Log in

MOVIE REVIEW: Almost Christmas is more than Almost Good

It's a bittersweet time. Christmas is approaching. Walter (Danny Glover), a retired auto repair shop owner, tries his best to make the most of the holiday season. But it's hard. He lost the love of his life; his wife, the mother of his four children, his beloved, Grace (Rachel Kylian). Things are not completely somber because his four children, two daughters Rachel (Gabrielle Union) and Cheryl (Kimberly Elise) and his sons, Christian (Romany Malco) and Evan (Jessie Usher) are coming home.

The kids are adults with their own array of issues. Rachel and Cheryl never grew out of their sisterly rivalry. Also, Rachel's trying to make it through law school as a divorced mother of a precocious daughter, Niya (Nadej K Bailey). Rachel also does her best to put the brakes on her old high school flame, Malachi (Omar Epps), who still lives in the neighborhood. Cheryl's husband, (J.B. Smoove) is an ex-NBA player with a wandering eye who constantly relives a winning shot he made in an NBA championship game. Son, Christian is married to Sonya (Nicole Ari Parker), is pre-occupied with running for Congress and is paying very little attention to his wife and two children. Then there's Walter's and Grace's later in life, oops baby, Evan, who is a college football star recovering from an injury.

Also, dropping in is Aunt May (Mo'Nique), Grace's sister, a well-traveled backup vocalist for some of the 80s most famous singers.

Almost Christmas shares with viewers the five days of this family's Christmas get together.

Just from the abbreviated plot summary above you can see that this is a very busy storyline. Half the stuff going on, I didn't even include. That's the problem; it's too much. With a large cast and each individual is dealing with multiple issues, it's sort of a Grand Central Station, on screen.

The film features a successful, educated upper-middle-class black family. Yet the writer, David E. Talbert, embraces standard Hollywood African-American gathering must haves: they have to do a partially or fully choreographed dance; there has to be fisticuffs, and there has to be a gun pulled.

Maybe my experiences are atypical. I have been to hundreds of social events organized and attended by black people and I don't recall a single fight and no guns have ever been displayed. However, I have to admit there have been a few dance lines to breakout!

The film's humor is so predictable and is seen coming minutes before it happens. For example, Cheryl's husband takes a tumble after he climbs on the roof to fix a blinking Santa Claus. And it strays a bit from reality. Like the fact that Christian is in the middle of a run for Congress. As a political junkie, I can say, there are no congressional elections or primaries near Christmas.

Almost Christmas does shine in a couple of ways: like the flashbacks of Walter's and Grace's time together. There is a deep and undeniable love between the two that is obvious from character's glances, making words unnecessary.

This is an outstanding cast. It is good to see Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union, and Kimberly Elise among others on the screen. They individually and as a group, just get it done. Great casting of Nadej K. Bailey as Gabrielle's daughter as they have a very strong resemblance. Speaking of Glover, he has involvement in no less than six films between now and the end of next year!

As to our cast diversity rating, Almost Christmas gets a "B". Of course, the cast is primarily African American with a few white supporting actors, like John Michael Higgins who plays Christian's campaign manager. However, there are no Hispanics or Asians in notable roles.

So what's the verdict on Almost Christmas? It ekes out our highest rating, See It! The overall entertainment value combined with a very strong cast makes it worth a trip to the theater. It's about two hours long and is rated PG-13 (for suggestive material, drug content, and language).

CELEBRITIES TAKE FASHION TO ANOTHER LEVEL AT 2015 MET GALA

Rihanna Stuns the Met Gala Crowd; Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez Set off the Battle of the Booties on 2015 Met Gala Red Carpet

The MET GALA 2015 was a night filled with everyone's favorite celebrities wearing couture. Celeb such as Jay Z and Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Rihanna, Justin Beiber and Jennifer Lopez all attended and were looking fabulous.

The look of the evening for women seemed to be, jeweled garments, sheer, cut out gowns showing lots of skin, while the guys kept it sleek and traditional by wearing tuxedos.

The showstopper of the evening was Rihanna wearing a canary yellow elaborate gown with major detailing created by Chinese designer Guo Pe. The dress took two years to make.

It was the "battle of the booties" for Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce. All celebrities looked amazing in sheer, see-through and cut out gowns. Beyonce wore a sheer flesh tone colored jeweled Givenchy gown, Kim was wearing a white sheer and lace Roberto Cavalli and Jennifer Lopez aka J-Lo wore a wine colored sheer cut-out Versace gown.

Beyonce Kim-Kardashian Jennifer-Lopez on-the-red-carpet-at-Met-Gala-2015Beyonce; Kim Kardashian West; and Jennifer Lopez on the red carpet showing off lots of skin at the 2015 Met Gala

Actress Taraji P. Henson was also in attendance wearing a gorgeous gown by designer Alexander Wang.

taraji-p-henson-met-gala-2015 Triple-photo 600x337Actress Taraji P. Henson

Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union were also spotted looking fabulous. It was reported that Wade's two Versace ensembles' for the night costs a whopping 900,000 dollars. His beautiful wife was dressed in a wine colored draped Zac Posen gown.

dwyane-wade-gabrielle-union 395x524Miami Heat guard, Dwayne Wade and his wife actress Gabriel Union

The men who were flying solo that evening were also looking sharp.

Justin Beiber sported a flashy Balmain jacket adorned with gold, film and television director Lee Daniels was dressed in a Burberry tux, while rapper/actor Common wore a tux by Prada. All of these guys looked handsome.

Not to mention Jay Z and Kanye West who wore tuxes by Tom Ford and Roberto Cavalli respectively.

Derek Jeter and girlfriend, Sports Illustrated cover model Hannah Davis were also spotted at the gala. Hannah was wearing a red sheer one shoulder fitted J. Mendel gown and Jeter wore a Rag and Bone tux.

derek-jeter-rag-bone- girlfriend met-gala-2015Former New York Yankees short stop, Derek Jeter and girlfriend, Sports Illustrated model, Hannah Davis

Ebony Magazine Celebrates the 2014 Ebony Power 100

Music Legend, Quincy Jones to Receive the EBONY Achievement Award;
Wendy Williams, Audra McDonald, Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Pharrell and Others to be Honored

EBONY® Magazine's EBONY Power 100 Gala is scheduled for November 19 and will be held at the historic AVALON Hollywood in Los Angeles. For a third consecutive year, Nationwide will proudly present the prestigious affair to celebrate honorees on the 2014 EBONY Power 100 list.

The EBONY Power 100 list salutes the achievements of the most influential African-Americans in the country. Among the game changers honored this year are television producer, Shonda Rhimes; actresses Audra McDonald, Viola Davis, Laverne Cox, and Gabrielle Union; radio personality Rickey Smiley, NBA stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant, singer Usher Raymond, talk show host Wendy Williams, producer Pharrell Williams comedian Kevin Hart, ballerina Misty Copeland and Bishop T.D. Jakes.

"This event pays tribute to those who have made it their mission to make a positive impact on their industries and in their communities," said Matt Jauchius, Chief Marketing Officer at Nationwide. "Nationwide is honored to once again present the EBONY Power 100 Gala and celebrate the achievements of these amazing men and women."

Hosting the star-studded evening will be comedian and actor Wayne Brady. Brady is known for his television work on Whose Line Is It Anyhow, The Wayne Brady Show and Don't Forget the Lyrics.

Legendary icon Quincy Jones, will befittingly receive this year's coveted EBONY Achievement Award. Known for his groundbreaking strides in music and film, Jones is arguably considered one of the most innovative pioneers in entertainment.

Paying tribute to Quincy Jones will Queen of Funk Chaka Khan, Grammy-award winning vocalists Patti Austin and James Ingram, hip-hop pioneers Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, soul singer KEM, dance performer Savion Glover and jazz musician Terence Blanchard. At the helm of the evening's musical tribute to Jones will be renowned music director, producer and musician Ricky Minor whose band will serve as the house band.

The 2014 Power 100 list will appear in the December issue of EBONY on newsstands the week of November 17. The full list of the EBONY Power 100 can be found here

Comcast will also broadcast the event on CelebrateBlackTV.com and Xfinity On Demand during the month of December.

Subscribe to this RSS feed