I have to say that I remember really enjoying the Equalizer (2014) back when I saw it not that I didn’t complain but it was fun to see Denzel play an action hero. I have a major weakness for anti-heroes and Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) fit the bill. He was superhuman but without the cape and bats. He was Batman on steroids and I loved that he reminded me of my dad. McCall was an avenging angel taking revenge on men brutalizing a young white woman.
Now McCall was far from perfect since the punishment didn’t always fit the crime. Robbing a Home Depot doesn’t deserve the death penalty but it was nice to see a black man as the vigilante instead of the bad guy who gets comeuppence of a punishment at the end of a gun or baseball bat or whatever he could reach. Antoine Fuqua took the anti-hero action movie trope and bent it to his will from the slow walk away, explosions, carefully choreographed action scenes and great one liners.
But it’s four years later and I expected it to be bigger, badder and more equalizer. Instead it was a action spy movie with a super slow buildup that had a few surprises. It kept my attention but I didn’t walk out of the theatre thinking I’d love to see this again. I knew from the first smirk who was behind the murder of McCall’s BFF (et to Brutus) from the many commercials that gave away WAY too much!
It felt like everyone wanted some extra money in the bank and decided a sequel was a great idea but decided to half ass it with a meandering script and a ‘you can’t go home again’ backstory to ‘explain’. Also why does he pretty much only rescue white women from sexual violence? Black women get raped too and I gave the ‘save a white girl’ trope in the first movie but they just had to go back again and make a white woman the innocent victim who he HAS to play the knight in shining armor? They could have easily cast a black woman or a woman of color in the role and it would have been an interesting aside since a black woman accusing white men of rape being believe that they would rape her would have been an interesting storyline. I mean he’s a Lyft driver who mostly picks up non-POC I can say as one black woman all I use are ride share apps since cabs never want to pick me up. The Holocaust survivor’s (Orson Bean) fight for a family painting with a twist ending was so out of place I mean like startling out of place from the friendship to how he helped. Urghh did I mention that he saved TWO white girls? One (Rhys Olivia Cote) was from her ‘evil’ Turkish father (Adam Karst) gotta love the casual anti-Islamaphobia and the white worship that of COURSE he’d marry a white blond woman (Tamara Hickey) than get mad and abduct the child but yahoo Independent Bookshop???
Washington is a great actor surrounded by a cast that turn in a solid if by the numbers performance but I expected more. I wanted him to ‘save a black girl/woman’. I would have really liked more of an exploration of his life in the apt building and the friends (Sakina Jeffrey) he made. I really didn’t care for the gangbanger story (Ashton Sanders) since I’ve seen that before and done much better. Oh and that apt in NYC was HUGE more money than a Lyft driver could afford especially with the upgrades! The storm scene was really hard to see so it was kind of muddled. I wish they had spent a little money to make it look cleaner and closed up on his hand movements. Plus more hand to hand combat if you’re a badass former spy I expect you to fight better but I guess he’s getting old .
Now I don’t want to say that the movie didn’t have a few good quips and startling moments but not enough to justify the end that I would have liked to have more of a punch. Instead the film ends suddenly like running into a brick wall that you didn’t expect on a foggy day. It would have been better to avoid the face splat and spending my money to support a black lead actor and director who couldn’t be bothered to cast a black woman in a substantial role. McCall saved three white women, saved a white man, rescued a black kid and revenged the death of another white woman but I guess black women are again invisible to anti-hero McCall and Antoine Fuqua.
Watching the film I can’t help but wonder if they think this will be a Mission Impossible or Jason Bourne action series where they can churn out sequels or even pass off to a new hot actor. Well bless their hearts cause this is the last Equalizer movie ticket I’ll buy and will look side eye at Antoine AND Denzel’s next movie.
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Richard Wenk
Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Orson Bean, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman
Release Date: July 20, 2018
Posted in Film, Los Angeles, Movie, Review Tagged with: Antoine Fuqua, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman, Cherry at the movies, Denzel Washington, EQ2, Equalizer, Equalizer 2, film, Melissa Leo, movie review, Orson Bean, Pedro Pascal, Review, Sakina Jaffrey, Tamara Hickey
I remember seeing the original Disney’s Aladdin (animated film) in 1992 with my family. It was a delight that had my entire family laughing from my little brother who was in pre-school to my parents. It’s always been a favorite because of the warm fuzzy feelings it gives me so had extremely high expectations when the Broadway show came to the Pantages. We’ve all seen the video of the Broadway cast ‘sing-off’ at the airport with the Lion King cast. The Disneyfication of Broadway has given me hours of joy watching beloved animated series and none have been a disappointment. From the puppetry of The Lion King and delighted by the Beauty and the Beast costumes … Disney musicals are pure magic.
I adored the show it’s a scrumptious visual light pastry that is full of layers to delight attendees of all ages. The moment the curtain opened I was intrigued with the beautiful Aladdin and Jasmine whose voices twirled and danced in my ear like dervishes. The Genie had huge feet to fill but he was able to channel the comic genius of Robin Williams and make it his own. I loved how they were able to translate the animation to real life. We all remember the saucy sarcastic parrot constantly whispering in the Sultans ear. Going into the show I thought they might use a toy bird with a recorder but to have a ‘mini me’ with all the spunk and trouble played by Reggie De Leon (Iago) was hilarious from the evil laugh to plotting with the Sultan to take over the kingdom. I was giggling like a schoolgirl. The costumes were BEAUTIFUL and truly enriched the visuals of the show adding texture and placing them in the Arabian nights fantasy of this Disney fairytale. The costumes didn’t just add texture but also content that reminded me of some of my favorite scenes from the animated films but still allowing the cast to dance and sing. The set designer out did themselves with the market and the cave of treasure. I don’t want to give away too much but don’t take your eyes away from one moment. Try to study the depth and how design enriched the playto transport youto another world. Watching Aladdin made me feel as if I was on the stage with the movement, brightness and cast interactions with the set. It felt ‘real’ and people around me ‘oohed and aahed’ so many times with me. I mean the man to the right gasped with me when the flying carpet took off. When people say ‘Disney magic’ they are talking about this musical that looked so much like a live action of the animated movie that I plan to watch the film again!
Perfect show to see with BFF
The story of boy meets girl and boy finds a genie is the classic romcom I needed to have my feet tapping with beloved songs from the Disney library and new music. My gosh the flying carpet was a marvel and had me so lost in the moment I felt it was magic (since I have NO idea how they did it) but I have never wanted to fly above the city in arms of a good-hearted thief more! I truly recommend going to see Aladdin with your BFF, the person who stole your heart and of course anyone who’s a kid or a kid at heart. Aladdin will show you the world and leave you delighted.
Aladdin opened on Broadway in 2014 with homage to the animated film and fairy tale but with a Walt Disney stamp to appeal to fans of all ages. It was with joy and anticipation to learn that it would make its first appearance in January so was delighted to be able to attend the first show. I wasn’t the only one since the filled Pantages had fans young and old ready to rub a lamp and have Adam Jacobs the Broadway actor who originated the role appear to grant THREE wishes. In addition to Adam Jacobs, Reggie De Leon reprises his role as Iago from the Broadway show.
Aladdin, Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Jan. 10-March 31; $35-$205. hollywoodpantages.com.
Posted in Animated, art, Comedy, Geek Fun, geek tv, Gift Ideas, music, Review, Theatre Tagged with: Adam Jacobs, Adam Stevenson, Adrienne Howard, Aladdin, Albert Jennings, Angelina Mullins, Annie Wallace, Babkak, BFF, Bobby Daye, Broadway Tour, Celina Nightengale, Charles South, Clinton Greenspan, Cornelius Davis, Courtney Reed, Disney, Disney’s ALADDIN, Ellis C. Dawson III, Fun things to do in Los Angeles. Musical Theatre Fun, Genie, Gift Idea, Girls Night Out, Go to the Pantages, Hollywood, Iago, Jafar, Jasmine, Jason MacDonald, Jaz Sealey, JC Montgomery, Jonathan Weir, Karlee Ferreira, Kassim, Kenway Hon Wai K. Kua, Korie Lee Blossey, Lissa deGuzman, Los Angeles, Manny Stark, Mary Antonini, Mathew deGuzman, Michael Bullard, Michael Callahan, Michael Everett, Michael Graceffa, Michael James Scott, Michelle West, Mike Longo, Musical, Olivia Donalson, Omar, Pantages, Philippe Arroyo, Reggie De Leon, Review, Sultan, Theatre, Valentines Day, Zachary Bencal
I saw Motown: the Musical on opening night and had expectations from when the show opened on Broadway. I must admit the appeal was the idea of a Broadway show telling the story of Motown Records with African Americans behind the scenes and on the stage. So I can’t lie the opening night with Barry Gordy & Smokey Robinson coming out to briefly talk was like butter on my toast!
My expectations were very high and I found that everything was colored by the current political climate. So my review is going to focus on my feeling watching the musical. The cast sound great and it was very excited that some of the Broadway original cast is on the tour. The voices of the show have a rich soulful timbre that you will not normally hear in a Broadway musical. The production team (obviously) worked very hard to find stage actors who could bring the voice spirit of the iconic talent Barry Gordy and Smokey Robinson found and nurtured.
CHESTER GREGORY (Berry Gordy), ALLISON SEMMES (Diana Ross), JARRAN MUSE (Marvin Gaye), DAVID KAVERMAN (Smokey Robinson)
I just had a hard time connecting during the first half of the show as he fought to build his empire that eventually succumbed to big business. I knew a little about the drama behind the music because my grandparents and parents listened to a LOT of Motown and we have family in Detroit. But for me I was waiting for the music and to see if it would bring back memories of watching tv with my grandparents.
I did like the spare stage that really focused on the cast, the costumes and they used it effectively to give movement and passage of time. Wait scratch that the stage was PERFECT when they showed the Motown review and (PLEASE) with the images of what it was like to tour during that time in places where the KKK was active and advertised on city/state signs.
I think that the true standouts that excited me were little Michael Jackson (CJ Wright) and Jarran Muse (Marvin Gaye) who were just electric. Everyone screamed when little Michael Jackson was dancing and singing I suppose because it took all of us back in time. While Marvin Gaye segments gave background to his protest songs.
But this is the Barry Gordy story told from his viewpoint and using the Motown sound to show the trials, pain and sacrifice to create one of the premier black owned businesses.
I recommend seeing Motown the Musical and allow yourself to be immersed not just in the sound but the time when it was classified as ‘black music’, segregation and the right to protest for equality. We have come so far but can’t forget out past as we keep moving toward the future of our dreams.
Motown the Musical will be at the Pantages until February 12th please buy a ticket and see this beautifully flawed musical about a man, his dream and the music that is still loved the world over.
Rounding out the company are Michelle Alves, Malcolm Armwood, Erick Buckley, Latrisa Harper, Judith Franklin, Jeremy Gaston, Alyssa V. Gomez, Garfield Hammonds, Rod Harrelson, Jared Howelton, Louis James Jackson, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, Ramone Owens, Devin L. Price, Alana Randall, Tavia Rivee, Matthew Sims Jr., Kimberly Ann Steele, Doug Storm, Daniel Robert Sullivan, Gabriella Whiting, Galen J. Williams & Ricardo A. Zayas.
DAVID KAVERMAN (Smokey Robinson)
The show was recently nominated for eleven 2016 NAACP Theatre Awards, garnering four of the top awards at the 26th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards ceremony held in Beverly Hills on Monday, November 21, 2016. The first national tour of MOTOWN THE MUSICAL won for Best Playwright (Motown Founder Berry Gordy), Best Choreography (Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adam), Best Costumes (ESosa), and Best Sound (Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook).
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.
Featuring more than 40 classic hits such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” MOTOWN THE MUSICAL’s arrangements and orchestrations are by Grammy and Tony Award® nominee Ethan Popp (Rock of Ages), who also serves as music supervisor in reproducing the classic “Sound of Young America,” with co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Tony Award® nominee Bryan Crook (“Smash”) and dance arrangements by Zane Mark (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL features staging by Schele Williams, choreography by Patricia Wilcox (A Night with Janis Joplin) and Warren Adams (Toy Story), scenic design by David Korins (Bring It On: The Musical, Annie), costume design by Tony Award® nominee ESosa (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, “Project Runway”), lighting design by Tony Award® winner Natasha Katz (Once, Sister Act), sound design by Tony Award® nominee Peter Hylenski (Rock of Ages, The Scottsboro Boys), projection design by Daniel Brodie (Aladdin), hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe (Memphis) and casting by Wojcik | Seay Casting.
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is produced by Tony Award® winning producer Kevin McCollum (Rent, In the Heights, Avenue Q), Chairman and CEO of SONY Music Entertainment Doug Morris and Motown founder Berry Gordy, and in association with Work Light Productions.
The performance schedule for MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm.
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is recommended for ages 10 and up. (Children under 5 will not be admitted to the theatre. All patrons must have a ticket, regardless of age.)
Individual tickets for MOTOWN THE MUSICAL start at $35. Prices are subject to change without notice.
For more information on MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, visit www.MotownTheMusical.com.
For tickets or more information about the Los Angeles engagement of MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, please visit the official website for Hollywood Pantages Theatre: www.HollywoodPantages.com.
Posted in Review Tagged with: Alana Randall, Alyssa V. Gomez, Broadway Tour, Daniel Robert Sullivan, Devin L. Price, Doug Storm, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, Erick Buckley, Gabriella Whiting, Galen J. Williams, Garfield Hammonds, Jared Howelton, Jeremy Gaston, Judith Franklin, Kimberly Ann Steele, Latrisa Harper, Louis James Jackson, Malcolm Armwood, Matthew Sims Jr., Michelle Alves, Motown the musical, Musical, Ramone Owens, Review, Ricardo A. Zayas, Rod Harrelson, Tavia Rivee, The Pantages
I was perusing the science fiction section of Barnes and Noble looking for a good book and my eyes alighted on this cover. I have to say what first tickled my curiosity is that the woman on the cover is a WOMAN OF COLOR! When I read the description it felt light and amusing a perfect way to wile away a few afternoons in the sun at the park.
Reading this book by Paul Kreuger was a major page turner that I couldn’t put down. I loved how he incorporated Chinese Culture, Chicago and the characters backstory with a mystery within a mystery that a reader can solve on their own. Last call at the Nightshade Lounge had a strong plot of a woman who’s stumbled into the supernatural with a job to tie her over until she gets on track for the ‘real job’ she’s expected to have after graduating from college. Paul weaves recipes of drinks into the story that made me want to head to a bar!
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve had a chance to buy the book and what you think ….
In this sharp and funny urban fantasy novel, booze is magic, demons are real, and millennial Bailey Chen joins a band of monster-fighting Chicago bartenders instead of finding a “real” post-college job.
Bailey Chen is fresh out of college with all the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and an awkward relationship with Zane, the old friend she kinda-sorta hooked up with during high school.
But when Zane introduces Bailey to his monster-fighting bartender friends, her demons become a lot more literal. It turns out that evil creatures stalk the city streets after hours, and they can be hunted only with the help of magically mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and rum lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will all these powers be enough for Bailey to halt a mysterious rash of gruesome deaths? And what will she do when the safety of a “real world” job beckons?
This sharp and funny urban fantasy is perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and grown-up readers of Harry Potter. Includes 14 recipes from a book of ancient cocktail lore.
Posted in Books, Review Tagged with: Book Review, Cocktail, Contemporary Fantasy, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, magic, Mixology, Paranormal Fiction, Paul Kreuger, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy
If you’re a person with natural hair, there’s a good chance you follow a ton of natural hair bloggers and pages on Instagram. Don’t try to deny it either because I follow a couple that basically flood my timeline. I had the opportunity to volunteer for the Living No Lye Tour this past Sunday during its L.A. stop. The Living No Lye Tour is a natural hair expo with speakers, interactive workshops, styling demos, and swag bags filled with different products. It was created by Constance Cash who is also the founder of Team Natural. The expo aims to inform naturals on different ways to take care of their hair, but also create a community among naturals.
As a natural, I found the event informational and a great way to meet other naturals in L.A., especially since I’m still new to the city. Some of the speakers were Sister Scientist, Felicia Leatherwood, and vlogger jfashiongirl87. Definitely follow these people on Instagram and on YouTube for natural hair tips. If you’re a naturalista, you know the importance of products and are possibly a product junkie. Attendees of the expo each got a swag bag with their admission. I got a swag bag and I have products for day. When I say I have products for days, I really mean I have products for months! Lawd knows I needed some deep conditioner, a co-wash, and a moisturizing shampoo. I’m definitely set for the next few months. Follow @livingnolye and @teamnatural on Instagram for other tour locations and to get great styling and product tips. You’ll be glad you did. The natural hair pictures will give you so much life!
Check out some pictures from the event!
Photos Courtesy of: @teamnatural
Posted in culture, Los Angeles, Review Tagged with: Aunt Jackie's, Black Girl Magic, Black Hair, Curls, Living No Lye Tour, Los Angeles, Natural Hair, Naturalistas, Team Natural
Brainiac is heading to earth to complete his collection and keep it in mint condition in the newest LEGO® DC Comics Super Heroes – Justice League: Cosmic Clash family friendly animated film. It’s Lego time for Superman (Nolan North), Batman (Troy Baker), Wonder Woman (Grey Griffin), Cyborg (Khary Payton), The Flash (James Arnold Taylor) and introducing Brainiac (Phil LaMarr).
I have to admit that I’m Brainiac mad since I’ve been a fan since I was a kid so was very curious how he’d play out Lego style! This is a movie that’s truly all age fun since I attended a screening full of
children and adults that was filled with laughter. Who can get mad at a collector wanting to keep everything in mint condition? If you look in my collection you’ll see tons of unopened items that I tell people to touch with their ‘eyes’. So when watching all of the work that Jim Krieg (screenwriter) put into making jokes that would appeal to kids and also adults he did a great job. Rick Morales (director) made a visually fun film that really took thoughtfully rendered the limitations of a Lego body (no bending knees OR fingers) as well as play into the strengths of each character from grumpy Batman to positive gungho Wonder Woman I was delighted with my first lego movie.
I don’t want to give anything away but Brainiac is putting together a collection of planets from A to Z and to complete the collection he decides to add earth. He has to figure out a way to get rid of that pesty Justice League members that might be able to stop him. The big 3 of Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern since they are the strongest but he underestimated the ingenuity of Batman & The Flash who move heaven and heck to get their friends back AND to save the planet. I was completely engaged from the very first moment watching the alien planet being put into the collection. Watching my toys come to life made me laugh as well as the homage to my beloved DC comic book heroes. It will take a village or at least a lot of superheroes to save earth and put Brainiac in his place but watching this amusing movie will keep any kid or kid at heart giggling.
I watched the premier at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on February 13th where I interviewed cast and team! You can now enjoy Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash on DVD, Digital HD or Blu-Ray Combo Pack.
ESRB Rating: EVERYONE 10+ with Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor
The “PS” Family logo is a registered trademark and “PS4” is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
JUSTICE LEAGUE and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics.
LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick and Knob configurations and the Minifigure are trademarks of the LEGO Group, © 2016 The LEGO Group.
© 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
|Now available on
Blu-ray™ Combo Pack,
DVD and Digital HD
When Brainiac zaps Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern to different places in time, the race is on for Batman and The Flash to re-assemble the Justice League!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR FOR A CHANCE TO WIN. Void where prohibited. Open only to legal adult residents who live within the 50 United States (including DC) 18 years or older at time of entry. LEGO® DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash Sweepstakes
featuring a chance to win a LEGO®
Dimensions™ Starter Pack and select expansion packs for PS4™ commences at 9:00 AM PST on February 29, 2016 and ends at 11:59 PM PST on March 30, 2016
. See Official Rules
Posted in Animated, culture, Geek Fun, geek tv, Los Angeles, Movie, Review Tagged with: Batman (Troy Baker), Beverly Hills, Brainiac, Chary Payton, Cherry, Cyborg (Khary Payton), Director, exclusive, Geek Talk, Grey Griffin, interview, James Arnold Tayler, Jim Krieg, Justice League: Cosmic Clash, Justice Legue, Lego, LEGO® DC Comics Super Heroes - Justice League: Cosmic Clash, Nolan North, Paley Center, Paley Center for Media, Phil LaMarr, Red Carpet, Review, Rick Morales, Screenwriter, Superman (Nolan North), Sweepstakes, The Flash (James Arnold Taylor), Toon Talk, Troy Baker, Wonder Woman (Grey Griffin)
I’m having a major Gym Crush on the Phoenix Effect Gym in West Hollywood, CA! I joined Classpass earlier this month as I get back to fitness and saw Phoenix Effect on my list of local available gyms. At first I thought it was a CrossFit but after speaking with Beth Bishop (Partner/Coach) about the gym philosophy it was eye opening.
I LOVED the class. It was such fun and very challenging! I have to admit when I first walked in I was intimidated by all of the great bodies of the men and women working out in the early morning class. But from the first smile it was a welcoming space for me. Check out my brief interview with Beth who showed the circuit and how she modified it for my gym level! (youtube)
Beth started out with a warm up that had me sweating like gangbusters and from their we (I mean everyone but me) ran around the block (Beth had me run to the end of the street). She than assigned everyone to a team (I was number 7 with two super nice guys) and had everyone start at different stations. As you can see from my video with Beth (who ran through all the stations) some of the workouts she modified for me (to work on form or because I’m physically unable to do some things) at my workout level of ability as well as making them more challenging for those who needed a bump.
I really can’t recommend enough the Phoenix Effect Gym in West Hollywood! The staff and members are friendly and welcoming (so many people said ‘hi’ introduced themselves and asked if I was a first timer AND words of encouragement!). Don’t worry that your not ‘fit enough’ or that your imperfect body should keep you from they gym and working out. The Phoenix Effect Gym is great for anyone at any level who wants a gym where they are able to modify the workouts for whatever fitness level you are at and have fun! It’s such a team gym that after every workout they take a class photo AND they organize monthly social events for members!
Posted in Business, Classpass, Crossfit, Gym, Los Angeles, Review, TPE, West Hollywood, Workout Tagged with: Beth Bishop, Boutique Gym, classpass, Coach, Crossfit, get fit, gym, gym review, interview, Los Angeles, phoenix effect, TPE, weight loss, West Hollywood, workout, workout review