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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.

 

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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