores these issues. The film is directed by Zoe Cassavetes who helmed Broken English, a film that I really enjoyed. 

Day Out of Days is "a relatable story about feminism, ageism and staying relevant in Hollywood. The film stars Alexia LandeauMelanie GriffithCheyenne JacksonEddie IzzardBellamy Young and Vincent Kartheiser."

Now available on Digital HD and VOD.

Labels: ,

Reel Artsy Detroit - Interview with Redaric Williams

This is a vintage Reel Artsy interview. I spoke with Redaric Williams back in 2014, around the time Beyond The Lights came out (I remember him telling me how much he loved the movie and that he auditioned for the role of the rapper). I had wanted to start up a Reel Artsy Detroit section back then but things got delayed. I was still figuring out how to expand Reel Artsy in new ways. Taking a page from Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes, I figured that instead of waiting to get the concept perfect I could simply do the thing. So this is me doing it. Starting now with this entry for Reel Artsy Detroit

Redaric Williams has been on my radar for a while, and I'd like to see his career blossom. I think he has the potential to become a breakout actor in the film industry. Perhaps, with indie films or even a major studio film, or both. 

Williams graciously answered my questions about his creative journey and the state of black cinema. He seems like a genuinely nice guy passionate about growing in his craft as an actor. So, think of this interview, this new section, as a bit of a slow-churned release for Reel Artsy Detroit where I'll spotlight creative folks with Detroit roots. 

So... without further ado, here is my interview with Redaric Williams (Young & The Restless, FOX's Lucifer). 

1. On Reel Artsy, we spotlight the "quirky, awkward, and offbeat," so when I found a video confessional where you share a bit of your nerdy side, and you mention your affinity for black and white films, I was like cool. My first question is: What kind of black and white films are your favorites? And have you seen any lately?

Haha, yeah they are surprisingly easy to get into after watching for just a couple of minutes, I don't really have a specific type as a favorite kind, just as long as there is an interesting plot. One that I actually re-watched recently is "On The Waterfront" with Marlon Brando who is definitely one of my favorite actors.

2. Would you be interested in playing a character more on the nerdy, awkward side?

Definitely. I just went to the movies to watch Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal, he did an amazing job portraying an "awkward" character.
I was thinking that it would be a bit of a challenge in a fun way to take on a role like that.

3. You've spent a good amount of time getting into the head of your character Tyler on The Young & The Restless. In general, what does authenticity mean to you in regards to preparing for a role? And what's your process like for delving into a character?

To me the authenticity is always there if you don't force anything. I actually found it a challenging adjustment to work on a soap due the fact that by nature I tend to be more of a subtle film type of actor, yet soaps demand performances that are a bit over the top, and larger like stage theater which I have done so I kind of fell back on that initially. As far as getting into the characters head I found it quite easy due to the fact that when preparing for any role I not only map out all of my characters objectives, but I also look for the similarities between myself and the character. With Tyler on Y&R I say it was easier in that manner because there were a lot of core similarities. For instance his father was imprisoned at an early age as was mine. His sister is an attorney, my twin sister is an attorney. We are cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways.

4. Growing up which filmmakers inspired you the most? Was there a specific character that stuck with you?Perhaps, a scene you liked to act out in the mirror (as a kid).

I always liked Spike Lee's films, a specific character that stuck with me by no surprise is Bleek Gilliam because it was played by Denzel Washington who is definitely one of my favorite actors.

5. What's next for you? Would you like to carve out a solid niche in television or venture more into the film industry?

Whats next for me is simply more work, I strive for the opportunities to work more, to continue to get better at my craft. If I had things solely my way I'm pretty sure that I would venture more into the film industry, but there is a realistic path that must be followed if you are seeking longevity within this industry.

6. I'm a fellow Michigan native, do you think you'd ever produce and/or star in a film or web series project that showcases your home town / home state?

It's funny I actually just met with a director who is also a fellow Michigander and he is filming a project in Detroit, however my quick chat and handshake wasn't enough to secure a role in the film.

7. There's a shift happening among black filmmakers, a home-grown DIY type vibe. I've labeled it as "Subtle Core" where we're seeing a burst of films with fresh perspectives hitting the scene (i.e. Ava DuVernay's Middle of Nowhere, Dee Rees' Pariah). What would you like to see happen in black cinema? And how do see yourself within its context?

When it comes to black cinema I personally would like to see more films that give young black children a reason to look at themselves with their chins up. I am working on several scripts and would like to call myself a filmmaker of such films eventually.

8. The entertainment industry is full of highs and lows, ups and downs. What drives you, keeps you going on those days when you don't get the part, or a film project gets indefinitely put on the back-burner?

Friends. When weathering the storm of the highs and lows of this type of work my port in the storm that gives me the charge to move forward again is spending time with genuine friends.

9. What music would be currently playing on the soundtrack of your life?Also, what kind of music do you listen to when you're in an introspective mood?

The soundtrack of my life would be Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five ''The Message'' and also the entire album "ATLiens" by Outkast. When I'm in an introspective mood, which is often, I listen to conscious rap from artists like Nas, Big Krit, and Lupe Fiasco.

10. Outside of acting what sparks your creativity?

I gain creative ideas most everywhere I go, mostly from the observation of people, those that I know and those that I do not.

11. In one interview, you talked about your faith, and how it's important to you. What core values have you promised to stick to, no matter how much fame comes your way?

My faith is unwavering, it always has been and always will be, in this life and in the next. As far as core values, I'd say that I always will truly know who I am on a core level regardless of any type of fame, it does not and will not effect me because I understand it, I know what it is. People can lose themselves if they fail to understand that fame is nothing mystical, and that simply put it is only "popularity" (people just know who you are). When I was growing up I understood the facade that is popularity because I went to many different schools and I always had an objective perspective. I saw how some kids where fooled into thinking that they were somehow different from others just because others knew who they were. I ended up standing on both sides of that fence because I was a student athlete at every school that I went to so it didn't take long for people to know who I was, but I never let any level of popularity fool me, just as I could never let any level of fame fool me. From a business standpoint it is necessary to build your brand, nothing more, nothing less.

12. Any aspirations of getting behind the camera? Directing, writing?

Most Definitely, I hope to only be behind the camera one day. I will definitely try my hand at directing sooner than later and I have already been writing for years.

13. Where can all the new Redaric Williams fans go online to follow you? (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

I'm on every social media outlet, FB, IG, twitter, even Google+ all under the username Redaric Williams

14. Anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, whenever I get a chance to I ask that people look into my favorite charity, it can be found at they are fighting an amazing battle and need any and all people involved. They are the only charity that I know of that has separate accounts for operational cost and the funding of the cause. Meaning that 100% of any donation will go solely to clean water projects for those around the world who need them. Along with malnutrition the lack of clean drinking water is a root cause of illness and death for children worldwide.

[Photos via Google.]


Reel Artsy Men - JJ (Tattoo Artist)

Men's fashion photography is one of my passions. That's why I've created The Reel Artsy Men section on I will spotlight stylish guys who showcase a unique brand of cool. First up... JJ, a tattoo artist based out of Metro Detroit.

My name is Josiah Johnson and I've been tattooing since 2008. I've been drawing since I could lift a pencil and tattooing is my calling. I've been working at B'z Ink since the start of my career and take pride in the work and attention we provide to reach client. I specialize in black and grey realism and neo traditional designs. I'm excited to see where tattooing will take me and am thankful for all the clients who have supported me and my work over the years.

Favorite movies: 

1. The Last Minute
2. Blade Runner
3. American Psycho

My favorite tattoo is the blue bird on my neck. It's for my father. His name is Jay, and my grandmother called him Jay-bird. 

One of my favorite tattoos I've done over the years has to be the Gladiator I tattoed on a body builders ribs. It was a cover up of an old tattoo that said "strength."

I like to think that I give off this bad boy tattoo artist vibe, but I'm a total nerd at heart. I build computers, and work on motorcycles. I tattoo, and the go home and watch Dragon Ball Z. It's a strange combination of rebel and geek.

B'z Ink is located at
 16550 21 Mile Road, Macomb MI. (Approximately 40 minutes north of Detroit)


5 Great Reel Artsy Romances

Cuddle up with some of cinema's best romantic films this Valentine's Day. Grab some champagne, chocolates, and enjoy... 

Before Sunrise

Richard Linklater crafted the perfect movie about the beauty of human connection. Through long walks, and interesting talks we fall in love with Jesse and Celine falling in love. 

Beyond The Lights

Watching Noni & Kaz take a trip to Mexico will melt your heart. Gina Prince-Bythewood gives us one of the best romantic dramas, ever. "I see you."

Like Crazy

Fools rush in, and we're okay with that. The trailer for Like Crazy is one of my all-time favorites, and the movie lives up to the hype. Like Crazy will tug on your heart-strings in the best possible way.

Blue Valentine 

Extreme cuteness paired with extreme heart break. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are at the top of their game. Who can forget that ukulele scene?

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind

Love is messy. Strange. Mystical. Sometimes love makes perfect sense, and sometimes it rips your heart out. Michel Gondry explores these themes in the most quirky and poignant way. 


Poster - Sunset Song

The title and poster appealed to me right away. Then I watched the trailer, and I knew that Sunset Song had the kind of cinematography I could fall in love with. 

The cinematography for Sunset Song looks gorgeous. Glorious! It's the kind of film that embraces the beauty of land, and nature. The first image in the trailer is stunning, and every new clip fills our eyes with beautiful images. 

Sunset Song is about "the daughter of a Scottish farmer who comes of age in the early 1900s." 

With a film this visually appealing I can only hope that it's full of substance and depth. 

Sunset Song hits theaters on May 13th.