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Posts Tagged ‘LaTaeya Lane Barnes and Noble’

by LaTaeya Lane

AMC’s The Walking Dead started with a Georgia Deputy Sheriff named Rick Grimes, portrayed by (Andrew Lincoln). Suffering from an on-the-job gunshot wound, Rick ended up in a coma only to wake up and learn that the world he once knew was gone and riddled with the dead as they plagued the Earth roaming, lurking, and walking, ready to devour any living being that crossed their path.

Rick set out on a journey to find his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs), and along the way, he met a man named Morgan Jones (Lenni James) that would save his life and set him on a path to great leadership. Rick found his family and a group that would be the genesis of a story that eventually changed how humanity would survive the apocalypse.

Rick’s sole purpose was to survive, and through that purpose, he strived to find a permanent place where his family and the community that he has grown to love could thrive and have a future; however, for Rick’s purpose to have true meaning he had to endure the psychotic nature of many different enemies. Unfortunately, those enemies included people from other groups.

Rick’s leadership started with a small camp just outside of Atlanta. From there, his survival adventure led him to a farm where he met The Green family, then he and his group lived on the road for a while. Next, he found a Prison where he thought he could build a life and fortify. After he crossed paths and fought and survived Woodbury’s Governor (David Morrissey), he and the group again tried to start over. On the road again in search of a new place, he and the group met a man named Aaron (Ross Marquand), bringing them to a gated community called Alexandra. It is there where Rick and the group find their place until they meet a group called The Saviors, led by the now famous Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan). After many lives lost and another war, the Alexandra safe zone is where Rick brings other local communities together, such as Hilltop, The Kingdom, and Oceanside.

As the years went by, Rick developed many friendships, allies, and enemies. He lost his wife Lori and his son Carl, but he was able to start over and build a new life with his daughter Judith (Cailey Fleming) and his partner, the katana-wielding Michonne(Danai Gurira).

After years of fighting and shortlived moments of peaceful times, Rick’s survival is tested again as he attempts to save his community from Walkers breaching the borders of the Alexandra safe zone. We last see Rick being taken away in a helicopter as he seeks medical attention for his injuries as directed by his possible ally Jadis (Pollyanna Mcintosh), who he met while trying to form an alliance to fight against Negan and the Saviors.

The surviving members of Rick’s group have done their best to pick up the pieces of a life first orchestrated by Rick. Many years have gone by, and we now see the group has left Alexandra to seek a new home and more opportunities for growth and expansion in a place called the Commonwealth. However, things are not as they seem. The organization of this group quickly reveals a vast amount of unfair treatment, injustices, and corruption among its leaders. We see the legacy of Rick Grimes live through each and every character as they prepare to fight the injustices of the Commonwealth.

Rick’s brother Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) has been there from the beginning and has now taken on the leadership role in Rick’s absence. However, he has also taken on another important role: father figure to Rick’s daughter Judith and his youngest son RJ (Antony Azor), whom he shares with partner Michone. As the final season wraps up, we find Daryl and the group back at Alexandra as they try to fight their way through a herd of evolving Walkers, tapped by the Commonwealth’s troupers,  searching for a safe place to regroup. At the same time, Judith suffers from a wound after she attempts to save Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) life. Meanwhile, as Aaron and Jerry (Cooper Andrews) try to help Lydia (Cassady McClincy) cope with a newly amputated arm, they do their best to get back on track to be reunited with the rest of their group.

All the puzzle pieces move together simultaneously as the group fights through the darkness of what they thought would be a good life in the Commonwealth community. They fight for the true meaning of freedom and eventually are victorious, but not without the consequences and casualties of war.

The Walking Dead’s Series Finale tied some loose ends while keeping the door open to various storylines and spinoffs. Despite knowing that some stories will continue, such as Daryl’s, Maggie’s, Negan’s, and Rick and Michonne’s, it’s sad to see the end of an Era. The showrunners did an excellent job with the flow and finalization of the story as they showcased the continued strength and determination of the group to fight for what is right. The feature film length of the final episode brought tears to my eyes as I experienced the final zombie visualization push through the screen.

We have seen Rick’s story evolve through his eyes and through the eyes of some of the most beloved heroes and anti-heroes that the TWD universe has to offer. The reason why The Walking Dead is the greatest show of all time is because it is through its heroes that it displays the true nature of what it means to be human; the light, the dark, the strength, perseverance and determination, the hope of family faith and love, the spirit of friendship and loyalty all wrapped up into a shared experience that has transcended time and American Television. Rick’s story will live on because it is the story that has pushed the envelope and defined what it means to truly live as hope and light guide the way forward.

Check out the final episode trailer below:

L.L.

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by LaTaeya Lane

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review

Wakanda Forever directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, and Lupita Nyong’o follows the story of how the world of Wakanda tries to find its place as they deal with the tragic events of losing King T’Challa.

This film was an epic adventure that introduced fans to a new villain, Namor portrayed by Tenoch Huerta as well as introduced us to a new generation of Black Female superheroes. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s overall theme explored the impact of how devastating grief can have on loved ones as well as a community, but it also displayed the gentle tenderness of pain while exposing the grandeur and immense power of love, hope, family, and traditions.

The all-star cast conveyed raw emotion as their on and off- screen chemistry and love for Chadwick Boseman poured through each heartfelt performance. Angela Bassett delivered an award-winning performance as the mother of the late King while ruling as the Queen of Wakanda. Letitia Wright also deserves recognition for a job well done as she walked on the line of displaying such realism and strength in her role.

The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira did an amazing job portraying the Wakandan General Okoye. Her performance projected the true spirit of love and loyalty in only a way that she could deliver.

The special effects blended well throughout the film and the score added to the raw emotion that the performers gave. The costumes and set designs were stunning as each look created a unique balance within the characters’ personalities as well as set the tone and mood to make the setting more magical. The action sequences were intense and drew you in as if you were fighting along with the characters. The origin story of Namor and his people was written very well and opened the door to an infinite form of possibilities regarding story development and the possible expansion of the Marvel Universe including the further exploration of Wakanda’s place in the world of the Avengers.

Marvel created an amazing tribute to Chadwick that is sure to leave moviegoers in tears. Overall, I gave this film five stars for the beautiful story and theater experience that it showcased.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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Warning: Light Spoilers Below

by LaTaeya Lane

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is the second installment of Marvel films centered around the beloved Sorcerer.  Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen, this film follows Doctor Stephen Strange as he protects a powerful Multiverse Traveler, America Chavez, from the wrath of Scarlett Witch, aka Wanda Maximoff.

The movie opens with an action sequence only fit for a Marvel production.  The opening scene sets the tone for an unforgettable theatrical experience.  It was great to see how Sam Raimi’s directorial vision came to life, opening the door and allowing moviegoers to be inside the Multiverse.  Fans of Doctor Strange know that he has been seen across many films within the MCU.  The Multiverse of Madness was a film that showed how much Doctor Strange has evolved in his role as a leader and magical being.  He seems to be quite settled in his life and very confident in his abilities.

This fast-moving thrill ride brings Scarlett Witch to the forefront of being a major villain.  Her past trauma from facing Thanos and suffering from losing the alternate reality she created is the foundation of her pain.  Scarlett destroys everything and everyone in her path to get what she wants in an attempt to change the past and rewrite her future.  

The Multiverse of Madness was a film that brought many theatrical and literary elements together.  The visual piece that this movie presented was magical.  The plot sequences opened our minds up to the endless possibilities that the human imagination can create and execute.  The creatures, monsters, and other mystical entities were a blast to see on the Silver Screen.  More questions and theories surfaced while the adventure ran its course.  There were elements of horror and classic Sam Raimi representations throughout the film that worked together perfectly like intricate pieces of a puzzle.

The main cast worked very well together.  Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen made a great team, while cast members who played America, Wong, Mordo, and Christine created tight chemistry that added to the film’s overall tone.  There are a few surprises near the end, and fans should expect to hang back in the theater for two post-credit scenes.

I am looking forward to what the future holds for Doctor Strange.  This movie is worth going to see a second time.

I gave this movie five stars!

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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The Walking Dead season 11B Mid-season Recap and Review

Warning Spoilers Below!

In The Walking Dead’s season 11B mid-season Finale, we see Daryl, Aaron, and Gabriel on a mission with the Commonwealth’s troopers to clear out some buildings nearby. Unfortunately, things go left when Daryl realizes Hornsby is leading him and his crew into a trap. As they move with the troopers, Daryl works out a plan to take them down. A major shootout erupts in a salvage yard, and Daryl and company come out on top as they take down Hornsby’s men. However, Daryl is on his trail after learning that Leah is after Maggie.

 Maggie is on a path to put an end to Hornsby’s shenanigans. Accompanied by Elijah, Marco, and Lydia, she converses with Negan and Annie as she plans for Negan to watch Hershel, so he is protected from the crossfire of war. In the process of Negan accepting Maggie’s offer, she tells Negan that she is starting to trust him, which is a defining moment between these two characters. Maggie leaves Hershel with Negan and Annie and sets off the end things with Hornsby.

Back inside the Commonwealth Community, Connie, Kelly, Eugene, Magna, and Ezekiel are working to expose the community to the truth behind all the missing people in the Commonwealth. Max is working Behind the scenes to provide the group with evidence so she can fully expose Pamela Milton and the underhanded agenda that the Commonwealth community poses.

Leah and Maggie eventually face off in a fight to the death. This very intense fight sequence ends with Leah’s demise as Daryl saves Maggie with one fatal shot. However, as he defends her, Daryl shoots Hornsby in the face, which only angers him to such a degree that Lance eventually takes over Hilltop, Alexandra, and Oceanside.

Maggie and Daryl reunite with Aaron and Gabriel, not realizing they don’t have a safe and stable place to call home anymore.

Overall, this was a good episode that closed the chapter on Leah and her one-woman Reaper army while starting a new chapter revealing Lance Hornsby’s true intentions with the Hilltop and its sister communities. The shootout scene with Daryl, Aaron, and Gabriel was well structured and had a great flow. In addition, the scene’s mood had a freshness that added to the TWD universe.

The Maggie and Leah fight scene was epic, creating solid layers of character dimension among the two women. This scene gave us a chance to see Maggie in a different light. The fierceness within Maggie displays a complex character that has evolved since we were introduced to her in season two. Another character that has undergone a tremendous transformation is Daryl. First and foremost, Daryl has learned to trust himself and understands that he has a lot to offer. He has grown to become a force that people love, respect, and follow throughout this journey.

The scene with Connie and Kelly created a new mood that graduates the TWD universe into a New Era of progression. It makes a statement that whispers notes of the past while simultaneously implying that a future of collaboration and peace will not be possible in this post-apocalyptic world.

The final eight episodes of The Walking Dead will air this Fall and will surely keep us on the edge of our seats.

This is the perfect time to binge the entire show before the Fall.

L.L

Check out the episode trailer below:

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Warning: Spoilers Below!

Halloween Kills “Movie Review”

Halloween Kills, directed by David Gordon Green and starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Anthony Michael Hall, and Andi Matichak, is the sequel to the 2018 film Halloween. The film takes place right after the first film’s events where Laurie Strode and her daughter and granddaughter attempt to trap Michael Myers in a burning home to rid the world and Haddonfield of decades-old trauma and torment.

While Laurie recovers in the hospital, she and her family quickly realize that Michael is still alive as they band together with the local townspeople to help defend and protect each other. This movie was a lot different from the others in the franchise because it mainly focused on a variety of other characters’ perspectives that writers never before explored in the original films, such as Tommy Doyle, Officer Hawkins, and Lonnie Elam. We even see Nurse Marion as she joins the cause to help. However, once again, Michael proves to Haddonfield that he is a force to be reckoned with. Despite the efforts of Laurie and the strong women in her family, the darkness that is Michael Myers is practically impossible to overcome in this case.

Overall, I thought the film was exciting and well done. As a Horror fan and a fan of the Halloween Franchise, it’s just tradition to love a movie that defines the spirit of Halloween. It was good to see a more realistic hospital concept filled with patients and their families considering the deserted concept in the original Halloween sequel all those years ago. However, we’ve seen it all at this point, as police and the people in the town take shots and swings at Michael that have no lasting effect on him. We’ve seen him take out a whole police department and now practically an entire fire department. We’ve seen him throw people out of a window, strangle people in a car, impale people with strange objects, and so on. I’m not sure what the franchise has in store for fans in the future, but it may be time for Michael to retire his mask and for Laurie to enjoy the rest of her days with peace. The special effects and other production elements were done with a clear vision, but aside from the opening credits, the score missed the mark on so many levels. The classic John Carpenter Halloween theme wasn’t touched in a way that allowed fans to connect to the films as done in the past traditionally. I still don’t know how much I like the new story to reflect that Laurie is not Michael’s bother. I’m still processing that idea, and honestly, I may never get over that. This film’s body count is high, and Michael’s comedic and dramatic personality was still the same. Jamie’s performance was thrilling as usual, and the supporting cast brought a unique wave of interest that helped produce a decent flow of the film.

I gave this film 3 ½ stars.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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Warning Spoilers Below

Candyman 2021, directed by Nia DaCosta, written by Jordan Peele, and starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, appeared to be a retelling/sequel of the classic 1992 Horror film. The story follows artist Anthony McCoy, also known as the baby that was taken and almost sacrificed to Candyman in the original movie. Anthony’s goal is to become a prominent name in the art world. However, to reach his goal, he opens the door to resurrect Candyman through his artwork and loses himself and the life he has built with his girlfriend in the process.

Without trying to give too much away, I struggled to like this film. I tried because I loved the original, and I like Jordan Peele’s work. The storytelling process was a bit much, and I didn’t particularly appreciate how the writers tried to water down the legend that Tony Todd worked so hard to create. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time, hoping to see Tony.  Honestly, the main reason why I wanted to see this film was that I was hoping to see Tony throughout the film, not just in the last five minutes.  The story about the baby being all grown up was a good concept, but it became lost when the writers attempted to recreate the story by adding “new Candymans” in the mix. The whole idea of trying to turn Anthony into Candyman wasn’t a good idea at all. The haunting elements that made this franchise so thrilling weren’t present. The story was overworked, and the kill scenes were just “blah.”  I will say that I was very excited when I saw Coleman Domingo (FEAR THE WALKING DEAD); however, when his character arc came full circle, it was just another letdown for me. The storyline was a little disjoined despite some elements from the original blended within. Although the cast was ok, I didn’t get that initial chemistry I usually see and discuss in my reviews. I was not too fond of the idea of multiple Candymans and one of them leaving candy on the floor before a victim succumbs to the hook. Another thing I didn’t like was how they tried to alter Daniel Robitaille’s (Candyman’s) origin story.

I still want fans of the original to see this film because it does make a great conversation piece. You will find yourself constantly comparing this new version to the original and analyzing the conceptual process of this film. Unfortunately, the film missed the mark for me, but maybe some new fans will come to like this version. I might attempt to watch it again once it is released on a streaming service.

I gave this film 2 ½ stars.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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WARNING SPOILERS BELOW!

Godzilla versus Kong, directed by Adam Wingard, is a sequel that merges the Godzilla and King Kong story franchises beautifully. A couple of years after a fellow Titan awoke Godzilla, the story takes place as fate and humanity’s influence evolves. Godzilla and Kong battle it out to rein as Supreme. As a new manufactured threat is soon unleashed, Kong and Godzilla realize that they are not enemies but allies. The two team up to defend the Earth and protect the people.

This movie was a great adventure that was a long time coming. It was filled with action, and the merging of both storylines added a lot of depth and complexity to the characters. It is rare to see monsters have such personalities and traits that humans relate to. People usually see typical monsters as entities that are not intelligent and are unreasonable. In this case, these characters’ foundations have such a compelling backstory that adds to the elements that make these characters so unique and memorable.

In the beginning, we see an older, gray Kong that appears to be relishing in peace, as if he is enjoying the first years of retirement. Kong has spent his life protecting others and defending those around him. He was a leader, a Real King. (A new foundational story that could come out in a future film). Godzilla, we see a powerful out of this world entity that does his best to find a space in the world that will accept his uniqueness as he molds the space to adapt to his unique needs. He understands the difference between right and wrong throughout this experience and has more human traits than we realized. 

(I love Millie: shout out to Stranger Things and the entire cast of this film, but it was clear that the stars in the movie were Godzilla and Kong.

The movie gets straight to the point and moves fast, which is excellent. The visual effects were amazing, making the fight scenes intense and an incredible experience to gaze upon the screen. The score and sound effects also added to the home theatrical experience while viewing on HBO Max.

Overall, Godzilla vs. Kong was that classic movie you watched as a kid in the 80’s but with an update that incorporates modern technology with futuristic fantasy elements. This movie is worth a second viewing, and I gave it five stars!

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odM92ap8_c0

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Warning Spoilers Below:

Bill and Ted Face the Music, directed by Dean Parisot and starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, picks up over twenty years after the events that took place during the Battle of Bands. Bill and Ted, married with adult children, still find themselves struggling to make their musical dreams come true while still hanging on to their unfilled destiny to save the world with a song that is intended to realign the Universe. As they try to fulfill their destiny and attempt to save their marriages, Bill and Ted are recruited by Rufus’ Daughter, played by Kristen Schaal, to come up with the Universe saving song in just a few hours.  Bill and Ted accept the mission and quickly head off in their iconic Phone Booth time machine to travel into the future to get the song they wrote. Meanwhile, Bill and Ted’s daughters set off on their own adventure to help gather important historical figures to create a brand-new band for their fathers.

Overall, Bill and Ted Face the Music is a great movie. The flow and tone of the film had a sweet familiarity that fans will appreciate and love. The reprisal of the original cast was refreshing to see; characters such as Missy, Deacon, Death, and Sargent Logan. The addition of Bill and Ted’s daughters added a refreshing take to the franchise while giving them their own special moments to share. (I got the feeling that Bill and Ted were passing the torch.)  Most of all, it was amazing to see the Holographic Image of Rufus played by the late and talented George Carlin. The emotions flowed when he came across the screen, and Bill and Ted acknowledged him tenderly.

The story was presented fluidly, while it answered some questions and tied some storyline loose ends. Some new characters were introduced, and the addition of Robot, played by Anthony Carrigan, brought the concept of “feel-good comedy” into the film. The scenes and visual effects brought the movie franchise into the 21st century, and Alex and Keanu’s performances were classic and magical. My only disappointment was the music within the film. I felt like there weren’t any staple musical performances within the soundtrack that added to the elegance that the first two Bill and Ted movies brought. I know that music plays a significant role in films, especially with Bill and Ted, but it is not a total loss. Just seeing Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter on screen together is worth it. Their on-screen chemistry displayed a connection as if the adventures of Bill and Ted never stopped. This movie will add to their legendary status.

I really liked this film and gave it four stars for good theatrical fun.

Check out the trailer below.

L.L

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Joker starring  Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro and directed by Todd Phillips, tells the story of a Gotham City man Arthur Fleck as he attempts to achieve his dreams of becoming a standup comic while battling mental illness and struggling to find his place within a society that does not treat or accept him fairly.

I saw this movie opening weekend in October 2019, and then 5 more times after that. With so many things going on with work and grad school, I just did not have the time to review this film. This by far, I think is the best Joaquin Phoenix movie I have seen, in addition to one of the best movies of all time. There is something extremely deep about this film and the story behind it. There is such an odd connection that moviegoers have with the lead character Arthur. We see that he does his best to live a life that mainstream society may call, “normal”. Arthur works as an entertainer, trying to make ends meet, he takes care of his sick mother, and he is even receiving treatment and attempting to live with his inner struggles, by dealing with his mental illness, to the best of his ability. The character tries to deal with his issues as he displays independence and even attempts to have a relationship with a neighbor that appears to understand him, but overall the movie is not quite what it seems to be, at least through the main character’s eyes.

Arthur, as portrayed by Joaquin, is completely transformed into this the dark and complex character that we all thought we knew just through our background knowledge of the Batman comic book and film franchise but as we all know now, this film is a standalone movie but still artistically connects the historical relationship between the Wayne family and Arthur aka the Joker in a way that makes the two storylines blend together very well.

All the elements of this film are massive ingredients for a film success on so many levels. The visual representations were creative and authentic.  We were brought into the character’s world and underwent a journey of emotional experiences that enveloped a multitude of highs and lows, as well as revels shocking moments and moments of happiness and potential hope. This film has won several awards including a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actor as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Score. The Score took me to that place where emotions dwell deep within, where questions about the structure of how our society appropriately and inappropriately deals with mental illness, bullying, and the differences among people. Joaquin Phoenix in conjunction with  Robert De Niro and the supporting cast all created a world where the moviegoer sees the world of mental illness, poverty and the other complexities of life including the horrors of child abuse and enabling as ongoing issues that need to be exposed and changed for the better to improve the quality of human life.

Overall, I gave this movie 5 stars

Joker is a great film.

L.L

Check out the trailer below…

Check out the Amazing Bathroom Dance song that received an award for Best Score.

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Warning  Light Spoilers below…

Season 10 of The Walking Dead directed by Greg Nicotero picks up several months after the people of Alexandria suffered major losses at the hand of the Whisperers. The story continues as Rick’s legacy lives on within Alexandria. The communities band together to prepare for another battle.

Daryl and Carol once again make a deep-rooted connection while attempting to make plans to see what’s beyond the realm of Alexandria, Hilltop, Kingdom and Oceanside. MICHONNE learns that Judith is a lot stronger than she seems and realizes that her maturity level is more than she anticipated. The group faces a major challenge as they attempt to stay within the boundaries of the agreement between the communities and the Whisperers.

Overall this was a very enlightening episode that showcased the strength of many of the newcomers. Some of our favorite characters like Daryl are opening up more and making more connections with the community. Alpha’s daughter is trying to create a home for herself in the community while Negan continues to step out embracing humanity.

The flow of the episode was good and provided fans with the expectations and excitement of what our vision of a season 10 premiere should be. The opening scene was epic and the show displayed a great deal of elevation and evolution among characters, plot, setting, and mood. The Walking Dead has now stepped into the future of survival and has demonstrated what true unity means within the spectrum of humanity.

I can’t wait to see how this season unfolds.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below…

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