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Amazing, entertaining, breathtaking, and captivating were all the words used to describe Disney’s animated classic, The Lion King, and now they ring more true for its latest live action remake! Mufasa, Simba, Nala, Scar, Timon, and Pumbaa are all back and REAL. The story is still largely the same, but our characters have more depth and soul thanks their all too realistic hair and skin. Simba (Donald Glover/Childish Gambino), a young lion cub and the rightful king of The Pridelands must overcome the fear and demons of his past to save his kingdom and stop his treacherous uncle, Scar, from destroying the Circle of Life and his late father, Mufasa’s, legacy.

the lion king cast 2019

Disney has definitely been on it with its live action remakes, but The Lion King, in particular holds a special place in the hearts of so many. Remaking it only would prove challenging with bringing this animated world to life, while re-captivating the magic of the original animated film. The voice actors for the characters truly accomplished this by combining elements of the original film, the Broadway musical, and new layers to characters like Nala (Beyonce) and Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor),  and Shenzi; (Florence Kasumba) and expanded roles for Sarabi (Alfred Woodard) and Zazu. Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) are as hilarious as ever, in many ways reminding us of now grown fans of the film just how sarcastic we have become when it comes to the world. This is truly a film your entire family must see and bond over. Selfless duty, nobility, justice, and responsibillity are just a few life lessons The Lion King has to teach a new generation. Be the kings–and queens–we know you all are and support this film!

Grade: A-

What We Liked

the lion king logo 2019

-The computer generated characters are so realistic we felt as if we were watching a scene from National Geographic Explorer!

-The expounded roles of various characters. Learning why Scar hates Mufasa and wanted to be king, seeing how and why Nala bravely left to find help, and even Zazu proving to be a brace and loyal servant.

-The atmosphere and setting of the film truly bring the Motherland to life. You feel as though you are right there in the savanna, desert, and jungle with the characters.

-Meeting new characters in Timon & Pumbaa’s jungle. They were so cute and funny; and made those bugs look delicious. “Slimy, yet satisfying!”

Beyonce is pretty good as a voice actress. She brought a sweetness coupled with sheer toughness to Nala’s expanded role.

 

What We Loved

mufasa lion king 2019

Mufasa

-“Can You Feel The Love Tonight” is just as magical and romantic as it was when Elton John first wrote it. Beyonce and Donald Glover definitely did it justice.

-The exquisiteness of the detail in every scene and every movement of the characters. This is indeed breaking edge cinematic technology. There should definitely be a live action remake of The Lion King 2 with Kiara and Kovu’s story.

-Mufasa is still voiced by James Earl Jones. We could not imagine this iconic Disney character being voiced by anyone else.

-Scar’s design. He was ugly and looked like a scrawny, diseased ridden lion.

 

What We Hated

scar and simba fight the lion king 2019

-“Be Prepared” and “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” are lackluster in this rendition. Here the original animated scenes fared far better.

 

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Janelle Monae Approached Ryan Coogle About Playing “Storm” in “Black Panther” Sequel!

“Black Panther 2” may be nearly two years away, but that is not stopping fans from dream casting their favorite stars as the X-Men’s resident weather controlling mutant, Storm. In the past Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp have (controversially) portrayed the iconic superhero on the Big Screen.

However, now it seems, singer and actress, Janelle Monae is putting in her bid to play Storm in the upcoming “Black Panther” sequel. In fact, she even approached the film’s writer and director, Ryan Coogler, about the opportunity! 

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janelle monae storm

“Black Panther 2” may be nearly two years away, but that is not stopping fans from dream casting their favorite stars as the X-Men’s resident weather controlling mutant, Storm. In the past Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp have (controversially) portrayed the iconic superhero on the Big Screen.

However, now it seems, singer and actress, Janelle Monae is putting in her bid to play Storm in the upcoming “Black Panther” sequel. In fact, she even approached the film’s writer and director, Ryan Coogler, about the opportunity!

janelle monae storm

She reportedly nominated herself for the role to Ryan, who stopped by her Atlanta-based recording studio when he was in town, working on the first movie.

“I definitely have thrown it out there,” Monae told Empire. “One of my dreams has always been to play Storm. I don’t know if she comes in Black Panther, but it would be a dream to have her in it. I don’t know where they are with that. A lot of women have played Storm and they’ve done an exceptional job, and I would love to be in that line of artists and get to do Storm justice.”

We are here for Janelle’s desire to be Storm and we hope she will make an appearance in the “Black Panther” sequel, introducing her to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As you may already know, Storm is one of Black Panther’s love interest. The two eventually married and for a time she was Queen of Wakanda. However, the marriage was short lived after a war between the X-Men and Avengers forced them to take sides against one another.

storm and black panther

Janelle would indeed do the role of Storm justice, however, we would prefer to see a darker-skinned Black woman portray her. Storm is a native of Kenya, and grew up in Cairo, Egypt. She’s traditionally been portrayed as dark-skinned in the comics and we can stand to see a woman of her complexion empowered and all mighty in these movies. Positive reinforcement is real!

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RZA’s “Cut Throat City” Opens in Theaters Nationwide July 17, 2020!

Texas-based distributor Well Go USA and Patriot Pictures announced today that they have set a July 17, 2020 theatrical release date for RZA’s anticipated crime thriller Cut Throat City. 

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cut throat city

Texas-based distributor Well Go USA and Patriot Pictures announced today that they have set a July 17, 2020 theatrical release date for RZA’s anticipated crime thriller Cut Throat City. 

Originally slated to make its world premiere as an official selection at SXSW 2020, the feature will be one of the first films to open wide theatrically as theaters begin to reopen nationwide. Well Go USA plans to release the film on 300 screens across the U.S. Directed by RZA and written by P.G. Cuschieri, Cut Throat City stars Demetrius Shipp Jr., Denzel Whitaker, Isaiah Washington, Kat Graham, Keean Johnson, Shameik Moore, and Tip T.I. Harris, with Eiza González, Ethan Hawke, Terrence Howard, and Wesley Snipes.

cut throat city

Cut Throat City is the story of four boyhood friends in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward who return after Hurricane Katrina to find their homes decimated, with no jobs and no help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Out of options, they reluctantly turn to a local gangster, who offers them one shot at turning their situations around – by pulling off a dangerous heist in the heart of the city. When the job goes bad, the friends find themselves on the run, hunted by two relentless detectives and a neighborhood warlord who thinks they stole the heist money.

“What happens in the black community when men are dreaming of getting out, whether they’re using their music, their artistic expression, or academics, and yet, based on the system and based on natural disasters, those dreams and those aspirations turn into desperation? Well this takes place in Cut Throat City. I’m proud to see this film come to fruition and to tell a story about black men living in a poor community trying to figure it out,” said RZA.

cut throat city

“Coming up on the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it’s more important than ever to amplify and celebrate black voices. We are proud to be working with RZA on this powerful film,” said Doris Pfardrescher, CEO of Well Go USA.

“RZA’s Zen and martial arts of the mind philosophy is inspiring. This story has attracted a cast that will show our audiences the aftermath of Katrina and its effects on the community of the lower ninth in New Orleans. We are proud to share the voices of the community and bring light to the problems they are still dealing with, even 15 years later,” said Michael Mendelsohn of Patriot Pictures.

Well Go USA and Patriot Pictures will be donating a portion of the film’s proceeds to lowernine.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the long-term recovery of New Orleans’ historic Lower Ninth Ward.

Cut Throat City is produced by Michael Mendelsohn, Sean Lydiard, Elliott Michael Smith, Will Clevinger and Kyle Tekiela. The film is financed by Michael Mendelsohn’s Union Patriot Capital Management II, and produced by Patriot Pictures and Rumble Riot. XYZ Films serves as executive producers and worldwide sales.

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Batman Returns! Michael Keaton Set to Reprise Iconic Role in New “Flash” Movie!

Some actors are associated with certain iconic roles no matter how long ago they were (nearly thirty years to be exact). This is definitely the case with Michael Keaton, who portrayed Bruce Wayne/Batman in “Batman” (1989) and “Batman Returns” (1992). His association with these two films is highly regarded for bringing the portrayal of Batman back to his original darker, gritty roots.

Now, Michael Keaton has been tapped once again to don the cap and cowl of Batman, reprising his role in the upcoming “Flash” standalone film.

Here, Keaton will take on the role of a much more dangerous Batman–a “Flashpoint Batman”–born from an alternate timeline  (dubbed “The Flashpoint” in the comics) where The Flash alters his past and never becomes a superhero. Consequently the world at large is darker, more dangerous, and embroiled in war.

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michael keaton flashpoint batman

Some actors are associated with certain iconic roles no matter how long ago they were (nearly thirty years to be exact). This is definitely the case with Michael Keaton, who portrayed Bruce Wayne/Batman in “Batman” (1989) and “Batman Returns” (1992). His association with these two films is highly regarded for bringing the portrayal of Batman back to his original darker, gritty roots.

Now, Michael Keaton has been tapped once again to don the cap and cowl of Batman, reprising his role in the upcoming “Flash” standalone film.

Here, Keaton will take on the role of a much more dangerous Batman–a “Flashpoint Batman”–born from an alternate timeline  (dubbed “The Flashpoint” in the comics) where The Flash alters his past and never becomes a superhero. Consequently the world at large is darker, more dangerous, and embroiled in war.

michael keaton flashpoint batman

Fanart of Michael Keaton as “Flashpoint” Batman

Batman in this world is Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father, who witnesses his son being killed in front of him during a mugging gone awry. Thomas becomes Batman–albeit a drunk who is far more violent and willing to kill his enemies. Just as surprising is that his wife and Bruce’s mother, Martha Wayne, is driven insane and becomes this world’s Joker!

michael keaton flashpoint batman

The plot of this upcoming Flash film will seemingly expand The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and introduce audiences to a multiverse. This is not the first time DC Comics have played with the concept of a multiverse. As you may recall, in December of last year and January of this year they aired the major crossover television event, “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” on The CW which declared, outside the Arrowverse, every live action DC Comics based, live action series or movie was a universe to itself connecting past and present series like Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, Black Lightning, Stargirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Lucifer, Birds of Prey, The Titans, Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, Batman (the campy sixties series), and many more!

michael keaton flashpoint batman

We are excited for Michael Keaton to be Flashpoint Batman. It is very fitting and only coming on the heels of the character’s increasing prominence in the comics where surprisingly he has become not only an enemy of his son, but The Batman Family at large.

We will keep you posted as more about this story develops. Welcome back Michael!

 

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