Movie Review: Annabelle: Creation

This weekend I went to see the film, Annabelle: Creation. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the film is basically a prequel to the initial film titled Annabelle, which was preceded by the film, The Conjuring. Supposedly Annabelle is a real life demonically possessed doll.

So the story is that there is a demonic possession of this bizarre and very ugly looking doll because it serves as a conduit. For whatever reason people really like this doll and think that it is a good idea to give it to people as a gift so for years on end the doll is continuously passed around and is haunting everyone until it makes it way to the paranormal investigator couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warren couple were able to seize the doll and put it in a glass box where it is said to be blessed regularly by a priest in order to keep its evil at bay.

Without going into too much detail and without spoiling the movie too much Annabelle: Creation is about a little girl who died tragically and her parents allowed for her soul to possess a doll and it inevitably went wrong. Years later, there are some orphan girls with nowhere to stay and the parents of the little girl who died offered to let the orphan girls to stay at their home and all hell breaks loose.

 

Honestly, I wasn’t really feeling the first Annabelle movie, but I still decided to give Annabelle: Creation a shot because I love horror movies. I felt like they had a good chance to redeem themselves and make this ugly doll have a dark story.

I felt like it had a lot of potential especially because it was supposed to be based on a true story. However, it was very underwhelming. There’s a few moments where you might jump, but even the corniest horror can take advantage of the element of surprise. At one point in the movie they let you see the demon in plain sight and it was very disappointing it looked like a mix between Spiderman’s Green Goblin and X-Men’s Nightcrawler.

There were a lot of moments where the plot got messy and didn’t make much sense. The movie was supposed to give a backstory on the doll, but it was really just a waste of a 2 hour movie. It started really slow and then finally led to the “scary” parts. It was funny how basically the evil that originated was sought out twice by the “victims” in the movie. There was no zero explanation on how the evil went from a porcelain doll to a raggedy ann doll.

 

I would give this movie a 2 out of 5.

Movie Review: Detroit

Today I went to see the film, Detroit, which is an American period crime drama based on the events that occurred at the Algiers Motel in 1967 Detroit.

The film begins by giving a little background on the great migration which is what lead to a lot of black people inhabiting places like Detroit, Illinois, Ohio, New York and etc. The migration stirred up a lot racial tension within those communities and ultimately led to a lack of equal opportunity for black people.

Prior to the incident at the Algiers Motel, there had been riots in the Southside of Detroit for days on end. There was a lot looting and a lot of innocent people being killed while the city was being occupied by the military as it has been deemed a “no man’s land” by Gov. George Romney (Yes, Mitt Romney’s father).

Melvin Dismukes, black man who just wants to stay out of the white man’s way and do anything to appease them. He’d even go out of his way to appease the soldiers and assist the police. He tries to save some of the black youth by intervening when they have issues with the police.

The movie features the group The Dramatics. After leaving their venue and missing out on their performance due to the riots, the group heads out, but decides to split as they did not want to be perceived as a gang. So two of them, Larry Reed of The Dramatics and his friend, Fred Temple ended up at the Algiers Motel. From that point on they were they were pretty much doomed.

The two ended up being a part of a police raid with other black men and two white women who were staying there at the motel. That night ended with 3 people dead and 9 injured. Dismukes Uncle Tom-like behavior gets him hemmed up with the officers who committed crimes against those innocent people that night.

The crimes the officers did go to court, but of course they were ultimately acquitted of their crimes (surprise!!) so no spoilers there. Reed had to go on with his life by facing the lost of his friend and more than likely coping with PTSD. According to end credits, he is still alive and well in Detroit.

As a black person, this movie was and always will be important to me because there are parts of black history that are never touched on in America’s whitewashed textbooks. To some degree I feel like this movie was whitewashed though. This movie definitely hits home for me because just two years ago there were riots in Baltimore for basically the same issue.. Police brutality. Isn’t it crazy how history repeats?

The film was thought provoking to say the least. It made me think should white filmmakers tell the story of black people through their white lens? I felt uneasy when I thought about it because I know that the way the industry is setup a lot of these stories can only be told through a white mouthpiece.

There were moments in the film where I feel like the writers and directors tried to maintain a good balance of good and bad with the white people. There were moments were the black men were being brutally beaten, but then some white savior would come out of nowhere and save them or look out for them.

The movie was about 2 hours long so I can only imagine how much time those people actually spent being held up in that motel by the police that night.

The really crazy part about the movie is that the police never actually found what they came there for. Most parts of the movie were filler because a lot of the information on that night is limited to the janky police investigation and the confessions from the victims.

 

Overall I would give this film a 4 out of 5.

Movie Review: Dark Tower

Yesterday I went to go see Dark Tower, which is a film based on Stephen King’s Dark Tower book series.

The movie begins by briefly stating that there is a dark tower at the center of the universe that protects everything in the universe and that the only the way the tower can be destroyed is by the mind of a child.

Jake is a teen with special abilities that make a “shiner.” through the utilization of his abilities as a shiner he teams up with one of the last gunslingers from the midworld in order to save this “dark tower” which is said to protect the universe. The dark tower is currently at risk because of this man in black AKA Walter who is a sorcerer with no real agenda besides destroying the tower, which is an awful short term goal if you ask me because I mean once he destroys the tower then what?

Roland realizes that Jake can be used to help lead him to Walter to get the revenge he’s oh so desperate for. Along their journey they fight off Walter’s illusions and sorcery all while dodging his henchmen and forest creatures. Roland basically babysits the boy. He pats him up every now and then even though he’s emotionally disconnected and just wants to seek revenge for his father’s death.

This film’s trailer initially had me pressed to go see this movie. The graphics, potential of the plot and the lead stars made me feel like they might be on to something with this Stephen King book adaption, but I left the theatre feeling like blah instead. Don’t get me wrong it had a few comedic moments and a few action packed scenes, but I feel like the writers and directors left me wanting more. Much of the plot did not make sense there were lots of gaps and it even felt rushed. Roland was just on the brink of death at one point in the movie and then all of a sudden Jake gets him an aspirin and he’s fine (???). The fight scene between Roland and Walter was even lazy. The ending was really unrealistic even for a fantasy movie.

 

Overall I would give this movie 3 out of 5.

Moonlight *Spoilers*

So I just recently watched the 8 Academy Award Nominated film, Moonlight. This coming of age film touches on the important issues that tend to be forgotten about or people turn a blind eye to. Drug addiction, adolescence, and sexual identity are all issues that the main character, Chiron faced. This film really tugged on my heart strings. There was a lot of heartache, but there were some triumphs.

 

The film is told in three parts which follow the key points in Chiron’s life.

fotorcreated

Little:

As a kid, Chiron also called Little is constantly bullied at school and his drug addicted mother, Paula doesn’t help much. Juan, a local drug dealer takes Chiron under his wing. Juan and his girlfriend, Teresa provide Chiron with a sort of safe haven. Chiron struggles to come to terms with his sexual identity all while dealing with his mother’s worsening drug habit as a child. Chiron endured during his childhood. His mother was not always around and whenever she was coming down from her high she would be aggressive towards him. He learns early on what the slur “faggot” meant and that Juan is a drug dealer who fed his mother’s crack addiction. However, Chiron still continued to hang out with Juan and Teresa as they sort of acted as his surrogate parents. Throughout his hardships, he managed to have one friend, Kevin. Kevin always seemed to randomly pop up whenever Chiron was down or going through it.

moonlight

Chiron:

Chiron is now a teenager still struggling with his identity.He’s still dealing with bullying only that is different is that now he’s in high school. In class, he deals with constant verbal and physical abuse from a bully, Terrell. After school, he would typically avoid Terrell and his crew and go to Juan and Teresa’s. In the film, it is clear that Juan died, but not much is said about what happened. One day after coming home and having his mother take all of the money Teresa gave him he sleeps at the train station, but unable to sleep comfortably he wanders to the beach. At the beach he bumps in Kevin, his childhood friend. They sit, talk and smoke some weed. At some point their conversation, the mood changes. Chiron and Kevin shared a deeply intimate moment that stuck with Chiron for the rest of his life. Despite their intimate moment, Kevin gave into peer pressure just a few days later at the hands of Chiron’s bully, Terrell. this time the bullying was apart of a hazing ritual. The hazing ritual resulted in Chiron being brutally beaten in front of his peers. Chiron felt there was no point in reporting to the authorities he broke down in his principal’s office and just kept saying you don’t even know. He felt and knew that pressing charges wouldn’t make a difference so the next day he took matters into his own hands. He returned to school the following day and beat Terrell over the back with a chair. Consequently, Chiron was arrested and sent to juvie in ATL.

moonlight-q

Black:

Years later, Chiron is now an adult. He became a drug dealer after someone from juvie put him on to it. Everything in his life was pretty slowed down and consistent. There were no traces of the insecure Chiron from Liberty City up until he gets a surprising phone call in the middle of the night. He picks up the phone thinking it is his mother calling him from rehab, but it is actually Kevin. The call has Chiron lost for words, but Kevin managed to keep the conversation going. The phone call ended with Kevin telling him that since he works at a restaurant whenever Chiron decides to visit Miami he’ll cook for him.  Shortly after that conversation Chiron visits his mother at the rehab facility she lives at. They have a heart wrenching conversation about her lack of love and care for him as a child and how regretful she is. The next day, Chiron drives from Atlanta to Miami to see Kevin. They sit and chat for awhile with mostly Kevin talking because Chiron seems apprehensive and unsure of Kevin. Kevin closes the restaurant and Chiron gives him a ride home. Back at Kevin’s place they seem to beat around the bush, but Chiron finally opens up. He says that Kevin is the only man he’s been intimate with and that he has never been with anyone else since. The film comes to a close with them embracing one another and talking.

moonlight-black-closeup

 

 

Review: there’s so much about this movie that I love. I love the all black cast. I loved how passionate the characters were. An LGBT movie was needed for the black community. I love and feel like there are so many parts of this movie that resonates with a lot of people. The young men who played Chiron as a child and teen did a great job. They had a big responsibility of understanding difficult issues and portraying them for the world to see and grasp. It was also interesting how Chiron never came out and explored after the moment he had with Kevin. In one of the last few scenes, he tells Kevin when he left Miami he built himself from the ground up and wanted to forget the things of his past. However, he never pretended to be straight or have any relationships with other men. It seemed as though that trip to Miami made him bring all of things he tried to put in the back of his mind back at the forefront for him to come to terms with. The writers and production team did a good job depicting a situation where there is beauty in the struggle.

Blizzard Movies/Tv Shows

If you live on the east coast I’m pretty sure you’re experiencing this blizzard. We’re all snowed in and bored so with that being said I’ll be spending my weekend watching movies and tv shows all day so I thought I’d share a few of my “must watch” movies and shows with you guys

  • Top Boy – British series following drug dealers in London
  • Girlhood – French movie about a Black teenage girl looking for acceptance and a way out of her troubled home life
  • Mississippi Damned – A movie that follows different members of an African American family that are struggling to get by in the south
  • Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 – Follows a woman as she seeks revenge on those that have wronged her
  • Sense 8 – supernatural series that focuses are 8 people who are somehow connected through a newfound power

By: S. Easley

 

Student Discounts

Being a student is pretty stressful but there are some perks.. Student discounts! Who doesn’t love to get discounts on food or any necessities? Here’s a list of places that offer discounts

Food Places

  • BURGER KING: 10% off
  • CHICK-FIL-A: free small drink with order
  • CHIPOTLE: free small drink with order
  • 
FIREHOUSE SUBS: their discounts may require a partnership with the school so please ask about the discount to see if stores not near campus still offer the discount with your ID
  • PIZZA HUT: 10-20% off (depending on store)
  • SUBWAY: 10% off (again at specific locations so please ask about it at your local store)
  • WAFFLE HOUSE: 10% off

Clothing stores and online shopping 

  • AMAZON: 6-month free trial on Amazon Prime
  • ANN TAYLOR: 20% off
  • BANANA REPUBLIC: 15% off full-priced items
  • CHARLOTTE RUSSE: 10% off
  • GOODWILL: 10% off
  • 
J-CREW: 15% off in-store
  • 
JOANNS: 10% discount (Please know for people 14 and older, they offer discounts if you bring in your report card as well! They also require you to sign up online. Link in the name.)
  • KATE SPADE: 15% off
  • 
THE LIMITED: 15% off in-store
  • RALPH LAUREN: 15% off
  • 
SALLY’S BEAUTY SUPPLY: sign up online for coupons
  • STEVE MADDEN: 10% off
  • 
TARGET: varies, mainly online
  • TOM’S: 10% cash back
  • TOPSHOP: 10% off
  • URBAN OUTFITTERS: 10% off on Student Days. (You can sign up online for alerts when these are. Link in name)

Electronics and tech.. 

  • ADOBE: 60% on Creative Cloud
  • APPLE: various savings (You must input your school and other information. Link in name)
  • BEST BUY: sign up for student discounts and coupons
  • DELL: discounts on laptops and tablets
  • FUJITSU: 5% on LIFEBOOK notebook and PCs. (You must call 1-800-FUJITSU for the deal)
  • HP: various discounts through website
  • 
MICROSOFT: various discounts. (Check through your school as well to see if they have partnerships with Microsoft)
  • NORTON: various discounts through website
  • SONY: up to 10% off (You must register to get the discount. Link in name)
  • SPRINT: various discounts (Check with your provider. Link in name)
  • T-MOBILE: 10% off monthly bill (Check with your provider. Link in name)
  • VERIZON: up to 20% off monthly bill (Link in name is to the EMPLOYEE DISCOUNTS page. Input your school email to see if you qualify.)

Entertainment (Books, Movies, Traveling,& etc.)

  • AMC THEATRES: discounted tickets on Thursdays (Check local listings)
  • AMTRAK:sign up for a Student Advantage Card and get 10% off tickets (Link for signing up in name)
  • BARNES AND NOBLE’S:various discounts through website (Link in name. If you don’t click SHOP through the above link the discount won’t go through!)
  • CARNEGIE HALL: $10 student rush tickets on select performances
  • CINEMARK THEATRES: discounted tickets on student days (Check local listings, Link in name)
  • NEW YORK TIMES: discounted print and unlimited online (Requires signing up. Link in name)
  • WALL STREET JOURNAL: $1 a week (Requires signing up. Link in name)

Source

By: S. Easley

#StraightOuttaCompton

By: S. Easley

If you haven’t seen the captivating film you need to get up and go see it now! Lol. I’m fairly young but I do know that NWA is very much so apart of and influential to the hip hop culture today. The movie will make you laugh, cry, and dance. The movie had a lot to cover, but they did a good job of covering some important points in their careers and friendship. It was great to see Ice Cube’s son, O’shea Jackson jr. portraying his father in the film too you’d almost forget it’s not really Ice Cube himself. The other young actors did a good job with portraying Eazy E, Dr. Dre and key people. The movie made you feel like you were time traveling. One crucial point of the movie was when they discussed police brutality which is really relevant today… Just history repeating eh?

Definitely check out Straight Outta Compton you won’t regret it.

Netflix Documentary

By: S. Easley

So if you couldn’t tell already I’m really into films & documentaries. Just last night I watched a documentary about sex workers called Hot Girls Wanted. A lot of people weren’t pleased with it for personal reasons I’m guessing. But for me it was interesting to see how it took away the general idea that these young girls are just sexual beings, but instead shedding light on them and letting them speak for themselves. These women are individuals with goals, dreams, and personalities. They’re individuals and that’s what most people fail to see once they realize they’re sex workers. These young girls who range from 18 to about 21 are amateur porn stars. The doc focuses on 4 girls mainly and shows just what life is like as an amateur porn star. Some rationalize that though they’re uncomfortable on camera, but it’s just apart of the job it doesn’t matter. It was especially interesting to see how one girl had to figure out how to balance her work and her relationship with her family and bf. Another important part was that there was a girl who felt like she couldn’t bring herself to say no to an offer for work even if it’s an unappealing and uncomfortable job offer. In the end, you get the idea of how the industry works and whether the girls decide to stay.

New Movie

Soo next month, there will be a new movie called The Stanford Prison Experiment. If any of you know of psychology experiments or the Stanford University professor, Dr. Philip Zimbardo then you’re familiar with the study. In 1971, Dr. Zimbardo conducted a study that was made up of college students. The intent of his study was understand and experiment with the prison mentality he did so by having some college students be prisoners and some be prison guards. After awhile, the study begins to have some negative effects on the participants as they start to actually believe that they are an actual prisoner or prison guard. You can watch the trailer right below.

Some of My Foreign Favs From Netflix

By: S. Easley

I love foreign movies. I love watching movies about different cultures that deal with issues similar or very different from what is typically depicted in American films. Most of my favorite films from Netflix are Korean, French, Danish and Swedish.

The Hunt or Jagten a Danish film about Lucas, divorcée whom teaches a kindergarten class. He lives a pretty lonely life, whilst dealing with a custody battle over his son. Just when his life slowly starts to come together it all comes to a halt once a little white lie told by one of the students brutally shatters his his entire life and credibility. I really loved this movie I watched it for the first time last year. I really enjoy how the Danish culture embraces talking about problems or topics that are easily swept under the rug in American culture.  

Jeune et Jolie or Young and Beautiful is a French film that focuses on Isabelle, a young woman in high school during the time of her sexual awakening. After losing her virginity during a family vacation, she then goes home and secretly becomes a call girl in her free time. She meets all kinds of men and makes a lot of money. However the money isn’t her motivation, it’s her curiosity that keeps her going through with it. I really liked this movie and French movies in general because of the way they portray women allowing the characters freely portray an array of lifestyles without you feeling judgmental towards the character, but instead gaining insight.

Girlhood or Bande de Filles another French film that centers around multiple young, African women living in France and how they have to adapt in such a culture. A young girl, Marriene who realizes her options are limited and feels all hope is lost when it comes to her academic future and her living conditions decides to join a gang. However, joining the gang leaves her feeling more hopeless than she did before and she leaves home to escape her abusive living conditions. Once leaving home she begins to live a dangerous lifestyle that she may not be able to run away from again.

Blue is the Warmest Color or La vie d’Adèle is a French film about a young woman, Adele, who is trying to determine her sexual identity while in high school. She dates boys, but she knows that something is missing or at least knows that isn’t what she is into once she meets this somewhat older woman with blue hair that changes her life. From meeting this mysterious woman with blue hair she learns about love and loss.

After the Wedding or Efter brylluppet is a Danish film about a man whom once lived in Denmark, but left in order manage an orphanage in India. When work requires him to take a trip back to Denmark he learns about a secret that was kept from him way too long.

The Housemaid is a Korean film about a woman, Eun-yi ,who is in need of money and subsequently becomes a live in maid for a socialite and her wealthy husband. The husband takes an interest in her and they begin an affair that has horrible consequences.

I Saw the Devil is another Korean film. However, this film focuses on a secret agent, Kim Soo-hyeon whose fiancee is brutally murdered by a serial killer. The film follows the man as he goes to great lengths in order to find the man and avenge her death.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy or Män som hatar kvinnor are a series of Swedish films that initially focuses on a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, who is investigating a disappearance and calls on the help of a young woman, Lisbeth Salander,  a computer hacker in order to assist him. The last two films focuses on the young computer hacker, but in turn the journalist helps her out of a life or death ordeal.