Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, starring Idris Elba as former South African President Nelson Mandela, is a lesson to be learned by all ages. As the world still mourns after Nelson Mandela’s December 5th death, there’s a slight comfort and learning opportunity with this movie. With seven different movies about Nelson Mandela’s life, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is only movie authorized by Nelson Mandela and his family.

Idris Elba and Naomie Harris as Nelson and Winnie Mandela is a match made in heaven. Elba, who was recently nominated for Best Actor by the Golden Globes for his role in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, is strong and poised, and with the spot of makeup magic, gave the audience an intense snapshot of Nelson Mandela from a young lad to a senior citizen. Whereas, Harris is feisty and mild tempered as the former First Lady of South Africa. Both actors portray the couple as they had studied their behavior and work for a long period of time.

As expected, the movie was long. Although worth it, I wonder why the movie focused a great deal of time on his first marriage and his promiscuous ways. I know all leaders are not perfect and hold their own flaws. But the focus on that particular part of his life was not detrimental to story line. I wish the movie would have shed light more on the work he did once he was elected president in 1994.

On December 12th, Movie Scene Queen hosted a special screening of the movie and invited Pittsburgh Public Schools students and District leaders. Student members of the African American Center for Advanced Studies (AACAS) Executive Committee, a group of PPS Black gifted students, and young African American men a part of the WE PROMISE program, a District initiative to mentor male students and help them obtain the Pittsburgh Promise, were in attendance.

“The only thing I knew about Nelson Mandela was that he fought to end apartheid and spent 27 years in prison. Everything else that happened in the movie, I never knew” says AACAS executive committee member and Brashear High School junior, Makeda Drew, 16.

Drew and roughly 40 other students spent 139 minutes learning the multi-layered story of Nelson Mandela. “I think it’s important for us to be exposed to a great leader. The movie was inspirational to see what changes one man could accomplish because of what he believed in,” says Drew.

The movie has already seen cinematic success in South Africa. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie debuted at #1 during its opening weekend (November 28th release date) and has currently grossed an estimated $1.2 million.

4 STARS: In addition to the many local initiatives in Pittsburgh to honor Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, let’s maximize on this holiday break and support this movie. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a must see for everyone.

Week of 3.18.13- Olympus Has Fallen

Two Words: ACTION PACKED!!!

Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, and Gerard Butler star in a heroic story about a CIA agent who pretty much has the entire country counting on him as Korean terrorists take over the White House. Eighteen months prior to the White House attack, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Butler) made efforts to save President and First Lady Asher (Aaron Eckhart and Ashley Judd) after a terrible car accident. Agent Banning was only able to save the President and watched as First Lady Asher fell to her untimely death. Banning’s lifesaving attempts removed him from the President’s detail and behind a desk at the US Treasury. This desk position probably puts him in the best predicament because he was one of the first responders to the terrorist aircraft that gunned down innocent civilians.

From the director of Training Day, it was evident why one viewer said “it was like Die Hard 2013 meets Saw.” Similar to Training Day, the movie had a dark glow. You know-that “the world is about to end” glow full of panic, chaos, police sirens, and no sign of running water and electricity. The President and his executive cabinet were slightly tortured but to see one’s man fight to save them was heroic.

This movie leaves you with ONE burning question: HOW OLD IS MORGAN FREEMAN?

Sheesh! He might out live me.

4.5 STARS: This is surely a man’s flick! But I can see the ladies getting together to watch a whole bunch of men kill each for one’s country.

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