Review: 12 YEARS A SLAVE

MV5BMjExMTEzODkyN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTU4NTc4OQ@@._V1._SX94_SY140_There are two horrific crimes committed against humanity that should've never occurred...The Holocaust and Slavery in America.  It is bad enough to be exterminated because a group of individuals have decided you are not fit to exist in society as an equal, but to be dragged across continents by sea chained, naked and treated like an animal is absolutely unforgivable.  So, when on December 18, 1865 President Abraham Lincoln freed slaves in America through the Emancipation Proclamation, people of color thought they were free to live as equal human beings. However, there were some Americans that could not accept that law and resulted in "blackbirding".  Blackbirding was an illegal method of recruitment/kidnapping of freed slaves in the North and transporting them to the South where slavery was still legal in some states.

This is how the audience is introduced to the true story of Solomon Northrup, a freed man living in 1800's New York, who becomes a victim to blackbirding and spends "12 Years As A Slave".  Based on the book by the same name written by Northrup himself in 1853 (less than a year after he was rescued from his accidental slavery) and adapted into a screenplay by John Ridley, this film is very uncomfortable to watch, but absolutely necessary.  How is it possible that we have been taught in America everything there is to know about Anne Frank and Harriet Tubman, but NO MENTION of a man who endured such an injustice within our own history?  I don't know and  I don't care, however, I am extremely grateful to Director Steve McQueen for finally bringing it to our attention.

There are many wonderful performances given by this cast brilliantly put together once again by the marvelous Casting Director Francine Maisler.  However, it the performances of Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northrup and recent NYU graduate Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey that will break your heart.  I expect both of these names to be tossed about during the upcoming awards season.  We even see a glimpse of last years' Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis and another breakout performance from last year's hit film "Pariah" by Adepero Oduye.  As much as I loathed their characters, Benedict Cumberbatch and Paul Dano were extraordinary!

Slavery has always been an uncomfortable subject here in America, mostly due to the wounds left behind that have yet to heal in this country.  Begin the healing by going to see "12 Years A Slave",  which  opens in theaters on October 18th.

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!!!

Review: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

MV5BMTQzNzExMDg3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODU1NzEzMDE@._V1._SX94_SY140_How do you think you would protect yourself and your crew when attacked by pirates?  I'm sure this is the very question that ran across Captain Phillips' mind when this very event took place aboard Maersk Alabama in April 2009 and make it the first American cargo ship to be hijacked by pirates in two hundred years. Loosely based on the book.  "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea" by ship Captain Richard Phillips, this nail-biting drama chronicles the five days in which the ship is hijacked and days spent by the Somali pirates trying to get back to their native land with American Captain Phillips as a hostage.

Even though I knew going into the theater that this was a true life account and my reaction to the events as a viewer would not change the outcome, I found myself hopelessly wishing for a positive outcome. Side note:  the Navy Seals that saved Captain Phillips are the same ones that took out Osama Bin Laden.

Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips does it yet again.  He gives a performance that is so riveting you forget you are watching a film and fell ike a fly on the wall watching this whole scenario play out.  Most often with these types of films we never see the aftermath of the rescue attempt from the victim's point of view.  That scene alone is worth the price of admission alone.

I have to give a huge shoutout to the casting of Francine Maisler, who did a spot on job with this film as she does with all of her projects.  all of the men cast as Somalian pirates are outstanding, but it is Barkhad Abdi as Muse and Barkhad Abdiraman as Bill that will break our heart and leave your veins as cold as ice-water all at the same time.  I am confident that they will be recognized by the Academy for their stellar work.

Go see this film and you will be in for the roller coaster ride of a lifetime.  Produced by Sony Entertainment, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is in theaters now.

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!!!