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Grade: A-

Like many other curious movie-goers, I saw Frozen in theaters only after being relentlessly pelted with hype. I found, despite its rather half-baked storyline, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Idina Menzel’s soaring Broadway vocals were as genuinely as thrilling as Kristen Bell’s delicate melodies. The finale of true love saving the day being the familial bond between sisters subverted the dozens of Disney animated antecedents and was legitimately refreshing.

However, even after my many, many sessions of trying my best to “Let It Go” as the soundtrack played in my car, I still could not get over the plot holes. Why did Elsa have magic? Why didn’t Anna? Why did their parents leave? Why did they go to the trolls only to completely ignore their advice and purposefully traumatize their own children?

frozen 2 movie poster

Like any respectable sequel, “Frozen 2,” not only attempts answers some of these questions, but also expands on the world of Arendelle. We’re treated to more magical lore and a deepening of Arendelle history, and storylines with character development for our three favorite humans and singular magical snowman. We are witness as each of our main cast begins to experience growing pains.

Elsa (Idina Menzel) is a ball of nerves, always trying to what is best for the kingdom, but ignoring what is best for her. She hears a call of magic and does everything she can to deny the pull. Anna (Kristen Bell) is so constantly worried for her sister and her powers she’s afraid to have her own life away from Elsa. Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) is coming to the realization that his feelings for Anna are something more and he struggles to find the right way and time to propose marriage. Olaf (Jonathan Groff), the closest to any child character, begins to wonder about the permanence of things and if any of what he’s experiencing will make sense when he’s older.

frozen 2 movie poster elsa and anna hey

While many of the questions from “Frozen” are answered, “Frozen 2″ presents us with a new avalanche of questions and themes. What do you do when you find out your ancestors committed horrific acts of betrayal? How do you handle new, negative emotions in the confusion of growing up? How do you push through the grief after a devastating loss? How do you deal with the vulnerabilities of being in love and how can you be a good partner and model healthy behavior when your loved one needs help with a situation that doesn’t center you? These themes and questions are undoubtedly more mature than than those presented in “Frozen,” but in the six years since its release the audience has matured as well. And as I’m sure all parents are very aware of, there will be repeat viewings, during which these themes and answers will hopefully stick.

Much like the themes and characters, the music of “Frozen 2″ is more complex than that of its predecessor. These songs do far more with melody, lyric, humor, and heart. Elsa’s duet with the forest spirits on “Into the Unknown,” is nothing short of magical. Kristoff’s “Lost in the Woods,” a send up of 80’s rock ballads, complete with hair tossing and guitar riffs had the audience in stitches and “The Next Right Thing” will definitely make it on to more than a few adults’ playlists. As a whole and as separate pieces they’re all much stronger and more satisfying, but there isn’t one clear, immediate stand out that could dethrone “Let It Go.”

We may need a “Frozen 3” just to give our favorite set of sisters a proper send off! Catch “Frozen 2” in theaters everywhere this Friday, November 22nd!

Written By: Maria Jackson

Movie News

Warner Bros. Drops Ava DuVernay’s “New Gods” Film from Roster

In a surprising turn of events, Warner Bros. has opted to cancel Ava DuVernay’s “New Gods” film and the Aquaman spinoff movie, “The Trench.”

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ava duvernay new gods movie the trench canceled

In a surprising turn of events, Warner Bros. has opted to cancel Ava DuVernay’s “New Gods” film and the Aquaman spinoff movie, “The Trench.”

new gods

The New Gods

“New Gods” is based off a race of fictional characters of the same name created by Jack Kirby. These “New Gods” are beings from an alternate universe, The Fourth World, dominated by two planets, New Genesis and Apokolips, who are constantly at war. The latter world has a number of heroes and villains who have been both allies and enemies to DC Comics’ superheroes. The New God, Steppenwolf, was the primary antagonist of Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder’s versions of “The Justice League” movie.

As aforementioned, “The Trench” is a spinoff of Warner Bros.’ highly successful “Aquaman” film, set in an area of the Earth’s oceans haunted by Atlanteans who became monsters, warped from their time trapped there for generations. In the Aquaman film it was the place the titular character’s mother, Atlanna, was imprisoned for having him.

ava duvernay aquaman the trench movie canceled

Monsters from “The Trench” in Aquaman

This news comes on the heels of the company going through a complete overhaul of its DC Comics based superhero properties in film, streaming on HBO Max, and its television series on The CW, dubbed the “Arrowverse” (an interconnected series of shows including Arrow, The Flash, Black Lightning, Supergirl, Superman & Lois, Batwoman, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Stargirl).

Warner Bros. and DC Comics released a statement concerning the cancellations, “As part of our DC slate, some legacy  development titles including New Gods and The Trench will not be moving forward. We thank our partners Ava DuVernay, Tom King, James Wan and Peter Safran for their time and collaboration during this process and look forward to our continued partnership with them on other DC stories. The projects will remain in their skillful hands if they were to move forward in the future.”

Ava DuVernay would have been the first African-American woman to lead a superhero film for Warner Bros. and DC Comics. Ava has not released an official statement concerning her film’s cancellation but did tweet the following:

Although Ava will not be doing “New Gods” for the foreseeable future. However, she will still be at the helm of The CW’s latest superhero series, “Naomi,” set to debut this fall.

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Movie Reviews

Lanking Films’ “The Black Love Project” is Black, Bold, & BEAUTIFUL

There are times when we feel like we have seen ten million documentaries that cover the same things when it comes from the Black LGBTQ community of Atlanta. We often wonder what’s new, riveting, or inspiring. (Please not another influencer, “socialite,” or obnoxious reality personality) Well, recently we were afforded a glimpse at something BEAUTIFUL–Lanking Films “The Black Love Project.”

Grade: A+

“The Black Love Project,” created by Lando King, is a documentary showcasing ten Black Gay Couples as they discuss their relationships and love in a candid and vulnerable set of interviews.

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the black love project movie poster

There are times when we feel like we have seen ten million documentaries that cover the same things when it comes from the Black LGBTQ community of Atlanta. We often wonder what’s new, riveting, or inspiring. (Please not another influencer, “socialite,” or obnoxious reality personality) Well, recently we were afforded a glimpse at something BEAUTIFUL–Lanking Films “The Black Love Project.”

Grade: A+

“The Black Love Project,” created by Lando King, is a documentary showcasing ten Black Gay Couples as they discuss their relationships and love in a candid and vulnerable set of interviews.

the black love project

The couples involved range from popular OnlyFans adult content creators to indie artists and fashionistas. The scope of these participants is both noted and interesting.

For us, we have never Ryan “Rah Rah” Kennedy be so open or vulnerable in any relationship, and we were surprised to find Jaydee of Global Bros. is in a relationship. The questions we have concerning the inner workings of the latter are immense and interesting.

However, it is the relationship between Tramel and Kiid Fro we found to be the most relatable. You can tell these two make up for one another’s shortcomings in spirit, emotion, and love while also having a strong, growing, and seemingly unbreakable bond tethering them to one another. There’s is a love at work, we bow in understanding.

The spectrum of Black gay love showcased in this film was inspiring, evoking a type of hope that even the most jaded of hearts has to acknowledge. A screening was shown at Mixx Atlanta Nightclub on Valentine’s Day attended by noteworthy members of Atlanta’s Black LGBT community; Carl Levonzell, LaMarr Allen, Array, and Davien Harlis. 

lando king

Lando King

Kudos to Lando King and everyone in the production of this documentary. When is part two coming? The community needs it. Dare to do and be different guys, it is a great look!

You can click here to view “The Black Love Project”

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Movie Reviews

Zendaya & John David Washington Are Beautifully Toxic in Netflix’s “Malcolm & Marie!”

Netflix’s “Malcolm & Marie,” starring John David Washington and Zendaya, respectively, showcases a young couple in love and toxicity as they navigate the ups and down of their relationship and individual wins and failures.

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malcolm and marie movie poster netflix

Netflix’s “Malcolm & Marie,” starring John David Washington and Zendaya, respectively, showcases a young couple in love and toxicity as they navigate the ups and down of their relationship and individual wins and failures.

Grade: B-

malcolm and marie netflix

The film begins with Malcolm on an emotional high as he returns home from the premiere of his latest film. He is confident that the critics will love it and finally see him as a powerhouse to be respected in Hollywood. His girlfriend, Marie, however, is bothered–and eventually vocal–about Malcolm forgetting to thank her in his acknowledgements at the premiere.

He sees her as selfish and negative. She, in turn, sees him as forgetful and a fraud for not only failing to acknowledge her; but in part using her battle with drug addiction as the story of his film. After a series of arguments and a dialogue that shows a relationship built around codependency and toxicity, you soon realize that the love between this couple is not enough to conquer their respective insecurities and demons.

The film, in black and white, is reminiscent of the simple settings used for many student films and plays recently formatted to film like Fences and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Most of the film is set in Malcolm and Marie’s home or the yard surrounding it. While this is great for a play it tends to bore visual audiences who would love to see more of the world the characters live in. For insance, the two of them discuss a number of characters and instances in their pasts we would have loved to seen. This would have given us a fuller picture of just what kind of damage Malcolm and Marie are dealing with besides their reciprocated emotional abuse.

malcolm and marie netflix

MALCOLM & MARIE (L-R): ZENDAYA as MARIE, JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON as MALCOLM. NETFLIX © 2021

However, this film was shot in under two weeks and created during the height of the pandemic when Hollywood suspended production. Both actors did take a risk by continuing on with this film. Interestingly, the controversy surrounding the film comes from the age gap between John at 36 and Zendaya at 24, which she addressed recently in a BuzzFeed interview. “I’ve played a 16-year-old since I was 16,” she admits, “You have to remember people also grew up with me as a child…It’s like watching, I guess, your younger sibling — now they’re grown, and you’re not ready for it.””It’s hard for people to wrap [their heads] around the idea that I am grown in real life, even though I do play a teenager on television still.” John, however, is unruffled by the age gap backlash, in a recent interview with Variety he states he “wasn’t concerned about it.”

Malcolm & Marie is definitely worth watching, if for no other reason than to learn what NOT to say to your significant other and to see what verbal and emotional abuse look like. You can catch it streaming now on Netflix and in some independent or artistic theaters nationwide.

 

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