August 18, 2014


Rape is the crime of having intercourse with a man or woman forcibly and without his or her consent is the definition displayed in the opening credits of Director, Bob Bryan’s film 'RAPE.' Most state legislation on rape have various statues. For example, rape/sodomy, rape/torture, threatening, bodily injury or any number of special circumstance clauses, including rape with foreign objects. Rape is never about the sexual act itself. This film is depicting the mindset of the rapist, the protagonist in this film. We get to see perpetrator as victim.

Rape is vile and heinous. The thought of it enrages us. 'RAPE' allows us to look closely, not just at the act of rape, but more so, the instigator of it; who this person is and why is this happening. We see human frailty. The irony in this film is not the victim’s horrific experience. The lens is on the criminal. Shot in closed framing POV of the characters allows us a degree of intimacy with him and her.

Surprisingly, the sex-induced scenes are not hard to watch. Perhaps it is because of the erotic imagery of bound and gagged intercourse or the acceptable American cultural art form of Japanese bondage. There is little to no blood in the scenes. From the beginning, 'RAPE' leaves us to surmise if it is pleasure or pain that we’re watching. It is the character dialogue that makes the distinction.

The nuances in this film are how the director is marrying mental illness with the act of rape. In addition, the black and white shadowy silhouettes add a subtle psychotic element to 'RAPE.' Psychosis, as we know it, denotes mental illness, one of three prevailing themes in this film. Power and control, real or imagined, are characteristic of rape. We see cause and effect in the first half of the film relived through childhood sexual abuse. The adult neurosis magnifies anxiety, phobia and an inability to deal with reality. It is not unusual to see adult victims of childhood abuse take on chameleon-like personas or split personalities. This defense mechanism is a coping skill for untreated abuse. In 'RAPE,' one scene is indicative of that when Raymond, the lead, starts to simulate verbally and physically the sexual innuendos perpetrated against him by becoming the abused child. That raw turning point flashed my mindset back to a couple of films where split personality disorders were portrayed, and well I might add. Actress, Halle Berry in the film (2010) 'Frankie and Alice' and actor, Edward Norton in (1996) 'Primal Fear' both cleverly played up their dysfunctional roles in those films.

Sound and music create ambiance and affects the psyche and interpretation of films. Filmmakers use music to create, contrast, allude, infer, mask or parallel themes and the tone of scenes. There is an interesting choice of music dancing with the sex in 'RAPE.' It is slow, subtle, almost mesmerizing, sultry even, an unintentional hint of sensuality and is probably why we can watch at least one of the rape scenes in this film without flinching. One of the lyrical verses sweetly croons: Love letters straight from the heart…Keep us so near while apart…I memorized every line…I kissed the name you sigh…Love letters straight from the heart

Not surprisingly, halfway through, our antagonist, Celeste, uses her own brand of psychological manipulation to get back at her rapist. While most victims of rape would like some kind of sweet revenge, and they get it, usually by reporting rape crimes that lead to arrests resulting in lengthy incarceration.

Celeste, we infer, believing in the spiritual law KARMA: Kick Ass, Remain Mute, then Attack, in other words, an eye for an eye, retaliates against Raymond, her rapist. He suffers yet again, this time, reliving that abusive childhood at her hands. The idea that the victims of rape can find some solace by inflicting the abuse against them upon someone is a temporary notion at best. Here again, the director is trying to get us to look at mental sickness within the context of sexual abuse.
Rapists are mentally ill criminals and many were sexually-victimized themselves. We get this ugly truth! This is what the film is screaming at us. Both the victim and the perpetrator need treatment. Handcuffs and throwing away the key is not the one-size-fit-all remedy. Psychiatric medical research coupled with viable mental illness diagnosis and recovery must marry, so that both victims of rape can heal.

January 04, 2013

Film Review: 'DJango Unchained'

Film Director Quentin Tarantino wild wild west film ''Django Unchained'' depicts some surrealism-a grittty semblance of a historical time. Tarantino carefully fictionalizes the film using nonfiction connotations. Not the first to do so, but many entertainment artists don't even get close to telling history like history was and is. 'Django Unchained' is well cast. The stellar performance of Samuel L. Jackson's character reeks a stunning portrayal of the ugliness of internalized racism perpetuated by the superb characterization of Leonard DiCaprio's charismatically-sweet ignorant attitude. Both actors embody their roles exceptionally. When comparing and contrasting the film's themes and poignant scenes that hold this film together, most surmise that slavery is the major component, but the main themes of the film are power, honor, courage, heroism and slavery and ignorance are underlying themes that shape the tone and setting of this film. And yes people really did act (Europeans) and had to live (Blacks) like this pre and post civil war, yet it's Jaime Foxx's character that is the major protagonist going up against all the forces in this film. Great analogies are used as the film plays up some of the ignorance of the time period, hence the hooded sheets scene of the men on the horses getting together to raid, yet not a clue as to who or what they're standing for or against-or the horrific scene where the dogs decapitate a man as the onlookers foam and revel as if at sporting event and the most profound play up of blatant ignorance is depicted in DiCaprio's self-proclamation of heroism in the infamous The Three Musketeers novel, authored by Alexandre Dumas, a French-African man born to a black slave. The film also contrasts well the major correlation of outside (field) working slaves and the indoor (house) working slaves, thereby historically confirming the complete degradation and genocide of African-race people and their offspring. The subtle symbolism used in the film are small moments to behold as the director entwines clever nuances helping us to grasp the depth of this westernized film with valuable historical content.

January 02, 2013

Two For Flinching Pictures presents...a short comedic horror flick

'The Town That Christmas Forgot'
Click Title Above to View Short
Director, Frankie Guerrero
Producer, Debbie Guerrero
Producer, Shawn M. King

Associate Producer, Jazz MaGee/NightWriter357

October 17, 2012

Reel Ladies Collabo Mixer (Los Angeles)

Film phenom, Tim Alexander
Filmmaker Director Producer Writer Tim Alexander and I at the Tim Alexander Studios in Los Angeles at one of the Reel Ladies Collaboration Mixers for filmmakers, directors, producers and writers this month. Alexander, the one man film phenom wrote, produced, directed, filmed and edited the infamous "Diary of a Tired Black Man" in 2008. The film acclaimed much attention in African-American communities around the world, including other countries where men spoke out publicly upon viewing this film and finding it to be the catalyst for their voices concerning relationships.
Filmmaker-Director-Producer-Writer and NightWriter357
Alexander screened his film and gave us ladies in attendance some priceless insight on the state of relationships between men of color and the women who love them. Some don't get it and it's unfortunate some never will, but in a nutshell, there is WORK FOR US TO DO if we are to sustain loving and wholesome relationships, not only for ourselves, but we're raising our kids and our kids' kids should know what healthy relationships feel like. 
Screening "The Diary of a Tired Black Man" at Filmmaker Tim Alexander Studios

October 01, 2012

4th Annual Lady Filmmakers Film Festival

Who Rules the World? Lady Filmmakers! Pardon my bias, but I am still reeling from this past weekend's WGA-Beverly Hills theater film showcase. Besides the screening of a lot of fabulous films by independent filmmakers coming from all four corners of the world, the premise of this signature event is really about the  women working in every facet of film production. In addition to taking on the roles of directors, producers and writers, talented females are making their mark as editors, cinematographers and in other intricate positions in the film industry. Understandably, many of the festival films' story structure and narration were told from the lens of a whoa-man's perspective. Such was the case of Producer/Screenwriter, Shahari Moore's "Swimmin' Lessons"a well-put-together monologue-style flash fiction short film that appeals to our sentiment by surprise. The film synopsis alludes to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina while the one-man role actor describes life pre-Katrina. His depth of retrospection breathes life into the other characters whom we only get to draw closer to via the subtle nuances combined with stances of poetic narration. One of the challenges in an experimental film is will the audience get it if the plot is not obviously evident. I get what makes this film work.
Pictured (left) Filmmaker/Producer/Screenwriter Shahari Moore 
Pictured (right) NightWriter357

The festival also showcased male filmmakers who collaborated with women to make their films. Executive Producer, Olivia Wilde and Director/Documentarian, Bryan Mooser's   
"Baseball in the Time of Cholera" a tug-at-your-heartstrings (reactive) film about Haiti's water contamination problems and the fight for justice (proactive) in getting the United Nations and its governments to own their part of allegedly being the culprits of the Haitian people's demise is just one layer of this film. The other element is although people are dying in numbers of cholera poison, a young boy and a group of his friends find some solace playing baseball and along with the filmmaker and Haitian officials forms a league, a first for Haiti.  Film documentaries are more that just telling a story. Documentaries ignite sparks that jump start reactive people to become proactive. One of the questions I posed during the pre-screening Q&A with Mosser was how challenging it can be to shoot documentary films in such a way that the story is not just Q&A talking heads, although we both agreed that sometimes that works for some documentaries. Many documentaries are almost always based on morality. In contrast, the documentarian sometimes will shoot in such a way that the audience will  find a correlation with their own circumstances and what they're seeing on screen.
 Pictured (left) Filmmaker/Director/Documentarian Bryan Mooser 
Pictured (right) NightWriter357


September 30, 2012

My Humble Beginnings in Journalism

My first published feature, editorial and straight news stories at a major newspaper appeared in The Long Beach Times Newspaper.

A journalist's byline is important to the writer

September 29, 2012

REEL Black Men Film Festival 2012

It's the most fun time of the year when I get to attend film festivals like the Reel Black Men short film showcase held annually at Raleigh Studios' Charlie Chaplin Theatre. This year, August 25th, the film festival's executive director, Ralph Scott screened his much awaited short, "Barbasol," a film depicting a father-son relationship cut short by dementia. "Barbasol" won the audience award for best short at the 16th annual Urbanworld Film Festival 2012. Scott shares some insight on the filming of "Barbasol"
Pictured: Lower left, white shirt, Director/Producer Ralph Scott