Dunkirk Passes

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From acclaimed director, Christopher Nolan, DUNKIRK is an epic action thriller that tells the race against time to rescue 400,000 British and Allied troops trapped by enemy forces on the beaches of Dunkirk in World War II.  DUNIRK opens in theaters and IMAX worldwide on Friday, July 21.  #DunkirkMovie

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Movie Scene Queen and Warner Bros. Pictures are hosting an advanced screening of DUNKIRK on Monday, July 17th at 7:30 PM in the Waterfront.  Wanna go?  Please comment below with your favorite war movie.

Love,

Movie Scene Queen

‘L.A. riots’ hits home for Black viewers

Executive producer John Singleton and A&E mark the 25th anniversary of the L.A. riots with a 90-minute documentary, “The L.A. Riots: 25 Years Later.”

I was 4 years old when a jury acquitted four Los Angeles Police Department officers (Stacey Koon, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno) on charges for the beating of Rodney King. Too young to understand the beating, Rodney King is a name I will never forget. I knew of the Rodney King beating, but I never knew the extent of its aftermath.

In the six days after the verdict, 63 people were killed, 2,383 people were injured and 3,767 buildings were destroyed totaling one billion dollars in property damage.

The documentary is a gathering of actual footage and authentic testimonies explaining a tumultuous relationship between White law enforcement officers and Black motorists.

Residents of South Central L.A. were on edge and outraged when a home video of the beating surfaced. Then, days later, a Korean grocer killed 15-year-old Latasha Harlins after falsely accusing her of stealing.

This documentary leaves a lasting impression. I will now always remember the day the Rodney King verdict was rendered—April 29, 1992.

I was relieved that the documentary did not bring up O.J. Simpson. We’ve had enough of the O.J. Simpson story in recent cable listings. However, “The L.A. Riots: 25 Years Later” only confirmed my suspicions that the Rodney King and Latasha Harlins verdicts played a huge factor in Simpson’s 1995 murder trial.

Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier: ‘L.A. riots’ hits home for Black viewers (Merecedes’ Column on TV Shows May 3)

Fast cars, storyline make ‘Furious 8’ a big hit

The eighth installment of “The Fast and Furious” film series is out and has broken a box office record as the biggest opening in movie history with $100.2 million in domestic revenue and $532.5 in global revenue!

Fast cars and pure curiosity drove millions of fans to the theater this Easter weekend. I had one question in mind: What’s “The Fast and the Furious” without Paul Walker?

“The Fate of the Furious,” starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, defies the laws of filmmaking in two ways. First, the movie managed to keep its awesomeness even after losing one of its biggest stars. Walker’s unexpected passing in 2013 left a huge void and “Furious 7” (2015) seemed to be the perfect conclusion to the film series. But, even after 16 years and a devastating loss, the movie calmed all fears and suspicions regarding its ability to continue.

The advanced action, elaborate car chases and thick storyline is the reason why “The Fate of the Furious” is the best of the eight movies in the series.

Encompassing rare technology, extreme action and the most elite cars in the world, “The Fate of the Furious” is groundbreaking, and nothing like the other seven movies. But, this film is more than exotic automobiles and fighting scenes; it upholds the truest values of family, loyalty and devotion.

Source: Fast cars, storyline make ‘Furious 8’ a big hit (Merecedes Howze on…Movies)

The Boss Baby Passes

DreamWorks Animation and the director of Madagascar invite you to meet a most unusual baby.  He wears a suit, speaks with the voice and wit of Alec Baldwin, and stars in the animated comedy, DreamWorks’ The Boss Baby.  The Boss Baby is a hilariously universal story about how a new baby’s arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator, a wildly imaginative 7 year old named Tim.  With a sly, heart-filled message about the importance of family, DreamWorks’ The Boss Baby is an authentic and broadly appealing original comedy for all ages.

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Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Review: Thank you, Denzel Washington!

Denzel Washington attends the Cast & Crew Special Screening of the Paramount Pictures title “FENCES” at Southside Works Cinema on December 20, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Duane Prokop/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

There are people who you automatically associate with Pittsburgh, such as Wiz Khalifa, Andy Warhol, Bill Nunn, George Benson, and Mark Cuban. If you were to make a full list of notable Pittsburghers, August Wilson would undeniably be at the top of the list.

The Pulitzer Prize winning playwright manifested 10 iconic plays and Denzel Washington brought one of them right to our backyard. Washington, 61, should be commended for bringing “Fences” back home. He should also be admired for directing August Wilson’s “Fences” for mainstream media.

“My job was to take care of August Wilson, first,“ said Washington to a group of local cast and crew members who gathered in the South Side for a special screening on Tuesday.

Read the full movie review at the New Pittsburgh Courier, Review: Thank you, Denzel Washington!

Review: Will Smith is at his best in “Collateral Beauty”

If you thought “Pursuit of Happyness” (2006) or Seven Pounds” (2008) were the foundation of Will Smith’s serious acting career, then you must see “Collateral Beauty”. The film is a tear-jerking cinematic conglomerate of loss, love, and luminous hope.

In “Collateral Beauty”, a marketing executive, Howard Inlet (Smith), becomes isolated and extremely emotional after losing his young daughter. His tragedy and grief spills over into his professional life as he tries to find the meaning of life without his little one.


Helen Mirren and Will Smith in Collateral Beauty Credit: Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros./AP

Even with the opening weekend box office flop, whatever Smith was paid, was not enough. In “Collateral Beauty”, he fills the holiday season with warmth, love, and tears of joy and sorrow. Something that was once a questionable transition from rapper to actor has blossomed into a seasoned career. I am never disappointed when Will Smith is in a movie. This film is just one of his better roles.

Be prepared to cry. I’m talking about a hard cry, where snot might be involved. You know the Viola Davis cry, the one she does in almost every episode of “How to Get Away with Murder”. Tissue is highly recommended…

Read the full New Pittsburgh Courier article, Review: Will Smith is at his best in “Collateral Beauty”

Collateral Beauty Passes

When a successful New York ad executive suffers a personal tragedy and retreats from life, his friends devise a drastic plan to reach him before he loses everything. Pushing him to the very edge, they force him to confront the truth in surprising and profoundly human ways.

From Oscar-winning director David Frankel, this thought-provoking drama explores how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of beauty, and how the constants of love, time and death interlock in a life fully lived.

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Warner Brothers and Movie Scene Queen are gearing up for the anticipated release, COLLATERAL BEAUTY. The film has an all-star ensemble cast that includes Will Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Michael Pena, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren. We have two (2) Pittsburgh screenings:

Monday, December 12th at 7:30PM
Pittsburgh – AMC Waterfront

Wednesday, December 14th at 7:30PM
Pittsburgh – AMC Waterfront

Please comment below with your favorite Will Smith moment AND your preferred date.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Why I finished Issa Rae’s ‘Insecure’ in one sitting

This image released by HBO shows Issa Rae in a scene from, “Insecure,” which premiered on Oct. 9. (John P. Fleenor/HBO via AP)

It took me exactly 240 minutes to finish the first season of HBO’s new series, “Insecure”. After many Facebook posts about the admiration for the show created by You Tube sensation Issa Rae, I decided to start the show earlier this week. But, once I began watching the show Monday evening, I just couldn’t stop.

“Insecure” is that good!

Starring Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Lisa Joyce, and Jay Ellis, the 8-episode series is a tale of two African American women in the tumultuous dating scene of Los Angeles. Issa is a school community organizer in a questionable, stagnant relationship with her live-in boyfriend, Lawrence (Ellis). While, her best friend, Molly (Orji), is a successful lawyer with the troubles of finding a man.

Plagued with the successful Black woman stereotype, both friends find themselves questioning their professional and romantic existence.

Thanks to HBO On Demand I had the ability to watch and pause at my leisure for those 240 minutes of raw, rugged comedy and new adventures. The first season is a powerhouse of entertainment and energy. Everything that is typically inappropriate in life is not with “Insecure”. Cursing. Kissing ex-boyfriends. Random dating or hookup apps.

“Insecure” celebrates the predictability of human beings, while showcasing the complexity of actually understanding them

Unless you’re currently married to your high school sweetheart, every woman, at one point in time, has been Molly, Issa, or a combination of both. The besties remind us that relationship are hard, but dating is harder. From standards to expectations, find the right one is an uphill battle.

Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier: Why I finished Issa Rae’s ‘Insecure’ in one sitting

‘Almost Christmas’: Black family reminder about holidays to come

“Almost Christmas”, starring Danny Glover, Mo’Nique, Gabrielle Union, and Kimberly Elise, is a friendly reminder of what to expect over the holidays.  In the movie, the Myers family meets up for the first time after losing the matriarch of their family.  In the days leading up to Christmas, the family’s grief, love and hate creates a more complex family time.

A family gathers for dinner in “Almost Christmas.” (Quantrell D. Colbert/Universal Pictures via AP)

For many families, the holidays are an opportunity to come together and break bread.  But, for African American families, including mine, these assemblies are much more than that.  These gatherings are an imbalanced mixture of laughter, drama, song, dance, and soul food. We all have that one family member that can’t cook.  The inappropriate uncle. The crazy aunt. The sibling rivalry. The buried secrets.

“Almost Christmas” reminds us of all of the classic memorable moments we’ve already shared and prepares us for the ones to come.

Read more at New Pittsburgh Courier: ‘Almost Christmas’: Black family reminder about holidays to come

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