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Monday, April 21, 2014

Christian Audiences Will Not Be Ignored

Easter weekend was a profitable one at the box office for the inspirational film Heaven Is For Real. I hadn't read the book on which the film is based, but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and will probably read the book eventually.

Heaven Is For Real is about a young boy named Colton Burpo who travels to heaven while undergoing emergency surgery. His account of heaven, the people he saw there, and what he saw on earth while he was there causes concern for his father and chaos in the church for which his father is the pastor. As it turns out a lot of people aren't as pleased about there being a heaven as one would think.

As a Christian, it is refreshing to see a movie that is for this demographic, that isn't corny or overly preachy. It's also nice to see that a film like this attracted the talents of Oscar nominees Greg Kinnear and Thomas Haden Church, and Emmy winner Margo Martindale

Hopefully Hollywood will continue to make films like this that inspire and are good enough for the whole family to appreciate.

Friday, April 18, 2014

October Baby: My Review

October Baby  is a movie that touches on unwanted pregnancy, adoption, and abortion. It's a faith based film from first time directors and brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin, and it centers around college student Hannah and her learning that she was given up for adoption after her birth mother's failed attempt at an abortion. In other words Hannah is an abortion survivor, but her fraternal twin did not survive. Hannah has to not only deal with that knowledge, but also discovering her birth mother who is now a successful attorney with a family of her own wants nothing to do with her. Add this and the growing attraction between her and her oldest friend Jason, poor Hannah is not a happy camper throughout most of the movie.

This movie was meh, not bad, not great. Rachel Hendrix  who portrays Hannah is a decent actress and I would like to see her in more projects. To be an unknown and carry a film is a huge weight, but with this being a Christian based movie with a small budget, the likelihood of the producers attracting a Shailene Woodley or Jennifer Lawrence for the role wasn't going to happen. The biggest names in this film are John Schneider and Jasmine Guy from the television classics, The Dukes of Hazzard, and A Different World.

The script wasn't perfect, but despite it's flaws I'm glad I was able to stream it on Netflix on a rainy Easter weekend!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The To Do List: My Review


If you are looking for a raunchy comedy in the vein of Superbad or Bridesmaids to enjoy on a night when there is nothing on the telly, do yourself a favor and rent The To Do List with Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation. I don't watch Parks and Rec (and yes I know that I'm missing out so it's on my Netflix list), as Brandy Klark, a recent high school graduate who takes a strategic approach to losing her virginity. Between her more experienced besties Flora and Wendy and her older sister Amber, Brandy feels she has all the tools she needs to snag Rusty Waters. He is a fellow lifeguard at the community pool where Brandy is working for the summer, and she has been crushing on him since laying eyes on him at a graduation party. On top of that Brandy's friend Cameron has a major crush on her which makes things even more complicated.

This movie boasts a great cast which includes Connie Britton, Clark Gregg, and Rachel Bilson and cameos by the likes of Andy Samberg (SNL) and Jack McBrayer (30 Rock).

Rent at your own risk! You may hurt yourself from laughing so hard :)

Frankie & Alice: My Review

Movies about black people struggling with mental illness are few and far between. The only two that come to recent memory are Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story and Abducted:The Carlina White StoryFrankie and Alice is the true story of a go go dancer named Frankie (Halle Berry) who has multiple personality disorder. The two personalities wreaking havoc with Frankie's life are Genius, a 7 year old child, and a racist Southern belle by the name of Alice. Things come to a head for Frankie when "Alice" emerges during a tryst with a co worker where she attacks him. This event leads to the fateful meeting with Dr. Oz (Stellan Skarsgard), who is determined to help Frankie with her illness.

The movie is flawed, especially when it comes to setting up the reason as to why Frankie is suffering from this disorder and the role her mother (Phylicia Rashad) plays into it. Frankie also has a sister played by Chandra Wilson of Grey's Anatomy fame whose role is so small it might as well be nonexistent.

As someone who focuses in on the screenplay, I feel that the script if it had of delved more into Frankie's family, or present day Frankie who is living with her illness and is now married to a psychiatrist would have made the movie just that more interesting. The performances (with Halle being the standout) were fine, but the story needed some tweaking.  Do I recommend this as date night fare? Not really, but if it premieres on Lifetime or Netflix streaming definitely check it out!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club:My Review



I know I'm late with this review, but after seeing Dallas Buyers Club this evening I had to blog about it. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both deserved the acclaim they received. There is no question that these two both gave a thousand percent to their roles of Ron Woodruff and Rayon, two people suffering from AIDS, one a racist, homophobic redneck and the other a drug addicted transgender prostitute. I had heard that McConaughey's portrayal of Woodruff was a shock to the system of moviegoers used to seeing him portray the handsome romantic leading man, but in DBL McConaughey's skeletal frame,dark hair, and balls to the wall performance showed just how versatile an actor he can be.  I swear you go from being completely disgusted by Woodruff to rooting for him as he goes against the establishment to attain the drugs he and and so many others need to survive.

Woodruff's transformation from unsympathetic to endearing is cemented in a scene when he defends Rayon from a former "friend" who refuses to acknowledge Rayon because he's transgender. Leto's role was too small for my taste, but it served the purpose of showing that despite their initial differences, Ron and Rayon both realized they needed one another to survive.

I know the role of Rayon was a supporting one, but I would have liked to learn more about the character, especially his background as the disowned son of a banker who Rayon goes to see to get some money for Ron. I know this film was about Woodruff and his willingness to do whatever it took to get the drugs needed to extend the lives of AIDS patients, but Leto's performance left me wanting more of Rayon.

Very good film, but it's extremely raw in some instances so it's definitely not one for the kiddies.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Lupita Is the New Face Of Lancome

Okay I admit, I have been a tad bit obsessed with tracking any Lupita N'yongo news ever since she became the It girl of awards season.  After winning several awards for her portrayal of Patsy in 12 Years A Slave, the news was slow in coming. Yeah I heard the rumors of Lupita possibly being the star of the new Star Wars movie and of her adapting the book Americanah for the big screen, but nothing concrete, until today.

It was announced this morning that one of the biggest cosmetics companies, Lancome has signed Lupita as the new face of their line. This is great news for her especially in the wake of The Hollywood Reporter article that stated Lupita's chances of overcoming the post Oscar curse that plagues so many Black women would be a huge obstacle. It also stated that her ebony complexion would make it doubly harder for her to succeed in entertainment. I refused to buy into this antiquated thinking especially after the way she was embraced by mainstream America pre Oscar win.

Now I'm waiting for that film project to be announced that will take catapult Lupita to the status of a Jennifer Lawrence/Amy Adams. Hopefully I won't have to wait much longer.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

First: My Review


The new web series First should quiet those who constantly complain about the lack of black love in the media. The show produced by web series queen Issa Rae details the love story of Charles and Robin, two childhood friends who reconnect as adults and begin dating. I just saw the inaugural episode, and it was fantastic.  I liked the way we were given some history on the characters by first reflecting back on their childhood years. This sets up the present where Charles and Robin go on their first date and while en route to their destination Robin teases Charles about the a girl he used to mess around with when they were kids not knowing that the whole time he was really interested in her.

Jahmela Biggs who plays Robin is also the creator and writer of the show. I like the premise and so far the chemistry between her and Will Catlett who plays Charles is enough to make me continue to tune in. This show has been described as a modern day Love Jones , and even though that is a worthwhile comparison, I feel the show has what it takes to succeed on its own merits without being perceived as Love Jones 2.0.

You can watch the series by subscribing to Issa Rae's You Tube channel.  Let me know what you think in the comments section below!
 

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