‘OTHERHOOD’ The Phase after Motherhood

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

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I had the opportunity to see Otherhood a few weeks ago and this movie brings all the feels. It’s charming, funny and warm. It will have you pondering whether or not you are being a good daughter or son.

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Listening to Cindy Chupack and Cathy Schulman speak about their journey during the Q&A after just makes you love this even more. From losing their first production deal, to securing Angela Bassett, to losing their director it was indeed a journey. A journey that I believe everyone will enjoy once they watch it. Losing their director turned into good luck for Cindy Chupack who makes her film directorial debut with Otherhood. This film also gained the Women In Film stamp by producing this with an all-female crew.

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Otherhood stars Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette and felicity Huffman. Feeling forgotten on Mother’s Day, three best friends leave upstate New York for a road trip to New York City to surprise their sons and try to weave themselves into their adult lives. I have to say I was impressed on how they equally balanced out the storylines with all of the characters. As a person of color, it was refreshing to see a mother son relationship that was told in great way. When I tell you that Queen Angela bursts on the screen and dominates it…chile, you not ready.

otherhood-1014x570Yes, you’re probably wondering Mother’s Day in August, someone made a mistake. But, in actuality it was a mistake made on Felicity Huffman’s part that pushed the movie back. In the wake of Felicity Huffman pleading guilty to the College Admissions Scandal earlier this year the decision was made to push it back. Huffman was one of the 50 people indicted. Now that the dust has settled some, Netflix is releasing the feature this Friday.

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Otherhood: Life Beyond Motherhood, or the next phase as I see it. Premiering on August 2nd on Netflix and in select theatres.

DEADLY DISPATCH

DEADLY DISPATCH stars Tamala Jones, DomiNque Perry, and Rapper, Bone Crusher. The film chronicles the tragic murder of Shawn, a well-liked owner of a struggling car service company. Tiffany (Jones) is a local salon owner and Shawn’s longtime, high-school best friend who becomes intertwined in the complex circumstances surrounding his death. Unsatisfied with the police’s classification of the case being a “robbery gone wrong,” Tiffany becomes suspicious of Shawn’s grieving widow Amber (Perry). Motivated to find out what really happened to her friend that fateful day, Tiffany embarks on a quest that will not only endanger her marriage, but her life as well. Will she be able to come to terms with a deep secret shared between her and Shawn while seeking justice?

Deadly Dispatch is a part of TV One’s true crime series month of Love, Lies and Murder.

DEADLY DISPATCH PREMIERES SUNDAY, JULY 28 AT 8 PM ON TV ONE!

PODCASTS WE LOVE!

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

Podcasts are nothing new but they have recently exploded on the scene. There are currently 540,000 podcasts and inceases about 2,000 each week. Think of podcasts as old school talk radio from back in the day, or informative/comedy in your ears. I have learned so much from podcasts, from writing, to therapy, to just basic comedy, my ears perk up at each listen. You can always click on your search bar however you find podcasts and search by subjects. There is something for everyone.

Below are my favorites that I listen to.

COMEDY

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Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
After 25 years at the Late Night desk, Conan realized that the only people at his holiday party are the men and women who work for him. So he has set out to change that. This podcast is a weekly opportunity for Conan to hang out and talk to people that has been on his show and hopefully find some real relationships along the way.

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Yo, Is This Racist?
Hosted by Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome. They attempt to solve racism on a weekly basis. With the help of their comedy guests they answer questions from submitted voicemails about whether or not something in fact is actually racist. I must warn for a lot of cursing.

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The Read
Bloggers Kid Fury and Crissie cover hip-hop and pop-culture stars and their lives. They take turns throwing shade and spilling the tea with a humorous attitude. No one is safe from their scurinity except for Beyonce’ and Blue Ivy. I don’t always agree with their views but a good time. I must warn for a lot of cursing.

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How Did This Get Made?
This podcast explores the question of how bad movies can sometimes be amazing. Hosts Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas. They watch bad movies and report back on the results. They say everything and anything about the movie and don’t hold back. A hilarious good time.

ON WRITING

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Hilliard Guess’ Screenwriter’s Rant Room
Host Hilliard Guess, a member of the WGAW, and award-winning writer and his co-hosts Lisa Bolekaja and Chris Derrick. They drop invaluable industry knowledge in an unfiltered manner. It is real talk from real working writers. I have learned more about the industry than I did in my years of schooling. Comedy mixed with knowledge. In my top five of favorite podcasts.

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Paper Team
A great podcast about television writing and how to launch your career in the industry. They have guests that give invaluable information, from showrunners, writers, fellowship directors, to how to network properly. It is a great resource and I learn each time.

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3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast
The official podcast of the Writers Guild of America West. They give updates on the Guild and interviews with screenwriters about screenwriting, movies, television and the business.

GENERAL

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Boss Up Moms
Moms who are also entreprenuers often find themselves in need of balance and community. Boss Up Moms are a group of women that meet weekly to discuss their success, failures and inspiration on balancing motherhood, family, and their businesses. While I am not a mother, it is very informative and great to hear how they juggle it all.

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OD Podcast
OD stands for Open Discussion and that is exactly what they do. Funny thing is they always are touching on subjects that I am currently going through. They get me and I love it. It is an unfiltered conversation about things that matter and some things that don’t matter but still great all in the same. Hosted by Alicia and Drvco who made in Atlanta and don’t let you forget it.

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Jesus and Jollof
This podcast is definitely in my top 5. They get to the core of adulting. While I may not be ready to hear everything that they say I always tuck it in the back of my head for future reference. They get me too and I love it. Hosted by Luvvie Ajayi and Yvonne Orji, two proud Nigerian women who are cut up at every turn but they talk about things they love, their life and how they have overcame to help us navigate life. They drop some major gems.

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Rants and Randomness
Host Luvvie Ajayi talks about things that she is loving and things that she is side-eyeing. She rants on everything from society to pop culture. Her guests from her tribe stay dropping gems. A great podcast overall.

These are just a few to get started. Subscribe and start listening to greatness.

CHADWICK BOSEMAN TAKES COP TO A NEW LEVEL IN ’21 BRIDGES’

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

Chadick Boseman follows up his iconic role in Black Panther with 21 Bridges, an action thriller where he plays a New York cop in search for justice after 8 cops were killed in a  robbery heist gone wrong.

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21 Bridges shows the lengths that a cop will go to to in order to find the killers. He shuts down all 21 bridges into Manhattan, stops trains, and cuts off the island from the rest of the world as he oversees a massive citywide manhunt. It’s personal for him, who had to deal with the trauma of having his police officer father murdered when he was a child.

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This is going to be one hell of a ride and excited to see Chadwick in this new role.

Check out the trailer below. 21 Bridges opens nationwide on July 12.

TRACY OLIVER TALKS ‘LITTLE’ AT WGA SCREENING.

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

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Monday night, WGAW Speaker Series: In Her Words held a screening of LITTLE with writer Tracy Oliver. After the movie a conversation and Q&A with Tracy Oliver shed light on the film, what it’s like having a 14-year old Marsai Martin as her boss, and her overall writing process. A great informative conversation.

Tracy also stayed after to speak with everyone, gave amazing advice and insight, and take pictures. Her future projects include a play on the film, First Wives Club and Clueless. Excited to see what else she has up her sleeve.

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If you haven’t seen LITTLE yet, run and go see it. I have seen it twice and it was just as good the second time.

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The 30th Anniversary Screening of ‘Do The Right Thing’

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

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At the TCM Film Festival, I had the opportunity to attend the 30th Anniversary of Do The Right Thing at the TCL Theater in Hollywood. It was the World Premiere screening of the newly remastered version of the film. A conversation before the film included Academy Award Winning Costume Designer, Ruth E. Carter, Legendary Casting Director Robi Reed, and Spike Lee’s sister, Joie Lee.

Rewatching the film 30 years later was amazing and to see the all the of the actors whose careers started from this film. Such a great thing for Spike Lee to give so many people their first gig. This was Robi Reed’s first time casting. Robin Harris, Martin Lawrence, Joie Lee was their big acting break. Also, while watching it, it was a sign of things to coming. Da Mayor kept referring to Ruth and the kids had Black Panther comic books. 30 years later Ruth E. Carter wins an Oscar of Black Panther.

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Rest in Peace to Bill Nunn, Ruby Dee, and Ossie Davis.

THE 50TH NAACP AWARDS RECAP

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

The NAACP Image Awards was a fantastic good time and always great celebrating what people of color bring to the table. The wins began at the non-televised dinner held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA and then continued on to the live show at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

Among the wins, the biggest went to Black Panther, individually as well as collectively. Chadwick Boseman, Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. Michael B. Jordan, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. Danai Gurira, Outstanding Supporting Actress in in a Motion Picture. Ryan Coogler, Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture. Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture. Letitia Wright, Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture. Outstanding Soundtrack/Complilation. Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture. And finally, Outstanding Motion Picture. Way to go team. Such a phenomenal movie that deserves all the recognition it has received.

Black-ish was also among big winners for the night including Outstanding Comedy Series. Power took home the Outstanding Drama Series. Maxine Waters who received the Chariman’s Award gave us a thorough lesson in political affairs, while Jay-Z was honored with the Presidents Award and Beyonce’ took home Entertainer of the Year. It was a great night.

If you missed any of the action check out the replay on TV One.

FILM REVIEW: THE BEST OF ENEMIES

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

So, went to an advanced screening of The Best of Enemies. After the screening, there was a conversation with one of the stars of the film, Taraji P. Henson and the writer/director/producer Robin Bissell.

The true story of the unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater, an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis, a local Ku Klux Klan leader. During the racially charged summer of 1971, Atwater and Ellis come together to co-chair a community summit on the desegregation of schools in Durham, N.C. The ensuing debate and battle soon lead to surprising revelations that change both of their lives forever.

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Let me start off and say that Taraji did a good job on this film and in this role. But, to be honest this was yet another “White Savior” film and it is clear that it was written by a White man. The movie was longer than it should have and spent too much time telling a one-sided story. The character arc was never developed for Ann Atwater, unless you read the back story on your own for her you did not know she was an activist. She was painted as a poor Black woman who just spoke up for her community. The only thing that you knew about her family is that she had a daughter that we didn’t see her interact with a lot. No back story or anything. But what you did get a lot of was C.P. Ellis and his back story. They spent a lot of time building his character, his family, and how he ticked. We knew that he had kids and a wife, the classic American family, while they painted Ann as a Black woman with a broken family because we didn’t know where her daughter’s father was. His wife, played by Anne Heche was instrumental in showing the human side of this KKK President and what led him to join. Showing that he had a bad, sad life and he was just looking to belong to something. Way to humanize a white supremacist and diminish what Ann was trying to do in the community back then. Thanks, but we don’t need a savior.

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Why do White writers always tell these stories from one point of view, it would be helpful to have a Black person during the writing process to have it balanced. The problem with Hollywood is they think these types of movies support the Black community when it does the exact opposite. But let me step off my soapbox and hope that in the future these stories are told from both perspectives and not just the one. But shout out to them for at least bring awareness to the story that people did not know that much about.

The Best of Enemies stars Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell and premieres in theaters on April 5.

BIG REINVENTED WITH ‘LITTLE’

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

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Had a chance to see Little at an early screening. LITTLE is a hilarious ride from beginning to end. If you didn’t know that Regina Hall was funny then get ready for the ride. Yes, in general Regina plays the siddity uppity type but this time she brings comedy to it. Combine that with the comedic timing of Issa Rae and Marsai Martin and you have a winning combination. I foresee this will be another win for superstar producer Will Packer and a win for Marsai Martin who is the youngest executive producer with this film.

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Jordan is a take no-prisoners boss who makes her assistant and employees life a living hell on a regular basis. She faces an unexpected threat when a kid wishes that she was little. Her life and career turn upside down when she magically transforms into a 13-year old version of herself.

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Little is the Freaky Friday for the Black community. Story by Tracy Oliver and directed by Tina Gordon, Little takes us on a ride of exploring and dealing with emotions and feelings that Jordan never dealt with in the past. It takes her back to the time when she felt helpless and felt unwanted. Children can be cruel which lead to her hard exterior and the inability to let anyone in for fear of being hurt again. Once Jordan was forced to be a 13-year old again she discovered that things had not changed and children were still cruel. But, it was when she took her power back and befriended the kids that were similar to her as a child that she realized she had a do over and showed them it was okay to be different. Little is a reminder to deal with our emotions and feelings before they fester and get out of control, and to be the best version of ourselves.

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This movie has a phenomenal cast whose chemistry makes the movie work. Little starts off with Jordan being awakened in her penthouse apartment in Atlanta by her latest invention for her successful tech company, Home Girl which is similar to Amazon’s Alexa and voiced by no other than Black-ish star and funny girl Tracee Ellis Ross. Early on we discover Jordan’s love interest played by Luke James and are treated to a sexy dance performance from him. Singing and dancing, yes to both. Speaking of Luke James, let’s talk about the other eye candy in this movie, Justin Hartley, from This is Us. I was right with little Jordan when she said “you feel what I’m feeling.” Rounding out the cast is Tone Bell who is Issa Rae’s character, April biggest supporter and JD McCrary who gives an incredible performance at the school talent show while Jordan is little. Let me also shout the amazing wardrobe department, fire throughout the movie.

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This is a definite see and will be an instant classic that people will watch over and over.

Little opens in theaters on April 12 everywhere.

US is Different

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

I had the opportunity to attend an advance screening of US this week. Shout out to Jordan Peele with putting young black kids on the screen that gave powerful performances not only as one character but two. Absolutely phenomenal. This film had its share of problems that I will discuss in a minute but I predict this will be another Oscar nomination for Jordan Peele.

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With her husband, son and daughter in tow, Adelaide Wilson returns to her childhood beachfront home. Haunted by traumatic events from the past, Adelaide grows increasing concerned that something bad is going to happen to her family. Her worst nightmare comes true when four masked assailants approach the house. Now, the Wilsons are fighting for survival.

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Now let’s talk about how this film failed. In a word the film was underwhelming. I don’t know if it was all the hype surrounding it or if it was because Get Out did so great. Now, I am not naïve enough to believe that this won’t sell out theaters and people will see it regardless because it’s Jordan Peele. Either way it was underwhelming. It started off on a bad note when it moved very slow and we were left waiting for something to happen in the first 30-45 minutes. There was absolutely no action to keep the story going along. I don’t think that Jordan Peele thought that the audience would pay attention to the dialogue during this slow open but I was and he lied to us right off which made the ending voiding out the entire film. Due to the slow beginning made him actually rush the ending which gave the ending a lazy conclusion. Adelaide is looking at the son in the car and they just stare at it each other and then it goes to the creepy Hands Across America scene. Had it not gone so slow at the beginning, there would’ve been more time to tell more of the story at the end.

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How did he lie you ask…great question? Lupita Nyong’o character Adelaide when she mentioned why she couldn’t go with the family to the beach house, which is a whole other issue that I will get to in a minute, but she mentioned that she was afraid that the evil girl would come for her which in the end of the movie we find out that the two young girls switched places made no sense. Another question was how did her husband not know why she didn’t want to go to the beach house, they have been together for a while and he never knew? Yeah that is not believable, and they had been several times to this beach house and now this time she has a problem. Yeah no. She also caved in really quickly after he pressed her on the issue.

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This film was also riddled with things that Black people would never do. When the doubles were standing outside of the beach house holding hands in a very creepy way, we would never go outside and investigate. That’s not the people that we are, we are stay inside type of people. The way he went outside and very properly and polite asking what they want was not it. Then when they continued to stand there and not move and he went back into the house to call the cops and then get a bat to go back outside. But when he went back outside which is way out of the norm for Black people he was still very proper and polite. You do not bring a bat to a gun/knife and in this case a scissor fight. Fast forward to when the doubles had entered the house, why did everyone but the husband not realize that they were doubles of them. He kept thinking they wanted his money.

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The theme and the message behind the film was not something that you pick up on immediately, unless I am thinking too hard about it. There are too many things that you are trying to pay attention to, what is up with the bunnies, hands across America images, Jeremiah 11:11 reference, and the scissors. The only thing that I can think is that we are not our true selves and we need to cut the cord to our evilness and that is what the scissors are all about. I have to be honest and say that this wasn’t really a thriller for me as I laughed more than I was thrilled. Partly because by the time that the action got going it was like, well okay then and why is this cheesy. But I implore you to create your own opinion and go see the film yourself.

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Written and Directed by Jordan Peele. Starring Academy Award Winner Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke.

In Theaters, March 22 everywhere.