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It has been a little while since we received a new film from indie filmmaker, Davien Harlis. However, it was worth the wait!

Davien’s newest film, “Some Kind Of Christmas” is a “different” kind of holiday film filled with laughter, tragedy, sex appeal, and most of all family!

Grade: A-

tomathan mcginnis some kind of christmas movie davien harlis

Some Kind Of Christmas centers on Gary (Tomathan McGinnis), the VP of a successful pet crematorium, who opts to finally go home for Christmas to introduce his family to his boyfriend. His plans go awry when his boyfriend abruptly breaks up with him, leaving him spiraling. His best friend and coworker, steps in and hires him a “date” for Christmas on a dating app called “Ken.”

Gary and the Ken (also the alias of the date, played by Davien Harlis) get off to a rocky start when the latter thinks he may just be looking for sex. Ken soon learns, however, Gary’s family is anything but traditional. His parents are traditional and conservative, his older brother is rude and seen as The Golden Child, and his younger sister, is married to an elderly man and carries around a baby doll…

Ken presented as Gary’s friend, witnessing the ups, downs, of a seemingly nice family in need of some real healing and better communication across the board. It really is “Some Kind Of Christmas.”

We have to say we really loved this film! To learn that Davien gathered everything he needed for it in three months and filmed it in six days is a true testament to his abilities as a filmmaker and resourcefulness. The movie is heartwarming with family elements, but definitely spicy with its love scene (OH MY!)

The overall message of the film is togetherness and acceptance, something we can never learn enough about. These times are trying and we need to see family settling their differences and coming together for momentous events like the holidays.

We attended the 3 night premiere of “Some Kind Of Christmas” at CineVision Atlanta where a number of Atlanta’s Black and LGBT content creators and patrons gathered in support of Davien’s latest film. Many remember his first film, Red Carpet Hashtags & Heartbreak and were happy to see what is new with him. Noted attendees include Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning, Ebony Shinelle, Lyrik London, Brandon Karson Jordan, Alex Jante, JeTwahn of WeWereBorn, and Maurice Ravennah, CEO of U-Do TV.

You can catch “Some Kind Of Christmas” streaming now on www.SomeKindofChristmas.com!

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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Movie Reviews

Daniel Kaluuya & LaKeith Stanfied Shine in “Judas & The Black Messiah!”

“Judas & The Black Messiah” tells the story of Black Panther Party leader, Fred Hampton, and his downfall thanks largely by Black FBI undercover informant, William O’Neal, played Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, respectively.

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judas and the black messiah movie poster

“Judas & The Black Messiah” tells the story of Black Panther Party leader, Fred Hampton, and his downfall thanks largely by Black FBI undercover informant, William O’Neal, played Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, respectively.

Grade: A+

judas and the black messiah movie poster

Set in the sixties, towards the end of the Civil Rights Movement, the film is a biopic of sorts showing just how intricately the FBI worked with local law enforcement and informants to infiltrate and decimate Black Panther Parties across the country. Fred’s chapter of the Black Panthers was based in Chicago and began to grow in power and popularity, not only with African-Americans, but other minorities and even poor whites. This coalition garners fears of rebellion and miscegenation from law enforcement and powerful federal officials like J. Edgar Hoover.

William O’Neal is a cunning hustler, known to use fake FBI badges to swindle people out of their cars, is given a chance at clemency, if he helps the FBI infiltrate slowly infiltrate Fred’s chapter and keep them one step ahead of the Black Panthers. He quickly rose up the ranks by becoming his driver, using a car, provided to him by his FBI handler. O’Neal reluctantly assists with logistics, secret safe houses, and weapon caches as he ultimately becomes head of the Panthers’ security–a true Judas.

daniel kaluuya as fred hampton in judas and the black messiah

Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton

Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya equally shine in their respective roles. Lakeith yet again proves himself to be a versatile actor, this time taking on the persona of a person most African-Americans would rather forget all together. Every half-smile, or slinking move he makes in the movement gives you the feeling he truly is up to no good and means no good for anyone.

In a recent interview with CNN the actors reunited and discussed their roles. Lakeith spoke on how he was able to develop his character  “Because he was doing secret operations with the FBI, his identity and all the things about him, were not very well known, obviously, at the time,” Stanfield said. “So, I didn’t have a lot to work with, but I had his interview from [the documentary] ‘Eyes on the Prize’ [in which O’Neal appeared] and a couple of court transcripts, as well as a couple of stories of second-hand accounts and views of who he was and what he did.”

Daniel, even as a Black Brit, wholly embodied Fred Hampton’s persona. When you look at historic footage of Fred’s speeches, vernacular, and how he carried himself; you soon realized this is a man Daniel truly studied. “It’s not like I became him, I felt like he was there,” Kaluuya said. “I felt like he was coming through me, like he was in the room.”

The film reminds us of the trauma African-Americans have endured, even while fighting back. However, it more importantly reminds us of an age old saying, “All ‘skinfolk’ ain’t kinfolk.”

You can catch “Judas & The Black Messiah” in theaters and streaming on HBO Max this Friday, February 12th!

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Movie News

Fans Push Marvel to Cast Taylor Swift as X-Men’s Dazzler!

The fate of the X-Men and “mutantkind” is currently unknown in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). However, that is not stopping fans from pushing for singer Taylor Swift to be cast as the mutant superhero Dazzler!

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taylor swift as dazzler

The fate of the X-Men and “mutantkind” is currently unknown in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). However, that is not stopping fans from pushing for singer Taylor Swift to be cast as the mutant superhero Dazzler!

dazzler x-men marvel comics

Dazzler

Alison Blaire, AKA “Dazzler” was a mainstay of the X-Men during the eighties. She is a mutant born with the ability of photokinesis (light manipulation) by transmuting sound into light; allowing her to create anything from disorienting strobe light effects, energy blasts, laser beams, and even project holograms.

Like Taylor, Dazzler was also a pop star. Before she joined the X-Men she was a singer, and the character’s real world origin is unique in being she is the only comic book character who was created jointly by a comic book company and record label, Marvel Comics and Casablanca Records, respectively. Swift also looks like Dazzler; check out the fan art of her as Dazzler below!

Normally we do not agree with fan castings but we wholeheartedly support Taylor Swift being Dazzler if she and Marvel are both up to it! This, however, would not mark Dazzler’s first live action appearance. As you recall in X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) she made a brief appearance, portrayed by actress Halston Sage.

halston stage as dazzler x-men dark phoenix 2019 cameo

Halston Sage as “Dazzler” in “X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)”

There she appeared in a scene in the woods when the young X-Men were celebrating saving a team of astronauts. Dazzler performed, providing her own lighting. We definitely think had the franchise continued her character would have taken center stage in a following moving.

Fans everywhere are just waiting for the X-Men to join the MCU officially, and Marvel Studios’ president, Kevin Feige has vocalized the character appearing alongside The Avengers or even The Guardians of The Galaxy.

What do you all think of this casting push? Are you here for Taylor as Dazzler or not? Sound off in the comments’ section below!

 

 

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