Tag: Gugu Mbatha-Raw

A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time is a very famous Science Fiction book, written in the 1960’s. It was a historic achievement when it comes to the genre, because it was written by a woman, and it was even about a girl.

Not many books in the genre, especially at that time, catered to women at any level. It would take decades for them to get any sort of real success in that area.

Now, so many decades later, it is being haled as a film celebrating those beginnings by trying to do the same thing for the genre. Avu DuVernay, famed director of Selma (who many feel should have been nominated for Best Director for that film) and 13th, is getting her hands on a big budget fantasy/sci-fi romp. And she is going to make sure it has people in it that will speak to people of all ages, of all colors and creeds. She is getting diversity across all the levels, and it is honestly a great move on her part.

No matter how good or bad the film is, the movie is an experiment gone right when it comes to casting. She wants to make sure girls out there have more diverse people to look up to, because everyone has the right to see themselves in the media they consume.

And look! A character for those gingers out there as well.

Meg (Storm Reid) was a happy go lucky girl, good at math and science, lover of life. Her dad (Chris Pine) worked for Nasa and mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) also was a scientist. They were smart, and happy, and about to adopt another child, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe). Things were great.

And then her dad disappeared, without a trace. The parents had pretty strong scientific opinions on space travel and time travel, but most people did not take them seriously. Either way, with her dad gone, Meg has gone on hating her life, becoming a shell of her former self.

But things are about to change. Life is about to get a bit weirder, thanks to her younger brother. He is very trusting and wise beyond his years. And he starts to introduce Meg to the “Misses”, including Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). They are denizens of the universe, much like Meg, but more in tune with its frequencies and have heard a cry of help from her father.

So these ladies are going to take Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin (Levi Miller), a nice friend of Meg, on a journey across space and time, to see just where her father went.

Also starring Zach Galifianakis, Michael Peña, André Holland, Rowan Blanchard, and the voice of David Oyelowo.

Ah, here he was, the last place I would expect. A very orange room. Yuck!

A Wrinkle In Time is supposed to be a fantastic book, part of a pretty good series, and tells a story across space and time. And based on who I have talked to, that is believable. This movie is unfortunately not the book.

This movie is surprisingly under two hours, but it has a lot of hardcore concepts it wants to talk about and use in the movie. Instead of explaining them in a nice wrapped box, the movie just runs with these ideas, you either understand or you don’t, and blasts off into its plot. It is so fast and high energy early on that it is hard to keep up and understand where it is going.

The only part of the film that takes its time is the ending, which is a bad move for a few reasons. At this point, a regular member of the audience who didn’t read the book is so lost and confused that having a more explained ending won’t fix that. A lot of people watching will have already lost interest, and then get annoyed when the pace finally slows the fuck down.

We have some scary stuff by the end too. Stuff that should have large impacts on the audience based on who is involved and how drastic the changes feel. But without the proper build up, it feels very wasted.

At the end of the movie, I cried. There are still emotional points. I get the final purpose of the film, what it says about growing up and the pains associated with it. But I felt like I was just along for a ride that didn’t care if I needed to stop to pee or eat along the way.

There are so many concepts that you are just forced to accept. Hell, we have a character who is brought along they say for diplomacy reasons, and then fail to include any sort of diplomacy scene. A Wrinkle In Time is probably a good film if you include what was cut out in the editing room. But this is the type of movie that might only be understood if you have read the material before hand, which is unacceptable, especially with a budget and scope of this size.

It is a shame, because this film won’t do great, and the execs might blame it on diversity reasons, instead of the more obvious confusing as heck plot lines. It is still a very pretty movie, with some fun characters. I am just left struggling to really explain what the heck I watched.

1 out of 4.

The Cloverfield Paradox

Here we are, the epitome of strange film franchises.

Cloverfield was brilliant with its advertising, although it did leave a lot of people pissed off at the final product. 10 Cloverfield Lane came out of nowhere, announced about a month before it was released, and then ended up being pretty stinking good, thanks to great acting performances.

And The Cloverfield Paradox, originally was supposed to come out in April, got pulled from the release schedule. It then got bought by Netflix. And as we all found out on Superbowl Sunday that yes, it had a release right after the game, with only rumors released earlier the same day that it might happen. And of course a 30 second advertisement letting the viewers note that its release date was very soon.

It was brilliant, but again, it was dropped from the calendar and sold to Netflix for a reason. I knew that going in, I knew that I shouldn´t expect much. And I also knew that the fourth film in this franchise is coming out sometime in October, so no matter how bad this one ended up, it wouldn´t kill the franchise.

No matter how many times these characters scream, no one will hear it in a theater.

Aboard the Cloverfield space station, we have a team of international scientists working together to try and save the Earth. From what? From a global energy crisis. They have a large particle accelerator up in that space station to hopefully figure out how to get some sort of permanent, renewable, energy source that can save the world.

And they do not have a lot of time. Countries are ready to go to war for the limited resources left, and they only have three shots left of fuel to get things right. We have scientists from all over ( ) working to just make this thing work.

But wait! It finally reaches the good levels before shutting itself off! Did they solve the crisis? Maybe. Something still went wrong, and when they look around they notice that the Earth is completely missing. Did they move to a different part of the galaxy? Did the Earth disappear due to their science? Their compass is broken too, so they find themselves lost in space, where strange events start to take place on their space ship. People appearing, items missing, and a lot more paranoia.

Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, David Oyelowo, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki, and Roger Davies holding himself together on Earth.

You got to hand it to this scene, it really strong arms the point.

I want to say that The Cloverfield Paradox is a film with a good idea and bad execution, but in reality, maybe it was a bad idea as well.

It is very obvious that this film was never intended to be connected to Cloverfield. More so than the previous film. Basically, everything on the space station was a different movie, but we had a character they added on Earth to communicate occasionally with, which connected the film to the previous Cloverfield. That and the last 30 seconds or so. So for the most part, this is just a space ship thriller movie.

But it did not do a good job of really deciding what it wanted. Was it a thriller? A drama? A strange comedy (Which was mostly O´Dowd. And his jokes/puns got annoying quickly, unfortunately)?

It featured a scene very early on of a news report that felt like a flashing neon sign letting you know what the movie was about to do, a very weak plot device. It then had our characters running around, coming up with solutions to problems that are never really fully explained. The viewer can understand the main problem, but most of the problems that happen in the film are just plot devices and never feel natural.

This film spent most of its time trying to set up something and just failing to deliver over and over again.

It was pulled from theaters for a reason, and put on netflix with no warning for a reason. Everyone everywhere has now seen it (Which is why I did not rush the review out) and it is a clunky, lame mess. Not even the several high caliber actors could save it. Instead, this film is more likely to be remembered for its stunt, not for adding anything valuable to what is turning out to be a very stupid franchise idea.

1 out of 4.

Beauty and the Beast

Wow, how do you introduce a tale as old as time? Something as true as it can be? You just gotta speak from the heart.

I do love the animated Beauty and the Beast film. It celebrates intelligence! It has one of my favorite introduction songs. Gaston is fascinating, with his own great song. But I have always had issues for it. So I better get it off my chest now:

The main takeaway from Beauty and the Beast is bullshit. The prince was punished for not seeing someone’s true beauty, so he was turned into an ugly creature. To learn his lesson, he needs to fall in love and be loved in return, with a nice kiss too, before he turns 21. (Which of course means he was punished as a kid, joy). So how does it eventually happen? By getting the perfect person in his life. She is smart, kind, but also the hottest chick in the village. To really drive the point home, she should have been not matched the perfect standard of beauty. It is kind of crap. Shrek and Shallow Hal end up driving the point home better.

Okay, no more of that. I also appreciate that Gaston is set up as a typical old school Disney Prince, who just wants love because they are beautiful, so it sort of shows Disney going away from their older film tropes.

What I am really getting at is that I am excited for the live action version of Beauty and the Beast. I was not excited for the live action Cinderella, because the plot of Cinderella is shit and celebrates obedience to mean people and doing chores until a prince can take you away. Fuck that.

Give that bitch a book. Bitches love books.

In some nondescript village in old timey France, there was a castle. None of this is Paris, we know that for certain. There was a prince (Dan Stevens), who lived in the castle, and he was mean. He was so mean to some haggy bitch, that the haggy bitch turned him into a really hairy dude and all of his servants into utensils and shit. What in the fuck!

Now years later, they have almost given up hope at becoming human again. The Beast has to not just fall in love, but have someone love him back. They are depressed, cold, and a spell was put on the area for people to forget about their existence. So that doesn’t help either.

Thankfully, there is a really freaky girl in that poor provincial nearby town. Belle (Emma Watson), a girl who was trained to use that brain of hers, an inventor, a girl who likes books and is somehow still decent looking. Some shit goes down with her dad (Kevin Kline). He finds himself locked up in this castle forever. Thankfully, their horse was also trained to use its brain and he is able to take her to the castle and HOLY FUCK, A BEAST!

Using that goddamn brain of hers, she is able to trick her dad into taking his place, planning to escape in the future. You know, because she is so youthful. But then she falls in love. Oh, way too early. A lot of strife happens. But after a good old fashioned food orgy, she starts to love the place, and thinks about calling it home. Plus, it can clean itself, with the magical slave item army and all.

Also starring Ewan McGregor as a candelabra, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a duster, Ian McKellen as a clock, Emma Thompson as a teapot, Stanley Tucci as a piano, Audra McDonald as a dresser, Luke Evans as a tall, dark, strong, handsome brute, Josh Gad as his miniature life mate, and also Hattie Morahan as a begger.

Gaston’s face cannot be shown because Gorgon Reviews is not a big enough website.

Remember Cinderella? That film I already mentioned? Again, it was okay. It was colorful. Shit story. Good dresses. A terrible idea for a first run. It was like the Universal Monsters series trying to give us Dracula Untold as the start of their shared Universe. But now they gotta get The Mummy to save their asses. Yes, I recognize we have had a few other live action films since Cinderella, but this is the first one since then to be about a Disney Princess!

Beauty and the Beast delivers, and it delivers hard.

Of course, we get the best parts from the original. Bonjour is fascinating, with a village of real people, and we still get the “Please Let Me Through!” line. Be Our Guest is an explosion of extravagance. The Gaston song starts off awkward for me, but grows into its own, feels like a giant party, and has a few surprises. (Although, the chorus of that song is also almost impossible to understand)

But we also get a whole lot new! An expanded introduction, more backstory on the Beast and Belle’s lives before the film and their parents, bigger connections to the castle and the village and why it is a big surprise, Belle being a stronger female character, and more. AND! Alan Goddamn Menken, the Disney musical genius, came back to rewrite some of his songs from two decades ago, plus a few new ones. Three at that. Day in the Sun and Evermore are great additions to the film and Evermore had me crying. And don’t worry, the Human Again song added to the animated film does not take place in this movie.

I am annoyed that at the timing of this review, I have to wait a week to hear some of the newer songs again, just to see if I like them as much as I am writing.

Beauty and the Beast is not just a remake. It is also a re imagining. With more backstories, more lines for side yet important characters, everyone feels more fleshed out. Even Gaston and especially LeFou. We get some good call backs, and good changes to match the times. It was an incredible job done by the team, who treated their source material with respect, and really matched what made the first film great 26 years ago.

4 out of 4.

Miss Sloane

Miss Sloane, that’s a lady, and they want you to know that the lady is not married.

Miss Sloane is a strong independent woman who don’t need no man in her life. Or she doesn’t have time for a man in her life, one of those things.

Miss Sloane is the type of woman that Ne-Yo craves and Kelly Clarkson wishes she could be.

Miss Sloane is so god damn independent, she doesn’t even share the poster with any other person, which is hard in this man led world.

I had to struggle to find a picture from this film with an important character sharing the frame with Miss Sloane.

Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain), is a lobbyist, and powerful one at that. Normally she deals with tax issues, but the big wigs in her firm (Sam Waterston) want her to get into the gun laws. They are big and powerful groups with a lot of money, so if they join them, they can all get paid. They want her to help them get the women voters to show up and vote against gun bills. To re-frame the image of the woman using a gun for equality, not of the mom crying over her shot children.

And Sloane just laughs at that. It is preposterous, it goes against what she believes in and it is a ridiculous strategy. She is so against it, she takes an offer from a small, third tier firm who is trying to help pass the gun bill on morality alone.

And yes, it is just a bill requiring back ground checks, and no, bills like that never get enough Senate approval because the gun lobby is strong. But she wants to take her team and defeat it, not just because she knows she can do it, but because it is the right thing, damn it.

Rodolfo Schmidt (Mark Strong) is the head of the smaller firm, Pat Connors (Michael Stuhlbarg) is her former boss and now main rival, Jane Molloy (Allison Pill) is her former assistant who refused to move with her, Ron M. Sperling (John Lithgow) is a senator who will lead a committee against her, Esme Manucharian (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) a strong anti-gun lobbyist who was also the victim of gun violence, Forde (Jake Lacy) is her new male escort, and Ennis Esmer/Douglas Smith play two of her lobby lackies.

She commands the screen and camera, allowing no one else to even be focused!

Miss Sloane clocks in at over 2 hours, which is honestly surprising after the fact, as it seemed to fly by. There is so much political intrigue, all fictional, but still enough to keep me at the edge of my seat.

I expected this to be the sort of film where Chastain would be carrying the film on her shoulders and the people around her wouldn’t matter as much. And yes, Chastain was wonderful in the film, but other actors put up pretty decent performances as well. I was most impressed with Mbatha-Raw whom has been putting out pretty decent performances lately, and Strong who gave a more subtle performance than normal. He is not in a lot of dramas (don’t send me letters explaining why I am wrong).

There are of course a lot of twists and turns, given that Sloane is meant to be this excellent tactician, who always has back up plans and wants to keep the other side surprised, playing a trump card right after their own trump card. This allows surprises, but also gives us a character that becomes more and more unbelievable.

I have before complained about the character who is so smart, plans were put into action that require a dozen things to go right, but of course they do, because they are so smart. They take me out of the film real quick and usually put me on edge. And in a way, the ending does that. Everything gets wrapped up so neatly, even if not everyone good comes out on top, that it just seems annoying.

Technically a minor complaint, but a crutch too many films want to rely on to prove their point.

Miss Sloane is topically relevant and still a good ride for those who want to learn an exaggerated amount about lobbyists.

3 out of 4.

Free State of Jones

I love period piece films as long as that period isn’t Victorian-era England. Those ones aren’t necessary bad, they just feel overdone to me and now I have developed a slight bias against them. Sorry, not sorry.

Civil War era films usually get me all excited though. Or just pre-Civil War slavery films. I don’t even need them to be based on real events, which is the recent trend. Just give me a movie with brothers killing brothers and morals on the line. I wanna tear up at the hardships of war and get mad at something that happened 150+ years ago.

So the Free State of Jones is based on real events? Cool, whatever. I accidentally saw a trailer a few months ago before another screening and it looked pretty interesting. I know it was originally supposed to come out in March but got pushed back to Summer for reasons. Doesn’t matter, still excited to watch it.

“Oh, sup prof. Just chillin'”

In October, 1862, Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey), up for the sweetest name award, was also serving in the Confederate Army. For whatever reason he was given nurse duty, so he used that status to save his friends from the battlefield and getting them to doctors quickly. Then his son, Daniel (Jacob Lofland) appears, saying that their farm animals were taken and crops to feed the army. Newt agrees to escape with his son and take him home, but tragedy occurs and Newt is forced to just bring home a body.

Newton came from a small farm in Jones Count, Mississippi. He has been poor and kind of pissed off at the rich. Pissed that their sons don’t have to fight in the war, when he feels the entire war is them fighting for slaves that only the rich have. So he decides to stay home with his wife (Keri Russell) and young boy. He becomes a protector of all the homes in the area from Confederate troops looking to take more than the 10% allowed.

They quickly turn on him and he has to go into hiding in the swamp. There he joins a camp with Moses (Mahershala Ali) and four other runaway slaves. They hide together, work together, and eventually get guns to protect themselves. Overtime, more and more Confederate deserters are on the run and end up at this camp until they have over 100 members. Newt has developed a relation with a House slave Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who has been secretly helping their group.

Anyways, short story long, they eventually set out to take their land back from the Confederate soldiers that are trying to take their crops and resources. They get three counties to their name before resistance starts and decide to start their own Nation, a Free State of Jones, to like, grow their own crops and have equality and all. Fun times.

Donald Watkins and Troy Hogan play two other slaves, Bill Tangradi and Thomas Francis Murphy play our confederate leaders trying to stop this group, and a whole lot of other white people, played by Sean Bridgers, Joe Chrest, Brian Lee Franklin, Kerry Cahill, and Christopher Berry.

The way to prevent your stuff from getting stolen is to burn it all down.

Never before in a movie have I seen a drop in quality so much as Free State of Jones. At the beginning we are dropped right in the middle of a random Civil War fight. It showed that the Civil War was brutal, people died and marched on and died some more. Newt escapes, quite easily apparently and continues to be mad at the rich for not fighting their own fights and his friends losing their livliehoods over it. Sure, makes sense. Newt doesn’t care about Slave rights or anything, he has none. It isn’t until a Slave helps save his sick son.

But even then, it is extremely awkward in this movie, even when he is living with just runaways. They never get close. When it is a giant army of Confederates and the few slaves, people are still dicks to slaves. It isn’t until one of the more cringey movie moments that I have ever seen that things start to change. When Newt’s character gives a speech about how basically everyone there is someone’s slave, no matter the color and they shouldn’t be jerks. He used a bit more “colorful” language, but that speech helped change everyone’s mind, albeit temporarily, to work together towards a goal.

In terms of modern comparisons, it reminded me of the All Lives Matter backlash to Black Lives Matter. This movie argues that the poor southern farmers were treated just as bad as slaves, but then goes on to show that technically the slaves still have it worse. I don’t know if the Moses character is real at all, but they put all of the slavery baggage on him, as the other members of the camp apparently don’t have lines and I barely heard two of their names mentioned. It was such a shit way of trying to get us emotionally invested in the slavery story, when they only put personality in him and Rachel. We also find out he has a wife and kid somewhere in “Texas” (again, we are in Mississippi), yet they are able to reconnect extremely easy post war with zero explanation as to how.

This kid is killed off in the first 10 minutes and gets more promo pictures than other people in teh film.

There are more problems with this movie outside of making it super white focused. I can’t remember when, but early on in the movie, we get a title card that says 85 YEARS LATER… and we are shown a court room setting where the whiteness of a person is being put on trial, because his great grandmother might have been Rachel, making him part black, and thus his marriage illegal. This was a real trial and actually true, but HOLY CRAP, this has no reason to be in this movie at all.

The “future” scenes do nothing for the rest of the film and they keep coming back, breaking up the plot and slowing it even more down. Whoever decided to add this constantly interrupting subplot/finale to the film should be fired from whatever future film jobs they have, because it was such a poor choice.

The Confederate “bad guys” and post War bad dude are basically cartoon villains, just missing some finger twirling of their mustaches. The film is especially insulting over the “peanut scenes” in the last twenty minutes.

Oh, and guess what. The film doesn’t end with the end of their rebellion or the end of the civil war. It goes over another year or so after the fact, during early KKK period and reconstruction. Why? Because they feel like it. Because the ending drags on and on, for over thirty minutes. The filmmakers had no idea how to end this film and practically none of it matter for the overall story they were trying to tell.

Fuck, Free State of Jones. I can’t believe it ended up being so blah. There were good moments in there and with 45 or so less minutes, plus more character development for some other characters, and this would have been fantastic. This film makes me less excited for The Birth of a Nation, which is stupid, I know.

I’m not angry at your Free State of Jones. I’m just really disappointed.

1 out of 4.


Oh sorry, here is an extra picture. It is really hard to find any of Moses or Rachel, let alone any of the other black characters in the film. This is basically the best I can do (without huge watermarks), even by googling the movie title with actor names. Shit, if you google the movie and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the main love interest, you will find barely anything from the actual film and some pictures of her from Belle.

The director was Gary Ross, an old white guy who has only directed a handful of films. His first one was Pleasantville, which I love and adore, but I guess it makes sense. In that movie, he told the problem of Racism in America using only white people. In Free State of Jones, he basically just does that again, but in a more insulting way.


Head injuries are serious things. Because your brain is your most important organ. You can’t survive without your brain, so things that hurt your brain are literally the worse. And vague things like concussions become scary nightmares.

These may sound like facts, but that is because your brain is telling you they are. If you asked any organ what was the most important organ in a body, they would name themselves. What games are you playing, Brain? Making us do shit to appease you? I’m on to you.

So, Concussion. A film about head trauma and the NFL. The NFL supposedly didn’t like this movie to protect their players from hearing about the probably brain problems they may have in life. Yay controversy. It definitely sells tickets.

Science used to sell tickets on its own merit.

Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) is a smart man, and you should most definitely listen to him. He has like, seven degrees, both PhD and masters levels. He is smarty smarty smart. And he is generally a coroner, finding out big mysteries as to why people die.

Omalu ends up getting quite a strange case in his current city of Pittsburgh. Mike Webster (David Morse) is a famous ex-center for the Steelers, loved by everyone in the city, and now he is dead. He was having some issues near the end, going a bit crazy, alienating his friends and family.

Needless to say, Omalu spends a lot of time figuring things out. His brain had deteriorated and no one could explain it. Eventually, science happens everywhere, and he determines it must be due to the thousands of small (And large) blows to his head. Blows accumulated through youth play, high school, college, over a decade in the NFL, and of course practices for all these things. He had tiny concussions and they lead to problems most people just described as early Alzheimer’s.

This is bad news for the NFL, so they ignore the crap out of his results, make him seem like a liar, and bury him in the media. Yay PR machines.

Also featuring Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Eddie Marsan, Mike O’Malley, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Luke Wilson.

He is making that face because Luke Wilson is playing Roger Goodell.

Speaking of selling tickets, to promote this movie, Columbia promised free tickets to any NFL players who wanted to see it in theaters. After all, they have a lot of twitter and instagram followers, so that is free press. I have two problems with that. One, NFL players make shit tons of money, even the bench riders. They can afford a movie ticket. And two, they should have offered it to High School or College players, people who make no money from the sport and are young enough to get out of it if they are truly worried about saving lives with this film. Columbia went for the cheap and shit route.

Now, the good news about this movie is that Will Smith actually acts. He isn’t just playing a cool version of himself or an action version of himself. He is playing a foreign (African) doctor, who doesn’t care about football or American things, just science. It was great to watch him actually try after seeing Focus and v.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie fails to live up to its subject matter or potential. According to news reports, the NFL was involved heavily in the editing of this film. The filmmakers didn’t have rights to NFL press reports or team names/logos, or any of that. In order to make it seem more realistic, they wanted all this in the film. So they had to offer concessions and leave parts out in order to get the logos. So the NFL helped make this film and now they don’t get attacked as hard.

Do they still look bad? Sure, but they come across as unrealistic cartoon villains, not actual bad real live people. The film doesn’t go strong on the science, strong on the PR campaign, strong on anything but Smith’s accent. And now we are left with a mostly boring and pointless film that won’t change anyone’s minds when they are facing potential millions.

1 out of 4.

Beyond The Lights

I am not just reviewing Beyond The Lights because it was nominated for Best Original Song in the Oscars. No, I wanted to see it even before that!

However, yes, I am having the review out this week because of that fact.

I wanted to see it because I heard good things despite a somewhat Lifetime movie looking trailer. I wanted to see it because it was a mainly black cast and it had nothing to do with Kevin Hart or Tyler Perry. Some of their movies are terrible, sure, but at least they are actually increasing the amount of color that our TVs can show. So it is always exciting to see someone else do something to break the trend or lack of trend.

Oh hey, wait. It is British? Never mind. This means nothing now.

The Badge
It can’t even help our current opinions about law enforcement!

Just kidding. Despite starring British people, it is actually American overall. Go back to flying our flags proudly, folks.

Since Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was a little girl, her mother (Minnie Driver) has been focused on her career as a singer. She was entered into talent contests and her mother would not let her settle for second place. Her mother raiser her alone and always wanted her child to succeed.

Now, many many years later, Noni is about to win a Billboard award with a collaboration with Kid Culprit (Machine Gun Kelly). It is very impressive, since she hasn’t even released her own album. She has just been on three of his tracks and they have all been super popular. Yes. Now is the time for her to break out and get one of the best selling records of all time.

But Noni doesn’t feel happy. Maybe she hates her relationship with Kid. Maybe she hates selling her body for success. Maybe she hates her mother deciding every part of her life. Maybe she just feels fake. Either way, she decides to end her life. She is saved last minute by the current cop watching her room, Kaz (Nate Parker), who calms her down and makes her feel like an individual.

And won’t you look at that. A relationship might come from it too. Sure it starts in an awkward place. He kind of saved her life. There is some awkwardness that might make people question its long lasting-ness. Especially since Kaz himself is only going to be a cop for a little bit. He wants to run for office, a political kind of guy. Being with a pop star might make people question his seriousness.

I am sure none of that will come up though. Also featuring Danny Glover, who is still too old for this shit, as a cop.

When your mom encourages an outfit like this, you know you might actually be a doll.

And then I enjoyed a movie about a pop star struggling with the music industry and feeling like a real person. Of course I did. Put it that way, it sounds brilliant. Sure, first world problems a bit, but everyone should understand the need to feel loved and important.

The romance in this picture feels very realistic and that is actually refreshing given the last few “romance” movies I have seen. They have problems, they have outside forces telling them one thing or another, and they have their own issues to work through, but they try things out and give it their best shot.

Both Mbatha-Raw and Parker give great performances. Driver is a straight up bitch, but it all fit for her character. Hell, I might not have completely hated her by the end either.

Overall, a good romance/drama. And uhh, the songs are decent too. I guess. (It won’t win).

3 out of 4.


Belle is one of those indie movies that makes a lot of noise early in the year, yet usually gets ignored when it comes time to award season.

Not saying this film is deserved awards or anything, that is just when it was released. A nice indie number that is indeed not about Beauty and the Beast, but instead, racism in the victorian era. Ah yes, the Victorian era, where women wore corsets and giant dresses all the time, and men wore…I guess mostly regular clothes. And wigs!

But this work of fiction, based on books, is also pseudo historically accurate. Namely the character Lord Mansfield was actually Chief Justice of England during the time of the movie and presided over several cases that are relevant to the plot. Sweet. But the rest is just guesstimated fluff. I love fluff!

Despite the picture, this is also not a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

Dido Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was born in the West Indies and she is a mulatto. Her mother was a local, but her father was of the English Royal Navy (Matthew Goode) and he has decided to claim her and take her to England. Because he is at sea all the damn time, he places her in the care of his uncle, Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), even though she is BLACK and they are distinguished members of society.

But they get over it, kind of, and raise her as an aristocrat with her cousin Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon). However, she is still slightly shunned by society and not able to play all the reindeer games. Like when it comes time for suitors, she is told she cannot interact with the other gentleman as none of them would find her desirable.

Also at the same time, Lord Mansfield is ruling on a case involving a ship who threw slaves overboard out of necessity to survive, running low on supplies. They echoed it as similar to throwing cargo overboard and want to collect the insurance on their haul. His ruling on this and the events surrounding it could change Britain forever and some people think that having Dido around might influence his decision.

We also have Sam Reid as a young freedom feeling lawyer, Tom Felton and James Norton as brother suitors of varying tastes, and Miranda Richardson and Penelope Wilton as…other people.


I guess I would conclude Belle is a good movie, just one that is pretty darn predictable. Oh sorry, I am concluding before I describe.

Yes, Belle is well acted and I felt good by the end. But a lot of the movie just felt like Victorian filler in the middle. The plot is literally finding suitors for a few ladies. Is this a Jane Austen novel in secret?

Which is my main complaint. Not that predictability is a necessarily a bad thing, but if I kind of know what to expect the entire movie and it follows the path pretty straightforwardly, what is the point? It should have a lot of stuff going on for it in the middle to really make up for that fact.

And it has a few unique events to be sure. Well acted, as I already said. Outfits are nice, message is nice. But I kind of just expected something more. The film itself was incredibly safe.

2 out of 4.

Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas was definitely not on my original watch list. Not until I saw that it recently came out and had an young actor on the front who I tended to enjoy. Yep, then I dropped my plans, and decided I needed to see this movie instead.

Apparently it is based on a book series, but also it went under some legal trouble recently. According to the internet, it was delayed indefinitely for release due to funds not being spent as promised for ads or whatever. So they delayed it for over a year! I think other countries ended up getting it before us, because of that. I guess sucks most for the author, who was probably stoked his book was getting made into a movie, but then getting swept under the rug for legal reasons.

Oh well, I am still watching it author dude, don’t worry!

Well, that’s the most fucked up silver surfer I have seen.

Odd Thomas is not about a strange boy named Thomas. Nope. That is his first and last name, Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin). There is a story behind that, but I won’t get into it.

Let’s just say that Odd’s upbringing has made things a bit weird for the boy. He can see dead people, and they tend to point out who killed them so he can avenge them. He also has other minor supernatural/spiritual abilities when it comes to seeing dead entities. Like the Bodachs above, which only appear when a great death will occur.

Unfortunately, in his small town Pico Mundo, California, he has started to see not just one Bodach, but a LOT of them. They are following around this Fungus Bob Robertson (Shuler Hensley), a nickname, don’t worry, who now Odd has a feeling is going to commit some very heinous crime on his small town. His girlfriend, Stormy (Addison Timlin), who he is destined to be with forever knows about his powers and is willing to help despite having none of her own. He also wants to win the support of her father, Wyatt Porter (Willem Dafoe), the local police chief.

As Odd begins to follow Fungus Bob around, he finds himself somewhere darker and more sinister than he has ever experienced before.

Also featuring Arnold Vosloo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Kyle McKeever, and Nico Tortorella.

Man, this guy is just a cook. I want my spiritual advisers to at least be Maître D’.

Oh man, a lot of stuff happened in this movie. In particular, I really enjoyed the ending over all. There were twists and turns, everything falling into place, action, death, demons, you name it. But at the same time, the film had a lot of slower parts that I didn’t enjoy as well.

Here is what I can say. I thought Yelchin did a good job. He felt very believable as his character. Despite the mediocre feeling towards parts of the film in the middle, I am giving it a passing grade overall because of how much I liked the ending.

In fact, this would be the third ever movie I review on my website based on a book, that really makes me want to read the book after the fact. The other two were Warm Bodies and The Perks of Being A Wallflower. The main difference of those two and this one is that they got a 4 out of 4, but this one definitely wasn’t a good enough movie to earn that. However, it is certainly interesting. The fact that there are multiple books and most likely no more movies to be made from that increases my chances of reading them.

If you want a weird and unique movie, you might give this a shot, just don’t expect high quality art as you do.

3 out of 4.