Tag Archives: Movie

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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The Black Women Behind NASA’s First Space Shuttle Launch!

Article by Meah Denee via ReelReality

Finally stories about people of color are becoming more of a conversation for Hollywood production companies. Doors are slowly starting to open for non slave narratives to be represented on big screens by big name production companies.

Hidden Figures tells the story of a group of African American women who changed history by calculating the trajectory for the first American astronaut to orbit the earth.  This was no easy accomplishment or job for women of color in the 1960s when African Americans were battling for equal rights in every part of their lives. Nonetheless these women used their minds and talents to help change history forever, and now we get to see their journey on the big screen.

Taraji P. Henson plays Katherine Johnson alongside Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan) and Janelle Monae (Mary Jackson) who were a group of African American mathematicians who became the brains behind NASA’s biggest mission. In a time before electronic computers these women become the “computers” for NASA helping to launch monumental space shuttle missions including the success of Apollo 13 landing on the moon.

The movie trailer premiered Sunday night during the Rio Olympics and began with a prodigy child, Katherine Johnson, who was fascinated with numbers. The trailer goes on to show the struggles these women faced not only being black women but also being educated and how it effected their love life and families.

One scene with Henson, her daughter says, “You’ve been gone 300 hours.”

Henson responds back, “Was momma gone for twelve and a half days.”

Her daughter nods her head no saying, “No but it felt like it.”

Even though the sacrifices were grand the accomplishments that were made were even bigger. Last year Katherine Johnson received the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, given to her by President Barack Obama.

Hidden Figures hits theaters January 13, 2017. Catch the trailer below.

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“Hands Of Stone” Trailer With Usher Raymond as Sugar Ray Leonard

Article by Meah Denee via ReelReality

Usher Raymond makes an acting comeback to play Sugar Ray Leonard in the film Hands of Stone. The film is about the legendary boxing match between Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez) and the undefeated lightweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard.

boxers

Written and directed by Venezuelan Jonathan Jakubowicz the film is set in the 1980s and tells the story of Duran’s famous re-match against Leonard. Hands Of Stone also stars Robert DeNiro as legendary boxing coach Ray Archel who came out of retirement, at age 72, to coach Duran. Known for his powerfully strong hands Duran won world championships in four weight divisions and was nicknamed “Manos de Piedra” (Hands of Stone). Over his career span he won over 100 matches and became one of the few boxers to have a five decade long career continuing to win matches until he retired in 2002, at 49 years of age.

Hands Of Stone hits theaters on August 26. Check out the trailer below!

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Want to know more about Duran and Leonard’s legendary fight check out this BleacherReport article.

Loretta Devine Spills The Tea On Waiting To Exhale Sequel

 

For over two decades Waiting to Exhale fans have wondered if they would ever see a sequel to the 1995 hit movie! Well you can finally exhale because actress Loretta Devine spills a little tea about the Waiting to Exhale sequel.

Now if you are too young to remember this iconic movie, Waiting To Exhale, told the story of a group of friends and their struggles to balance their love life, family, and career. Savannah (Whitney Houston) and Robin (Lela Rochon) find themselves in relationships with married men believing these men will make them a priority by leaving their wives. While Bernadine (Angela Bassett) deals with a messy divorce after her husband leaves her for his younger mistress. Luckily, someone finds a bit of romance, Gloria (Loretta Devine) finds love with handyman and neighbor Marvin (Gregory Hines).

This movie sounds a bit dramatic and heartbreaking, which it is, but in the end love and friendship continue to prevail and help these women transition into a better season in their lives.

What should the fans expect from the sequel? Starlet Devine speaks about the Waiting to Exhale sequel in an interview with Hollywood Today Live stating, “They’re still writing on it for all we know…Everything happened so quick because Gregory passed and then Whitney passed and it’s like you can’t start a movie with two funerals and they were like the key characters and so everything just sort of got scattered after that but I think Terry McMillan is still trying to make it happen.”

Director Forrest Whitaker and writer Terry McMillian can go so many ways with this storyline and I know Reel Reality is excited to see what happens to Robin, Bernadine and Gloria’s characters, and what escapades they will get into in the sequel.

Watch the full interview to hear Devine discuss more about Waiting To Exhale and her new role on The Carmichael Show and how she had to audition for the role.