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Disney and Pixar always have a way of making films that are hilarious, heartwarming, and above all us tearjerkers! The latest installment to their family of CGI films, “Onward,” is no less amazing or emotional! It’s a coming of age story that transforms one brother and still closure, for another.

Grade: A

onward movie

The story is set in a fictional world technology has taken the place of magic. Magic is all but forgotten and out of practice, until two elf brothers, Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt) are left a magical staff by their late father on the former’s birthday. The staff possess The Phoenix Crystal, a magical gem that can resurrect a person for a single day. Somehow, the crystal breaks and only revives the lower half of their father. At Barley’s behest–and his love of magic–the two go on a hilarious, but heartwarming “quest” to find another Phoenix Crystal to fully revive their father before their day with him runs out. There are pixies, booby traps, a manticore (a mythical beast typically depicted as having the body of a lion, the face of a man, and the sting of a scorpion.), a centaur stepfather, and even a dragon! Still through it all there’s brotherhood. We love it!

onward movie

“Onward” is definitely a film for the entire family. However, it addresses the loss of a parent and closure, two issues seldom discussed so thoroughly in a film targeting children. Losing a parent can leave a whole in someone’s heart. For people who have not lost their parents, you will find yourself cherishing them, and for those who have it may force you to confront lingering surroundings their death. The last real film to address the loss of a parent actually came from Disney and Pixar as well, “Coco.” Similar to “Onward,” it is a journey of two family members on a quest of restoration which ultimately becomes one of closure.

There is not a single moment of the film you will not enjoy with characters so layered and sweet you will probably love them for the rest of your life. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt really prove they can do it all–be superheroes (Spider-Man and Star-Lord, respectively from the Marvel Studios films), save the world, and even do voice acting! Chris revealed in a recent interview how he relates to his character, Barley. “I was Ian and my brother was Barley,” Pratt said at a press conference. “My brother, for instance, always wanted to be an actor. He did plays. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing. Being an actor is awesome. I want to be an actor.'” Tom, however,  is no one’s older brother. In reality, he is instead the oldest of four siblings. Thus he does not relate to his Ian being in that manner. He does however reveal his younger brothers have learned one very important lesson from him. “How to be gracious losers when they lose at golf — that’s what I’ve taught them,” Holland said. “I’m a terrible loser, so they’ve learned what not to do from their big brother.”

Spring is almost here, and what better way to start it off than with a little brotherly love. Be sure to catch “Onward” in a theater near you today, and nationwide!

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#BlackGirlMagic! “Candyman” Director, Nia DaCosta, Tapped to Direct “Captain Marvel” Sequel!

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) may be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, however that is not stopping Marvel Studios from moving forward with plans for its multibillion dollar franchise. 

In fact the Captain Marvel sequel is moving forward with Candyman reboot director, Nia DaCosta, as its director!

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nia dacosta director of captain marvel 2

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) may be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, however that is not stopping Marvel Studios from moving forward with plans for its multibillion dollar franchise.

In fact the Captain Marvel sequel is moving forward with Candyman reboot director, Nia DaCosta, as its director!

Nia has already proven herself to be a capable and talented director, and her hiring shows Marvel Studios’ promise to diversity in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

nia dacosta director of captain marvel 2

We are not sure what the budget of the film will be, but it stands to become the largest tentpole for a Black female director, perhaps surpassing Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle In Time. 

As you recall in the first film, set in the nineties, Captain Marvel liberated the remaining Skrulls from the Kree Empire, and left Earth to help them find a  new and safe homeworld. However, she left behind her best friend and her goddaughter, Monica Rambeau, who in the comics, actually becomes “another” Captain Marvel, with the power to convert her body into any form of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum (cosmic rays, gamma rays, neutrinos, etc.)

Teyonah Paris cast as Monica Rambeau

Teyonah Paris cast as Monica Rambeau

Monica is a longtime Avenger, and for awhile served as the team’s leader. Teyonah Paris is set to begin portraying her in the upcoming Disney+ series, WandaVision. Brie Larson will return as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel.

Seeing Black women powerfully in front of and behind the cameras will indeed be a treat. However, we are just glad to see the MCU moving forward. What is the universe like now with Thanos gone, but The Avengers currently down Iron Man, Black Widow, and Captain America. There are still other threats and villains out there. There’s so much left to take down, protect, and “avenge!”

Congrats Nia!

What do you think of Marvel Studios’ decision to hire Nia DaCosta? Sound off in the comments’ section below!

 

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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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