Review: Paradise

Diablo Cody has proven to be a real innovative storyteller in this new millennium for women and the various emotional obstacles we face.  She has done so effectively with JUNO, the Steven Spielberg produced dramedy "United States of Tara" and now with her latest effort "Paradise".  Directed, written and produced by Cody, we are taken on the journey of Lamb (Julianne Hough), who after being severely burned in a plane crash, suffers a crisis in faith.  After denouncing God in front of her parents (Holly Hunter & Nick Offerman) and her congregation, Lamb travels to "sin city" Las Vegas where she stumbles upon lounge singer/bartender Loray (Octavia Spencer) and fellow bartender William (Russell Brand), who begrudgingly take her under their wing to assist her in completing her "bucket list" to sin. I have to say based on her performances in "Safe Haven", "Footloose" and "Rock of Ages", I wasn't sure that Hough could carry this film, but I have to say she does so with much range and vulnerability, the type that only a "lamb" can have.  Octavia Spencer is hilariously salty as lounge singer with a heart of gold - Loray and Russell Brand shows us his vulnerable side as the bartender who shags every new girl in "sin city", but somehow has an overprotective reaction to Lamb.

Diablo Cody's first foray into directing is very impressive and her writing, as usual, always has a message which makes one pause and think about the own state of their lives.  PARADISE was one of the hits of Sundance this past year and is slated for a feature release in October.  If you can't wait until then, you can catch it on DirectTV NOW!

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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!!!