I was going to write this long glowing review going into great detail about how amazing this film is.
And I did to a certain extent.
But I didn't add any spoilers because this film is so amazing that I want you to experience the magic for yourselves.
Hidden Figures is a film about 3 black female mathematicians.
Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae.
These brilliant women work for NASA and were integral in the space race against Russia getting John Glenn played by Glen Powell into orbit.
The movie is a well rounded telling allowing you to see them as complete human beings even if those around them didn't.
Set in the heart of the civil rights movement, these women were labelled computers for their ability to calculate large numbers quickly and in their heads. At the same time, NASA is about to employ the use of IBM computers.
Needless to say, the women are dealing plenty along with being married, having children, and being role models to them and those around them.
One of the many brilliant things about this film is that these women exist in troubling times without it having to be triggering. You were allowed to see people fighting in different ways without having to see destroyed dejected black bodies splayed across your screen.
That may not seem like an important aspect of a movie like this, but it truly is.
And y'all, when I say there was so much black love in this film!
From friendships to relationships, to family. There were more than a few times where... some dust got in my eyes.
That's right. Dust. So shut up.
The movie also stars Kirsten Dunst, Kevin Costner, and Jim Parsons. Perfectly acted in their roles, but all different representations of white bias and showing how white supremacy works.
Kirsten's character Vivian Michael was the quintessential white feminist. She may not call you the N-word outright, but her bias showed in every word and action she had on that screen.
Jim Parsons played Paul Stafford. The straight white male who was used to being the smartest man in the room until Taraji (Katherine Johnson) came along and made him realize what he knew about math could fit on the tip of her pinky finger.
Kevin Costner was Al Harrison. A man who never had to see the injustices played out in his life, therefore, never had reason to think the world was that bad. (This played out beautifully in a scene about bathrooms.)
The movie does a great job with these characters for many reasons. One, these are the kinds of people we deal with all day every day. It's not the cloaked and hooded ones screaming white power that are most fearsome. It's those that get up every day and believe themselves to be decent hardworking Americans, but can rationalize why we have the need for a coloreds only bathroom.
And two, the way these women handled themselves with dignity without having to be cowardly or small or the angry black woman trope was inspiring.
Everything from the cinematography to the sound, from the headliners, to the "smallest" extra was brilliant.
One things that really stood out for me were the colors! So beautiful and bright and they managed to make EVERYONE, black or white look amazing on screen.
Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi put together a fantastic screenplay that Melfi directed beautifully on screen.
I walked away more inspired than I've ever been. This film may have been about mathematicians, but you can put that same tenacity and love towards any profession and understand what it's like to hit the glass ceiling when the odds are never in your favor.
As an African American woman who's constantly had to struggle with intersectionality and people labeling me even before uttering a word to me, this film was the perfect things to see; especially in these times.
The movie is based on a book by the same name that was written but Margot Lee Shetterly. I hadn't read it yet, but I have to tell you, after watching this film, it's made the short list.
The film Hidden Figures opens nationwide on January 6th, 2017. Get your butts out there and watch. this. film!!!! You will regret it if you don't!
This review will have lots of cursing in it. So, I wanted to warn you. Because I'm not changing it. Also, it's a little shorter than my normal reviews.
NOW THAT I'VE WARNED YOU ABOUT MY FOUL MOUTH...
LET'S DO THIS!
Man, if someone had told me that there'd be a chance that a man who was basically a 5'2 Hershey chocolate drop would become one of the highest paid comics in the world.
I would've told you to go fuck yourself.
But man, Kevin Hart is hilarious!
This little dude is my male counterpart. He's loud, animated, funny as hell, and doesn't give a shit that you think he's short. He owns it.
Kevin Hart delivers another amazing performance, so there's nothing different to expect in 'What Now?'
Except the part between him and Don Cheadle. It wasn't so much different as it was something I wish I could've rewound one million times.
Hell, even Halle Berry won't be getting a razzie in this one.
It was a familiar Kevin Hart that we all know and love, but there are some great new jokes in there as well.
Yes mutha fucka!
Catch it before it leaves the big screen which is going to be pretty soon. Personally, I'm excited for when this comes out on Blu Ray/DVD.
The extras are going to be ridiculous.
On a completely different note.
If you were curious, the extended cut of Suicide Squad doesn't make it suck ass any less.
Before you call me crazy, here me out.
This is definitely your typical action movie. It's got guns, quips, explosions, and a sexy peace of meat who also happens to be the lead.
*Let's all take a moment to swoon for Idris Elba and his fake American accent*
But the story kind of sparks some interesting thoughts considering all the strife we've been going through in the United States over the last decade.
The film takes place in Paris where a CIA agent is brought in by Jessica Chastain doppleganger Kelly Reilly as a last chance.
He's tough, uncooperative, a pain in the ass, but he gets results!!! He's brought in as a plot to terrorize the city looms right before Bastille Day.
*Think 4th of July for the French*
At the same time, a spunky pick pocket Richard Madden (who's also not American) gets in over his head when he steals a bag from a potsie containing a bomb inadvertently killing four people.
Now he's in the CIA's asshairs and must be dealt with!
It gets juicy to me when we look at how the "terrorists" go about their plan, taking the disparities of the people and using them to their advantage because (SPOILER ALERT)
*No seriously, spoiler*
These fuckers are cops!
They use the people as a distraction to follow through on a get rich and get the fuck out scheme that inevitably backfires, and everyone dies.
I enjoyed the film. I like explosions, I like Idris in a tight shirt running around like Bruce Willis, I like people from other countries putting on nondescript American accents and killing it, I like to see the bad guys go down, but it does make me think, what is the government feeding us to fuel the tension of the American people???
The Take (or Bastille Day for International audiences) comes out November 18th. Check it out in a theater near you.
AS we speak of Veterans, we're often inundated with photos and films of men who come back forever changed. Some make it, and some don't. It's rare that we get the opportunity to talk about women who have gone out and risked their lives.
They're not immune to PTS and unfortunately, are even less likelier to report it. Women are often expected to come back home and fill their "womanly" roll as a spouse, mother, provider, etc. They don't get the time to grieve.
That's why, when I heard about this film, I knew I had to see it.
It did not disappoint.
Kate Knowlin plays a female veteran who comes home from war a mere shell of the person she was before she left. When home feels to claustrophobic, she escapes to a camp she remembers going to as a young girl hoping to get some clarity there.
And maybe find a better off version of herself before it all went tits up.
This film does an incredibly job of allowing you to take this ride with the main character without pounding it in your head that it's about PTS and that the VA is a big pile of crap that needs to get it's head out of its ass to help Veterans.
There's a reason there are nearly 22 suicides a day.
Kate does an amazing job of bringing this character to life both physically and emotionally.
Fun Fact: She spent three months training before the film to get in incredible shape to play this character, and it shows on screen.
And even though she solidly carries this movie on those ridiculously tones shoulders, the supporting cast does not disappoint. One of those is Dot played by a wonderfully brilliant character actress named Rusty Schwimmer. She's a spunky camp director who immediately takes to the Sergeant and wants to help her as much as she can.
Art, one of the retreat chaplains is a bright spot in a very serious film. Every time Rene Auberjonois graces the screen, you can't help but smile.
The Fisherman is her... would we call him love interest? I think he's more of a mirror in a sense. The other side of recovery in a lot of ways played calmly and just enough by Tom Lipinski.
Directed by Reme Auberjonois, the film is a success because it was a human story with much bigger implications that plague our nation. Feeling alone while trying to cope is a universal problem we've all been through. You can put any struggle with this film, and still understand what she's going through.
As a Veteran, this film is an A+ as it gets down to the nuance that makes a Marine a Marine. A lot of films don't bother.
Blood Stripe is hitting the film festival circuit at the moment. The next place to catch it as the Key West Film Festival. Don't miss out!
The Quick and Dirty on: Trespass Against Us. Michael Fassbender turns into a family man and he's still bad ass.
Let me just start off by saying, you're going to need subtitles for this film.
and even then, you'll have no idea what the fuck they're saying!
Michael Fassbender plays a doting husband with two kids who's looking to give them as normal a life as he can. Unfortunately, he's constantly weighed down by the weight of his overbearing father played by the amazing Brendan Gleeson.
when he tries to escape the demons of his family name, life (or his father) decides to give a different hand. To add to the chaos, his son seems to be heading down the same road. Something he's not alright with.
It seems the more he fights to stay on the straight and narrow, the more he finds himself up against.
SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON. DON'T READ IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW
In order to save his family, Michael has to make some rash decisions like going behind his father's back to try and secure a place for his family in hopes that they can all live a quiet life.
what he doesn't know, is that his father has eyes and ears everywhere. As a Cutler, you don't get to just walk away. You're in until you die. From the beginning, Brendan Gleeson sabotages his chance of ever living normally, even going so far as to set up a job where the likeliness of Michael being sent up the river is incredibly high.
Its almost as if he wants his son to go to jail!
In fact, he gives a speech about how it humbles you. Makes you appreciate those closest to you.
If this is family, fuck it, I'm done.
The film follows the beaten path in formula, but the performances are amazing. They keep you on the edge of your seat while you wonder when and how Michael Fassbender's character is going to fall.
Tresspass Between us is out in theaters November 24th, 2016
This movie brings about a lot of feelings for me. Despite the Nate Parker consent issues, and our understanding of it in America, I went to see this film because it's rare that there's a film about Slavery uprising. Usually, it's about someone who's will can't be broken despite the situation they're in whereas Nat Turner's actions were instrumental in pushing us towards the civil war.
The thing that I didn't like about this movie is that Nat Turner's story was fascinating on it's own. Between visions from God, his birth mother's attempted assassination, and him being the leader of a rebellion, there was plenty to use. Nate Parker took some very big artistic liberties with this film that I felt weren't necessary to tell an amazing story.
Here are the top 6 things about Turner that either weren't discussed, or were changed:
1. NAT TURNER'S MOTHER TRIED TO KILL HIM.
I don't know if it was because she was raped, or because she feared for him, but when Nat was a baby, his mother tried to kill him. He was eventually taken and given to another couple to raise as their own.
2. NAT TURNER WAS SOLD MULTIPLE TIMES.
Nat Turner didn't stay at one plantation as the movie would have you believe. He'd actually been sold at least three times before he decided to go forth with his rebellion. He'd even run away once after being whipped for asking if he could be freed. Something that had been promised to him when he was younger.
3. NAT TURNER AND HIS WIFE CHERRY WERE NOT A HAPPY COUPLE
Nat Turner and Cherry were forced to marry by his second owner Samuel Turner. It's believed that Nat didn't have much care for her and that the children she birthed actually belonged to Samuel Turner.
4. AFTER NAT TURNER'S DEATH, THINGS GOT MUCH WORSE BEFORE THEY GOT BETTER
Nearly 50 slaves were officially charged with conspiring with intent to kill, but over 200 slaves were brutally murdered in the wake of the rebellion. They also passed more stringent laws making it illegal for slaves to learn to read and write all the while killing African Americans for any reason they felt. (sound familiar?) It did spur on anti-slavery groups to get louder though, pushing them further into what would become the civil war.
5. WOMEN WERE NOT SILENT FOR THE REBELLION
The movie treats the women of slavery as demure, often silent bystanders of what's going around them when they were just as active in the rebellion as the men. Nat Turner' own adoptive mother was quite vocal about him being intended for a greater purpose and encouraged his learning and reading of the bible. Also, when can we get past using women's suffering as a call to action? Nat Turner had visions of a better tomorrow for his people. Period. We didn't need a rape to make him feel the need to make a move. I think there was enough ammo when he watched a slave owner knock a slaves teeth out with a hammer and force feed him slop to make sure he was strong enough to work. Women are not feeble creatures, and men should stop associating the word victim with us.
6. A LARGE PORTION OF THE REBELLION ENDED IN JERUSALEM, VA.
Once white people had gotten word that slaves had killed multiple people, they got troops involved and set up shop in Jerusalem. Most of the slaves were captured, but Turner was among those who were able to escape. He was able to evade capture for nearly 2 months before he was discovered by a farmer. He would be taken back to Jerusalem where he would be hanged, dismembered, skinned, and sold off as relics to white people.
As an African American, our history is very important to me, but sometimes Hollywood often gets in the way of telling that story. Also, a promising young man can constantly put his foot in his mouth and cause people to not want to see this movie.
All those things happened this time.
If you can, Birth of a Nation is still playing in the cheap seats, or look for it at Redbox in a few months.
so, went to the cheap seat to check out the second film in the Jack Reacher franchise.
Is it safe to call it a franchise yet?
I gotta say, this aging bad ass thing is getting kinda old. Now they want girlfriends and kids and they're full of regrets. The testosterone is leaking out by the second!
At least in the first Jack Reacher film, he wasn't spurned on by his touchy. Feelings. He was all about the justice and not beating women. Even with his female co star he didn't get all google eyed. He was there to do a job, and he did it.
In this second instalment they've decided to give him not only a love interest in the form of Cobie Smulders who is slowly becoming an action hero in her own right, but they also decided to give him a maybe baby.
The fresh faced Danita Yarosh comes in with all the teen angst you could ever ask for.
side note: Was it just me, or did she make Tom Cruise look even smaller?
She definitely sells the underprivileged white kid who's got loads of hidden potential if only someone would take the time to look, but also, what was the point of giving him a kid that wasn't his? Like you needed a reason to make this movie longer? Stopping a shit ton of drugs from coming into the country was plenty for me.
She did, however, help us get to the most tired fight in history.
Like for real, these jokers were running and climbing and everything else only to take a free fall off a building. They was tired as shit.
In the end, after stopping a small bout of curroption, Jack hits the road. Still reminiscing about the Cobie he didn't bang, and the baby he didn't conceive.
The movie was predictable and formulated. And I wasn't feeling the kid subplot as it started to take over the main plot, which was stopping the bad guys.
Honestly, just give me another fucking Expendables movie if you're going to make action stars look back and wonder what if. But also, put Aldis Hodge in that biotch because he's fine as hell and can act his ass off.
Jack Reacher: Never Look Back is still in theatres. But, you can also wait for red box. You'll be okay.
If you haven't caught on, this is a combined review of both Straight Outta Compton as well as Surviving Compton. Both movies were captivating for very different reasons and also brought up the old question of who really killed Easy E. Hint: It wasn't AIDS in the traditional sense.
I watched Surviving Compton first, and it wasn't a purposeful decision. It just so happens my mother is a Lifetime junkie, and I caught the premiere. From the very beginning, you find that Michel'le's life is rife with violence from both the outside and the inside. She was taught young that violence was a way of life, and that's our fate should it fall upon us.
Which is why it's no surprise that when she thought she'd found a prince charming in the volatile young man that was Andre Romelle Young, she stuck to him like glue.
I'm not excusing Dre's actions. He deserves to get beat for the same amount of years that he decided to put his hands on such a bright spirit, but them together was like a one winged moth to a blazing flame.
It wasn't until years into her adulthood that the biggest source of her misguided idea of love (grandma) told her that maybe that wasn't the way it was supposed to be after all.
Usually when you watch a lifetime film, you cringe at the amount of cheese poured out, but these days, Lifetime has really stepped up it's game, and even though others treated Michel'le like a side story of Dre's life, this woman had to step out of the shadows and make sure you heard that squeaky voice of hers, and they did it justice. I'm rooting for her. And when you watch it, as it's currently rerunning on Lifetime constantly, you will too!
Another thing that movie does it make you question why they didn't refer to Dre's temper in Straight Outta Compton.
Standalone, the movie was solid. It brought back memories of my childhood listening to that music bumping out of every car window in North Minneapolis and doing my best to listen to the clean versions on the radio even though every other word was bleeped out.
O'Shea Jackson Jr. was the spitting image of his father Ice Cube who was part of producing this film along with Dre. He did an amazing job as did the other actors Aldis Hodge, and Neil Brown Jr. who were probably the best cast in the entire movie.
R. Marcus (Marcos) Taylor embodied the terror that was Suge Knight. It was so nice, he did it twice playing the man in both movies. His wide eyes and large body embodied the constant threat that was Suge Knight.
Paul Giammatti played the infamous Jerry Heller. Love him or hate him, you have to appreciate that if not for him, we may not have gotten N.W.A at all.
side note: Did anyone notice that Jamie Kennedy rocked that shit in Surviving Compton? I didn't recognize him until halfway into the movie!
Take that 'Son of the Mask!'
Corey Hawkins didn't look much like Dre, as he was a darker skinned brother. Honestly, it was kinda refreshing to see colorism work the other way for once. Regardless, he did a great job, but seeing Surviving Compton, it was a little frustrating to see a man come off as the most level headed of the crew. As Dre was a producer on this film, and he really felt terrible about his past self, but wanted to present himself honestly, at the VERY least, he could've brought up the attack on the TV journalist Dee Barnes where he was charged and given a laughable slap on the wrist for his actions. It would've been better than watching him drive wildly down the street for no reason, get caught by police, and then nothing happen.
Jason Mitchell as Easy E. The most heartbreaking role for many reasons. First off, Easy wasn't no punk. So y'all making him cry as much as he did in that movie was bullshit!
Secondly, having to relive this facade that he was killed by AIDS within 6 weeks of a mysterious cough was hard to watch. After the movie, I dug a little more, and it's very widely believed that he was murdered. By whom, it's hard to say, but what's easy to see is that not one woman or child of his came forward and said they'd contracted AIDS from him.
I don't care who you are. That cake just don't bake!
Also, for Tupac and Snoop to have cameos, but not give a nod to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. I'm not okay with that.
*I Love you Krayzie Bone*
Love them or hate them, these men gave us some influential music and artists still relevant to today. And even if you forgot about Dre, you've still got a shit ton of other music to get down with.
Michel'le has new music coming out, and what I think will be a new chapter in a life that has given her plenty to sing about.
Mary J. Blige better watch out.
This may not have been quick, but it was dirty enough. Pick up a copy of Straight Outta Compton on Blu Ray or DVD today. Catch Surviving Compton on Lifetime
Reviewing movies. I tried to go to once a week, but I think it's best if I post whenever. Right?