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T.A. Moreland

T.A. Moreland

Fifty Shades Freed Entertains [MOVIE REVIEW]

Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) return in the third and final film series based on the bestselling Fifty Shades novels.

The film opens with Christian and Ana trading marriage vows, looking to a new life of shared love and luxury.

Of course, there’s a lot of sex, but Fifty Shades Freed, more than anything else entertains and it gets a See It! rating.

The story does strain credibility in an effort to bolster the story. In the scenes after the couple gets married, Anastasia behaves more like someone who just met Christian than someone who knows and agreed to marry him: She didn’t know he had a domestic staff at his apartment, he had his own plane, and that she will have a security detail following her around. Apparently, after the long and extensive history of sexual gymnastics, they don’t know each other’s viewpoint on having children.

However, the characters are fuller and richer than in Fifty Shades of Grey where they both seem empty and vacuous. In this edition, they are more interesting and more balanced characters. While sex can be a draw to a movie, there has to be more to a film for it to succeed. Here there’s drama and amusing dialogue.

Fifty Shades Freed gets a B+ for cast diversity. Set in Seattle, a city in which people of color make up about a third of the population, the film has a diverse group of people of color in supporting and background roles.

Fifty Shades Freed is rated “R” for strong sexual content, nudity, and language and it is approximately 105 minutes in length. Fifty Shades Freed will be worth your time and money.

T.A. Moreland

T A MorelandA film critic for over 20 years, T. A. Moreland, also produced and hosted a film review television program in New York City for four years.

Moreland wrote for The New York Amsterdam News, The Harlem World Magazine and a Harlem Critic Blog on World Press. His reviews have appeared in USAtoday.com and international publications: interceder.net and www.newstin.com. Similarly, he provided commentary on the entertainment industry for Essence magazine and BET.

Moreover, T.A. Moreland’s description of the 2008 film “Valkyrie” as a “True Life Mission Impossible” was prominently featured and was the lead quote in the nationwide and international ad campaign for the film starring Tom Cruise.

A prolific writer, T.A. Moreland has written three screenplays and numerous television treatments.

T.A. Moreland resides in Harlem and is an attorney who specializes in energy and economic development issues. He holds a B.A. from Indiana University in Bloomington, Juris Doctorate from the University of Dayton, and Masters from the University of Pennsylvania.

Murder on the Orient Express; take this thrilling train ride

English crime writer, Agatha Christie’s 1934 classic whodunit, Murder on the Orient Express, first filmed in 1974, returns to the big screen for the second time. In the 2017 film version of Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh directs and leads an all-star cast including Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom, Jr, and Josh Gad. Murder on the Orient Express is the story of 13, first class passengers traveling on a luxury train to London when one of the passengers is found dead in his cabin, the victim of multiple stab wounds.

Hercule Poirot (Branagh), the internationally known, fictional, detective happens to be on board and is coaxed into solving the brutal crime. The film takes viewers though Poirot’s painstakingly, thorough examination of the suspects and their possible motives.

Murder on the Orient Express is a fascinating, far-fetched, yet definitely entertaining film. And it’s a See It!

It has a Titanic feel to it. Wealthy passengers travel opulently to their destination. Like Titanic, the mode of transportation is damaged. In Titanic, it’s an iceberg; in Murder, it’s a snowy avalanche which derails the train.

While I was familiar with the story title, I was unaware of how the crime would be solved, which added additional intrigue to the mystery. And, the outcome is a truly a surprise.

Again, this is a star studded cast which enriches the production. Murder on the Orient Express gets an “A” for cast diversity. Among the 13 passengers, there is a black man, Leslie Odom, Jr., who starred in the Broadway musical, Hamilton, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo is a Hispanic man. Further, there are many characters of color in background and small roles. Often movies set in time periods such as the '30s have all-white casts, as if people of color only came into the being in the '60s and '70s.

Additionally, the cinematography is creative and exceptional. With scenes shot from a multitude of angles and ranges.

Murder on the Orient Express is rated, PG-13, and is 116 minutes. And it’s a See It!

The Mountain Between Us is a bit bumpy but you should see it. [MOVIE REVIEW]

They don’t know each other but they are both desperate to reach their destinations. Dr. Ben Bass (Idris Elba) has a 10-year-old patient waiting for surgery. And photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) has to get to her wedding. After the cancellation of their flight due to stormy weather, they hire a charter plane. The plane crashes midflight, the pilot dies, but they, along with pilot’s dog, survive the incident with injuries. They battle to survive the subzero weather in the Colorado mountains, trying to hang on until they are found.

The Mountain Between Us is often tedious, but ultimately, an entertaining film and gets a See It! rating.

The plot’s not new or unique; there are a number of films before The Mountain Between Us, which were popular with filmgoers including Cast Away and Alive. This movie like others of its type shares the survivors’ painstaking efforts to stay alive.

Also, like Hollywood films in general, it makes sure that dogs are unharmed. While Ben and Alex ration the food from the crash and what they are able to scavenge, while showing the effects of not having enough to eat, the dog somehow always seems well fed and full of energy.

The writers do their best to help viewers get to know Ben and Alex but with only modest success. Great writers develop individuals so rich and full that moviegoers could pass tests on the personalities of the characters in the film. However, Ben and Alex remain enigmas.

While not giving too much away, the story does develop in a way that ultimately works.

This is an interracial pairing, yet race is never an issue or even discussed in the film.

The Mountain Between Us gets an “A” for diversity. Obviously, there is a person of color in a leading role; however, there are others in supporting roles.

It’s rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, peril, injury images, and brief strong language. The Mountain Between Us is 103 minutes in length and is a film you should see.

 

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