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Movie News Round-Up August 2015

Written By Cheryl Rock



Here is a round-up of film news we found circuling cyberspace that we thought you may wanna know about so do your thing and enjoy!


Fifty Shades of Black








Starring Marlon Wayans, Mike Epps & Jane Seymour. It is of course a tribute to the popular Fifty Shades of Grey. But Marlon, doesn’t want it to be called spoof. He tells Entertainment Weekly; “I don’t look at these movies like spoofs, as much as comedic remixes. I just approach it as its own original movie, with its own plot and its own characters, and just take them through a similar journey. I just find the jokes where the dramas didn’t.”

He also states; “Like Fifty Shades of Grey if Christian Grey was black and he was rich, but we don’t know exactly how he got his money, he’s a little shady, and he’s a really bad lover….?”

Filming at the moment, the release date is set to hit our screens January 2016.


Let’s be Cops 2?







Keeping it in the Wayans family, will Lets be Cops 2 be in production anytime soon? Well not according to Damon Wayans Jr. He states he won’t be involved, until real officers are held accountable. The first film grossed over $80 million in the box office. There has been talk of making a sequel. But Damon will have no part of it until something is done about police brutality in America.

In a radio interview with Sway in the Morning, a caller dialled in and asked if Damon was down for the sequel, he replied, “I don’t think we’ll make another ’til they stop smoking Black dudes. You know? Until they fix the police brutality. I personally don’t want to make another one because I feel like I would be betraying my people,”

The Hateful Eight

Never one to disappoint his loyal fans, the man behind “Pulp Fiction”, Quentin Tarantino has now unleashed the first trailer for “The Hateful Eight.” It is about bounty hunters trying to find shelter in a blizzard, in post-civil war, Wyoming.

The film is produced by the Weinstein Company, and the cast includes Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Lee. The so called blood spattered Western due date is December this year and January 2016 in the UK

Watch the trailer here:


The Perfect Guy

Leah Vaughn (Sanaa Lathan) appears to have the ideal life. Great career and loving long-time boyfriend Dave (Morris Chestnut). However Leah is now wanting to take it to the next level of marriage and family, and Dave isn’t so sure. He has concerns, and things lead to a painful break-up.

Enter Carter Duncan (Michael Ealy), a handsome, charming stranger whose path keeps crossing with Leah’s. Their relationship quickly progresses, and while it seems she has met the perfect guy. A dark personality begins to surface, and what started out as something amazing, soon sadistically goes very, very wrong. In order to escape, she will have to dig deep and find a way out. UK release date 20th November 2015.

Watch the trailer here:


Jack Reacher 2:








It is rumoured that Paramount are eager to keep Tom Cruise busy, especially after the box-office success of the latest instalment of the Mission Impossible franchise and want to start work on Jack Reacher 2. The original was a modest success at U.S box office. Possible female lead name is Cobie Smulders from Marvel’s The Avengers.

Based on the popular novels by Lee Child, its sequel is currently set for late 2016.


Independence Day: Resurgence








Due for release in June 2016, it stars Liam Hemsworth (Thor, Blackhat), Jeff Goldblum (The Fly, Jurassic Park) and once again Vivica Fox (Kill Bill II) & Bill Pullman along with Maika Munroe. With a few of the originals returning, a few eyebrows were raised when Mae Whitman, who portrayed the president’s daughter Patricia Whitmore, aged 8, in 1996’s Independence Day, was announced as not coming back to reprise her role in the sequel, instead Maika will be playing the part, twenty years on. And of course, Will Smith.

While it looks like he won’t be feature. The director Roland Emmerich admitted that the studio was actually developing two distinct versions of the script, one being prepped in case the actor decided to return, the other written just in case he said no.








Ghost fighting team are back, only this time it’s all women. Starring Kirsten Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, directed by Paul Feig.

Emma Stone turned down a role as she felt it was too much of a big commitment. While she felt the script was very funny, she decided that being part of another franchise would be too much right now.

The film is due to be released July 2016.

Top 5 Highest Grossing Female led Comedy Movies

Will Ghostbusters be a hit and make its mark as one of the highest grossing female led comedy movies. Below is the top 5, and well it will have to go some to beat what is number 1. However Having Melissa McCarthy featuring may just help it along its way.

  1. – Sex & City: $415.2 million (Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon,  2008)
  2. – My Big Fat Greek Wedding: $368.7 million (Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, 2002)
  3. – Bridesmaids: $288.4 million (Kirsten Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, 2011)
  4. – Spy: $233.1 million (Melissa McCarthy & Jude Law, 2015)
  5. – The Heat: $229.9 million (Starring Sandra Bullock & Melissa McCarthy, 2013)

(According to FemaleFirst.co.uk)

Star Chris Rock Complains About Racial Profiling

Written by Graeme Wood


Chris Rock can rightly be proud of the success of his latest movie ‘Top Five’, in which he stars as well as wrote and directed, the movie currently stands as grossing $25,317,291 in domestic box office alone and opens here in the UK this May.

Rock meanwhile has been posting ‘selfies’ to Instagram after being pulled over by police three times in the last two months. He has vowed to post more selfies every time he gets stopped in order to prove that he isn’t making this up and that he may be victim of racial profiling by LA Police. “Stopped by the cops again, wish me luck”, read the latest selfie posted over a week ago. The first incident of him being stopped took place in February

The Washington Post recently published a break down of police pull over statistics which concluded Rock4that African-American drivers are pulled over an estimated 23 percent more than white drivers, though Native American drivers are reportedly pulled over the most of all. Racial profiling has been a contentious issue for decades but Rock’s highlighting of it with his ‘selfie’ campaign signifies the age of digitally documented incidents.

The ‘100’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ actor Isaiah Washington responded on Twitter to Rock’s claims sharing his own encounters with police that had prompted him to sell his $90,000 Mercedes SUV in exchange for a Toyota Prius. The actor concluded that Rock should “#Adapt”, a suggestion which didn’t go down well with some of Washington’s followers and there followed an online backlash. The actor later appeared on ‘CNN Tonight’ to respond to criticisms and told CNN host Don Lemon; “There’s something happening in his community or wherever he is on that road or coming in and out of whatever that terrain, they’re looking for something. They’re policing something. And the timing, either good or bad, I think the timing for us to have this conversation it’s a good timing and bad timing for all of us. Because they’re looking for something. Obviously, they’re not looking for Chris Rock.”

“Obviously he hasn’t broken any laws. And what you drive shouldn’t matter…but if you are at war, which we all know that we are, there is a sentiment in the air that is highly toxic, highly negative,” he continued. “And what I was doing by that tweet was doing exactly what I wanted it to do, is excite a conversation that if we’re looking at this term ‘black’ and we’re looking at this term ‘driving while black’ maybe we really need to look at the term ‘black’ itself and start having a different kind of holistic conversation.” Washington then suggested that in going forward Rock should meet with his local police officials to take a stand against his recent run-ins with authorities.

Rock had this to say regarding ‘black progress’ in a recent New York Times interview; “When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.. So to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face” It’s not up to her, Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Tuner. Nothing, it just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.”

View the TOP FIVE trailer on kushfilms.com here:

Film Review: Chappie

Review by Graeme Wood



Neil Blomkamp brings us his third feature following the critically acclaimed audience favourite ‘District 9’ and the less successful Hollywood looking but soulless ‘Elysium’.

In a near future Johannesburg a robot police force are being deployed to clean up the gangster ruled streets of the city. The robots creator Deon Wilson dreams of taking the robots development further and introducing a consciousness, something his finance driven boss Michelle Bradley forbids. Taking matters into his own hands Deon steals a badly damaged robot in an attempt to upload his new software, plans go badly awry however when a criminal gang kidnap him and he is forced to adapt the robot in a plan to make it steal for them. Meanwhile, his rival for funding Vincent Moore, frustrated by the company’s refusal to further develop his altogether less subtle ‘Moose’ law enforcement robot programme, exploits the situation to his own ends.

It’s an intriguing scenario especially with the surrounding South African backdrop providing a different visual feel and the pacy narrative is never less than gripping. The essence of the film is that Chappie_FilmStillonce adapted with a consciousness Chappie, as the robot is named; will quickly develop into something more than human. It’s a familiar theme for movies this year having been explored in ‘Ex-Machina’ and the soon to arrive ‘Avengers-Age of Ultron’. ‘Chappie’ plays as more intelligent version of Robocop but there is also plenty of humour to be had in the scenes of Chappie’s childlike growth and his behaviour when copying the slang and attitudes of his gangsta ‘mother’ Yolandi and ‘father’ Ninja. Yet there is also a certain sadness that he is so easily led into acts of criminality, drawing some parallels with bad parenting skills perhaps. Yet the film never tips over into gimmicky or sentimental overplay, Blomkamp and co-writer Terri Tatchell ensure matters remain earthy, edgy and never more than a moment away from quite shocking violence.

What is remarkable is how easily we warm to Chappie itself, played using motion capture and voiced by District 9’s Sharlto Copley, the very metal looking robot mimics human body language well enough to covey its awkwardness and emotions with ease. As it develops you can see it moving from curious child through adolescence to gullible adult without it changing appearance accept for an amusing ‘street’ makeover complete with tattoos and bling. Even Chappie’s face somehow manages to convincingly emote while remaining nothing more than a small screen with moving parts and lights.

Visually there is little attempt to glamorise the city itself and it remains a bleak landscape with Blomkamp focusing on its more downtrodden areas. Like his two previous films it is worth noting that save for Dev Patel’s Deon Wilson almost all of the company employees and gangsters are played by Chappiefilm_kushfilms.comwhite actors. A few smaller roles within the police force only are played by black actors. Do Chappie and Deon, persecuted throughout; therefore represent something more than their characters? It’s hard to say as, despite there being plenty of opportunity for racial allegories; the writers do not appear especially interested in delving too deeply into the social aspects of matters. For example, no attempts are made to draw on why people would be so accepting of a robotic police force, though there is a religious sub-plot touched upon when Moore views Chappie’s self-awareness as a god-less abhorrence.

Some may struggle with the first act which is a little too hectic and packed with unlikeable criminals speaking in barely distinguishable South African slang. Oddly the cut I saw had subtitles for a character who was perfectly comprehensible but none for snatches of the Afrikaans dialogue.

Dev Patel is therefore our only identification figure, at least until Chappie is rebooted, and handles the role of benign father with likeability and charm, though any real scientists watching may be wincing at his work methods. Oddly the two least well drawn characters are played by the biggest Chappie_HughJackmannames. Sigourney Weaver gets to scowl a lot in her office but is sorely underused, while Hugh Jackman relishes his casting against type as antagonist Moore whose motivation, while explained becomes unbelievable as he resorts to increasingly melodramatic methods to prove his robot is every bit as good as Deon’s. If this is supposed to represent his inner clash between veteran soldier and the scientist he has become then it merely falls into Alpha Male territory.

Of the other cast both actors who play the robot’s surrogate parents, Ninja (yes that’s his actual name) and Yo-Landi Visser, who are part of a rap group in real life, bring a down to earth and very South African feel to things, Ninja is the least likeable and brings little warmth or presence to his mindless gangsta shtick, both feel ‘too white’ though to have cast black actors would have felt too stereotypical. There characters bear the same names and though shrill and unlikeable they have an interesting arc within the film. The bond they develop with Chappie seems to bring them together as a family unit to the point that both become heroic in the last act. This supports the development of Chappie and draws on the underlying theme of family. Not that it all ends in a cosy finale; after a number of high octane action sequences, delivered by Blomkamp in all their messy glory, the climax is even more visceral. The fact that you’re rooting for two criminals and a robot says much about the way the film draws you into this unusual, flawed but inventive story. There is a hasty epilogue about transferring human consciousness into robot bodies that makes little sense and leaves Chappie an ultimately flawed but very enjoyable film.


Film Review: Selma

Written by Leslie Bryon Pitt






















For me, Director Ava DuVernay’s best piece of direction comes from shooting her subject Martin Luther King Jnr (David Oyelowo) from the back in a simple close up. The low angle shots of King while he makes his speeches are also powerful and illustrate his effectiveness as a public speaker. Nevertheless the shots from the back are the moments which made my exceedingly short, tightly curled hair stand up on end. We’re witnessing what King faced, almost seeing it from his eyes. More importantly, we’re not only “behind him” as audience members, we’re figuratively behind him as a force. As King marches, the film captures such a community’s sense. We come as one.

DuVernay’s craft has been under the scope as of late, due to her lack of nomination in the Academy Awards for best director. It’s a shame, but I pay those trinkets little mind. Yes, it’s one of the whitest Oscars we’ve seen in a long time, but the nominations are a symptom and not the cause. If the Sony hack did anything, it highlighted how blacks are considered in terms of cultural currency in Hollywood. I’m not entirely sure Selma needs that. The best movies never usually win Oscar’s anyways. When watching Selma I felt sure, no matter what happens to the film in terms of awards, the film would be seen, enjoyed and examined by its audience. As a film, it’s strong enough to do that.

Selma chronicles the plight of Martin Luther King during one of the most pivotal moments of the civil rights movement, the campaign to secure equal rights for blacks. King plans to demonstrate with an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, through the heart of the rural south. Which, despite recent actions is a still a time of segregation and tremendous unrest. The film opens with King obtaining the Nobel Peace prize in Olso, but is contrasted with the tragic bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. This moment, which occurs suddenly during the opening moments pinpoints the peak of the violence and helps consolidate King reasons for the march.

The film delves deeper into the issues of such a troubled time. To illustrate the movements in time, we are treated to the FBI reports as they spied on King. We peak at heated dealings between King and the country’s president Lyndon Johnson (Tom Wilkinson). Both George Wallace (Tim Roth) and Malcom X (Nigel Thatch) appear and assume their positions. We witness the violence on the streets and the pressure in the offices and the weight bearing down on one man’s shoulders.

This is completely David Oyelowo’s film. His powerful display along with Paul Webb and Ava DuVernay’s thoughtful screenplay gives us a layered and mesmerising portrayal of King. Selma succeeds in a way that the likes of Lincoln (2012) does not. A man of faith but not saintly, King is portrayed as a flawed yet thoughtful man. Fierce in debate, but self-conscious about the path he wants his plans to take. Oyelowo infuses the films grand speeches with the power of a pastor, reminding us of just how strong King was as an orator. Some of Selma’s best scenes are when they show King as a man as opposed to the icon. Laughing and joking with his partners despite being in jail, sitting around dinner tables or on sofas while they shoot the breeze or plan the march. These moments illuminate Selma because as a film of this nature, it often feels that we do not see these images enough. Moments of black men looking and feeling real, as opposed to static figureheads or stereotypes. Oyelowo, who at one point saw this project hit the skids when it’s original director; Lee Daniels, quit the project, makes near every moment his time on screen count.

Selma is not perfect. From a narrative prospective, some of the dialogue feels flat, while the film starts to stroll during the later stages, losing some of the economy provided earlier on.


The film is also a great entry point into the history, but it’s not the history, with a broader scope of the surrounding elements being found in the likes of Spike Lee’s documentary 4 Little Girls (1997). If you’re not up with your knowledge, some characters will feel light until you’re informed fully of who they are during the final credits. One or two of the scenes feel a little trite and DuVernay’s decision to utilize modern hip-hop at the film’s end is understandable yet a jarring misstep.

Such stumbles, however, are mere scuffs on a shiny shoe. Elements which are easily forgiven with the power and emotion that DuVernay gives in other sequences. Moments such as the realisation of Kings Infidelity bring high volumes of tension. The film’s violence is not as explicit as 12 Years a Slave (2014), but the films period and its victims, remind us of just how recently these events occurred. The moment in which King must console the grieving father of Jimmie Lee Jackson is as sobering as it is heart-breaking.

Through all the furore of Ava not becoming the first black female director to be nominated, we’ve seemed to have forgotten the reason we watch films have never been about awards. Many complain about the awards season being a circle jerk, and yet every year we proclaim more outrage of the next perceived snub? Selma does what it needs to without the need for the trinkets and accompanying blurb. It’s smart filmmaking, which entertains, educates and illuminates. Try as hard as it might, the shine of a glittering statue should not blind us from this. In ten years’ time, I will be more likely to remember Selma and DuVernay’s filmmaking, then whoever wins an Academy Award. But if we really need the gleam of Oscar for some sort of material honour. We will wait to see who Selma inspires. Then, as quoted by King in the movie “We go again”.

Kushfilms.com review of Selma – a film we are proud to be marketing in the UK!

Film Review: Kingsman – The Secret Service

Written by: Christine Eccelston-Craig



“Do you like spy movies?”

Well, do you? If you’re not a huge fan of the classic spy movies such as James Bond 007 or From Russia With Love, I can guarantee that you’ll still enjoy this new take on spy movies starring Colin Firth, Michael Caine and of course Samuel L. Jackson. Kingsman: The Secret Service is based on a comic book written by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons and is portrayed as a comedy spoof of old classic spy movies . Wearing classy suits and based in a tailor shop in Savile Row, the Kingsmen are an immaculate secret society of “modern day Knights” led by the one and only Michael Caine.

“I have a hard time understanding you people, ya’ll talk so funny”

Now without giving away too much of the plot let’s take a quick look at Colin Firth’s character. I have to say, this is one of most enjoyable roles I’ve seen him in, I really loved watching him in action, from his suave and composed fighting skills (stunt double no doubt), to his even more conservative interrogation techniques. His mannerisms and attitude in this particular movie is absolutely memorizing, I don’t even think ‘Bond’ is that smooth! Compared to previous movies Mr Firth has been in such as Nanny McPhee or even Mamma Mia, this has to be his best role. He seriously put the bad in badass, this character suited him perfectly! Now, when it comes to his trusty sidekick Eggsy (Taron Egerton), who pretty much starts out as a troublesome delinquent, I found the stereotypes a bit overpowering.

However Taron did this character justice, from his youthful tone and slang words, to his body language which said “I don’t give a f***.” You can see where director Matthew Vaughn was going with his attempt to bring two opposite characters from two different worlds together to show that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how old you are, people of all types can still work together to overcome the looming shadow of evil.

Vaughn also directed both Kick-Ass and X-Men First Class, so within this movie you can almost notice the superhero element. Everything within this movie seems over the top and definitely out of tkingsman-secret-servicehe ordinary; even therefore unrealistic. But still watching it, you are taken in and start believing in this fantasy world, you even become part of it (that would be your imagination kicking in then). In addition, compared to other recent action-adventure spy movies such as Stormbreaker or Spy Kids where the comedy and production were a little more suitable for younger viewers, it’s important to remember that this movie is not at all like those other spy movies. Aside from the conventional plot of trying to take down a villain, this specific movie fuses comedy, violence and cheesy yet awkward one-liners together to produce this delightful adaptation of the spy film genre.

“I can’t stand the sight of blood, if I see it, that’s me done”

Let’s talk villains. After starting out in the 1980’s playing drug abusing convicts, Samuel L Jackson plays the billionaire villain who looks like he is going through a mid-life crisis. I can’t quite make out if Jackson_kingsman_SecretServicethat’s a turn for the worst or not, but every time he was in a scene there was nothing but laughter filling the room. His speech was like a 5 year old with missing front teeth and his clothing, well how do I even describe it? He looked like a cross between 1990’s youth rap duo Kris Kross and present day pop troublemaker Justin Bieber. That alone will have you amused and with his flexible right hand woman Gazelle (Sofia Boutella) whom, might I add has swords attached to her legs to literally slice her opponents with, the terrible two devise a plan to “save the world.”

Now this isn’t just any old plan, this is a plan that will cause world havoc; and unleashed so it does.

The film contains very graphic fighting scenes filled with blood and very enthralling and what can be best described as sharp cutting sound effects, it was quite unsettling and definitely has the intention of making you cringe (well us ladies anyway!). I can imagine watching this on IMAX in 3D, unfortunately press screenings don’t afford me that luxury. I had trouble erasing some of graphic images from my mind after. However despite all the dramatic noises of slashing knives and breaking bones, I’m sure you’ll find the fighting scenes just as exciting as I did. This film was nothing but pure, non- filtered comedy much of the time; with that been said I would absolutely recommend you go watch Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Kushfilms.com readers who like action-adventure spy movies won’t be disappointed!

SELMA: A Pictorial Tribute to DR. Martin Luther King Jnr



Kushfilms.com is commemorating the great man Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr and the new film SELMA directed by Ava DuVernay and starring British-Nigerian actor David Oyelowo of which Kush Promotions our Marketing/PR company side of business is working on; details MLK’s leadership and involvement in the 1965 march to the US southern town on Selma we are pleased to feature this article which first appeared online as a Huffington Post-Black Voices feature.

MLK DAY: 19th January is celebrated annually in the United States of America
Article courtesy of The Huffington Post
Written By Lilly Workneh

We all know Martin Luther King, Jr. to be among the world’s greatest educators, freedom fighters, orators, leaders and truth seekers — but his four children knew of many more loving layers to a man who had already earned a pretty high pedestal in society.

Despite all the great accolades Dr. King achieved throughout his short-lived life, there was perhaps one role that held prominence over most and that was being a father to his beloved children.

Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, welcomed four kids (Dexter, Bernice, Yolanda and Martin Luther King III) — all of whom were once pint-sized toddlers who admired their father for reasons too many to list. Decades after his death, their admiration has not dwindled.

On a day commemorating Dr. King (Monday 19th January annually) and celebrating his legacy, we invite you to a series of photos that show a rarely pictured and uplifting – but not any less authentic — side to Dr. King during his days in Montgomery, Alabama.



After Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is freed from jail under a $2000 appeal bond, he is greeted by his wife Coretta and children, Marty and Yoki, at the airport in Chamblee, Georgia on October 27, 1960.



Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images











Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home with his family in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama.


Flip Schulke/Corbis





















Martin Luther King Jr. and his family eat their Sunday dinner after church on November 8, 1964.



Flip Schulke/Corbis











Martin Luther King Jr. serves pieces of chicken to his young sons Marty and Dexter at Sunday dinner on November 8, 1964.


Flip Schulke/Corbis











Martin Luther King Jr. holds his young son Dexter on his lap at home in Atlanta, November 8, 1960.



Flip Schulke/Corbis











Martin Luther King Jr. and his family eat their Sunday dinner after church on November 8, 1964.



Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images


















Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home with his family in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama.



Flip Schulke/Corbis











Martin Luther King Jr. pushes his young son Dexter on a swing set in their backyard, November 1960.



Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Image











Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home with his family in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama.




Hollywood Hates Chris?

Written by: Graeme Wood


chris-rock2Comedian Chris Rock has never been shy of controversy and his recent appearances have certainly proved it, during an interview on the Late Show this month he brought up choke holds and did a ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ gesture when fellow guest Sting appeared, quipping that he was afraid of ‘the Police’.

He then chipped in with the WWE have better standards than the NYPD because of their ban on choke holds before adding ‘no better way to calm down angry Black people than British royalty!”, referring to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s timely visit to New York.

The comedian was being interviewed to promote his new movie Top Five but has also been making headlines following his thoughtful essay printed in December’s Hollywood Reporter. In the essay"Top Five" New York Premiere Rock looks back on his career within Hollywood, the future of the industry and comments on L.A.’s race problems.

Rock recalls how he was invited into the movie Beverly Hill Cop II by Eddie Murphy after Murphy had seen his stand-up routine. Rock went onto to stress how he had attempted to pay it back “I try to help young black guys coming up because those people took chances on me. Eddie didn’t have to put me in Beverly Hills Cop!

Keenen Ivory Wayans didn’t have to put me in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. I’d do the same for a young white guy, but here’s the difference; someone’s gonna help the white guy. Multiple people will. The people whom I’ve tried to help, I’m not sure anybody was going to help them.” Rock mentions how he recommended Saturday Night Lives’ Leslie Jones to several big name managers before SNL’s Lorne Michael brought her onto the show.

“It’s a white industry,” Rock wrote. “Just as the NBA is a black industry. I’m not even saying it’s a bad thing. It just is”. In what reads as a thoughtful, critical deconstruction on the Hollywood system Rock gives his views on how difficult it can be for Black actresses to break into the industry and springs to the defence of Mexicans living in L.A.;

“Forget whether Hollywood is black enough. A better question is; Is Hollywood Mexican enough? You’re in L.A. you’ve got to try not to hire Mexicans. It’s the most liberal town in the world, and there’s Rock2a part of it that’s kind of racist – not racist like “F—you, nigger” racist, but just an acceptance that there’s a slave state in L.A. There’s this acceptance that Mexicans are gong to take care of white people in L.A. that doesn’t exist anywhere else. You’re telling me no Mexicans are qualified to do anything at a studio? Really? Nothing but mop up? What are the odds that’s true?”

Rock however, was optimistic for the industry’s future; “there are black guys who are making it: Whatever Kevin Hart wants to do right now, he can do; I think Chiwetel Ejiofor is a really respected actor who is getting a lot of great shots just because he’s really good; if Steve McQueen wants to direct a Marvel movie, they would salivate to get him. Change just takes time”.

Rock’s assertion that Hollywood is a white industry could be seen as a provocative but correct conclusion given that Black films account for a tiny fraction of the big studio’s output. Budgets tend to be small, and distribution is limited largely to domestic theatres.

There is room for debate however as a Bloomberg Businessweek report recently concluded that in each year between 1990 to 2009, at least five African-American films were among the 100 biggest moneymakers in the US and Canada. Comedy remains an important genre at the Black box office with December alone showing seven African-American films ranked among the top 100 so far this year grossing nearly a quarter-billion dollars in the domestic market. According to a report from the Motion Picture Association of America, the demand for African-American film makes financial sense, drawing support from increasingly diverse audiences as well as the sizeable proportion of African-Americans in the U.S. movie-going population. Blacks account for about 13 percent of the domestic film audiences, and the average black person sees about four films in theatres a year.

But Rock asserts; “I really don’t think there’s any difference between what black audiences find funny and what white audiences find funny but everyone likes to see themselves on-screen, so there are some instances where there’s a black audience laughing at something that a white audience wouldn’t laugh at because a black audience is really just happy to see itself”. “Now, not only are black movies making money, they’re expected to make money – and they’re expected to make money on the same scale as everything else.”

Rock’s movie Top Five which he wrote and directed was made outside of the big ‘studio system’ because, Rock says, of how the industry views ‘Black movies’. The film co-stars Rosario Dawson, top fiveKevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, Cedric the Entertainer, Gabrielle Union and Tracy Morgan. Rock plays Andre Allen, a famous comedic actor trying in vain to create interest in his new film, “Uprize”, an earnest, misbegotten epic about the Haitian Revolution. The film digs under the surface of show business, politics, rap and the exigencies of being black and famous in today’s world. The movie opened in the US in December to rave reviews and comparisons with Woody Allen’s best work.

“Top Five” arose from a quiet beginning, Rock didn’t tell many people he was writing it and he shot it independent of any studio, while the cast was augmented by comedians he considers to be friends. The movie had its première at the Toronto International Film Festival last September where it inspired a standing ovation and an auction for the distribution rights which were won by Paramount for a reported 12 ½ million dollars!

The film is due to open in the UK in March 2015 and we are currently talking to the distributor; so hopefully Kush Promotions will be working on the PR/Marketing campaign for the film.

Stay tuned to www.kushfilms.com for further news.

Read Chris Rock’s full essay on the state of Hollywood in the Hollywood Reporter here; http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/top-five-filmmaker-chris-rock-753223

Read Entertainment Weekly’s Review of Top Five here;

The whitewashed cast of ‘Exodus’ is irresponsible — Another 2014 Movie Once Again Changing History


We at Kushfilms.com have been just so annoyed and once again disappointed with Hollywood with their racists discriminatory filmmaking  and in the case of the film ‘Exodus’ the director Ridley Scott and sadly Christian Bale (one of our favourite British actors); that we really didn’t want to give this film any type of exposure at all – Nada – absolutely nothing!

We do also realise the danger of continuing to let Hollywood make these type of films as they have done since the creation of Hollywood without there been a wave of negative feedback and a call to not support box office sales of racists misleading history changing film-crap like Exodus.

But after already speaking out about films like; Noah & Lucy all made this year in 2014, which also blots out the African genesis of mankind from genuine world history, we just felt we shouldn’t give Exodus any type of exposure at all, hoping it will in a counter-intuitive manner help the film to attract low box office sales.

Sadly with all that has been happening recently; Sony Pictures executives personal emails exposed, their producers slagging off black stars like Kevin Hart and doubting the international box-office appeal of Denzil Washington, the lack of diversity here in the UK and the US in both television and film, black films and actors not been given fair opportunity to shine as with the recent UK semi-partial bogus release of the British urban film Montana and not to mention the ever increasingly worrying racial separation currently happening in the United States facilitated by the deaths of numerous young black men and now two New York police officers in a supposed revenge killing.

I have to wonder if there is some kind of agenda by forces unseen to undermine and in some cases to exterminate globally the progress of black people – Yes now in 2014!
Marlon Palmer (Director)
Kush Films


Taken from Mashable.com
Written by Yohana Desta

We just love this straight-talking professional article on the film Exodus written by Yohana Desta of mashable.com that we just had to reprint it here for you our readers.

Please feel free to give us some feedback – send comments to: info@kushfilms.com

What a shame — Exodus: Gods and Kings could have been epic.


Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver, the new Ridley Scott film has already garnered controversy for casting white actors as ancient Egyptians. Some have called for a boycott, but the Academy Award-nominated director has kept fairly quiet on the criticism — until a recent interview with Variety.

Scott explained:
“I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such,” Scott says. “I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.”

There’s a lot to unpack, but it’s worth noting that Scott’s position is not entirely without merit — filmmakers, even those working with major studios, have an incredibly difficult time funding movies. As the industry becomes more reliant on revenue from foreign countries, where top stars are still a critical draw, you need big names on the marquee to get a green light. Period.

However, that doesn’t excuse films from making the same irresponsible casting decisions over and over. While movies are still an art form, filmmakers are increasingly held accountable for working within a system that egregiously ignores minorities. Half of all contemporary films still fail the Bechdel test, despite its growing influence as a measure of gender bias. Ironically, studies show that films with a more diverse cast earn more revenue.

Sure, Exodus is just a movie — but its message surfaces social issues that do more harm than good.

As someone who has seen this film, I can attest to its aggravatingly backward casting. Not only is the main cast aggressively whitewashed, but the decision to degrade actors with dark skin was an utter distraction. Scott’s need to get a movie star may become the film’s own Achilles heel.

What Ridley Scott gets wrong.


Christian Bale, Ridley Scott and Joel Edgerton – Image: Andy Kropa /Invision/AP/Associated Press

An expensive film has to recoup its budget and race to the top of the box office. Exodus: Gods and Kings is an expensive movie. With an estimated $140 million budget, it makes sense why Scott feels pressure to deliver on the film’s promise. However, that is where all forgiveness of Scott’s racist Biblical epic ends.

The uproar against this film has been dragging on for months on end, initially because of the film’s cast list. The movie stars carrying this film — Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton (if he can be called a “star” yet), Sigourney Weaver and Aaron Paul — are all white, as are most of the male supporting cast with speaking roles (save for Ben Kingsley, who is half-Indian).

In contrast, aside from Weaver, most of the main actresses with speaking roles — Hiam Abbass, Maria Valverde, Golshifteh Farahani and Indira Varma, mainly — are non-white, which might be the film’s only saving grace in terms of racial casting. But let’s go back to Scott’s Variety quote.

His reasoning deliberately places the blame elsewhere, as though it’s completely out of his hands. In the grand scheme of things, what he’s doing in this film is not different from many other Hollywood films — one need only go back as far as Noah to find a jarringly all-white cast in a biblical epic. Exodus carries on the grand tradition of white actors playing…well, everything. Native Americans. Asians. Other Ancient Egyptian people. However, tradition does not make this film’s actions inexcusable.

Now, this may be the point where you ask: But isn’t the exact skin color of the ancient Egyptians up for debate anyway? Thanks to the Nile River, ancient Egypt was a blend of many outside cultures. However, as Penn State University anthropology professor Nina Jablonski pointed out, it is safe to surmise that they likely had tan skin, as depicted in ancient artwork of Egyptian royalty.

Egyptian art
Jablonski also wrote in her book Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color: “In ancient Egypt as a whole, people were not designated by color terms, and slavery was not associated with darker skin.”

If you couldn’t tell from my author photo, I’m a dark-skinned black woman. And if you couldn’t tell from my name, I’m of East African descent. When I watched Exodus: Gods and Kings in an early press screening,

joel_ramsesI saw things a little differently than the 18-35-year-old white men Scott’s film is no doubt trying to reach.

When the initial casting for the film ignited uproar, it was because dark-skinned actors were cast as servants, soldiers, assassins — you get the idea. Going into this film, I remained open-minded — perhaps Scott had been unfairly vilified in the film’s early reports. Instead, I was slapped in the face with racist imagery.

— Jaime (@jaimichnew) December 5, 2014

Within the first few minutes of the film, two black actors are shown, but they’re merely servants to the high priestess (played by Varma). The next few times you see dark-skinned people, it’s essentially the same — they’re the ever-present bodyguards of Ramses, the wicked assassin sent to kill Moses. They’re servants who flit in and out of rooms. Dark-skinned people in this film are treated like furniture, scattered in the background like props. They are mute (I can count on one hand how many times a dark-skinned actor speaks, and that’s being generous). It’s a visual representation of the statistic that only 25.9% of speaking characters in 600 films from 2007-2010 and 2012-2013 were minorities. And this is a movie set in Africa. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this film’s imagery — and let’s be clear, this is a popcorn flick for your eyes, not your brain — is that it may as well have been set in the Antebellum South. The brutally callous way with which black actors are relegated wordlessly to the background and white actors in the foreground was incredibly uncomfortable and so distracting I was aghast Scott got away with it. Once I noticed the disturbing trend, I decided to tally in my notebook how many times I saw a prominently featured dark-skinned actor stand in a scene without speaking. By the end of the film, I had 40 marks in my notebook. That’s 40 opportunities to give a black actor a voice. Forty chances to let a dark-skinned person rise above the subservient role he or she has been given. Forty times Scott did not realize how gruesomely ignorant his film had become.

What should have happened.

Christian Bale in a scene from 'Exodus: Gods and Kings.'

Christian Bale in a scene from ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.’

Dark-skinned people in this film are treated like furniture, scattered in the background like props.



In a recent interview, Christian Bale defended Scott’s casting choices, spinning them as opportunities to spotlight lesser-known minority actors. “…We should all look at ourselves and say, ‘Are we supporting wonderful actors in films by North African and Middle Eastern film-makers and actors?’ Because there are some fantastic actors out there,” he says. “If people start supporting those films more and more, then financiers in the market will follow…To me, that would be a day of celebration.” Bale’s comments are the closest thing to a mea culpa offended viewers are going to get. In the same interview;

Scott told the film’s boycotters to “Get a life.”

Bale has a great point — films from those regions deserve attention. However, the Hollywood system, in which Bale is an active participant, largely ignores minorities. A 2011 UCLA study showed that only 10.5% of films starred minorities. Therein lies another problem. There are minority actors who could carry Exodus. If Scott was so determined to secure Bale, fine — but why horribly whitewash the rest? Revered actors like Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor or Djimon Hounsou all possess at least as much gravitas and popularity as Edgerton. An actress like Angela Bassett or Viola Davis could have have tackled Weaver’s surprisingly small role with gusto. (Weaver may be Scott’s golden girl, but her presence was one of the most distracting of all.)

Sigourney Weaver in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings.'

Sigourney Weaver in ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.’

Scott’s movie star tactics also haven’t helped reviews. Exodus currently holds a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its real star is the special effects. That $140 million budget was put to good use, particularly with well-orchestrated battle scenes and visually stunning plagues of, well, Biblical proportions. For that reason alone, millions of people will see this film. However, tracking indicates it might make around $29 million opening weekend, which is enough to secure a top spot, but shaky for a film with that kind of budget. Global audiences might eat up its massive scale, and see it because it carries the name of the director who brought us Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator. And yet, I am not entertained.

Aside from Bale, Edgerton also spoke about the film’s casting controversy in an interview with IGN. Though he admits to not keeping up with all the criticism, he wants people to get the film’s true message: “It has one of the most important resonant messages that we really face as a human race, which is: On an ethical standpoint the ideal is that we treat each other with equality, as this story shows the struggle that ensues when one race subjugates another.

” How ironic that this film stands for just the opposite.

Chadwick Boseman Rising Star

By Leslie Byron Pitt



Chadwick Boseman already has two iconic African-American parts under his belt and with his upcoming role as Black Panther in the upcoming Marvel features; Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther, Boseman looks set to become one of his generations top African-American leading men.

The talented Boseman was born in 1977, in Anderson, South Carolina to Nurse Carolyn, and furniture businessman Leroy Boseman. A graduate of T.L Hanna High School in 1995, Boseman later graduated from Howard University in Washington D.C with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in directing, before attending the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.

Before embarking on a television career, Boseman worked as a stage actor, performing in a number of stage productions as well as writing and directing his own work. One of his most notable stage roles is the 2002 play Urban Transitions: Loose Blossoms. Written by Ron Milner, Urban Transitions is an edgy drama in which the fast and loose income from drug running, slowly inflects a newly suburban African American family. His performance earned him an award from AUDELCO, a committee which strives to stimulate interest and support in performing arts within black communities. From a writing point of view, his most notable work, was his third play, Deep Azure, a hip-hop theatre production, in which a black, anorexic woman’s fiancé is shot by a black police officer. The play, which is loosely based on an actual shooting was nominated for a Jeff Award in 2006.

It was 2003 in which Boseman gained his break on television with a variety of TV episodes, including Third Watch, ER and Law and Order. Around this time, as well as starring film shorts, Boseman made sure to keep hold of his behind the scene passions. He wrote and directed the 18 minute short Blood over a Broken Pawn (2008), which deals with a traumatized coffee shop owner stumbling into a dangerous situation with a chess master after an altercation with an innocent child.

From 2008 Boseman found himself in more prominent roles, including considerable appearances in the taut mini-series Persons Unknown, created by Usual Suspects writer Christopher McQuarrie, and Drama series Lincoln Heights, in which he plays injured Iraq War veteran, Nate. The shadow of war also followed Boseman in a leading role as a troubled veteran alongside Troy Kittles (Olympus has Fallen) in 2012’s The Kill Hole. During this time, Boseman found himself in episodes of hit shows such as Fringe, Justified and Castle.

In 2013 Boseman made the jump into movies, performing as one of Baseball’s most famous stars; Jackie Robinson, in the biographical feature 42. The film, written by Academy Award winner; Brian chadwickbosemanHelgeland became the best premiere for a Baseball film in Hollywood History with a $27.3 million opening weekend. Despite only being released theatrically in the U.S and Canada, the film grossed a total of $95 Million and surpassed its $40 Million budget. 42 has been well received by audiences and critics alike, with Boseman’s performance has the stoic, yet heroic Robinson garnered high praise. 42 gained high praise when it was endorsed by the first lady, Michelle Obama at a screening and film workshop, which Boseman also took part in, at the White House. Mrs Obama was quoted to have said that “We believe everybody needs to see this movie.” the kind of praise that many hope more black movies will achieve in the future.

In 2014 Boseman has turned that praise into Oscar Buzz with his most electrifying performance to date. Get On Up; the celebratory biopic of James Brown, has had nothing but superlatives placed on the 37 year old’s performance as Brown. John Patterson (Guardian) described the display as chadwick-boseman-as-james-brown“volcanic”, while Tim Robey (Daily Telegraph) states that the performance holds a “wicked attitude”. In my own review of the film for kushfilms.com: I considered Boseman’s poise and understanding of Brown as a persona is just too strong to ignore. It’s a performance is so powerful that you can see the cast running off the energy it creates.

In an article for the Guardian, it had been stated that there was pressure on the director; Tate Taylor, to place a rapper in the main role. Such a cynical commercial ploy was quickly nixed by Taylor, who could only see Boseman in the part, based on a hunch. Boseman himself considered the role to be too big a role for an up and coming actor, and almost dismissed it based on the fact he had just played Jackie Robinson. To find out that after accepting the role, Bosemon had only 6 weeks to learn the various moves of Brown before principal photography, only makes the performance even more impressive.

The part of Brown has generated a healthy amount of Oscar buzz for the young actor, but it’s his next role, that should help take him into the upper echelons of Hollywood’s movers and shakers. It has been recently announced in October, that Boseman has signed a five movie deal with Marvel to chadwick_boseman_black_pantplay Black Panther in his own feature film, and including a supporting role in Captain America 3: Civil War. The role marks a significant movement for the Marvel studio diversifying their movies towards other markets. Comic fans may know more about Panther than many of the laymen who paid their money to see The Avengers, but many felt the same about Ironman in 2008. Boseman has shown the ability to take a larger than life character and ran with it and the match-up could be a landmark point in the current successful comic book cycle.

The future does indeed look radiant with this handsome, young talent. Boseman’s upcoming prospects may allow him not only climb the Hollywood mountain as an actor, but possibly allow him to propose further projects with his name at the writing/directional helm. While such a statement can currently only be raised as an assumption, I must admit that the future of African American Film is sparkling a little brighter.

Film Review: Interstellar


Written by: Graeme Wood


There’s more than one anomaly in Christopher Nolan’s ambitious space epic and it’s not the black hole that sits at the centre of the plot. Rather it’s the sheer scale of the idea and the way the co-writer/director has approached it. There is a potentially great movie sitting somewhere in theChristopher_Nolan almost three hours run time that Nolan delivers, however what we get is an oddly paced mix of interpretative science, parent angst and science fiction pulp that tends to overwhelm the viewer and sadly lacks clarity.

Former pilot (though it’s never made specific what he actually flew) Cooper lives on a corn growing farm, one of the few jobs left in a world drained of resources in a unspecified future time. Avoiding the words ‘climate change’ (The Guardian suggests such a description might offend American audiences) the drought, blight and increasing population growth are a clear analogy of where we interstellar_still3could be heading. However a secret NASA outpost is developing a last ditch attempt to colonise planets in another galaxy and within minutes of Cooper turning up on their doorstep they enlist him to fly the spaceship they’ve barely finished building. The plot relies on a sequence of coincidence, leaps of logic and unanswered questions that you hope will find resolution even as the questions mount up. Nolan’s films always develop over the entire run time and you accept what you see as you embark on a journey that sometimes seems as long as the two years duration depicted and that answers will eventually be forthcoming.

The first 45 minutes or so are excellent, Matthew McConaughey totally convinces in the role of Cooper, his everyman outlook a perfect fit and there are some naturalistic family scenes involving the always good John Lithgow as his father and Mackenzie Foy as the intelligent but clingy daughter Murph. The narrative suggests – as did the initial trailers – a tribute to the spirit of exploration that fired the world in the 1960s. A promising thread is established that schools have exercised the Apollo missions and lunar landings from their curriculum to focus on issues closer to the lives of ordinary people (a nice sequence but totally wasting the talents of David Oyelowo). It might have been a better film had they pursued this route and remained earthbound throughout. Imagine the intelligent drama that could be created from Cooper’s quest to reinstate the belief and zeal of exploration into a depressed nation. The Earth scenes never totally convince though as we are shown none of the global impact you would expect from this scenario, all we see are the corn farms and dust bowls of a depressed America.

An unlikely group of astronauts instead set off to journey through the black hole, a journey that is realised well with Nolan’s usual flair for in-camera effects, no matter how bad the science may be (or not, how would most of us know?). We’re soon immersed in a world of cryogenics, mathematics, interstellar_still6robots, thrusters and boosters. If it wasn’t for the light touches to the script which hone McConaughey’s ability to say anything convincingly and a sarcastic robot this would be quite a dull segment. Of the other crew members Anne Hathaway makes an unlikely addition as scientist/explorer/love interest Brand and we learn little about her character which might endear her to the audience. David Gyasi gives a convincing turn as scientist Romilly, particularly in the scenes where he is shown to have aged and you wish the character could have had more screen time. Wes Bentley as Doyle completes the crew but is so quickly dispatched that you hardly notice him. Back on Earth Jessica Chastain plays the older Murph well enough to make you believe she is the same person (though you wonder how her genius could have gone unnoticed) and there’s a strong turn from Michael Caine as NASA boffin Professor Brand.

While the space and black hole visuals impress on the IMAX screen for which they were designed homage’s’ to 2001 and Gravity amongst others mean it is little we haven’t seen before. Matters pick up when we land on the first of the alien worlds leading to one of the film’s best and exciting scenes in which an approaching tidal wave creates bags of tension. There are a few of these scenes punctuating the second half notably a shock moment, as the crew race back to their space station that outdoes Gravity. The crew’s emotions are explored via video messages from their family who are ageing in decades while the crew age in years, one scene involving McConaughey again is particularly poignant yet the script offers no real insight into how the explorers interact with each other. The crew’s human emotions are too often replaced by technical jargon and talk of theinterstellar_still8 ‘mission’. Just when you think the film ought to be turning a corner towards resolution along comes Matt Damon as the deranged scientist from one of the previous missions. Damon carries off the role well enough but the questions piling up become critical here as his Dr Mann sub-plot is filled with too many plot contrivances, flaws and unlikely logic. His motivations seem out of place in a hugely exciting segment as he tries to kill Cooper and leave the others behind. You’re then left incredulous as Cooper improbably manages to pull everything together in time and provide rescue for a last ditch attempt at survival.

There are moments when the clarity of dialogue is lost amongst an almost screeching sound score by Hans Zimmer but Nolan has defend this decision to drown scenes with sound telling the Hollywood Reporter; ‘Many of the filmmakers I’ve admired over the years have used sound in bold and adventurous ways. I don’t agree with the idea that you can only achieve clarity through dialogue. Clarity of story, clarity of emotions – I try to achieve that in a very layered way using all the different things at my disposal – picture and sound”.

By the time we near the conclusion the viewer will have already worked out the circular nature of the plot and there are no surprises only a slight disbelief at the Twilight Zone nature of the scenario. interstellar_still9You’re ready to scream along with Cooper towards the end as he miraculously survives to see mankind embark on its future among the stars. And then an even more unlikely scenario seems tagged onto the end as Cooper leaves it all behind to fly to an uncertain destination in the hope that the woman he lost and barely knows is waiting for him.

Interstellar is not a film to see if you’re after any insight into the issues it raises because the narrative relies on techno waffle or unbelievable human feats. Apparently the science is untenable but more importantly the story cannot convince despite some stand out cinematic moments. On the other hand if you just want to go for the roller-coaster ride and some hugely exciting sequences then you’ll likely enjoy it. ‘Flawed epic’ seems to be the most obvious description that one can apply to this film and it’s the one I’ll settle for too.

Watch the trailer in kushfilms.com New Release section Here