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“Residue,” Reviewed: A Prodigal Filmmaker’s Wrenching Return



The genre of films about filmmakers is both hackneyed and immensely stimulating. It places stringent demands on filmmakers because it foregrounds their ideas about their art along with their practice of it, and invites self-aggrandizement along with self-reflection. Merawi Gerima’s first feature, “Residue” (which appeared on Netflix on Friday), is a notable new entry in the genre, because of the deeper, fuller grid of experience and history onto which it maps the protagonist’s—and Gerima’s own—activity, and because of the severe self-questioning that the movie modestly embodies. It’s the story of a Black filmmaker who has been living in California and who returns to his home town of Washington, D.C., to make a film set in his former neighborhood. (Gerima, studied film at the University of Southern California before returning to D.C., where he grew up, to make “Residue.”)

“Residue” is a notable exception in part because it belongs to another genre, the prodigal’s return—more specifically, the you-can’t-go-home-again subgenre—and, here, too, Gerima’s vision is both intimate and broad, at once personal and societal and cinema-centric. The protagonist, Jarell (Obinna Nwachukwu), whom everyone calls Jay, arrives in his family’s D.C. neighborhood after many years away and finds that things have changed. Jay, who’s Black, sees the effects of gentrification at once—he sees white people on streets where he’d never seen any while growing up. Driving a white pickup truck, Jay reaches the apartment where he’ll be staying and gets hassled by a young white man, who threatens to call the police on him; he finds persistent real-estate agents and investors offering cash—in person, on flyers, by phone—to Black residents, including his parents, for their homes. (His parents—played by Melody A. Tally and Ramon Thompson—are renting out a room to a young white man.)

Jay has come back to his old neighborhood in order to make a film about the people he knows there, about the Black community that he’s from and that’s dwindling, being dispersed—seemingly being occupied—by an influx of wealthier white residents. Even before his arrival, he’s haunted with doubts (expressed in voice-over) about the usefulness of his project; after he gets to town, he finds his plans, even his very presence, far more complicated than he’d expected. Despite the warm welcome that he soon receives—from older men who’d known him as a child, and from his childhood friends, especially Delonte (Dennis Lindsey), who hasn’t left the neighborhood and has led a troubled life—Jay is taken as something of an outsider who doesn’t know, who can’t know, what things have been like for those he left behind and lost contact with. What’s more, he’s viewed with suspicion, which is aroused primarily by his earnest, insistent questions about his former best friend, Demetrius, who isn’t there and about whom nobody’s very willing to talk. Is Jay intrusive? Insensitive? The police?

The movie is conceived with space in mind, and it’s prominent from the start; Gerima films with wide-screen images (the cinematographer is Mark Jeevaratnam) that are filled with city buildings and vistas and that, with canny framings and choice of lenses, either hold characters in those spaces or detach them from their surroundings. Far from merely telling the story of Jay and his neighborhood, “Residue” creates, for its characters and its setting, a distinctive cinematographic identity, one that unites the crafts of movies and reveals the unity of direction, editing, and dramaturgy. It’s a subjective film that delves deep into Jay’s memories of growing up, by way of footage, from what looks like home videos and home movies, showing scenes of his childhood—his friends, his family, the sense of community, and also the gang violence and police oppression that ravaged it—and with inner voices and imagined events, too.

Gerima’s storytelling, as Jay makes his way through his neighborhood and attempts to renew lost connections, has a similar fusion of the intensely particular and the fragmentary. Jay is sharing an apartment with his girlfriend, Blue (Taline Stewart), from whom he’s seemingly been separated for a while, but the warmth and the intimacy of their relationship (also distinctively depicted) has no backstory attached to it. Neither, for that matter, does the over-all matter of Jay’s long-term absence; his seemingly slender contact with the community in which he was raised, including with his parents; and the general breakdown of the thread of local updates about family and friends. The effect is to render Jay a figure of poignant paradox. He’s an uprooted man whose memories are deep and strong, who works to honor the people who inhabit them, but whose sense of the present day is something of a tabula rasa—and whose blanks of up-to-date knowledge are as much an inevitable part of whatever film he’ll make as they are an inevitable part of the failure that he’s forced to confront.

While averting explanations of basic practicalities, “Residue” thrusts other specifics—of the sort usually left out or overshadowed, from the periphery to the center—to the foreground. Jay learns that one longtime friend, Mike (Derron Scott), is newly released from prison and struggling with the lure of gang life, and that Delonte, unbeknownst to Jay, had endured horrors in childhood from which he still hasn’t recovered. Yet, if there’s something blank about the slate with which Jay arrives in town, there’s a strong suggestion that it’s due to his own efforts at erasure, as seen in a remarkable, moving subplot involving another childhood friend named Dion (Jamal Graham), which nearly takes over the film and expands its purview into daringly expressive realms of fantasy while considering, with bitter directness, the calculatedly cruelty of the carceral system.

Jay returns home, to make his film, with a well-intentioned innocence that’s revealed to him, in all its presumptuousness, in a series of scenes that also reflect Gerima’s fierce cinematic imagination. A nighttime reunion with Delonte, from opposite sides of a chain-link fence, is punctuated by a visit from a local policeman, who’s never seen but whose aggressive questioning is met by Jay and Delonte in drastically different ways, which suggest the men’s drastically different places in the community and its presumptive pecking order. Delonte skeptically questions Jay about his plans for the movie, and reacts with quiet derision to Jay’s earnest answer: “Just trying to give a voice to the voiceless, man.” Delonte responds, derisively, “Who’s voiceless?” Later, he offers a much more scathing view of Jay’s intentions and character, in a scene that’s written, performed, and filmed with an awe-inspiring power.

Throughout, Jay witnesses a community that’s being torn apart from within. The pressures of white supremacy from society at large have, in effect, moved in, and the aggressions and assumptions of new neighbors who are often anything but neighborly (and whose occasional attempts at being neighborly are equally dubious) are constant sources of inner tension and reckless provocation. Gun violence and gang violence—the self-destructive turmoil of a community that’s isolated, deprived, and besieged—persist. And, when Jay returns home, it isn’t only his blanked-out consciousness that gets filled in—it’s a seemingly suppressed rage that’s only exacerbated by the revelation of his own inadequacy, artistic impotence, and emotional failures. Jay endures, subtly but critically, the destruction of his self-image, which, he discovers, was built on a void, and which is mirrored by the voiding, through gentrification, of the community on which his identity was founded. The furious and mind-wrenching tensions that Jay faces—and that Gerima evokes as his own—are inseparable from those of his neighborhood, of the community at large, of American society over all. The failures built into a film such as the one that Jay plans—and of which Gerima essentially accuses himself—aren’t those of filmmakers alone. “Residue” ’s subject is, inescapably, ongoing collective failures of an enormous, historical scope.


The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses




When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack




Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

Click here to check the best tips on blackjack tournament strategies:

Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.


Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students




The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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