Fred Williamson

originalgangstas01

There continues to be talk of the all-women version of The Expendables, so why not an all-black version? Actually, there already kinda was one way back in 1996. Blaxploitation stars Fred Williamson (Black Caesar; Hell Up in Harlem), Pam Grier (Foxy Brown; Coffy), Jim Brown (Slaughter; The Dirty Dozen), Ron O’Neal (Super Fly) and Richard Roundtree (Shaft) and director Larry Cohen (Black Caesar; Hell Up in Harlem) came together for a movie titled Original Gangstas. It was sort of what The Expendables is all about now — nostalgia for the action movies of the ’80s and early ’90s with a round up of legendary action heroes who are now middle-aged or older — but then, it was in tribute to the African-American-focused genre of the ’70s as well as an answer to the rise of the urban crime films that broke out through the early work of John Singleton, the Hughes Brothers and Mario Van Peebles, the son of Blaxploitation legend Melvin Van Peebles. Eighteen years later, Original Gangstas is getting a sequel called Original Gangstas 2: Old School Gangstas. And it’s looking to the fans to help get it off the ground. Williamson, who is at the helm this time and also the writer of the script, has gone on Kickstarter to ask for $1.2M. That may seem like a lot, but it’s only a third of the budget of the original (which sure doesn’t look like it cost that much) and still $50K less than Spike Lee’s Kickstarter goal for […]

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Star Wars

Traditionally, February is known as Blaxploitation History Month here at Junkfood Cinema. Of course, “traditionally” a “decent person” “puts on pants before leaving the house” and “doesn’t touch communal buffet food with his bare feet,” so we are far from averse to bucking tradition. To wit, you might call today’s Blaxploitation History Month entry more of an investigation of blaxploitation alternate history. One of the most interesting facets of this short-lived subgenre of film is how it appropriated, and left its unmistakable mark on, several existing popular films and styles of film. We therefore had blaxploitation Westerns, blaxploitation horror, blaxploitation spy films, and even blaxploitation versions of movies like The Defiant Ones, courtesy of a young Jonathan Demme, and…the Warren Beatty comedy Shampoo, courtesy of what I have to assume was a dare. But what about sci-fi? Apart from an exceedingly small smattering of titles, one of which is about a white man and a black man whose heads are sewn onto the same body (so, there’s that), blaxploitation did not venture into sci-fi territory. This is likely because blaxploitation films often operated on very limited means, and science-fiction tends to necessitate a larger budget than, say, a crime story. That’s not to say shoestring-budget sci-fi isn’t obtainable, but it may have been the concern over the potential production price tag that kept filmmakers in this subgenre from attempting the blaxploitation/science-fiction mash-up. This, unfortunately, deprived us all of what should have been the greatest cinematic accomplishment of the 20th century: […]

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; we take our Coffy black…and with six spoonfuls of Häagen-Dazs. You have just stumbled Across 110th Street and Hit! the internet’s most Boss bad movie column like a Hammer, and there’s No Way Back. Every Friday (Foster), we Drum up another Jive Turkey, becoming Mr Mean as we Savage! and Slaughter the movie right In Your Face. But then, as if we were a Thing with Two Heads we lay aside all our Hangups to tell you why we think the film is actually Super Fly. Then, for The Final Comedown, we’ll offer a Big Time delicious themed snack food item for you to cram down your food Shaft. This week’s big score: Hell Up in Harlem Alas it is time once again to bid farewell to Blaxploitation History Month, and this third incarnation in which we’ve focused on the best of the best worst blaxploitation sequels. We may not have broken any new ground or radically advanced the medium of irreverent film journalism, but some how, against all odds, we managed to undeniably not get sued. So please enjoy this chicken we just counted well before it hatched.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; your check is almost certainly in the mail. Yes my unfortunate dupes, you’ve stumbled upon the weekly bad movie column that seriously calls into question the acronym TGIF; unless you reassign the letters to mean Tell God I Forfeit. Every Friday, right before you shuffle off for the weekend, I slap you upside the face with a film that fell well short of greatness long ago and is now selling insurance and renting a double-wide in a little town called Schlocksburgh. My job is to walk the dirt roads of Schlocksburgh under cover of night and hurl rocks of mockery at said double-wide until somebody calls the internet police. But then, just as I’m about to be booked for a hate crime, I tear off my shirt and reveal a crudely drawn homemade tattoo across my chest professing my undying love for said film. I then offer a disgustingly tasty themed snack as an act of contrition, and in the hopes of avoiding a bothersome restraining order. This Week’s Target: Blackjack

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American Grindhouse

American Grindhouse was my most anticipated film of SXSW 2010. I have studied grindhouse and exploitation cinema with the fervor of a doctoral candidate. But my research has been limited to simply getting my hands on as many of the films as possible so it’s all based on knowledge of the product. So the documentary American Grindhouse seemed gift-wrapped for me.

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