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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!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Short Term 12 : My Review

The film Short Term 12 has all the qualities of the perfect indie: great story, an excellent script, and a terrific ensemble cast headed by the soon to be extremely well known Brie Larson. The movie centers around Grace (Larson), a counselor at a foster care facility who is extremely good at her job. She takes a loving but firm approach with her charges, and it's quite obvious that they respect her despite their sometimes insolent attitudes. Grace is also juggling a relationship with Mason a fellow counselor and the father of the baby she is carrying. Even though Grace seemingly has it together on the outside, a newcomer to the facility by the name of Jayden brings up things from her past that Grace would rather not deal with, but has to if she can ever think of having a future with Mason.

Larson does an excellent job as Grace and was well deserving of the award recognition she received over the past several months. In a less crowded field, Larson possibly could have received an Oscar nod as well, but unfortunately she did not. Larson did however land a coveted spot on the cover of the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair with the likes of Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Lupita Nyongo, and Jared Leto. She has also appeared in the films Don Juan, 21 Jump Street, and The Spectacular Now.

Another one to watch is Keith Stanfield who plays eighteen year old Marcus, a kid from an abusive background who has aged out of the system. His performance will break your heart and he along with Kaitlyn Dever who plays Jayden are two talents to keep an eye on.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: I've Never Been To Vegas but My Luggage Has

There are a lot of "how to survive the single life" books on the market, but Mandy Hale has written one that is not only written from a Christian perspective, but also written from a standpoint that all women despite their religious beliefs can relate to.

I’ve Never Been To Vegas but My Luggage Has is the second book from Mandy who is the creator of The Single Woman blog and the author of the book of the same name. I first became acquainted with Mandy through Twitter and quickly became a follower. What attracted me to her Tweets were the positivity and wisdom they exude. Mandy‘s unabashed honesty and straight shooter style is appreciated in a world where books for single Christians stick to the mantra of “pray and wait for your husband” or “this is the season where you should strictly be focused on the Lord”. They never speak to those that may struggle with wanting what they want in their timing not God’s. Not to knock those books, but Mandy is very frank about the mistakes she’s made with guys: falling for Mr. E, someone who repeatedly broke her heart; living out of wedlock with a physically abusive boyfriend; and struggling with depression and anxiety. I don’t want to give away too much of this wonderful book but if you are a single woman of any age and race please pick up this gem of a book, read Mandy’s blog, , check her out on You Tube, and follow her on social media. For those that need a little encouragement and perspective on this single journey, Mandy will provide it.

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