page contents data-mobile="true" data-tablet-width="1100" data-tablet-small-width="840" data-mobile-width="640">
Log in

The Rhythm Section misses the beat.

Hollywood actress Blake Lively stars as a young woman struggling to overcome the excruciating pain of tragically losing her family in a plane crash. When a stranger tells her that the incident was not an accident, she starts down a darkly mysterious path to avenge their killing, while not knowing whom to trust. Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown co-star.

The Rhythm Section tries hard to be an entertaining and original action-filled, cloak and dagger adventure. But it’s out of step from the beginning, with the nonsensical notion that an average young lady would even be recruited by powerful international forces to be an agent, in the terrorism and counter-terrorism underworld. Further, the film is formulaic down to the obligatory “surprise” ending.

The cast does the best it can. Blake Lively is, indeed lively, in this role. She and her co-stars try hard to make this weak, implausible project work.

Maybe the best aspect of the film is the cinematography. The Rhythm Section is shot from some amazingly creative angles.

It gets an A- for cast diversity. While the cast is small; it does feature multiple men of color in leading and supporting roles.

The Rhythm Section is rated R for violence, sexual content, strong language throughout, and some drug use. And is reasonably timed at 109 minutes.

But this weekend, do yourself a favor, keep stepping past any theater playing The Rhythm Section, and rent it.

Movie Review: The Shallows Lacks the Depth to Be a Good Film

We all need some downtime and in The Shallows medical student, Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) decides to get away from it all and ride the waves at a secluded beach in Mexico. Once in the water she guides her surfboard out to a very dead and very bloody whale, only to discover the killer, a large vicious shark, lurks nearby. The seafaring killer apparently thinks that Nancy's fate should be the same as the whale's. And her "downtime" should be permanent.

The Shallows is an intense battle between human and beast. However, this is a story that we have seen over and over. In Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 thriller, The Birds, actress Tippi Hedren comes under attack by a flock of birds gone mad. We saw it in Stephen King's Cujo, where lead character Donna Trenton does battle with a rabid St. Bernard.

Also, as is often the case in horror films or these types of dramas, characters find themselves in these nightmarish situations due to a series of bad decisions. Like here a young woman goes to an isolated beach, in a foreign country, all by herself.

Another problem with The Shallows is the writers try too hard to make Nancy a sympathetic character. She's a medical student which implies she's both smart and caring. She calls to check in on her little sister from the beach. And there is also a subtext that her mother is dead and might have been killed at that very same location!

While Blake Lively serves the purpose of the beautiful young heroine who is fit and athletic, her character is supposed to be from Galveston, Texas, which is in the southern part of that southern state, yet Lively who grew up in California doesn't have the slightest regional accent.

The positives are The Shallows dramatic and intense scenes. There are some edge-of-your- seat clashes between Nancy and the shark. We are accustomed to superhuman male protagonists, so it's good to see female leads showing that same type of credibility-stretching strength and vitality.

Shot in Australia, there's beautiful scenery – but frankly not any better than you'll see on HDTV. That's the problem; with so much entertainment available on big screen TVs, at our fingertips on our laptops and phones, movies have to offer us something exceptional. And The Shallows simply doesn't. And it's a Rent It – engaging but not worth the trip to a theater.

The Shallows is rated PG - 13 for bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language and appropriately timed at 87 minutes.

What's The 411 Episode 87: Prince, Donald Trump, Kerry Washington, and more

Cosmetics entrepreneur Vera Moore will speak at the Essence Festival; actor Jussie Smollet will return to Empire; Tamar Braxton fired from The Real; actress Blake Lively finds out she's Becky and a whole lot more

What's Poppin' Quick Takes

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that the iconic pop artist, Prince, may have been dead for hours before he was found unresponsive in an elevator in his Paisley Park home.

Tamar Braxton has been fired from The Real.

The world of media has gained two new Black superstars. Elaine Welteroth has been named Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue; Aaliyah Williams is now the Vice President of Digital Content and Production of MACRO, a company started by African-American talent rep Charles King.

Actress Blake Lively stirred some controversy, when she posted a picture of herself on Instagram, posing at a recent gala in a gold gown with the caption "LA face with an Oakland booty."

Actor Jussie Smollett will return to Empire. Smollet posted on Instagram: "Listen 2 my words, I'll see ya'll season 3.

The television network, ABC, announced that Scandal will return for its sixth season in 2017, due to Kerry Washington's pregnancy.

What's Poppin'

Donald Trump is having difficulty raising money

Campaign contributions from some of the Republican Party's major benefactors may be hard to come by for the party's nominee, Donald Trump. Most notable is Stanley Druckenmiller, a New York-based investor who gave big bucks to John Kasich's campaign. Druckenmiller told Reuters that he won't donate saying, "Not sure why anyone would give money to Mr. Trump since he asserts that he is worth $10 billion."

The continuing saga that has become Bill Cosby's life

Bill Cosby's lawyers are again asking the state supreme court to have his criminal sexual-assault case thrown out. The issue is whether a current prosecutor has to live up to the promise made by a former prosecutor to not charge actor/comedian/philanthropist Bill Cosby for the alleged assault. Apparently Bill Cosby used that promise to provide certain testimony in another case and now his words are being used against him. We'll know shortly whether the case will be thrown out.

In-Studio Interview

Cosmetics entrepreneur Vera Moore will speak at Essence Music Festival

Vera Moore, President and CEO, Vera Moore Cosmetics; will be a panelist on the beauty panel at the upcoming Essence Music Festival in July. As we listen in on an impromptu conversation between Vera Moore and What's The 411TV CEO Ruth J. Morrison, we are pulled into Ms. Moore's journey from integrating the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, NY, in the early 1980s with a kiosk to selling her brand of cosmetics in 53 stores through Walgreens, the largest drug retailing chain in the United States. The Vera Moore Cosmetics brand can be found nationally at Walgreens in New York City, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Puerto Rico among others, as well as internationally in Shanghai independently.

Under the Radar

Black-ish Writer Damilare Sonoiki initiates a new comedy based on African immigrant experience

Black-ish writer, Damilare Sonoiki, is creating a brand new comedy, this one about the African experience. It's called African Booty-Scratcher!" Sonoiki, a Nigerian-American named it that after an insult he heard kids using to refer to African kids. I remember hearing it growing up too. He told the Grio:

"The biggest thing I've learned from 'Black-ish,' like the central that you're taught to give your kids more than you have but in giving them more, what do they lose? The immigrant story is that exact same situation."

New film, Loving is generating Oscar buzz at Cannes Film Festival

From the Cannes Film Festival comes word that Jeff Nichols' film Loving, generated tremendous Oscar buzz. The film is the real life story of the efforts of Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Loving, a black woman, to have their marriage deemed legal. In 1958, the couple was arrested in their bedroom for being married. At the time, Virginia law made interracial marriages illegal. The couple had to take their fight all the way to the Supreme Court which rendered a unanimous decision ruling the couple's arrest unlawful and all state prohibitions against interracial marriage.

Additionally, the hubbub is that actress Ruth Negga's performance as Mildred Loving makes her a favorite for Best Actress Oscar.

Upcoming Events

• Actress Niecy Nash is set to join the cast of the upcoming TNT's dramedy, Claws, a dark-comedy revolving around five diverse nail salon employees and organized crime. Claws is currently in production.

• Filmmaker Carl Franklin has signed on to do a film remake of the 1948 William Faulkner novel Intruder in the Dust. The original film was produced in 1949, and the new film is currently in production.

• If all the Fetty-Waps, Drakes, and Nicki Minaj's of the world have got you feening for some Mase, Puff Daddy, and Lil' Kim, your '90s prayers have been answered because The Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour is coming to a city near you! The Lox, 112, Total, Carl Thomas, Mario Winans, and French Montana will also perform on the tour. Brooklyn already got a taste recently when they performed at the Barclay's Center where our own Onika McClean got crunk! The official tour starts on August 25, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio.

• Comedian Wanda Sykes will join fellow comediennes Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn in a new Fox comedy special, Mother/Daughter. The comedy will air October 21st on FOX television.

In Memoriam

Journalist, Morley Safer, one of the original correspondents of the CBS News Magazine, 60 Minutes, has passed away at age 84. Safer had just retired from CBS a week prior. May he rest in peace.



Subscribe to this RSS feed