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Friday, October 30, 2009

Michael Jackson's This Is It

"My goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance."
It's always inspiring to see a genius at work. And that's exactly how I felt watching Michael Jackson in This Is it--inspired. It made me smile to see the King of Pop doing what he loved to do the most, what gave him so much joy. Watching him you felt like no matter what else was going on in the world, the moments he created on stage was full of love and happiness.
Michael Jackson was in his element--dancing like a machine, singing his butt off, and smiling all the way through. His back-up dancers and singers were just as amazed as we are in the audience to see him perform flawlessly after a years-long hiatus from the stage. When the back-up crew left the stage after their takes, they grabbed a seat right n the audience so as not to miss a second of Michael's rehearsals as a mere blink might result in missing an impromptu magical moment on stage. They were fans, just like us. And they were living their dreams, Michael's dreams, right before their eyes.
We witness rare glimpses of Michael's witty sense of humor as he goofs off during extended rehearsals. We also see Michael's brilliance shine through as he not only shows off his individual performance skills, but also proves that he knows a thing or two about the music composition--down to the drums, the percussion, and the updated videography streaming in the background--when to cue a light or time a dancer's entrance or choreography. He knew everything down to the nuts and bolts of how to create a masterpiece on stage--visually, performance-wise and musically. He was a perfectionist, often requiring several takes before he felt satisfied to move on to the next scene. You can tell that he did not want to disappoint the fans. And he didn't. Performing everything everything from "Smooth Criminal," to "Thriller," to "Man in the Mirror" even bigger and better than their original performances, he can still rest in peace as the undisputed King of Pop. Rock on, Michael.

My rating: A

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Proposal

"We'll tell my family about our engagement when I want and how I want. Now, ask me nicely."
I usually leave the sappy movies to my fellow movie lover at Just Chick Flicks, but when The Proposal came in the mail a few days ago from Netflix I figured why not give it a try on a rainy Saturday. Starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, The Proposal did in fact confirm why I don't do chick flicks to begin with. It was predictable. Hence the reason why I could still surf the net, as well as read a few articles on line and Twitter while watching this. Reynolds plays the faithful lackey assistant to the miserable and implacable book editor-in-chief played by Bullock. Her reign over the office is put on the line when she is informed her visa has expired and she has to be be deported back to Canada. Thinking fast on her feet she blackmails Reynolds into marrying her so that he could finally get his long desired promotion to editor. They manage to fool her superiors and put on a good show for his folks in Alaska can guess what happens next (sigh).
BUT I do have to admit that I did laugh a few times. Both Reynolds and Bullock both play on each other's dry sarcastic humor making the casting a good fit. Mary Steenbergen (love her), Betty White and Craig T. Nelson costar.
The Proposal is worth a rental I guess, but I wouldn't rush to your Netflix queues (unless it's cold and rainy where you are too). If you're a chick flick lover, you'll love this. If you're a Bullock or Reynolds fan, check it out. Report back. Let me know what you think.

My rating: B

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire

"Oh, so you're going to stand up there and look down at me like you're a woman? You don't know what real women do! Real women sacrifice!"
Imagine being kicked in the head by your own mother, while you're on the kitchen floor in labor with your second child, your father's child. Imagine being picked on by the kids in school who are calling you fat and illiterate. Imagine your mother watching as your father sexually abused you, over and over. Imagine growing up in the projects where your only friend was yourself, and she was dying inside. Imagine being just sixteen years old. Imagine your name was Precious.
Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe illuminates this heartwrenching true character on the big screen in the upcoming movie Precious, based on the cult classic semiautobiography Push by Sapphire. I think this is one of the most horrible stories I think I have ever witnessed on the big screen. It left me wondering, How can someone so young experience so much pain and still find the strength to wake up each morning? Sidibe truly did this character justice and made you feel for her. Funnywoman Mo'Nique will shock you as she takes a dramatic turn as Precious's mother, her arch rival and the source of many of Precious's problems and who's also harboring her own deep pain. GRITTY, to the extent that her character had many people in Harlem's Magic Johnson Theatre gasping in disbelief tonight at some of the graphic abuse scenes. Note: this movie is certainly not for young audiences. Costarring Mariah Carey (in her best role yet--but still not memorable to me), Paula Patton who beautifully portrayed Precious's schoolteacher and confidante, Lenny Kravitz and Sherri Shepherd, Precious is a true story of survival and hope and not to be missed.

Precious comes to theaters November 6. Check out the trailer here.

My rating: A

Friday, October 16, 2009

Black Dynamite

"We need you Black Dynamite, now more than ever."
A few months ago I got a chance to catch an advance screening of Black Dynamite starring Michael Jai White at The Tribeca Film Festival.
...Sigh...the best part of this movie was seeing Arsenio Hall again back on the big screen. Man, I miss watching his late night show in the 90s that gave us all a reason to pound our fists in the air shouting "woo woo woo!!" Those were the days...
But unfortunately this movie didn't prove to be well worth the anticipation of the great return.
White stars as the title character, a renaissance brother and "hero" single-handedly taking on "The Man," who he learned was selling drugs to Black kids and destroying the neighborhood all the while white law enforcement turned a blind eye. I think I might have just made the movie sound better than it was. But, trust me, it's not worth even a rental fee. It had a decent premise but the acting and direction was horrible. It falls into the category of what typically has become known as "Blaxploitation" films, but gave such films of the similar genre (for instance Coffy) a bad name.
The movie tried to parody those films but actually ended up making its own premise look more foolish and badly stereotypical. Black Dynamite is in theaters today. Click here to check out the trailer.

My rating: F

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October Creature Features

Looking for the perfect horror flick to watch this month? How about five? I know I tweeted earlier today that I was going to count down the scariest movies of all time, but admittedly I haven't seen every scary movie out there. So instead I've decided to discuss the following list of frightening films coming to a theater near you, just in time for Halloween:

Zombieland: Like Ghostbusters for the new millennium, Zombieland pins Woody Harrelson against a slew of flesh-eating zombies that threaten to extinguish the world one bite at a time. Part funny and part scary, this creepy flick has already reigned supreme at the box office. Check out the trailer here.

The Stepfather: With stepdads like this, who needs enemies? Dylan Walsh scares the jeepers out of his stepkids in this upcoming flick about the perfect stepdad with a deadly alter ego. Check out the trailer here. The Stepfather is in theaters October 16.

Paranormal Activity: This Twitter darling has gotten major rave from fans and industry folks alike and has even incited high demand from cyberspace horror movie junkies. Reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project (but in my opinion a whole lot scarier-looking) a couple is haunted by the presence of a demonic spirit while they sleep in the middle of the night. Paranormal Activity is in theaters November 5 (okay this is past the October deadline, but still creepy enough to mention here). Check out the freaky trailer.

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant: Capitalizing off the obsession with vampires this year, Salma Hayek returns to the big screen in a ghoulish flick about a young boy who in one swift move reignites an age-old war in the underworld between two feuding vampires after visiting an illegal freak show. Dragged into a world of undead misfits, the young teen develops unholy powers he hopes to use to end the war in the underworld. Based on the popular children's book series, Cirque Du Freak could be for a younger audience, with the exception of adult violence and language. The flick is in theaters October 23. Check out the trailer here.

Saw VI: Yes you read it right. Saw is back for a sixth round of scare tactics for unsuspecting victims. This time with a new puzzle to solve and new fears to invade, the flick changes the game and the players involved. Check out the trailer for Saw VI (in theaters October 23) here.

Which flick will you see?

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