Tag Archives: Film

STEP : Movie Review “Directors Cut”

Taking a trip to Jamaica, Queens is not a journey that is made on a regular for someone that lives in the deepest part of the Bronx but exceptions were made last night. Thankfully no regrets were made either. Movie goers formed a long line inside the theater entrance waiting for a chance to see STEP before it’s release in theaters on Friday, August 4th. The seats filled up quickly to no surprise and unfortunately a few late comers could not see the film because the theater was completely packed and sold out!

The movie starts and you instantly know what step is and why it is so important to these young women. “You mess with my sister you mess with me,” one of the opening quotes in the beginning of the film.

The movie STEP is a true story about high school girls on the Lethal Ladies step team at a Baltimore charter school. STEP follows these ladies during their senior year showing the ups and downs of making it out of difficult circumstances at home and in their community. Empowered by their teachers, counselors, coaches, teammates and family these ladies fight for their dreams of winning a step championship and being accepted into college.

The storyline focuses mainly on the lives of three young women, Blessin, Cori, and Tayla, all with different personalities and backgrounds but with common goals and obstacles.

blessin

Blessin is the fireball, the creative, and at times the screw up. She is the founder of Lethal Ladies, with a beat face intact Blessin seems to always have it together on the outside but battles a lot internally. Her home life is inconsistent, where food is hard to come by and so is support. It seems her family struggles also to support Blessin and direct her in the right direction to succeed and go to college.

“It’s like sometimes I go somewhere else.

It’s like therapy when I step.”

Blessin

 

cori

Cori is the intellect and introvert and stepping allows her to be everything she is not on the outside. She comes from a big family being the oldest of six siblings and is determined to become valedictorian and also receive a full ride to John Hopkins University. Although she has the support of her family, Cori understands that her family cannot afford college let alone her dream school.

“It’s like comfort doesn’t really exist.

It’s not something that ever stays constant.”

Cori

 

tayla

Tayla has the sassiness of the group and her mom is right there along for the ride as the honorary mascot/coach. Tayla also has dreams of going to college and leaving Baltimore and struggles with staying consistent with her grades.

“I’m like a notch down from Beyonce because she doesn’t mess up.

I mess up sometimes.”

Tayla

This film will surely pull at your heart strings from the beginning to end. Seeing how these ladies persevered over so many hardships and continued to support each other as sisters is powerful. STEP is emotionally inspiring and empowering. The fight that everyone in the community has for these young ladies is not shown enough on the media. Seeing the principal, counselors and teachers at The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women (BLSYW) fight and encourage these young women will encourage you to do more for the youth around you. BLSYW mission was to graduate 100% of their students and have all of them go to college! This is a phenomenal goal and you can tell these adults truly care for the well being of these students, it was not about the numbers or data, it was about changing lives, circumstances and families. Support, empowerment, resilience, and faith was the over theme of this movie and I highly recommend you, your children, and friends go see this movie!

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Reel Recap: Harlem International Film Festival

The Harlem International Film Festival countdown has come to a close. The festival took place September 14th – 18th at Mist Harlem showcasing 99 films in four days! The films and shorts presented this year were so diverse and inspiring. Reel Reality had the privilege of working at the festival taking pictures and recording a few interviews with great directors. Check out some pictures from HIFF below:

 

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Director’s Cut: Will Smith’s Newest Movie Concussion

Counting all the men you know that played football, either recreationally or professionally at some point in their life, it would not be a fun task. Well after watching “Concussion” I did exactly that, sat down, and started to think about those men and young boys. The fact that playing football as a child may cause mental health issues later in life is a chilling thought. Even though it is not too surprising considering the physicality of football. The results of Dr. Bennet Omalu’s research are very disturbing and the exact reason the National Football League had a frenzy when they heard about his findings over ten years ago.

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Concussion starring Will Smith dissects how professional football players are affected mentally, physically, and emotionally by hard hits and an excessive amount of games. The movie beautifully shows the tragic stories of Pittsburg Steelers hall of famer Mike Webster, Andre Waters, Dave Duerson and others, and how pathologist Bennet Omalu discovered that these athletes had the crippling disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

I had the privilege of attending a prescreening of the movie (thank you Blogxilla and Global Grind) and for me the experience of seeing how these athletes’ entire lives was centered around football to only have the center of their world be the cause of their demise was heart breaking. The movie so gracefully shows the dirty truths of CTE and how the disease not only kills these athletes mentally, spiritually and emotionally, but also affects their families and friends. Concussion had clever and strategically placed humor, which made the movie feel less somber. Ultimately, it was the drive for survival through Omalu and the players that made the biggest impact for me. Not only was Omalu fighting for his career he was fighting for the players and the voice they lost from CTE. It is interesting to see how football caused all these men including the coaches, players and Omalu to fight for something bigger than themselves. Unfortunately, that same drive caused some athletes their lives, but their need to succeed and support their families was powerful. Concussion is definitely one of the most groundbreaking and impactful sports movies to date. I strongly encourage you to see the movie Concussion hits theaters on Christmas Day!