Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Review

I reviewed the film on Instagram and you can read it below. All of my recent reviews are on Instagram at hashtag #DanksReview

#TheImmortalLifeOfHenriettaLacks Review: Believe me when I tell you, this is NO "TV movie". This film is as theatrical as you can get as far as filmmaking and DAMN SURE as far as performance. SYNOPSIS: In 1951, cancerous cells from Henrietta Lacks lead to breakthroughs that change the face of medicine forever. Aided by writer Rebecca Skloot (Rose Byrne), Deborah Lacks (Oprah Winfrey) embark on a quest to learn about the mother she never knew. As I tweeted "It is GLORIOUS to see this many actors or color over 50! Such legends🎭🎭🎭" Actors like LESLIE UGGAMS, REG E. CATHEY, JOHN BEASLEY and ADRIANE LENOX turn in marvelous performances. You never and I mean NEVER get to see that many actors of color of that age range in scenes together. Not to be left out, the performance by ROSE BYRNE was great too! The performance of this film though begins and ends with #OprahWinfrey. Truthfully I had not expected SUCH a nuanced and emotional performance from Oprah. Oprah really dug deep for this performance and SHINES. She exhibits the complexity of this woman who's not all the way healthy, not all the way together, but still wants to know about her mother at the urging of an outsider (Byrne) who she's not entirely comfortable with. This journey the two women go on is emotional, involved and incorporates #HenriettaLacks herself (played beautifully by RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY). The story is all tied together superbly by #WriterDirector GEORGE C. WOLFE which should come as no surprise because he also directed the excellent #LackawannaBlues (2005). 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' is more than the journey of a daughter to find her mother, it’s also a celebration of legacy, of life and what it means to be family. A wonderful film.
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Is John Boyega the Next Hollywood A-Lister?

Blog Post #23

John Boyega in Attack the Block
In the Screenrant piece by Kate Gardner Why Star Wars’ John Boyega is the Next Big Hollywood A-Lister she writes:
As Boyega continues to gain more and more fame for roles outside of Finn, we could be watching the birth of Hollywood’s next big star, in the vein of leading men such as Will Smith, Tom Cruise, and George Clooney
Boyega’s got the talent to stand alongside any of these stars, and he should be recognized for that. Attack the Block showed off his capability as a leading man back in 2011. His turn as Moses, a teenager who must stop an alien invasion, was subtle and powerful. His work in the film is a master class in subtlety, especially for the then nineteen-year old’s first major role. It would have been easy to turn the role into something showy or flashy, but Boyega reigned it in and delivered a performance that was genuine and powerful in how quiet it was. It was Boyega’s work in that film that caught the eye of JJ Abrams, who was rumored to be Boyega’s biggest champion during the audition process for The Force Awakens

Attack the Block is of course where I first saw Boyega and I was blown away by his screen presence–at such a young age. Young actors can be very good, but it takes a rare talent to have presence AND be the Lead of the story. Boyega had both. I've been following his career ever since as indciated by the posts on this blog. I wrote a full review of Attack the Block for the 'Nother Brother Entertainment blog here and Gardner goes on to write a compelling argument about why Boyega is the next big thing at Screenrant here

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

'Black Panther' Early Footage is "Stunning"

By Kyle Buchanan, Vulture
April 18, 2017

Louis D’Esposito, the co-president of Marvel Studios, grinned as a group of journalists sat down in a Disney screening room Monday night. “The first thing you’ll be seeing,” he told us, “is Lupita taking out some bad guys.”
The executives at Marvel Studios are known for playing their cards close to the vest, but every so often, when you know you’re sitting on a winning hand, you can’t help but show off. That’s why the studio summoned reporters to the Disney lot in Burbank to tease several of the movies coming from Marvel’s wildly successful cinematic universe, including Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Captain Marvel. Aside from a full screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, by far the biggest sneak peek the studio offered was an extensive look at Black Panther, which wraps filming in Atlanta tomorrow and is due out February 16, 2018.
As we watched dailies of Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o ably somersaulting through a Black Panther action sequence, D’Esposito beamed. While the fight choreography was straight out of the Marvel playbook — you could imagine Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow going through many of the same motions — as Nyong’o flung herself into the scene with steely commitment on her face and a vivid green shroud wrapped around her body, the footage carried with it an undeniable X factor. That’s exactly the sweet spot the studio hopes to hit with Black Panther: The film has to be familiar enough to fit into Marvel’s ever-expanding cinematic universe while also offering enough spark to jump-start its own singular franchise. A tricky task, but to judge from some of the stunning things that D’Esposito and his colleagues showed off last night, it looks like Marvel is on the right track.
Directed by Ryan Coogler (CreedFruitvale Station), Black Panther picks up the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) after his well-received introduction in Captain America: Civil War. As he comes to grips with the death of his father, the former king of their African nation Wakanda, T’Challa must return home and succeed him. Despite the presence of several strong allies in T’Challa’s corner — including Angela Bassett as his mother, Queen Ramonda, and an all-female group of elite bodyguards known as the Dora Milaje — he soon finds that it’s not easy to be a head of state and a superhero at the same time, especially when the nation is threatened by several villains including the dangerous Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
Coogler was wooed for months by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige before he accepted the Black Panther directing gig; in part, I’ve heard, because Coogler wanted to be sure he could put his own personal stamp on the film. Many of the Marvel movies are shot, composed, and edited by the same in-house people, but Coogler wanted to bring over several of his own trusted collaborators, including co-writer Joe Robert Cole, composer Ludwig Göransson, and cinematographer Rachel Morrison. (Indeed, with Black Panther, Morrison becomes the first woman to shoot a film in the Marvel cinematic universe.)
That unique sensibility appears to have paid off. Black Panther doesn’t look like any of the other Marvel movies, and it shouldn’t if it wants to pay proper tribute to the impact of the first black superhero in mainstream American comics. Let’s start with the costumes by Oscar nominee Ruth E. Carter, making her Marvel Studios debut. Whether T’Challa is spending his downtime in a dashiki or the Dora Milaje are marching in warrior suits of rich brown and gold, Carter has found a remarkable way to merge centuries of African culture with the particulars of superhero pop. I died and came back to life when I saw the first footage of Angela Bassett as Ramonda, the actress resplendent in a shimmering honey robe with an enormous headpiece that would send every Sunday church lady home to start over. Let’s be honest: If Angela Bassett is your mother, you’re beginning the superhero sweepstakes on third base, but T’Challa will still have his work cut out for him to earn any attention next to Bassett’s queen at her most fierce.
Then there’s the fictional setting of Wakanda, which trades the prosaic metropolitan cities of most Marvel movies for something exciting and new. T’Challa’s wealthy nation strikes a balance between high-tech futurism and verdant nature, suggesting an African grassland where technology can enhance what the earth gives us instead of plundering it. We saw dailies and concept art of an African tech castle with a driveway filled by sleek airships, a glowing Vibranium waterfall, a futuristic Wakanda Design Center where T’Challa goes to visit his sister Shuri, and a shot so striking — T’Challa, deep in the forest, regarding an old tree draped with a dozen panthers — that it’s been painted as a mural in one of the studio’s most highly trafficked hallways.
Still, the most exciting thing about the way Black Panther looks is who it presents as powerful. At a time where too many superhero movies are led by blandly handsome white men named Chris, Black Panther celebrates a cast made up almost exclusively of dark-skinned black actors, most of whom rarely get to headline a live-action movie of this size despite their more-than-evident talent. If the movie succeeds on the worldwide scale of most Marvel entries, it will refute the notion espoused by many Hollywood executives that black films “don’t travel”; more importantly, if it’s a creative breakthrough that launches a new mythology and coaxes underrepresented audiences to dream bigger, it could become a black Star Wars.
Also, the characters fight giant rhino-mechs, Lupita wears cannon blasters on her hands, and I’m pretty sure I caught Danai Gurira’s character flirting with another member of the Dora Milaje. If this is what the future of superhero movies looks like, deal me in.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Charlie Murphy Uncensored 2007-2009 [AUDIO]

Below I posted audio of several of those appearances UNCENSORED so suffice it to say, Explicit Language, NSFW




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

About Sasha on 'The Walking Dead' Season 7 Finale

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of Sunday night’s The Walking Dead Season 7 finale.
Deadline had a Q&A with TWD Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd. Below is what she said about the Sasha, as portrayed by Sonequa Martin-Greenstory line.  
DEADLINE: Last night’s sacrifice and walker end for the Sasha character was a very different season conclusion for you guys and the retirement or sorts for one of the Survivors. It seemed clear that Sonequa was going to exit the show, but why in this manner?
HURD: We just wanted to make sure that she went out in a heroic way. I think the story is very much about three strong women in the finale episode – Sasha, Maggie and the Scavengers leader Jadis.
DEADLINE: How did you tell Sonequa that her time onTWD was up?
HURD: Well, our series airs in two different pods with a season premiere, midseason finale, midseason premiere and season finale. So generally we talk to the actors about the particular sequences in which their death or exits occurs, as we are about to film it, as opposed to the overall season. I’ve rarely had to break the news — in Sonequa’s case, it was Scott Gimple who told her. We never like saying goodbye and it’s partially why when we do say goodbye it’s after the character has really had what we consider to be a very fulfilling arc – and, as I said, you certainly couldn’t go out more heroically than she did.
DEADLINE: And now Sonequa is moving on to play the lead in CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery
HURD: Which is fantastic. Every one of our actors has moved on to have magnificent careers post-The Walking Dead, and I think its fantastic that she is going to be the first African-American woman to lead a Star Trek cast. She’s also a fine actress regardless, and even if hadn’t been Star Trek, I know she would have been the lead in another series.
DEADLINE: Speaking of series, the Sasha character, like Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon, is not found in the Robert Kirkman comics the TV series is based on. Even with that, a lot of her story was clearly drawn from the comic book’s Holly. So how do you still not reveal too much to fans who are tracking the comics to see where the TV show will go?
HURD: The key thing is the comic is already on a separate trajectory given that there are characters on The Walking Dead like Sasha and Daryl, who don’t exist in the comic book. Also, there are characters in the comic book, like Andrea, who are still alive who aren’t alive on the show. There’s a natural change, but of course we do want to make sure there’s a nod to the comics.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

‘Black Panther’ is Like ‘Game of Thrones,’ Says 'Get Out' Star

by Hoai-Tran Bui, /Film
March 20th, 2017

As if we couldn’t be more excited for Black Panther, we’ve been reminded that Daniel Kaluuya is part of its star-studded cast. And the Get Out star already has high praise for the newest Marvel Studios film, comparing it to a certain beloved HBO series.

In an interview with GQ, Kaluuya excitedly gushed about the epic scope of the Ryan Coogler-helmed film, comparing it to the current pinnacle of mythic storytelling, Game of Thrones.
“This is an African blockbuster, bruv. This is like Game of Thrones. This is crazy. And Ryan Coogler is just, man dem. He’s like us! He’s a normal dude, in a Golden State hat and a Tupac T-shirt directing the whole set. It’s the most beautiful thing to see.”
Kaluuya doesn’t elaborate further on how Black Panther is like the HBO fantasy series, but considering the sprawling, lush concept art we’ve seen, and the unquestionably talented cast – including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Forrest Whitaker, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis – we wouldn’t doubt his words.

Coogler, in addition to directing, is behind the screenplay as well, so Black Panther is sure to be firmly his vision. It’s assuring to know that he has such sway behind it, as his last films, Creed and Fruitvale Station, were critically acclaimed movies that gave unique perspectives on the black experience – something that Black Panther, Marvel’s first solo black superhero movie, has a lot of investment in. Neither Creed nor Fruitvale Station were made on quite the scale that Black Panther promises to be, but they were both electric movies that cemented Coogler’s rising star.

Black Panther will be set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, nearly exclusively in the advanced African nation of Wakanda, where T’Challa (Boseman) is meant to take his place as king. We got a glimpse of Wakanda at the tail end of Civil War, but didn’t see much beyond the sleek medical building in which Bucky Barnes gets housed, and the towering panther statues that mark the isolated nation. But many forget that Wakanda was first teased in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when Ultron, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver accosted Serkis’ villainous Ulysses Klaw for vibranium (the metal that makes up T’Challa’s suit and Captain America’s shield) to create Ultron’s new body.

How Will Black Panther Be Like Game of Thrones?
So back to Kaluuya’s remarks: Game of Thrones implies swords and sandals right? Political intrigue and backstabbing? Or at least some mythological creatures? Kaluuya may be referring to the grand scale of the movie – an “African blockbuster” he calls it – and that’s probably more along the lines of what Black Panther will be. As far as I know, Wakandans don’t use swords – they’re supposedly more technologically advanced than many Western nations – though they may use some form of advanced weaponry. As for the political intrigue and backstabbing, that’s something we’re likely to see considering our main character T’Challa is a king at the beginning of his rule – though let’s hope the intrigue doesn’t amount to some of Game of Thrones’ more problematic, sexually-charged incidences.

Either way, it’s exciting for a blockbuster superhero movie to be helmed by an African-American director and a majority-black cast, which is the aspect that Kaluuya seems to be exalting in the GQ interview. As Kaluuya says, “It’s the most beautiful thing to see.”

Black Panther is set to hit theaters February 16, 2018.

APRIL 2017

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

'Get Out' Oscar Chances

by Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter
March 20, 2017
Get OutJordan Peele's satire on 21st century race relations that had a sneak screening at Sundance in January, opened on Oscars weekend, topping the domestic box office with a $33.4 million haul. (It's now at $133 million domestically.) More importantly, it has a 99 percent favorable rating on RottenTomatoes.com — the best of the year so far, by far — and it would be at 100 percent had notorious contrarian Armond White of The National Review not dumped on it.
Indeed, the film has sparked media commentary of a quantity and quality similar to recent Oscar contenders that also dealt with race — including, of course, last month's surprise best picture winner Moonlight — with The New York Times' columnist Frank Bruni calling it "a movie for the age of Trump — perhaps the movie for the age of Trump" and his colleagues, Pulitzer Prize winner Wesley Morris and Jenna Worthamdevoting an episode of their "Still Processing" podcast to a conversation with Peele.
With the backing of producer Jason Blum (a best picture nominee for 2014's Whiplash) and Universal (a major studio which hasn't landed a best picture nomination since 2012's Les Miserables), you can bet that a lot of people will be working very hard to maintain interest in Get Out over the nine months before Oscar voters next get to fill out ballots — although nobody associated with the film would comment for this story.
For a movie this outside-the-box that has gone over this well, one cannot rule out a best picture nomination (although one usually eludes even more optimally timed genre films, excepting March 2014'sThe Grand Budapest Hotel, March 1996's Fargo and February 1991's eventual winner The Silence of the Lambs), and a best original screenplay nom certainly seems attainable. That may have something to do with why Academy members on both coasts received invitations this week to screenings of the pic.
Almost all major films, and quite a few minor ones, are screened by the Academy for Los Angeles-based Oscar voters at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills or Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood — except for those, like Get Out, that are released during the year's first two months, when the organization uses its screens to show its members the animated, documentary, foreign-language and short films that are vying for Oscars. But, in an unusually early show on confidence in Get Out's prospects, Universal has gone ahead and independently rented out the Linwood Dunn for a screening on Wednesday night, to which it has invited L.A.-based Academy members, and a screening on Friday night, to which it has invited L.A.-based BAFTA members. Additionally, the film will have an official Academy screening for New York-based Academy members on Tuesday night at the Museum of Modern Art.

Get Out Box Office
Forbes, March 19, 2017

"the overseas numbers for Get Out. The Jordan Peele "social thriller" began its overseas rollout this weekend, snagging $2.9 million in the first round of international debuts. In North America, the film again displayed amazing staying power, earning $13.24m in its fourth weekend falling just 36% even as it started shedding a few theaters here and there. That gives the $5m Blumhouse and Universal/Comcast Corp. release an obscene $133.1m domestic total. It's going to pass Split ($136.8m) as Blumhouse's biggest domestic hit and it will surely end up among the very biggest R-rated horror movies ever in North America, even adjusted for inflation."

From Forbes, Top 10 for the weekend of March 17, 2017, CLICK for bigger view

At our parent blog, 'Nother Brother Entertainment blog I wrote a review of the film. Read the review HERE