Full disclosure: I despise the film "Monster's Ball." It bothers me (like it did for producer Belma Johnson) and I feel like Halle Berry has done so many other great roles that she should've been awarded for. I did, however, enjoy "Training Day," but to this day I still think awards should've fallen at Denzel Washington's feet for "Malcolm X." My head still rolls about Angela Bassett not winning for "What's Love Got to Do With It?" I have never been impressed by the Oscars nor have I been patient enough to sit through an entire show. But I respect the actors who were cheated out of these awards so much that it made me want to see this 52-minute special anyway.
Los Angeles Times writers John Horn, Nicole Sperling and Doug Smith wrote an interesting piece about the Oscars called "Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male" that had absolutely no surprises in it for me. I was more surprised by those who were surprised by the analysis. Either way, I recommend reading it.
And now on to Obba Babatundé's film: I was born in 1981 so some of these movies and entertainers are new to me (highlighted in green) while the tales of others live on. Many distinguished African-American actors and actresses are mentioned and/or interviewed:
Sidney PoitierBeah Richards
James Earl Jones
Louis Gossett, Jr.
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Eriq La Salle
Michael Clarke Duncan
Screenwriters were mentioned as well, including Lonnie Elder III and Suzanne de Passe. Directors Spike Lee and John Singleton were also acknowledged. And musicians who were nominated and/or won Oscar Gold awards are featured, including Isaac Hayes, Ray Parker Jr., Herbie Hancock, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie and Brian O'Neal.
Action movies have never been my thing, but I have enjoyed all of the "Iron Man
" series, mainly because I'm such a fan of the writing for this collection. I'm also a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr. (who made it to my "50 Sexiest Men
" Pinterest countdown) along with Don Cheadle. I enjoyed part 1, but I'm far more entertained by 2 and 3. And the third film did not disappoint. All of the stats you're reading about the profits this film made are well-deserved. I have never seen a movie theater so packed that I couldn't even sit with the person I came with. We ended up in two different rows! In the film, Tony Starks is suffering from anxiety attacks and lack of sleep after the nightmares of "Avengers" drama. (I saw that film, by the way. The only parts I enjoyed were Downey Jr. and The Hulk. The rest was wack.)
So when a terrorist called the Mandarin shows up and destroys the city, citizens wonder is Iron Man up to the task. Cheadle's character Colonel James Rhodes
isn't dragging his feet either. He's busy fighting other terrorists and protecting the president, but the two work better as a team. And when Iron Man ends up in a fight that left him with a broken suit and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow
) in danger, he's not sure if he's physically able to conquer the latest crime. However you imagine the movie to be is probably how it'll end. But it's the actors, the humor, the action scenes, the stunts and the chemistry between the cast that makes this film another winner.
And then there's the dry humor that only actors like Robert Downey Jr. could pull of without making you scowl. I was amused by the rabbit (and thought it was a different kind of rabbit) joke, but the fatherhood jokes were cringeworthy funny that only Downey Jr. could pull off. There are plenty of other quotable moments, too. If this is the last in the series, then it went out with fire (those who saw the movie know the wordplay). If there's a number 4, I'd go see that one, too!
Either I need fresh pillows for the rock I was sleeping under or this film didn't get much publicity. Channing Tatum is the type of actor who makes you want to follow every movie he's been in, and I've pretty much seen them all. But this one was news to me until a couple of weeks ago when I started seeing ads for it and the DVDs plopped on end racks in Target. I got it on Netflix, and it's absolutely worth buying (or at least renting).
John Tyree (Tatum) is a soldier at home on leave for a year. While hanging out at the beach, he observes a woman named Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried). A clumsy guy she's apparently on a double date with sits on the edge of a bridge and splash! Her purse, which was also on that same ledge, goes into the water. John decides to jump off the bridge to grab her purse and beat her date — who doesn't look equipped for this kind of task — to rescuing that bag. Boy meets girl. Girl blows off guy she's with. Girl likes new boy. Romance ensues immediately.
This movie is everything I was looking for when I saw that pitiful movie "Django
." Instead of rewriting history because it's not interesting enough to a creator, you base the film on a true story and maybe incorporate some humor and a small amount of make believe. I'd never heard of Chadwick Boseman although he's been in a bunch of TV roles
, but he did an excellent job playing Jackie Robinson in this film. I watched him on "Windy City Live
" and was a bit skeptical about whether he could pull it off, but I loved him in this role. He knew when to be charming, when to be annoyed, when to be at his absolute boiling point, when to laugh and when to cry. I was talking to my grandfather yesterday about an episode of "House of Payne
," and he said, "You know an actor's good when his facial expressions can do all that without him talking." That's how I felt about Boseman. Even when he was silent, the audience had the opportunity to read the thoughts going on in his mind (or at least assume them).
I'm not a big action film fan (minus the "Bourne" films), but I'm a huge supporter of both Channing Tatum and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson so I saw this film solely to check them out. I am not a fan of spoilers but one particular scene left me disappointed and that's the reason why this movie got 4.5 instead of 5 stars. Those who have seen the film can pretty much guess why from those first couple of sentences. I enjoyed this film. It had plenty of jokes, action, fun fighting tricks, impressive weapons and a lot of deceit. There were points in the film where I wondered "Will the bad guys win or lose?" because of a scene early in the film that proved this film was not going to be as predictable as I thought it would.
I avoid spoilers in my reviews, but it's almost impossible to do this without saying why I appreciated the movie. So don't read anything in blue because it's all SPOILERS. But before I do that, let's get this out of the way. Tyler Perry pretty much sticks to the same formula and plot for every movie. Someone is either molested, raped or attacked (sometimes 2 out of 3 or all three), there's a drug user, someone is thinking of cheating or did cheat, someone is pretty loud and obnoxious telling jokes and there will be model-pretty/handsome people included who show skin. This movie was no different. So if you're mad at this film because it fit this formula, you should've stopped watching Tyler Perry movies and plays long ago.
I wanted to see the film because I'm a long-time supporter of Jurnee Smollett-Bell (favorite film of hers is "Great Debaters" but I liked her in lighter films like "Roll Bounce" and still remember her sitcom with the rest of her siblings). I also think Lance Gross is absolutely gorgeous, enjoyed him on "House of Payne" and admired him for keeping his word to his fans. I had zip zero interest in Kim Kardashian's role in the film but I wasn't mad she was in the film either. I just didn't care.
The previews of the film leave no room for wondering what the plot is about. The wife Judith (Smollett-Bell) feels left out and isn't getting enough attention from her husband Brice (Gross). Meanwhile a rich start-up technology client Harley (Robbie Jones) comes along and makes her wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. Meanwhile a new retail employee Melinda (Brandy Norwood) is hired at Brice's pharmacy and has a checkered past. Whatever you think her checkered past is will probably be true. Now watch these folks mingle.
Hollywood almost always misses the boat on movies that can make a change in people's perception. I'm not sure why this movie was not promoted like it should've been. Could've been a money issue or it could've been what it usually is -- Hollywood telling moviegoers what they want to see versus us proving the types of movies we'd like to see more of. Clearly "Unconditional
" falls in the latter category for me. I didn't have a clue this movie even released, and the only reason I found out was because I follow Michael Ealy on Twitter
and saw a retweet. I got the movie On Demand after not being patient enough to wait for it on my Netflix queue. It's worth the money.
Michael Ealy plays Papa Joe Bradford, a young man who has two failed kidneys, a prison record for stealing $200 but who graduated at the top of his class in college. His childhood best friend Samantha Crawford (played by Lynn Collins) is an artist who is struggling to mentally survive after the murder of her husband Billy Crawford (played by Diego Klattenhoff). Samantha doesn't know who killed her husband, only that a red clothing item was left behind and she's hell bent on finding the killer, whether it's through her drawings or snooping into the projects.
And her snooping leads her to meet two children, Macon (played by Kwesi Boakye) and Keisha (Gabriella Phillips) in two unfortunate situations at the same time.
I don't go to movie theaters only to see good-looking people, but checking out Morris Chestnut (one of my Pinterest "50 Sexiest Men"
) and Halle Berry (absolutely beautiful) on the big screen together sure doesn't hurt. And whoa! David Otunga (Jennifer Hudson's fiancé, also unfortunately nicknamed Punk from reality dating show "I Love New York
") looks outstanding in this film with his new fit figure and low cut. But good-looking people cannot carry a movie if the movie is not good. Fortunately for me, "The Call
" held its own.
I was already fascinated with 911 operators after Chicago Tribune's article "Feeling the stress of the job
" about them and then the recent CPR fatality at a nursing home ("Refusal to perform CPR at senior living facility probed
") so this film came out at the right time.
Veteran 911 operator Jordan Turner (played by Halle Berry) gets an emergency call from an abducted teen Casey Welson (played by Abigail Breslin). It's deja vu for her considering the kidnapper Michael Foster (played by Michael Eklund) is someone Jordan already knows of for killing another girl. Officer Paul Phillips (Chestnut) and Officer Jake Devans (Otunga) play two of the cops searching for the abducted girl, and Alan Denado (played by Michael Imperioli) gets caught in the middle of the drama.
Not sure if this was a straight-to-DVD movie but "Dysfunctional Friends" will be going straight-from-Netflix-to-my-permanent-movie-collection. This flick had an excellent cast of well-known actors and actresses that Hollywood should take more notice of, including Stacey Dash
, Reagan Gomez-Preston
, Wesley Jonathan
, Datari Turner
(who looks a lot like Kobe Bryant), Jason Weaver
(still know all the words to "Love Ambition
" and remember meeting him as a teen), Persia White
(love her as much on "The Vampire Diaries
" as I did on "Girlfriends
"), Tatyana Ali
(Ashley grew up to be a great addition to "Second Generation Wayans
"), Terrell Owens
, Hosea Chanchez
, Christian Keyes
("Can I twist your locks, ooh, while laying on your cross?"), Antwon Tanner (favorite movie with him is "Coach Carter"), Essence Atkins
, Keith Robinson
and Meagan Good
.Keith Robinson's character Dennis dies and nine of his college friends have to stay in his mansion for one week without leaving. It's like "Real World" but with more entertaining characters (and more African-Americans in the cast). I love movies that have anything to do with college or college life so outside of the cast, that's what made me pay attention to the film and add it to my Netflix queue. But once it got going, it stood on its own two. This film should've gotten more attention at the box office, but there's no mystery to why it didn't. It was well written, funny, had every type of character (player, hater, cheater, gullible, professional, struggling artists, struggling models, struggling porn director [yeah, they went there, too], writer, actor and sometimes a mix of two).
I've been watching five seasons of "Ally McBeal
" on Netflix for so long I forgot about the movies in my Netflix queue, but I finished watching that show right around the time I watched Matthew McConaughey's interview on "Larry King Now
." I enjoyed watching Larry King on CNN, but I love his web show so much more because it's relaxed. I have watched almost every full episode on Ora
but I didn't realize there were missing ones until @OraTV
responded to a tweet and sent me the link to Larry King Now Pinterest
. That interview and his comment about "low-hanging fruit" made me think, "Well, hell, even if the movie sucks at least I'll find out why McConaughey enjoyed stripping so much and Channing Tatum
has clearly proven he can dance from 'Step Up
,' so how bad can the film be?" Let me preface this by saying I'm not a huge fan of strippers. I've been to a couple stripper parties and I eyed the guys like the next woman, but you'll never catch me volunteering to interact with strippers. Ironically enough, the exact same way the sister Brooke (played by Cody Horn
) behaved is my reaction. Now clearly Tatum and McConaughey are vacation on my eyes, but the movie was far more thoughtful than I expected it to be.