Category Archives: Movies

Shuri, The New Disney Princess

When one tends to think of a princess, the image is of a passive, beautifully dressed girl wearing some sort of crown and waiting for her prince charming.

Thankfully, times are changing and so are the images young girls are seeing on the big and small screen.

Black Panther hit movie theaters this weekend akin to the same way an asteroid hits a planet.  The mark this film left on the audience will not be forgotten anytime soon.

The title character is surrounded by strong, capable women. None more so that his younger sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright.

A princess by birth, Shuri breaks stereotypes on multiple levels. Not only is she a woman of color, but she is a fierce warrior, a bad ass in her own right. She is also a technology wiz whose inventions help her brother to win the battles he needs to win to protect their people and their kingdom. And, of course, like any little sister, she knows how to add in a some good-natured ribbing of her brother to the conversation.

I don’t know if the people at Disney know this, but they have a new princess on their hands. If they don’t, then they are loosing out on a character whose reach goes beyond the standard princess imagery.

Welcome to the world of Disney Princesses, Shuri.

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Feminism, Movies

Black Panther Movie Review

*I have no knowledge of either the narrative and characters in the Black Panther comic book, so this review is strictly based on the movie.

Comic books, especially the ones based around superheroes have become our modern-day fairy tales. There are heroes, villains, difficult journeys and life lessons that leave a lasting imprint long after we have read the final page.

Black Panther hit theaters this weekend.

The film starts off where Captain America: Civil War has ended. T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), is stepping into the role of King of Wakanda, a fictional country in Africa, after loosing his father. He is supported by his ex/best friend, Nakia, (Lupita Nyong’o), his younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), the Q to his James Bond, his widowed mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and his general, Okoye (Danai Gurira), who is the head of Wakanda’s Amazon-esque army.

When Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) threaten T’Challa/Black Panther and his kingdom, our hero must fight for his thrown and his country.

I loved this movie. I loved this movie. It has heart, it has humor, it has action, it has bad ass female characters and most importantly, character and actors of color who are proudly representing their heritage.

This movie is worth every word of praise and every dollar that has been spent to see it.

Black Panther is presently in theaters. 

 

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Jennifer Aniston Is Single Again. And The Problem Is…..

Romantic relationships break off all time. It’s just a fact of life.

It was announced this week that Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are going their separate ways after two years of marriage.

I don’t get what the problem is with their divorce. Yes, they are actors who are in the spotlight, but they are first and foremost human beings who, for whatever reasons (which are frankly, no one’s business but theirs), decided that the marriage was not working out.

The issue that I have is that is we, as a culture, still have a problem with a woman being single. When a man is single, no one blinks an eye. But when a woman single, it’s like the world is ending. She must have something wrong with her and the only way to fix her is to find a man.

I could go on, but I think the ladies on The View says it all. Skip forward to the 2:09 on the clip below.

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Flashback Friday-Red Eye (2005)

Flying has become a routine of our modern lives. It can also create an opportunity for blackmail.

In the 2005 movie Red Eye, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) hates flying with a passion.  On a flight to Miami, she sits next to Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy).  The conversation starts off as regular small talk until Jackson reveals that he has ulterior motives. If Lisa does not help Jackson assassinate a politician, her father will be killed.

This movie is brilliant. If there was one film to describe as a thriller, this film would be it. Murphy is truly terrifying, reaching the limits that only a villain in an Alfred Hitchcock film would reach. For her part, McAdams fear of flying is only heightened by the very difficult decision that she knows she has to make.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Trumped

There is nothing so important to a legit democracy than the ability to openly satirize and mock those in power.

Donald Trump has been an easy target for satire since he announced he was running for election. Now that he is unfortunately sitting in the most powerful office in the country, the target has become larger and easier for satire.

That being said, I give you Trumped, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, reprising their roles of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom from The Producers.

I will caution that one does need to know the overall plot from The Producers to get some of the jokes, but the skit also stands alone as a moment of political satire that is absolutely needed during this time in our country’s history.

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Brave Book Review

One of my favorite quotes, famously spoken by Gloria Steinem is as follows:

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

Actress Rose McGowan is beyond pissed. She is furious at the way women are treated, especially women in Hollywood.

She recently released her new memoir, Brave. The book is a balls to the wall, complete reveal of her life up to this point and her anger at those (especially men) who abused her and took advantage of her. In the book, she describes two cults: the one was born into and the Hollywood cult that assaulted her and sold her as a marketable product.

This is one of the most mind-blowing books I’ve read in a very long time. Both a memoir and a manifesto, Ms. McGowan is not only pissed for everything she has been through, she is pissed for every woman who has been shoved aside or thought as a sex object because she is a woman.

I absolutely recommend it. I would also go as far to say that it is one of the best books of 2018 so far.

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Beauty And The Beast DVD Review (2014)

Beauty And The Beast is one of those fairy tales.  Every writer who has picked up their pen or turns on their computer has a different perspective on how to tell the story.

In 2014, another reboot hit theaters. Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel play the title roles. Unlike other adaptations, the narrative of the film is closer to the narrative of the original fairy tale. Belle is the youngest daughter of a once wealthy merchant who has taken on her father’s debt to the Beast. The Beast is a prince who was cursed and can only return to his human form once he has the love of a woman.

I wanted to like this film, I really did. While most of the Beauty and the Beast adaptations of recent memory have moved away from the original narrative, this film clings pretty closely to the source material. The problem is that I was underwhelmed and the lead actors lacked the chemistry to make me believe that they would hopefully have their happily ever after.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Flashback Friday-Gran Torino (2008)

Many of us remember the crotchety old man or woman who lived on our block when we were kids. By reputation, this man or woman was known for loudly voicing their displeasure when a child’s toy landed on their lawn or when one of the neighborhood teenagers cranked their music just a little too loud.

While this character for the most part remains a 2D caricature, the 2008 film Gran Torino explores this character with a new set of eyes. Walter Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is a grizzled Korean War veteran whose pride and joy is a 1972 Gran Torino. Known for being the crotchety old man in the neighborhood, Walter not only does not get along with his neighbors, but he is also emotionally disconnected from his own family. When Walter catches Thao (Bee Vang), a teenager who is dared by his gang member cousin to steal Walter’s car, he decides to help the young man.

Walter’s mission starts out simply: to get Thao on the straight and narrow and away from the gangs. But the gangs are not going away without a fight and Walter finds himself pulled further and further into the fight.

I’m not a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, but this movie is very, very good. Though Eastwood is playing to type, he also steps away from the typecasting when he becomes the father figure to Thao and reveals  the heart underneath the shell.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

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Thoughts On The Release Of The Full Trailer Of Solo: A Star Wars Story

Yesterday, Lucasfilm teased us with the teaser trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Today the full trailer was released.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this film. Han is such a dynamic force of a character. To see where he came from and how he became the man the audiences meet in the bar on Tatooine in A New Hope is very exciting.

Han would not be Han without Chewbacca (played by Peter Mayhew in the original film and played by Joonas Suotamo in this film) Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy and played by Donald Glover in this film). There are also new characters, Qi’Ra (played by Emilia Clarke) and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson).

So far, based on the trailer, it looks to be a good film. I can only hope that the film lives up to the promise in the trailer.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story Preview Trailer

Han Solo is one of the most recognizable characters in film history.

Played by Harrison Ford in four of the nine released Star Wars movies, Han Solo was the space cowboy who became a hero of the rebellion.

This summer, Solo: A Star Wars Story is slated to hit theaters. A prequel to A New Hope, the movie tells Han’s story before he joins the rebellion. Alden Ehrenreich will be stepping into the very big shoes that Ford created forty-one years ago.

While Lucasfilm is not releasing any details beyond what is in trailer (which is not unexpected), I can only hope that this film not only lives up to the legacy of  the series, but also gives the audience new insight into one of our favorite heroes.

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