Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Picking up where “Guardians of the Galaxy”—2014’s  highest grossing film of the summer—left off,  Peter Quill aka Star-Lord and his gang of eccentric characters  patrol and protect the universe, doing mercenary work in the wake of the popularity and fame garnered from saving Xandar.  Set to the magnificent backdrop of Mixtape #2 (Parliament Funkadelic's "Flashlight" is one of my favs), doing a seat boogie while rooting for the Guardians to prevail over evil was definitely part of the experience.  No one was happier to see a thief, a thug, an assassin and an angry little tree reunited!

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#inspiringWomanPBS Maya: And Still I Rise

#inspiringWomanPBS Maya:  And Still I Rise

We don't know the heartbreak of never having a lifetime love.  We don't know how isolating and lonely it is to be a strong, intelligent, independent black woman.  We don't know what it is to balance love for a parent, even when that parent treats you as if you have rocks for a brain.  These are the Maya Angelou private images that we would never know...until now.

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FENCES

FENCES

Recreating their award-winning roles, Davis and Washington are masterful as Rose and Troy.  Set in 1950's Pittsburgh, we watch the demise of a family unit for a variety of complex, yet familiar reasons.  Troy (Washington) constantly relives his days from the Negro Baseball League with the realization that his life as a sanitation worker are less that what he dreamed for himself and his family.

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MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

Manchester By The Sea is taking this American Cinema award season by storm...literally.  With award-winning performances by Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges, the audience is taken on the journey of what it feels like to have to go back home when a tragedy strikes.

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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

ROGUE ONE:  A STAR WARS STORY

This much-anticipated installment takes us back to the humble beginnings of how Princess Leia ends up with the plans for the Death Star, setting up for the epic saga we now know as Star Wars.  It is that moment when you realize, "Oh yeah...this is why I love tis franchise"!!!

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13th

The 13th Amendment.  What do we really know about it other than it was part of the constitution that kicked slavery to the curb.  It declared that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime  whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Leave it to director Ava Duvernay to break it all the way down to make a case out of the fact that slavery hasn't really been abolished.  In fact, it's actually evolved into our current system of mass incarceration.  A system,  in which many prisons are run by major corporations (Walmart and Victoria's Secret)  for profit.  Prisoners  are paid a pittance for their labor. Twelve cents an hours to be exact.

In a year that has seen a black life murdered or jailed at a rapid rate, a movement incited by people of all races speaking out on the injustices called #BlackLivesMatter and year in film that began with the hashtag #oscarssowhite, 13th brings to the forefront a much need conversation about mass incarceration of people of color.

From Jim Crow laws to Nixon's "war on drugs" to Bill Clinton's "three strikes" legislation, mass incarceration is a real issue and one that sorely needs investigating and discussing.  In 1970, there were 200,000 prisoners and today the numbers are staggering toward more than 2 million.  Did you know that while the America has more than just 5% of the world's population, we have more than 25% of the world's population in prisoners?  It is a proven fact that one in three prisoners are black men and more than 60% of the people in the prison system are people of color.

Interviewing scholars and activists ranging from Angela Davis to rapper/Oscar winner Common, the film trots out images of lynchings, cellphone videos of police abuse and footage from the  1815 D.W. Griffith film "The Birth of a Nation".  That film alone glorified the Klu Klux Klan and was screened with pride at the White House for then President Woodrow Wilson. I know ...right??!!

13th couldn't  be more timely in an election year where we have candidates speaking of building walls, politicians pushing for criminal justice reform and reducing the prison population - particularly of non-violent offenders.  As if Hillary Clinton doesn't have enough on her plate with those damn emails, the film openly criticizes Bill and Hillary for supporting the 1990's crime bill that has led to a massive increase of the prison population today.  A bill in which those both now realize was a fatally flawed mistake for our country.

A pivotal, yet chilling moment for me was some footage of a recent Trump rally - where angry white people with black protestors are shown against archival clips of civil rights protestors.  All the while listening to Donald Trump say, "In the good old days...they would be carried out on stretchers."

I'm not gonna lie.  Watching these types of projects makes me feel some kind of way. Mostly angry, hurt and left with a massive desire to make difference.  Obviously, there is strength in numbers.  Each one teach and tell one.  So, today I have taught you more than you probably wanted to know about the 13th amendment through the lens of brilliant director Ava Duvernay.  The rest is literally up to you to keep the conversation going until a change is made.

13th can be streamed NOW via Netflix.

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

LOVING

Three  years ago,  a Cheerios commercial featuring a mixed race couple and their daughter aired nationwide.  What the ad agency, the actors nor Proctor & Gamble could have never predicted was the outlandish response.

Thousands of consumers flooded P&G with complaints over the spot. It single-handedly generated such a strong racist backlash on YouTube that the comments section had to be closed.  The ad had received more than 1,600 likes and more than 500 dislikes.

On the Cheerio's Facebook page many commented that they found the commercial “disgusting” and that it made them “want to vomit.” Other hateful comment expressed shock that a black father would stay with his family.  However, on the flip side, many took to Facebook to express their appreciation for Cheerios’ decision to feature a mixed-race family.

Shocking?  Not really given the current climate in our country.

 

In 1958, however, it was unlawful to be married and of mixed race.  A fact that Mildred and Richard Loving knew all too well.  It was their Supreme Court case "Loving v. Virginia" that changed the trajectory of mixed race couples forever making it perfectly legal to love and marry anyone of any race you prefer.  Clearly, it took the State of Virginia nearly 10 years to actually live up to its moniker, "Virginia is for Lovers".

Mildred and Richard showed America that love has no color line and that they would do whatever it took to keep their family together.  In spite of being jailed.  In spite of being betrayed.  In spite of fear.  In spite of  hate.  These two "human beings" fought to live the life they wanted on the own terms using the law to make that dream a reality.

 

Every performance in this film is absolutely extraordinary.  However, Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton are giving performances that are simply powerful and heart-wrenching.  They both giving meaning to the phrase "quiet fire" and their chemistry is undeniable.  It takes a lot of technical strength as an actor to effectively convey an emotion or thought with little to no dialogue.  Negga and Edgerton are masterful at it and both deserve to have their work recognized this awards season.

 

Adam Stone's photography of the Virginian countryside is absolutely breathtaking. Knowing that Martin Scorsese was originally attached peaked my curiosity, as I am a huge fan of  his work with The Age of Innocence.  Though, I must say Jeff Nichols turned out to be a perfect match for this story and its execution.

Based in part on the 2011 Nancy Buirski documentary, "The Loving Story", LOVING is a very moving story that will make you look at life and the human race just a little bit differently. At the end of the day, we all bleed red no matter what our ethnicity is.  LOVING opens in select theatres  on November 4th.

 

 

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

THE LOOK OF SILENCE

THE LOOK OF SILENCE

In 1965, the Indonesian government was overthrown by the military. Anybody opposed to the military dictatorship could be accused of being a communist: union members, landless farmers and intellectuals.In less than a year, over one million 'communists' were murdered - and the perpetrators still hold power throughout the country.

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#Flashback: THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA

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I am obsessed with Meryl Streep!  Then again who isn't.  She is one of the best actresses in our industry.  I am also obsessed with Anne Hathaway.  Who doesn't love The Princess Diaries with her and Julie Andrews?  Don't even get me started on her Oscar turn as Fantine is Les Miserables.

Who knew when The Devil Wears Prada opened in theaters ten years ago that it would clobber Superman Returns at the box office in 2006.  Miranda Priestly, fashion and a good old-fashioned love story would prevail in the end.

The film focused on a young woman, who while on the quest to find a job as a journalist ends up at a fashion magazine.  She ultimately becomes the assistant to the most powerful fashion editor in the world and that job changes her forever.

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It kinda reminded me of a more up to date version of another one of my favorite films Working Girl.  i even had the pleasure of Guest Starring on an ABC monster hit Ugly Betty, which although was an American reboot of a Spanish show, still had that  'Devil Wears Prada' motif going on...not to mention they had Tony and Emmy nominee Vanessa Williams to pull in those viewers.

Not only did the film mark the film debut of Emily Blunt, but it catapulted her and Anne Hathaway into superstardom.  Stanley Tucci was no slouch either.

So for those who are all too familiar with this classic...here are some things  you may not know about The Devil Wears Prada...

  1.  Meryl Streep was ready to walk over her the low salary offer. When it was doubled, she found a way grab that silver hair and keep it moving.  Can you even imagine anyone else as Miranda?   I think not
  2. As badly as Anne Hathaway wanted this role, the first choice was Rachel McAdams.  I love Rachel, but Andy was meant for Anne
  3. Meryl changed what would become one of the best lines of the Film.  During their table read, Meryl said, "Everybody wants to be us," instead of  "Everybody wants to be me."
  4. Emily was supposed to be American.  The director loved Blunt's accent so much, they made her character British
  5. Stanley Tucci met his real-life wife at Emily Blunt's wedding.  Isn't that fantabulous!!!
  6. There was NO second choice considered for Miranda Priestly.  How you even gonna let second choice fall from you lips when you have freaking Meryl Streep!!!  I'm just saying!

Take a look back at the trailer for The Devil Wears Prada...

 

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

#FLASHBACK FRIDAY: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch

It won a Pulitzer Prize, made Gregory Peck a superstar, instantly became an American classic and made it's author infamous.  To Kill A Mockingbird in many ways was the pre-cursor to John Gresham's "A Time to Kill' starring Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey.  Centered around lawyer Atticus Finch, the audience is educated as Finch defends a black man in southern America circa 1963.

Based on Harper Lee's novel of the same name, you can only imagine the controversy stirred by this prolific tale. Crafted brilliantly and told through the eyes of  six year-old Scout, who can forget Boo Radley or the famous words spoken by Atticus,  "You never know someone...until you step inside their skin and walk around a little."

Just as in 1963, Harper Lee caused a stir once again when she announced a prequel she had kept under wraps would be published.  Fans lost their minds!!!  Just a few months later Lee would pass away at the age of 89.

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The film received numerous Oscar nominations, taking home the gold for Horton Foote, Gregory Peck and for Best Art Direction/Set Direction.

Take a look back at a 56-year-old classic...To Kill A Mockingbird

https://youtu.be/KR7loA_oziY

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!