Charles Burnett

Charles Burnett

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Ruby Dee and Charles Burnett - Ruby Dee and Charles Burnett Sunday 6th January 2008 at New York Film Critic's Circle Awards New York City, USA

Ruby Dee and Charles Burnett

Killer Of Sheep Review

Long heralded as one of the greatest "unseen" works of American cinema, Charles Burnett's 1977 independent film, Killer of Sheep, was screened at festivals in Europe and even entered into the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, but never theatrically released in the U.S. The film languished in semi-obscurity for several reasons: No distributor would touch a downbeat B&W art film about black families in South Central Los Angeles and Burnett never cleared the rights to the many soul and R&B songs he'd used on the soundtrack. Now, nearly 30 years later, Killer of Sheep finally reaches film screens, and it's as powerful and moving a film as it's been rumored to be.

Begun in 1976 and filmed over the course of two years, Killer of Sheep is an episodic and graceful film about life in Watts, California. The plot is loose, consisting of strung together conversations and short takes of family life, but the movies' raw power is in the ad hoc, wordless sections of the film: children jumping across a rooftop, a young girl singing to her doll, a couple dancing in their living room.

Continue reading: Killer Of Sheep Review

To Sleep With Anger Review

Insanely overrated, Charles Burnett's slow and melancholy drama feels like a profile of the Deep South when it's really about a family of African-Americans in central L.A. The point of the film is beyond me, involving Danny Glover's visit to his extended family's home and the havoc his presence creates. Not a lot of sleeping, not a lot of anger. Unsatisfying, and ultimately an example of overwrought yet lazy filmmaking.

The Glass Shield Review

At least it sounded like a good idea. Unfortunately, the execution of the new Miramax film, The Glass Shield, a drama set in an L.A. sheriff's station, leaves the viewer with little more than the perception that he's just seen a movie that could have been something, but didn't quite make it.

The Glass Shieldis the tragic tale of J.J. Johnson (Michael Boatman), a bright-eyed and idealistic black deputy-in-training who is "chosen" to join an all-white Los Angeles station for his first assignment. There, he encounters not-so-subtle racism and persecution which begins to crack his romanticism of the cop's life.

Continue reading: The Glass Shield Review

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