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Romeo and Juliet Like You’ve Never Seen it Before

Shakespeare comes back to Harlem with a special rendition of Romeo and Juliet

Director Justin Emeka is at it again!

He's at the helm of the Classical Theatre of Harlem's rendition of Romeo and Juliet.

Emeka has a way of re-imagining classical Shakespearean works into productions that contemporary audiences enjoy. If you saw Emeka's critically-acclaimed vision of A Midsummer Night's Dream last year, then you know what I'm talking about. You also know that you don't want to miss out on CTH's Romeo and Juliet.

The performance is FREE to the public. So take a ride, or walk if you are nearby, to the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park. Enter the park at 124th Street and Fifth Avenue and walk south to the venue.

Performances of Romeo and Juliet are on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Friday's curtain is at 8:15 p.m., following Jazzmobile's free concerts at 7:00p.m. Don't wait until the last minute because the last show is on Sunday, July 27.

Enjoy and I hope to see you uptown at a performance of the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Romeo and Juliet.

For more information about Romeo and Juliet or the Classical Theatre of Harlem, visit: www.cthnyc.org

Movie Review: A United Kingdom Combines Race, Love, and Politics

A United Kingdom merges the credibility of a true story with romance and international intrigue

In 1947, a young man meets a young woman at a social event. They talk and dance and enjoy each other’s company. He asks her out again. She accepts. Once more, they have fun together. It doesn’t take long for them to fall in love. This a common scenario, especially for that time period. But other factors make this match much, much more complicated.

He is Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) the King of the African nation of Botswana. She is Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a London office worker. He is black; she is white. Their proposed marriage is challenged not only by their families but by the British and South African governments.
South Africa has just introduced apartheid, a series of laws designed to keep blacks and whites separate in almost every aspect of life. And a highly visible interracial couple, especially a black man and white woman, in a neighboring country threatens the foundation of these new laws. The British, heavily reliant upon South Africa’s uranium and gold, doesn’t want to upset its trading partner. Further, there is also a risk of war if South Africa invades Botswana, a British protectorate.

A United Kingdom is a fascinating story that would almost be unbelievable if it weren’t true. And it’s a See It! The story moves quickly through the mutual attraction which overwhelms Ruth and Seretse. Each seems to believe that the other isn’t as serious about the relationship as he or she is. As the story develops, it’s clear that there is nothing political or Machiavellian about their love. It’s pure and natural as any bond between two people. Yet her father disowns her. His uncle who carefully molded his nephew to assume the mantel of power now views his mentee as unfit to serve as king.

A United Kingdom effectively depicts the political atmosphere at that is extremely hostile to a union that in today’s world would cause in many cases, no more than a minor stir. (However, there is a bit of a buzz over Prince Harry’s current, apparently, serious relationship with African-American actress, Megan Markle.)

The dialogue is used as a powerful device to capture the sentiment of each side. Ruth’s sister who supports the relationship nevertheless reminds Ruth of English facilities that post signs: No blacks. No Irish. No Dogs. And Seretse’s uncle delivers a powerful speech besieging his countrymen to reject his nephew as their leader pointing out that the British would have never allowed Princess Elizabeth’s ascendancy to the throne as queen, had she married a Negro.

But filmmaking is about basics. And, A United Kingdom is a love story and it doesn’t work unless Rosamund and David sizzle together - and they do. They worked together before and Oyelowo hand-picked Pike for the project. They create the on-screen bond which convinces audiences that they could withstand international manipulation and hostility.

The film is directed by Amma Asante, who is British, and whose directing credits include the film, Belle. She, a black woman married to a man of Scandinavian heritage said in a recent interview that all interracial marriages even today, are political - or at least viewed that way.

A United Kingdom is Rated PG-13 for some language including racial epithets and a scene of sensuality and is 111 minutes in length. It will educate, entertain and amaze you. And it’s a See It!

Movie Review: Say Hello to The Bye, Bye Man

It needs some work but it’s a nice house, large rooms, furniture comes with it, so the three college students who need a place to live decide to rent it. Elliott (Douglas Smith), his girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas), and his friend from childhood John (Lucien Laviscount) move in. Immediately they start seeing things. A tall skeletal man in a hooded robe moves about. And of course, they hear noises. Kim, (Jenna Kanell) a friend of Sasha’s, conducts a séance and realizes that these occurrences are not Elliott’s, Sasha’s and John’s imagination. There’s really something going on in that house. Elliot goes to the college library to research some writings he found in the house and links a mass murder almost 50 years ago to the events going on where they live.

The Bye, Bye Man is a low budget film starring a group of relative unknowns but it just somehow comes together. And it gets our highest rating, See It! First and foremost it’s not predictable. It does have unlikely character responses, typical of horror films. But, The Bye, Bye Man isn’t full of “you’ve seen it all before” plotlines. The stress of living in the house creates some intriguing conflicts between Elliott, Sasha, and John.

I have written before about the importance of writers creating characters that viewers connect with. The screenwriters succeed here; because this is a group that you’ll root for. The Bye, Bye Man actors are relatively unknown but proffer solid performances. Cressida Bonas is not as well-known as an actress as she could be considering a few years ago she drew international attention as Prince Harry’s steady girlfriend.

Veteran actress Faye Dunaway has a small supporting role. (I have to admit I thought she was dead.)

The Bye, Bye Man gets a B+ for cast diversity. It’s very diverse in terms of black actors, including Lucien Laviscount in a leading role, but Hispanics and Asians are non-existent in this movie.

The Bye, Bye Man was shot in Cleveland in five weeks with a minuscule budget of $10 million. Also, it ends in a way that opens the door for a sequel.

The Bye, Bye Man is rated PG-13 (for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking) and perfectly timed at 96 minutes. And it’s a See It!

What’s The 411TV Announces Its List of 25 People to Watch in 2017

Celebrity and Entertainment P.R. Guru Angelo Ellerbee Tops What’s The 411TV’s list of 25 People to Watch in 2017

 

Click Photo Below for Visual Presentation

Angelo Ellerbee Photo Credit Unknown 800x445

Brooklyn, NY; January 9, 2016—What’s The 411TV, a Brooklyn-based media company, today, announced its list of 25 People to Watch in 2017; and 46-year veteran of celebrity and entertainment public relations, Angelo Ellerbee, president and CEO of Double XXPosure Media Relations and author of the new book Ask Angelo, tops the list.

A designer by training, Angelo Ellerbee started his business focused on entertainment 46 years ago, and his life is a clear example that relationships matter. Angelo got his start in entertainment publicity working on the film, Native Son, which starred Oprah Winfrey. The Native Son gig came about because of his association with James Mtume, a Grammy Award-winning R&B musician, songwriter, and radio personality, who created the music for the film. Angelo met James Mtume, because Mtume's wife, also a designer, often attended Angelo's shows. From film publicity to recording artist publicity, Angelo’s business took off. He became the “go to” publicity firm for record companies’ Black music divisions, particularly from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

"For the fifth consecutive year, What’s The 411TV has brought great stories to the public," said Ruth J. Morrison, CEO and Executive Producer, What's The 411TV. “I never get tired of listening to the backstories of how people and things evolve. It is incredibly inspiring and moving to listen to Angelo Ellerbee, Vera Moore, and Eustace Greaves, entrepreneurs with businesses that are more than 25-years-old, as well as the millennial entrepreneurs Lisette Ffolkes; Cylla Senii; Brandon Brathwaite; and Asha Boston who are on an entrepreneurial startup journey. Our list also includes founders of nonprofits, the phenomenal Marian Wright Edelman and Carl Clay, each seeking to solve problems within their communities. On the sport side, athletes Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler, Sean Kilpatrick, Brook Lopez, and Jeremy Lin make the list, along with Dr. Riley J. Williams III, an Orthopedic Surgeon, Medical Director and Head Team Orthopedic Surgeon for the Brooklyn Nets (NBA) professional basketball team. And, it warms my heart to watch and listen to DJ Annie Red, an eight-year-old inspirational kid rapper, athlete, painter, and musician.”

As in years past, the eclectic list consists of people interviewed by What's The 411TV reporters primarily as exclusives.

Below is What's The 411TV's list of 25 People to Watch in 2017:

 1. Angelo Ellerbee; CEO, Double XXPosure Media Relations
 2. Marian Wright Edelman; an advocate for the rights of disadvantaged children
 3. Dr. Riley Williams; an Orthopedic Surgeon, Medical Director and Head Team Orthopedic Surgeon for the Brooklyn Nets (NBA)
 4. Carl Clay; writer, producer, filmmaker, visionary, and founder of the Black Spectrum Theatre
 5. LaTanya Richardson Jackson; actress, producer, and philanthropist
 6. Vera Moore; CEO, Vera Moore Cosmetics, owner a 37-year-old cosmetics company created for women with darker skin tones
 7. Carmelo Anthony; Forward, NY Knicks (NBA) professional basketball team
 8. Jimmy Butler; Shooting Guard/Small Forward, Chicago Bulls (NBA) professional basketball team
 9. Sean Kilpatrick; Guard, Brooklyn Nets (NBA) professional basketball team
10. Brook Lopez; Center, Brooklyn Nets (NBA) professional basketball team
11. Jeremy Lin; Guard, Brooklyn Nets (NBA) professional basketball team
12. June Ambrose; celebrity stylist and fashion designer dressing some of the biggest Hollywood stars in the business
13. Paulina Porizkova; a Czechoslovakian model, actress, author, and philanthropist
14. Eustace L. Greaves Jr.; LUTCF, the owner of Greaves Financial Services and The Bridge Insurance Agency
15. Paul D. Jones, financial wiz and author of several money management books including, I Quit Being Broke
16. Asha Boston; journalist and documentarian; widely recognized for the documentaries, The Dinner Table, and A Time Before Kale
17. Cylla Senii and Brandon Brathwaite; the producing team for the web series, Situationships
18. Lisette Ffolkes; millennial entrepreneur and President, Jam+Rico, a jewelry and apparel design firm
19. Blushhh Music; a harmonically blended hip-hop and R&B trio from the man and company that brought us Destiny’s Child
20. Terrell "T-Rex" Simon; singer, and artist management
21. Sean C. Turner and Douglas Wade; actors and principal actors in the Black Spectrum Theatre’s production of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running
22. DJ Annie Red; the seven-year-old dynamo athlete, painter, and musician
23. Roxanne Persaud, New York State Senator representing New York's 19th Senatorial District
24. Mercedes Narcisse; community activist, and former candidate for the New York state Senate
25. Natasha Leath; a Motivational Spiritualist, who has a gift to read people's past, present, and future

A special note:

Congratulations to Courtney Rashon!

Courtney Rashon is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty consultant; owner of Pretty Girl Gang Cosmetics; television host with the award-winning television show, What’s The 411; and now, Courtney is the author of the new book, Giving Face: The Art To Looking Flawless For Every Occasion.

Past Honorees:

Past personalities on What's The 411TV's list previously named 25 Most Interesting People include: Harry Belafonte; documentary photographer Steven Somerstein; the late Maya Angelou; Serena Williams; NFL Hall of Famer Michael Strahan; authors James Paterson and Ta-Nehisi Coates; breast cancer survivor and founder of Beating Cancer in Heels CEO, Marlena Ortiz; Motown Founder, Berry Gordy; Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov; New York Knicks great and Basketball Hall of Famer Willis Reed; Basketball Hall of Famer and entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson; NFL player Richard Sherman; former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson; former WNBC-TV news anchor Sue Simmons; and more.

About What's The 411TV

Based in Brooklyn, New York, What's The 411TV connects sophisticated multi-cultural audiences with its content through its distribution platforms of television, online, and mobile.

What's The 411TV produces two weekly television shows, What's The 411, an award-winning entertainment and lifestyle television show and What's The 411Sports, a sports news and commentary television show. The company covers the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, New York Giants, US OPEN, and other sports events.

What's The 411TV's celebrity portfolio consists of interviews with Magic Johnson, Beyonce, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Hudson, and many, many more.

About Ruth J. Morrison

Ruth J. Morrison is the CEO and Founder of What's The 411 Networks, an integrated media, marketing, and events, company, which produces the award-winning weekly news and information television show, What's The 411; What's The 411Sports, and the soon-to-be, What's The 411Business.

A video streaming pioneer, Ms. Morrison developed and launched from conception the City of New York's multi-channel cable television network and served as a Communications Director and Legislative Advisor to a New York member of the U.S. Congress. She is the first African-American independent television producer to have a weekly television show on WNYC-TV and for three years, she worked in Brasil as an entertainment and television licensing consultant for an American company.

Ms. Morrison earned a master's degree in Interactive Telecommunications from the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and she was a Communications Fellow at the Annenberg Washington Program of Northwestern University. She taught courses in telecommunications at Fordham University and she completed her coursework towards a Ph.D. in Political Science at Columbia University.

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It's Official, Serena Williams is Engaged To Be Married!

Serena Williams, the legendary tennis superstar, is engaged to be married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian

With all of the bad news crowding the news stream the last few days, it is great to hear some really good news.

Professional tennis player, Serena Williams, announced her engagement to Reddit Co-Founder, Alexis Ohanian, today, on where else, but Reddit.

The tennis phenom posted the announcement in the form of a poem with a cartoon photo of the proposal just above.

You can read the proposal conversation below and the cartoon image is our lead photo.

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian Engagement Conversation on Reddit

 

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian engagement conversation on Reddit

 

MOVIE REVIEW: Passengers – Don’t take this voyage.

Passengers is a moderately entertaining adventure starring Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, and Laurence Fishburne

Talk about a long nap, the 5000 passengers and crew on the Starship Avalon are on a 120-year voyage from earth to their new outer-space home. They are put into a state of hibernation for the super long journey. However, due to a malfunction, Jim Preston, (Chris Pratt) an engineer, wakes up after only 30 years. He panics when he realizes that he’s likely to die before the vessel reaches its destination in 90 years. He finds his way around the spacecraft, locating the food and exercise facilities. His only companion is Arthur (Michael Sheen), the robot bartender. After a year, loneliness overwhelms him. He walks among the other passengers deeply sleeping in their pods. After a lengthy emotional and moral internal debate, he decides to awaken another passenger, journalist Aurora Dunn (Jennifer Lawrence). Once awake, she panics just as Jim had done. Also, as he had done, she tries to figure out a way to get back to sleep. But again like him, she eventually accepts her fate. And as would be expected, they fall in love and all is well until Aurora learns that unlike with Jim, her waking up was no accident. It was an intentional act on his part.

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence talking with a robotic bartender played by Michael Sheen at a bar on the Starship Avalon in the movie Passengers Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures 2Jim (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) talking with Arthur, a robotic bartender, on the Starship Avalon. Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures 

Passengers is a moderately entertaining adventure and viewers can’t be sure where it’s headed. However, it never reaches its entertainment destination. The writers start with an interesting premise: a young man and woman wake up 90 years too soon on an intergalactic voyage. After that, they just don’t seem to know where to go from there. Another one of the crew members, Chief Gus Mancuso (Laurence Fishburne), wakes up and has a short, strange interaction with Jim and Aurora. The film deteriorates to the point where viewers laugh at scenes and dialogue not intended to be funny.

No complaints about Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. They serve their purposes: eye candy for viewers and are credible in their roles. The special effects are weak compared to the technological marvels Hollywood is capable of these days.

It’s difficult to give this film a Cast Diversity rating, with such a small cast. It would have received a D- accept for the short appearance by Laurence Fishburne with lifts it up to a C+. As Jim walks past the passengers in pods, very few of the inhabitants are people of color; this was an opportunity to add some color to the cast.

Leave these Passengers alone. Just at Jim and Aurora feared about their own plight; Passengers is Dead on Arrival! It’s 116 minutes and rated PG-13 for sexuality, nudity, and action/peril.

MOVIE REVIEW: Fences - See It! . . . with a critical eye.

The movie Fences is built upon the strong foundation provided by a superlative cast of Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo, and Mykelti Williamson

In playwright August Wilson’s Broadway play turned film, Fences, it is Pittsburgh, Pa in the 1950s. Troy (Denzel Washington) is a middle-aged, former Negro League baseball player who now drives a garbage truck. He bears the scars of his career disappointments and the damage from being a black man in America during that time. His wife, Rose, (Viola Davis) conjures up an image of the line from the Spinners song Sadie “Sweeter than cotton candy, stronger than papa’s brandy.” She keeps the house as well as the peace between her and Troy’s son, Cory (Jovan Adepo) who wants to play football. Troy opposes athletics for his son. Cory thinks his dad is afraid he’ll prove to be the better athlete. The truth is Troy believes his son will be denied a fair chance to compete and end up disappointed. Troy also deals with his WWII injured brother, Gabriel’s (Mykelti Williamson) permanent mental and physical limitations as well as guilt over how he handled his brother’s settlement payment from the federal government.

There’s a lot going on in Fences. The movie, Fences, is built upon the strong foundation provided by a superlative cast. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, to use a baseball analogy, knock the ball out of the park. Together they provide the forceful screen presence that this drama had to have. Denzel Washington also directed the film. Jovan Adepo is angry, intense, and confrontational which makes his character, Cory, absolutely credible. But the true unsung hero of Fences is Mykelti Williamson. As compelling as the other performances are, Williamson more than met the challenge of playing a severely handicapped individual.

This film also captures the essence of working class family disputes where mothers embrace their children’s career dreams, while fathers in their own loving way, want kids to be practical. While dreams are nice, dads think their kids should devote their energies to activities which will help them earn a living.

For these reasons, Fences is a See It!

On the other hand, the dialogue is very wordy, long sentences and soliloquies by the characters. Effective scriptwriting allows the viewers to understand past events from bits and pieces of discourse throughout the film. However, in a lengthy kitchen discussion, Troy and Rose lay out all the details surrounding Gabriel’s war injury. Then they go through the intervening developments before bringing the situation up to date. Viewers are now fully informed. However, in a real-world exchange, there would be no need to rehash facts well-known to both but instead they would address only the most recent issues and maybe cite the past to support a current point of view.

Additionally, as I began to digest this film, I wondered why August Wilson felt it necessary to write a story which encapsulates the worst stereotypes, criminal and immoral behavior for his characters. While I won’t discuss them all, two are worth mentioning.

At one point, when talking to a friend, Troy relates how as a young teen, his father catches him being intimate with a 13-year-old girl. His father begins beating him. Not for what he is doing but so that his father could have a turn with the girl! Is this really how a father would respond? Maybe in a small percentage of cases, but this is not the norm.

Rose shares with Troy how she grew up with siblings in which all are halves, no two with the same mother and father. That might be a tale a character could tell today but based upon the time period of this story, Rose would have been born in the early 1900s. Black families were much more intact then than today. Census figures from that time show that the vast majority of black babies born in the early 1900s were born to mothers and fathers who were married!

Then there’s the N word. It’s actually the first word Troy utters and there’s no shortage of the slur throughout the rest of movie.

August Wilson, an interracial African-American, his father was German, seemed to be willing to stretch credibility to taint these characters. Maybe he thought it made them more interesting. While I recommend Fences, we need more true stories like Hidden Figures and less made up ones like Fences.

Fences is 140 minutes and rated PG-13 for its thematic elements, language, and some suggestive references.

 

Hidden Figures Brings #BlackGirlMagic to the Big Screen!

Count on seeing Hidden Figures and definitely take your daughters to see these black women excelling in math, engineering, and computer operations

It’s the early sixties. Three black women traveling in a blue and white 1957 Chevrolet head to work. Few people would guess that Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) work at the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA). One is a mathematician, one an engineer and the other a computer expert. Hidden Figures tells the fascinating story of these three amazing women and the vital roles they play in getting America’s space program off the ground.

The story behind Hidden Figures is incredible on multiple levels. According to a People magazine article, numbers fascinated Katherine Johnson from her earliest days. She counts everything including the number of steps it takes to walk to school. She enters high school at 10 and then graduates from college at 18. Her highly supportive father moves their family as necessary to ensure that she takes full advantage of the educational opportunities offered to her. Dorothy Vaughan graduates from Wilberforce University in Ohio at an even younger age, 16.

Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson benefit from a NASA program which hired black women during War World II. The agency is so impressed by the mathematic talents of these women (who were called “computers”), it continues the program after the war ends opening the door for later arrivals.

Hidden Figures doesn’t just tell the stories of these three geniuses but provides a portrait of the racial dynamics of that time period. Including the segregated facilities and the closed minds attempting to undermine these women’s efforts and talents. Jim Parsons (of the Big Bang Theory) plays Paul Stafford who works along with Johnson at the Langley Research Center and who undercuts her by not supplying the necessary information to complete her projects. And he deeply resents her checking and sometimes finding errors in his calculations - which is her job.

Kevin Costner plays Johnson’s and Stafford’s boss and often has to referee their disputes and more times than not, sides with Johnson. He is a firm but fair supervisor who is forced to examine the prevailing segregationist policies and their effect on people like Johnson and her ability to do her job. And how she walks a half mile across the NASA campus to go to the segregated, colored women’s bathroom. Or how someone in his own department brings in a separate coffee pot for her rather than have her continue to use the one the rest of the group uses.

Recently deceased astronaut John Glenn reflects an uncommon acceptance and support of the women. When the NASA employees stand outside in a greeting line to meet the astronauts, the white employees are first. After shaking hands with them, a handler directs the astronauts back inside before reaching the black women. Glenn ignores the directive and walks over to speak and shake hands with the ladies. And before his first voyage, he makes clear that he won’t take off until Johnson reviews the computations of the NASA’s new IBM computer.

Overall the film is well done. One interesting scene is when Johnson who is a widow, rips into a man she meets at church (who later becomes her husband) because he’s surprised to find out that she’s a senior mathematician for NASA. The whole world would be surprised at her occupation! Why shouldn’t he? He later apologizes for his close-mindedness.

As to cast diversity Hidden Figures, gets an “A”. It represents the situation as it existed racially at that time.

See Hidden Figures because it has that rare combination of being both educational and entertaining. Also see it because if it’s a box office hit, Hollywood will make more films like it. And we need more films like it. Definitely take your daughters to see these women excelling in math, science, engineering, and computer operations (technology). One final point, in addition to being a member of the composing team to score the music for Hidden Figures, music producer, Pharrell Williams, is also one of the producers of the movie.

Hidden Figures is just over 2 hours at 126 minutes. Rated PG for thematic elements and some language. It gets our highest rating: See It!

MOVIE REVIEW: Why Him? Why Not?

The Fleming family, dad, Ned (Bryan Cranston), mom Barb (Megan Mullally), and son Scotty (Griffin Gluck) head to California to spend the holidays with Ned’s and Barb’s older daughter, Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) who attends Stanford. Things unravel quickly. First, rather than staying in the luxury hotel suite that Ned proudly obtained at a discount rate, Stephanie announces that the family will stay with her boyfriend. A boyfriend the family didn’t know she had. When they arrive at his house, it’s some house: a multimillion dollar 21st Century state-of-the-art estate. And her boyfriend, Laird Mayhew (James Franco) turns out to be a wealthy Silicon Valley executive who greets them shirtless displaying a multitude of tattoos, having heard so much more about them from Stephanie. The Flemings reluctantly agree to stay with Laird. Ned is quickly turned off by Laird’s crass behavior: dropping F-bombs with almost every other word, talking openly about private moments with Stephanie and overall just trying too hard to become a member of the family. Why Him? follows the Flemings through the holidays as they get to know this person who might become a member of their family.

Why Him? works on so many levels and gets an overwhelming See It! rating. Conflicts and issues are the keys to any great story. The film has a literal smorgasbord of issues large and small: boyfriend - girlfriend; father – daughter; wife – husband; old school – new school views on relationships; and new technology versus the old way of doing things.

Successful filmmaking thrives on a very basic formula: an interesting story with characters that viewers connect with brought to life by good actors. Why Him? has it all. This movie takes an age old plot – father objects to his daughter’s suitor – but gives it a different twist. Usually, the boyfriend isn’t successful. But here Laird is highly successful, rich, and internationally known. But Ned believes that Laird’s just too crass. However, maybe this film is a bit naïve as to the impact millions of dollars would have on softening Ned’s middle-class attitudes toward his possible son-in-law. After all, Laird does love Stephanie and is fundamentally a nice guy. Also, Ned’s small business is floundering.

One of the weaker aspects of this otherwise solid production starts with Laird’s claim that he’s setting up a foundation which will be run by Stephanie, which raises suspicions with Ned. So he enlists his small business’ tech guy to hack into Laird’s computer to see if Laird really has the resources to fund a foundation. And this effort fails miserably since the very savvy Laird has installed the most sophisticated anti-hacking software. This is an unrealistic and unlikely gesture. Laird’s financials would be public knowledge. Simply googling Laird would yield articles and other information on his wealth.

Why Him? gets an “A” cast diversity. Actor/comedian Keegan-Michael Key plays Laird’s estate manager and life coach. Comedian Cedric the Entertainer is the second in command in Ned’s printing company. And there are other individuals of color in supporting roles.

Why Him? is 111 minutes and rated R for strong language and sexual material throughout. This movie gets a strong See It! rating for its great storylines and solid performances.

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