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 TAMPABAY.COM: June 16, 2000
Entertainment News, Reviews from the Times


SHAFT: He's back, he's black and he's b-a-a-a-d . . . and John Shaft brings some funky blaxploitation memories with him. Can ya dig it? He's back, he's black and he's b-a-a-a-d . . . and
The birth of blaxploitation
Former NAACP leader Junius Griffin coined the term “blaxploitation” in 1972, complaining in Variety about negative images in a then-new film called Superfly, a title that also became a catch phrase.

  • 'Shaft' is still great, but the audience is much improved
    The remake of Shaft is a class act, never insulting the memory of its popular predecessor. But a lot more moviegoers will appreciate now what at one time was considered entertainment for blacks only.
  • Dig these classics
    Check your local video stores and cable TV channels for these blaxploitation classics:
  • Bad muthas who mattered
    Blaxploitation movies were merely beginnings for some artists and entire careers for others. Just for fun, here's a list of the genre's most celebrated soul brothers and sisters. We've added a Funk-o-meter rating ranging from 1 (might as well be Bill Cosby) to 10 (baddest of the bad)

Persall's Top 5
Recent releases recommended by Times film critic Steve Persall

Movies on the edge
BETTER LIVING THROUGH CIRCUITRY (Not rated, probably R) (85 min.) -- There must be something more to the rave craze than drugs and dancing until dawn. Nobody stands still long enough to provide deep answers in a documentary that, after first rush, becomes as redundant as its electronic music.

 IMAX 'Fantasia': the bigger, the better
Movies usually get smaller with age, moving from theaters to home video. Today's release of Fantasia 2000 to multiplexes adds another clause to the law of diminishing returns.

Who says animation is kids' stuff?
With only occasional small lapses into juvenility, Titan A.E. serves up an animated tale even an adult can love.

The Nibbler
A hip J. Ryan's wobbles on consistency
The new bistro has buzz and charm but has to do more than dazzle once.

Art beat
Hot artists headline summer series
The Tampa Museum of Art continues its series examining leading bay area artists with "underCURRENT/overVIEW 4," opening Sunday and running through Aug. 20.

Days Off
A celebration of freedom
Join in celebrating Juneteenth 2000, the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in America, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and at 4 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday.

The Web
Web sites we like

Brahms chamber music to close out Sarasota Music Festival
Chamber music can mainly be heard at festivals in the mountains and lake country of northern climes over the next few months, so the closing weekend of the Sarasota Music Festival is the last hurrah for listeners who brave the Florida summer.

Not all that new, but who cares?
OLD SKOOL VS. NEW SKOOL FEATURING ROB BASE & DJ E-Z ROCK WITH YOUNG MC. 9 p.m. Saturday, Jannus Landing, downtown St. Petersburg. (727) 827-1518. Tickets through Ticketmaster, $18.

Classical file
Kurt Weill: Die Burgschaft; Julius Rudel, conductor (EMI) -- It sometimes strikes me that Kurt Weill must have worked himself to death. Born in 1900, he lived just 50 years, but his career was amazingly productive and versatile, resembling that of another composer who crossed musical genres and died relatively young, George Gershwin.

In our own backyard
An occasional roundup of compact discs by local musicians

The pulse of reggae
"Babylon is burning," Steel Pulse declared on 1978's Handsworth Revolution, the debut album from the radical reggae exponents. The rugged, riddim-intensive disc, a statement of Rastafarian faith and dread politics from a band once hailed as a natural successor to Bob Marley, remains a classic of the genre.

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