Monthly Archives: January 2008

How She Move in Canada

Wail. Today is Justin Timberlake’s 27th birthday—and mine was on Tuesday. Ha! Oui. I take pride in being forty-eight hours older.

I know the following assessment of How She Move (filmed in Canada) is not as thorough as I indicated it would be, but if i waited until my corporeality stopped misbehaving and acquiesced to the will of the mental facilities, it could be three weeks before this entry is posted. Alors, I decided to just go with what is below. Et encore. Ne personne me dit qu’il/elle voudrait les autre choses.

Goal-oriented Raya (Rutina Wesley) has to move back to the projects and attend public school after the death of her sister Pam (who had squandered away Raya’s tuition money on drugs). Raya has one week to prepare for an exam that will determine if she can obtain a scholarship to go back to Seaton Academy. Her schedule becomes significantly busier after she starts hanging out and stepping with her childhood friend Bishop (Dwain Murphy) and his crew. Narrative conflict consists of convincing and proving to Bishop she is good enough and serious about being a part of his crew (to win the big bucks at the annual Step Monster competition) as well as dealing with personality issues with Michelle (Tre Armstrong), another friend from the neighborhood.

I was right. It isn’t fair to compare How She Move with Stomp the Yard. Both films utilize stepping ways to fuel the conflict in the plot and for the protagonists to reclaim an amount of control over their lives, but the details aren’t the same. For Raya, stepping is the means for her to return to the life she’d been living for three years–private school to college to med school to out-of-the-projects. For DJ (Columbus Short), though, it possesses more redemptive powers (forgiving himself for not looking out for his little brother and caring about something other than himself).

I feel like I got to know DJ better as a character and I liked him more–he seemed more sympathetic, which is probably because of his more pronounced slacker, carefree tendencies. Raya, on the other hand, is focused to the point of being self-absorbed, unaware that she can’t have what she wants, she can’t achieve her goals without accommodating the will of others and helping them out from time to time (the film directly articulates this point).

Visually, Stomp the Yard is silken sunshine and How She Move is grainy cyan (actually a nice touch I thought). I prefer the filmed danced aesthetic of the latter. The making-of featurette of Stomp the Yard suggests that capturing the energy and the awe-inspiring movements of the dancers necessitated frenetic cutting and slow-motion. How She Move, though, concentrates on a different aspect of stepping as spectacle and as dance (not quite sure how to explain it right now). The recital aesthetic is incorporated in conjunction with low-angle shots, high-angle shots, and minimal slow-motion. It reminded me of the music video for Busta Rhymes’s song “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” (directed by Hype Williams)–except much less use of fisheye lens.

How She Move trailer:


Stomp the Yard trailer:

Product Placement in How She Move: Nike, Pepsi, Dunlop, Aquafina


I dreamed a yesterday morning that I was talking to Peyton Manning about salsa/nacho chips.
Ah, yes. The Game Plan and The Comebacks are both out on DVD now. Go Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon, or Best Buy them today! I’m going to pick up both films in the near future; I can finally get that in-depth probe of The Comebacks vis-a-vis Not Another Teen Movie.

NFL Noise: It’s That Time of Year Again

Super Bowl commercials.

Companies banking on Super Bowl ads

By SETH SUTEL, AP Business Writer Sun Jan 27, 2:39 PM ET\

NEW YORK – The story lines are unabashedly goofy. Cavemen invent the wheel to transport a beer cooler made of stone, and a car buyer enlists the help of a tribal warrior in case he needs some extra negotiating leverage at the dealership.

For most of us, Super Bowl ads make fine entertainment. But for the advertisers who make and buy them, Sunday is white-knuckle time.

The blogging boom has created crowds of armchair critics; the price for a 30-second spot is up again, to $2.7 million; and a writers strike has wiped out many other opportunities to reach mass audiences by putting scripted dramas like “Desperate Housewives” on hold.

Even against odds like these, many major marketing powers and even a few first-timers couldn’t resist the opportunity of reaching more than 90 million people in a single shot — something that’s increasingly hard to do in any medium.

Advertisers still love the Internet for its ability to deliver measured results from click-throughs and carve audiences into tiny segments. But only the largest of television’s “events” — such as the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the Oscars and the Grammys — have the muscle to pull in tens of millions of people in real time.

“There are so few media vehicles out there that reach that size audience that there’s still a big value in not only reaching so many people but in such an engaging manner,” said Andy Donchin, director of national broadcast at Carat, a major buyer and planner of advertising.

Add the extra buzz created by the possibility of the New England Patriots making history with an undefeated season, and advertisers have a lot on the line. The placement is great if they have a winning ad, not so great if the ad tanks. Last year’s viewership of 93.2 million was close to the all-time record of 94.1 million set in 1996, and many believe that record could be surpassed this year.


Read the rest here.

Off Topic: Today’s Verse 5

I actually wrote it a couple days ago but didn’t transcribe it until tonight. I was also going to watch the fourth Rambo film during the weekend, but I had to re-schedule that to I don’t know when. Possibly Tuesday afternoon. My brain isn’t all there to write up my thoughts on How She Move tonight (I’m still trying to collect and organize my ideas).   Et puis, ne personne me dit qu’il/elle voudrait que j’ecris mes pensees toute de suite. Alors, je vous donne cette:

He raced across an azure
wall mount
feeding directly
the teetering strands
of my rushing count
we lunged into the night
he, spicing down chicken
I, mincing parsley

He talked of last minute
the record book doesn’t hold—
He added twenty laps
of boating
to each county mile

He accepted no daze
for the golden pass of the season
Branded to a four corner
cradle, always three
All-American plates
to out-do mine

For a time
and then he jumps beats
for a reeling,
long while

–yiqi 25 jan 5:05pm

NFL News: Mike Smith signs up in Atlanta

But first–I didn’t watch How She Move on Friday, because I was having one of those days where I had to use the facilities every five minutes.  I watched it today.  I’ll have an entry about it within the next 30 hours.   

So the NHL All-Star weekend is in Atlanta this year.  I was browsing (my local Fox station) and came across this pretty nifty article about Willie O’Ree, dubbed the “Jackie Robinson of hockey” in the days of his ice-puck career.  

Now on to the matter occupying many Falcons fans (and administrators) for some time.  

Falcons have a new head coach! It’s official.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — It was hard not to notice the hunk of gold seemingly encasing the ring finger on Mike Smith’s right hand Thursday. The markings on the massive band identified it as a Super Bowl ring, a relic of Smith’s past life as a coach for the Baltimore Ravens.

In his new life as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Smith hopes to someday replace the hardware with something sporting a few more diamonds and the unmistakable red and black bird of his new team.

“I’m committed to making this football team one of the most competitive football teams in the National Football League,” said Smith, who was introduced Thursday as the 14th coach in franchise history. He was joined by Falcons Owner and CEO Arthur Blank, newly-hired General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and his wife and 7-year-old daughter.

The 26-year coaching veteran and former defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars brings a diverse background to the fold. He has made stops with just five teams prior to joining the Falcons with positions ranging from “college assistant coach” to “professional defensive coordinator.” He broke into the NFL on his brother-in-law Brian Billick’s staff in Baltimore after spending 11 years coaching defense and special teams at Tennessee Tech.

He led the Jaguars defense from 2003 to 2007. The group ranked fifth in the AFC last season, allowing 100.3 rushing yards per game and 12th in the NFL in total defense. The Jaguars ranked third in points allowed and fourth in overall defense in the 2006 season. Three defensive players in Jacksonville went to a total of six Pro Bowls during Smith’s tenure.

“First of all, I’m very happy for Smitty,” Jags defensive tackle Marcus Stroud said. “He’s definitely a deserving coach and will be a very good addition to the Falcons. He’s ready for this opportunity. He’s been a good coach for a long time. He is going to bring stability and a tough-minded approach. He’s a leader and will do a great job in Atlanta.”

Click here to read the complete piece from the Falcons web site.

Click here for more information on the new coaching staff.

It’s Just the Way She Moves…

…to be prim and proper.

Edit: Click here for my entry on the film.

Or, How She Move. Directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid and written by Annmarie Morais, this dance film can be most conveniently described as a gender-reversal of Stomp the Yard, minus the near exclusive focus on stepping. Mais, je crois que cette pensee est trop…facile? sans l’inspiration.

Sorry. There I go thinking out loud en Francais again.

….I believe this idea is too easy, uninspired. How She Move surely can’t be summed up so neatly as “the female version of Stomp the Yard” not just because the plot details aren’t that similar, but also because I imagine aside from the ideologically significant role that dancing plays in the characters’ lives, other issues are at play. In fact, maybe it’s the film’s visual design and lighting scheme, but something about the trailer makes me think of Girlfight (Karyn Kusama, 2000)—probably on account of the defeminizing of dancing in the one film complements the manipulated masculinity of the other.

I’ll know with more certainty after I watch How She Move later today. The poster makes me think of Blaxploitation promotional pieces in the scent of Pam Grier.

Here’s the trailer for How She Move.

Here’s the trailer for Girlfight.