Monday, January 23, 2012

Phil sees RED TAILS at the Camera 12- January 21, 2012

The fourth film I saw at the Camera 12 was the new film produced by George Lucas and his Lucasfilm LTD. Staring an all black cast, including Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Bryan Cranston, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Tristan Wilds, Cliff Smith, Kevin Phillips, Leslie Odom Jr., Michael B. Jordan, Jazmine Sullivan, Edwina Finley, Daniela Ruah, Stacie Davis and Gerald McRaney, RED TAILS tells a forgotten, overlooked and important chapter of World War II.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2012)
Set in 1944 as World War II rages, the African American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program are facing and fighting two very different wars at once: one against the Axis powers overseas, and racial discrimination within their own Army. However as the war in Europe continues to take its toll on the Allied forces, these brave men are finally called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard (Howard) and Major Emanuelle Stance (Gooding Jr.). After several successful missions, these brave men now known as The Red Tails embark on their most important mission: escort American bombardiers deep into Germany while fighting off their new jet fighter planes.

The film was the directorial debut of Anthony Hemingway, who is mostly know for directing TV episodes on shows such as Fringe, CSI: NY, The Closer, and Treme. He as also been second unit director or assistant director on films such as ALI, CHANGING LANES, and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE.

Lucas originally began developing the film around 1988 but was unable to secure funding because the major film studios balked at the idea of financing and marketing a film with an "all-black" cast and "no major white roles." As a result of Hollowood's short sightedness, Lucas ended up funding the project with his own money, investing $58 million into the production of the film, and a further $35 million towards marketing. In March of 2010, after principle photography wrapped, Lucas took over directing the film's reshoots for Hemingway, who was already committed to filming the first season of Treme.

Now being that this was Hemingway's first film, I'll be going lenient. I know what's it like trying to direct your first film. However, his directing in the film could have been more smother and polished. At times I couldn't tell if he was trying to direct the film as a 1940s film or trying to be modern. Another item I didn't care for was the transitions between scenes. Many of these dissolves were unnecessary and some were cases, they dissolved way too fast. Also the script could have been more detailed because the characters seemed to me too one dimensional. There really was no real depth to these characters. However, the film does show us the racial discrimination that these men had to face and in the end finally given the respect that they deserve was important to see.

Of course this being a Lucas film, one would expect the special effects to be nothing less but spectacular and they are! The dog fights in the air, the bombing of German bases, the exploding German ships, these CGI effects are top notch! Great combat fighting is required in these types of films and Lucas and his team have once again done an incredible job.

RED TAILS is a flawed film, but still entertaining and also one that teaches us that adversity can be overcome. What these brave men did in WWII paved the way for equality in the Armed Forces. History was made back then, and now a whole new generation of people can now see how it was made before their very eyes. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

RED TAILS is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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