Tales of the Grim Sleeper

image Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and The Curvy Film Critic

If you live in the Los Angeles area and especially on the South Side, you know of The Grim Sleeper.  If not, The Grim Sleeper 'aka' Lonnie Franklin was arrested in 2010 and charged with the brutal murder of nearly 200 women.  While remaining behind bars, his trial date had been postponed three times.  The Tales of the Grim Sleeper was one of big documentary hits at the 2015 Pan African Film Festival.

However, a few days ago Lonnie Franklin was sentenced to death after a trial that lasted for months.  A death sentence for a man who clearly had no regard for human life.

Initially, based on DNA evidence, the police believed Franklin's son Christopher was guilty.  Only  after finding DNA on a cup obtained in the trash at a pizza joint, was it determined the DNA in fact matched Lonnie Franklin - not his son.

When asked how Christopher feel about his Dad being a murderer, he replied "I lost my best friend...I'm still his son".  On whether or not he thought his Dad would be convicted, "...He has a lot of fans in law enforcement and freaks in the street that think what he did was cool".

Told from the eyes of Pamela Brooks (former drug addict and acquaintance of Franklin's) we learn that the Lonnie Franklin, the man described by neighbors and friends as a "really nice guy" had a mean streak...especially with women.

Franklin, a former sanitation worker and ex-con was known to troll close to his neighborhood (Western and 81st) for hookers who ranged in age from 14-36.

Apparently, according to several women who know him, Lonnie liked to take naked pictures of women and have sex with them - all with the aide of his "friends" in the neighborhood.  Those same friends tell investigators that they believed Lonnie hated women because of a tumultuous relationship with his first wife (a crackhead).

Directed by Nick Broomfield (a filmmaker from the UK) many things are brought to life through the eyes of various individuals who seemingly knew two very different sides of Lonnie Franklin.

At the Q& A following the film, Margaret Prescod from the Black Coalition Fighting Black Serial Killers informed the audience of a 911 call which had been suppressed as evidence for nearly 20 years and that only 18 of the 90 women murdered were on the books at the time the crimes originally occurred.  Police allegedly believe that many of the victims wound up in a landfill.

Ms. Prescod brought up a good point noting that when Natalie Holloway went missing, it was international news, but women of color AND from South LA are especially ignored and deemed unimportant.  Things that make you go hmmm....

Check out this trailer...

[embed]https://youtu.be/3Gh2dOxMAvM[/embed]

Abortion: Stories Women Tell

File_001 (5) Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and The CurvyFilm Critic.com

As the child of a military family, we traveled for most of my life.  However, in between moves, we always went back "home".  Home for me is St, Louis, Missouri.  Both of my parents were born and raised there.  My relatives on my maternal and paternal side still live there.  I went to the prom, fell in love for the first time, had my first date, learned to drive, got my first job, became a beauty queen and attended my first college...all in the state of Missouri.

My memories are vast and fond of my life there.  However, as magical and warm the memories are that I have growing up in Missouri, I also remember Missouri for being one of the most racist states in the union.  Some residents of the state can be so full of judgement that some of my friends growing up there who were gay knew that "outing" themselves was never an option.  To do so would result in isolation from friends and family and being labeled and attacked,  Being a young, gifted and black was not celebrated.  To the point, that in 2016,  we are still witnessing young men like Michael Brown being harassed, shot and murdered.

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Needless to say, when I learned of the documentary Abortion:  Stories Women Tell screening at the Tribeca Film festival around Missouri becoming one of the many states to make abortion illegal, I was not surprised.  I was, however, extremely annoyed.

In 1973 the US Supreme court decision Roe Vs. Wade gave every woman the right to have an abortion. Since 2011, over half the states in the nation have significantly restricted access to abortions. In 2016, abortion remains one of the most divisive issues in America, especially in Missouri, where each year sees more restrictions.

Award winning director and Missouri native Tracy Droz Tragos sheds new light on this controversial  issue, with a focus not on the debate, but rather on the women themselves. Women who are struggling with unplanned pregnancies, the providers who show up at clinics to give medical care, as well as the activists on the sidewalks hoping to save one more child.

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Abortion: Stories Women Tell portrays an intimate portrait into the lives of these women through their personal stories, which come to life brilliantly, through the gentle and respectful approach by director Tragos.   Some are heartbreaking and tender, some are bleak and frightening, while others simply inform us of the strength and capacity of young women to overcome and persevere through often-tragic circumstances.  Take a listen to a recent interview I did with Tracy about her doc...

[audio mp3="https://carlarenatascorner.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/tracydrozetragos_abortionstories.mp3"][/audio]

Abortion:  Stories Women Tell also shows us how organizations like Planned Parenthood are being targeted for abortion procedures and allegedly accused  of selling fecal organs for medical testing.  My newly divorced mother (who is also a Registered Nurse) took me to Planned Parenthood as a teen to be educated on birth control and the services provided to young girls like me.  That Planned Parenthood location on Lindell Avenue in St. Louis has been shut down and the nearest location  is two hours away in Columbia, Missouri.

With young girls being sexually active as early as 10 years old, where will those mothers who don't take their daughters to be educated?  Especially now, that sex education has been slowly forced out of the public school system.

I employ each and every one of you reading this to think of all these concerns and facts as your state contemplates making a decision that affects thousands if not millions of American women.

Watch for this powerful doc to show up on HBO, but if you can't wait until then it had its theatrical release August 12th..  You will angered, educated,  but most of all moved to make a difference.

https://youtu.be/-X94ZaE7pso

WEINER

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Review for UBNRadio.com and CarlaRenatasCorner

Yes, America we are in the middle of electing a brand new President and with every election there is always some type of drama. Either with the candidates themselves or someone relative to their world.  America, thanks to reality television has become addicted to controversy, ie Donald Trump.

But in 2013, our focus and fascination was with former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Weiner was fearless and his passion as a politician were unmatched.   However, it was that same passion mixed with arrogance that would ultimately become his Achilles heel during his quest for Mayor of NYC that would unravel his political career, personal life and reputation.  His quest for Mayor began as a potential slam dunk, until his appetite for chasing women outside his marriage surfaced - AGAIN!

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Let's go back to the beginning just a tad.   Weiner was considered to be one of the most outspoken Congressmen on Capitol Hill.  He would call out anybody...anytime on ANY issue he felt passionate about.  Although his peers loathed his technique, they almost unequivocably respected his passion for the people who elected him.  He was liberal, savvy, quick and married to a beautiful, smart high-profile aide to now Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton - Hume Abedin.

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All of this would turn upside down when Weiner took some now infamous selfies of his...well.."weiner" in some boxer shorts.  Just like that his political career on Capitol Hill came crashing to a halt.

Fast forward to 2013, one of Weiner's former aides,  Josh Kriegman , along with Elyse Sternberg decided to follow Weiner's return to politics in a documentary.  What none of them could know is that history would repeat itself and make everyone feel as though it were the "Groundhog Day" of political races.  Several young woman came forward claiming to have been intimate with the candidate, but it was only Sydney Leathers who went on a full fledge media tour to announce her involvement.  Leathers single-handedly murdered any chances of Weiner continuing in politics.

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This doc opened to massive enthusiasm and curiosity at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and most recently a limited release in the United States.

Don't be fooled.  This doc is not your usual fare of watching a politician go down in flames and the audience left feeling sorry for him like in the Netflix doc "Mitt".  There are more humorous moments simply due to the fact that Anthony Weiner is a very colorful character who has landed on his feet in spite of himself and his choices.  You wind up respecting him and his devoted Hume Abedin, who  stood by her man with dignity and respect during times when it was nearly impossible to maintain both.

You also witness how some folks (Sydney Leathers) will do just about anything for the "15 minutes" of fame at any cost.  The chase through McDonald's is epic...as is their nickname for Leathers "pineapple".

I'm sure now you are mega curious. If so, take a trip to the nearest theatre and check it out.  You will be educated, entertained and most of enlightened on the persona and life of Anthony Weiner.

[embed]https://youtu.be/nJ4FIGnJknk[/embed]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ4FIGnJknk

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ4FIGnJknk

 

 

CHELSEA DOES

Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and CarlaRenatasCorner.com I have to admit...I have a little girl crush on Chelsea Handler.  She's hot, hilarious and mad-honest...not to mention that she dated 50-Cent!  I know right??!!!

Well, nowadays, Chelsea teamed up with Netflix to do a four-hour documentary series on the subjects of Marriage, Silicon Valley, Racism and Drugs. As we have all come to know Chelsea over the years, we know that she holds no prisoners...including herself!   She shoots straight from the hip and delves into each category with both barrels blazing!

CHELSEA DOES MARRIAGE...

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Marriage and relationships are looked at from every angle possible...gay, straight, lesbian, adulterers and even gets some advice for herself from some pre/middle schoolers.  Some of my favorite moments were her officiating at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas to her grilling her Dad on liking black women to interviewing the owners of the controversial Ashley Madison.

https://youtu.be/Q166PYuQdc4

CHELSEA DOES SILICON VALLEY...

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Like most people nowadays with technology it can be über overwhelming!  Chelsea is no different.  She's confused, frustrated and hates streaming...anything.  Not to mention the fact that she's convinced gadgets never work when they are in her possession...lol.

An intimate, yet engaging conversation with friends about what age they all felt their kids should be given cell phones was hilarious to say the least with some really good points made along the way.  The Silicon Valley installment is complete with explanations of algorithm's, kids who know how to code, App development class and even a Digital Detox retreat.  All of it teaches us the lesson of the more technology increases, so does the expectation of one's productivity level.

https://youtu.be/940MMD1Il5E

CHELSEA DOES RACISM...

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What can I say?  Racism for all practical purposes its just plain stupidity magnified in every living human being ignorant enough to give it energy.  This is the major reason I loved the fact that this installment was included.  It points out the obvious while throwing the facts right tin your face!  Complete with Al Sharpton interviews, a visit to the Middleton Place Plantation to meetings with leaders from all the races and organizations that fight against all racism and stereotypes.

How far have we come?  Not far.  There are actually southerners who believe that not all slaves were treated badly or whipped.  Black Americans who are relieved that they can complement a white woman without fear of being jailed or lynched.  What was most heartbreaking was a montage of all the black teens killed over the years with President Obama singing Amazing Grace in the background.

Chelsea doesn't stop there.  She goes to an Indian reservation, speak with her Dad and a former Israeli President regarding the percussion of Jews throughout history.  Most importantly, the point is made that millions of people have come to America only to have their heritage lost, miscommunication and misunderstood.

https://youtu.be/MeISuq2wn0s

CHELSEA DOES DRUGS...

Only Chelsea Handler would start out a docuseries chapter with the most infamous cannabis speaker of all time...Willie Nelson!  I loved it and I will just leave it there to infuse your curiosity for the remainder in the series.  I, for one, would love to see her do another docuseries in this format.  It was fun, enlightening, scary, but most of all hella educational.  I wish there were more humans on this earth as enlightened, honest and curious as Chelsea Handler.  She gives me hope that humanity has the potential to do better in this world.

https://youtu.be/SepeswVPDRs

You can catch-all four chapters of Chelsea Does streaming on Netflix NOW...maxresdefault.jpg