Gay, Black, & Conflicted! Director Patrik-Ian Polk is back with a new film; “Blackbird!”

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Patrik-Ian Polk has done it again. By again, I mean released another movie accurately portraying the black and gay experience. Following in the footsteps of his previous films and series; “Punks,” “Noah’s ARC,” and “The Skinny;” “Blackbird” is a coming of age story with a religious twist. Julian Walker is “Randy Rousseau,” a young singer in a Southern Baptist town struggling with his sexuality. His little sister’s disappearance and his parents’ separation serve as a backdrop to his already complicated life. Blackbird truly shows the awkwardness and pain that can come from growing up Christian, Southern, Black, and gay in a small Mississippi town.

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Julian Walker as “Randy Rousseau”

From the looks of the film the cast is stellar! His parents are played by Academy Award-winner Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington. This marks Mo’Nique’s first major role since 2009’s “Precious.” She and Isaiah are also producers of the show. Their appearance may yet give this film some mainstream appeal. With them involved we at least know it will be well acted, marinating well with Patrik’s film style. This marks Julian Walker’s cinematic debut. Based on reviews from critics, the boy has real acting chops and a bright future ahead of him. Terrell Tilford is Randy’s pastor determined to cure him of his homosexuality, and comes off as the “mean-to-do-well villain of the film.” The film is said to be tamer than its predecessors in sexuality, but nevertheless delivers a powerful story.Blackbird was released in various independent film festivals last years and will be making its Southeastern debut Thursday, October 2nd at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema Theater. If you have ever been young, awkward, or different Blackbird will resonate with you. Find yourself in the mix and check out this awesome film, I know I will!

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“Blackbird” Feature Film Trailer from KB on Vimeo.

Be Brave, Speak Out–See “PRIDE!”

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History is the documentation of the enduring human story at large. For purposes of organization and to grasp the mind boggling hundreds of thousands of years we have been on this planet it is broken down into parts. Some of these parts are racial, cultural, or religious; but each are important in their own right. “PRIDE” entails one such momentous event in Gay and English history. In the mid-eighties the United Kingdom’s coal miners went on a year long strike for better wages, treatment, and benefits. During the process they were brutalized by the police and became the nation’s focus of anger. Even then prime minister Margaret Thatcher publicly denounced them. Interestingly,  while the miners were persecuted more, the Gay and Lesbian community found a reprieve. Realizing this a group of gay activists, dubbing their support group, “Gays & Lesbians Support The Miners” (GLSM) formed to provide financial assistance for the National Union of Mine Workers. Armed with determination, and buckets to carry their donations, the group soon became the saviors of a small southern Welsh town.

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The group was initially met with resistance from the very people they were trying to help. Thankfully, the citizens of the town were able to rally together and allow the GLSM to help them. The members of the group taught them tolerance and acceptance, while they provided them with a getaway from the oppression. The film is beautifully written and wonderfully filmed. Besides the history lesson you learn you also see a coming of age story, a coming out story, tales of forgiveness, life altering decisions, and the stigma of HIV/AIDS. In short the film says it perfectly, “…There’s no greater feeling than learning you have an unknown and unexpected friend in the midst of a battle…” Indeed, the miners and gays did find friends in one another. The year following the miners’ return to work, thousands of them came to march and support the LGBT community during London’s Gay Pride in 1985. Later, the the miners’ union drafted gay rights into the charter.  You can catch PRIDE anywhere in the United Kingdom and  in limited release in select American theaters!

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“Maze Runner,” A Game & Movie of Confusion!

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The future is post-apocalyptic and teeming with teenagers apparently, as yet another young adult book series has made its way to The Silver Screen. Yep, “The Maze Runner” made its cinematic debut. Falling in line with “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” series the film explores the curious nature of humanity as well as the ethics of human experimentation. The film is very “Ender’s Game” meets “Lord of The Flies!” Unlike these other films, The Maze Runner just does not measure up.

 

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As aforementioned, the film is set in the future where The Sun has scorched the Earth causing widespread death, famine, and destruction. The surviving humans develop a brain disease that causes paranoia, insanity, and finally death. Interestingly, the young seem to be immune to its affects, prompting a group of scientists to test their minds using a complex experiment. There, the maze comes in.  Over the course of three years a group of teenage boys are sent into the center of a giant maze, where a lush forest grows called “The Glade.” There they are given everything they need to survive via a mysterious monthly box of supplies that also bring a new boy along with it. They are stripped of all their memories before arriving in the maze, eventually they remember their names, but are referred to as “greenies” until they do. The boys form a community with with rules and a society where everyone does their part. Some of the boys become “Maze Runners,” mapping the maze hoping to find away out. The problem is the maze is constantly shifting and rotating. Anyone caught outside the glade as the sunsets is hunted and killed by “Grievers.” Grievers are large bio-mechanical, spider-like creatures with a taste for human flesh. When the last boy, Thomas arrives, and unwittingly kills one of them, the normal happenings of the maze begin to go awry. The boys become restless trying to find a way out and answers as to why they were brought to the maze in the first place. Thomas seems to be the key to their escape, but he will have to gather the boys and the final arrival, a girl named Teresa together to brave the maze and find a way home.

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Taraji Vs. Idris! “No Good Deed” is just Good Indeed!

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The box office can be a tricky place, especially when a new entry is up against late summer blockbusters. However, “No Good Deed” has managed to shake Tinsel Town with a number one debut and amazing reviews. Possibly one of the most well marketed films of the year; this suspense thriller stars Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba. Both stars are considered cinematic gold, but never in films where they are the main stars. All this changed when they ceased being Taraji and Idris and temporarily donned the roles of Terri and Colin. Terri is a former prosecuting attorney turned housewife and Idris is a murderer on the run. Through a surprising plot twist their paths are unwittingly crossed. Murder, danger, betrayal and drama are rife in this thriller as both struggle to take the other down!

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Fame, Fortune, and Hope! “Beyond The Lights” shows the healing power of love!

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Fame and fortune seem to be the aftermath of dreams fulfilled. After all, who do you know does not want to be loved and admired by the world at large? It is as close to immortality as any human may ever get. However, for some people fame and fortune have a dark side and a heart wrenching downfall that no episode of “UnSung,” or “Behind The Scenes” can ever truly capture. “Beyond The Lights” is an upcoming film, from the director of “Love & Basketball,” telling the story of Noni Jean (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a young and sensational singer forced into the limelight by her overbearing mother. Troubled and desperate she tries to commit suicide but is saved by a police officer named Kaz (Nate Parker). The two seem to find what they need in one another, but her fame and mother, threaten to tear them apart.

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The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are Shell Shockingly Amazing!

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New York City’s resident “Heroes in a Half Shell” are back and revamped! Say goodbye to your goofy, pudgy animated turtles of the nineties and hello to four mean, green fighting machines! The Teenage Mutant Turtles have a realistic face lift, each character grittier, but are still true to their animated personalities. Their origins, however, have been slightly modified. Instead of accidental freaks of nature, they are instead the side effects of some fine genetic engineering. Mutagen, and not ooze, is the progenitor of their creation! Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello unwittingly become New York’s guardians after The Foot Clan emerges to terrorize its citizens. Bent on ruling the city and driven by power, The Shredder, leads his legions to take down the city by any means necessary!

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Let’s Be Insane, Let’s NOT Be Losers! Damon Wayans Jr.’s “Let’s Be Cops” is a Hilarious Hit!

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Are you thirtysomething and thoroughly threw with the current state of your life. Then you will love “Let’s Be Cops!” Damon Wayans and Jake Johnson play two thirty year old men trying to scratch out a worthwhile existence in Los Angeles. Nothing is going right for them in their careers or love lives. Things begin to change after they unwittingly show up at a masquerade party dressed as cops. They leave the gala feeling down, but notice the uniforms give them an otherworldly sex appeal and authority. Immediately, they begin to the impersonations overboard and wind up over their heads when they cross the path of a notorious crime boss. How they manage to get through this is nothing short of hilarious and miraculous. You will swear they are taking police lessons from “Bonkers D. Bobcat!”

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