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Dark Thirst (The Brethren Series, Book 1)
Dark Thirst (The Brethren Series, Book 1)
by Sara Reinke
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
58 used & new from $0.01

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intercultural Vamp Love Saga, October 26, 2008
Interracial vamp romance novel. Angelina (Lina), an African American cop who hungers for a more fulfilling relationship; and Brandon, a white male maverick vampire who craves a more fulfilling life beyond the secluded confines among his brethren on the farm.

This is more a romance novel about a vampire than a horror novel. Horror does happen. What happens more is a romance.

As far as vampire lore goes, this novel gets creative with the casting and the human quality of its lead vampire. The novel is all about relationships. Readers get the obligatory erotica and odes to goth culture and vampire leading men. Brandon is essentially the guy at the goth club with the long black hair, illuminating skin color and svelte bod. Angelina is an African American woman who's never had a relationship with a white male. So there are I/R issues with her for a moment, but for some reason, not with Brandon. At one point in the story, someone does drop the "N" bomb in his family. So it seems a bit unrealistic that race never came up with Brandon, even when asked. The I/R issues are swept aside and probably something like 4 erotic scenes or so take place that almost bordered on soft porn. Once again, the heroine is obsessing about Brandon's skin color on some occasions when they're doing the deed.

There was a lot of buildup for the relationship and the plot. The plot is predictable on some fronts, and not so much on others, where readers are surprised. The story pace and details picked up about 1/4 way into the book, with its semi-slow start.

For horror fans, you have to wait in between the storyline, the love plot points, to get the blood and gore. It does come on different occasions. With details and such to match the erotics. To some horror fans, maybe not of the vamp ilk, it might seem odd that certain things didn't happen that would make sense if a monster were at hand, even if they aspire to human emotions such as love. Readers do get to see the struggle between beast and human that Brandon initially goes through when he first gets a whiff of Angelina. For some reason, down the line, the struggle's no longer there.

As a reader, and avid horror fan, I was waiting for the unexpected beast to flash readers on his struggles to not go feral at inopportune times. A crazed look at a scuttling city rat. A savage howl of ecstasy and fang drop during coitus. Maybe a boudoir battle Brandon wrestling the lead like a beast and her enjoying it for a sec -until she's suddenly afraid that the savage has taken over--but in the nick of time the man she loves emerges just in time to quell her horror. The uncertainty of trying to tame a young wild lion and keep him as a pet. One swipe of the paw or lovebite in the heat of play....

Near the end of the book, the book was becoming a little pat. It felt like a setup was coming for a sequel or something. When it did, it mostly made sense. Just the parts leading up didn't seem to make sense at times. A bit too clean for monster madness. But of course, there was the undertone tension.

Not really a fan of vamp novels. Film is a different beast. Fiction seems to toe the line on erotica/romance v. horror. Traditional horror fiction, and even horror films, were not wrapped up in 'sex sells on screen'. Sex is not a substitute for horror. It really shouldn't be so in bed with horror that it's more important. Otherwise the fiction isn't horror, it's romance. Or romantic horror. As a horror fan, it's a total turnoff when I pick up a book that's about a monster, or a DVD, where the cover is erotic. It's a turnoff when I buy a book about a monster like a vampire, and there are explicit sexual things going on within the first 10 pages or so, and the plot is more about relations than monsters. If I want erotic horror, I'd buy that. If I want erotica, I'd buy that. Sex and violence aren't an instant recipe for horror.

When fiction hits the screen, typically, it's cleaned up and horror takes center stage. The U.S. has the MPAA to thank for user friendly movie screens. For example, "Queen of the Damned"Queen of the Damned (Full Screen Edition) was a good vamp movie with Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend, as was "Interview with the Vampire". There were undercurrents of sex on the screen but no play by play of licentiousness. Innuendo. Of course to I/R fans that's somewhat of a double standard disappointment when other movies do show some clear signs of a romantic relationship on screen.

Because the mainstream's obsessed with I/R sex acts, whenever there's mention that a book, film or whatever there's the specter of oversexing it. "Dark Thirst" thankfully didn't overdo it so that the erotica was offensive or outside of genre standards. I'm sure that fans of vamp fiction who are into things I/R can appreciate that a full-bodied relationship exists, and isn't the centerpiece of an entertaining romance novel about a vamp and his vixen who happen to become part of an interracial couple. "Dark Thirst" slakes your thirst for a tasteful vampire romance with slices of horror.

Growing Pains
Growing Pains
Price: $4.99
159 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Work That Just Fine, October 26, 2008
This review is from: Growing Pains (Audio CD)
Work That
Just Fine

Goosebumps and chills every time "Work That" came on the air, no matter where I was. An anthem, pep rally kind of song that immediately linked me back to the empowering feminist anthem "I am Woman (Hear me roar)". I can't recall a song as immediately so emotionally powerful as "Work That" in eons. It was as if, every time I heard the song, and looked around at the other women around me, there was a renewed sisterhood of goodwill. Somebody was talking to us, cheering us on. Wishing us well. Cheering us on. Somebody cares to share some good vibes. Not only the message, the messenger but the kindness and caring to reach out to strangers using a worldwide platform for goodwill? chills. So often, what's on the TV or the radio isn't about the audience so much as the sales. And rarely on a personal level of meaning.

For some people, there's not always, or ever been, someone around to tell you that you can make it, that you are somebody, somebody good and worthy. For some people, the negative that they hear is what they become, because that's all they principally hear. You can rise above or fall below expectations. Sometimes you can follow the lead of others, growing through the pains. "Follow me."

Back in the heydays of the 60s and 70s, there was a sisterhood of goodwill. No cat fights and such. Women were not the enemy as you progressed forward as a woman. Progress for any woman was progress for women as a group. Nowadays, competition and tearing women down are all over the air--TV, radio, news.

Women not calling each other names, the hateful "B" word. Women joining men in degrading women. It's so few and far between hearing anybody wish women well, pep you up, and cheer you on, that it's a relief and an immediate booster shot antidote from the other side of the coin every time I hear "Work That". This would be a background song when Michelle Obama hits the air as First Lady. "Follow me."

"Just Fine" got many of my days started, ended, and always was right on time.

Both songs would be just right for anyone or group working with women or girls in community development, leadership. "Work That" and "Just Fine" are cathartic, prayer like anthems that can lead the current and next generation of women to new heights of goodwill towards themselves and others.

Black, White, Just Right!
Black, White, Just Right!
by Marguerite W. Davol
Edition: Library Binding
Price: $13.39
70 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Building Biracial Confidence, October 26, 2008
Kids can be both kind and cruel, particularly when society at times requests that you 'pick a side' of racial identity to define yourself as an individual, from life as a child through the end of your journey. Issues of race, identity become a part of a lifelong landscape. Knowing who you are and moving forward with that knowledge not as a handicap but as distinctly right for you, can make or break you on your journey of self awareness and actualization.

Growing up biracial can have its own unique set of challenges. As young people begin to develop their sense of identity, being a part of more than one culture can be a celebration of this uniqueness. It's important that families nurture a sense of self and family pride, and do so early, so that when youth step outside into the larger world, they are equipped with healthy self esteem, including a set of values on which they can rely and further build upon no matter what challenges come their way.

This book provides easy to digest grains of truth about biracial identity for a young girl, who is taking charge of her identity--she is black, white and will be alright because she knows her history as well as its value, just right. Interestingly enough, with widespread children's rhyming taunts, antagonistic songs, dirty dozens, etc., the book's title is an empowering child's comeback mantra. Say it loud, say it proud.

black is brown is tan
black is brown is tan
by Arnold Adoff
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.97
81 used & new from $1.37

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the way it is for us, The Way We Are: We are Family, September 20, 2008
This review is from: black is brown is tan (Paperback)
Most remarkable about this book are the watercolor illustrations and depictions of just a regular happy home life with sing-song text. The book depicts a happy family with 2 happy young children. The mother is black, the father white. The parents each explain some racial differences to their kids as readers see them interact at home, with each parent and as a family. When the in-laws visit, they interact positively with the family as one family. In the extended family, there's "granny white and grandma black".

"Black is Brown is Tan" was definitely ahead of its time when published in '73. As testament to the mass appeal of this book to people interested in multiracial/biracial families, the book was reprinted in 2002. There still remains a desert of need for more books that speak to interracial couples and families who are searching for books that positively portray their lifestyle(s). Particularly for couples who are in stable relationships and no longer in the dating scene, it's great to see books about progressive relationships that parallel strides with peers in same-race relationships and marriages, interacting with family and raising children.

"Black is Tan" would be a book to add to your own book collection, as well as a wonderful gift for a baby shower, a wedding for interracial couples; a child's birthday present, or a present just because someone's special and needs to know how wonderful.

Near the end of the book, the extended family sing on the porch together --parents, kids, grandmothers, a brother-in-law, a sister-in-law, with the ever-present family dog on hand.

At the end of the book, the happy parents hug each kid.

The Afterword gives historical context of the author Arnold Adoff's marriage to Virginia Hamilton in 1960, along with updates about interracial strides, and the author's marriage. Mr. Adoff lives in Yellow Springs, OH, where he lived with his late wife. Their children were raised in a "progressive Ohio college town among children of many cultural and racial groups."

The closing text:
"We invite readers of all ages to stay strong, and sing along.

Price: $9.99
104 used & new from $0.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell Yeah, September 20, 2008
This review is from: Revelation (Audio CD)
A longtime fan of rock, including alt rock, classic rock and acoustic folk/rock, Third Day's raspy singer's voice and the band's style fit right into my existing musical tastes. Couple of times Tom Petty, John Cougar came to mind. Revelation is one of the few Christian CDs I've ever bought. "Revelation," and a Kirk Franklin CD, struck a chord from Go. Much like other diverse musicians/bands I'm a fan of, like Marc Broussard, Santogold, Godsmack, Chris Cornell, 3 Doors Down, etc.

In browsing Christian music, an off-putting aspect is the over-serious and somberness of the music. If you were upbeat before, some of the music can bring you down to a more serious level than you'd like to be in. Like religious services, there are different kinds of music, some more somber than others that may go the way of tambourines, singing, dancing and shouts of joy.

Third Day's out of the ordinary, transcendent of musical barriers between Christian and Non-Christian music fans. Appeals to fans of acoustic/alt rock.

If you're into uplifting, joyful sounds with contemporary, relevant themes and appeal, introspection, hope and faith, Third Day's gonna make you feel.

*Call My Name (shivers)
*Let Me Love You (soulful)
*(Take Me to the) Other Side (jam on)
*This is Who I am (jam)
*Give Love
*Caught Up in Yourself (Thank God for mercy...for grace... everything you've got before it's too late)
*I Will Always Be True
*Born Again
*Slow Down (opening like Tom P's "Last Dance with Mary Jane")

When you or someone you know need an upbeat spiritual boost, Third Day's got the lift up. Or if you just wanna feel some good music. Jam up.

Metallica - Some Kind of Monster
Metallica - Some Kind of Monster
DVD ~ Joe Berlinger
Price: $29.74
82 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Monster Family, August 3, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A couple years back a film friend of mine put this film on his must-see agenda. He's a documentarian, so I didn't understand how a pop doc could stoke his interest. I said, Yeah, I thought about it, but there were a couple of other movies at the festival that seemed more my style. I liked Metallica, but a doc? I asked him what I thought was the obvious, "So you're a Metallica fan?"
"No," he laughed self-consciously. He's not really into metal. He's more into worldbeat, Celtic music, and other esoterica. Some jazz, but not U.S. based. Very much into the international scene.
When he gave his feedback after the show, I expected him to give the hardline critical response and tell me at best it was pretty good, maybe overhyped. But his face lit up and burst into enthusiasm, envy, pride. It was so well done, it was just "amazing" he said. As a doc Director who'd been nominated for an Emmy, that was quite a compliment. He did mention "This is Spinal Tap" and for me, that kind of killed my interest. I'd seen that movie many many years ago, but it didn't stick in my mind as something that I could still remember years later as something unforgettable in some way.

I heard buzz about "Some Kind of Monster" by a variety of critics, etc., after its initial screening at film festivals nationwide. That it was progressive, like nothing people had seen before, blah blah.

I watched "Some Kind of Monster" when the DVD arrived. I was surprised to see 2 discs, and insert of material.

I held my breath for the overhype that was likely fanning the film. Ever the skeptic. A film about a band going thru therapy?

But it wasn't really about that. Hour after hour, I was riveted. In the film Lars mentioned it was really about relationships. It was that, and more. My impression of the film up til I sat down, and even listening to my friend's effusions was that it was a documentary about a band. I can't recall the "This is Spinal Tap" movie, but my recollection is that this is the case of apples and oranges. If the film had been buzzed less about some people going thru therapy than a story about a band family, then I probably would've seen the movie sooner not later. I can relate to that.

I watched the film and the bonus CD of outtakes in one whole day. We're talking hours upon hours. It was that riveting, compelling, candid. I bought another CD for a friend who is a long time Metallica fan and occasional guitar player/drums player but he, for some reason, hadn't seen the film. Maybe it was the mention of the band going thru therapy that turned him off.

It's an inspiring tale of a family getting their act together and pushing beyond their limits of current excellence and accomplishments. Being vulnerable and open to growing pains. When you're at the top, you don't have to go down. You can expand your horizons. Sometimes the music or your art or whatever you're possessed about possesses you and becomes bigger than the creators. A la Frankenstein or some other non-human machine. You risk being overcome if you don't take control and get grounded. Recover your humanity. For artists, sometimes they can get caught up in the craft, consumed even, even glorified for having been consumed.

This was an up-close look into the lives of a family of musicians and how they got their house in order. Healed the parts. Got the humanity back. I don't think I've ever seen such candid, raw exposure like that from giants among us to whom others look up to as larger than life, bigger and better than human. Goliath. Fighting the monsters within them and between them.

It was touching and horrible to see the struggles. Viewers could see their own humanity. You hope and pray that the musicians find their way back home. To realize why they came together, the joy in their craft, even in the hard work. Labor of love.

It was almost like watching a married couple go thru counseling. We all know or have met people married for years, and are dumbstruck with near horror when we hear that divorce is looming on the horizon as a possible final solution to whatever ails their union. Counseling is no longer the last resort for marriage, it's sometimes a healthy maintenance requirement. As with anything, if you wait til it's nearly too late to make things better, it probably is too late. So for that, it's inspiring to see a family of musicians doing whatever they can to stay together, whether times or good or bad, practice does make perfect, and good habits like bad ones become hard to break.

In the movie, you see the band getting into healthy living. Making peace with some demons. The singer James, you find relief in his having a father figure in his life who's positive after years of being without something he needed. Lars has his father, apparently comes from money, and is very business oriented, practical, so you don't feel a whole lot of sympathy when he's complaining about people not going all out for him on his birthday. He's got the wife, the house, megamil sideline art deals, he had a fully intact family, he was revered and a big fish in a small town, him and his whole family. But James used music to escape and channel emotions. Like so many in the states, music, sports, etc., other creative or athletic activities were something positive avail to even those who had very little. It's almost like a source of hope and faith.

Both Lars and James have families-wife and kids. I've heard it said that when men have their own kids, they begin to make peace with their own childhood. They rise to the challenge. If their childhood was less than what they'd like, there's the need to do better by their own kids, for some. And for some who had good childhoods, a need to keep up the legacy.
I've heard that in growing up and into their own families, some men will 'put away childish things' and concentrate on their home life. It was incredible to see married men trying to navigate a home life with a lifestyle that's not necessarily home-life friendly. It was touching to see the men include aspects of their home life, their wives, their kids.
Being the heroes in their home.

With every challenge comes the opportunity to rise above and have a rebirth. Or not. Growing pains. If it takes a long time to develop bad habits, it surely takes some time to undo them. With people all over the world showing support and hope, the Metallica family remains intact, and gives back yet again to its legions of fans, old and new. We're all in this together. United a house stands, divided it falls. The world itself can be some kind of monster. We have to maintain our shared humanity, keep our eyes on the prize.

A decades long relationship that has weathered many tests, trials and tribulations, how can you grow there? take note.

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Price: $7.99
156 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Foo to U - We're just ordinary people, you and me, August 3, 2008
Foo? Every time I hear That voice and the music, what can you say or do? Sing along over and over again.

I hear the 70s influences of Crosby, Still, Nash; Gerry Rafferty; others. Other than the hits: Pretender, Long Road to Ruin

*Come Alive
*Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners? That is the quintessential small town porch song on a warm summer night after outdoor grilling with friends, watching fireflies, loving the feeling.
*Home, for all the women who doubt
*Summer's End - 70s summer love, good times, bare feet, Frisbee, hacky sack, beachside fire with circle of friends
*Stranger things have happened - plaintive introspective brooding. You'll need a big hug, a sugar buzz, or powerpop injection after this (my PC shuffled over to Dulce Beat's Dulce Beat "Sexy" Ha, a-yeah. And then it skipped over to "Everything Counts" Construction Time Again by Depeche Mode. PC reality slap :)
*Statues - Donald Fagan, 70s vibes

Love in Black and White: A Memoir of Race, Religion, and Romance
Love in Black and White: A Memoir of Race, Religion, and Romance
by William S. Cohen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.95
83 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye of the Beholder, August 3, 2008
Autobiography that's more about the man than the couple, tracing from his childhood in Maine through the White House. Interspersed are sections about Janet Langhart, and her upbringing. The book is an uplifting memoir that educates readers about the decades of historical, political, military social, racial, and Black history milestones in the U.S., as well as those of Mr. Cohen and Ms. Langhart.

A couple of times or so, there were disconnects from a topic launching into something else; and some occasional grammar things going on that seemed out of character.

The books was informative and candid, including paths of excellence and failure for both Mr. Cohen and his future wife. Both came from trailblazing ancestors and in turn carried on that tradition. Mr. Cohen didn't spare himself with a revisionist eye to his fighting youth, bad grades, and even 'cursing like a one-eyed pirate' one day. We learn of his experiences of racism from both the Jewish community and others from a young age forward. Mr. Cohen's mother was Irish Catholic and his father Jewish. Mr. Cohen went on to forgive those who ostracized him and denied him his birthright and merit of a Bar Mitzvah.

Ms. Langhart went on to lead the way from being among the first Fashion Fair models, relegated to segregated accommodations while touring the country to represent the beauty of Black women, as founder Robert Johnson, later of BET fame, and then of the Johnson Publishing dynasty, Jet and Ebony, had envisioned. The reader gets to see the underside as well as the triumphs. Apparently Mr. Johnson had to buy all of the clothing rather than the typical 'loan' of clothes from designers, as people did not want to wear what had been on black bodies. Readers get to see Janet develop from a small child holding fast to her mother's words of hope and tolerance, though she worked as a domestic for white people. Incidentally, I'd seen Janet over the years and one would've never guessed the struggles she'd faced or the disappointments. Her mother and she were basically abandoned by her father, a returning soldier, who'd been a war hero, but had advised his daughter that upon his return he would not be wearing his uniform in the South on the ride home, and he'd be sitting in the back of the bus, disheartened about fighting for freedom for others abroad while at home, he was treated as if he were the enemy. At some point in the book, Janet protests the disparaging treatment of returning black soldiers who had to sit at the back of an auditorium, while foreign prisoners of war were treated like white people and sat at the front.

Incidentally, when other cultural movements such as interracial movements and gay movements look to Black culture in how to navigate in the mainstream culture, it's instructive to note how Black culture has always been of the opinion about representing a good profile to the mainstream. Countering stereotypes was the least activism one could do. In the Fashion Fair tradition, the NAACP, also continues to encourage Black people to keep representing Black culture well with its annual "Image" Awards. The idea of good representation to the public. In the book "Navigating Interracial Borders, Black-White Couples and Their Social Worlds" the author seemed off put with the idea that interracial couples would want to 'keep up a front'. Not airing dirty laundry, and keeping the positive out front to offset the stereotypes. In this regard, it's no different than what Black people have done since Day 1, and continue to do. I believe immigrants did the same as a survival mechanism, too. It works. Role modeling. If you see it, you can achieve it. You can believe, and work towards it. Like any habit, practice makes perfect.

In Cohen's book, you will see the good. That's what counts. Like any married couple, a united front.

We learn that the people who Janet's mother worked for were Jewish, and that Janet's mother adopted some of their practices, like cooking Kosher food, and instilling certain values in her children, in spite of their surroundings and those negative persons around them. Janet's mother didn't teach hate. Nowhere in the book did I read anything but good things about Black men, or negative remarks about shiftless Black men who didn't take care of their children or any nonsense even though Janet's father left the family. It would have been an easy stereotype to exploit given the circumstance. Instead, there were many Black History nods. In Janet's developing career, she met icon after icon in the Black community, including Mahalia Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr., who reportedly was like a son to Mahalia, and who frequently visited and stayed in her home, as did some other Black icons. The practice of hosting Black people in residences was a collective practice to counter Jim Crow segregation that either excluded Black people from public accommodations altogether, or offered conditions that were very bad. Janet was mentored by a range of Black icons, including Muhammad Ali, who advised her when his heavyweight title was stripped because he wouldn't serve in the War, that he still had his self respect, and that was more valuable than anything someone could give and take away at whim. Years later, during her rise from model to weather girl to broadcast journalist, readers would see how the leaders around her were able to impart survival wisdom. Years later, when Bill Clinton picked Cohen to be Secretary of Defense--a Republican Cohen, no less, and a "Jew" to some, Janet would be treated with the utmost respect to the extent that she began to focus on the good that was in her life. She even began to pray and kiss the flag in Cohen's office when she took to heart lessons learned and experiences that showed her that there are different kinds of people, and there are good people who welcome good people to work for good together.

In this regard, Janet's experience with the military prior to Cohen was that it mistreated Black people like her father, and gave empty promises at best. Her mother and her family had a new home in the housing projects set up by the military for returning Black soldiers. It was a glimpse of the later military 'family' vision that would again renew her faith in the good outweighing the bad. I got chills and choked up when Cohen described how he'd secretly made a special request to honor Janet to the White House leaders during his final days as SecDef.

Now, there's a love story. Cohen and Langhart were formerly married. Ironically, both Janet's brother as well as one of Cohen's sons married someone of the opposite race. Readers will be surprised to hear about the intimate details of a medical situation that Janet faced, and which no doubt had enormous impact on her life.

I don't think the book title really reflects the content of the book. The books is primarily an autobiography of Cohen's life, which didn't intersect with Janet's til only little more than a decade ago. However, some people believe, as mentioned in the book Janet does, in fate. In which case, there life partner was always on their way to them. It wasn't a matter of if but when the two would come together, and how they get there, is really what the book includes. I can see Cohen loving B-ball, his father loving B-ball, and thus Cohen playing on teams where he met more than just White males. I was tickled a bit about his doing the Black handshake with Black men, playing while in the Senate with some Black Congressmen. I could see that if his mother was feisty and had her own independence and opinions that she felt free to express, that Cohen would not be put off by an outspoken Black woman like Langhart.

In the book Cohen mentions Janet's loving his blue eyes. I'd have to say I wish Janet hadn't worn blue contacts on the book cover. While she's got some mixed ancestry, it's not front and center, as in her parents are both black. Somewhere down the line, many Black people have Native American, or White people, etc. in their family tree. People who aim to be a 'couple' will sometimes start dressing alike, and even down the line, are supposedly starting to morph into each other, with similar features.

Since the couple did not have kids, it was a bonus to them in a way because Janet could travel with him everywhere he went and he had no guilt about forsaking the family for his job, as with the case with his first marriage. That both of them could interrelate about their experiences across the board, and stand strong together, was more than a galvanizing force. Readers get to see their perspectives on a range of U.S. events, from the lynching of Emmit Till to Watergate to the assassination of MLK, Jr., Hoover, to USS Cole, Vietnam, WWII, Katrina, the Kanye West TV comment. The times did change, who'd have thought a Republican, an immigrant's son no less who rose from living in a room with 5 people to become an lawyer, Congressman, Senator, SecDef, would be right there networking across the board for better times. And walking into the White House at the invite of hipster Bill Clinton, with his Black wife by his side. In these times. The time for all good men to rise.

If there's an interracial story of love and marriage, a united front, this is it. Representing. As always. That we are more than what meets the eye.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2011 7:54 PM PDT

Something New (Widescreen Edition)
Something New (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Sanaa Lathan
Offered by Magic SuperCenter
Price: $7.80
113 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something Old, New, Blue, July 14, 2008
somethings old, new, borrowed, and blue from the IR world appear in this movie about a relatively wealthy black corporate exec overcoming obstacles as a minority in corporate America, willing to keep an open mind, overlook slights, to keep her dreams alive. The white lead has some limited depth to his role--v. limited, too; unlike the woman, IR is not new to him. Onscreen sex portrayed well, romantically realistic.

Strange Days
Strange Days
DVD ~ Ralph Fiennes
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $13.22
101 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange Sizzle N Sparks, July 13, 2008
This review is from: Strange Days (DVD)
Hadn't seen this film in forever. Saw it a couple times when it came out. Just watched it again today. Wow! I totally forgot how amazing it was.
It's still relevant and a work of art today. I haven't seen anything like it since it came out in '95.

The idea of virtual reality that you can plug into by use of a SQUID, an electronic cap with electrodes to electrically stimulate and manipulate your brain. The use of floppy disks, yeah, okay, it was '95. The use of a big ole box like the old cable boxes from yore? yah. Ok. The idea of people getting sucked into spending more time with electronic devices than living real life? Right on. Then and now. Yeah, there are internet/techno junkies. Near catatonia and zoned out. Subjective. The idea that electronics/games can get the best of you, and bring out the worst? Too much of anything's not good. People too game. Bound for perversion. Gamer is played out. Another consumer consumed? Yeah. Pushing limits to pushing daisies.

Some other movies popped into mind when watching this film again. Videodrome. 8MM. Blue Velvet. Sean Penn's The Game. And then there's the Vincent D'Onofrio The Cell (New Line Platinum Series). In 8mm, Joaquin Phoenix's character Max California warns Nick Cage's Tom Welles, 'When you dance with the devil, you don't change the devil, the devil changes you.'

All visually appealing films, often with more than 1 superstar. Strange Days, no doubt, a title ode to The Doors song, includes many superstars. Michael Wincott is Philo, who starred in the 1991 Val Kilmer, movie about 60's rock legends "The Doors".

In this regard, Strange Days opened many doors of mayhem. Pandora's Box, no less. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, techno, love, good, evil, etc.

People "just trying to survive. Making a run for it, if need be.

When Ms. Bassett got down to Earth running through the crowds reveling in NY's merriment, she kicked off her heels and got real practical, like any woman would. While there are elements of horror and the perverted, skidrow elements too, you also see fist fighting women, and women tag-teaming for their men. So it was no surprise when Mace hitched up her glam black gown all sequins and strapless, and shoved her pistol in her thigh garter; or when she flipped off those heels and sprinted like Wilma Rudolph. She was not about to get shot in the back a la android stripper Zhora (the whore-a?) (Joanna Cassidy) in Harrison Ford's 1982 Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition). A beautiful dead woman running and stumbling to her death, a pretty corpse replete with heels. Maybe chalk all this up to a woman director making heroic, capable, women of action. Can't imagine someone in law enforcement who couldn't at least kick off her heels and run to dodge bullets trailing her backside. (Last summer, Blade was re-released to millions of fans' delight, in major theatres so we could see it digital, big screen. The android getting shot in the back still resonates as one vicious scene, sex and violence in a slowmo death ballet.)

Characters skirt the cusp of interracial romance between actress Angela Bassett and Ralph Fiennes. You wonder about the romantic tension, but film studios being as they are, the chemistry pops just the same between 2 people so that others feel it too, whether it takes place or not. At the end, unrequited love lets go of the past memories and lives in the now.

Overlook the stereotypical 'tude/hard black woman Ms. Bassett had to play. She chills out over the course of the movie and viewers realize it's less the black woman 'tude than an under appreciated woman willing to do battle for the man she loves, and even help him win another woman if that's what it takes for his happiness. Oh, ...sacrificing women. Sign of true love when you're willing to give your all, a sign it's not love or even friendship if someone's willing to let you take a bullet, not have your back when it counts, and even throw you under the bus.

The movie drops in the historical temperament of the '90s toward what was going on and wrong with the LAPD at that time. The riots of '92 in LA and elsewhere when the Rodney King vid hit the air (imagine Youtube igniting a firestorm back then). Strange Days is set in '99, but drops in a provocative scene of citizens versus police brutality by the LAPD. It does give credit to the good men in uniform who rise beyond corruption and are willing to police their own in the name of justice. The footage of the New Year's countdown for 2000, according to the credits was likely footage from New York Times Square. There was mention of Madrid. In this supercharged scene, Vincent D'Onofrio's police character seems more like a flashback of horrific evil from his Full Metal Jacket Days. The crowd is awe struck and nearly speechless as the monster drags his crime in partner forward, marching towards unspeakable evil. LAPD rise to the challenge. Strange Days precedes and perhaps sets the typecast for D'Onofrio's future on Law & Order. The quirky, weird guy with a heart, who maybe is on the good guy's side, but understands the demons in all, can draw it out by drawing on his own. Ever intense, check him out in Feeling Minnesota with ex gf Cameron Diaz and Keanu Reeves, in which he play typecast, another odd man out. But no blood, not much anyway, this time. Men in Black? A scifi flick but not so dark and dreary for Vinny.

As refined as the Harvard alum is, her street cred didn't really pop with legit authenticity, but of course therein lies the distinguishing characteristic of someone with bigger plans than the circumstances under which they've found themselves anyway.

All of the main characters, including Juliette Lewis (of "Kalifornia," "Natural Born Killers - Oliver Stone Collection", "Cape Fear" fame), Tom Sizemore ("Pulp Fiction"), intense actors in any film, sizzle and spark here. (In looking at the website to see who else of celeb status was in this film, discovered Dru Berrymore..not The Drew Barrymore...but turns out there's a porn star, also with an extensive body of work.)

Look for other stellar actors that appear in many subsequent films, including William Fichtner. According to, William's an Air Force brat, so it's no wonder he appears in years to come in progressive, multiracial and patriotic pics, including Malcolm X, Crash, Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, Armageddon, Virtuosity, Switchback; and action pics with other progressive stars like A. Jolie, including Go and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Most recently, Fichtner is in The Dark Night.

Nicky Katt appears in the film. Long before "Boston Public", see Katt in cyber club punk blonde hair and leather pants. (MMmm)

Tom Sizemore was also like his Strange Days pal Fichtner, in Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down.

According to, Ms. Bassett has 3 films in the works, including an historical film; a rap pic about the life of rap legend Notorious, B.I.G.; and a mainstream film:
1. Toussaint (2009) (pre-production) .... Suzanne Louverture
2. Notorious (2009) (post-production) .... Voletta Wallace
3. Nothing But the Truth (2008) (post-production) .... Bonnie Benjamin

Ralph Fiennes has four films in the works--a biopic about a wealthy philanthropist; a film about obsession of a younger man for an older woman in post-war Germany; a military pic set in Iraq; and an historical film:
# The Gifted (2008) (in production)
# The Reader (2008) (post-production)
# The Hurt Locker (2008) (post-production) .... Mercenary Team Leader
# The Duchess (2008) (completed) .... Duke of Devonshire

Director Kathryn Bigelow, former painter turned film director and writer by way of Columbia Film School (home to extreme talent), is the Director of the upcoming Fiennes movie The Hurt Locker. Viewers can see the visual sensability come to life on Bigelow's films. K-19 The Widowmaker (Harrison Ford); Blue Steel (J. Lee Curtis and Tom Sizemore); are among her other films.

Writer James Cameron wrote the screenplays for Terminator (film series); Rambo; True Lies; Aliens; Titanic; and The Abyss, among other films. For Strange Days, Cameron was nominated by the Acad. of SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Films of USA, for their Saturn award; Cameron has won the Saturn awards for writing, and for directing Aliens. His screenplay The Terminator won the Saturn.

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