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Don’t miss, Deadpool 2 [MOVIE REVIEW]

In Deadpool 2, the 11th installment of the X-Men series, thing are going well for Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) until he loses a loved one. When he attempts to join her on the other side, he learns that he has to do more good in this world before he can move to the next. His first step is to assist a young, troubled mutant. However, Cable (Josh Brolin) gets in the way of that effort leading Wilson to put together a new team of X-men to fight his old nemesis.

Critiquing Deadpool 2 is easy. If you like the mutants’ series, this episode will not disappoint. And Deadpool 2 gets a See It! rating. It has all the battles, humorous dialogue and over the top action scenes which made the first Deadpool film a success. Ryan Reynolds breathes an everyman type of charm into the lead character. He’s funny and flawed which makes him more credible.

One downside of the mutant series is the lack of racial diversity. The main characters are overwhelmingly white males. However, the creators do embrace black women characters. There’s Storm who was played by Halle Berry in four of the X-Men films. In Deadpool 2, Leslie Uggams returns as Blind Al, Wilson’s confidant. And joining his new team in this film is the half German and half African-American, Zazie Beetz. Her mutant skills are exceptional marksmanship and hand-to-hand skills, and probability-altering powers.

However, due to the overall lack of cast diversity, Deadpool 2, receives a “C” for cast diversity.

It’s rated “R” (for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material) and is 111 minutes in length.

Ultimately, Deadpool 2 is a See It!

Don’t Join The Book Club [MOVIE REVIEW]

They’ve been friends since college, and get together once a month to discuss the book of the month. Diane (Diane Keaton) is recently widowed after 40 years of marriage. Vivian (Jane Fonda) runs a five-star hotel and only gets involved with men she could never fall in love with. Sharon (Candice Bergen) is still recovering from her divorce of almost two decades. Carol's (Mary Steenburgen) marriage slumps after 35 years. The book of the month, the salacious 50 Shades of Grey has the friends reexamining their own situations.

The Book Club is simply not worth the time. It’s Dead on Arrival. First, the characters are not interesting. Even for a comedy, they simply lack the depth to make this film worthwhile. It’s not the performers; it’s the weak script. Further, while the four women are all supposed to be the approximately same age, having attended college at the same time, it’s obvious that Mary Steenburgen is younger than her costars and is in fact 15 years younger than Jane Fonda.

There’s also not a credible subplot. Diane’s love interest Mitchell (Andy Garcia) is obviously younger than her (10 years in real life). He’s a pilot whose invention reducing wind drag on airplanes has made him wealthy but for some unexplained reason, he still works as a commercial pilot. Thus, this rich guy who’s in a profession where he meets plenty of women decides to pursue a much older, very ordinary widow. Is this possible? Of course. Is this likely? Of course NOT!

Speaking of Garcia, he is the only one keeping this film from getting a D- minus in cast diversity. This Hispanic (Cuban) actor has a starring role in what would otherwise be one of the least diverse films I have seen in years.

The Book Club is rated PG-13 (for sex-related material throughout and for language) and is 104 minutes.

Ultimately, it is sad that such talented actors are bound together in this losing production. It’s Dead on Arrival.

Go in to see Breaking In [MOVIE REVIEW]

After her father’s sudden death, Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) and her two children, Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus) and Glover (Seth Carr) make the several hours drive to his large estate. Shaun, who was estranged from her dad, decides to put his house for up sale immediately. But little did she know that there would be four sinister characters hiding inside, more interested in the contents of the house than she is. These men have no qualms about destroying anything or anybody to get what they want. Shaun has to draw deeply into all her physical and mental skills to protect her children and herself.

From the start, Breaking In quickly becomes suspenseful and dramatic, turning the first pleasant, almost boring scene into a shockingly violent one. Being only 88 minutes in length, it gets to the main storyline very quickly. Breaking In gets a See It! rating because it does what a spectacle of this type is supposed to do, keep viewers on the edge of their seats and wondering what happens next.

Gabrielle Union rises to the occasion in the lead role. She’s authentically tough and at the same time necessarily tender while guiding her children through this ordeal. But you can’t have a truly great hero, as Union is in this film, without a supremely wicked villain. Of the four thugs, Duncan (Richard Cabral) is the most heartless, and justifiably raises the ire of both Shaun and the viewing audience.

Another interesting cast member is Ajiona Alexus, who at 22, successfully plays Shaun’s young teenage daughter. Alexus and Union look so much alike, I checked to see if they are related. They are not.

RELATED: THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US IS A BIT BUMPY BUT YOU SHOULD SEE IT.

But Breaking In also is burdened by the weaknesses of this film genre. Characters who can be shot, stabbed, badly beaten but then miraculously recover to the point where they can run fast, climb to rooftops and engage in lengthy, full-blown physical battles. And there are also handguns that shoot an unlimited amount of bullets without being reloaded.

Gabrielle Union in the starring role in the movie Breaking in Photo 2 courtesy Universal Pictures 750x529Gabrielle Union stars in the thriller, Breaking In

While writer Ryan Engle created a strong black woman in Shaun, the two black male characters were either dishonest or disgustingly weak and ineffective.

As to our cast diversity rating, Breaking In gets an A-. First, the cast is small which limits the number of roles available. Blacks, whites and a Hispanic actor all have major roles. There are no Asian-Americans featured.

Breaking In is rated PG-13 for violence, menace, bloody images, sexual references, and brief strong language, and, it's a See It!

 

Carl Brister is Still Here and On the Rise

The music industry can be a grind, but RnB/pop artist Carl Brister is still here and pushing forward

RnB/pop artist Carl Brister sat down with What's The 411 host Kizzy Cox for a wide-ranging interview about his life as a child, embracing music, coming to terms with being sexually assaulted at five-years-old, and giving back to the community.

Carl Brister's life experience is a great reminder about the guidance black fathers provide to their children, black love, instilling self-esteem in children, overcoming adversity, and perseverance.

Janelle Monae says she is pansexual; and more! | What’s The 411 | Ep. 126

R. Kelly Gets Muted; Bill Cosby found guilty on sexual assault charges; Kerry Coddette gets her turn to pen stories for Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas on HBO

In this episode of What's The 411, journalist Kizzy Cox and comedian Onika McLean are listing QUICK TAKES of topical news and discussing Kanye West, Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, Cardi B., Janelle Monae, Madonna, Steph Curry, Halsey, the ladies of The Real, Kerry Coddett, and a whole lot more.

 

 

 

Minnette Coleman Talks About her Book, The Tree: A Journey to Freedom

The Tree: A Journey to Freedom, an imaginative story based on history, legend, and a 300-year-old tree located in the Guilford College Woods

What's The 411 book correspondent, Luvon Roberson, sits down with author Minnette Coleman for a wide-ranging interview about her book, The Tree: A Journey to Freedom, and its relationship to the Underground Railroad.

The Tree: A Journey to Freedom, set during the period of American slavery, explores many issues related to the life of enslaved Africans including the connection between the Quakers and their role in helping to physically free enslaved Africans from the barbaric system of American slavery. The book also explores many questions including how does one become free in your mind within a system of enslavement?

One could say that Ms. Coleman was destined to be a writer, as her father was a newspaper editor, and both of her parents were poets.

But, Ms. Coleman does more than write, she is a great storyteller, as she weaves a narrative based on historical facts and infuses those facts with imagination to chronicle a story that is not often told.

The Tree: A Journey to Freedom is Ms. Coleman’s third work of historical fiction. She is also the author of The Blacksmith's Daughter and No Death By Unknown Hands.

 

Beyonce and Destiny’s Child Rock Coachella | What’s The 411 | Ep. 125

Starbucks CEO demonstrates leadership in face of adversity; Tristan Thompson is in hot water; Kenya Barris gets a court date; Trinidad ends Buggery Laws

In this episode of What's The 411, journalist Kizzy Cox, and comedian Onika McClean, are talking about Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian's relationship, Mariah Carey reveals she is bipolar, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson takes action amidst unnecessary arrest of two Black men and the ensuing protests, Trinidad ending its Buggery Laws, and more! 

Cardi B, Lorde, Fabolous, Vivica Fox, Blue Ivy | What’s The 411 | Ep. 124

Manuel A. Mendez is Blue Ivy’s personal stylist; backlash to Roseanne Barr’s joke about Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat still continues; and more

In this episode of What's The 411, journalist Kizzy Cox, and comedian Onika McLean are talking about Chrissy Teigen's response to a track on Cardi B's new album; the less than tepid response to Iggy Azalea's new album, the feud between Vivica Fox and Kenya Moore continues; the news that Jay-Z and Beyonce's daughter, Blue Ivy has a personal stylist; the uneven way that ABC treats Roseann and Black-ish; the perils of butt injections and butt lifts, interviews with Dion Clarke, the founder of the Harlem Fine Arts Show and some of the guests at the Harlem Fine Arts show, and
more.

 

Facebook, Jay-Z, Diddy, Mary J. Blige, Black Panther, March for Our Lives | Ep. 123

Facebook has come under fire from the business community and some politicians for allowing access to users’ information without informed consent

This episode of What’s The 411 consists of QUICK TAKES of topical news and discussions about British supermodel Naomi Campbell, Mary J. Blige, Amber Rose, 21 Savage, Alicia Keys, and Black Panther becoming the highest domestic-grossing superhero film of all time.

Journalist, Kizzy Cox, and comedian Onika McLean had fuller discussions about:

  • Facebook coming under fire from the business community and some politicians for allowing companies to gain access to its subscribers’ personal data without informing their subscribers about how their data will be used, not allowing subscribers to opt-out and confirming that the data was used properly.
  • Diddy and Jay-Z starting an uproar with the announcement of their collaboration to develop a “Buy Black App”.
  • The proliferation of “No Manspreading” advertisements on subways and buses in New York City and elsewhere. The new regulation has sparked a debate on social media.
  • The student-organized March for Our Lives march in Washington, DC, which featured younger than high school aged students Yolanda Renee King, the grand-daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and 11-year-old Naomi Wadler who had everyone talking in the days following the march.
  • Business moguls P-Diddy and Jay-Z teaming up to develop a "Buy Black" app

Photo of the Week:

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of a man taking “manspreading” to an exaggerated level.

Motivational Quote of the Week:

Our Quote of the Week comes from the award-winning actress, Angela Bassett:

“Old enough to know better. Young enough not to care. Experienced enough to do it right.”

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