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Video: FourFiveSeconds – Rihanna, Kanye West And Paul McCartney


After dropping teasing hints about her new album for months and surprising the world by dropping a new single under her new own imprint, Westbury Road Entertainment, Rihanna has released the hotly anticipated music video for her collaboration with Sir Paul McCartney and Kanye West FourFiveSeconds.

Rihanna is known for her daring and risqué outfits as well as bold visuals which are often controversial but she offers none of that in this stripped down, black and white video to accompany the mostly acoustic song. Instead we are offered the jeans-clad trio earnestly crooning and playing to us in close ups and mostly solo shots in an unusual aspect ratio for most music videos with the occasional delightful frames of the entire trio. This is Rihanna giving us herself in a raw, emotional and unfiltered way that is in some ways reminiscent of what she gave us in Stay.

FourFiveSeconds is at No 4 on iTunes chart behind Missy Elliot’s Work It, which gained massive sales and airplay boosts thanks to a well received Super Bowl Half Time Performance. It also debuted at No 37 on the Billboard Pop Songs chart making Sir Paul the oldest act to chart here. It also currently sits on Billboards other charts at No. 19 on the Digital Songs, No 12 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No 54 on The Hot 100.

Watch it below:

Rihanna, McCartney and West will perform FourFiveSeconds at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards that will be held on February 8, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Topics Dystopian Films Won’t Touch – Entertainment – The Atlantic


By Imran Siddiquee

Since the release of The Hunger Games in 2012, dystopian cinema has enjoyed sustained interest in American culture. Popular young adult novels are being turned into blockbuster Hollywood films every few months, it seems, and with good reason: Beyond their built-in teen fan base, films like Divergent,The Giver, and The Maze Runner draw on some of adult society’s greatest fears of the moment: Is technology tearing us further apart? Will global warming destroy the planet? Will income inequality further create a world of haves and have-nots?

Critics have worried that these particular films stoke an irrational fear of technology, or a distaste for big government, but dystopian stories have long been celebrated (and used in classrooms across the country) because of their ability to push audiences to think critically about their actions.

Yet with the upcoming release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, poised to be the biggest film of the year, it’s just as worthwhile to consider what these films don’t seem to fear. While recent dystopias warn youth about over-reliance on computers, totalitarian rule, class warfare, pandemic panics and global warming, very few ask audiences to think deeply about sexism and racism.

Which is strange. If the United States were to truly transform into a totalitarian state, or suffer an environmental catastrophe, it’s safe to say society’s deepest divisions wouldn’t magically disappear overnight. These dystopian adaptations ask their young audiences to imagine that race and gender issues have been partially overcome in the future, while general human suffering has somehow increased. The results feel false, and undercut the films’ attempts to comment on the present day.

This is not to say that these movies don’t occasionally touch upon identity—both Divergent and The Hunger Games clearly have something to say about gender equity, and The Maze Runner gives boys of color some prominent roles. But none imagines a future in which racism and sexism are significant problems facing their protagonists.

For instance, in The Hunger Games films, there is diversity in the cast. District 11, the site of a brutal execution in the second film, is filled almost entirely with black inhabitants. But at the same time, the film implies that white characters like Katniss and Gale now make up the majority of the poorest district (12).

None of the primary characters seems affected by race or are racist. Instead, the film continues the old sci-fi tradition of imagining the subjugation of white people, essentially saying, “Things could get so bad that people who look like Liam Hemsworth are now at the bottom, too!”

Whenever Hollywood does get an opportunity to talk about race in one of these movies, it minimizes the subject. Characters of color like Beetee, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), who mentored Katniss, or Christina, Tris’s best friend in Divergent (played by Kravitz’s daughter Zoe), certainly play major roles in these stories, but their race is never at issue. You might say that this is an example of admirably “colorblind” filmmaking—were it not for the fact that the audience’s perspective is always that of a white protagonist.

To an extent, the diversity of characters depends on the source material, but producers typically have some leeway in casting decisions. Suzanne Collins, in her original novel, does not explicitly describe Katniss as Anglo-Saxon (she has “olive skin”), so it’s actually the filmmakers who make the decision to default to white. In fact, Collins intentionally leaves many lead characters in the novels racially ambiguous, creating a more integrated and nuanced world.

When the first Hunger Games film decided to cast black actors in the roles of Cinna and Rue, many fans of Collins’s book (who had imagined the characters differently despite the novel’s clear description of their “dark brown” skin color) were upset, but they still went to see the film in droves. In the sequel, Jeffrey Wright was cast as Beetee, who is in fact described as having “ashen” skin by Collins.

Similarly, the recent film adaptation of The Giver, based on Lois Lowry’s beloved dystopian young adult novel, hinges on the concept of “sameness,” as it imagines a future in which those in power have decided to erase the collective memory of humanity and “protect” people from their own emotions. The result is the creation of a bland and literally colorless community (the first section of the film is presented entirely in black and white). Yet rather than using this opportunity in part to further explore how “color” operates in the real world (namely, how race relates to power), the filmmakers barely touch the subject at all, in essence promoting the very “sameness” that Lowry feared.

It seems like at some point, Hollywood would get around to telling a different kind of story. There are more than a few alternative YA dystopian books for Hollywood to pick from—including epics like Octavia Butler’s novel Parable of the Sower, which explores social and environmental devastation from a more intersectional perspective. Parable of the Sower focuses on the life of 15-year-old Lauren Olamina as she tries to survive in a country devastated by global warming and poverty.

Her primary foe is a rapidly declining society, but like in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Lauren is also up against increasingly patriarchal institutions. In a world where corporations begin to own entire cities, it’s harder for people of color to find safe housing and jobs are especially scarce for women. While marriage itself offers few real benefits anymore, interracial marriage is still a potentially dangerous choice for some characters.

Butler simultaneously confronts a myriad of oppressions and portrays her black protagonist’s success as not only the result of determination, intelligence and bravery—but also her “hyperempathy” for others and an intense belief in the concept of “change.” As Lauren says in the novel:

Embrace diversity. Unite—or be divided, robbed, ruled, killed by those who see you as prey. Embrace diversity, or be destroyed.

This is how Butler weaves a variety of issues into her narrative, without zeroing in explicitly on any one of them. And though “hyperempathy” may seem a heavy concept, consider that the current crop of blockbusters do not hesitate to show kids killing one another in the name of capitalism, violently thwarting monsters to escape the maze of adolescence, and even murdering babies.

It seems then that youth could benefit from a more honest investigation of what a world of increased oppression might really look like, or at least a more resonant reflection of the world in which they already live.

This article available online at:
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/11/the-topics-dystopian-films-wont-touch/382509/

The Great Gatsby


Cover of "The Great Gatsby"

The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite books out of all the books I’ve studied for my BA in Literatures in English. It is a brilliant book about love, obsession and the American dream. I love the extended metaphors visual depths of the imagery and the characterisations. (If you’ve never read it before go find yourself a copy or click the cover to the left to buy one.)

So you can imagine how excited I am about the upcoming Baz Luhrmann directed film.  

 I have high hopes for it.

Now with a several of the songs from the soundtrack floating around the internet those hopes have jumped even higher because the soundtrack is quite brilly. 

Just check out the Jay-Z directed track listing below:

  • “100$ Bill” – Jay-Z
  • “Back To Black” – Beyoncé x Andre 3000
  • “Bang Bang” – will.i.am
  • “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” – Fergie + Q Tip + GoonRock
  • “Young And Beautiful” – Lana Del Rey
  • “Love Is The Drug” – Bryan Ferry with The Bryan Ferry Orchestra
  • “Over The Love” – Florence + The Machine
  • “Where The Wind Blows” – Coco O. of Quadron
  • Crazy in Love” – Emeli Sande and The Bryan Ferry Orchestra
  • “Together” – The xx
  • “Hearts A Mess” – Gotye
  • “Love Is Blindness” – Jack White
  • “Into the Past” – Nero
  • “Kill and Run” – Sia

And here’s a selection of the full length versions of some of the songs featured on the soundtrack:

Are you excited yet?

The Assclownification Of The MPAA


New Caribbean Cinema


Producer Michelle Serieux & Director/Producer Storm Saulter
Producer Michelle Serieux & Director/Producer Storm Saulter

By Khamal Murray

We all have our stories to tell, and one of the best mediums to spread the word is through Film. The Caribbean like most communities are constantly saturated with North American, Western and European images in their media. Not since the release of films such as Dance Hall Queen (Jamaica) has there been a significant impact on film and the film industry in the Caribbean. In recent years, Trinidad and Jamaica has produced notable Caribbean soap operas, but as you can imagine there is a greater need for artistry and dialogue through films and television to give voices to other stories.

New Caribbean Cinema (NCC) is a collaboration of 8 young Film Makers (two of which I met at an industry event) from throughout the Caribbean who, combine their talents, perspectives and artistry to help each other produce feature length films and other projects. The movement which touts a New Wave, New Style and New Directors is a much needed revolution for Caribbean film and media industry. NCC has gone beyond most collaborations by not depending and waiting on government funding but by pooling the resources and talents of its members to produce and direct shorts in an effort to create a final featured length film.

I met two of the Producers/Directors of NCC, Storm Saulter (Jamaica) and Michelle Serieux (St. Lucia) who spoke candidly about the film industry or lack there of in the Caribbean and advocated the need for support by the public. Both directors were enthusiastic about their venture and the crowd response at the reception to their trailers and shorts were equally encouraging.

Visit the site below, view the Trailers/Shorts and Support New Caribbean Cinema

http://www.newcaribbeancinema.com/

About Author: Khamal Murray is a major in Bioethics & Health Studies at the University of Toronto, a published journalist, as well as the Editor/Writer with TheJuxtapositionApe Blog and a contributor to online News Mag Alternavox  & Science Mag LifeofALabRat.

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