Urbanworld Vibe Film Festival (June 21st- June 24th, 2007)
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**Please check back for more review very soon**
Banished-Directed by Marco Williams. This intriguing and informative film documents the consequences of three communities that banished African Americans from their homes back in 1901. In both a moral and ethical sense, those whose property were taken from their family because of racism in the early 20th Century ought to get it back or at least to get some monetary compensation. Director Marco Williams comes across the legal term of ďadverse possessionĒ which means that the property belongs to the owner who has lived there for a long period of time even if he/she has stolen it. Itís quite intriguing and moving when an African American tries to dig up an unmarked grave to find evidence of his great-grandfatherís remains. Within that town and others, Williams finds racism when he meets the townspeople who have no shame admitting that they chose to live there because itís an all-white town. Number of times I checked my watch: 0. Entertainment Value: High. Spiritual Value: High. Opens October 10th, 2007 at the Film Forum.
*Opening Night Film* Blackout- Directed by Jerry Lamothe. The blackout during the summer 2003 affects the lives of residents in Brooklynís East Village. Itís difficult to be engaged by the thin narrative and poorly developed characters, such as Claudine (Zoe Saldana) and James (Sean Blakemore). The underrated Jeffrey Wright has so few scenes that it's more like a cameo. Writer/director Jerry Lamothe fails to bring any of the scenes to life and includes a very contrived drama involving a husband who cheats on his wife. In that same East Village neighborhood, looting occurs and a young man gets killed. To make this a more compelling drama, Lamothe should have focused much more on the aftermath of the blackout, which only gets roughly 10 minutes of screen time. Number of times I checked my watch: 6. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Low. No distributor, yet.
Mr.Untouchable-Directed by Marc Levin. Who would have thought that a documentary about an ex-gangster could be so poignant and complex. The gangster here is Nicky Barnes, who was a drug kingpin during the 1970s and spent many of those years successfully dodging the law enforcement. Meanwhile, he created an very rich drug empire involving so many different employees that itís no wonder it was difficult for authorities to finally catch up to him. His prison sentence was reduced when he informed them about the whereabouts of other criminals. Director Marc Levin tells this amazing story about the rise and fall of Barnes with plenty of verve and includes a terrific soundtrack. He also includes thoroughly compelling interviews with DEA officers and others, including an exclusive interview with Barnes himself, whoís now recluse, incognito, in a witness protection program. Mr.Untouchable would be a great companion piece to the thrilling blockbuster American Gangster, a narrative film based on the life of Frank Lucas, one of Nicky Barnesí rivals in the drug world. Number of times I checked my watch: 0. Entertainment Value: High. Spiritual Value: Moderate. Released by THINKfilm. Opens at Cinema Village.