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Hi Kittens,

While I have been quite the busy busy bee, planning the bridal shower of my daughter and the subsequent wedding, which was a four day affair (my daughter is Hindu so ya know we do it up) I have miraculously found the time to entertain myself with one of my favorite pastimes – ya done know – Movies and Shows!

I’m on this kick where I’m really into watching movies and shows about flawed characters.  I know I’ve been there for awhile.  It just seems so fascinating how people react to each other, to different, unexpected situations.  They seem to be surprising themselves and much as they’re surprising me.

So lets get into it:

Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark

You want to laugh at racism yet still think about it in a positive light anyway?  That’s the talent of Trevor Noah.  He can point out obvious and not so obvious racism that he himself (as a bi-racial child) has experienced and yet he’s so talented his tools, techniques and methods are inoffensive, intriguing, and thought provoking.  This is truly someone who wants to invoke positive change not re-hash the anger that’s warranted but may be stagnant.  He’s part of a new movement that’s leading everyone to challenge and question their own beliefs.  I for one, am on board!

Hands of Stone

Now I don’t know about you but I adore a good boxing flick.  Hands of Stone contains all of the right players, incredible story-line, humor and angst that every good boxing flick is made of.  Secondly this film is autobiographical.  It’s the story of the slumdog millionaire if you will of boxing.  A boy from the streets of Panama, a true professional boxer, Roberto Duran, played by the absolutely enticing Edgar Ramirez and his trainer, who was a legend way before he took on Duran, Ray Arcel played by none other than Bob DeNiro himself!  May I simply say that watching Ramirez and Anna de Armas (who plays his wife) is the kind of treat I’d like to taste on a daily.  Ellen Barkin gives a surprisingly tender performance as Arcel’s second wife.  She’s the perfect blend of a pick me up and tough love depending on what Arcel needed at the time.  DeNiro gives an epic and original performance here.  I can’t tell compare his acting in this film to any other.  Like a fine wine people… some of us do get better with age!  There’s even a few scenes with Usher as he plays a young Sugar Ray Leonard and he also is surprisingly rooted.  If he develops this hidden talent he could become a triple threat!  In fact, this entire film is a surprise and a sleeper.  No one seems to know about it, well, no one except you right?  Right.  Right.

Iron Fist

Danny Rand is the name and remembering is his game.  Yes, that’s right, he’s got a bit of that ole’ amnesia thang.  First off, if he looks familiar it’s because you’ve seen him riding on a horse, unseating the best of the best in GOT as The Knight of Flowers – Ser Loras Tyrell.  He also kissed a boy and he liked it but that’s neither here nor there (winkE wink wink.)  Danny Rand, just the name alone invokes a delectable curiosity.  I must say he’s magnetic to watch.  His voice is mesmerizing and when he performs martial arts kata, he does it with such elegance and precision that you swear he was born in a dojo.  The story-line is intriguing because it’s unpredictable, the brother/sister relationship of Joy and Ward Meachum draws you in, David Wenham’s performance is diabolical, throw in some monks, a beautiful, struggling dojo owner and two opposing other wordly forces, The Iron Fist and ninja like warriors called The Hand and hot damn, you’ve got a show worth watching.  Did I mention Rosario moved uptown from Harlem and Luke Cage to Rand Enterprises?  Yeah, it’s that kind of party people.

Live By Night

Ahhh, Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben!!! First you wowed me in The Accountant and now this?  Your talent is exceptional though I’m not quite certain about the whole Bats thang but that’s a discussion for another day.  Set in 1926 this little golden nugget gives you a glimmer of the gangster’s life at the time of prohibition.  Ben does a brilliant job of balancing smarts, hard work and gentlemanly savvy with some disciplined but ruthless savagery.  It’s one of the smartest gangster flicks since Sugar Hill.  In two words, peep this.

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Now quite frankly, I wasn’t about this flick.  I found the story-line lacking however the visuals are quite stunning and you will fall in love with a few characters, one in particular and I guarantee you, it’s not who you might have imagined.  While Eddie Redmayne is the IT boy of the era (watch The Danish Girl and you’ll get an inkling of what I mean) he’s not the most happening character in this magical tale of I almost know not what.  The real surprise is Dan Fogler.  He adds just the right amount of humor with a dash of forgivable and charming idiocy.  You will root for him.  Of course if you’re a kid the story-line matters little and the visuals and the funnies is what its all about.  Sooo, if you’ve got them, take them!

So Big

Now ya’ll know I’m a retro mama – and movies of yesteryear, especially films in black and white do things to me that would make a grown man cry.  Well only if he’s sentimental!  So Big is one of the most charming selections of my B&W collection.  First off, Jane Wyman was a true Hollywood darling for a long time but exceptionally prominent in the 50’s with huge hits like “All That Heaven Allows” and “Magnificent Obsession”, let’s not forget she was also married to Ronald Reagan before he became the 39th POTUS!  (You do recall that good ole RR was an actor prior to his life of public office.)   In any case So Big starts off much like The Little Princess, where a well to do young lady’s father completely loses their vast fortune and she’s capitulated into the cold, stark world of earning one’s daily bread.  Only Jane Wyman can do sickly charming without the sickly.  I love this flick because she teaches you some life lessons that we can all do to learn.  She married a poor Dutch farmer played by larger than a screen shot, Sterling Hayden, a kind, gentle, fair but strict man of the times.  The beauty of Jane’s character Selena is that she knows when to fight the powers that be and when to let the tide carry her where it may.  She’s a pioneer in a time where women were not allowed to go out of the house on their own let alone run a business.  And Jane/Selena gets her way through tenacity, hard work while remaining soft, womanly and practically demure.  Now don’t go getting your gruff up, I understand how you feel.  In fact I feel it myself after writing these words.  But I assure you, she does not bow down, she simply doesn’t bark before she bites.  That’s the balance I’ve been striving for my entire life.  As Kenny Rogers sang – you got to know when to hold em’, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run.  And you should be running right now – to find out how you can rent this movie!

Ghost of New Orleans

I’m gonna start now with the truth cause the truth shall set you free honey!  And ya won’t trust my movie picking skillz no mo’ if I don’t.  This is a throwaway movie if ever there was one.  So why should you watch it?  Well, maybe you shouldn’t.  This is a choice you’ll have to make yourself.  I’m not endorsing it as a noteworthy film by any means but quite frankly, there was very little on that night that interested me and murder and Mississippi are two things that interest me quite a bit when watching a movie or reading a book.  There’s something about the deep south that intrigues me because it’s a world I’m completely unfamiliar with.  I must say the fact that Terrence Howard, Josh Lucas and Lake Bell were the key players also led me to hit the rent button while scrolling my On Demand choices.  I dug it in the end because it was unpredictable.  It took me on a ride that had me questioning everything I saw and heard and attempting to pick the perpetrator out of the cast lineup without easy success.  It gave me a run for my money.  Now you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the $4.99 price tag.

Never Forever

It was a Saturday, my sailor was working and I was trolling the streets.  No, wait – that’s the wrong scenario.  Actually I was at work and looking for an interesting movie to check out later when on my express bus and I came across Never Forever.  Right off the bat, as a writer, I loved the title’s play on words.  The second thing I loved? Vera Farmiga was a key player.  Vera is my beeeatch.  And for those of you who don’t know, that’s a good thang.  I love her.  Her role choices are extensive and her acting chops are among top tier level.  Vera is in a league of her own.  If you’re clueless try these on: The Departed, Up In The Air, The Conjuring, Henry’s Crime.  I could go on and on but I’m thinkin’ ya get the picture – now get the picture.  Oh wait, let’s discuss the flick for a sec shall we?  White girl, married to a semi-strict Christian Korean-American, trying to get preggars but it ain’t happenin’ because hubby’s sperm count couldn’t fertilize a dandelion.  Yeah it’s like that.  So when a girl looks for an outside opportunity to create the family she’s always wanted does she end up destroying one family to create another?  Rent this bad boy and find out.  It might be free on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

Inferno

Really I could say so much but do I really need to go beyond Tom Hanks?  These three flicks, Inferno, Angels & Demons, The DeVinci Code: they rather remind me of the National Treasure Series.  There’s a heinous world ending plot, some history, at least two middle aged sleuths and a whole lot of bad guys.  When it’s done by one such as Ron Howard, strap in, because you’re going to have a good and bumpy ride!  If you like solving mysteries, looking for clues, piecing things together then enough said!  This is your kind of flick!  Did I mention Tom Hanks?  By the by, our beautiful second is none other than Rogue One’s Felicity Jones.  She matches Tom’s steps in every way possible.  I must mention also that Irrfan Khan is wearin’ the hell out of that suit, kickin’ ass and takin’ numbers all while keeping his voice and pulse level.  Bring home that 6$ Kentucky meal child – cause this one is finger lickin’ good!

Hidden Figures

Black women in NASA’s space program in the 60’s.  What you talkin’ bout Willis?  Damn Straight~  Did you know the first computers were actually people who could do some unreasonable  calculations in their head?  Oh yes sir that’s a fact jack!  You know what’s also a fact?  2 years prior to Martin Luther’s King’s march with the people (1963) – there was an entire elite group of Black female mathematicians working at NASA; who’s buildings still contained separate bathrooms for Whites and Negroes.  There are so many poignant scenes in this movie but I shan’t give not a one away.  The one thing you will take away aside from the history that few if any of us were privy to is the inspiration and tenacity and brilliance of these fine, young, women.  WOMEN!!!  This flick is not to be missed.

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

There aren’t enough charming films in one’s library but this one, you must have.  First of all the players are simply adorable!  Adorable and charming is a mixture much like chocolate and peanut butter – they both taste divine.  Joan Plowright and Rupert Friend are cast-mates from heaven.  They play off of each other as if they really were family but they’re not – not even in the movie and isn’t that the exquisite crux of this particular flick?  When family treats you like a stranger and a random meeting with a stranger envelopes you like the family you’ve always wanted, well, what’s a gal to do?  Mrs. Palfrey’s circumstances have us all thinking about our own mortality and pushes family obligations out of the window for choices that buck convention and feed your soul.  An accident is something you never wanted but you get.  A surprise is something you get and never knew you wanted.  This movie is the latter.

The Invitation

The ex-wife that you never quite got ever invites you to a dinner party and when you arrive, you can’t shake the feeling that something other than the roast is cooking.  Yes, I cannot tell a lie, some of the “am I crazy or is something really heinous going on?” scenes are elongated past patience.   The movie’s saving grace is that they manage to hold your interest and jar your curiosity to the end.  You simply need to know what’s really going on so you hang on tight until the bitter end.  So be tenacious and hang on until the bitter end – then decide if it was worth it.  I’m sure you’ve hung on longer for far worse rewards.  I love that they make you think you know what’s going on and you really don’t until almost the fade out.  Bet you’re curious now.

Ghost In A Shell

Think Lucy combined with a little Robocop as well as some Japanese anime.  It’s a little too Borne Identity for me.  The search for who I use to be so I can figure out who I am is rather played.  Some of the visuals were beautiful but zippO about this movie made me swoon.  I’m afraid it’s much ado about nothing.  Cyber enhanced human turned soldier/assassin.  It’s not a true AI movie.  If you want to see an infinitely more fascinating flick that utilizes Johonsson’s voice more than her bod, try watching “Her” co-starring Joaquin Phoenix.  Her body suit detracted from what was happening in the movie.  It’s a little too stark and in order to follow the story line, one needs to pay attention.  Also Major (Scarjo’s character) – well her walk drove me nuts.  It’s like the director literally said, “that’s good but now pretend you’ve got a stick up your ass.  Try walking like that.”  I’d puff, puff and pass on this one – unless maybe it’s a freebie!

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Sometimes you strike gold twice!  It’s funny, the visuals are out of this world (literally) and the chemistry between the actors is flawless.  And Groot may be little but his part has roots!  Come on man, it’s Star Lord~

Orphan Black

This series truly deserves a blog of its own.  It shouldn’t share the spotlight with any other movie or series.  It’s AMAZING!! It’ on Netflix.  You need to start streaming as soon as possible.  The main actress plays a gazillion roles – I mean talk about being every woman!   Tatiana Maslany is in a class by herself.  If you haven’t heard of this bright star you’re in the dark.  Canadian actor Jordan Gavaris is the brother that we all want and need in our lives.  His talent is limitless, his kindness is legendary and his apartment is like a Vegas commercial – just the right amount of wrong.  Can I also tell you how pleasant it was to see Maria Doyle Kennedy in something other than the strong but sympathetic wife of King Henry the VIII in The Tudors or the blackmailing, scheming wife of John Bates, in Downton Abbey?  Here Maria is no simpering sap but a strong female lead who dominates the small screen.  This series keeps you guessing, wondering, learning and changing alliance on a daily.  I love anything that will alter the way that people behave and think.

Manchester By The Sea

There was so much hype about this movie that I think I postponed watching it for as long as possible – perhaps I thought I was saving myself from disappointment.  Well as my Trini sailor would say, “I waste a thought.”  The movie is beautiful, poignant, poetic and gut wrenching.  Casey Affleck is one of my favorite sleepers.  He has never once disappointed me and I daresay if you compare and contrast his work, you’ll find he hasn’t disappointed you either.  Kyle Chandler (from Bloodline among others) pulled the rug out from underneath every other performer for me.  He’s the big brother I always never knew I wanted.  Tragedy, self scorn, accountability and redemption are heavy themes addressed in this piece and if you’re like me, you live for movies like this.

Big Little Lies

One of HBO’s most incredible female cast ever!!!  Reese, Kidman, Dern, Kravitz and Woodley – terribly impressive.  First of all, let’s clear this up right away – this is how the other half lives for the most part.  These are mainly well to do, affluent, upper crust chiquita bananas and all of their first world marital issues, relationship issues with each other, themselves, their kids, the counterparts, etc.  It’s a glimpse of another world (unless you are in that world) and it’s delectable.  However even me and my middle class, American brown West Indian woman self found some of what they were going through relate-able and all of what they were going through, interesting.  Those are the goals for me.  If I can’t relate all of the way – well fine, but pique my interest.  There are a whole lot of surprises, things seem one way but they’re actually another and quite frankly I still haven’t wrapped my mind around the goings on of certain relationships.  It’s most assuredly an eye-opener.  And though the women take center stage, the men are quite a hand full themselves.

Wonder Woman

Gal, Gal, Gal – when I first saw her I thought nope, I don’t see it.  Linda Carter was my darling.  Now she’s older, wiser and yes still beautiful and yes, still acting – she’s the President in Super Girl but obviously she can’t reclaim her crown in this role.  I thought Megan Fox; she’s got the looks but the acting chops, not so sure about that, though I root for her like I rooted for Kelly Bundy.  I was hoping they might choose her and she might surprise us all.  Hell I wanted to be surprised – the same kind of surprise that Cruise gave me in Interview, the same kind of surprise that Craig gave me in Casino Royale; I know it can be done.  But then this gorgeous, Israeli, Jewish, Polish Czech shows up and I’m like huh?  What?  Nah!  Gal donned her stripped tighty whities in Batman vs. Superman and although I liked her, I didn’t love her.  However, I’ve quite changed my tune.  There’s very few who will embody a role like Jackman/Wolverine but Gal does a decent job and I applaud her skills as well as comedic timing.   She’s easy on the eyes, she’s strong, she’s fearless.  I’m thinking by the third appearance she’ll have sealed the deal for me.  Now about the movie, well it was aight.  I didn’t love it.  I liked it and here’s why.  This is the movie that explains the origins of Diana, princess of the Amazons.  That being said, there wasn’t enough scenes of the amazons and their world to satisfy me in the least.  Robin Wright Penn and Connie Nielson are my top tier list of actresses and their screen time felt like a nono-second.  Chris Pine’s character monopolized enough for me to assess that the powers that be weren’t sure if Gadot could carry the film by herself.  Alright, I have no choice but to accept their assessment.  Hopefully the introductions are over and the next flick will be a full fledged date, topped off with a nightcap.

The Mummy

I’m a huge fan of Cruise.  I can’t remember a flick of his (much like my other Tom – Hanks that is) that I don’t love or at least like.  The Mummy is no different.  I liked it but truth be told they should have named it something else.  Your mind keeps comparing it to the 1999 picture with Fraser and Weisz and let’s get this out of the way right now – there is NO comparison – 1999 The Mummy still retains the title.  Then they throw in a curve ball, Dr. Henry Jekyll/Russell Crowe  and you feel a little “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” seeping through the crypt.  Well kids neither here nor there, enough with the comparison, let’s move on.  Cruise’s mummy is bone chilling without that much funny, Algerian actress Sofia Boutella is phenomenal.  She prowls across the screen.  She’s set her sights on Cruise and there’s no doubt that she will eventually secure her man.  Of course the entire movie is wrapped around the chase.  I will tell you this however, though she could improve (and no doubt she will) on her craft, Annabelle Wallis will most assuredly command your attention when she graces the screen.  With her ivory complexion and blonde silky hair, she’s in perfect opposition to Sofia’s vampirical stature and dark tresses.  It’s worth seeing but maybe not paying $20 for!

Hacksaw Ridge

Easily one of the best films I’ve ever seen.  “Lord help me get one more.”  Andrew Garfield doesn’t need acrobatics or a web shooter to swing his way into your heart.  This film is based on a real human being – Desmond Doss, who’s story – well I’d never heard it however I should have.  It should have been in every history book in America!  It should have been required reading in school but here’s the thing, Desmond thought he was an ordinary man, just doing what any other ordinary man would have done in an extraordinary event.  Desmond, I don’t mean to cross you son, but you’re one of a kind.  There ain’t none like ya and there may never be.  Garfield (and I believe I’ve said this before) has been a discovered star in my eyes since The Red Riding Trilogy which came out in 2009, yes 18 years ago.  He couldn’t hide that level of talent even if he tried.  I’ll tell you another secret, Andy’s mama is a Brit and his daddy-O is an American!  I think that might be the secret sauce that makes Andy so special.  Secondly this is a film brought to you by Mel Gibson.  And I’ll tell you one thing about Mel – he’s a winner.  When it comes to film – don’t mess with him.  He’s one of the best.  So what happens when you’re drafted but you have pledged to God and yourself that you would never even hold a weapon, much less use one?  What happens when your enemy is brewing within your own barracks?  What happens when your promise to God is challenged by the men at arms by your side?  I know from personal experience the power of the almighty Jesus and this film illustrates that in a way that reaches believers and non-believers alike.  Get your popcorn on and sit back and relax.  You’re in for an incredible treat.

Mad Men

I’ve seen it – all of it, when it first came out and like the rest of the world, I fell in love.  It is my favorite era after all.  But now, I’m watching it again – in 2017, as a 44 year old woman and although I still love it, I’m completely in awe of a great many things.  My view is so completely different though my love for the series remains.  Wow, the treatment of women, the infidelity of men – the many faceted personalities of Mr. Draper, who’s real name coincidentally is Dick, it all gives me entirely different, darker, heavier feelings than I believe I had when I first saw it.  Mad Men can be as wrong as an elephant in Louboutins however it’s replaced Columbo and Downton as my best background show while I’m doing other things so it’s all good!  PS I even put it on when I’m coloring or giving myself a mani-pedi.

Spiderman Homecoming

There’s actually very little to say  except that it’s definitely a kid’s flick so as an adult, it has little appeal.  As a die hard Spidey fan, it’s a tough pill to swallow.  Peter Parker is a beautiful young man, with brains and talent.  He’s self made and just like most Marvel male heroes, changed and molded by the tragic death of a male guardian.  This whole high school angle is too “Saved by the Bell” for me.  I also despise the fact that Tony Stark is taking the credit for Parker’s own scientific genius.  No, no, no.  I protest!  I also love Tom Holland but I don’t feel he’s a right fit for Spidey.  I didn’t  think Toby was either.  Andy was the easiest to accept however in my heart of hearts, I don’t think we found the real deal just yet.  I’d skip it in the theater and wait for a home rental.

War for Planet of the Apes

This trilogy is spectacular!  If you’re like me, you saw the original with Charlton Heston and perhaps you always wondered how did we get there?  These three films seamlessly tie cause and effect together.  They all have astounding merit.  You will find yourself siding with the apes (at least I hope you do) because they are obviously so mistreated and utilized in the worst possible way that you cannot help yourself from feeling sympathy for the underdog.  This film makes you question what it means to be human.  If the ability to reason separates us from the animals of the earth, then what happens when another species shares that gift?  Who deserves to be on top of the food chain and why?  Andy Serkis does such a phenomenal job (along with all of the film crew members that it took to make/build/animate virtually or otherwise) bringing Caesar to life.  Caesar is an incredible voice of reason, compassionate, displays incredible self control and intelligence in a way that makes anyone want to emulate.  The search for peace and safety for himself, his family and is entire shrewdness (yes child, that’s what a group of apes are called and yes child I had to look that up a few times to be sure – I was that shrewd!)  in a world that awakened their consciousness is Caesar’s ongoing mission.  The threat is mankind’s need to annihilate them instead of trying to work together to maintain a peaceful co-existence.  Will he succeed?  I know you wanna know – so go and see it boo boo!

 

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