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Spike Lee’s New Movie about Black Soldiers in Vietnam

Posted on May 24, 2020 at 9:55 pm

Spike Lee’s new movie is “Da 5 Bloods,” the story of black soldiers in the Vietnam War.

In an interview with Mark Leepson of VVA Veterans, Lee said that the movie was originally written with white characters. But when he was brought in to direct, he reworked it to focus on black soldiers, and he brought in experts to advise him and showed the film to black Vietnam veterans to get their feedback.

The veterans were not shy about telling Spike Lee what didn’t look right in the movie—and what did. And Lee took heed. “Those guys helped us,” he said. “I listened to them. They were there while I was in high school. They really, really helped us. And I knew that if they liked the film, then I had done my job. No way would I make a Vietnam War film and not let those guys look at it. They were there. Brothers died in their arms.

“I made the film for them,” he said. “I made the film for those guys who were 18 years old, boys who were trained to be killers and went overseas and never were the same. And they were the ones who were lucky; they came back. That was much of the justification for this film, that we had those four screenings for those vets and they loved it.”

That said, Lee said, “this film is not just for black Vietnam vets. There’s an adventure segment to this film that can be captivating, too. It’s not made exclusively for black Vietnam vets.”

Ten Years Later: The Finale of Lost

Posted on May 24, 2020 at 3:37 pm

No one knows Lost better than Jen Chaney, so there is no one better to look back on the finale, which disappointed many fans. It’s an unsovable problem; people who stuck with the show loved its ambiguity and puzzles. So, if the finale answered all the questions it would annoy fans. And if it didn’t, it would annoy them, too.For Vulture, Chaney writes:

Many people, myself included, appreciated the emotional way it wrapped up Lost’s story. If you go back and rewatch “The End” now, you may be surprised to learn you appreciate it too, especially if the one and only time you watched it was on the night of May 23, 2010.

I recently did that, and in connection with another story I’m writing, I convinced Lost showrunners and co-creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse to rewatch it as well. It was the first time either of them had seen “The End” since it first aired, and it brought back what Cuse described as “a jumble of emotions.” He recalled parts of the finale as though he had just done it yesterday, while other moments he had completely forgotten. “I was a little, kind of, out of time,” he said….

They were especially moved by the events that take place in the flash-sideways, where, one by one, each major character is suddenly awakened to memories of the island, often when someone who also had been there touches them. “I got emotional watching that stuff because it felt like the characters were in a Lost reunion show that they didn’t know they were in,” Lindelof said. “It was like The Truman Show. It was like, ‘Oh, Jack, you were actually on this show called Lost where you had all these adventures on an island.’”

Those moments, in which physical contact sparks recollection of a life left behind, got me choked up for a similar reason. I was watching the characters flash back to their island existences, while I also was flashing back to my experience years ago of watching them live on the island for six seasons. But I got choked up for another reason, too: Aren’t we, at this moment, also living a little out of time? In the third month of quarantining, when we can barely recall what it felt like to live normal, unrestrained, mask-free lives, those scenes packed a whole different punch. I imagine that when we’re allowed to hug our friends again, the flood of what pre-pandemic life felt like will come rushing back, the same way island life did for Locke, Kate, Sun, Jin, Sawyer, Juliet, and all of the rest. It hurts to think about that because we’re still not there yet.

“I felt that the thematic intentions of nobody doing it alone — you need them and they need you — a lot of the emotionality of the themes was very poignant in this particular moment, when we’re all separated from each other by a pandemic,” Cuse said.

Looper’s version:

Mashable on Lost:

ReFrame’s Stamp of Gender Equality and the Movies that Qualify

Posted on May 24, 2020 at 3:23 pm

Copyright 2018 Warner Brothers
You know how movies credits include an assurance that no animals were hurt in the making of the film? That is a certification that is independently verified and taken very seriously. If a bug is discovered in the studio, okay to kill it. If a bug is on screen, someone will be there to make sure it is alive and healthy when filming is over.

And now ReFrame has adopted that model to ensure that films are made with gender parity on and off screen. Watch for their new “stamp” in the credits, from “Bumblebee” to “Crazy Rich Asians” and “A Simple Favor,” Films already showing the stamp of gender equality are listed here.

Tonight on PBS: The National Memorial Day Concert

Posted on May 24, 2020 at 12:00 pm

There won’t be crowds on Capitol Hill, but the concert will go on this year, with Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise hosting a special presentation of PBS’ National Memorial Day Concert: America’s Night of Remembrance.