Paula Patton is Action Vigilante in Deon Cole Indie Film Traffik

Paula Patton is Action Vigilante in Deon Cole Indie Film Traffik

Trafficking of young women in America has turned into a form of modern-day slavery.  Living in Southern California, there are daily breaking news items concerning some white van full of young non-speaking English women who have been bought, sold and transported like cattle to a farm.  As a woman of color, it breaks my heart to watch women being treated with such disdain and disrespect.  Even more to the point, watching these same women drugged, raped and beaten so that some man somewhere can make a quick buck.

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OKJA

OKJA

Okja is a super pig.  Not just any super pig, but one that has been genetically mutated and cloned for the pure purpose of turning into jerky for profit.  Sounds disgusting, right?! The way science has advanced, the possibility of this on the horizon is greater than not.  But, Okja isn't just about a super pig or a contest or even the greed of humanity to make a buck at any cost. It's about bringing attention to the cruelty of animals in slaughter houses and in this case, that bond is unbreakable for Okja and her loyal, beloved caretaker Mija (An Seo Hyun).

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BEATRIZ AT DINNER

BEATRIZ AT DINNER

Beatriz, an intuitive healer and massage therapist, drives to Newport Beach for a session  with one of her most  loyal clients, Cathy (Connie Britton).  When her car breaks down and am unable to get it fixed until the following morning, Cathy invites Beatriz to stay for dinner and that's when the fireworks begin.

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ILLICIT

ILLICIT

Sasha and Guy Curtis appear to be a beautifully educated couple who are both successful in their own right..  Sasha, a former model, is now mostly a housewife and Guy is a supervisor for former felons trying to get on the right track.  When one of those felons takes advantage s when things go terribly awry for the Curtis family.

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Let It Fall

Let It Fall

Remembering the L.A. Riots and the Rodney King beating vividly, I was surprised to become enlightened about all the elements and incidents that were popping off.  I had no idea that a young LatashaHarlins was shot in the head over some orange juice by the shop owner.  No idea that Karen Toshima, a budding artist, was gunned down in Westwood.  No idea that James Mincey, Jr. was murdered based on the stereotype that he "looked" "big and threatening" or that innocent families had their homes ransacked for drugs leaving their abode inhabitable.

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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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LION

 

I don’t know about you, but one of my greatest fears growing up is that I would somehow become separated from my parents and never see them again.

As a little girl in Hawaiit, on a typical grocery day, my Mom let go of my hand to grab something off a shelf.  By the time she turned around to put it in the cart I was gone.  As my parents frantically searched throughout the store, my Dad saw a woman in the parking lot with me in tow heading toward her car.

I don’t have to tell you,  My Daddy lost his mind.  He proceeded to verbally go off on this woman, snatched me away from her and headed back inside the store.  Needless to say, my parents were mortified that at the blink  of an eye I was almost never to be seen or heard from again.

Little did I know on the other side of the world, Saroo (Dev Patel), out on a night excursion with his brother Guduu (Abhishek Bharate), becomes separated and spends more than 22 years away from his family before reconnecting.

In Lion, five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets lost on a train traveling away from his home and family ending up thousands of miles away, in chaotic Kolkata, India. Somehow he survives living on the streets before ending up in an orphanage that’s not exactly a safe haven. Adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham), Saroo finds love and security growing up in Hobart. As an adult,  his emotional need and hope of ever finding his lost mother and brother are becoming nearly flashback memories. But, a chance meeting with some fellow Indians reawakens his buried yearning. Armed with only a handful of memories and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, Saroo sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home in India.

As if I weren’t already a fan of Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, his performance in “Lion” has made me a “superfan”.  It’s always a thin line when one  portray’s a character based on a real person that is still living and breathing!  I can tell you that Patel is crushing his performance so hard you forget he’s sharing a screen with Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman.  We will most certainly be hearing alot from him this awards season.

 

 

Sara Brierley with Dev Patel at AFI Opening of LION

Kudos to Garth Davis for keeping the Indian culture authentic by using actors from this country to communicate this amazing story. At the Q&A following the AFI Film Festival Screening, a few little known facts were revealed by Saroo and Nicole Kidman. First, the actor that plays Young Saroo doesn’t speak English…at all, which is unbelievable.  This kid (Sunny Pawar) is adorable and absolutely astonishing.  The depths of emotion and vulnerability he displays hasn’t been seen since such child actors like Dakota Fanning and Haley Joel Osment.

Saroo was misprouncing the name of his town, which resulted in his not being found for nearly two years after being separated from his brother, Guduu.  Guduu, by the way, didn’t abadon Saroo, but got hit by a train on his way back to scoop him up.

Watiting in the lobby, I ran into Saroo.  He is such a charming, put-together young man with manners and respect for others that sorely lack in today’s digital age society.

Lion is the type of film that proves one truly has to pay attention to those “gut feelings”  we so often ignore and that as Lin Manuel Miranda says “Love is Love Is Love”.  It will make your heart swell and give you faith back in humanity.

Lion can be seen nationwide by The Weinstein Company TODAY.

 

 

 

The cast of LION

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!!!