11 September 2017

The Atoning Review

The filmmakers provided a screener for review. This review avoids mentioning major spoilers.

The horror-suspense film The Atoning, directed by Michael Williams, gives a distorted view of an American family. The first act of the movie show this family, mother Vera, father Ray, and son Sam going through the motions inside of their home. Witnessing routine after routine is odd enough until the family sees strange visions of other people. Later, the movie shows who has to do some actual atoning, including confronting some coal-black demons, and why. … Continued &#187

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20 January 2017

Accidental Courtesy Review

Unlike his profession as a musician, Daryl Davis’ methods of fighting racism isn’t always a crowd pleaser. Accidental Courtesy, the documentary featuring Davis, covers his befriending some Ku Klux Klan members and the impact of his actions. It’s a fascinating watch for how Davis thinks outside the volatile box of race relations.

As a younger (millennial) Black man, I have some mild ambivalence to Davis’ work. He has had success in turning some of his hood-and-robe-wearing friends away from the Ku Klux Klan and its sociopathic hate. For that, I am grateful that Davis illustrating face-to-face social interaction can make a difference. However, it’s a one-man movement about crossing the aisle meaning it’s slower kind of change, doesn’t end the Klan, and can send mixed signals. Some of the tensest moments of Accidental Courtesy is when Davis talks those who don’t approve of his methods, such as a representative of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a meeting with two younger Black protesters in Baltimore. Also, Courtesy throws in footage of Donald Trump in a seemingly last-minute attempt of relevance. Davis remains hopeful while living on the brink of the Trump presidency, but how Davis deals with the alt-right would require an update a few years down the line.

Accidental Courtesy is sometimes hard to watch, but I find Davis’ effort a net positive for improving race relations. It has shown me, someone who practically lives online, how we, in general, should value getting to know each other in the flesh. Americans should be exposed to more films showing the fight against racism in action.

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17 November 2016

Cents Movie Review

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From an advance screener copy provided by the filmmakers.

Middle school provided some of the worst moments of my childhood. Kids were reaching peak immaturity before high school came along when we all had to make important decisions about launching our adult lives. Cents, written and directed by Christopher Boone, captures the atmosphere where kids only think they have things figured out. While Cents is free of profanity and explicit stuff, there’s plenty of bad behavior.

Math whiz Sammy Baca (Julia Flores) concocts a major tweak to her school’s penny drive program. She convinces the students operating the drive to tell one other person a day to give a penny, that other person gets another to give a penny, and so on. Sam didn’t think up a pyramid scheme out of the goodness of her heart; her taking a cut of the proceeds beats selling gum on school grounds. Penny by penny, Sammy’s saves up for a brand new toy. Sammy’s intelligent, but only at the end of the movie she shows empathy, contrition, and even a bit of wisdom.

These girls aren’t criminal masterminds, so complications arise in executing the plan and egos are bruised. Because I had trouble keeping up with names, I made names for the other members of the group: ex-BFF, Mean Queen Selena Gomez lookalike, and MQSG’s lackey. The young ladies do fine portraying basic character types, but cartoonish MQSG acts as though she’s on The Suite Life of iCarly or whatever. … Continued &#187

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7 September 2015

Who Still Wants To See Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?

Over 15 years ago, ABC’s Who Wants To Be a Millionaire was THE TV event of late summer. It pushed the boundaries of what game shows were (Million dollar top prize! Dark and moody lighting!) and its popularity sparked an explosive end to a humdrum decade in the quizzer genre.

Millionaire went from a worldwide phenomenon helmed by Chris Tarrant, Regis Philbin, and others to… something far from its glorious late-90s, early 2000s heyday. Here in the U.S., it’s limping along with its fourth syndicated weekday host and a third major format tweak (i.e. “back to basics”).

Tim “Loogaroo” Connolly documents his thoughts:

Without question, WWTBAM was one of my all-time favorite shows. It captivated my attention from the word go, and I was among the throngs of people calling the show’s toll-free number every opportunity I got, hoping to get the call that would give me the opportunity at a big win. I even constructed a fansite for the show, doing my best to chronicle the exploits of each contestant before the constant waves of new contestants got to be overwhelming.

Source: Final Answer, Interrupted: The Delayed Demise of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – The Bloog

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14 June 2015

Chauncey Devega’s Requiem for a Heavyweight, Dusty Rhodes

Dusty Rhodes was the man who could draw working black and white people to his battles in the squared circle. He influenced Ric Flair and mentored NXT stars such as Sami Zayn and Enzo Amore. Writer Chauncey Devega discusses Dusty’s lasting impact:

Dusty Rhodes was a legend in the ring and a preacher on the microphone. What’s more, he was also a Black icon

Continue reading: The power and the glory of Dusty Rhodes: The “American Dream” who transcended pro wrestling’s racial divide – Salon.com

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20 February 2015

Birdman Flies Into Overrated Territory

Birdman isn’t about the adventures of a superhero, but the adventures of a tortured soul. … Continued &#187

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18 February 2015

CW’s The Flash: Fallout –Robbie Amell and Victor Garber’s On-Screen Chemistry

Still keeping its spot as one of the best superhero television shows ever, the episode from last night’s episode of ‘The Flash’ was absolutely amazing! For those that aren’t aware of the character The Flash, or of this shows existence, it stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen who is struck by lightning while dosed in chemicals AND hit by a wave of dark matter energy concurrently. … Continued &#187

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17 January 2015

Hindsight Episode Two

This show…THIS SHOW! The cast has done an AMAZING job at really placing themselves in the nineties. And talk about having the best soundtrack EVER. I felt like I was in middle school all over again listening to it. I now have no doubt that this show will be VH1’s highest rated show ever. Everything about it is so right!

This episode picks up right where the last one drops off. The revelation that Becca has just changed her future begins to weigh on her and only Lolly can help her pick up the pieces. And as a quick statement, yes…I thought Lolly looked spot on as Six from Blossom. And yes, Sarah Goldberg’s Lolly is very quickly becoming one of my favorite television characters. … Continued &#187

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11 January 2015

Hindsight Review

Have you ever had that feeling that your life didn’t work out the way it SHOULD have? That you took too many safe bets instead of taking one big leap? Then you should follow Becca in VH1’s new sitcom, Hindsight. I saw a trailer for this a few weeks back and it IMMEDIATELY caught my attention. Thank goodness for the internet because, without Facebook, I would’ve never caught this awesome show! … Continued &#187

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8 October 2014

VH1 Takes “A New Beat” to Drumline

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Drumline: A New Beat steps up on VH1 premiering 27 October. The Fox TV Studios-produced sequel swaps genders for the lead as Alexandra Shipp’s Dani Raymond enters the faltering Atlanta A & T Drumline program. However, Nick Cannon will make an appearance, hopefully in a more harmonious role than gossip fodder. … Continued &#187

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