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Sonic Soars! [Movie Review]

Sometimes you just have to get away from it all. That was the case with Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz), who comes to Earth to escape sinister forces seeking to harness his faster than the speed-of-light abilities. Having adjusted to a new, secret life in Montana, he accidentally causes a massive power outage. The government enlists the assistance of the lunatic genius and roboticist, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to capture Sonic. Meanwhile, the local sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) befriends the speedy rodent and helps him evade capture.

The key to successful filmmaking is a fully developed production. A film that has a strong story, superior acting, masterfully directed and state of the art technology - if it’s a sci-fi production. So many movies try to make it on a single device: a marque actor or fancy special effects or copying a story that’s been successful in another venue.

But Sonic The Hedgehog works because it has it all. It starts with Sonic’s journey from outer space, living on earth, and joining forces with the sheriff to battle Dr. Robotnik. Add in a great cast and special effects and it all comes together in an out of this world fashion.

You can’t have a truly great hero without a truly great villain. And Jim Carrey fills that role. It so great to see the master funnyman, Carrey, back on the big screen. Jim, we’ve missed you! He’s middle-aged now. But still has excellent comedic timing and is as good at physical comedy as he ever was. And the writers provide him with great lines. He belittles Sheriff Wachowski by telling him I was spouting out formulas at an age when you are spitting up formula.

The sheriff is played by James Marsden who is a natural in the role of good guy - leading man. His wife is played by Queens’ own Tika Sumpter. They are the obligatory cute leading couple. She’s attractive, smart (a veterinarian) and very supportive of her husband. The typical on-screen wife. The fact that she’s black and Marsden is white, is never even discussed in the film. Which is good. Her sister, however, is also a character we’ve seen before: overweight, sassy, and a single mother.
That leads us to our cast diversity rating. Sonic the Hedgehog gets an “A”. An African American woman in the lead female role. Sonic is blue. And there are people of color throughout the film. Also, the fact that much of the film is set in small-town Montana, this movie is adequately diverse.

Sonic the Hedgehog is rated PG for action, some violence, rude humor (Sonic farts) and mild language. Ninety-one minutes in length. It gets our highest rating, See IT! By the way, the ending screams they’ll be a sequel!

Movie Review: Southside with You

Low-budget, but an ultimately effective film. See It!

It could be called Michelle and Barack's first date. Because that's what this movie is all about. Set in Chicago in the summer of 1989, Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter), a second year associate at a major law firm, agrees to spend the afternoon with the Harvard Law School intern she supervises, Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers). She's apprehensive about the propriety of going out with someone she manages and refuses to call the outing, a date.

Southside With You squeezes in more verbiage and conflict than this young couple probably engaged in on their first date. This smorgasbord of issues includes whether it is a cop out to make big bucks at an elite law firm rather than to give back to the community; whether Michelle should even be out with her employee; parent-child relationships; Barack's history of dating white women – among others.

One of the primary requirements of a film based on real people, especially very well-known real people, is that the actors selected to play those people are effective. Parker Sawyers does capture the image and persona of the first black president of the United States. In fact, he is much better as Barack than Tika Sumpter is as Michelle. Summers at 6'3" is a bit taller than Obama but has the same lean frame. While the script has Michelle teasing Barack about his protruding ears, Summers does not have prominent ears. Tika at 5'7" uses thick sole shoes to put herself closer to Michele's 5'11" height. And there is very little in Sumpter's presence, voice, or appearance that resembles the First Lady.

At 84 minutes, Southside With You, is short and the first scenes in which both characters prepare for the date were definitely overdone. Michele's parents repeatedly chide her over every detail about Barack and their planned outing. As if she has never been on a date in her life. On Barack's end, his grandmother from Hawaii calls to coach him on dos and don'ts for the evening.

It's hard to give Southside With You, a diversity rating. This movie is based on a true story in which by-in-large everyone is black. However, there was a scene in which much to Michelle's horror, she and Barack run into (a white) partner and his wife while they were out for the evening. A fair rating would be a "C".

In conclusion, Southside With You is a thought-provoking and ultimately entertaining film and gets a See It rating!

Who Will Replace Columbus Short on Scandal; Red Carpet Fashion, and more

This What's The 411 episode finds the panel of Bianca Peart, Glenn Gilliam, Jacinda Motton, and Kizzy Cox talking about the Michael Strahan and Nicole Murphy breakup; and who could replace Columbus Short on THE ABC-TV hit television series, SCANDAL. Crystal Lynn brings us her interview with Vivica A. Fox who attended Justin Tuck's charity event to raise money for literacy.

Who's being Called on the Carpet this week?  

Police Departments harboring rogue police officers; Donald Trump because of his comments about the Ebola Virus; and Lifetime Television because of its casting mis-steps are all being called on the carpet in this episode.

And, stay tuned for Jacinda Motton, aka Ms. Fashioinista J, as she leads us in a red carpet fashion critique of Who Was Hot and Who Was Not.

Among the celebrities on the red carpet are: Chadwick Boseman, Jill Scott, Nick Cannon (looking like a picnic table), Tamala Jones, Tika Sumpter, Tyra Banks, and Vivica A. Fox.


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