Happy 100th Birthday Olivia de Havilland

by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and CarlaRenatasCorner Gone With The Wind is one of my Mommy's favorite movies and has become a classic one of mine as well.  For the woman who played the role of faithful wife to Ashley Wilkes - Olivia De Havilland is the film's only surviving actor.  Today she turned 100 years young!

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Born in Tokyo on July 1, 1916, to British parents, de Havilland and her younger sister Joan Fontaine grew up in California and both became Academy Award-winning lead actresses (the only pair of siblings to do so). Reportedly, Fontaine had originally been approached for the role of Melanie in "GWTW," but wanted to play Scarlett O'Hara.  She suggested her sister for the part instead.

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De Havilland, who appeared in "GWTW" when she was in her early 20s, ultimately went on to star in dozens of movies and TV shows, winning two Oscars (for 1947's "To Each His Own" and 1950's "The Heiress") before stepping away from the spotlight in 1988.

One of my all time favorite films starring de Havilland was a Hitchcock thriller called Suspicion.  If you haven't seen her body of work, take a break from the barbecue and fireworks to check her out.  Like the iconic films in which she starred...Olivia de Havilland is a class act.

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THE PHENOM

Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com, On Air With Tony Sweet and Carla Renata's Corner Phenom-Movie-1

Can you imagine being barely out of elementary school and being declared a phenomenal baseball player breaking all sorts of records and myths?  Neither did Hooper Gibson (Johnny Simmons), which is one of the reasons his short-lived good luck was on the skids along with his self-esteem, his relationship with his Dad and his relationship with himself.

Initially, I was interested in tis film because I love baseball and thought I would be seen something in the lane of MoneyBall or Field of Dreams.  What I witnessed was a film is that felt more like an August Wilson play with white people than it did a feature film.  There were mostly two-person scenes with a ton of dialogue executed perfectly by each actor casts.

Ethan Hawke, however, was on a whole other level for this role.  I'm not used to seeing him be a bully, but I kinda liked it.  He is sporting a Marine Corps still buzz cut and his attitude is just as hard-core.  If Boyhood couldn't bring home major mantel candy for Hawke last season, it's a safe bet that this performance can not be ignored.  It's simply marvelous.  No wonder Hopper was having an identity crisis.  Johnny Simmons had the most difficult role to attack with Hopper.  He had to be a bird with a broken wing, but still let you know that the apple really doesn't fall too far from the tree - involuntarily so.

The Phenom is a journey in self-loathing, self-discovery, self-awareness and how our parents can affect our spirit whether we want them to or not.  The Phenom is in theaters NOW!

[embed]https://youtu.be/8I6PwAgD_PE[/embed]

Los Angeles Film Festival 2016: The House on Coco Road

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Let's rewind just a tad.  Back in America, Fannie Haughton was a UCLA student who had befriended a young, innovative professor.  A professor who was about to become a fugitive and on the FBI's Most Wanted List whose name was Angela Davis.  After witnessing such injustices and watching yet another group of young people...people of color be jailed and murdered as part of the Black Panther movement and Reagan's war on drugs.  Haughton, scooped up her boys and moved to Granada, which in comparison seemed like paradise.

In 1979, the people of Grenada carried out the first successful  Revolution in the English speaking Caribbean culminating in Maurice Bishop becoming Prime Minister. Meet Fannie Haughton.

In 1982 Angela Davis, her family, and Haughton visited Grenada to witness the Peoples’ Revolution. In 1983 two events pop off.  Fannie is offered a position in the Ministry of Education. While she scoops up her kids, leaves Oakland and moves to Grenada,  America led a military invasion following the assassination of Grenadian Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop.

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Hiding under the bed for three days as bombs shook the island, Fannie and her kids lives were changed forever. Nearly sixteen years later Fannie's son Damani Baker returned to Grenada  and began shooting a documentary, searching for a story that felt untold and unfinished.

Little did she and the boys know that less than a year later, she and her family would be hiding under a bed from the very same government she left in America.  Their existence in paradise would be over.

After discovering some family super 8 footage of his grandmother in rural Louisiana on the land their family sharecropped, Baker began to unravel his mother’s path to activism. During this process,  Damani began to understand why his Mom and her friends put their lives on the line in order to build a better world. You may not know their names, but they have changed the course of history. 

With so many historical stories in the forefront, the black lives matter movement, #oscarsowhite and Donald J. Trump threatening  to build a wall for illegal immigrants...The House on CoCo Road is right on time.

It's fascinating how politicians twist the facts for their own agendas without any regard for the lives their decisions will affect. Fortunately, for Haughton, Davis, Baker and so many others have been able to move forward and this chapter of their life is now a footnote.  However, Damani has has blown the lid off of the Reagan administration' ulterior motives while carefully crafting this shocking, yet compelling story.

Nowadays, Angela Davis still speaks out on injustice, but does so from her classroom at the University of California in Santa Cruz in the Feminist Studies Department.  Damani's Mom, Fannie Haughton, has a doctorate and continues to be an educator.

The House on Coco Road premieres on June 2nd at the Los Angeles Film Festival which runs from June 1  9.

https://vimeo.com/119729008

 

Top 10 Flicks From the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

Well peeps, I wasn't to able to cross the ocean to France for the 2016 Cannes Film Festival once again.  However, Variety,  Peter  Debruge and Owen Gleiberman keep me in the know and if  I am in the loop - then so do you... Here is what Variety says are the Top Ten to look for...

BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT

  Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com  and CarlaRenatasCorner.com

 

Rapper turned actor/producer Ice-Cube is already having a great year!  AAFCA (African-American Film Critics Association) honored his film 'Straight Outta Compton" and now he's back in the third installment of his hit film "Barbershop".

This one takes a serious tone focusing more on the unprecedented violence in Chicago than on the jokes.  Even Anthony Anderson's character is a little more straight-laced.

Faced with the violence finally hitting the block where the barbershop is, Calvin (Ice-Cube) is once again faced with the decision of moving the shop or giving it up altogether.  As it that weren't enough, the son who was a baby in the first installment is now a teen on the verge of joining a gang just to fit in.  So, the shop gets the gangs to hold s truce for 48 hours in hopes of getting the violence under control if only for a little while.

Barbershop wouldn't be the same without its old standby's Eddie (Cedric The Entertainer),       Terri (Eve) , who is now married to Rashad lushly played by my celebrity crush Common and the young politician/barber trying to make a difference Jimmy (Sean Patrick Harris).  However, the new blood infused fits right on in like my girl Nicki Minaj as Draya, Regina Hall as Angie, Margot Bingham as Bree, Tyga as Yummy, Jamal Woolard as Marquis is giving you Suge Knight in look and presence, Deon Cole as that one customer that don't know how to go home (Dante) is hilarious, New Girl's Lamorne Morris (Jerrod) and Raja (Utkarsh Ambudkar)  and JB Smoove as One-Stop provide much of the comic relief this time around.

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The young men playing Jalen (Michael Rainey , Jr.) and Kenny (Diallo Thompson) are turning in some stellar work and their scenes are some of the most poignant and heartwarming of the film

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Barbershop:  The Next Cut drives home the point of the senseless shootings when one of the "good ones' happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This wasn't my favorite in the franchise, but I applaud the efforts of the cast, Cube, directors Malcolm D. Lee and "Black'ish" writer Kenya Barris for throwing this issue in America's face and making them think if only for a minute what they could do to curb the problem instead of adding fuel to the fire.

Barbershop:  The Next Cut is in theaters NOW!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2vPDGStL4k

TFF 2016: Children of the Mountain

img_4942 Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and CarlaRenatasCorner.com

 

It's unfortunate that we live in a world where when you are different or special, that characteristic is not always celebrated or looked upon positively.

As we complete a weekend where the world has lost one of the most different voices in the music industry ever (PRINCE), it suffices to say that being different is sometimes the greatest gift one can be given.

In Ghana, Africa and with most men around the world, nothing pleases them more than having a son to carry on the family name.  They take great pride in that accomplishment.  However, when a that same child is born with a deformity, it is seen as a curse and the woman carrying the child is blamed for the unfortunate circumstances.

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Priscilla Anany, the writer/director/producer  in her cinematic debut of the Tribeca Film Festival  Jury winning film "Children of the Mountain" is a cinematic and storytelling genius!  Often times with these types of films, we see the after effects of a deformity from only the point of view of the child.  Very rarely is the story mostly focused on the mother and her mental state under such a painful and emotionally challenging time.  The guilt, shame, disappointment is usually always played under the surface, but Anany hangs this mother's feelings out in the yard like laundry drying on a line in the hot summer heat.

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As many of  you know who read my blog, I watch hundreds of films and attend a multitude of film festivals, but this film right here had me in the ugly cry and I literally had to pull myself together before sitting down to pen my thoughts.

There is nothing worse than loving someone unconditionally only to have them light your feelings up in flames for all to see and judge.  Essuman would have done anything for Edjah.  She laid with him out-of-wedlock, had his child and still believed that he would come back and be her family.

Essuman (Rukeyat Masud) is having an affair with Edjah (Adjetey Anang) when she finds herself pregnant.  When the child is born with a cleft palate and multiple sclerosis, Essuman struggles to find clarity and peace while attempting to obtain healing for Nuku from spiritual leaders, medicine men and hospitals after being abandoned by his father.

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It's only when he calls the baby a monster, blames her and literally dismisses any feelings she might have that she slips into a deep depression resulting in the unthinkable.  postpartum depression is real and will make a woman react in a way that she never sees coming. Fortunately, she finds love again and her future suddenly doesn't seem so bleak and unlivable.

Every single actor in this film turns in breathtaking performances to where I forgot I was watching actors in a performance.  Anany's writing is so poignant and realistic that it draws you into the story from the first frame.  I, for one can't wait to see what she does next and hopefully have the opportunity to work alongside her.

To find out more about where to see ChildreN of the MountaiN, you can go to www.facebook.com/childreNofthemountaiN

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVN94jOegx8

TFF 2016: Murder, Madonna, Murphy and more

The overall theme for the 2016 Tribeca Fim Festival was a little more serious this year in tone and in film selections/screenings.  From the Opening Night film "The First Monday In May" to the tribute of Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" to the Closing night film "The Bomb" the films were mostly thought provoking and emotional. Here is my take on a few films that I happen to squeeze in:

STARRING AUSTIN PENDLETON

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I was intrigues to find out who the actor was that has earned the respect of such peers as Meryl Streep, Ethan Hawke, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and many many more.  What I discovered is that I actually know who Austin Pendleton was, but he is such a chameleon of an actor that I didn't realize it.  For those of  you who are reading and wondering who I am talking about, if you have ever seen "My Cousin Vinny", Austin turns in a performance as a stuttering lawyer that will leave you in stitches.  That's only ONE of his films!!!!

When I asked him about that film he told me that he took that particular role as favor to a friend and joked that as a real life stutterer, it is ironic that he recognized for that role more so than any other.  Ironic...isn't it?  Like fellow thespian James Earl Jones, he began acting to hide his stuttering.

Touted as the "the most famous actor you've never heard of", this entertaining do has Austin reflected on his career while his A-list peers discuss what it's like to be an original in a celebrity obsessed, social media driven world of entertainment.  When I asked Austin about his social media presence he jokingly remarked, "If I have a Twitter account...I don't know about it".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=589UM006TYM

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cYyttDLdL4

 

STRIKE A POSE

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Honey, who can forget that "Vogue" video by Madonna?  It's iconic and whenever someone says "Strike A Pose", you can't help but hit one and think of homegirl and that famous "Truth or Dare" movie.

Well, Directors Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan didn't forget how to strike a pose and the lasting impression inspired them to seek out Madonna's infamous dancers and find out what they are up to now.  Kevin Stea, Oilver Crumes III, Carlton Wilborn, Jose Guiterrez, Luis Camacho, Sue Trupin and Salim Gauwloos lives were changed by the "Blonde Ambition" tour and its accompanying "Truth or Dare" documentary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hqh7lwaNKw

https://youtu.be/-V8-r6wBmV4

THE FAMILY FANG

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How does one move on being the center of a performance artist group with your parents?  Caleb (Christopher Walken) and Camille Fang (Maryann Plunkett) are celebrated and controversial performance artists whose work revolved around staging elaborate scenes with innocent bystanders featuring their young children.  As they age, their work starts to suffer, so when they go missing under mysterious circumstances, their children set out to discover their whereabouts.

Annie (Nicole Kidman) is convinced her parents have staged another performance piece and Baxter (Jason Bateman) is worried that the worst has occurred.  Bateman, in his follow up directorial debut of "Bad Words" does a spectacular job of telling the story of a dysfunctional family with humor and realism that makes The Family Fang very enjoyable to watch.

https://youtu.be/uhF7M1HHADo

A KIND OF MURDER

Being a huge Hitchcock and Patricia Highsmith ("Carol") fan, this film was on my radar from day one and it did not disappoint.  Based on Highsmith's 1960 thriller ("The Blunderer"), investigates how quick one is jump to conclusions of guilt or innocence.  Architect Walter Stackhouse and his wife Clara have a troubled marriage, but is it troubled enough for Walter to commit murder?  On the other side of town Kimball is accused of murdering his wife and regularly harrassed by the cops.  Did he or didn't he do it? Susan Boyd does a spectacular job of weaving that edge of your seat Hitchcock style with the brilliant story telling of Patricia Highsmith into a  fascinating game of cat and mouse.

On the carpet, I asked Susan (hypothetically, of course) what her method of murder would be and this is what she had to say...

https://youtu.be/AzeyNxBc_nk

CHILDREN OF THE MOUNTAIN

This film won the Jury Award at Tribeca and deservedly so.  It had me in the ugly cry and mo beyond words or tears.  Check out the review and click  below

TFF 2016: CHILDREN of the MOUNTAIN

I also had the opportunity to watch several shorts and docs.  My favorite doc was Southwest of Salem and favorite shows were You Can Go and Mildred & The Dying Parlor

SOUTHWEST OF SALEM

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Directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi, "Southwest of Salem" explores the case of what would known as the San Antonio Four.  In 1994 four women were accused, tried and convicted of assaulting two young girls.  Twenty years later these women maintain their innocence, citing that the accusations against them were fabricated and were perpetrated from the homophobic prejudice surrounding lesbians and that lifestyle leading to covens, cults and child abuse.

It is heartbreaking to watch this women railroaded, much like the subject of the Netflix series "The Making of a Murderer".  It tore several families apart and ruining some relationships beyond repair.

Not having seen the film when I spoke to the ladies and while offering congrats on they release, they were quick to remind me that, "it's not over yet...we could still go back to prison".  Let's hope not, so that these beautiful women and get on with the little bit of life they have left to enjoy.

https://youtu.be/f3ALTVinsi0

YOU CAN GO

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Gun violence in this county is a real problem. It has made Americans paranoid to attend a large film opening, send their kids to school or even big outside in a big crowd.  Directed by Christine Turner, we watch  in horror as a high school administrator (S. Epatha Merkerson) talks down a troubled student (Charlie Tahan).  Upon first glance, I thought this was a film about a guidance session with a student brought in for counseling.  It wasn't until I heard a gun cocked that I realized this was a hostage situation of an administrator versus a student.

S. Epatha is a master at establishing a calm presence in the most dire of circumstances on screen and this performance is no different.  However, Charile Tahan effectively conveys the confusion, hurt and overall emotional merry-go-round a student experiences in this stressful situation that can ultimately effect his life and anyone he may come in contact with.

This is a film that should be shown on a grand level.  If nothing else, but to  let those students contemplating such a horrible act see how lives can be affected in an instant.

MILDRED AND THE DYING PARLOR

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Who doesn't love a good fairy tale?  Alex Gaynor very slickly take Little Red Riding Hood and turns the fable into a narrative taking place in a dying parlor (which is exactly what you think that means).  Starring Zosia Mamet,  Jane Krakowski, Steve Buscemi and Evan Jonnigkeit, one who enjoys a dark twisted version of the famous fable will get a kick out of this one.

https://youtu.be/JUgi75BVnB0

 

 

 

HBO's CONFIRMATION

Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and CarlaRenatasCorner.com File_002 Separate but equal is a phrase often synonymous with the Civil Rights Movement. However, the phrase took on a very different meaning when it came to the Clarence Thomas hearings, in which a college professor, Anita Hill accused the future Supreme Court justice of sexual harassment. The hearings was so intense and popular that even SNL parodied them with a skit in which Chris Rock introduces himself as "long dong silver".

Sexual harassment is no laughing matter. Having been in this situation with a former boss and a former colleague, I can testify that as a woman you are frightened. Frightened that you will be called a liar. Frightened that your reputation will be forever tarnished. Frightened that your own self-respect comes into question. Most of all, you are frightened that if you tell or speak up that the person you are accusing will come for you not just emotionally, but physically. No people sexual harassment is not laughing matter or a day at the beach.

Unfortunately, Anita Hill found this out the hard way. Her reputation was tarnished. Hill lost her job, friends and the respect of some her colleagues. What she did not lose was her dignity and self-respect. In addition, she gained thousands of admirers. You see, she became the face for those who were afraid and her actions now gave them to the courage to no longer sit back and remain a victim. The number of women that became elected to political office after those hearings was staggering and now America finds herself in a position to actually elect a woman as President of the United States. My,,,how times have changed...sort of. We still have Clarence Thomas who I wouldn't be surprised is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump. The thought of it all make me cringe.

HBO's "Confirmation" takes us back to that time when Anita accused, Thomas denied and hearings were led by now Vice-President Joe Biden.

Kerry Washington as Anita Hill is spectacular. She is much more contained than her character on ABC's "Scandal" and nails the vocal nuances of Hill's emotionally cracked voice, as well as, the grace, quiet fire and subtly when Hill finally does let her veneer armour crack. Washington may finally get that Emmy that has eluded her thanks to this polished performance.

As we know, Olivia Pope on Scandal is loosely based on Judy Smith, a "crisis management expert". Interestingly enough, Smith was White House Press Secretary for the George H. Bush administration and played a rather large role in countering Anita Hill's claims of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas in the media. I guess all that suffices to say that Washington was born to inhabit this role.

Wendell Pierce, often known for being the cherubic comedic relief in many of his projects (Remember him in "Waiting to Exhale" or on the CBS sitcom The Odd Couple?), plays Thomas with an iciness that is reminiscent of the Supreme Court justice seen during that time. Pierce might want to polish off his mantle for a little gold as well.

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Director Rick Famuyiwa and Writer Susannah Grant compliment and enhance each other's strengths. Grant, known for writing numerous projects where women are at the forefront (Erin Brockovich, Pocahontas, Ever After, In Her Shoes), is the perfect off-screen partner for Fumuyiwa, who has written about the African-American experience from every vantage point ranging from the hip hop world to interracial marriage to coming of age stories (Dope, The Wood, Brown Sugar). Together, they make "Confirmation" very enjoyable and educational to watch for those who weren't privy to watching this in real time.

As we now know, Thomas and Hill's refusal to continue testimony brought the hearings to a screeching halt and allowed Thomas to be sworn in as a Supreme Court justice. Anita Hill became popular on the lecture circuit and continues to inspire women all over the world.

If you don't have HBO and are not able to catch "Confirmation" check out this documentary on Anita Hill and the review I wrote up on it...

Review: ANITA (Anita Hill Documentary)

Anita Hill

Here is the trailer for CONFIRMATION

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHIvZuypso4

Reviews: Zootopia, Midnight Special and Too Late

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Film Review of Zootopia, Midnight Special and Too Late for OnAirWithTonySweet.com and CarlaRenatasCorner.com

So, now that I have recovered from the Oscars , I wanna chat about two films that I adored for very different reasons.

Animation films always have a special place in my heart because it taps into that little girl that lives inside no matter how much I age!  Having said that ...Zootopia is right on time!  Racial diversity has been at the forefront of everything from the Presidential Race to the Oscars!  And...as we know, children are like sponges and soak up anything information and education we throw their way.  This is why, I am particularly proud of Disney for releasing this film.  It will teach children how to embrace our differences and not be so quick to judge based on what you've heard.  Instead, based your opinion on your experience and not some myth or stereotypical ideology.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is told by her parents "anyone can do anything", so she decides she wants to be the first "bunny cop". With that in mind, she graduates from the Bunny Burrow Police Academy and leaves home to make her mark in Zootopia, where she meets a con artist fox (Jason Bateman).  They pair up, discover a conspiracy and make plans to expose those responsible.  There's even a little lesson in what a good cop should be doing for a community - "serve and protect the city...not tear it apart".

It's hilarious, very well crafted and the actors who voiced the characters are perfect thanks to brilliant casting by Jami Sparer Roberts!   Being a HUGE fan of the Godfather film trilogy, my all time favorite moment was the throwback to the wedding scene with the Marlon Brando character looking like a rat...hysterical!!!

Judy Hops says it best, "...real life is messy, we all make mistakes...no matter what animal you are, try to make the world a better place...change the starts with you , me ...all of us"

Zootopia was released on earlier this month and has already grossed over 155 million domestically.  Check it out...it's in a theater near you now!

ZOOTOPIA TRAILER AND FEATURETTE

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What would you do if you were part of a community very similar to Jonestown or a Warren Jessup type situation and you had a child that possessed special powers.  Would you make a break for it to save  yourself, your kid or everyone involved?  Directed and Written by Jeff Nichols, I was pleasantly surprised.  When it started out, I thought it was going to be a  horror film!  Those of you who have been following this blog know that I DO NOT do HORROR.  However, I quickly realized that it was more of a Sci-Fi thriller, which is a genre I love!!!

The first ten minutes is so intense and compelling that you know you are in for  nice rollercoaster ride with no idea how it will stop.

Alton Meyer  (Jaeden Lieberher) is an 8 year-old with supernatural powers.  He can cause earthquakes, fire storms and all sorts of interesting events. His community believes he is their savior and on Friday, March 6th, so his Dad (Michael Shannon) and State Trooper friend  (Joel Edgerton) take him on the run to protect him.

Clearly , Jeff Nichols has been heavily influenced by Steven Spielberg as the film feels like a mashup of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. and Village of the Damned.  It all kinda works though mixing elements of love, family and sacrifice.

The mother/son and father/son relationship is extremely endearing and the major reason the film just clicks.  It reinforces no matter how different a child may be, if they are loved unconditionally that's all that really matters after everything is said and done.

Kirsten Dunst does an excellent job in a role that we have not seen her in to date.  She's all grown up and giving a performance straight from the heart playing a Mom in fear for her son.  Michael Shannon says more with his eyes than any other actor I've seen, which make him fascinating to watch.  His humility, warmth and compassion shown as Roy is quite refreshing.

Midnight Special opens this weekend in limited release.  Check your local listings for a theater near you

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL TRAILER

 

 

 

Too Late is a film I watched as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival last year and now it will be available in limited release TODAY in Los Angeles and on March 25 in New York!

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Check out the trailer and what I had to say about it by clicking the link below

2015 Los Angeles Film Festival Review: TOO LATE

 

 

 

STAR WARS

   

STAR WARS Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and Carla Renata's Corner

 

OK...I will just start out saying that Star Wars:  The Force Awakens is THE best Star Wars since the original.  Kudos to J.J. Abrams for keeping the integrity and energy of the the franchise in tact with the same respect he did with the Star Trek franchise.

OMG!!!  There is so much to say and I will do my best without spoiling it for you.

First off, we see the some of our favorite original characters, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia, who is now General Leia (Carrie Fisher), our favorite droids C-3P0 and R2 D2 and maybe a few more original surprises.

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The new droid BB-8 gives R2 D2 a run for his money with the cute factor and he kind of reminds me of space weeble...

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So, in this installment, three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and with the help of the Resistance an unlikely trip aids in thwarting that takeover.

Daisy Ridley (Rey) is kicking butt in her first feature film and I kinda love that fact that she intimidates the boys just a tad.  She is one step ahead of them every time.  Of course, this comes a son surprise, since Ridley is the real life daughter of Carrie Fisher, who made for a very feisty Princess Leia.  Nepotism may have played a role in her having the door opened, but homegirl is truly holding her own and making it look really effortless.

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Her better half, John Boyega (Finn) has that comic relief that made the first Star Wars so incredibly enjoyable.  He is charismatic, rugged and takes on the task of being a Storm Trooper crossing over the light with flying colors.

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However, it is Adam Driver who walks away with this film.  His turn as the villain Kylo Ren and a HUGE departure from the last role I witnessed him in back in Noah Baumbach's 2014 comedy "While We're Young".  The dude has a talent range of which we don't see that often these days.  He is letting us have it and I can't wait to see him do it again!

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Last year, Oscar Isaac was a con man in "Two Faces of January" and gave a stellar performance in "A Most Violent Year".  2015 and 2016 are shaping up quite nicely for this brilliant actor as well.   I've said before that his presence reminds me very much of a young Al Pacino.  He has that quiet intensity that makes one wonder what he's thinking and what he's up to...I love it!!!3504.jpg

All the fight scenes are fantastic and Lupita  N'yongo has immortalized her voice in the character form of Maz Kanata.

I'll stop now before I give up anymore, but before I do let me just say that it warmed my heart as a HUGE Star Wars fan to watch Princess Leia and Han Solo embrace once more...

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Star Wars can be found in a theater near you....NOW

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGbxmsDFVnE&w=560&h=315]

CONCUSSION

CONCUSSION Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and Carla Renata's CornerDon't watch football...Don't like football and don't even have it on my radar until Super Bowl. So, why would I go to see a movie about football? Well, first off because WILL SMITH is starring in it! Secondly, the title alone caught my attention - CONCUSSION.

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Then, like a flash my memory began to place the pieces of the puzzle together. On May 2, 2012, like so many days on the news in Los Angeles, there was a "breaking news" item. Apparently, Ex-San Diego Charger linebacker Junior Seau was found dead at his home in Oceanside, California from a fatal gunshot wound to the chest. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. That's when all the bells and whistles went off for me.

Seau's death was very similar to the way I read that former Chicago Bears great Dave Duerson ended his life. Duerson shot himself in the chest on February 17, 2011. Turns out both these men had symptoms of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a trauma-induced disease common to NFL players and others who have received repeated blows to the head.

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These are just the two I recalled. As I would learn from watching "Concussion", CTE was like an epidemic sweeping former NFL players. So why didn't the NFL do something about it?

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Well, Dr. Bennet Omalu wasn't about to that that go down! While working as a pathologist in Pittsburgh, Omalu uncovered the truth, gave it a name and almost witnessed his medical career ruined while taking on one of the most powerful organizations in America - the National Football League (NFL).

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In the words of Dr. Omalu himself, "We’ve known since 1964 that cigarette smoking is harmful to your health. We’ve known for more than 40 years that alcohol damages the developing brain of a child. We’ve known since the mid-1970s that asbestos causes cancer and other serious diseases. Knowing what we know now, we do not smoke in enclosed public spaces like airplanes, we have passed laws to keep children from smoking or drinking alcohol, and we do not use asbestos as an industrial product..."

Dr. Omalu continues..."Over the past two decades it has become clear that repetitive blows to the head in high-impact contact sports like football, ice hockey, mixed martial arts and boxing place athletes at risk of permanent brain damage...Why, then, do we continue to intentionally expose our children to this risk?" Well, Dr. Omalu...It's like they say in the film, the NFL literally OWNS one day of the week on network television. Do you know how many billions of dollars could potentially be lost if the NFL acknowledged they knew about CTE and did NOTHING?

According to PBS’s Frontline, an ongoing joint study by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University has found CTE in 87 of 91 examined brains of former NFL players, bringing the Boston lab’s total to 131 of 165 of former football players at all levels. Well, with "Concussion" opening on Christmas Day the pressure is on the NFL like never before. Will they cave in? Only time will tell and time is what many of these players are not in abundance of.

Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu is giving the best performance of his career. His conviction to every molecule of this character is the stuff Oscar winning performances are made of. Smith has already garnered a Golden Globe nod for his work. Let's hope that the Academy Awards knocks next.

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Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a chameleon. This doll seamlessly melts into whatever character's skin she slips under. As a love interest for Smith, she it the perfect choice. Right before our eyes, we witness Prema going from a sweet, African girl to a woman with boundless amounts of strength and conviction even her husband when wants to give up.

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Alec Baldwin is always good for a laugh, but his role as Dr. Julian Bailes is anything but comical. Dr. Bailes turns out to be the one ally Omalu has in this whole sordid mess. Baldwin realistically conveys the emotional and moral turmoil Bailes faces when going up against his own community.

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The actor who surprised me the most was Hill Harper. As NFL lawyer, Christopher Jones, he is downright despicable...I loved it!!

With a film this heavy, you gotta have a comic relief somewhere and it was right on time with Albert Brooks (Dr. Cyril Wecht).

It will be interesting after this release to see just how much of an impact "Concussion" makes on the acknowledgment of CTE by the NFL or if how it changes the way football players approach the game from this point on!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io6hPdC41RM&w=560&h=315]

CAROL

CAROL review by Carla Renata via UBNRadio.com and Carla Renata's Corner Remember the first time you fell in love? I mean REAL LOVE and not just a crush or something you knew would fade in time?  I remember mine well.  The man I fell in love seemed perfect.  He had a sense of humor, he was handsome and took care of me.  I mean REALLY took care of me.  He drew bubble baths for me, took me out dining to really cool restaurants and massages were plentiful...as was his undying attention to my every need.

So, you're wondering what happened? Is he still in my life?  Did I marry him?  Did we marry and divorce?  Well, one never knows...do one?  What I will tell  you is THAT relationship changed my life.  It changed how and why I love and taught me to live life to the fullest every second of the day!!

Directed by Todd Haynes, "Carol" centers around a young department store employee who falls madly in love with an older, married woman in the 1950's.

I've been a Todd Haynes fan all the way back to "Far From Heaven" starring Oscar winner Julianne Moore.  When Moore and Haynes teamed up again she took home the golden statue after numerous  past nominations.  Maybe teaming up twice will be a good luck omen for Cate Blanchett (who worked with Haynes in "The Talented Mr. Ripley").

Blanchett, who in my opinion, embodies with every fiber of her being what it means to be a "movie star", glows onscreen and takes command even when she is not uttering one single word.  The devilish complexity she layers Carol with makes you empathize with her for not being able to love who she chooses and how she chooses.

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Rooney Mara makes Therese transform from a child to a woman right before our eyes.  The impish childishness that she inhabits Therese with is absolutely endearing.  However, when her heart is broken you watch her growing up out of necessity and not choice.  It's absolutely phenomenal to watch.

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Mostly having seen Kyle Chandler on television the last few years have been very kind to hi with "Friday Night Lights" and "The Wolf of Wall Street".  As Carol's husband, Harge,  Chandler is  a bully with a heart of gold.  He can't stand the thought of his wife being with someone else, but he can't seem to let her go knowing it's what's best for everyone involved.

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According to one-half of Carol's writing team, Patricia Highsmith's novel (The Price of Salt) was inspired by a chance encounter she had with a blond woman in a fur coat that she saw shopping inside a department store in New York City, while she was working as a temporary sales clerk selling dolls, shortly before Christmas 1948.    She recalled completing the outline in two hours that night, likely under the influence of chicken pox which she discovered she had the next day, saying "fever is stimulating the imagination". She completed the novel by 1951.

The plot for "Carol" is loosely based on the romance between Patricia Highsmith and Virginia Kent Catherwood (1915-1966), an older woman and Philadelphia socialite who had lost custody of her child in divorce proceedings involving taped hotel room conversations and lesbianism.

"Carol" received a standing ovation at its Cannes Film Festival international press screening/premiere and with 5 nominations, it is the most nominated film for the Golden Globes in 2015.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4z7Px68ywk&w=560&h=315]

 

 

TRAINWRECK

TRAINWRECK review by Carla Renata via UBNRadio.com and Carla Renata's Corner  

We have this type of girlfriend.  You know the one who parties hard all the time, has commitment issues and is uber competitive?  Yup, we all know one and apparently so does Amy Schumer.

As writer and star of "Trainwreck", Schumer puts a familiar, yet comical twist on "those types of chicks".

The laughs are plentiful and come from several unlikely sources, however, the most pleasant surprise was Lebron James.  Yeah, THAT Lebron James!  You know the one who left Cleveland and came back to play ball?  When I tell you his character had me howling...I am not exaggerating!  Laugh out loud funny stuff.  His scene with Bill Hader is one of the best in the film.16990280-mmmain.jpg

Speaking of which, Bill Hader is so sweet and lovable... Hell, I would go out on a date with him and that is saying ALOT...lol.  It's surely a departure from his usual post SNL type dudes and a very welcomed one to say the least.  The chemistry with he and Schumer is off the charts.

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The scenes at the magazine with the staff, include Schumer, but a ridiculously comical Randall Park, Vanessa Bayer and freaking Tilda Swinton.  Let's talk about that fact that I didn't even know Swinton was in the film until the credits rolled.  Now that's what you call a character chameleon!  She's is so comical, but real to the point where she sort of reminded me of some people I know...ouch!

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I would venture to say two of my favorite scenes involve Swinton and Schumer, a little surprise number toward the end of the flick that is magnificently hilarious and a doctor office scene that made me holler!!!

Trainwreck is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital HD and VOD.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_KP9x80Z9Q&w=560&h=315]

 

 

 

THE CONTENDERS: CREED vs SOUTHPAW

The Contenders:  CREED vs SOUTHPAW by Carla Renata via UBNRadio.com and Carla Renata's Corner  

Rocky is one of my all-time favorite film franchises right up there with the Godfather Trilogy, The Color Purple, Martin Scorsese films and ANY Jane Austin flick.  I was always impressed with the fact that Stallone refused to cave in and let the studios buys the rights to his script without him as the star.  Seriously, could you even imagine "Rocky" WITHOUT Sylvester Stallone?

"Creed" is the latest in the "Rocky" film franchise and is the first script NOT written by Stallone. "Fruitvale Station" director cuts his teeth on his first major studio film Directing and Writing "Creed" just as Stallone did 20 years ago and does so magnificently.

Coogler honors the franchise with some formulas from "Rocky" former versions like that infamous statue, which no longer sits atop those stairs, running through the streets of Philly, training at Mick's gym, the meticulously shot and choreographed boxing rounds, the turtles purchased from Adrian in the pet shop, the love interest with a disability, the shorts and a match against a famous foreign boxer.  Needless to say, only a real "Rocky" fan would notice all those intricate details...which I am proud to say I am.

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"Creed" introduces us to the illegitimate son of the legendary Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born.  Unable to shake his unspoken legacy, Adonis makes a decision to become a professional boxer who only wants to be trained by "Rocky".  One of the most important lines spoken is during the match when "Rocky" ask Adonis what he i trying to prove and he replies, " I need to prove I wasn't a mistake"  That one line says it all.

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Something so powerful, yet so simple drives one to make decisions that may not make sense to anyone else but them.

Michael B. Jordan (Creed) is giving the performance of a lifetime and does so with every fiber of his being.  It's magnificently electric and exciting to watch!  Even more exciting is watching the chemistry unfold between Jordan and Tessa Thompson (Bianca).  It's absolutely smoldering in the same fashion it was between Talia Shire and Sylvester Stallone.  Thompson is a mysteriously beautiful enigma who becomes the "beauty" to the "beast" so to speak.

 

Phylicia Rashad is such a spectacular actress that she makes any role she embodies look like a walk in the park which is a testament to her brilliance.  I only wish she had been on the screen a little longer.

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If you are a fan of the "Rocky" franchise, Coogler,  Jordan, Thompson or Stallone, you will definitely not be disappointed in "Creed".  "Creed" is in theaters now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ9OhBYjTds

 

 

 

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On the flip side, we have "Southpaw" starring  Jake Gylenhall.  Gylenhall (Billy Hope) is the heavyweight champion of the world and loses his childhood sweetheart and wife in a tragic set of circumstances.  This sets off a chain of events that result in other major loses for Hope including his daughter to child protection services.  In an effort to get his life and career back on track, Hope enlists the assistance of Tick Willis (Forest Whittaker).

It goes without saying that since it s a boxing flick, one is bound to make similarities to "Rocky", but "Southpaw" stands on its own merit mostly due to the amazing performance of Gyllenhaal. This actor has the uncanny ability to disappear into any role he inhabits with gusto.  From "Brokeback Mountain" to "Nightcrawler" to "Southpaw" unarguably proves that.

Rachel McAdams (Maureen Hope) is having a stellar year in film with this performance and in "Spotlight".  As Maureen, she is the perfect counterpart to Gyllenhall and her death scene heartbreaking.

However, it is young Oona Laurence (Laila Hope) who steals the show.  Her emotional range is well beyond her years and she is enchanting to watch.

Southpaw was released in July 2015.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11tsR0kI1ZQ

 

THE BIG SHORT

the-big-short-teaser-poster.jpg THE BIG SHORT review by Carla Renata via UBNRadio.com and Carla Renata's Corner

 

in 2015, we have already seen another film about the housing crisis here in America - 99 Homes - told completely from the point of view of the homeowners.  "The Big Short" tells that exact same story from the point of view of the finance/bankers whose greed and selfishness placed millions of Americans in unaffordable sub-prime loans.

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With this famous quote posted at the start of the film...you know you are about to go on a wild ride where seat belts are definitely in order.

The year was 2006 and I purchased a condo.  I should've known something was up when my own real-estate agent didn't make herself available to be in the room with me and the notary to sign the loan papers.  Nor should I have been surprised when I was told that there were two loans on the same day instead of one making my grand monthly total somewhere in the area of $4000 a month.  Could I afford this - HELL NO!

Like so many Americans, I got suckered into the American dream of owning my own home.  By 2008, the market crashed and I was stuck in sub-prime loan with an adjustable rate.  What does that mean?  It means that if the housing market rates are bad, my mortgage payment stays low.  However, if the rates escalate...then so does my mortgage payment.

Needless to say, I scurried to get a modification only to be denied for nearly three years until Obama took office and incorporated HARP and HAMP.  Why is ANY of this relevant to this review?  It is relevant because my story isn't unique.  There were millions of homeowners with this identical lament.  Millions of homeowners lost their homes, lived in hotels or on the street.  I was one of the lucky ones.

"The Big Short" focuses on four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s and decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.

Aside from watching this whole mess unfold, we learn a plethora of terms like:

CDO - A Collateralized Debt Obligation is a type of structured asset-backed security. Originally developed for the corporate debt markets, over time CDOs evolved to encompass the mortgage and mortgage-backed security markets.

Tranche -  A piece, portion or slice of a deal or structured financing. This portion is one of several related securities that are offered at the same time but have different risks, rewards and/or maturities.

Synthetic CDO -A Synthetic CDO (collateralized debt obligation) is a variation of a CDO that generally uses credit default swaps and other derivatives to obtain its investment goals.

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Christian Bale (Michael Burry) is a madman, but it works brilliantly for this character.  It just proves the old adage that most highly intelligent individuals sometimes don't possess common sense.  Michael Burry is a doctor and a genius.  A genius that saw the crash coming before it hit and figured out how to cash in on it.

Steve Carell (Mark Baum) plays eccentric to the hilt with massive success. Baum is all about that dollar, but money can't fill the emptiness in his seemingly very busy life.  Carell (in my opinion) was robbed last year for "Foxcatcher".  Maybe he will finally get some acknowledgement for the carefully crafted character work in this flick.

Can I just say that Brad Pitt is a beast!!!  Not only did he produce this bad boy, but it's evident that his acting chops are very well in tact.  It's always a pleasure to see him do his thing.

Ryan Gosling (Jarred Vennett) is the shark in the water looking for blood by any means necessary.  This role is a bit of departure for Gosling.  We are usually rooting for him to win...not in this film.  He is so despicable and unlikeable that the last thing you want him to do is get away with it.

Gosling does most of the to-camera sequences, but he gets a little help from some celebrity cameos. Yes, Margot Robbie sips champagne in a bubble bath while explaining to the viewer how credit default swaps work. It's a brilliant and biting observation on what it takes to get through to people in an era where attention spans are very short

Ultimately, this is Director Adam McKay's show and his contempt for how the whole mess got so out of control informs every facet of this self-aware and often hilarious flick.

The Big Short is in theaters NOW and if you want to check out my review on 99 Homes - CLICK HERE FOR 99 HOMES REVIEW

https://youtu.be/vgqG3ITMv1Q

The Sound of Redemption - The Frank Morgan Story

  The Sound of Redemption - The Frank Morgan Story by Carla Renata via UBNRadio.com and CarlaRenatasCorner

"...my father was a pimp and an Ink Spot..."  This is how the daughter of Stanley Morgan describes her father in the documentary "The Sound of Redemption - The Frank Morgan Story".

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At the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival, I had the pleasure of screening Sound of Redemption:  The Frank Morgan Story.  It was simultaneously fascinating, sad and inspiring!  To think I have lived in Southern California all this time and had never heard of this jazz legend!!!

Frank Morgan was an alto sax player who, like so many of his fellow musicians of the era, saw his career plagued by drug addiction.  The documentary tells the story of his life and transformation through interviews with fellow musicians and people who were close to him. Holding the story together is footage of the preparation and performance of a tribute concert planned for a prison. The years Frank spent in San Quentin State Prison were significant because there were so many great musicians “in residence” there that the far-sighted warden of the time allowed them to form a big band, known as The San Quentin All Stars. People came from all around the Bay Area to hear them play. Frank was proud to be in that band, and doubtless refined his skills as a musician in the company of the other great players serving time for narcotics related charges.

Once free and decades after the release of his first solo album, Frank became a star at last. His true love, artist Rosalinda Kolb, helped him come back and stay straight. With no children of his own, he saw his legacy in 2007, when he met the young Grace Kelly, a saxophone prodigy.  He introduced her to the public at his gigs, and gave her all he could of his wisdom and love in the last months of his life.

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About two years ago, I attended a screening of another film,  "The Girls In The Band".  One of the women featured in that documentary just happened to be very close friends with Frank Morgan.  Clora Bryant, a legendary female trumpeter who crushed it back in the day was feature in this documentary as well.  Clora recounted in the film the night she took Frank to a party thrown by Charlie "Bird" Parker and how that was the beginning of his begin seduced by Lady Heroin.

Here is a trailer and please make it priority when it hits New York's IFC Center on December 2nd and the Laemmle in Los Angeles on December 18th

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMDDll8XCWs

Me, Earl and the Dying Girl

   

ME, EARL and the DYING GIRL review by Carla Renata via UBNRadio.com and CarlaRenatasCorner.com

Everybody who has a Mom has been nagged by her about many things.  Those things can range from taking out the trash or changing your outfit right as your hand in on the doorknob to leave or taking your little brother to the mall with you.

For Greg, who spends most of his spare time making parodies of classic films with his "co-worker" Earl, his nagging came in the form of spending time with a girl in the neighborhood who had been diagnosed with cancer.

The unlikely pairing would prove to be life changing for all parties involved.  Greg learns how to be a real, trusted friend, Earl realizes that he is taken for granted by his "best-friend" and "co-worker" and Rachel finds the bravery to die with dignity and on her own terms.

One wouldn't expect tons of laughter, but laughing is exactly what I did thanks to the comic genius of Molly Shannon (Denise), Nick Offerman (Greg's Dad),  RJ Cyler (Earl) and Thomas Mann (Greg).  Mann shows just how awkward and challenging it can be for teens these days to make friends, let alone keep them.  His knack for effectively swirling comedy with drama is the main ingredient that makes this film work on every level.

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Olivia Cooke as Rachel gives you a full-on look into the psyche of a young woman who will never go to prom, college, get married or any of the other things one looks forward to when growing up and out of your parents home.  She's simply brilliant and coupled with Mann and Cyler they bring a lot of humanity to all three of their characters that is heartwarming and heart wrenching all at once.

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Connie Britton took time off from her hit show "Nashville", hung up her high heels and makeup to give Greg's Mom the earthy, empathetic look and feel needed for this fantabulous flick.  Me, Earl and the Dying Girl won the Grand Jury and Audience Award (Dramatic) at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival...deservedly so.

Directed to perfection by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and brilliantly adapted by novelist Jesse Andrews, "Me, Earl and the Dying Girl "will leave you hopeful that not every teenager lives on the internet and their cell phones.  They may not play outside anymore or hang out at the mall, but true friendships are still being formed, nurtured and creating lasting memories for a lifetime to come.  "Me, Earl and Dying Girl" can be found streaming live on Direct TV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qfmAllbYC8

THE DANISH GIRL

THE DANISH GIRL review via Carla Renata's Corner and UBNRadio.com With Glamour magazines latest announcement of  Caitlyn Jenner being named Woman of the Year,  it suffices to pose the question about how Lili Elbe would have survived in a world that on a daily basis is becoming more and more accepting of the transgender community.

Director Tom Hooper and Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne have teamed up and the results are electric!  Based on David Ebershoff novel of the same name and screenplay by Lucinda Coxon, The Danish Girl is showing a softer, more vulnerable characterization of Eddie Redmayne as the real-life transgender pioneer Lile Elbe, all while revealing the love story with Lili"s (Einar) wife Gerda (lovingly played by Alicia Vikander.

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In 1926, Lili Elbe, a very successful painter living in Copenhagen, underwent one of the first known reconstructive procedures to surgically remove her penis, replace it with a vagina and begin the journey to complete her transformation as a woman.  We watch as Lili (formerly Einar) becomes ridiculed, beaten and gets used to dressing in women's clothes, makeup and how Gerda (as helpful and supportive as she is) has a hard time letting go of Einar and embracing Lili.

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It's safe to say that Redmayne has secured a spot as a Best Actor nominee with this performance.  Just as with his award-winning performance in The Theory of Everything, Redmayne has studied all the nuances of being a female to make his portrayal totally believable from the very first moment he slides those thigh-highs on to pose for a painting to his very last breath as Lilli.

As his better half Gerda, Alicia Vikander is a having a great year in film, having starred in both The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and  Ex Machina.  She better get that red carpet dress ready because she is going to be a very busy girl this awards season.  Her choice of not making Gerda bitter is brilliant and  makes the film and her character so much richer and interesting to watch.

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Opening in theaters around Thanksgiving, The Danish Girl is fascinating, entertaining and heartbreaking -- you'll love it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d88APYIGkjk

 

AYANDA and THE MECHANIC

Review by Carla Renata for Carla Renata's Corner and UBNRadio.com When a South African photographer sets out to capture images of his people as a means to dispel stereotypes...he runs into Ayanda,  a young South African woman who has lost her life's anchor and mentor through the most tragic circumstances imaginable.  As a result, her family and their lives have been in a holding pattern.

Set in the vibrant community of Yeoville, where African migrants come from across the continent live and fuelled by the electric energy and ethnic diversity of 21st century Johannesburg, AYANDA tells the story of a young woman whose dreams of running a retro car restoration business are threatened by dark family secrets, the complications of love and the challenges of day-to-day life.

Since the death of Ayanda’s father – in his beloved garage – Ayanda’s mother Dorothy has resisted having anything to do with the business, harbouring guilt over her husband’s death. When Ayanda’s ‘Uncle’ Zama, who part-owns the garage, announces at the business is in severe debt and it’s time to sell, Dorothy, quietly relieved, agrees.

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For me, AYANDA and The Mechanic is a film about Life - Legacy - Love...posing the question of "When do you stop dreaming"?

Life - Eight years after her Dad's death, everyone in the family attempts to move on. Her Mom (Nthati Moshesh) runs a local laundromat, her brother has become an alcoholic, her Dad's business partner Zama (Kenneth Nkosi) has stepped in becoming a pseudo father/head-of-household and Ayanda (Fulu Moguvhani )naturally has followed in her her father's footsteps of becoming an amazing mechanic.

Legacy - Faced with having to sell the garage due to the immense debt that incurred after his death, Ayanda hatches a plan to re-model cars to come up with the $30,000 in order to save the property. When she auctions off the cars and makes $45,000, all the masks fall off and secrets are revealed that no one wants to acknowledge.

Love - In order to find love for herself, Ayanda abandons the love she has for her man - David, (O.C. Ukeje), her family and the garage to find much needed love for herself. Like the nickname her Dad gave her "Butterfly" - Ayanda will now decides to explore the opportunity to spread her wings and fly onto her next adventure guilt free.

In this instance, the word "mechanic" takes on a whole new meaning.  For Ayanda, the mechanics of manuvering the ghost of her Dad, her feelings for David and adjusting to feelings of self-discovery as a young woman struggling to come into her own identity all seem to weave themselves into a very complicated web.

So, in a quest to find portraits of his country reflecting a more positive image, the photographer stumbles onto so much more and I, for one am elated that he did!

The performances of all of these actors are extraordinary, but the emotional palette displayed by Fulu Moguvhani is a marvel to experience.

Ayanda and The Mechanic had it's World Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey0zFRYNdno

TRUMBO

Trumbo_Poster Review by Carla Renata for Carla Renata's Corner and On Air With Tony Sweet/UBNRadio.com

With opinions ranting left and right on social media like a fresh-cut that barely has time to scab, there was a time in American history where expressing your opinion had consequences and repercussions.  One could even say that nowadays there is a "societal blacklist" that occurs  in social media.  Just ask Bill Cosby, any Kardashian or the hundreds of cops being called out for their reprehensible behavior.

The HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee)  accused many of engaging in Communistic/Un-American activities in the Hollywood community.  Ten screenwriters refused to answer questions regarding their possible communist affiliations, and, after spending time in prison for contempt of Congress, were mostly blacklisted by the Hollywood studios.

The group originally included the German writer Bertolt Brecht, but Brecht fled the country on the day following his inquest, and the remaining 10 were voted in contempt of Congress on Nov. 24, 1947.  The 10 were Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner, Jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott and Dalton Trumbo.

Even Arthur Laurents (The Way We Were, West Side Story, Gypsy, The Turning Point) was called in to account for his political views. He explained himself to the House Un-American Activities Committee, and his appearance seemed to have no obvious impact on his career, which at the time was primarily in the theater. 

Years earlier, Laurents and Jerome Robbins had developed Look Ma, I'm Dancin'! (1948), a Broadway musical about the world of ballet that ran for 188 performances.  Robbins approached Paramount Pictures about directing a screen version, and the studio agreed as long as Laurents was not part of the package.  It was then that Laurents learned he officially had been blacklisted, primarily because a review of Home of the Brave that had been published in the Daily Worker. Laurents spent three months trying to clear his name.  Just think, if Laurents name had not been cleared, American theater would not have some its iconic classics we still enjoy today.

The Brave One, Roman Holiday and Spartucus are all films written by the brilliantly talented screenwriter and novelist Dalton Trumbo and according to events  in the feature film of the same name, "Trumbo" was very passionate about his writing and his politics.

Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo gives a tour de force performance only to be rivaled by his spectacular Emmy/Golden Globe winning performance on "Breaking Bad" His gruff, eccentric and often times comedic portrayal could be seen as a master class in character work onscreen.

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Michael Stuhlbarg is having an amazing cinematic year.  In addition to Trumbo, he has Miles Ahead (The Miles Davis Story), Pawn Sacrifice, Steve Jobs either already in theaters or slated to open in 2016, which is literally around the corner.

As Edward G. Robinson, Stuhlbarg's portrayal reminds you how difficult it must be to choose between your beliefs and your career.  Especially if those choices may end the career and comfort that you have come to know and rely upon.  It's a safe bet that both he and Cranston will be walking a lot of red carpets this year.

Joining them on the carpet will most certainly be Dame Helen Mirren for her "balls to the wall" performance of the legendary gossip monger/former actress - Hedda Hopper.  Nowadays, social media makes stars, but in Hollywood's heyday, women like Hopper, Louella Parsons and Sheila Graham Westbrook could make or break a Hollywood career.  Mirren recreates that essence with such bravado and commitment that one could only wonder just how treacherous the real Hedda Hopper truly was.

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Luckily for us, Louie C.K. as Arlen Herd has finally been given a character that has arc to it and not just a small cameo for storytelling purposes.  I adore him!

Kudos to Director Jay Roach and Trumbo's daughters Nikola and Mitzi for having the patience and tenacity for seven years to ring this story to the forefront.  The timing couldn't be better.  An extra special thanks to Kirk Douglas, without whose courage and support of Dalton Trumbo assisted giving us some of the greatest cinematic story ever told onscreen.

"Trumbo" is in limited release beginning November 6th and for those writers out there, you definitely want to add this screening on your "to do" list.

Here's an excerpt from Cleo Trumbo's acceptance speech for Dalton in 1992 at the WGA.

[embed]https://youtu.be/JYCIJRvgYSk[/embed]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi4k4cvuLAU