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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Selma: My Review

I finally saw Best Picture nominee Selma today, and the praise is well deserved. I enjoyed the movie although I was one of those people who initially felt that Hollywood had run the gamut with Civil Rights movies. Selma is different in the respect that it deals with more than just King, but the people both black and white who fought beside him as well. I thought all involved did a wonderful job including David Oyeleyo (MLK), Carmen Ejogo (Coretta), Tom Wilkinson (LBJ), and Tim Roth (George Wallace). Everyone has been complaining about the lack of an Oscar nod for Oyeleyo, but those three deserved recognition as well in my opinion. It would have been great for Ava Duvernay to get a nod just for the historical statement that would have made, but I know it's coming, not just a nomination but a win. With each film she directs, Ava's skills are sharpened and I can't wait to see what she tackles next. I read that it would be a television project, but I would like for her to tackle Americanah starring Lupita N'yongo and Oyelowo or possibly the long awaited The Coldest Winter Ever which was optioned by Jada Pinkett Smith years ago, but never brought to the screen. I think Ava would be perfect to helm that Hollywood. Hint! Hint!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hindsight: My Review




VH 1 which has been known for ratchet reality t v the past few years has a new scripted series called Hindsight on its winter roster.  I must say it has a pretty good premise along with a charming lead. The show deals with Becca (Laura Ramsey), a woman who is engaged to be married to a great but boring guy who wakes up back in 1995 after blacking out the day before her wedding. In this world she is engaged to be married to her first husband Sean, her parents are still married, and the best friend she fell out with is back in her life. Another great reason to watch this show is Mario Cantone who plays Becca's unappreciative boss . If you loved him as Anthony (Charlotte's gay bestie) on Sex and the City, then I'm sure you'll love him on this show as well.

I 've only seen one episode and hope that the upcoming episodes are as charming as the pilot. If you haven't seen it, check it out Wednesdays at 10PM.

Boyhood: My Review



The film Boyhood has been racking up awards left and right and the latest honor was a Best Picture win at the Golden Globes last night. Today I sat down to see it and must say, even though I have yet to see all of the films being mentioned for Best Picture, I can see why Boyhood is getting so much praise.

The film was shot over 12 years with a cast that includes Patricia Arquette (Olivia), Ethan Hawke (Mason Sr.) , Lorelei Linklater (Samantha), and Ellar Coltrane (Mason) whose boyhood is traced throughout the film. This journey is not a short one. The movie is three hours long but in my opinion nothing really needed to be cut. Unlike a lot of films of this length I didn't get antsy for it to end. I found the character arcs very satisfying. Watching Patricia's character Olivia find herself after going back to school and multiple divorces could have been a movie itself. Even Ethan's character growth was great to witness. He started off as this ne'er do well guy with no goals or aspirations to a churchgoing family man over the course of the film.  We also get to watch Samantha mature from a little girl to a college aged young woman and to see both her and Ellar's transformations through the years was a little jarring, but it worked.

Richard Linklater's movie is an ambitious undertaking, and even though Boyhood may not be every one's cup of tea, it's more than deserving of the awards it has racked up.  Also can I just say I heart Patricia Arquette and have for years and want to see her get more parts on the big screen. No offense, but I think she deserves better than CSI:Cyber.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Empire: My Review

My name is Yolanda, and I'm addicted. Addicted to what you ask? Fox's new midseason soap Empire. Yes, it was everything and more. Taraji P. Henson (Cookie) and Terrence Howard (Lucious) brought the heat in this hip hop drama helmed by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, (the team that brought The Butler to the big screen). With a soundtrack supplied by Timbaland, Empire managed to do what How To Get Away With Murder hasn't succeeded in doing just yet and that's delivering not only with the lead characters but the supporting characters as well. Jamal, the middle son of Cookie and Lucious is ridiculously talented but is shunned by his father for being gay. There is a flashback scene that absolutely breaks your heart, and it sets the tone for why the present day relationship of Lucious and Jamal is so strained. The other sons, college educated Andre and rapper Hakeem are interesting in their own right as well, but Jamal is the one who I feel had the standout storyline during the pilot episode.

From the looks of the previews Empire has a lot of big names lined up for appearances: Courtney Love, Jennifer Hudson, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Naomi Campbell to name a few. And on a final note it's nice to see Taraji in a role that she's obviously having major fun with. Cookie's crass ghetto fabulousness is something to behold!

Matthew McConaughey & Gugu Mbatha-Raw Land Leads In Civil War Film




Yesterday it was announced that Gary Ross will direct Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey  and rising star Gugu Mbatha-Raw in  the Civil War drama Free State of Jones.

Matthew will portray Newton Knight, a Missisippi bred Confederate recruit who created the Free State of Jones and later married a slave.

This story has major dramatic potential, and I can see both Matthew and Gugu delivering stellar performances. Let's hope the script proves to be worthy of the talent involved.




Monday, January 5, 2015

Wild: My Review

Reese Witherspoon has returned to form with the film Wild which is based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir of the same name. Jean Marc Vallee, the man behind Dallas Buyers Club and the Oscar winning performances of Matthew McConaughey and (my boo) Jared Leto directed this film as well, and even though some parts of it dragged for me, it was still an interesting film. As someone who is extremely close to her mother, I understood Cheryl's grief but did not understand her need to walk the Pacific Coast Trail to get back to herself. Yes Cheryl got involved with drugs really badly and cheated on her husband numerous times, but walking this trail was supposed to be her come to Jesus moment? Anyway Cheryl did make some interesting acquaintances while on her hike, but I was more intrigued with the dissolution of her marriage and her heroin addiction than the hike itself. If the film had of focused on that more than maybe I wouldn't have been checking my Twitter feed at certain points in the movie. That aside, I will be reading the book this is based on because maybe some of the details I found missing in the film will appear in the book. Let's hope.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Obvious Child: My Review

Obvious Child starring comedian Jenny Slate is the art house hit critics love due to its handling of the hot topic of abortion and the star making performance of Slate, an SNL alum and co star of the FX series Married.

The movie starts with a breakup between Slate's character Donna Stern and her boyfriend Ryan who has been cheating on her with one of her close friends. On top of the breakup, Donna learns that the bookstore she has been working at for five years is closing down. After getting pissy drunk before her set at the club she does stand up at and turning the audience off by going on and on about her horrible breakup, Donna meets yuppie Max and a night of drunken sex leads to an unwanted pregnancy.

Slate's humor is crude at times and if you are easily turned off by that, then the jokes in the opening scenes will have you wondering why you rented this movie. But if blue humor doesn't bother you and you stick with the film you will find that the buzz surrounding Slate and writer/ director Gillian Robespierre is well deserved, and it has one anxious to see what is next from these two. Can I offer a suggestion? Maybe a sequel to Obvious Child because the ending left me hopeful for Max and Donna. Just saying!