The Screen Actors Guild Awards are always a highlight of the award season because the love comes directly from the acting community. Needless to say, actors showed up and showed out casting their Ensemble votes for Hidden Figures and giving Fences mad love by honoring Best Actor Denzel Washington with his very first "actor" along with Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor (Moonlight) and Supporting Actress Viola Davis for her mind-blowing performance in Fences. Davis is making history all over the place in 2017.Read More
Have you ever seen a coming of age story that emulates Brokeback Mountain in the hood? Well, that is exactly what the film MOONLIGHT is giving us.
MOONLIGHT absolutely glows while sharing the dysfunctional home life of "Little" in the Miami "War on Drugs" era and his struggle to figure out who he is and what his place is to be as adult in this conflicted world he exists in.
Alex R. Hibbert is exceptionally complex as Little and physically is very reminiscent of a young 50 cent. However, the other actors that portray "Little" are all so riveting that no matter what scene you are watching, one is riveted by their performances.
Mahershala Ali is having one hell of a year! Right off of his Recurring role in the Netflix hit, House of Cards, Ali has several features that have been released this year including Free State of Jones with Matthew McConaughey, the indie darling Kicks and now as crack dealer Juan. Ali has truly cornered the market on the bad guy, but in Moonlight he shows that even bad guys have a heart. His scenes teaching "Little" to swim will warm and break your heart all at once.
In her film debut, recording artist turned actress Janelle Monae appears very comfortable in front of the lens. If this performance is any indication of what we are in store for when Hidden Figures is released (along with Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer), she may very well see herself on numerous red carpet leading to some well-deserved Oscar buzz.
Andre' Holland as Little's best friend from childhood, Kevin is sexy,..period. Holland gives Kevin just the right amount of vulnerability to match Hibbert in some very touching scenes. We learn that even the men who pretend to be the hardest dudes out there need love and a gentle touch every once in a while.
The one person who your mind can't forget after leaving the theatre is Naomi Harris. As Little's crack-addicted Mom, Paula, you just want to reach up to the screen and shake some sense into her. What mother loves that rock more than her own flesh and blood? One of her most prolific scenes is while she is in rehab expressing her remorse for his upbringing while begging him to get off the streets. Absolutely...heartbreaking.
Moonlight can be seen in a theatre near you as of October 21st.
The obsession over sneakers in a documentary Sneakheadz and getting the latest "kicks by any means necessary is real. Many kids have been killed, beat up even harassed over the type of sneakers they are wearing. With a debut earlier this year at the Tribeca and LA Film Festivals, KICKS takes it to a whole new level, by putting this controversial subject to a narrative centered around three urban teens. When one of them is jacked for his Jordans, he and his friends find themselves on a journey to recover the shoes, but not without consequences and repercussions.
Fifteen-year-old Brandon longs for a pair of the freshest sneakers that money can buy and assumes that having them on his feet will help him escape the reality of being poor, neglected by the opposite sex and picked on by everyone -- even his best friends.
Working hard to get them, he soon finds that these shoes have made him a target after they are snatched by local hood, Flaco. Flaco has his own issues that will are revealed when Brandon goes on a mission to retrieve his stolen sneakers with his two best friends in tow.
Produced by the same team that brought us Morris from America, boasting an amazing soundtrack of both hip-hop classics and Bay Area favorites, Kicks creates an authentic and original portrait of a young man drowning in the expectations of being grown and standing his ground for what he believes.
With an impressive screen debut, Jahking Guillory is perfection as Brandon. Mahershala Ali is having a great year and his portrayal of Flaco is chilling, yet compassionate as a gang-banger Dad with a heart.
Kicks is a modern-day Boyz in the Hood Air Jordans as the centerpiece. I could have done without some of the more graphic scenes, but guess they seemed necessary in order to give this film authenticity around its storyline..
As a first time director/screenwriter, Justin Tipping does an admirable job in creating a magical urban tale about friendship, honor and life in Oakland.
Kicks rolls into a theatre near you on September 9th by Focus films.