Tag Archives: Chiwetel Ejiofor

The Lion King Movie Review

Twenty five years ago, The Lion King hit theaters. To say that it was a hit was an understatement. It is a masterpiece that to this day is loved, treasured and referenced.

Yesterday, the reboot was released. Directed by Jon Favreau, the new film follows the narrative of it’s animated predecessor. Simba (voiced by Donald Glover as an adult and JD McCrary as a child) is the son and heir to Pride Rock. His parents, Mufasa (James Earl Jones, the only holdover from the original film) and Sarabi (Afre Woodard) are King and Queen, respectively.

As a young cub, as many young are, Simba is energetic, curious and doesn’t exactly follow his parent’s instructions. Unfortunately, he gets his best friend Nala (voiced by Beyonce as an adult and Shahadi Wright Joseph as a child) in trouble as well.

Neither knows that Simba’s Uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has a chip on shoulder. Scar’s plan to remove all obstacles to the throne nearly succeeds as Simba runs from fear and shame. He is befriended by Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen), a couple of misfits who only know freedom and a boundary-less life.

Then Simba is reminded of who he is. Can he step and be King or will he continue to run from his past?

If I had to rank all of the live action reboots that Disney has released over the past few years, this film would easily rank as #1. Favreau and his creative team had a herculean task on their hands: create a new film while showing deference to the 1994 animated film.

In my opinion, they succeeded. I felt a chill down my back as the opening number started. The animation, if it can be described as that, looked more like a documentary on the National Geographic channel than a film with a fictional narrative. I loved the cast, who, like the creative team, were able to put their own spin on their characters while showing deference to the actors who lent their voices to the 1994 film.

If I had to choose my favorite things about this film, I would choose two. The first is Nala and Sarabi. In the 1994 film, Sarabi is a glorified background character. In this film, Sarabi is more prominent and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Nala is the power behind the throne and a warrior in her own right.

The second is Timon and Pumbaa. These characters bring a lightness and a comedic element to a narrative is full of psychological symbolism and heavy with the ideas of fate and responsibility.

I absolutely recommend it.

The Lion King is presently in theaters.

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Flashback Friday-Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006)

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami was one of the most devastating natural disasters of recent memory. It is estimated that about a quarter of a million people died in fourteen countries.

The 2006 television movie, Tsunami: The Aftermath, is the story of a diverse group of Tsunami survivors whose lives are forever transformed by the experience. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Gina McKee and Chiwetel Ejiofor, as three of the survivors, this television movie is about the will to survive against all odds.

Tales of survival after a natural disaster are nothing new. These stories have been told by human beings since the dawn of time. But what makes this story stand out how each of the character’s go on a different journey, but somehow, their experiences find ways of coming together.

I recommend it.

 

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Thoughts On The 14th Anniversary Of The Release Of Love Actually

14 years ago today, Love Actually hit theaters.

Set in London a month before Christmas, the movie is about eight couples whose narratives and lives are loosely entwined. Daniel (Liam Neeson) has recently lost his wife and is trying to figure out how to raise his stepson. Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is in love with Juliet (Keira Knightley). Juliet is married to Mark’s best friend Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Karen (Emma Thompson) and Harry (the late Alan Rickman) are a long time married couple. Harry’s eyes are starting to wander towards his secretary. Karen’s brother, The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) has a crush on his assistant. I could go on, but I will let the trailer speak for itself.

What I love about the movie (besides the fact that part of the cast have been in Austen adaptations) is that this movie is neither overly romantic, overly corny, nor does it bash the audience over the head that it’s Christmas. It’s about love, relationships and the need for a human connection, none of which are confined to the Christmas season or to those who celebrate Christmas.

If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It is one of the few Christmas movies, that in my opinion, are worth watching.

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The Oscar Goes To….. 12 Years A Slave

If I were a betting woman, I would say that 12 Years A Slave will  not be at a loss for nominations and awards come  award season.

It is a brilliant piece of film making that brings the crime of slavery to life in such a way that is as real and raw as if the viewer lived that life.

Based on the book of the same name written in 1853, the movie tells the story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a free black man living with his family in Saratoga, NY in 1841.  Under the guise of a business trip, he travels with two men to Washington DC who drug him, kidnap him and sell him into slavery.

His first master, Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) is as sympathetic as he can be.  But his next master, Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) is a cruel man with a jealous wife (Sarah Paulson) who is obsessed and infatuated with a fellow slave, Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o).

With the arrival of Bass (Brad Pitt) Solomon sees what might be his way out of slavery.

This movie, despite being just over 2 hours, is incredible. Most American adults and children over the age of about 10 have been taught about African-American slavery.  It’s one thing to learn about it in a history book, but it is another thing to watch the brutal and violent honesty of the subject on screen.

I predict nominations, if not for the movie in general for Fassbender and Ejiofor.

 

 

 

 

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