Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Intern: My Review

Nancy Meyers movies are always good for pulling on the heartstrings, and The Intern is no different.

Robert De Niro portrays a retiree/widower who out of boredom with his monotonous routine decides to apply for a senior internship at an e-commerce company ran by Type A wunderkind Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Jules is at first reluctant to take on an intern, much less a senior intern but comes to rely on and care for Ben as the movie progresses.

Besides Oscar winners De Niro and Hathaway, Rene Russo, Andrew Rannells , and Adam Devine also have roles in the film.

The best way to describe this film is that it's a different kind of love story and a testament to no matter how much any of else think we have it together, we all need that "person" who gets us in our lives.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

War Room: My Review

Christian movies have gotten a bad rap over the years, but the latest film by the Kendrick Brothers, War Room is doing big business at the box office and the reasons are simple: it's well written and the actors, although not household names do an amazing job. The film's message of grace and forgiveness is centered around a marital relationship, but overall that message can translate to any type of relationship, and it causes you to think about how we prioritize jobs and success over a relationship with God.

Secular critics have ripped this film in the press, and if it's not your cup of tea then I respect that. Sometimes a good message can be wrapped up in an entertaining way so if you need a dose of inspiration and a break from the sex and violence that a lot of other movies promote, see this with family or friends. It doesn't disappoint!  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Devil's Due-My Review

Every now and again I get a taste for a horror movie. Today was the day I happened upon Devil's Due on HBONow. Even though the movie was a flop at the box office, I actually enjoyed it. The "found footage" film centers around newlyweds Samantha and Zach McCall who go to the Dominican Republic for their honeymoon, and upon returning home Samantha finds out she's preggers. Well for most this would be a blessed event, but for the McCalls, Sam's pregnancy turns out to be a nightmare of epic proportions. Let's just say if you ever go to a foreign country on your honeymoon, beware of charming cabdrivers who take you to underground clubs in seedy areas of town, because you may leave with more than what you came in with.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Perfect Guy: My Review

The Perfect Guy opened on 9/11 and from the looks of things the box office is going to be ridiculous. I went to an early screening on opening day, and the theatre was pretty full. The film which stars Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, and Morris Chestnut is about a lobbyist who breaks up with her boyfriend of two years and takes up with a charming and (unfortunately for her) tech savvy psycho. Now I know this sounds like Lifetime movie fare, but the film hit all the right notes suspense wise, and the acting was top notch.

 Lathan and Ealy executive produced the movie so I didn't expect it to be unwatchable but was skeptical about how good it would actually be. I was not disappointed in the least. Make this movie # 1 this weekend folks by going out and supporting it with your coins. It's worth the price of admission!

P.S. Shonda Rhimes please recruit Sanaa for a Shondaland production. #justsayin

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Southpaw: My Review

The screening for the new Jake Gyllenhaal movie was tonight and from the number of people that showed up it was a hot ticket.  If any of you have seen the zillion commercials for the film, you pretty much know what goes down in the movie: Billy Pope, a boxer at the top of his game, loses his wife, home, and his daughter and fights his way back to the top with the help of a tough trainer played by Forest Whitaker.

Is the movie worth the price of admission? Sure. Gyllenhaal and Whitaker give great performances and Rachel McAdams and young Oona Laurence are exceptional in the roles of Maureen and Leila Pope, but I don't see it being Jake's Oscar winning role. That in my opinion should have been Nightcrawler, a film that was a tour de force for the actor.

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Naomie Harris also appear in the film and 50 brings the right amount of smarminess to his role of Billy' manager Jordon. I would have liked to see more from Naomie's character as a social worker which was originally offered to Lupita Nyong'o who smartly turned it down. The role had no depth and someone of Lupita's talents would have been wasted in the role. Naomie certainly was.

The film opens this Friday nationwide so check it out in your local theater.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lila & Eve: My Review

A vigilante movie starring Oscar nominee/SAG winner Viola Davis and triple threat Jennifer Lopez had me intrigued ever since the first moment I heard the news that it was being made. Viola is a power house actress so I was curious as to how her and Jennifer would complement one another in a movie. Not that I find Jennifer's acting bad, but Viola is a Master at what she does, and she is deserving of a strong co star. Just peep her scenes with the incomparable Cicely Tyson on her hit show How To Get Away With Murder to see what I'm talking about.

Back to the movie. I thought it was pretty good and the two leads do an excellent job as grieving mothers out for revenge. I must admit I wasn't prepared for the "twist" that came in the latter part of the movie, but there were Easter eggs throughout the film clueing the viewer in as to not everything being what it seemed. Needless to say I was still shocked at the big reveal and didn't know whether to be pissed or impressed with the scriptwriter for pulling the rug out from under me. I decided on the latter, because the twist did not keep me from enjoying the film.

The cast also includes Andre Royo, Yolonda Ross, and Julius Tennon (Viola's hubby) as her love interest.

You can watch Lila and Eve On Demand or in your local theatre.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Being Mary Jane: Season 2 Review

Tuesday night's return of the BET blockbuster hit Being Mary Jane pretty much took up where the finale ended. Mary Jane Paul, the super successful anchorwoman protagonist of the series is still in her feelings over her ex David and breaking things off with her married ex Dre. She's drinking, being extremely obnoxious, stalkerish, and downright rude but one thing's for sure, Gabrielle Union looks good even at her worst: throwing aquariums out of windows, heaving up in toilets, showing up at David's best friend's home to get the scoop on the new chick, and confronting David over an abortion she had when they were still coupled up, Gabrielle's style is on FLEEK! I love seeing my people styled to the nines and our faces beat to perfection. Kudos to the show's costume and makeup departments.

From the looks of things, this season is going to be amazing. Between Mary Jane hopefully dealing with what I hope is an increasing dependence on all things alcoholic, continued issues with her family, a love affair with Gary Dourdan, (my dreadlocked crush from A Different World), and a hot love scene with a nice piece of chocolate in some tight skivvies, I'm all in for this new season of Being Mary Jane.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

American Sniper: My Review

American Sniper has been the number one movie in the country for the past three weeks and many have come out against it saying the film glorifies violence and has made Chris Kyle, the subject of the film, an undeserving hero who in some people's opinion was just a cold blooded murderer.

Despite where one stands in the debate,Sniper is a vivid account of Kyle's four tours of war and the effect what he saw and did over there had on him and his family. Under the direction of Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper gave the best performance of his career. Cooper threw himself completely into the role by putting on 40 lbs. of
muscle and adopting a Texas dialect. His portrayal
totally made you forget this guy played Phil in
The Hangover franchise.

The war scenes were frighteningly realistic, and
Eastwood did not hesitate to show the horrors of
war and the toll it takes on Kyle's psyche and on
his marriage to his long suffering wife Taya who
stood by him as he became a shell of his former
self after each tour. Sienna Miller did as much as
she could with the role of long suffering wife, but
this was Cooper's movie and he owned it.

Regardless of where you stand on the war or on the
subject of Chris Kyle the deadliest sniper in  U.S.
history, American Sniper is definitely a must see!

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.