NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Thursday May 26th 2022

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The Outlaw Josey Wales

The Outlaw Josey Wales

Warner Bros. Clint Eastwood in movie art for the film 'The Outlaw Josey Wales', 1976. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images) (1976) ★★★★★ By HOWARD MCQUITTER II The Outlaw Josey Wales is a superb western by Clint Eastwood with a great cast. Josey (Clint Eastwood) is a farmer in Missouri during the Civil War when Union soldiers, led by Terrill (Bill McKinney), murder his wife and child. Josey joins the Confederate Army in revenge for the murder of his family. After the war he refuses to surrender. And when most of his fellow soldiers give up their guns, they are massacred by the Union soldiers. He's able to escape from the Union soldiers (led by Terrill) and the bounty hunters on his trail. Fellow Confederate soldier, Fletcher (John Vernon), does his best to convince some lawmen that Josey has been killed in a shootout. Though, the gung-ho bounty hunters are not so easily convinced. Josey flees to Texas and along the way he picks up a wounded rebel soldier, Jamie (Sam Bottoms) and two adult Native Americans – Lone Watie (Chief Dan George) and Little Moonlight (Geraldine Keams). Soon an old woman named Grandma Sarah (Paula Trueman) and her granddaughter Laura Lee (Sondra Locke) join up. At one point a homeless hound also joins the group. All are invited to stay at Grandma Sarah's farmhouse built by her son. It's a hard road for the handful of people following Josey, who has to kill some men out to kill him. After some time Josey acquires a surrogate family in Texas. But he is always on guard knowing full well Terrill is somewhere out there ready to take his life. Strong relationships evolve, if for no other reason, for survival. Clint Eastwood is a master at westerns as an actor and as a director. He learned very well from Director Sergio Leone doing A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, And The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Eastwood has also directed westerns Unforgiven, High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider. Cast: Clint [...]

Phillips Neighborhood history book wins award

Phillips Neighborhood history book wins award

Top photograph by alley contributor Paula Williamson/ University of Minnesota Press by BEN HEATH As part of the 2022 Minnesota Book Awards, scholar David Hugill is the recipient of the Minnesota History award for his book Settler Colonial City. Hugill's book, published last year by the University of Minnesota Press is a critical look at some of the social forces in Phillips after WWII. Our present city and our neighborhoods are not neutral places where history is suspended, instead they are founded in settler-colonial relations, where white supremacy and non-white oppression are by design. The author lived and worked in Phillips as he completed his research. Hugill describes the neighborhood of Phillips in terms of “sites of articulation”, meaning places where the interactions between two or more social factors are especially visible. Minneapolis is the Settler Colonial City, and Phillips is where the record is rich in material. This a study of racism and inequity. It should come as no surprise that our community has seen much. Over the years and decades since white settlement, our city and state institutions have thrived because of the prevailing settler-minded attitudes of exploitation and domination codified by government policies of Indian termination, removal, and relocation. These policies continue to effect many residents of our neighborhood. In response, our community is also the site of resistance. From the beginning of the book, Phillips is established as a community of people largely excluded from the decision-making and rewards of so-called urban renewal or urban change. Largely because of this exclusion the community has been of interest to well-meaning liberal anti-racist organizations who unfortunately used racist settler-minded thinking to develop and administer their programs. The author implicates these organizations in the perpetuation of inequity, rather than as significant challengers against it. There are other examples of [...]

The Batman

<strong>The Batman </strong><strong></strong>

Warner Bros. Pictures (2022) ★★★★☆ Movie Corner By HOWARD MCQUITTER II Welcome, again, to the dystopian world of Gotham City where crime is out of control, the mayor is murdered, Batman's nemeses the Penguin (Colin Farrell)and the Riddler (Paul Dano)are loose on the streets, the police officers are overworked and weary. But there's Batman (Robert Pattinson) in the midst of all the chaos, with a surly attitude of his own, bound and determined to solve the murder and see that the misfits are behind bars. Initially, many city officials and high-ranking police officials see Batman as a vigilante, more part of the problem than part of the solution. But wait! There's Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) whois more than glad to work with Batman to find the culprit(s) in the crime waves in Gotham City. (So much of Gotham City is a reflection of the typical American city today.) Director Matt Reeves' version of Batman spends little time with Batman's alter ego Bruce Wayne. Unlike other adaptations which present Bruce Wayne as a garrulous or ambitious billionaire, Wayne is seen here as dispirited or an eccentric eremite. What has Batman and Lt. James Gordon puzzled is the killer (who apparently wants to kill all the corrupt politicians) leaves countless cryptic clues as a way of throwing them off his trail. In the process of pursuing the bad guys, he catches what would seem to be one of his nemeses, Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz)in the act of stealing jewels. Even though their relationship grows, it appears somewhat lackluster compared to the amorousness between Michael Keaton and Michell Pfeiffer in director Tim Burton's 1992 Batman Returns. Robert Pattinson's Batman is one that often seems tormented and with unresolved issues. Even after encountering Catwoman, there's the undercurrent of unsettledness, yet he's a man on a mission and will not be deterred. Pattinson first comes to moviegoers with David Yates' Harry Potter and the Order of the [...]

Movie Corner – Ten best of 2021

Movie Corner – Ten best of 2021

By HOWARD MCQUITTER II 1.   Summer of Soul (Questlove) 2.  The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion) 3.  CODA (Sian Heder) 4.  Passing (Rebecca Hall) 5.  Belfast (Kenneth Branagh)  6. Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright) 7.  Parallel Mothers (Pedro Almodóvar)  8. Nine Days (Edson Oda) 9.  Spider-Man: No Way Home (Jon Watts) 10. Nightmare Alley (Guillermo del Toro)   Other films of 2021 to see: West Side Story (Steven Spielberg), In the Heights (Jon M. Chu), The Lost Daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal), Respect (Liesl Tommy), The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Michael Showalter), Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson), Dune (Denis Villeneuve), The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson), and Drive My Car (Ryusuke Hamaguchi). (movie posters are copyright their respective studios)

Movie Corner: They Call Me Mister Tibbs! Sidney Poitier (1927-2022)

Movie Corner: They Call Me Mister Tibbs! Sidney Poitier (1927-2022)

by Howard McQuitter II They Call Me Mister Tibbs!      Sidney Poitier (1927-2022)     Sidney Poitier was (and is) a trailblazer for Black thespians in Hollywood and outside who, then and now, are undervalued on screen and elsewhere. (Including the NFL that touts a solid majority of Black players, but stingy about hiring Black head coaches, and to this day no Black owner of any of the 32 teams.) He's a native of Cat Island, Bahamas, born on February 20, 1927. The youngest of nine children to Evelyn Outten and Reginald James Poitier, he grew up in abject poverty and little education. His family moved to the capital Nassau in 1937, after Florida stopped imports of Bahamian tomatoes, the life bread for the family. At the time, he had no knowledge of segregation which he would face at age 15 in Florida where he was sent to live with relatives.  Lying about his age, the 16 year old young man joined the Army working as an orderly with the 126th Medical Detachment at a veterans hospital on Long Island. He did not last long in the Army because he faked a mental illness, was finally discharged in 1945, and returned to New York.  He began to read the The Amsterdam News where he saw ads calling for auditions for actors at the American Negro Theater. His first audition failed miserably. Speaking in a strong West Indian accent with a limited education seemed to get him nowhere. But another employee at the restaurant where he was working helped him with his English. As if an angel had guided him forward, he landed an audition with an all-Black production of Lysistrata in 1946, thanks to Harry Belafonte who couldn't make the rehearsal. (Lysistrata received bad reviews from critics, however.) Mr. Poitier's first full length film role on the silver screen, No Way Out (1950), features him as a doctor who's being hounded by a virulent racist. Poitier's point of view (as with [...]

Movie Corner – Passing (★★★★★)

Movie Corner – Passing (★★★★★)

by Howard McQuitter II From a cinematic viewpoint, the rich black and white, crisp shadows inside and outside brownstone houses as well as the inside intimate jazz sessions are excellent. Passing displays for subtlety blossoms on celluloid.          Passing is Rebecca Hall's debut film about two African American women, one is passing for white while the other is married to a dark-skinned Black man, at the time of the Harlem Renaissance when Black figures like Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Alain Locke, Jean Tommer, Claude McKay, Augusta Savage, Aaron Douuglas, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Countee Cullen are on the scene particularly in Harlem.           Passing is based on the novel by Nella Larsen, who comes from a mixed background, similar to Hall. Hall gets to the central characters immediately with Clare Kendry Bellew (Ruth Negga) and Irene “Reenie” Redfield (Tessa Thompson). On one hot summer day sometime in the mid or late 1920s Irene, impeccably dressed and wearing a hat that partly obscures her face, enters a luxe white hotel. She's uncomfortable sitting in a "whites only" hotel restaurant as she slowly turns her head by the gaze of a white woman sitting across from her. But there's someone sitting several tables away who's looking harder at Irene. It happens to be Clare. They're high school friends from Chicago and haven't seen each other in nearly a decade. Seeing Clare in New York City surprises Irene. Clare is passing for white and married to a white man, John (Alexander Skarsgard), who doesn't know he's married to an African American, and is vehemently anti-black. (From my naked eye neither Clare nor Irene can pass for white.)           However nervous Clare is about being "discovered" as a Negro by her white husband or other whites, she wants to be with her friend Irene at [...]

Movie Corner: Last Night in Soho

Movie Corner: Last Night in Soho

Universal (2021) ★★★★★ By HOWARD MCQUITTER II Last Night in Soho to its credit is quite spellbinding, thanks in large part to cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung (who also is the cinematographer with director Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz . What director Edgar Wright does convincingly well is how he segues genres, drama, horror and mystery. Adding to this fascinating film is a tribute to many 1960s rock/R&B songs. (The title for Last Night in Soho is a reference to a 1960s rock band, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.)             The story begins with a young woman, Eloise (Thomasin McKenkie from JoJo Rabbit), with big aspirations to go London to be a fashion designer but not without a warning about moving to the big city from Peggy (Rita Tushingham). Eloise loves 60s music and styles. Her first nights are in the dorm with some other students who love to party and go to bars. She feels out of place but she does go to the bars with them. Eloise, not satisfied living with the other students, rents a second-floor apartment from an old landlady (Diana Rigg).        But before long, Eloise begins to have strange dreams (some might say hallucinations, or maybe reincarnation) about a woman named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), from the 1960s, with aspirations to be a famous singer. But Eloise is pulled into these dreams like a spectator as this glamorous blonde goes into her performances, seemingly gliding through with singing and dancing before crowds and louche men. However, these dreams become darker leaving her to believe she's no longer a spectator, but something more sinister. She wants to find out what really happened to the promising talented woman. But a clue may be on the way from her landlady who, attempting to ease Eloise's agitation, remarks, "This is London. Someone has died in every room in every building..." And Eloise remembers what Peggy warned her [...]

Movie Corner: Melvin Van Peebles

Movie Corner: Melvin Van Peebles

He's the ManMelvin Van Peebles (1932-2021) Melvin Van Peebles. Photo by John Matthew Smith By HOWARD McQUITTER II The African American filmmaker-actor Melvin Van Peebles, a fiercely independent filmmaker, could make memorable and remarkable films on a shoestring budget such as the 1971 bombshell film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song about a Black pimp who kills two policemen for beating up a Black militant and how he eludes law enforcement. (His son Mario, is also an actor/director.) And with Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, in particular, but in conjunction with his body of work (his directorial debut is Watermelon Man in Hollywood), the man is often known as the "Godfather of Black cinema". (The late Black director Gordon Parks is also a modern pioneer of Black cinema.) Mr. Melvin Van Peebles graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a B. A. in 1953. He decided to travel heavily in Europe, Mexico and the United States taking on jobs such as postal worker, painter, street performer and for a while in the air force. Fluent in French, while he lived in Paris he wrote several French-language novels, including La Permission (1967), turning it into his first feature film. The genre is a romantic drama released in France, and in the United States (as The Story of a Three-day Pass) the next year. Van Peebles in Hollywood used largely nonprofessional actors and technicians, usually African Americans. He fit well in the blaxploitation era drawing huge success with African American audiences and drawing much criticism from many white critics. Violence, nudity, scurrility, gangs and drugs dominated much of not onlySweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, but in many blaxploitation films by him or other directors. But what's often misunderstood by many viewers - both Black and white - of blaxploitation films, the messages are really anti-drug in nature. Feeding into the backdrop of Van Peebles' films, as well as other blaxploitation directors, is whatever [...]

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