The Best of Enemies is a 2019 drama directed and written by Robin Bissell. It is based on the book “The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South” by Osha Gray Davidson and focuses on the rivalry between civil rights activist, Ann Atwater and Ku Klux Klan leader, C. P. Ellis. Mostly based on a true story, this film is both moving, timely and necessary, considering the racial tension that exists in the United States at present.
The Best of Enemies opens with four Klansmen shooting up the home of a White women because she’s dating a Black man. Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson), an African American civil rights activist lives in Durham, North Carolina and is constantly at war with the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and their leader and chapter president, C. P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell). Their battle and hate for each other has continued for a decade. Everything changed in 1971 when a fire occurred that destroyed the local Black school, burning half the building down. Because there’s no other school available for Black children to finish out the year, it’s suggested the children attend the segregated White school in Durham. The mind set of the White officials is that their schools should stay segregated. A team was sent to investigate the burnt school to determine if the Black children could continue to attend by splitting the day into two sessions. The White council decided it’s okay for the Black children to attend their partly burnt down school amongst heavy smoke and dangerous amounts of debris.
In order to deal with a court-ordered school desegregation decree, Babou Ceesay (Bill Riddick), who is Black, was called in to conduct a Charrette. Despite that this has never been done in such a big city, Babou was willing to try. The idea is for the community to discuss the pros and cons of integration, take a vote and come to a resolution. The rules included 2 equally chosen teams of Blacks and Whites. C. P. Ellis, who has a wife, Mary (Anne Heche) and four children, Vickie (McKenzie Applegate), Timmy (Brody Rose), Kenneth, (Carson Holmes) and Larry (Kevin Iannucci), wanted no part of the Charrette. Ann Atwater who is a forceful speaker and a single Black mother with two children, Marilynn (Nadej K. Bailey) didn’t want any part of a Charrette that would include C. P. Ellis. However, circumstances forced them to agree to co-chair this two-week community meeting, called a “Charrette”.
The Best of Enemies is part of our dark history of hate, segregation, violence and the kind of backward thinking that plagues this country today. We as Human Beings were not born with hate in our hearts. Hate is taught! What a waste of time, money and energy we keep exerting just to fight against the very people who helped shape this nation. Through The Best of Enemies we saw what living in harmony would be like. We saw two opposing mind sets come together and help one another. We all have something to give, why not share? I am happy to see a movie that deals with the very issues we are facing today. Schools are not legally segregated but communities are which causes schools to be mostly White or mostly Black. One of the best lines in the movie is “the same GOD made you, made me.” Everyone should see The Best of Enemies. Check It Out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged Ann Atwater, anne heche, babou ceesay, bill Riddick, Bruce mcgil, c.p. Ellis, Carrie Oldham, Carson Holmes, Floyd Kelly, Garland Keith, Henrietta Kaye, john gallagher jr, Kenneth ellis, Lee trombley, Mary Ellis, nick Searcy, sam rockwell, sope aluko, taraji p henson, the best of enemies, wes bentley
“What Men Want” is a fantasy comedy directed by Adam Shankman and is loosely based on the 2000 film, “What Women Want” in reverse gender. The plot follows a woman who, after drinking a potent concoction given by a shaman, gains the ability to hear men’s inner thoughts. While this is not a new concept, the movie is surprisingly funny.
Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is an executive sports agent working for Summit Worldwide Management, which is mostly male-dominated. She’s been over-looked for partner several times but believes today is the day. She and her gay assistant Brandon (Josh Brener), who wants to be a sports rep, are gearing up toward a celebration, believing she is going to make partner. Ali is passed over once again, which makes her fighting mad. Ali’s boss, Nick (Brian Bosworth), acknowledges that Ali is a hard worker but he says she just doesn’t connect well with the other men. Ali announces to everyone in the building that she WILL sign rising basketball superstar Jamal Barry (Shane Paul McGhie) and prove to others why she deserves to be partner. Ali goes to meet her co-workers as they try to work out a deal with Jamal and his father, Joe Dolla (Tracy Morgan) but fails.
Ali spends time with her father Skip (Richard Roundtree) at the boxing gym he manages before they go to grab dinner. Skip points out a new bartender named Will (Aldis Hodge), whom Ali finds attractive. She stays there to introduce herself, and Will makes her a special cocktail. They go back to his house where they end up engaging in a wild night of sex. In the morning, Ali is in for a surprise when Will’s six year old son Ben (Auston Moore), appears in the bedroom wearing her panties on his head siting, “Wakonda forever” from the movie, Black Panther. She realizes she is late for work and runs out, showing up to a photo shoot wearing evidence of her wild night.
Ali is scheduled to attend a bachelorette party that evening for Mari, (Tamala Jones) one of her three best girlfriends, which also includes Ciarra, (Phoebe Robinson) and Olivia (Wendi McLendon-Covey), who employed the services of a psychic named Sister (Erikah Badu). Ali is first to get a reading by Sister and is given tea made of weed, Peyote and Cocaine. While dancing, Ali is hit by a questionable object that causes her to fall, hit her head and pass out. She wakes up in a hospital where she discovers she is able to hear her male doctor’s thoughts. Ali is so freaked out by her new found power, she runs all the way to her company building able to hear the thoughts of all males around her. Upset, she tracks down the psychic for help. Sister advices her to use this gift to get what she wants at work. Agreeing, Ali goes back to her job and starts listening to the mind of her colleagues.
I was truly surprised at how funny “What Men Want” is. The original with Mel Gibson was nowhere near as funny. The story is full of scenes that are both hilarious and entertaining. Keep in mind, “What Men Want” is a fantasy comedy and consider my above lead-in to be short and sweet because there is so much more to come in the actual film. The acting is absolutely brilliant as is the plot. Viewers rated “What Men Want” five out of five stars, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen before. Rotten Tomatoes was just that, a rotten rating of only 43%. I have no clue why they rated the movie so low but I really enjoyed it. Check It Out, you won’t be sorry.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged aldis hodge, alison "ali" davis, auston jon moore, ben, brandon, brian bosworth, captain fucktastic, chris witaske, ciarra, danny, eddie, erykah badu, ethan, grant hill, jamal barry, jason jones, joe "dolla" barry, josh brener, karl-anthony towns, kellan lutz, Kevin, mari, mark cuban, max greenfield, nick, olivia, pete davidson, phoebe robinson, richard roundtree, shane paul mcghie, shaquille o'neal, sister, skip davis, tamala jones, taraji p henson, tracy morgan, wendi mclendon-covey, what men want, will
Ralph Breaks the Internet (originally titled as Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2) is a 3D computer-animated comedy produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the sequel to the 2012 film, Wreck-It Ralph, making it Disney’s 57th feature-length animated film. It is directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston (who wrote the screenplay with Pamela Ribon), and executive-produced by John Lasseter, Chris Williams, and Jennifer Lee. As far as children’s animated films go, this one was quite busy, loud and fun. I do know Ralph Breaks the Internet has received mostly positive reviews from critics, who called it a “worthy successor” and praised the animation, humor, characters, and plot, as well as the vocal performances. I’m not a big fan but I do agree the film teaches (in it’s own way) a few lessons about how the hi-tech world operates.
Six years after the first movie, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz have been best friends. They’ve been hanging out every night after work in Litwak’s Family Fun Center and Arcade. While Ralph (John C. Reilly) is content with his current life, Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) admits to being bored with her game’s predictability and wishes for something new. One day, Ralph attempts to fulfill her desires by creating a secret bonus track during a race. Vanellope overrides player control to test it out, but the resulting conflict between her and the player ends with the cabinet’s steering wheel being broken, thus, no functionality within Sugar Rush. Since the company that made Sugar Rush is defunct, one of the kids finds a replacement for Mr. Litwak (Ed O’Neill) on eBay. The only problem is Mr. Litwak deems it too expensive and has no choice but to unplug Sugar Rush from the arcade, leaving the game’s characters homeless and Sugar Rush unavailable.
Later that night, after talking with Fix-It Felix Jr., (Jack McBrayer) Ralph decides to enter the internet via Litwak’s recently installed Wi-Fi router to obtain a replacement wheel on eBay. Ralph brings Vanellope with him, and although they place a winning bid of $27,001 to obtain the wheel, they cannot pay and are obligated to finalize the purchase within 24 hours.
**** SPOILERS ****
The two turn to J.P Spamley (Bill Hader) to quickly make money, receiving a lucrative job of stealing a valuable car belonging to Shank (Gal Gadot) from the MMORPG Slaughter Race. Ralph and Vanellope steal the car, but are forced to return it. Shank compliments Vanellope’s driving skills and points the duo towards Yesss (Taraji P. Henson) at BuzzzTube, where Ralph decides to make a series of viral videos playing off popular trends to get the money. As Ralph’s videos become a viral sensation, an excited Vanellope joins Yesss’s staff in spamming users with pop-up ads. Ralph convinces Yesss to send Vanellope to a Disney fansite, where she meets and befriends the Disney Princesses, who encourage her to address her sense of unfulfillment. Vanellope reaches a musical epiphany when Ralph calls her upon earning enough money to purchase the wheel. When Vanellope does not show up at eBay, Ralph’s second call causes him to overhear her confessing to Shank that she wants to stay in Slaughter Race because its unpredictability and challenges make her feel more alive than she did in Sugar Rush. Horrified at the thought of Vanellope leaving him, Ralph turns to Spamley for a way to make Slaughter Race unsatisfying for her by slowing down everything in the game.
There’s not much to say about Ralph Breaks the Internet because it sort of speaks for itself. It’s a children’s film that is pretty well put together and even sends a good message. The adventure is long but fun for children. There are quite a few known celebrity voices that make up the movie i.e., Jane Lynch as Calhoun, Alfred Molina as Double Dan’s conjoined brother Little Dan, Taraji P. Henson as Yesss, an algorithm that determines the trending videos on BuzzzTube, and Alan Tudyk as KnowsMore. just to name a few. If you need to take your child(ren) to see a good animated movie, I recommend Ralph Breaks the Internet — Check It Out!
[Ralph breaks the Internet is Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature Film]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alan tudyk, alfred molina, bill hader, buzzztube, calhoun, disney fansite, double dan, ebay, ed o'neill, fix-it felix jr, gal gadot, jack mcbrayer, jane lynch, john c reilly, jp spamley, king candy, knowsmore, mr litwak, pamela ribon, ralph, ralph breaks the internet, sarah silverman, shank, slaughter race, taraji p henson, vanellope, yesss
Hidden Figures is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. Based on true events, Hidden Figures reveals history about the United States space program we knew very little about. I was shocked to know that Black women participated in the launching of the first US astronaut orbiting the earth, in space or that they contributed in any way to launching the first man on the moon. The trials and tribulations they went through broke my heart. This movie tells a story of profound contributions made by three highly educated master minds, toward the space race between the USA and the USSR to gain control during the space age in order to achieve peace, respect and privilege as the front runner and leader, as a nation. The film recounts the story of three African-American women who worked in professional positions at NASA and helped the United States advance during the Space Race.
Mathematician Katherine Johnson and her two colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, worked in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The film focuses on Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), who is the African-American mathematician who participated in calculating flight trajectories for Project Mercury and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. Using these calculations, NASA supported John Glenn in becoming the first American astronaut to make a complete orbit of Earth. The film also features Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), a colleague and mathematician specializing in flight paths, the Scout Project, and FORTRAN computer programming. Dorothy was also the first Black woman to become a supervisor at a time when racism and Jim Crow laws were at it’s worst. Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), also a colleague and mathematician at NASA, worked to analyze data from wind tunnel experiments and real-world aircraft flight experiments at the Theoretical Aerodynamics Branch of the Subsonic-Transonic Aerodynamics Division at Langley. She ultimately authored or co-authored 12 technical papers for NACA and NASA.
Al Harrison, (Kevin Costner) is the director of the Space Task Group who Katherine reported to but was told not to get close with. Any positive changes that were made, came from Harrison who was brilliantly played by Costner. Vivian Mitchell, (Kirsten Dunst) delivered orders to Dorothy and the 30 Black women Dorothy supervised and trained. Paul Stafford, (Jim Parsons) was the head programmer under Al Harrison and like everyone else, against women and Blacks being present in the program. John Glen (Glen Powell) The first astronaut to obit the earth and obviously a charismatic man who appeared to be non-racist. Colonel Jim Johnson, (Mahershala Ali) married Katherine who was a widow, taking on her three children from her first marriage.
Hidden Figures is at times, very emotional but a wake up call for those who could never imagine what it was like to be treated the way Blacks were treated for no reason other than being Black. Hate is a terrible thing and a terrible waste of energy. I was happy to see credit given to these women who achieved so much and contributed so much. If there is no mention of these women in taught in Black history, there should be and if you haven’t seen this movie, you should because it’s truly a great one. The story is spot on and the acting is outstanding. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Oscar nod or two come out of this film.
[HIDDEN FIGURES is nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Writing Adapted Screenplay]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged al harrison, apollo 11, colonel jim johnson, dorothy vaughan, fortran, glen powell, hidden figures, janelle monae, jim parsons, john glen, katherine g johnson, Kevin costner, kirsten dunst, mahershala ali, mary jackson, naca, nasa, octavia spencer, paul stafford, project mercury, taraji p henson, usa, ussr, vivian mitchell
Terrence Howard who plays Lucious Lyon and Taraji P. Henson who plays Cookie Lyon, are among the huge cast of hip-hoppers, singers and actors that fuel this new series. A secretly dying CEO of a successful record company is trying to set up his empire so that it runs smoothly and efficiently when he’s gone. He is divorced from his wife, who just gotten out of prison and is the mother of Lucious’ 3 sons. Tradition goes out the window when he decides to have his 3 sons Jamal (Jussie Smollett), Hakeem (Bryshere Gray), and Andre (Trai Byers) make a legitimate play for CEO of the company. He favors one son over the other two but tries to keep that to himself. His x is clever, demanding and ready for action claiming half of the firm. Together they are wheeling and dealing So far, the acting is good and the plot is good. After 2 episodes, I feel like I’ve been into Empire for years. For me, that’s one of the signs of a good series. Everything is not what meets the eye, as there are plenty of illegal dealings in the back office as well as right in front of the world to see. Strong characters and much talent will keep this one afloat for while. Stay tuned for more on this series as it progresses. Empire currently airs on FOX.
I was disappointed in Think Like A Man Too! It was too slap stick for me. Kevin Hart’s rantings really got on my nerves. If he had toned his character down some, it would have been a different ballgame. It seems like the director tried to steal a page from” Hang Over 3″ and “Last Vegas” with an over the top chain of funny events in “Sin City”. Both movies were better than Think Like a Man Too. There were some funny parts, but not funny enough to spend the price of a movie ticket to see it. The plot was okay but the craziness that followed was just plain stupid. What a waste of talent. You would think with this star studded cast, you’d get a pretty good movie, NOT! I even resented some of the insinuations because Think Like a Man Too crossed the line in ethic jokes. I don’t like any race of people to be the brunt of bad jokes or bad dialogue.
One of the couples from Think Like a Man Too is getting married. Kevin Hart is (erroneously) the best man. While he thinks he’s the best man for the job, he ends up being the worse. 5 couples make up the wedding party accompanied by an over bearing, control freak mom who doesn’t think the bride is good enough for her son. The problems begin with each gender’s expectations of the bachelor and bachelorette parties, respectively. Other problems include a reservation misunderstanding, the grooms mother and one couple’s dedication to their jobs. If you can get through Kevin Hart’s rantings, you might enjoy the rest of the cast that includes: Michael Ealy (Dominic), Jerry Ferrara (Jeremy), Meagan Good (Mya), Regina Hall (Candace), Dennis Haysbert (Uncle Eddie), Taraji P. Henson (Lauren), Terrence Jenkins (Michael), Jenifer Lewis (Loretta), Romany Malco (Zeke), Gabrielle Union (Kristen), Kevin Hart (Cedric), Gary Owen (Bennett) and Caleel Harris (Duke). My recommendation is wait for the DVD which releases on 9/16/14.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adam brody, bachelor, bachelorette, bennett, caleel harris, candace, cedric, david walton, dennis haysbert, dominic, duke, errell, gabrielle union, gary owen, isaac, jenifer lewis, jeremy, jerry ferrara, Kevin hart, kristen, las vegas, lauren, loretta, meagan good, michael, michael ealy, mother, mya, over bearing, party, regina hall, romany malco, taraji p henson, terrence jenkins, think like a man too, tish, uncle eddie, wendi mclendon-covey, zeke