Reviews: Zootopia, Midnight Special and Too Late


Film Review of Zootopia, Midnight Special and Too Late for and

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! 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 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's in a theater near you now!



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





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!


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




99 Homes

MV5BMTgyODExMDc0M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjY2ODg4NTE@._V1_SX146_CR0,0,146,215_ 99 Homes Review by Carla Renata for On Air With Tony Sweet for and Carla Renata's Corner

"This is our home"!  construction worker Dennis Nash screams while being evicted from his childhood home and its contents are being indiscreetly being placed on the lawn as the whole neighborhood looks on in horror, disgust and sympathy.  Some residents on the crowded Orlando, Florida neighborhood may secretly be wondering if and when they are the next to experience such a public humiliation. I should know - I was one of those homeowners.  However, I turned out to be one of the lucky ones who were able to save their home due to the various modifications put in place by President Obama

Around 2006, America began to express a housing crunch like no other.  Millions of Americans were being approved for loans way out of their budget and comfort zone resulting is the largest number of homes being foreclosed upon in history.  Families were being displaced by banks and given no warning except for the courtesy "10 minutes" they were given when law enforcement showed up at their doorstep to escort them to the curb - literally.

Enter real estate broker Rick Carver, who sees himself as a knight in thing armor or the wizard of oz as he shows up on doorsteps offering "keys for cash".  Carver doesn't see the homes or the families being displaced no matter what the age or circumstances.  He views homes as boxes in various sizes and shapes that can be manipulated like a plan in a chess game.

As luck would have it when Carver and Nash's paths cross on that fateful eviction day, they had no idea that both their lives would be changed forever.

Andrew Garfield as Dennis Nash proves that money is truly the root of all evil.  Nash sold his soul for a little cash to make circumstances better for his Mom and son.  Was it worth it?  Even though you truly feel the pain and anguish Garfield puts on display as Nash, it is Michael Shannon as Rick Carver that really makes  you stand up and take notice.  Shannon makes your blood run cold as Carver.  You can't quite figure out if he's using this new-found power and property to fill the emptiness of the life or if he really is just a class one asshole.

When asked what was the most compelling memory from shooting this film, Noah Lomax (who plays Garfield's son Connor Nash) asked one child at a displaced hotel if he could do anything different and his reply was "I would do my life over".

Garfield and Dern shared that in order to make the opening eviction scene real for them, they placed their own belonging on set. "If you're given two minutes to grab what you are emotionally attached to it will make you react differently"

99 homes is heartbreaking and emotionally shocking to watch.  It brings the horrible reality of eviction right up in your face and makes you take a long hard look at what can happen when the American dream turns into a nightmare.

Having screened at the Venice, Toronto and Telluride film festivals, America will finally get a chance to experience 99 homes TODAY at theater near you.