Arts & Culture Phantom of the Opera Bodyguard the Musical Little Mermaid
Beauty LA Girl Juvia's Place Anastasia Beverly Hills
Movies Beauty and the Beast Collateral Beauty LEGO Batman Movie
SPORTS Atlanta United FC Georgia Tech Hawks No. 19
*Cover: Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz teamed up with the Atlanta Hawks for a special night of collaborative wear and special performances.
Photo: Hakim Wright
Contents Arts & culture 2 Cabaret Nutcracker Little Mermaid
4 6 8
Carmina Burana Phantom of the Opera Bodyguard the Musical Daniel Arsham: Hourglass
Beauty 18 LA Girl Concealer Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Palette Swatches ColourPop Pressed Shadow Swatch Juviaâ€™s Place Review Part One & Two Sunset Halo Tutorial Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit Review Sunglass Spot Spring/Prom Inspired Tutorial
Events 20 ATL Film Festival
10 12 14 16
Movies 30 Collateral Beauty Assassinâ€™s Creed Hidden Figures XXX: Return of Xander Cage
30 32 35 37
The LEGO Batman Movie The Great Wall LOGAN Beauty & The Beast Power Rangers
39 41 43 45 48
Music 50 Don Henley Wild Nothing Thundercat Tin Pan South 25
50 52 54 56
Sports 59 Georgia Tech Atlanta Hawks Atlanta United Football Club
60 63 66
Travel & 70 Recreation Tubi TV 71 Just Relax 74 Above: LOGAN film poster
Left: Atlanta United FC celebrate after the club score their first ever goal (Photo: X)
Cabaret is set in the infamous Kit Kat Klub in Berlin, Germany (Nazi Germany). This particular club is the getaway of choice for locals and visitors alike. In this story we find American, Clifford Bradshaw, a writer who came to Berlin to seek motivation for his book. The Emcee (who reminded me of The Joker from Suicide Squad) was the host and narrator of the musical. He was very interactive with the audience (which was a surprise) but it went over well with everyone. The main attraction at the club was Sally Bowles, a British woman who wasnâ€™t afraid to speak her mind and dreamt of stardom and riches. After she crosses paths with Cliff, he takes a serious liking to her and they begin to form a relationship. This musical has great song numbers and Sally and Cliff both have quite the stage presence. The only problems I found with Cabaret was that it definitely was not a musical for the family. This newer, updated version was a far reach from its original with Liza Minnelli. The sexual innuendo was far too much and the majority of it came from The Emcee (who was the host/narrator of the story, so as often as you saw him, you more than likely saw or heard something sexual). I saw children in the audience and this is definitely not suitable for children.
The other problem which I found with the last production I saw at The Fox Theatre (If/ Then the Musical), the show was too long and you could feel it. Act I didn’t end until a little after 9pm, which meant a majority 65+ crowd had to sit for 90 minutes straight until intermission. I saw a few people leave during the first act but when intermission came around, I saw a large drove head for the exits. There was a huge disparity in the audience. If I had to weather an educated guess, I’d say it was probably 70% seniors, 30% young people, and like I said, I saw young children as well (who definitely shouldn’t have been there). Innuendo and time length aside, it’s a marvelous production. If you have time this weekend, open-minded, mature adults, should go check this out. I give Cabaret a 7 out of 10. Sally Bowles – Alison Ewing Emcee – Randy Harrison Clifford Bradshaw – Benjamin Eakeley
-Jon J. *Cabaret Tour1768r – Randy Harrison as the Emcee and the 2016 National Touring cast of Roundabout Theatre Company’s CABARET. Photo by Joan Marcus
The Nutcracker Like locals look to the Big Chicken as a landmark, many people look to a similar identifier to mark the holiday season. For some, it won’t feel like the Christmas season has arrived until they’re offered special drinks at Starbucks. Others, wait for timeless classics like A Christmas Story or the TV special of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. But in Atlanta, you can officially feel the Christmas Spirit once the Atlanta Ballet announces its run of the Nutcracker. Crowds from all around converged on The Fox Theatre on Friday for Opening Night of Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. Everyone from to the very old to the extremely young arrived dressed in their winters’ best and nobody seemed to mind the very cold, very windy conditions. The night’s production started off on a fairly somber note as long-time dancer, John Welker, announced his retirement. Welker’s retirement comes after 30 ‘Nutcrackers’ and 22 years with Atlanta Ballet. Drosselmeyer – Nathan Griswold Nephew – Miguel Angel Montoya Mr. & Mrs. Petrov – Tara Lee & Brandon Nguyen Marya – Saho Kumagai
*Peng-Yu Chen, Miguel Angel Montoya. Photo: Kim Kenney
Nicolas – Abigail Boivin Snow Queen & King – Rachel Van Buskirk & Christian Clark Sugar Pum Fairy & Cavalier – Nadia Mara & John Welker First off, I cannot begin to explain my feelings of joy when I noticed an Asian lead once the production started (bravo to you Atlanta Ballet). A lot of companies talk diversity but rarely act on it, so kudos to you AB. Secondly, the show was simply amazing. Saho Kumagai shined as Marya, Nadia Mara received strong applause as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the man of the evening, John Welker, impressed as the Cavalier. To be fair, in many ways, this was his (Welker) night. After every dance number, he received a raucous applause from the crowd. This year’s production had everything you’d expect, plus a few minor additions to make the performance special. The Atlanta Ballet Orchestra always sounds great and the addition of the Georgia Youth Choir was a nice touch. Drosselmeyer approached the stage from amongst the crowd on two separate occasions which came to the delight of many and before the closing of ACT I, snow not only fell onstage but on the audience as well. This is a great performance that the whole family can enjoy. There were scores of children both upstairs and orchestra level and families as far as the eyes could see. It was a celebration of the holiday season, Welker’s retirement, and the beauty of dance. You can follow the Atlanta Ballet on social media to stay up to date: @atlantaballet
*Christian Clark, Rachen Van Buskirk. Photo: Charlie McCullers
The Little Mermaid On January 12, 2017, I had the pleasure of seeing Disney’s The Little Mermaid at the Fox Theatre. To say this was an ‘amazing’ show would be selling it short in so many ways. I’m not even talking about how great the show is, I honestly can’t remember the last time I had fun at one. This accomplished both. It’s Disney’s classic tale of Ariel the Little Mermaid. A beautiful young mermaid who lives underwater that’s the daughter of a mighty sea king, King Triton. Everything seems ideal for someone in her position except for one thing: she has no interest in life under the sea. She is simply mesmerized by everything above the surface, in the human world. This curiosity leads her to discover a young prince named Eric. He too is the child of a king and is expected to marry a princess and handle business that he has no interest in. He’d rather be at sea with the sailors or out on an adventure. They sound perfect for each other. Since her father absolutely forbids her to go to the surface and stay away from human ‘things’ (combs, forks, mirrors she was collecting), she was lured into a trap by King Triton’s evil sister Ursula.
*Ursula and boys, credit: Mark & Tracy Photography
In a very devilish ‘squid-pro-quo’ she gave Ursula her voice in exchange to become human. She had three days to get the prince to kiss her or she would be Ursula’s slave forever. Along with her friends Sebastian and Scully, Ariel manages her way into Prince Eric’s path and he ends up falling in love with her. But do they get married? Did she get her voice back? For that you’ll have to see the theatrical version this weekend. The stage setup was unlike anything I had ever seen before. For the entire production, all the characters that are underwater in the film actually moved like they were underwater on stage. It was truly incredible to see so many people at once emulate life under the sea. Scully the seagull actually “flew” across the stage multiple times and Ariel and her friends swam throughout the show (sometimes elevated, sometimes gliding across the floor). The singing was simply incredible. Ariel (Diana Huey) and Ursula (Jennifer Allen) stood out the most to me so be prepared to be floored. 5th Avenue Theatre did a standout job with this and I couldn’t be more pleased. This is a must-see! Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a perfect 10. Whether you go with friends, on a date, or want to take your kids to the theatre, this is the perfect atmosphere for a fantastic production.
The Atlanta Ballet blessed the city with David Bintley’s production of “Carmina Burana.” The production ran at the Cobb Energy Centre from February 3 – 11, 2017. Carl Orff wrote the secular cantata Carmina Burana using selected poems from a collection of medieval manuscripts. The poems comprise religious, political, moral, erotic Bacchic, and satirical verses, which celebrate the Goliard lifestyle. (Goliard is one of a class of wandering scholar-poets in Germany, France, and England, around the 12th and 13th centuries) Orff chose 25 poems out of the hundreds available and set them to music. The beginning and the end of the production represent man’s destiny, while the central parts are geared towards the emphasis of love. As if having the pleasure of enjoying the art form (ballet) wasn’t enough for the senses, the dual treat for the audience came in the form of audible greatness. The Atlanta Ballet Orchestra was accompanied by the Georgia State Chorus to give listeners the full, artistic experience.
It’s easy to get whisked away by the jaw-dropping execution of the dancers. It’s even easier to find yourself a world away from home with the sounds of the orchestra. One of the most familiar and legendary pieces you’ll hear is “O Fortuna”, which has been featured in everything from commercials to cartoons. Fortuna – Rachel Van Buskirk Lover Girl – Nadia Mara Roast Swan – Jackie Nash First Seminarian – Heath Gill Second Seminarian – Alexandre Barros Third Seminarian – Christian Clark To add to the excitement of the ballet, the Cobb Energy Centre is located in Marietta in the Akers Mill/Cumberland area. It rests directly on its own exit on I-75 and since it’s in the Akers Mill area of Marietta you don’t have to worry about traffic or more importantly, parking. It’s these little things that add up to making an evening run smoothly and provide for a relaxing atmosphere. I highly suggest seeing “Carmina Burana” if you have the opportunity. I agree with the company’s disclaimer of this being for mature audiences simply because of the sexual implications and there’s one part where a dancer undresses to his underwear (all in artistic taste) but if you have children, you can make that call. Aside from that, prepare your visual/audible senses for a treat.
The Phantom of the Opera It is officially the theatre season in Atlanta. Why, you ask? Because February 22 thru March 5, The Phantom of The Opera returns to The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Let’s face it, the theatre season is merely a facade until The Phantom, Christine, Raoul, Piangi — and yes, “The Chandelier” are front and center at The Fabulous Fox; now that they’re here, the earth has straightened out on its axis and all is right with the world. If last Friday’s (February 24) performance was any indicator, the next two weeks are going to be extremely exciting. Now, I’ve had the pleasure of viewing performances of this iconic production from San Francisco (The Curran Theatre), to Washington, DC (Kennedy Center) and from New York (The Majestic) to London’s West End, and Friday’s performance ranked right up there among the best. On an abnormally warm and clear February night in Atlanta, the 4,600+ seat Fox Theatre was truly the place to be. No matter how many times one sees this performance it is always a visual and audio spectacle. With seats in the orchestra section, the music, under the direction of Music Director Jamie Johns, was absolutely fabulous.
From the opening scene where Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, out bids everyone at the auction for the precious music box, to the closing scene where the Phantom disappears leaving nothing but his mask with Meg Giry, The Phantom of The Opera is a non-stop mix of drama, intrigue, and humor, evenly blended with operatic and orchestral excellence as well as visual brilliance (think set design, a hangman’s noose, and a disappearing Phantom). As many times as I’ve had the pleasure of viewing this production, Friday’s performance was the first time that I’d witnessed an African-American playing the role of The Phantom — as well as the role of Ubaldo Piangi. So, throughout the performance, not only did The Phantom strike, but so did diversity! Derrick Davis did a marvelous job in his role of The Phantom as did Katie Travis as Christine Daae; Phumzile Sojola and Anne Kanengeiser were wonderful in their respective roles as Ubaldo Piangi and Madame Giry; Trista Moldovan also held her own as the overly dramatic diva Carlotta Guidicelli; however I must say, that of the major roles, Jordan Craig as Raoul was probably the only chink in the armor of the cast. In my estimation, his voice just didn’t measure up to Davis’ or Travis’. It seemed that any duet that Craig participated in, his voice was always the weaker of the two. The beautiful ‘All I Ask of You’ is a duet that was, due to Craig’s less than powerful voice, overpowered by Travis’ character (Christine Daae); the same thing occurred when they paired up in ‘Why Have You Brought Me Here?’ Other than that Mrs. Lincoln the play was just fine. Having been performed more than 65,000 times, for 140 million people in 35 countries and 160 cities, and in 15 languages, one would expect some updates or tweaks in the show at some point — and that was the case here in Atlanta. Most visible to me was the fact that the Phantom himself, seemed to have more ‘face time’ than in past performances (where often time you’d hear his voice, but not visibly see him); also, the ending was tweaked, in terms of how the Phantom exited; and finally, Act two which opens up with ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Why So Silent’, normally opens up in the Grand Ballroom at the Opera House with the cast singing while coming down a majestic staircase — not the case here. In the overall scheme of things these tweaks were mostly cosmetic and didn’t have any major bearing in the story-line. While the Original Production of Phantom is still running at the Majestic Theatre in New York City and Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, UK, this National Tour is truly doing itself proud — and audiences at The Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA are being treated to its excellence. -Jon J.
The Bodyguard The Musical Broadway in Atlanta has blessed us with the first U.S. National tour of the hit musical The Bodyguard. The musical will play at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre from March 28 – April 2 as part of the 2016/2017 season. I’m not kidding when I say Broadway in Atlanta “has blessed us” either because this was one of the best musicals I’ve ever seen. This is the closest we’ll get to a Whitney Houston concert in our lives and everyone in the audience knew this. The musical is based off the hit movie “The Bodyguard” starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner as Rachel Marron and Frank Farmer respectively. In the musical, singer Deborah Cox plays Rachel Marron and TV star Judson Mills plays Frank Farmer. Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron is played by Jasmin Richardson. (Note: Jasmin Richardson will be playing the main role of Rachel at Saturday’s matinee and Sunday’s evening showings). I know a lot of people will go just to see Deborah Cox, but fret not, Jasmin is no mere substitute, her voice is strong enough for either role (Rachel or Nicki).
The singing was absolutely phenomenal. Casting a multiplatinum recording artist like Deborah Cox to fill the shoes of Whitney Houston was a good choice. An interesting thing about the movie for those who aren’t familiar, the soundtrack is more popular than the film, by far. A lot of people have never seen the movie but know of the soundtrack. (Watch her in the studio) Experiencing this musical is to take an exotic sports car at top-speed down memory lane. In 1993, who would’ve known the impact that this soundtrack would have on future generations. Every song the company performed was like a party. I saw people singing along, waving their hands, and trying their hardest not to get up and dance (literally four people around me continuously whispered, “I want to dance so bad!”). You’ll get to experience all the classic tracks like “All At Once” “All The Man That I Need” “Greatest Love of All” “I’m Every Woman” and of course, the most popular, “I Will Always Love You.” The story begins with singer Rachel Marron, an award-winning singer who’s looking to further her career but hits a bump in the road after discovering a stalker. His obsession has risen to the level of disturbing threats and even finds a way to sneak into her dressing room. At the urging of her manager, Rachel hires former secret service agent Frank Farmer as her bodyguard. The rest is a beautiful story that you’ll have to experience live at The Fox Theatre. Before I close, I want to give a quick nod to Tim Hatley for Set Design. Wow. The props and backdrops make you feel like you are really inside of Rachel’s mansion, a karaoke bar, and other venues that you’ll visit in the story; an absolutely superb job. I give “The Bodyguard the Musical” a 10 out of 10. You have to see this while its on tour. It’s really like a two-hour party with the music and dancing. It is worth every penny you’ll spend and every minute of your time. You won’t regret it!
Daniel Arsham: Hourglass Contemporary artist Daniel Arsham will re-imagine the High Museum of Art’s interiors with three interrelated installations on view Feb. 25 through May 21, 2017. Combining audio, architecture, sculpture, installation and performance, “Daniel Arsham: Hourglass” will extend the artist’s investigation into how we interpret history through physical artifacts and will immerse audiences in environments that reflect on the relationship between past and present. The exhibition will feature some of Arsham’s first works in color, marking a significant break in the artist’s practice of using a black-and-white palette. “Arsham’s installations challenge our perception of history as static and monolithic,” said Jonathan Odden, the High’s curatorial assistant of modern and contemporary art. “History is profoundly human, created from the objects and events each of us experiences, and Arsham’s work reminds us of these important connections. We are eager for our audiences to experience these environments and activate the spaces.”
*Daniel Arsham standing at center. Daniel Arsham (American, born 1980), Amethyst Sports Ball Cavern, 2016, amethyst crystal, quartz, hydrostone. Courtesy of Galerie Perrotin – Photo credit Guillaume Ziccarelli.
“Daniel Arsham: Hourglass” elaborates on “Fictional Archaeology,” a body of work in which the artist casts everyday objects in precious and semi-precious stones and metals, such as basketball jerseys in volcanic ash and selenite or cameras in crushed obsidian, shattered glass and rose quartz. The transformed objects become a fossillike index of the present moment and are configured in ways that appear as future reconstructions of the contemporary world. The exhibition’s first installation will feature a selection of these cast objects in large hourglasses set on stone plinths in the High’s Anne Cox Chambers Wing lobby. Finely crushed crystals will fill each hourglass, obscuring the objects within. A performer will periodically turn the glasses to reveal the objects as the iridescent sand drains and a child’s voice projected throughout the installation describes what is being unearthed. On the second floor, visitors will be transported into a monochromatic blue Zen garden, complete with a Japanese pagoda, tatami mats, petrified trees and ornately raked sand. Dyed rice paper and wooden joints will run along the walls, further enveloping visitors. Whereas time seems to flood the lobby installation, here the garden’s stillness evokes a sense of timelessness. The garden will also include an element of performance, which complicates the stability of timelessness in the space. An unseen narrator will address the audience, mirroring the voice in the lobby; however, here the voice is more mature, in both age and understanding of the described environment. A cavern installation will occupy the gallery adjacent to the gardenscape. The walls include jutting stalactite-like features constructed of sports equipment, including footballs, basketballs and baseballs, all of which are cast in striking purple amethyst. As visitors enter the dimly lit interior and explore the textured walls, they will experience a space that seems historical and fabricated, Neolithic yet contemporary, which accentuates the entire exhibition’s artifice.
*Daniel Arsham (American, born 1980), Amethyst Sports Ball Cavern, 2016, amethyst crystal, quartz, hydrostone. Courtesy of Galerie Perrotin –Photo credit Guillaume Ziccarelli
LA Girl Concealer
In this edition, our Health & Beauty Specialist Keisha Campbell will be sharing her reviews and tutorials through her YouTube Channel. We think it’s great, since there’s no better way to tell you about different makeup looks than to demonstrate! Since we’re rolling into spring, she has a wide variety of videos to share. Whether you're looking for ideas for Prom or suggestions on Swatches, Keisha has you covered. Feel to tap/click on the various reviews and tutorials to the right of this text box. There’s a little something for everyone and any video ending in “WOC” was made with “Women Of Color” in mind. We hope you enjoy!
Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Palette Swatches WOC ColourPop Pressed Shadow Swatch WOC Juvia’s Place Review Part 1 Juvia's Place Review Part 2 Sunset Halo Tutorial Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit Review Sunglass Spot Spring/Prom Inspired Tutorial
On Sunday, April 2, 2017, the 41st annual Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) concluded ten days of film screenings and events that drew approximately 27,000 attendees to a variety of venues across Atlanta, including the historic Plaza Theatre, 7 Stages Theatre, and Dadâ€™s Garage. Of the more than 6,000 film submissions for the 2017 festival, the final lineup included 47 feature length films and 116 short films, representing 40 countries â€“ with 53 percent of selected submissions directed by a female and 40 percent from filmmaker(s) of color. Highlights included Opening and Closing Night presentations and galas, eight Marquee screening events and seven World Premieres.
Directed by Paulo Cesar Toledo and Abigail Spindel, “Waiting for B.” documents just how far fans will go to get a glimpse of their favorite celebrities. Lacking the monetary funds to buy front row/premium seating, they camp out in the streets for months to get closer to the stage. Now when I initially heard of this film during the Atlanta Film Festival, the title had led me to believe it was about a spiritual journey or a quest to find some deeper meaning in life. Nope, the “B” in “Waiting for B.” is for Beyoncé, and she has an entire legion of super fans in Brazil. As her Formation Tour comes to an end, the ultra fans (Beyhive Brazil?) in Brazil planned far ahead in advance and knew her entire schedule from her dance team’s arrival to when tickets went on sale. They even knew when she touched down in São Paulo (down to the probability of which plane in the sky was hers). Now when I said ultra fans, I mean the exact equivalent of what people call “The Beyhive” here in America. These fans camped out in front of the entrance for two whole months just so they could be as close to Beyoncé as humanly possible. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t watched this documentary. It literally went from two or three tents to an entire tent city that just appeared on the sidewalk. On this journey, you meet a host of obsessed Beyoncé fans, one of whom was Gabriela Electra (Gabi). Gabi is a Beyoncé impersonator that performs locally with her friends. She takes her shows very seriously and even shows what lengths she’ll go for realism. The people who camped out to get in front were very dedicated. When I say dedicated, I mean masses of friends came together and spent the night in shifts. People from some tents would mingle with strangers from other tents and then they would become friends. All of this happened to the point where they didn’t just form a line for a concert, they formed a community.
People would literally stay in line the entire day, go home to sleep, go to work in the morning, and head straight back to the tent after their shift. Gabi and the gang even met one fan who was so determined to get tickets that he sold his apartment. Since the group closest to the front (including Gabriela) were dancers, you could imagine their reactions when one of the guys among them knew the exact time Beyoncé’s dancers would arrive. Sure enough, they greeted a Sprinter van whose doors opened and out popped Les Twins. Now everyone grabbed their phones hoping they would be able to get a picture with them. Other dancers got out and waved to Gabi and friends, but it was clear that everyone wanted selfies with Les Twins. The mob was sad when the duo declined their requests with a simple “No, not here.” But they were utterly ecstatic a few minutes later (after gathering all of their gear out of the van) when they walked away saying, “Are you guys coming or what?” So their patient efforts paid off and they were able to go inside the venue, through the back entrance, with Beyoncé’s dancers (and they finally got their pictures). After the inevitable finally happens, Paulo and crew stayed behind after the concert to get opinions from a few of those ultra fans who camped out two months to get as close as possible to the mega star. “Ay, guys, what’s there to say, it was f****** awesome,” said a very excited Gabriela. “We suffered. I’m just really happy my outfit lasted!” Another fan who camped out, Jean Ygor Oliveira, said, “She is… She’s really good live. I don’t know how to explain (looks dejected), I don’t have the words.” I give Waiting For B. an 8 out of 10. Now as a responsible adult, I think to myself, “Imagine had they put that kind of patience, focus, and energy towards something useful.” But hey, when you’re young, that’s the time to make decisions that aren’t so ‘responsible’, because you always have the excuse, “I was young.”
Directed by Joyce Wong, Wexford Plaza tells a tale that’s all too familiar for some. In every city across the country (and in this case North America) there is a dying, surviving by a thread strip mall, that young people take advantage of for two reasons: to partake in illegal actions or for easy jobs. Well in Wexford Plaza, we’re rolling with the latter. We follow a character named Betty, a young girl who is determined to make the best of her not so jovial situation. At 20, she was a recent hire as a security guard at, you guessed it, Wexford Plaza. She has two male coworkers who immediately made me think of characters Seth and Evan (Jonah Hill and Michael Cera) from “Superbad.” So as Betty goes about her days without much hope and totally friendless, the only type of solace she finds, in its simplest form, is through her job. The gig is far from rewarding and definitely not ideal, but her two coworkers are the closest thing to friends that she can find. Funny, rude, and oddly perverse, she’s able to find a bit of balance. That was until her path crossed with Danny. Danny worked at a bar in the plaza and she instantly found herself attracted to him. The way the film is set reminds me of Showtime’s “The Affair.” The main characters who have ‘the affair’ are Noah and Alison. The first 30 minutes show Noah’s perspective and the rest show Alison’s. That’s exactly how Wexford Plaza is presented. You start off adventuring down the rabbit hole that is Betty’s life and halfway through the movie that same timeline is explored from the lens of Danny. At first, everything seems fine between the two of them, on the surface. But as the old adage goes, “You don’t really know someone until you know them.” Betty had her life and her problems and so did Danny. The only difference was Danny had the benefit of his job not affecting his personal life. But after his he loses his bartending job due to his employer shutting down operations, his life takes a downward spiral from there.
Wexford Plaza feels like a millennial comedy with bits of in-your-face realism that’s sure to make audiences think twice before they take action. I mean let’s face it, everyone knows of something they could’ve done/said better that would’ve created a more positive result. While the film rolls at a snail’s pace in many parts, you’ll want to stick around after the plot twist to see what finally happens between the pair (Betty and Danny). 7.5 out of 10.
La Soledad There’s a serious crisis going on in Venezuela and “La Soledad” takes an inside look at the daily struggle within the country. La Soledad, which translates to ‘The Solitude’ follows a young father and husband named José. He’s left scrambling once he discovers the dilapidated quarters that they call home will soon be demolished by their landlord. His focus shifts once he hears a story about a cursed treasure that was supposedly buried somewhere on the property, even to the point where he invests in a metal detector. If you’re unfamiliar with what’s going on in Venezuela, this film is a good inside look at just a taste of what its residents are experiencing in their lives. If you’re low on funds here in America, a friend might offer to help you financially, maybe you ask to borrow money from your parents. Here? José (who’s affectionately referred to as ‘el negro’) had a friend offer to help him financially by an express kidnapping. Not just a kidnapping, an express kidnapping. Remember when I said José ‘invested’ in a metal detector? That was more like bartering actually. A friend knew a stranger who hooked him up with the owner, and José gave him a statue from his house in exchange for the device. If you had a headache here in the states, you would simply run an errand to the grocery store or pharmacy and pickup some medicine. Not in Venezuela. El Negro’s mother has high blood pressure and often times that led to headaches or migraines. The answer? He and his brothers would try to keep her in a cool area as to not overheat, and they would make her drink water.
That was their ‘medicine.’ One day José made a vain attempt at getting her medical attention at a hospital where they waited for hours on the floor in a hallway. After all of that, the hospital didn’t even have medication for high blood pressure, so they gave him medicine for her to deal with the pain. Work, money, and food was hard to come by, but the people still found a way to keep their spirits high. José’s relationship with his daughter Adri was extremely heartwarming. She was always happy and in high spirits, she only wanted her father’s attention all the time. His girlfriend Marley on the other hand, was starting to let their less than optimal situation get to her. So much so that she asks him to sign papers giving her permission to leave with Adri and find work in Colombia (which he refuses). The film is very powerful. You see a real-life struggle taking place a few hours’ flight south of us and the raw effects that come from social and political instability. You’ll find positive imagery in love and friendship and nightmare scenarios like grocery stores with empty shelves and half-opened loaves of bread. In one scene after José finishes his last day of construction work alongside a man named Jorge, he pays José and offers him extra money that he had saved up (as a kind of courtesy). But José took offense to his offer and countered with, “you are all the same.” I was fortunate enough to speak with the film’s director Jorge Thielen Armand after the film to get some more insight into everything that took place. Me: Could you touch on what José meant by “you are all the same?” JTA: Yes. The population that exists in the country? The government is simply ‘patching’ things up (offering concerts and other entertainment to keep their attention away from the instability) while offering no solutions. It’s nothing but quick fixes, that’s why he rejects the extra money. Me: How did the main character get the nickname “El Negro” ? JTA: That’s how his grandma, Rosina, always called him. In Venezuela it's not offensive to call your friends or family "Negro" as long as it's with affection. Not everyone who is black gets that nickname back home, but ever since I've known José everyone has called him Negro. Me: How long did it take to shoot the film? JTA: The shoot was 5.5 weeks.
Me: In your opinion, can you mention a few things that would help the situation in Venezuela? Is it 100% political? Is there a way for people to help/get involved that live outside of Venezuela? JTA: I think at this point it is mostly a political problem that needs to be solved before anything else can happen. The government that we have right now is obsessed with staying in power and they have become increasingly authoritarian, some may argue that it's become an outright dictatorship, especially after the supreme court attempted to nullify the opposition-controlled parliament, they also have jailed several opposition leaders and have barred others from holding government positions. This sparked chaos over the past week which resulted in 3 deaths and hundreds of jailed protesters. In LA SOLEDAD you don't see an explanation of why there are no medicines or why the shelves of the supermarket are empty, but the truth is that these things are happening because of corruption and mismanagement.Â I hope my film will inspire others Venezuelan filmmakers to speak about what is happening through their work. I think in times like these we need stories about ourselves, to help us reflect on the reality around us. We don't need to be distracted from what surround usâ€”that is not the cinema I believe in anyhow. For Venezuelans living in diaspora, I urge them to spread word about what is happening back home, to not turn a blind eye and to participate in creating awareness about the injustices our people are living. That's how we can make others around us care, that's the only way we can contribute for change.
Holden On This film right here, made in our own backyard in Georgia, was how I ended my run of screenings at the Atlanta Film Festival. Films like “Holden On” are why film festivals even exist. Every once in a while, if you’re lucky, you’ll sit through a screening that will impact everyone in the audience. Whether its fear, love, or laughter, everyone wants to feel something after seeing a movie. I was already moved by the story of struggle in “La Soledad” the day before, but my goodness, nothing could’ve prepared me for my experience in Holden On. A 17-year-old Holden Layfield (Matthew Fahey) was like any other teenager who enjoyed friends and even played football. But he hid a secret from everyone that sadly cost him his life. He was suffering from schizophrenia and self medicating with drugs. The drug use became heavy and his decision making was taking a turn for the worst. His parents loved him, his sister loved him, and his friends loved him too. I give his friends so much credit for putting forth their best efforts. During a trying time like Holden was experiencing, they could’ve easily forgotten about him and moved on with their lives. But they didn’t because he mattered to them. He had a presence that everyone loved (even the other kids at school). Matthew Fahey put forth one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen. Not just powerful by film fest and indie standards, I mean overall, ever. You can read about these kind of stories of keeping mental health a secret or read about someone in a community that committed suicide, but to actually see it play out on screen was incredibly powerful. What took even more strength to my surprise, was at the film’s conclusion,
Holden’s parents were sitting in the audience just quietly watching along with us. The film, along with its cast, and the main subject’s parents being present, created a powerful memory that I will surely never forget. The film was directed by a childhood friend named Tamlin Hall, who was also in attendance during the screening. All the cast, crew, and the location are in Georgia, so it was quite the treat when the majority of the cast showed up for the screening. You can visit the website to learn more about the movie and support the Holden On High School Initiative. Find this film at a festival near you and support their movement. They’re touring schools across the country spreading awareness on mental health. Powerful story. Powerful imagery. Powerful message. #HoldenOn -Reviews by Jon J.
The 2017 Atlanta Film Festival juried prize winners are: ▪ Narrative Feature Jury Award – CORTEZ ▪ Narrative Feature Special Jury Prize – LA SOLEDAD ▪ Documentary Feature Jury Award – RAT FILM ▪ Documentary Feature Special Jury Award – RAISING BERTIE ▪ Narrative Short Jury Award – IN THE HILLS ▪ Narrative Short Jury Honorable Mention: SUBMARINE ▪ Narrative Short Jury Honorable Mention: IL SILENZIO (THE SILENCE) ▪ Documentary Short Jury Award – VICTOR & ISOLINA ▪ Documentary Short Jury Honorable Mention: DISTRIBUTION ▪ Animated Short Jury Award – ONCE A HERO ▪ Animated Short Jury Honorable Mention: THE WRONG END OF THE STICK ▪ Music Video Jury Award – “Soy Yo” performed by Bomba Estéreo ▪ Music Video Jury Honorable Mention – “Oh Elise” performed by VIECH ▪ New Mavericks Award – THE NINE ▪ Georgia Film Award – BORN RIVER BYE ▪ Filmmaker-to-Watch Award – Malcom Washington for BENNY GOT SHOT
Collateral Beauty is a masterfully made drama exuding a special amount of pulchritude to whisk you away from reality. There are multiple points during the film where I heard more sobbing and sniffling (from the audience) than I heard dialogue from the characters. It will especially evoke emotions from anyone who has struggled after losing a loved one. Set in New York, Howard (Will Smith) a successful advertising executive suffers a great tragedy and retreats from life. While his concerned friends Whit, Claire, & Simon (Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, & Michael Peña) try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love (Keira Knightley), Time (Jacob Latimore), and Death (Helen Mirren). Directed by David Frankel and written by Allan Loeb, this dramatic look at love and loss highlights the one side of the holidays that usually gets overlooked; death. As a child, you’re taught that holidays are supposed to be about family, but as you grow older, the bubble pops, real-life shows its ugly head and often times the number of people you consider ‘family’ starts to decrease as you age. Now the vast majority of people love the holiday season, but for anyone who has lost a family member, often times having a family-themed holiday shoved in your face could evoke a myriad of emotions. Oddly enough, Collateral Beauty takes place during ‘the holiday season’ so it’s safe to assume Christmas. Not only was this film right on time for the holidays, but it was also about time for Will Smith to give us something real and dramatic. I mean thanks for ‘Focus’ and what you tried to give us in ‘Suicide Squad’ but we were long overdue for something The Pursuit of Happiness-esque. Collateral Beauty Trailer You’ll enjoy the very strong acting from Will Smith and Michael Peña and many people will be able to relate to their office environment. It reminds me of how most healthcare personnel interact. At a doctor’s office or hospital ward, you’re working with the same tight-knit group for eight to twelve hours at a time. After working so long with people you start to become family. That was the relationship with Howard, Whit, Claire, and Simon at their advertising company. With everybody fighting their own personal battles (dealing with time, love, and death), Howard turns a complete 180 from his regular jovial self and becomes more like a hollowed box after the death of his daughter. I give Collateral Beauty 9 out of 10. Will Smith is amazing, it’s extremely wellwritten, and at 97 minutes you won’t have to worry about crying your eyes completely dry. Although it can get very emotional, there’s enough dry humor throughout to keep things moving.
I always wonder what goes through the minds of people when they decide to model a film after a video game. What makes you want to put a popular video game on-screen? Do you feel like you’ll do the franchise justice? Do you feel like the gaming world will be kind to you? Marvel fan boys and gamers are one in the same my friends, which is why Assassin’s Creed is receiving less than stellar reviews and it hasn’t been released publicly yet.
It all boils down to this: If you want to see this movie because it looks ‘cool’ and know nothing about the game, you’re going to love this movie. If you’re a gamer and a purist, you probably won’t leave fulfilled. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because Hollywood has never been able to transfer a video game’s mass appeal to the big screen accurately. Let’s count just a few of the blunders shall we?
• Street Fighter (Every. Single. One.) • DOOM (Nah) • Mortal Kombat (Cool soundtrack, • • • •
terrible movie) Need for Speed (Nope) Final Fantasy (No… Just no) Tomb Raider (Thanks for Angelina Jolie, but still no) You could argue the best of the worst has been the Resident Evil series, but even with that, they could definitely be better.
I think the movie was great. The visuals are ok, the storyline has some holes in it (but no video-game-to-movie is ever perfect), but the action and the stunts are awesome. Michael Fassbender plays Callum Lynch, a man who explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar, and through technology, gains the skills of a master assassin. Once he enters the animus, the story takes place in 15th Century Madrid where the Templars are battling a secret society of assassins to find the Apple of Eden. The Apple is said to house the root or the source of violence and aggression. So with that, the Templars planned to bring peace around the world and eradicate violence, which would in turn destroy the assassins.
My favorite part about the film was the sheer physicality. With all the jumping, lunging, diving, and the heavy fight scenes, it just made me wonder about the hours of training that went into this (and the $150 million, can’t forget that). Of course Fassbender was in shape, but everyone else around him had to be in peak condition as well. At one point during the film I thought I was watching an eight minute long parkour exercise. Rikken (Jeremy Irons) and his daughter Sofia (Marion Cotillard) have been trying to find the Apple of Eden for years. Using billions of dollars invested in the project (the animus), they are about to lose their funding. So once Cal arrives, they’re forced into a ‘now or never’ situation. The film also stars Brandon Gleeson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Denis Ménochet, and Ariane Labed. I give Assassins Creed 8 out of 10. Even though the whole existence of the film/ game revolves around assassins, they still managed to get the film a PG-13 rating, which I think is great. There is blood but nothing to squirm or close your eyes about. The plot is so-so and the film’s flow could’ve been better, but as an action movie, it’s pretty fun.
Hidden Figures is a beautiful story about the unsung heroes behind NASA’s first successful space missions. Based on a true story and led by director Theodore Melfi, we go behind the scenes in 1971 Hampton, Virginia during a time where blacks were still marginalized and opportunities for women were slim. The story centers around Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe). The trio work in the west wing of the NASA building that was set aside for colored people. All bathrooms, break rooms, and water fountains were labeled “colored” or “whites only.” During their time in the west wing, around 20 some odd women were scrunched in an office, taking whatever short-term projects they could get thanks to Dorothy. She was clearly the leader of the pack and was doing the work of a supervisor but, because of politics and the fact she was black, and a woman, there was no rush to give her the title or the pay. The child prodigy was Katherine Johnson. She was well into advanced mathematics before she even reached adolescence. All three of them knew their stuff when it came to math, including Mary Jackson who had a background in engineering. But it was Katherine that turned out to be they key ingredient to helping the launch team find the proper coordinates to launch, land, etc. Not only was the film powerful because it’s based on a true story, the real treat was seeing the reactions from the audience once the film concluded. I was able to speak to many African-American women, many in tears, reliving tough memories of their own experiences of such discrimination and racism in the workplace. It was one of those things that you can’t script, it was purely organic and I felt honored to hear such testimonies.
Janelle Monáe was absolutely amazing as Mary Jackson. Because of her performance in this film I can guarantee you she’ll be tapped for more roles in the future. Octavia Spencer’s character Dorothy was an exemplary leader. When she finally did get the opportunity to move on to a higher role with more responsibility, she refused to go unless she could bring ‘her girls’ with her (no woman was left behind). There are a lot of mini stories that go along with the main theme but I don’t want to spoil the experience. Janelle Monáe provides all of the comedy you’ll need while showing what perseverance can bring if you just have a little faith. All three women in excelled in their individual endeavors while showing team work and bringing up all of the girls in the west wing. Hidden Figures gets a 9.5 out of 10. The outpouring of testimonials after the film really touched me. This is a great film for everyone to see and benefit. Kevin Costner plays the typical good guy and sees the need for Katherine in his department, despite everyone’s opinions. It’s just over two hours so you won’t get bored, there’s a lot to learn in the film, and you’ll even find yourself cheering for NASA along with the ladies themselves. It’s a great way to start your weekend.
XXX: Return of Xander Cage sees the United States NSA practically groveling to Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) so he might assist them on what might be his most dangerous mission yet. What does that mean for him? Danger, stunts, guns, and maybe a bit of partying. What does that mean for us? Action! Action! Action! This installment of XXX shows Vin Diesel in what looks like his most comfortable role ever. D.J. Caruso may have directed the film but Vin produced it, which is probably the main reason why you could see him beaming in every scene. Xander pulls off all the cool stunts, gets all the girls, and has his fair share of takedowns. It’s a good feeling being able to see an action film where the casting feels more organic and diverse than structured. For example, Jane (Toni Collette), the blonde haired blueeyed female is the antagonist. Serena (Deepika Padukone), the main heroine, is a Bollywood star. Xander might have assembled the most diverse stealth team in film. Throw in Tony Jaa, Donnie Yen, and Rory McCann, and you can see how this movie is littered with action at every turn. I would be remiss as a fútbol fan to not mention the appearance from Neymar. The cool thing about that is he isn’t expected to really do anything but be Neymar. Throw in a role for NFL great Tony Gonzalez and Vin’s buddy, Latin recording artist Nicky Jam, and we have ourselves a party.
With any film involving Vin Diesel, you’ll lose count of how many cheesy lines you’ll hear. He’s not selfish though, he shares them with his co-stars, but please believe he has the most. But thankfully, the copious amounts of action make up for whatever horrible line you may hear (and for the record, they’re all lower quality than “I live my life a quarter-mile at a time”). From skiing down a hill through a forest, to skateboarding down a main road, to a fist fight in the middle of a highway, you’ll see more stunts, parkour, and martial arts than you could imagine. Because of this, I feel comfortable giving XXX: Return of Xander Cage an 8 out of 10. The soundtrack is fun, the characters are fun, and above all, you can tell the actors are having fun. There are more fight scenes than explosions so you won’t feel Michael Bay-ish while watching (which is a very good thing).
Today is the day parents and children alike can rejoice. Today marks the release of the all-new LEGO Batman Movie. This is an early prediction, but at the very least, we’re talking best-animated film for the first half of 2017. It’s that good. We already know there’s nothing Batman can’t do. He’s rich, he fights crime, everyone loves him, and he has every cool gadget anybody could ever want. But each time he saves the day, his routine is to go home, eat seafood, and watch Jerry Maguire. So that leaves the question, “Does LEGO Batman have any friends?” And the unfortunate answer to that is no. In the most adorable way possible (because this is a LEGO movie), LEGO Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) hurts the Joker’s feelings by telling him he meant nothing to him. I mean, it’s the only G-rated thing we could expect to create a legit antagonist in here. The real turning point in the movie is when Gotham City gets a new police commissioner in Barbara Gordon (voiced by Rosario Dawson ). This is no thrill because everyone knows he’s a loner, yet, he can’t keep his eyes off of her. If that wasn’t amazing enough after he blesses a local orphanage with Batman merch (merchandise), a little orphan boy named Dick Grayson (voiced by Michael Cera) becomes starstruck, follows him around, and eventually finesses his way into adoption (and the whole process that took place to do so was hilarious).
I honestly can’t find anything wrong with this movie. The comedy is good for kids and even better for adults, the music is great, it’s a perfect runtime at 104 minutes, and it takes better shots at Marvel than an actual DC Universe film. I give The LEGO Batman Movie 10 out of 10. Batman raps, he rocks, and if you’re trying to get into his secret lair, I’ll give you a hint at his top-secret password: “I hate Iron Man!”
There’s this thing called ‘intuition’, you know, the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning? Yeah, so my ‘intuition’ was giving me a grave feeling of disappointment the moment I saw the poster for this film. I’m hearing of a movie being made called “The Great Wall” and it’s shot entirely in China. All of these are good things. I see a trailer showing all Asian actors. This is also a good thing. Then I see a white guy with a flowing mane shooting a bow and arrow and I can do nothing but facepalm. Hollywood has a very serious problem of doing this. It seems like white actors can be anything under the sun and the studios and investors are completely fine with it. But heaven forbid, you cast a black “Annie”(the revamped movie), a black “Rue” (from the Hunger Games which is based on a book that’s completely fictional), or a black Storm Trooper (Star Wars) and everyone all of a sudden has a problem. In “The Great Wall”, William (Matt Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal) are traveling mercenaries from Western Europe. They head eastward towards China in hopes of “trading” (colonialism anyone?) with locals and perhaps coming across the legendary black powder. Stories say that black powder can be used as a powerful weapon and whoever controls it may control the world. While fleeing a band of thieves in their pursuit, the duo was abruptly stopped by the “Nameless Order” (the name of the Chinese Military) who were guarding the Great Wall. William and Tovar explain to the Nameless Order that during their travel they killed a creature that took their friends. William kept an arm from the creature and showed it to them. They gasp in shock as they discover that William (the all-knowing, forever omnipotent white European) killed one of these monsters on his own (While they have an army of hundreds of thousands of soldiers). I mean seriously, if you aren’t laughing at this point I don’t know what to tell you.
The term I defined broadly in the introduction peered its nasty head yet again, as I was getting the feeling there weren’t enough white people to make this a movie. Before my eyes could get used to seeing Matt Damon in that wig, with those flowy golden locks, my visual senses were thrown into overdrive when I saw the scrappy, sinister presence of Willem Dafoe. Ballard (Willem Dafoe) was taken as their prisoner inside the wall for attempting to steal black powder. Not only did the Chinese have the sacred material, they had it in copious amounts. So we have a total of three Europeans, all trained to kill but traveling under the guise of ‘traders’, tip-toe into Asia (several days ride on horseback), looking to steal a black material, all three believe the Chinese don’t “truly know what they have” by hiding this black material and look to take it for themselves for power. Give. Me. A. Break. The worst part about this movie is that there isn’t even enough action to take your mind away from the following: “Tovar… Wait, is that Oberyn from Game of Thrones?” “Random, that’s Willem Dafoe.” “Matt Damon doesn’t look natural in that wig.” “How can Damon outshoot all of those Chinese soldiers? If he can outshoot them, how did they get captured?” Tian Jing, Andy Lau, Hanyu Zhang, Lu Han, and the rest of the great Asian actors in this Asian film directed by an Asian man that’s set in Asia, will sadly ‘sink with the ship’ with the inability to abandon. The only thing great about “The Great Wall” is the soundtrack. You can thank the other Game of Thrones appearance, (via sound only) Ramin Djawadi. Matt Damon my friends… Is the Spalding Gray of crap. It’s as if the man lost a bet and was forced to play this role. If you have children they won’t know any better, they might enjoy the action surrounding the monsters and the light comedy Obery… Err, Tovar provides. But for everyone else, there’s no wall from here to heavens gate that can protect this film from impending doom. 3 out of 10. The tagline of this movie reads “1700 years to build. 5500 miles long. What were they trying to keep out?” Western Europeans from the discovery of gunpowder.
Director James Mangold has a gem in his new film ‘Logan.’ Those who follow Marvel and The Wolverine have been waiting on this for quite some time. The trailer? It’s one of the most brutal I’ve ever seen. I never thought I’d see the day when one of Marvel’s main characters would get an R-rated movie, but that time has come. The story takes us to the U.S./Mexico border (perfect timing right?) where we find an aging, weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) living out his days as a chauffeur. After work, he takes care of Professor X (Patrick Stewart) who is in hiding along with another mutant named Caliban (Stephen Merchant). A quick side note: whenever you hear someone reference Logan, The Wolverine, or X-24, they’re all the same person (Hugh Jackman’s character). For awhile, Logan is able to stay on his daily routine of chauffeuring and keeping Professor X on his medication, but as time passes he comes to find out he might be sick as well. During this time, an odd set of circumstances was cast upon the U.S. Not one single mutant had been born for decades. Because of this, Charles (Professor X) started telling Logan of visions of ‘another’ that might be coming. But Logan ignores his input, blaming it as a side effect of his medication. But sure enough, a woman named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) follows him while he’s at work and begs him to help her get away. She’s fleeing from the same company that experimented on Logan to make him the way he is now. The little girl she was caring for that you see in the trailer is Laura (Dafne Keen) and she is nothing less than a 4ft tall badass.
This movie is epic. Within the first 3 minutes of commencement, you’re going to see someone take a round of bullets. Somebody might lose their head, somebody might catch a set of claws to the face, and if your eyes are still open you’ll see someone lose an arm. Fox went hardcore with the violence in this one so this is definitely not the Disney-friendly Marvel films everyone’s used to. If your child wants to see this you may want to think twice if they can’t handle blood (lots and lots of blood). Logan got his title ‘X-24’ from a project of the same prefix, Weapon X. A top-secret research facility was experimenting on willing and unwilling candidates to turn them into super weapons. The Weapon X project is responsible for characters such as Sabertooth, Leech, Deadpool, and of course, Wolverine. The Weapon X organization first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #181. Once Logan comes in contact with Gabriela and Laura, the movie truly begins to take shape. I’ve danced around the plot enough to not give the film away so if I go any deeper, the Marvel fanboys may attack me for spoilers so I don’t want to take any chances (I value my life).
The action is incredible, the fight scenes are amazing, and the storyline is easy to follow. The only problem I had with it was the superfluous amount of blood. It felt like the director had been waiting with bated breath for his chance at an R-rated Marvel film to impose all the gore his heart desired (I thought some of the death scenes went way too far). The good thing is it’s not enough to derail the awesomeness of the movie. 9 out of 10 for ‘The Wolverine’ and his badassery. So there you have it. Marvel goes off for the umpteenth time and does what DC cannot. Hold on to your hats and your emotions because the ending is something you won’t see coming. (What a twist !). As the leader of our free world would say, “Trust me, believe me!”
*Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine and Dafne Keen as Laura in LOGAN. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein
Do you remember the 90’s? It seems like all the best music and movies came from this exact time period. Anyone who was around during that time can remember Disney’s dominance on the animated movie scene. Those very large VHS tapes in their equally large and extremely detailed cases were a collectors’ piece for every household. In those days, Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise directed an animated masterpiece in “Beauty and the Beast” that would go on to win hearts around the world and awards to go with it. Back when children were introduced to the voice of Angela Landsbury as Mrs. Potts, if they didn’t already recognize her from “Murder She Wrote.” But as I opened initially, that was the 90’s and all of its innocence. It’s now 2017 and the ‘house of mouse’ (Disney) is determined to remake every classic we’ve ever known into a live-action film. In its most basic form, Bill Condon has literally brought the original story to life thanks to live actors and a handful of CGI. It’s the original story that we’re all familiar with: A young girl in a tiny village is different from everyone else, her refusing to conform leads her to be an outcast, her father gets lost, she goes to find him, discovers a magical castle with a beast inside, I think you know the rest. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret, because there’s a few things you haven’t and won’t see on TV about this movie. Finding information online before seeing it on TV has now become commonplace, it’s the type of normalcy that delineates between generations. Now if you go onto Google and simply type in “Beauty and the Beast Movie 2017”, you will discover a lot of “Disney’s First-Ever ___.” Oh yes, because the house of mouse has become an agenda pushing factory as of late, but this time, they were very much in the open about it. Everyone knows Gaston is a self-absorbed prick, but Luke Evans is very likable, and did a very good job in his role (I struggle to call him ‘Luke’ instead of ‘Bard’ because I love “The Hobbit” so much). But it’s the side story they try to push with Le Fou (Josh Gad), his noble sidekick and confidant that’s gone undetected. There are two moments where the storyline breaks from the original and goes off into agenda mode. It slides in after everyone enjoys, “Nooooo oooooone fights like Gaston!” and Le Fou finds himself smitten by his presence and considers kissing him. Random? Quite. The second comes towards the end of the movie where three musketeer-like figures take on an armed armoire in the Beast’s castle. They were defeated once the armoire changed their clothes and dressed them more feminine, but it was the black musketeer who appeared to adore his new dressing and waltzed away (but if I get started on the feminization of black men, we might be here until the next election cycle). After the day is saved, everyone dances in the castle and Le Fou finds himself face-to-face in the gaze of that very same black musketeer.
So that’s one headline that has dominated the online-sphere, the next would be the interracial component, which I find hilarious because of the outcry after that infamous Cheerios commercial that ran during the Super Bowl a few years ago. It was nice to see a diverse set of extras in imaginary France (with very few French accents) and Disney was not afraid to pick up where Cheerios left off. Once the inevitable occurs and everyone in the castle turns back into humans, Stanley Tucci and Ewan McGregor run to their love interests Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw respectively. A few accounts have noted this is the first interracial kiss in Disney liveaction film, but again, to me, I saw the chick from Belle (from the 2013 movie “Belle”, Gugu) kiss the guy from Blackhawk Down (Ewan McGregor) and that was that. See how things change with perspective? So those are a few things some of you may have missed. You can open your eyes now helicopter parents, we can get back to innocent things again. That is, after I express my disappointment in casting, because Emma Watson as Belle just didn’t do it for me. Again, Luke Evans as Gaston was perfect, Josh Gad even resembled Le Fou with his cadence and tone, I even liked Kevin Kline as Maurice, but Emma Watson? She may have been born in Paris, but she sounds British, as does Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts. Her singing could be described as nothing more than ‘average’ and to make matters worse, in an imaginary world set in a real country like France with British accents afloat, hearing her continuous attempts at “Pa-pah!” irked my soul to its limit. Beauty and the Beast feels more like a musical than an actual movie. But I have to say, the scenery, the design of the village and castle, and the castle’s interior are amazing. It’s still a nice love story and all of the things I mentioned are things that you and I as adults will notice. The overall message of ‘not judging a book by its cover’ and to show ‘kindness and compassion’ are still delivered, just not in the same animated way that we’re used to. Beauty and the Beast gets a 7 out of 10 from me. Also, I’d like to note that there’s nothing scary about this remake for children (unlike the outcry that came from “Maleficent”). The singing could’ve been better and the casting could definitely use a boost, but the film overall is ok. As a twist, when the villagers raid the castle, I would’ve had Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) approach the mob with a “You shall not pass!”
Power Rangers is a reboot of the TV series that 80’s/90’s babies know and love. A group of highschool kids are infused with special powers after coming in contact with powerful crystals buried eons ago. At the discovery of the crystals and their newfound powers, they discover a buried spaceship whose contents explain the crystals, their purpose, and what’s at stake (the safety of planet earth). Not everything 20 years old and older needs to be remade, so when I heard Power Rangers was getting a reboot, I honestly wasn’t thrilled. But after seeing this film, I can honestly say that this new generation of children and purists alike will be able to enjoy this new cast of Rangers. The new cast goes as follows: Red Ranger Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Blue Ranger Billy (RJ Cyler), Black Ranger Zack (Ludi Lin), Pink Ranger Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Yellow Ranger Trini (Becky G.) Although Jason is the leader of the team, the real character that carries the team and makes the movie is Billy. RJ Cyler is innovative, creative, hilarious, and impresses throughout the film with humor and quick wit. So to go a little deeper with the storyline, once the kids discover these crystals and find the spaceship, they get the backstory from Alpha-5 (voiced by Bill Hader) and Zordon (Bryan Cranston) on where to go from here. Zordon led the last generation of Rangers and buried the crystals until they were found by the right team of people to protect earth from Rita Repulsa.
As Zordon explains to the new Rangers their powers and responsibilities, Rita was awakened while in the bottom of a fishing vessel. Once aware of her surroundings she sets out to find enough gold to bring a monster named Goldar back to life and wreak havoc. The only problem I could see people having with this new film is that it’s not an exact replica of the original. The suits look different as do the helmets and the Ranger assignments are different. In 2017 PC (politically correct) America, it was probably too big a risk to keep the Black Ranger “Black” and the Yellow Ranger “Asian” (like the original), so the Black Ranger is Asian, the Blue Ranger is Black, and the Yellow Ranger is Latina. But if you’re too young to know the original this won’t make a difference (and shouldn’t make a difference anyway). I give Power Rangers 9 out of 10. The movie flows nicely, the storyline is pretty set, and the character build is steady and balanced. One thing you must know, is that once the movie is over, you need to watch the credits. The ending and the credits are gifts to those who’ve been waiting in anticipation of this film. Film Reviews: Jon J.
MUSIC Don Henley w/ JD & The Straight Shot
Sunday night, January 22, was a special night for the city of Atlanta on two totally different fronts. On one hand the Atlanta Falcons destroyed the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC Conference championship, thereby earning a ticket to Houston in two weeks to take on the Patriots in Super Bowl fifty-one. And then, on the other hand … Don Henley darkened the doors of The “Fabulous” Fox Theater for a one-night-only show. While I’m sure most Atlantans wouldn’t hesitate as to which of these two events was most substantive, I on the other hand (my Oakland Raiders have been eliminated, so I have no skin in the game) ….
“Henley did a wonderful job of floating between generations” Don Henley and his band performed for a solid 2-hours, and had the majority of the sold-out crowd on their feet for most of the evening. Having the runway already greased by opening act “JD & The Straight Shot”, Henley put on a show for the ages. Henley did a wonderful job of floating between generations; while performing selections from his 2015 album “Cass County” (a tribute to his home county in Texas), as well as a sneak preview of a new album that’s in progress, he also reached back to the 70’s and performed many of the hits that made him a household name while performing with The Eagles. Henley rocked the house with Eagles favorites — ‘Witchy Woman’, ‘Desperado’, ‘One of These Nights’, ‘Life In The Fast Lane’, ‘Wasted Time’, ‘New York Minute’, ‘7 Bridges Road, and oh yeah, to quote Henley: “that hotel song” (Hotel California). Henley also performed a number of his post-Eagles hits such as ‘Sunset Grill’, ‘The End of Innocence’, and ‘The Heart of The Matter’. JD & The Straight Shot (above) are currently working on their forthcoming album due out in 2017. In addition to touring with Don Henley, they’ve played alongside notable artists such as the Eagles, Keith Urban, the Dixie Chicks, Jewel and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. When I arrived at the venue, I fully expected to see Henley and perhaps 5 or 6 other musicians; I did not expect to see up to 15 performers on stage! Besides Henley he also had three other guitarists (including the magnificent Steuart Smith), his drummer, a bassist, keyboardist, three background singers, and a full 5-piece horn section (2 on trumpet, 2 on saxophone, and a trombone player). This was more than a show — this was an event! Henley extolled his love for the city of Atlanta throughout the evening, and after two curtain calls the crowd departed fully satisfied. Truly, a great show! -KJ
When Jack Tatum began work on Life of Pause, his third full-length to date, he had lofty ambitions: Don’t just write another album; create another world. One with enough detail and texture and dimension that a listener could step inside, explore, and inhabit it as they see fit. “I desperately wanted for this to be the kind of record that would displace me,” he says. “I’m terrified by the idea of being any one thing, or being of any one genre. And whether or not I accomplish that, I know that my only hope of getting there is to constantly reinvent. That reinvention doesn't need to be drastic, but every new record has to have its own identity, and it has to have a separate set of goals from what came before.” In my opinion, Tatum has lived up to his word and then some. His musical identity is truly a myth. I’d have to make up a word and say it’s genre ambiguous. On one track you’ll get a feel of somber feelings with acapella vocals but rock out with guitar riffs on the next track, followed by a serenade via xylophone. It’s a great problem to have. I initially heard of Wild Nothing back in 2013 thanks to the mobile app Shazam. I heard a track titled “Shadow” and immediately felt something. I was out running errands and heard tunes to which my ears had never heard before. I immediately stopped what I was doing, grabbed a chair, stood on said chair, and put my phone as close to the ceiling speaker as I could. I’ve been a fan of Wild Nothing ever since. On iTunes, the genre assigned to him was “Alternative” but he could literally fall into a plethora of categories for his music. His current album “Life of Pause” beautiful example of his musical genius and why he can’t be
categorized. Ever since I heard “Shadow” four years ago, I add anything he makes to my “relax” playlist on iTunes. On the opening track Reichpop, you’ll be lulled into relaxation for the first minute and thirty seconds via the aforementioned xylophone. 90 solid seconds will pass before vocal accompaniment, leaving you as the listener in wonder about which direction this track could take. While its an album that you can play in its entirety and not get bored of any single track, I do have my favorites: “Lady Blue” “Life
of Pause” “Alien” “Adore” and “TV Queen.”
your focus may be to a state of relaxation.
What I love about all the tracks I listed is that not only do they stand out (to me) as my favorites, but every one of them sounds different. When Jack said he was “terrified of any one thing” he was not kidding.
The track “Whenever I” sounds like something you might hear on a video game. As the song opened it gave me thoughts of childhood where my friends and I would play “Street Fighter II” and “Turtles in Time” (both on Super Nintendo) all-day long. It’s a mellow track that you could listen to on your XBOX or play in the background as you clean your room.
The track “Alien” sounds unlike any other track on his album. The track is keyboard heavy but relies on guitar rifts throughout the track to give it completeness. As the track draws to a close, the vocals stop and you’re forced to give in to the music. The drums, keyboard, and guitar whisk you away from whatever
“Life of Pause” is a solid album, hands down. It gets 9 out of 10 from me and I hate I couldn’t catch him in concert while he was in town, I heard he puts on a fantastic show (which I truly believe based on his album). You can buy the album on iTunes or visit his website .
-Jon J. Photos: Shawn Brackbill
‘Drunk’ is the latest project that bassist Thundercat has dropped on the music scene. On the heels of his 2015 mini album ‘The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam’, fans have been waiting for whatever was up next. ’Drunk’ will be Thundercat’s third full album, which dropped on February 24th, courtesy of Brainfeeder label mastermind Flying Lotus. For those who may not be familiar with Thundercat, he is a virtuoso bass player and vocalist who stems from humble beginnings in Los Angeles where he was known as Stephen Bruner, son of Ronald Bruner, Sr. (former drummer for The Temptations among others) and brother to Ronald Bruner, Jr. an accomplished player in his own right. As Thundercat evolved musically throughout the music scene in LA (playing and recording with the likes of Erykah Badu, Stanley Clarke, and Snoop Dogg), he and his childhood friends eventually evolved into ‘The West Coast Get Down’; this group of now professional players (including saxophonist Kamasi Washington, drummer Tony Austin, Flying Lotus, bassist Miles Mosley, and Thundercat, and brother Ronald Bruner Jr. among others) segregated themselves for 30 straight days in a rented studio, jamming from 10am to 3am. The result was approximately 175 tunes by the group, with the most notable result to date being Kamasi Washington’s 3-disc breakthrough album ‘The Epic’. A lot more epic music from all the artists involved is anticipated from this unique collaboration. ‘Drunk’ is a musical and ideological roller coaster ride celebrating highs and lows, darkness and light, as well as heavy riffs coupled with light melodies and harmonies. For example, this roller coaster ride will take you from something as simple and goofy as ‘Capt. Stupido’ to ‘Show You The Way’ which features Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald; ‘Walk on By’ featuring Kendrick Lamar as well as ‘Drink Dat’ featuring Wiz Khalifa will both take you on a hip-hop journey you’ll be glad you took.
Thundercat gives his bass a serious workout on my favorite tune (for all you cat lovers) ‘A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)’. ‘Inferno’ will take you to deep and dark places — to a point where you’ll welcome arriving at a place where no man wants to be — ‘The Friend Zone.’ There are a slew of what I’ll call musical vignettes (7 of the 23 tracks are 2 minutes or less) that will wet your musical whistle — maybe even leave you wanting more. If you’re an existing fan you won’t be disappointed; if you’ve heard of Thundercat and was curious whether he could bring it or not, ‘Drunk’ will give you a good dose of the ‘Cat and what he’s about — serious, in a sometimes silly way.
Tin Pan South 25
This year marked the 25th anniversary of NSAI’s Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival. The Nashville Songwriters Association International has been fighting to protect the rights of songwriters and provide a home base to “educate, elevate and celebrate” songwriters since 1967. When the first Tin Pan South festival took place in 1993, it was spread across 5 venues in Nashville with only a handful of songwriters and the staff at NSAI who wanted to celebrate songs and the incredible writers who write them. It is safe to say that the festival has grown exponentially over 25 years to now include 10 venues, hundreds of performers, and a draw that extends out of Nashville’s bounds. Tin Pan South is much like Nashville’s “SXSW” for songwriters. People travel to Tennessee from all over the world to hear some of the biggest songwriters in the world play the hits they’ve written, talk about the songwriting process, and share new songs they’re working on. Each night there are two showcases at each venue, one early show, and one late show. Over the course of the week, that makes 20 shows per night, for a total of 100 shows for the week of the festival. Guests who purchase a “Fast Access Pass” can jump from venue to venue, getting first priority access to the venue as long as the room capacity is not met. The first night of this year’s festival was kicked off with incredible line-ups across all venues, but in one of the most surprising and exciting turns of the festival, Keith Urban showed up to Station Inn to join a ’round’ with Cali Rodi, Jordan Minton, Logan Turner and Ross Copperman.
That is the beauty of having a festival like this in Music City – you never know who will show up! Getting to see these songwriters who have written all the songs we know and love from radio up close and personal in intimate venues really creates a special experience for anyone who aspires to be a writer or even has a deep interest in music in general.
The festival features writers from every part of the spectrum-from country to pop to bluegrass, and from hit-maker status to newcomer. It’s not only the Keith Urbans and the surprise guests that make this festival beautiful. One of my favorite moments of this year’s festival was at the Bluebird Café during the round put on by Still Working Music. The round featured notable writers Dylan Altman, Gordie Sampson, Ryan Lafferty and Tommy Lee James. About halfway through the round, Tommy Lee James invited 16-yearold Alana Springsteen to the center of the Bluebird to share a few of her songs. Springsteen recently signed with Still Working Music and got to share her songs with a new audience who were all blown away by her incredible talent. I watched everyone around me pull out their phones to Google her name as soon as she was done playing her song, “Over.” Moments like that are what make Tin Pan South so special.
This festival is one you should not miss next year-it is only going to get bigger and better. Fast Access Passes are also a must to give you the best shot at getting into the venues to see these incredible artists. Purchasing Fast Access Passes and attending this festival allow you to support an organization that is working tirelessly day in and day out to protect the rights of songwriters. It doesnâ€™t hurt to get to hear incredible songs every night for five days. To learn more about NSAI, visit https://www.nashvillesongwriters.com/. To stay up to date on festival updates and 2018 festival information, follow Tin Pan South on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TinPanSouth/.
-Lauren Brumley Photos: Courtesy of Tin Pan South
The 2016-17 football season for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets was like that of a rollercoaster. They kicked off the season in Dublin, Ireland with a stunning 17-14, victory against Boston College. The following week they returned home to Bobby Dodd to put a whooping on the Mercer (35-10) and followed that performance with a shock-drubbing of SEC foe Vanderbilt (38-7). Although it was early, the Yellow Jackets were 3-0 and on their way to their first big test: ACC foe and nationally ranked Clemson. The nationally televised game against the Tigers unfortunately didnâ€™t highlight Tech at its finest. They didnâ€™t look like the team that held on to win in Dublin or the team that the week prior pushed Vanderbilt to the limit. It was this very game that hurled the Yellow Jackets off track. The first turning point of the season. With consecutive losses to Clemson, Miami, and Pittsburgh, it looked like all hope, the season, and the ACC was lost. But then, something amazing and very rare happened: a second turning point of the season. The Yellow Jackets turned things around and won five of their last six games to guarantee a bowl match. The turnaround totally rejuvenated the Georgia Tech faithful, players, students, and all the critics of Paul Johnson all of a sudden went mum. They ended the regular season in the best way humanly possible for a Tech fan: they traveled to Athens, Georgia and beat the University of Georgia in the final minute of the game. They beat Georgia, at Georgia, in the final seconds, crushing dreams and owning bragging rights for a solid year until the rivalry returns to Bobby Dodd in 2017. After beating the Bulldogs on their home turf, their confidence was high. I myself felt like we were in 2014 all over again when this exact same scenario happened and they went on to the Orange Bowl and crushed Mississippi State. All I wanted at this point after beating Vanderbilt and most importantly Georgia, was to face another SEC opponent and show how overrated that conference was. Then four days later, God blessed us with a TaxSlayer Bowl match against Kentucky.
It was the exact sendoff I had hoped for senior quarterback Justin Thomas. A (9-4) record, a 33-18 bowl game victory, and a victory over an SEC opponent. Thomas had 46 yards rushing, 105 yards passing, and rushed for a touchdown. Georgia Tech dominated the game (23-3) all the way up to the 4th quarter. And while Thomas had an amazing outing, I’d be remiss to talk about the TaxSlayer Bowl victory and not mention Dedrick Mills or Tech’s defense. Dedrick Mills, who also won MVP of the game, rushed the ball 36 times for a staggering 136 yards, one touchdown, and didn’t lose a single yard. The combination of Justin Thomas, Dedrick Mills, and Clinton Lynch, terrorized defenses all season with their tripleoption package. Wide Receiver Ricky Jeune always comes through when called upon and contributed 59 yards on three receptions. Defensive Back A.J. Gray led the defense with 7 solo tackles (8 total) while defensive lineman Patrick Gamble anchored the line with 5 solo tackles (7 total) and a forced fumble. D-back Step Durham also stepped up in the secondary with 6 solo tackles and a key pass deflection. The Yellow Jackets produced 371 yards of total offense in their last victory of the year to cap off a season for the books. To start the season so strong, hit a slump, find their way out of the slump, win their rivalry game, and reach bowl glory is a season that will be remembered for awhile. Not just because of the way they ended their season (like 2014’s season that still gets discussed to this day) but because the old saying, “It’s not over til’ its over!” is actually true. After their three game skid they could’ve easily called it a season from there. Folks were calling for the axe of Paul Johnson and saying the program apexed after the Orange Bowl victory (see how 2014 keeps getting brought up?). But the Yellow Jackets overcame all odds and finished the season strong and most importantly, with trophies. We’d like to give a massive congratulations to Georgia Tech and their football program. Thank you for an exciting season and never giving up even when the odds were stacked against you. With that, we’d like to say thank you and give a fond farewell to all of the seniors: Austin McClellan, Isiah Willis, Ryan Rodwell, Justin Thomas, Freddie Burden, Marcus Allen, Michael Muns, Francis Kallon, Patrick Gamble, Rod RookChungong, P.J. Davis, Harrison Butker, and Chase Alford.
-Jon J. Photos: Hakim Wright
The 2016/17 season proved to be a tough one for the Atlanta Hawks. We didn’t have the same explosive boost to start the season like last year and the club axed some pretty popular players during summer/free agency. It’s a miracle that the fanbase is still intact and they made the playoffs. The biggest names to get the boot this season were Tiago Splitter, Al Horford, and fan favorite Kyle Korver. The team was even shopping Paul Millsap at a time when he was the lone standout and backbone of the team’s offensive presence. For the fans, they didn’t get much in return as far as big-name signings. However, the Hawks tried their damnedest to appease the fanbase in other ways. There were lots of themed nights throughout the regular season (too many to count actually) and they continued their concert series with the biggest names available. After last season’s run of performances, the Hawks went bigger and better for the 2016/17 season. They featured artists such as Lil Yachty, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, and Migos. The Hawks finished the regular season (43-39) and made it to the NBA Playoffs. With the #5 seed, they would be paired with the Washington Wizards. Unlike their last meeting in the playoffs, Wizards star John Wall was healthy and made all the difference in the series. The Hawks were flushed out at home in a Game 6 that fans would like to forget. We did enjoy some exciting home matchups this season. Teams like the Warriors, Spurs, Cavaliers, and Raptors kept things interesting at Philips Arena. We’re looking forward to the Hawks improving the franchise for the 2017/18 season. -Jon J. Photo: Hakim Wright
People have been waiting so long for this moment. I personally have been waiting for too long. I first brought up the matter in 2010. I was at a bar in Marietta called Rose & Crown with fellow football enthusiasts celebrating the world-renowned party more commonly known as the World Cup. It was the Mexico v Netherlands match where I met some authentic Dutchman who were in Atlanta for three weeks on holiday (vacation). It was then, the Amsterdam native asked, “So why don’t you (Atlanta) have a football club?” and I answered honestly “You know what… I don’t know.” Fast forward to 2017 and we are well into Atlanta United Football Club’s inaugural season in the MLS. With a wide range of talent from across the globe and arguably one of the world’s best managers, Atlanta United (ATLUTD) have made the biggest splash the MLS has seen in quite some time.
Between that fateful day in the summer of 2010 and two months clear in the MLS season, Atlanta United Football Club, our football club, have sold out every home game to date. The club boasts thousands of supporters, numerous supporters’ clubs, official bars and watch party locations, the coolest kit (jersey) in the league, and the city has even rallied behind their favorite players. The name on everyone’s lips is our mega-talented midfield Miguel “Miggy” Almirón. The Paraguayan midfielder can do it all, from possession to playmaking and of course scoring. The other big signing that turned out better than expected was Josef Martinez. While Almirón came from Club Lanus (Argentina) Martinez was loaned to us from Torino (Italy). After scoring five goals in two matches, United were quick to contact Torino to make the loan move permanent. Unfortunately, soon after that he was called up to the Venezuelan National Team and injured his hamstring. The biggest noise made league-wide was the South American contingent put together by United and manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino. That contingent consists of Miguel Almirón, Carlos Carmona, Yamil Asad, Hector “Tito” Villalba, Josef Martinez, and Leandro Gónzalez Pirez.
One thing I can guarantee, is that football fever is here to stay. If you haven’t made it to a match yet, now is the time to go. The atmosphere at Bobby Dodd is amazing and continues to impress. Plus the ticket prices are reasonable since they’re yet to host a match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (the date has been pushed back to August/ September). ATLUTD are looking to make a splash in their inaugural season in MLS. If they can continue to sell out merchandise as well as seats, I’m pretty sure the entire league will notice the immediate impact their presence has made. To learn more about our city’s first-ever football club you can click HERE. If you’re already a fan and want to check out their brand new wallpaper selections click HERE.
-Jon J. Photo: X
Hey guys! I’m very excited to tell you about this new mobile app called Tubi TV. Tubi TV is on a mission to deliver premium movies and TV entertainment ondemand, all for free, as the leading alternative to the pay-for-play on-demand model. With over 40,000 titles, Tubi TV is the largest provider of free and legal TV shows and movies on the Web, mobile, and Connected TV devices. From Silicon Valley to Hollywood investors include MGM, Lionsgate, Cota Capital, Foundation Capital, Mark Amin, and others. Tubi TV is powered by adRise, the leading content distribution and monetization platform for premium content owners, such as MGM, Lionsgate, and Paramount. You can download Tubi TV on Apple TV, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Samsung. Sounds like a good deal right? It’s also available on every major platform you could dream of, but you might be wondering “How did you hear about this?” Well, one day I randomly searched in iTunes for “Free TV” and Tubi TV was the first result to appear. After reading over its description I thought it was too good to be true. But here I am weeks later, happy to report that this app is everything it claims to be and more! In the past year alone they’ve been able to lock in deals with Starz Digital, VIZ Media, Comedy Dynamics, and even companies like Sentai Filmworks and Toei Animation who provide loads of anime. They have a vast catalog of options for your viewing pleasure and it’s constantly changing every month. So for my experimentation I watched a comedy special by Paul Mooney (which was hilarious by the way), clips of Teen Titans GO! and Ultimate Avengers 2 (animated film).
So as you can imagine, the only way an app like this can provide so much content for free is with ads. While the majority of the movies and shows are dated, they do have an extensive collection that aren’t on Netflix and their animated selection is pretty stacked. But like I said before, the great part about their collection is that it changes every month. For the price of FREE, you’re not going to find much better than this. You can sign-up via Facebook or register with an email address. I went with the latter and it took all of 30 seconds to complete. The great thing about signing up through email is that they don’t spam you with annoying messages (It’s only used to sign you in). There are so many categories (over 50,000 options of free content) that you are destined to find something to grab your attention. I honestly don’t mind the commercials because they’re shorter than the ones on TV.
So if you take a look to the left, that is what it looks like within the app itself. This is within the “Not on Netflix” category which you can see display at the top in the middle. Directly next to it on the right is a partial square with an RSS feed graphic. With that you have the option to play whatever movie you’re watching on another device like a TV. The magnifying glass pulls up a search tab and the three horizontal lines toggles an options bar. It’s a nifty app that’ll come in handy on trips, downtime, and definitely a musthave if you’re into anime (as their collection of titles is quite expansive). For more information you can visit the TUBI TV website and download the app on your device of choice today! Happy viewing!
Independent virtual reality startup Mostly Human Studios has released Just Relax, a virtual reality relaxation and meditation app for the Samsung Gear VR that uses a hybrid rendering approach to place the user in a beautiful beach paradise that can help them de-stress and unwind. Mostly Human Studios is an indie start up by video game artist Paul Davis and aims to push the boundaries of virtual reality and make the most immersive
The real genius behind this app is its simplicity. The name is “Just Relax” and that’s all you have to do. Like how men of war had a call to arms? This is a digital call to ‘just relax’ with three different options to do so. The dazzling visuals assist in calming the soul, such as the gentle waves lapping against the shore, the clouds that float by at a snail’s pace, or even the sight of the ocean. The sound of tropical birds and small waves also assisted with my decompression.
The one touch control system on the right side of my Gear VR allowed me to switch through the application’s three settings: A gorgeous beach morning, a beautiful sunset, or a moonlit beach. I had to try this app three separate times and every single time I fell asleep. What was most relaxing for me, was the sunset setting. With a sky that fades from blue to purple and the most common sound from the beach (waves), it took mere seconds for me to fully unwind and enjoy the scenery. The night setting was nice too because of the candle lit path to guide you along with the sounds of the beach.
Oh and if you’re wondering if the app actually looks like this, it does. The evening and night photos you see are from within the app. So you will see the moon, coconuts, and even a small boat. I give Just Relax a 9 out of 10. It’s worth every bit of the $2.99 price tag. It’s simple, straightforward, but more importantly, it’s relaxing. The Just Relax Samsung VR app can be purchased HERE
Editor-in-Chief Jon Jones
Beauty Contributor Keisha Campbell
Videography Malcolm “X” Lewis
Music Contributions Lauren Brumley YoAngie! Caquias KJ
Art/Graphics Bob Jeffreys
Sports Esli Lara Mike Brown Jon Jones Tony Stanford Jr.
Fashion Team Joy Larkin Keisha Campbell
We hope you enjoyed issue 19 of The Peach Review®. If you’d like to see more content (pictures/ videos) or keep up-to-date on events around ATL you can:
Photography Hakim Wright Malcolm “X” Lewis Yoh Phillips Anna Lira Jonathan Davis Kent Foster Event Contributions Khaleah Evelyn Desmond Mclennon Erica “EDB” Bizzell Doug Bryant Consultant Desmond Mclennon Video Games Titus “TBZ” Rowell Alana Clarke
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