Avengers: Infinity War is Exhilarating, Jaw Dropping Superhero Yumminess

Avengers: Infinity War is Exhilarating, Jaw Dropping Superhero Yumminess

Avengers: Infinity War, the third installment in the “Avengers” franchise and 19th Marvel Studios film to date, marks the 10-year anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began with the release of “Iron Man” in 2008.  Assembling a team from every Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise ever, the Avengers align in solidarity attempting to defeat the powerful Thanos (James Brolin) before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.  

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Wrinkle in Time Taps Into Inner Child & Warrior Mode

Wrinkle in Time Taps Into Inner Child & Warrior Mode

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge child at heart.  It's a characteristic handed down from my beautiful, playful mother.  A quality that allows me to have an open heart and mind when watching projects meant to tap into one's inner child.

One of my favorite films of all time is The Wizard of Oz.  I mean who doesn't love that moment when Dorothy realizes what she searched for in Oz was inside her all the time?  Well, what The Wizard of Oz did for me is what  A Wrinkle in Time will do for this new generation of young people.

Based on the popular novel by Madeline L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time takes us on the journey of Meg (Storm Reid) and her little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) as they 'tesseract' through time to bring back their scientist Dad (Chris Pine), who is being held captive by the 'it.'

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Why Black Panther is the Crown Jewel of the Marvel Franchise

Why Black Panther is the Crown Jewel of the Marvel Franchise

Black Panther is hands down the best film in the Marvel Franchise!!!  Why?  Black Panther is on the road to do for Marvel what The Lion King did for Disney.  The Lion King had Mufasa, Simba and The Pridelands...Black Panther has Wakanda, King T'Challa, Nakia and Killmonger.  Black Panther also manages to show tender young love between a man and a woman, a man and his parents and unflinching love for one's country no matter what the sacrifice.

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CARS 3

CARS 3

I think if I had known about a female race car driver, I could've probably been the 1st African-American chick to blaze NASCAR!!! Naw, not really, but in Disney/Pixar's latest in the Car franchise - Cars 3, there is some serious female empowerment going on!

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales

Its' been a minutes since we have seen Captain Jack Sparrow or the film franchise that was spawn from a Disneyland ride in 2003.  Now, 14 years later, if you love the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, you won't be disappointed with "Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales".  Back in his Oscar nominated, unforgettable role of Captain Jack Sparrow, actor Johnny Depp performs this character as though he were a second skin.  It's so organically natural for him and the jokes never cease to amuse.

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Born In China

Born In China

In celebration of Earth Day,  DisneyNature  releases  "Born In China."  This remarkable documentary is narrated by John Krasinski and takes audiences on a breathtaking journey into the wilds of China.

Directed by Chinese filmmaker Lu Chuan, produced by Disney’s Roy Conli and renowned nature filmmakers Brian Leith and Phil Chapman, "Born In China" shows an authentic side of nature in China that global audiences have never seen before,” says director Lu Chuan.   “These animals are metaphors.  They give birth, like we do and do their best to raise their cubs, like we do.  They succeed and they fail. Their drive to do what is best for their families resonates with all of us.”

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Beauty and The Beast

Beauty and The Beast

Love and stories about love never go out of style.  These types of stories make us sentimental,  long for a lost love or a love that was never to be realized.  Disney's Beauty and Beast stays true to form with this latest incarnation of  "a tale as old as time"!

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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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MOANA

Disney is on a roll for 2016!!  Disney Animated Studios has bragging rights to Frozen (the highest grossest animated film of all time),  Zootopia in the #2 spot and Moana is well on its way to melting Frozens's record.

Moana (Auli‘i Cravalho) tells the story of a young Hawaiian girl who is searching for a demigod (Maui played by Dwayne Johnson), who once he is found, the two embark upon a journey to save her island and her people from impending destruction. Auli'l's voice is absolutely amazing and "The Rock" surprised me with his vocal prowess on "Your Welcome".

 

 

Moana and Maui

 

It was so nice to see Disney add another ethnic Princess to their stable twice in one year (Elena from Avalor was introduced to the Disney Channel earlier).  The photography is absolutely stunning and so life-like that one forgets that you are watching an animated feature.

The diverse and dynamic team behind the film’s inspired music includes Tony®- and Grammy®-winning lyricist/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, who’s behind Broadway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and multiple Tony-winning “Hamilton” and the Tony-winning “In the Heights,” and is a 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award recipient. Three-time Grammy®-winning composer Mark Mancina created memorable scores for films like “Speed,” “Tarzan” and the Oscar®-winning “Training Day,” and also co-wrote songs, produced and arranged the score for Broadway’s musical production of “The Lion King.” Opetaia Foa‘i, the founder and lead singer of Te Vaka, is a winner of numerous world music awards, including the Senior Pacific Artist award for his contribution to Pacific music. Miranda is well on his way to becoming an EGOT  (Emmy-Grammy-Oscar-Tony) member before the end of 2017!!!

 

Click HERE for how the cast and crew felt about working with WATER

 

 

Kudos Disney  and directors Ron Clements & John Musker for really working it out on the diversity front for 2016!  Of course, this shouldn't be a surprise since this same team brought us Princess & The Frog and Aladdin.  We won't have to guess who all the little girls will want to be for Halloween 2017...lol.

Of course, No Disney film would be complete wthout villains (the Coconuts) and the loyal best friend (The Rooster and the Baby Pig).  Of course, my favorite was Grandma Tala (Rachel House).  She is sugar and spice with everything naughty and nice:).

 

Gramma Tala

 

Moana is a great film for the adults and the kiddies and an even greater flick to check out during the holiday season!!!

If you are not convinced...maybe these clips will convince you to run to the theatre NOW!

Click HERE for MOANA Trailer

 

 

 

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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!!!

DOCTOR STRANGE

Benedict Cumberbatch is exchanging those serious Oscar nominated roles like Alan Turing in The Imitation Game and the BBC's Sherlock for  neurosurgeon turned sorcerer in Marvel's Doctor Strange.

This latest Marvel installment may be just what the franchise needs to reinvigorate itself.  I spent a majority of this film with my mouth dropped from witnessing  the most amazingly eye-twisting visual special effects I have ever seen.  They were simply marvelous, yet mind-bending to watch.

Of course, I would be remiss in not addressing the controversy that has swirled around the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, a role depicted in the comic as one of Asian descent.

 

While the studio, the writers, director Scott Derrickson and even Swinton herself have spoken out about the upcoming changes in the film, it continues to be a topic of discussion among many. 

In a recent interview with Out, the actress once again addresses the controversy surrounding her character and states that the Ancient One was never written as a Tibetan man, as portrayed in the comics.

“There is little for me to add except to say that anyone speaking up for a greater accuracy in the representation of the diversity of the world we live in has me right beside them,” she says. “As someone who has worked from the beginning as an artist within a queer aesthetic, the urgency of that voice is always going to be welcome.”

It goes without saying that clearly the Asian community is sick of exclusion, as are people of color, Latinos and Native Americans.  Who can forget not too long ago the casting of Jennifer Lawrence as Catniss in The Hunger Games franchise, when in the book Catniss is Native American.  One of these days, Hollywood will get it right.

Anywhoo, back to Doctor Strange.  I loved it!  The cinematic aesthetic is off the charts thanks to Ben Davis and Scott Derrickson.  The action keeps you engaged to the point when the film is over...you are totally not ready for it to end.

Both McAdams and Cumberbatch reached into their lighter side to make Christine and Stephen engaging, charming and comedic without being over the top.  It was wonderful to see Chiwetel Ejiofor cross over to the dark side (smelling a sequel) and watch him leap into his superhero lane making a departure from his more serious work as well.  Controversy aside, Tilda Swinton is fantastic as The Ancient One.  Kinda hate that she...oops don't want it spoil it for you guys:)

 

However, the real star of this film was the "cloak of levitation".  It truly was a character all unto itself without skipping a beat.

Marvel really out did itself on this one.  The credits for the digital crew and special effects listed at least more than 100 people for everything ranging from CGI to Sound.  Bravo!  Can't wait for the sequel!!

Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange opens in theaters Friday, November 4th!

Click HERE to watch the trailer

 

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!!!

Queen of Katwe

Queen of Katwe

Enter Phiona Mutesi, a young girl from the streets of Kampala, Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess by soccer coach and former missionary Robert Katende. As a result, she is encouraged to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. Queen of Katwe is Phiona's story of discovery, love, sacrifice and developing the heart of a lion king while accomplishing a feat even she thought was impossible.

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The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans

Stedman’s “The Light Between Oceans” was published in the U.S. in July 2012. Immediately embraced by readers and cri􏰀tics alike, it landed on both The New York Times and USA Today’s bestseller lists, as well as, Amazon’s Best Book of the Month for August of that year. Since then, it has been translated into over 35 languages.

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Disney and Misty Copeland...What could be better??!!

Disney and Misty Copeland...What could be better??!!

This just in...via Deadline.com Ballet star Misty Copeland just unveiled that she is joining the cast of Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, the Lasse Hallstrom-directed pic based on the famed story. The live-action pic is being penned by Ashleigh Powell. Copeland will play the lead ballerina role in the film’s sole dance sequence.

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Life, Animated

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The very time I became aware of autism, what it was and how it manifests was when I was in rehearsal for the 1st National tour of "The Who's Tommy".  You see the character of "Tommy" was a high functioning autistic child who becomes a rock star.  The creative team had professionals come in and tell us all about it, so that onstage our relationship with Tommy would be authentic and real.

About a year ago, I was chatting with my old friend Jonathan Freeman.  He began telling me about a book by Ron Suskind called Life Animated and about his kid named Owen who was autistic.  He revealed that Owen broke out of his autistic prison through watching Disney animated films. Now, this was fascinating, because both Jonathan and myself have a Disney connection.  I played Shenzi in Los Angeles production of "The Lion King" for three years and Jonathan is the voice of "Jafar" in the Disney animated feature "Aladdin" and performs this role eight times a week currently on Broadway.

BROADWAY'S JAFAR IN ALADDIN AND CARLA RENATA

BROADWAY'S JAFAR IN ALADDIN AND CARLA RENATA

As life works, while at Sundance 2016,  I found out Owen Suskind is now the subject of a documentary directed by Roger Ross Williams.  When I tell you, I spent 90 minutes doing the ugly cry while trying to laugh...I really do not exaggerate!

At three-years old, Owen Suskind began speaking gibberish.  After taking him to numerous medical professionals, he was diagnosed autistic.  For those of you who don't know what that means, it simply means that these kids have a brain that is overly stimulated.  They are brutally honest and don't know what lying or being polite is.  They simply live in the moment...whatever that moment happens to be.

After one year of complete silence while watching "The Little Mermaid", Owen uttered what his parents Cornelia and Ron understood as "juicer voss".  Owen was trying to say "just your voice" ( a line from the character Ursula). Now, as a 23-year old adult, Owen has transitioned into adult assisted living, had his heart-broken for the first time and secured employment at a local movie theater.

Life, Animated is one of the most inspiring, heartwarming and heartbreaking films I have seen in quite some time.  It was truly a reality check.  It reminded me that just when you think your life sucks, there is always someone else who has it just a little harder.

I wonder what Walt Disney would think about his films being the catalyst for a child who most people wrote off and were ready to throw in the towel on.  Ron and Cornelia Suskind  and their other son Walter NEVER gave up on Owen and continue to make his life as normal and easy-going as possible.

While saying goodbye to Jonathan, Owen and his family popped by and when we asked if he was tired of being a movie star, he simply replied "Yes, it will be nice to get back to me".  One of my favorite moments of the film was having Gilbert Godfried pop by Owens' Disney Club and do a live reading of Aladdin for all the members along with Jonathan.

 

Thank you Jonathan for bringing Owen and his beautiful family to my attention.  You and them have TRULY changed my life and mindset forever.

Life Animated opened in theaters on July 1st and remember you heard it here first...it will definitely be on the short list for the Oscars in 2017.