Ladies’ Night Out: The Other Woman Passes

Ladies Night Out

Ladies (Sorry Fellas),

If you are in the Greater Pittsburgh area, please join Blonde Girl Nok and the Movie Scene Queen tomorrow at the Waterfront for Ladies’ Night Out. The two female bloggers have acquired an entire movie theater to get together, socialize and watch Cameron Diaz’s new movie, The Other Woman.

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After discovering her boyfriend is married, a woman (Cameron Diaz) tries to get her ruined life back on track. But when she accidentally meets the wife he’s been cheating on (Leslie Mann), she realizes they have much in common, and her sworn enemy becomes her greatest friend. When yet another affair is discovered (Kate Upton), all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on their cheating, lying, three-timing SOB.

If you are down for Ladies’ Night Out, just comment below with your first and last name and how many guests you plan to bring. REMEMBER, NO GUYS!

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Brick Mansions Passes

In one of Paul Walker’s last cinematic performances…

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In a dystopian Detroit, abandoned brick mansions left from better times now house only the most dangerous criminals. Unable to control the crime, the police constructed a colossal containment wall around this area to protect the rest of the city. For undercover cop Damien Collier (Paul Walker), every day is a battle against corruption. For Lino (David Belle), every day is a fight to live an honest life. Their paths never should have crossed, but when drug kingpin Tremaine (RZA) kidnaps Lino’s girlfriend, Damien reluctantly accepts the help of the fearless ex-convict, and together they must stop a sinister plot to devastate the entire city. With stylized action featuring thrilling Parkour stunts (David Belle is the co-founder of this physical training discipline), Brick Mansions puts an entertaining twist on the action genre. The film is opening on Friday, April 25th.

The Movie Scene Queen is hosting a special screening of the movie on Wednesday, April 23 at 7:30PM at the South Side Works theater. For two tickets, please comment below with your favorite Paul Walker moment.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Draft Day

“Sometimes the correct path is the tortured one!” –Ali Parker (Jennifer Garner)

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Although the Pittsburgh Steelers reign as the only NFL team with six Super Bowl championships, one of our biggest rivalries, the Cleveland Browns, cleaned up nicely for Draft Day. The sport comedy stars Kevin Costner as Sonny Weaver, Jr., General Manager for the Browns who makes the 2014 Draft Day a crazy once when he makes a few risky deals. Draft Day’s other first round acting picks are Frank Langella, Sam Elliott, Terry Crews, Denis Leary, Josh Pence, with a special appearance from Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Die hard Steelers fans please do not fret because there were a few Steel City plugs. And yes, the movie production company could have easily made the movie about Blitzburgh. But according to many reports, even the Buffalo Bills were kicked to the curb because Ohio has cheaper production costs, so it was either the Browns or the Bengals.

Draft Day’s imagery was on point; clear, crisp, and colorful. If the deep, bright orange from the Browns franchise did not stand out, the cool spilt screens whenever two characters were talking would have done it. Of course Draft Day for NFL team executives means that you are constantly on the phone bartering and sweet-talking. So when these phone conversations occur the actors spill over into the other set or screen. Granting, it’s difficult to describe, but it was pretty impressive and innovative.

Draft Day Spilt Screen

If you were not truly inspired last year with Chadwick Boseman’s performance legendary baseballer Jackie Robinson in 42, then you are delusional. Nonetheless, Boseman inspiringly plays another athlete, Vontae Mack, in Draft Day. Mack is a humble yet effective Southern defensive football player who is fighting for his spot on the Browns’ roster. Boseman, along with other young Black actors like Michael B. Jordan, Jaden Smith, and Tristan Wilds, have hit the movie scene with a vengeance, displaying strength and great appeal.

I love Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner together. They were like the underdog couple. Rightfully, women are supposed to meet a nice guy, get to know him, get married, have children, and live happily ever after. Realistically, it does not always work out like that. In Draft Day that is exactly what happened with Sonny Weaver and Ali Parker. Between work ethics around fraternizing and personal grief, the biggest task is for the two to come to a common understanding about their relationship. Costner is a charming as he was in The Bodyguard (1992), and Garner has proven herself as the adorable girl from around the corner.

4 STARS: An awesome football and family story about a smaller city built on tradition and sports similar to Pittsburgh.

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Oculus

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After a 10 year bid in a mental facility for killing his father, Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites) reunites with his sister, Kaylie (Karen Gilliam). With a decade long promise to fulfill, Kaylie recreates the tragic events of their childhood for closure. An ancient, haunted mirror is the only thing in the way. The siblings find themselves trapped in their childhood home battling this ghostly mirror and the many spirits that it possesses.

Oculus’ storyline was beyond creepy and the repetition was that of a skipped record. Scenes were played over and over again, making the understanding of the movie even more complex. The highly anticipated horror film left me disappointed and confused. I fully comprehend the idea or concept of the frightful moments, it just took a long time to get there. And there were not as many scary moments compared to the gut-wrenching parts; the parts were you cringed from the nastiness and not from the actual terror.

The lack of diversity in the movie is almost laughable. The 10-person cast did not include not one person of color. Yes, I know we are normally the first character killed in your typical horror film, but Oculus could have expanded the racial representation. The doctor, the friend, somebody could have been of color.

WWE Studios, formerly WWF Films, has a hand in creating this bloodcurdling project. Although the wrestling based film company is fairly new, starting in 2002, the number of movies have increased since they started 12 years ago. WWE Studio is responsible for some greats flicks like The Scorpion King (2002) and The Call (2013). Hopefully, Oculus will give WWE Studios the same box office success despite its own horror.

Earlier in the year, WWE Studios announced the making of Jingle All The Way 2. I was filled with great excitement until I found out that no one from the orginal cast like Sinbad or Arnold Schwarzenegger is slated to be on the movies’ ballot. Childhood classics should be left alone when there are plans to make drastic changes. Don’t ruin my childhood with cheesy sequels. It did not work for Home Alone 3 (1997) or The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (1998), so just leave it be!

2 Stars: There’s a thin line between horror and gruesome. I blame the Saw movie series on the heigtened levels of dramatic ghastliness. Oculus was no different, creating difficult moments to watch in the movie. The elements of suspense and surprise, huge factors in any horrow movie, are minimal.

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Heaven is For Real

This Easter holiday break enjoy this movie about a family’s miraculous event…

Heaven is for Real

Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book of the same name, Heaven Is For Real, brings to the screen the true story of a small-town father, Todd Burpo (Gred Kinnear), who must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. His son, Colton (Connor Corum), claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Colton recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth… things he couldn’t possibly know. Todd and his family are then challenged to examine the meaning from this remarkable event.

Heaven Is For Real (PG) is in theaters April 16, 2014.

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Captain America: The Winter Solider

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Chris Evans stars as Captain America in Marvel’s latest superhero comic sequel, Captain America: The Winter Solider. Captain America enlists the help of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and, notably the first African-American superhero, Falcon (Anthony Mackie), to expose the internal misrepresentation at S.H.I.E.L.D. Secrets stemming back to World War II are revealed after Captain America finds out his childhood friend, Bucky (Sebastian Stan), is still alive. The three team up with the help of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), to save the organization’s reputation and infrastructure. The movie also stars Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, and Robert Redford.

Anthony Mackie chronologically gets better with every movie. It is hard to believe that the same slinky guy who played “Papa Doc” from 8 Mile (2002) would Marvel’s first Black superhero. He is outstanding, persuasive, and balanced. Mackie’s recent increased number of acting gigs is evidence that he is competition now. Typically, we see the same Black actors and it is refreshing to see some different, long-lasting faces.

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The fighting scenes are superb! Minutes in the movie some of the best combating occurs and it consistently continues throughout the movie. The choreography, timing, and precision with the fighters is multi-dimensional and believable.

I have always been a light Scarlett Johansson fan. Since ‘Her’ (2013), I have placed the red head on an idealistic pedestal. Merely her voice was featured in the winter movie, but in Captain America: The Winter Solider, the audience gets a glimpse of everything (well not everything). Johansson is drop dead gorgeous. Her beauty is only a drop in the bucket compared to the effort she spends on screen acting. Johansson was fierce as Black Widow.

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The movie’s initial Captain American uniform looked like when Marla Gibbs concocted a homemade superhero uniform for Robert Townsend in The Meteor Man (1993). I am not quite sure if Marvel was going for a vintage look, but it surpassed the thrift shop sale rack. Although the uniform is microscopic compared the rest of the elements, I thought a brand new, shiny Captain America suit would be the least expected.

Any movie more than two hours is a mini-series. I should not be subject to endure more than 120 minutes without the option of pausing or stopping the movie. Captain America: The Winter Solider was too long and I have identified the long movies as a trend previously. Give me 110 minutes, a cliff-hanger ending, and I’ll patiently wait until the next film. The movie should have had some more deleted scenes for the DVD.

As a mother of a 6-year-old boy, I think I am forced to familiarize myself with the comic book affairs of Captain America, The Avengers, and any other supernatural human being. But, please do not proceed by quizzing me on the origin of any superhero, villain, or storyline because I literally watch the movie. I do not follow the superheroes. I am intrigued to find out more information about Marvel’s first Black superhero, Falcon, who was created in 1969.

3 STARS: The movie is too long but I suspect it’s the perfect length for all superhero and Captain American fans. Scarlett Johansson and Anthony Mackie got more points with me and the fighting was on point. Plans for Captain America part 3 are in the works now and the movie is slated to be released in 2016. In the meantime, you can catch Captain America: The Winter Solider this weekend in theaters.

March 2014 Throwback Movie of the Month: Hollywood Shuffle

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For the first time, I caught Hollywood Shuffle on my boyfriend’s DVR. The movie came highly recommended by several people and I was not disappointed. The 1987 movie stars Robert Townsend (co-writer, director and producer) as aspiring actor, Bobby Taylor. The over-enthused Bobby Taylor quickly realizes that his daytime job as a hot dog boy is not helpful for his acting career after he lands a big role as a street thug in a major production.

Bobby’s success raises a lot of questions in the Black community about stereotypical roles. The great gig even rallies protesters. Internally, Bobby is facing a tough decision: Does he cater to the these stereotypical, demeaning roles to get his foot in the acting door? Or does he stand up to Hollywood executives and casting directors by denouncing the roles and others like it?

Hollywood Shuffle is undoubtedly funny, but it has an even deeper message. Are we willing to sell our souls for temporary gain? The even bigger message for actors, movie lovers, and Hollywood is the idea that African Americans are only subject to certain roles- maids, whores, street thugs, pimps, and slaves.

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Robert Townsend held the prestige versatility of Eddie Murphy long before his time. While he acts and produces, the finished product is always enjoyable. He also dabbles in TV as well. In the mid 90s, he had a family sitcom on the WB called The Parent ‘Hood. He uses specific imagery like daydreaming or creating over the top characters.

Because he doesn’t push the envelope as much as Spike Lee or use predictable humor like Tyler Perry, Robert Townsend still goes down as one of the best Black directors of all time. His movies range in genre and audience, and can be caught on many different TV networks. My favorite Robert Townsend movies are The Meteor Man (1993), B*A*P*S (1997), Jackie’s Back! (1999), Holiday Heart (2000), and Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001).

3.5 Stars: I definitely think I would have appreciated the movie more when it originally came out. (Even though the movie was released before I was born) But, nonetheless, the movie is some of Robert Townsend’s best work, a much needed play on the stereotypical and sometimes racist flaws of Hollywood. Seeing the movie recently only solidifies that while Lupita Nyong’o still received her Oscar recently for portraying a slave, the movie industry has evolved with classifying roles for African American. Black actors are most definitely breaking down barriers!