Reviews and Events

SKIN IN THE GAME

SKIN-IN-THE-GAME-KEY-ART
SKIN-IN-THE-GAME-KEY-ART
images-2

SKIN IN THE GAME: Movie Reviews

Yevette Renee Nelson
Director: Adisa
Writer: Adisa, Steven Palmer Peterson
Name of Leads: Sammi Hanratty, Elisabeth Hornois, Erica Ash, Angelica Celaya
Genre: Drama
Rising Epidemic of Human Trafficking Brought to The Screen

Bringing his hometown, Oakland, sensibilities to his film “Skin in the Game”, director Adisa takes us on a harrowing journey as Dani (Sammi Hanrathy) is taken off the streets of Los Angeles as her mother Sharon (Elisabeth Hornois) and her friend Lena (Erica Ash) search frantically for her.

Filmed entirely on location in Los Angeles, it gives it a strong level of significance as opposed to some none descript location. The back drop of the iconic signs and images show how the realities of human and sex trafficking home to a major U.S. city.

What’s happening on the screen reflects what’s happening on U.S. streets. On April 11, 2018, President Trump signed the “Stop Enabling Sex Trafficker’s act into law. This was aimed at closing websites that enable the crime to occur and prosecuting their owners and uses.

The United States Justice Department estimated that 35, 500 to 170,500 people are trafficked into the country each year.

Film has a strong message of the human and sex trafficking. California along with Atlanta and New York makes it vulnerable to this trade because of its proximity to international ports and airports, its large immigration populations, large economies and industries that attract human traffickers.

Skin in The Game is a good film that tackles an extremely important issue the U.S. and the world.

How female are groomed and exploited has a huge impact and how quickly a female can be turned out.

Director Adisa does a wonderful job of taking us along on the journey helping to explain those who are willing participants in this crime and

Writer (script, dialogue, plot credible, unpredictable)

Sound track works well with the intense drama that takes place as Sharon and Lena roam? the streets of Southern California going house to house looking for Dani.

Skin in the Game reminds us of the growing industries of human and sex trafficking in the United States and the strong presence in its major cities.

Run time:
Distributor: Kandoo Films
Producer: Howard Barish
Production Co: Kandoo Films in association with Khepo Films
Director: Adisa
Cast: Sammi Hanratty, Elisabeth Harnois, Erica Ash, Angelica Celaya|
Writers: Adisa, Steven Palmer Peterson
Cinematography: Kira Kelly
Editor: Alex Ivany
Composer: Jeff Morrow
Casting: Matthew Lessall

 

 

 

 

BLOOD STRIPE

Blood+Stripe+Movie+Poster

Yevette Renee Movie Review:  BLOOD STRIPE

2019

Director: Remy Auberjonois
Screenwriters: Kate Nowlin, Remy Auberjonois
Cast: Kate Nowlin, Rene Auberjonois, Tom Lipinski, Rusty  Schwimmer, Chris Sullivan, Ken Marks
Genre: Drama/Thriller

Through The Lens of a Female Combat Veteran Remy Auberjonis makes his directorial debut with his compelling drama BLOOD STRIPE that exposes the horrific toll of war on US Marine combat veteran, Sarge (Kate Knowlin), after three tours of duty in Afghanistan and the challenges she faces as she attempts to find her place at home and in her community. So often, films show the effects of war on our male combat soldiers and seeing the hardship and struggles from a women’s perspective adds a new dimension to the conversation on veterans and PTSD.

Returning to her husband, Rusty (Chris Sullivan) in their small town, Sarge does her best to assume her role as his wife, but her violent temper, excessive drinking and the painful exercise routine that she subjects herself to, makes it exceedingly difficult for her to cope, yet she refuses to go to the VA hospital for medical care because of substantial wait time for treatment. Imagine, having a PTSD crisis and later off to the kitchen cooking, cleaning and pouring coffee. The honeymoon is short lived.

When she is honored with a celebration it triggers another PTSD episode and the natural human instinct of self- preservation kicks in and fear and flight takes over. Where does one go for help? She runs and runs until she finds herself at a lakeside camp, the great outdoors, where she vacationed as a child.

Upon reaching the camp, she is not alone and finds caretaker Dot (Rusty Schwimmer) and her husband closing the camp for the season. Dot barters with Sarge for room and board in exchange for her doing caretaking chores. Dot’s way of doing what she can to help an injured soul.

The grueling work required provides Sarge with a small amount of reprieve from emotional and mental anguish yet the demons keep roaring back as she struggles for her sanity. As the saying goes, Where ever you go, there you are.

By choosing a small town and the summer camp as well as not showing Sarge in actual combat, her character is not lost in what is happening around her and is kept in the forefront of the film.

A non-traditional take on military veterans with a female Shero. A film worth seeing.

Not Rated
Runtime: 87 minutes
Production Company: Tandem Pictures
Cast: Kate Nowlin, Rene Auberjonois, Tom Lipinski, Rusty Schwimmer, Chris Sullivan, Ken Marks
Director: Remy Auberjonois
Screenwriters: Kate Nowlin, Remy Auberjonois
Producer: Schuyler Weiss, Julie Christeas, Remy Auberjonois, Kate Nowlin
Executive producer: G. Mac Brown Director of photography: Radium Cheung

Production designer: Cassia Maher

Costume designer: Camille Benda

Editor: Jeremy L. Kotin

Casting directors: Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee

 

BESOURO

MV5BMjI0OTU1NDM4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjA5NzkxMw@@._V1_UY268_CR60182268_AL_
MV5BMjI0OTU1NDM4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjA5NzkxMw@@._V1_UY268_CR60182268_AL_

BESOURO: Movie Review

by Yevette Renee

2019
Director:    Joao Daniel Tikhomiroff
Cast:          Ailton Carmo, Jessica Barbosa, Anderson Santos de Jesus
Genre:       Action Drama
Country:    Brazil
Language: Portuguese

Joao Daniel Tikhomiroff’s first feature film “Besouro” tells the story of Master Alipio (Macale) who teaches the art of Capoeira to Besouro (Ailton Carmo, a professional Capoeira player), and in the dual roles as Dinora and the wind and water Goddess Orixa (Jessica Barbosa) and Quero-Quero ( Anderson Santos de Jesus) beginning in their youth. Col Venancio  a wealthy white landowner exploit its blacks citizens as though they are still living under the slavery system. Colonel eventual has Master Alipio murdered. From the grave, he urges Besouro (Ailton Carmo,) and the hero in the Afro-Brazilian myth, fight for the people as the Col attempts to stop the rebellion.

The fighting, dancing and aerobics choreographed scenes are set in the beautiful Brazilian sanctuary of Chapada Diamantina. Seeking refuge in the beautiful Bahia jungle., Besouro receives magical powers and soars through the sky.

What stands out. A valuable way to carry on an important part of their rich culture. Capoeria players, lead by Besouro, a hero to Afro Brazilian. Away to transend the oppression, even if only for moment. Does film have a message or solicit a response

Magical powers of Dinora (Jessica Barbosa) also performs as Orixa. Orixa, the goddess of wind and water. Magnificent and magical scenes.

Film context and background: Capoeira combine acrobatic dancing and fighting that’s forbidding by plantation owner.

Besouro is well written with a great story, a beautiful setting amidst  misery. A good film

Run time: 95 minutes
Producers: Vicente Amorim joao Daniel, Gil Ribeiro, Michel Tikhomiroff
Production Co: Mixer, Miravista, Globol Films
Cast: Alto Carmo, Jessica Barbosa, Anderson Santos de Jesus, Flavio Rocha
Director: Joao Daniel Tikhomiroff
Writer: Patricia Andrade, Joao Daniel Tikhomiroff
Director of Photography: Enrique Chediak
Editor: Gustavo Giani
Music: Pupillo, Tejo Pamaseno, Rica Amabis, Gilberto Gill

 

In Search of Voodoo: Roots to Heaven

IN-SEARCH-OF-VOODOO-KEY-ART-1
MV5BYWMzMjQ4NzctODdkYi00NzA1LTk3ZGQtYmNkNDk3ZGNhN2FiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjI2NTAwMjY@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1500,1000_AL_

In Search of Voodoo: Roots to Heaven: Film Review

By Yevette Renee

March 2018

Director: Djimon Hounsou
Writer: Djimon Hounsou, Douglas Thompson
Genre:  Documentary
Language: English
Country: Benin

AT THE FEET OF VOODOO

Going back to his birthplace of Benin , West Africa, actor Djimon Hounsou’s takes you on his personal journey In Search of Voodoo: Roots to Heaven.

Motivated to dispel the myths and misunderstanding about Voodoo, Hounsou educates people about he cultural significant voodoo has on the people of Benin. with an honest look at the ceremonial practices of voodoo.

Watching the animal sacrifices made during the intricate ceremonies, one is reminded of other readings that depict very similar performance practices.

The vibrant colors of the natural settings of the villages and the use of the single-camera.

Being able to hear those that practice Voodoo speak on

Editor, Douglas Thompson, provides an intense and dramatic transition from the coast of Benin to the village ceremony as the different elements of worship is incorporated.

Hounsou’s In Search of Voodoo is a good film that gives a personal and nonjudgmental view of a spiritual belief as it is experienced in its place of birth.

Run time: 65 minutes
Production Company:
Director: Djimon Hounsou
Writers: Djimon Hounsou, Douglas Thompson
Executive Producers: Djimon Hounsou, Lionel Talon
Producers: Djimon Hounsou, Eric McGaw
Director of Photography: Kwaku Alston
Cinematographer: Polo Orisha
Editor: Douglas Thompson

 

DESTINED

DESTINED-KEY-ART-1

DESTINED: Film Review

By Yevette Renee

2019
Director: Qasim Basir
Screenwriter: Qasim Basir
Cast: Cory Hardrict, Hill Harper,   Jesse Metcalfe, Zulay Henao, Jason Dohring, La Anthony
Genre: Drama

Your Choices Will Determine Your Destiny

Writer and Director, Qasim Basir’s drama DESTINED travels the two parallel life of Rasheed/Sheed (Cory Hardrict) as he navigates through the inner city and corporate boardrooms.

Set in Detroit and filmed in the Motor City, the film provides an ideal backdrop to the violent and gritty life on the streets for Sheed, as he hustles his way to the top in the drug world and becomes a kingpin and for Rasheed, working as an architect in the city that gave us motor vehicle, wit6h his professional hustles up the corporate ladder.

Alternating back and forth between the two distinctly different stories can sometime be a challenge to keep up with, yet Basir does make an effort to provides assistance with understated changeovers as Rasheed pursues his goal of corporate dominance with a project that will have a major impact on the people he knows that still live in the hood and call it home and Sheed’s life on the street.

In addition to the great dual performances by Hardrict, you have Officer Holder/Dylan Holder (Jesse Metcalf), Officer Miller/Nathan Miller (Jason Dohring, who two characters add to the intrigue that is woven between Sheed and Rasheed’s world. Mayor Jones (Hill Harper) gives voice to the community that will be impacted by the gentrification of the projects being pursued by Rasheed. The issue of gentrification plagues far too many communities in America. Most of the people effected in these communities are the most vulnerable population who are unable to afford the cost of living in a place the called home. Giselle Porter, a girlfriend from the past (Zulay Henao) brings further drama.

Watching the lives of Sheed, an successful drug dealer and Rasheed, an equally successful architect, brings to mind a number of former drug dealers that have used their innate understanding of running a business that includes marketing strategies developed on the streets slinging dope, who have transferred their important skill set to lawful and very lucrative careers in entertainment. It makes me wonder how many more young men, given the opportunity, could transfer their skills learned on the street for good causes. It is certainly something worth thinking about.

DESTINED is a unique perspective on how the decisions we make in life, especially in our youth, can determine the path that is before us. A good film to see.

Runtime: 95 minutes

Production Companies: Confluential Films, Whitewater Films, Q Productions
Distributor: XLrator Media
Director/screenwriter: Qasim Basir
Producers: Tommy Oliver, Rick Rosenthal, Matt Ratner, Codie Elaine Oliver
Cast: Cory Hardrict, Jesse Metcalfe, Robert Christopher Riley, Margot Bingham, La La Anthony, Hill Harper, Jason Dorhing, Zulay Henao
Director of photography: Carmen Cabana
Production designer: Deirdre Elizabeth Govan
Editor: Rene Besson
Costume designers: June Abro, Lauren Waterstone
Composer: John Jennings Boyd

 

 

TAZZEKA

TAZZEKA-KEY-ART

TAZZEKA: Film Review

By Yevette Renee

2018

Director: Jean-Philippe Gaud
Writer: Jean-Philippe Gaud , in collaboration with Mariannick bellot
Cast: Mandi Belem, Quidad Elma, Abbes Zahmani, Oliver Sitruk, Adama Diop, Khadija Bouzekri
Language: Arabic/French with English subtitles

A Person’s Passion and Motivation Can Propel Them Through Obstacles

With a passion for cooking that was nurtured in a way that only a grandmother can, Elia (Mahdi Belemih) dreams of going beyond the boundaries of his rural village of Tazzeka in Morocco, where he was raised by his grandmother (Khadija Bouzekri),in Director Jean-Philippe Gaud’s first feature film Tazzeka and  that is his second film in 16-years.

While working in a local Tazzekan restaurant owned by Youssef (Abbes Zahmani), Elia dreams of going to Paris to further his cooking desires because the small village provides little opportunity to further his culinary ed ucation, especially considering Youssef’s strict authenticity to his already established menu.

Raised by his grandmother, multi-generational family unit that is a common practice. Elia meets Salma (Quidad Elam) who lives in Paris and is visiting her family in Tazzeka.

His grandmother’s fear and her total disapproval of Elia’s going to Paris are potent emotions that hang over Elias as he struggles with his desire to go to Paris.

Director Gaud does a great job portraying the hardship and struggles of immigrants.
It reminds one of the challenges that immigrants face around the world, where people like Elias seek better chances of bettering his economic status.

Writer Mariannick Bellot provides the cast with realistic discourse.

Film comparison to relevant events or movie: As it stands in the United States, under the current administration, just as in the film, it is extremely hard for immigrants to migrate to other country, seeking better opportunities and valuable education. You see so much of what’s going on today in the lives of Elias and others.

Location is well chosen filmed in Tazzeka, Morocco in Africa. The setting it add or subtract from my experience?

The original sound track by Simon Minoun and Chadi Chouman provides added suspense .

Tazzeka is a good film.

Conclusion (Tie back to the thesis, Give guidance to the audience to see or not see the movie)

Run time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Director: Jean-Philippe Gaud
Producer: Jean-Philippe Gaud, Avelle Hutchings
Production Co.: Takka Films
Cast: Modhi, Quidad Elman, Oliver Sitruk, Abbes Zahmani, Adama Diop, Khadija Bouzekri
Writer: Mariannic Bellot, collaboration with Jean-Philippe Gaud
Photographer: Rѐmi Mazet
Editor: Chadi Chouman, Simon Mimou n
Art: Elodie Martin
Set Decorator: Elodie Martin
Sound: Bruno Ehlinger
Visual Effect: Benjamin Ganteille
Original Score: Simon Minoun, Chadi Chouman

 

LAST NIGHT A DJ SAVED MY LIFE

MV5BYzZlODlkNjMtMTdkYS00MDE1LTkxYTgtMTViNzMwMmEyMDI3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjU5MTUwNjY@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,666,1000_AL_

LAST NIGHT A DJ SAVED MY LIFE:   Film Review
By Yevette Renee

3/5

2018
Director:  Damon Jamel
Writer: James Flournoy, George McDonald
Cast: Cisco Reyes, Jasmine Burke,
Genre:  Drama
Language: English

Be Careful About the Advice You Give, You Never Know Who’s Listening

Committed to his DJ at a local Atlanta radio station, Tony Sinclair (Cisco Reyes) strives to build on his career in director Damon Jamel’s Last Night A DJ Saved My Life.

Opening the phone lines to his audience for a call-in, Tony is asked for relationship advice for a female caller. His advice to Robin (Jasmine Burke), “If it’s not working, then leave.” When you are a DJ you never know who’s listening and to his surprise his girlfriend  Christine calls in and breaks up with him in the most humiliating way possible.

People often stay in relationships longer than they should. It shows the importance of having your partner’s support your aspirations and goals. Robin is not the only one who takes this advice to heart. A fantastic job taking the title of a song and creating a story line that is true to form to the title. The fame and success he craves as a DJ in Atlanta.

The challenges relationships face when not in agreement with goals and aspirations. Frustration of supporting a boyfriend financially while he pursues his career as a DJ. A career that he is struggling and determined to achieve.

Damon does a fantastic job taking the title of the song and a story line that is true to its inspirational title, because Tony truly does save Robin’s life.

Filmed on location in the Hollywood of the South, Atlanta, GA and add in all the musical talent in the region, you get to listen to some great music. An enjoyable film with great music.

Run time:
Distributor:
Producer: James Flournoy, Frank P. Williams, Tangi Miller
Production Co: In Your Face Filmworks, Star Maxx MediaWriter: James Flournoy, George McDonald
Cast:  Cisco Reyes, Jaѐ, Jasmine Burke, Dennis LA White, Omar Gooding, Tangi Miller, Angie Stone, Law X,
Director: Damon Jamal
Writer: Jeffrey T. Brown
Editor: Law X
Sound: J.L. Bolden

WHILE I HOPE, I BREATHE: BAKARI SELLERS

WhileIBreatheIHope-KEY-ART

Film Review: WHILE I HOPE, I BREATH: BAKARI SELLER
By Yevette Renee Nelson

August  2019

Director:          Emily L. Harrod
Cast:                Bakari Sellers, Cleveland Sellers, Ellen Rucker Sellers, Gwen Williamson Sellers|
Genre:             Documentary
Language:       English

Age is literally just a number when it comes to the political rise of Bakari Sellers who connects with the residents of South Carolina to win election at 22 years of age.

Director Emily Harrod’s documentary, “While I Hope, I Breath” trails Bakari Sellers. A young, gifted and black man, who became the youngest politician ever elected to a statewide office in South Carolina, after defeating his rival, a 26-year incumbent. He went on to represent the 90th district in South Carolina’s state legislature.  He vacated his seat to run for Lt. Governor in 2014 and lost to Republican challenger McMaster. He went on to become the First Vice Chairman of the state’s democratic party.

Prior to getting into politics, he graduated from Morehouse, a historically black, all male private liberal arts college in Atlanta, Ga and received his law degree from

Homage is paid to the 50th Anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre at the annual Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial, named after the three black male protesters who were killed by South Carolina highway patrol officers in February 1968 at South Carolina State.  An additional 2 dozen people were also injured including Bakari’s father Cleveland Seller, a professor and civil rights activist.

The violence  perpetrated on the black community of South Carolina was brought full circle when Sellers acknowledged his good friend, and fellow state congressman Clementa C. Pinckney and eight others were murdered during bible study at the Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015.

A documentary that gives an open and honest look at Bakari Sellers young life, including his videotaped DUI stop that was leaked.

The documentary is a great way to get his story out, on his own terms. It is apparent as he is getting his story during his meet and greets with supporters and potential voters, that his strong support with African American women is largely responsible for his elections victories. The support of African American women in the 2020 election will also determine who wins the presidential elections.

You know you are in good company when President Barack Obama gives strong words of support. Obama refers to Sellers as “up-and-coming” with an impressive political future, not only behind him, but ahead of him too.

Run time:                    72 minutes
Cast:                            Bakari Sellers, Cleveland Sellers, Ellen Rucker Sellers, Gwen Williamson
Sellers|
Director:                      Emily L. Harrod
Executive Producer:    Marco Williams, Jedd Canty, Charlamagne tha God, Karen Kinney
Producer:                     Emily Harrold, Diane Robertson, Lauren Franklin, Xuan Vu
Production Co:            Lynwood Pictures
Cinematography:        Alexander J. Hufschmd, Kyle I Kelley, Kelly Creedon
Editor:                         Xuan Vu
Music:                         Eric Andrew Kuhn
Sound:                         Michael Jones

BEAUTIFUL BOY

images-1
images-1

Movie Review:  BEAUTIFUL BOY
By Yevette Renee

October 11, 2018

Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Screenwriters: Luke Davies, Felix Van Groeningen
Cast: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan
Genre: Drama

When The Unconditional Love and Support of a Father is Not Enough

Director Felix Van Groeningen’s first English language film “Beautiful Boy” brings to the screen the love and struggles in David Sheff’s memoir Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by his son Nic Sheff.

 

David Sheff (Steve Carell) had a strong male presence in his son, Nic’s (Timothée Chalamet ) life and was his primary custodial parent, yet even with unwavering guidance and economic security, it still was not enough to prevent Nic from succumbing drugs and alcohol which leads to his downward spiral and the vicious cycle of overcoming his drug and alcohol dependency.

People will often say “It’s my life and I can do as I please.” We are all aware of a person’s freedom of choice, yet what they fail to realize is that they are not suffering through it alone. As evident in the pain experienced by David, every day as he makes it his mission to learn and help his son, his wife Karen Barbour (Maura Tierney) as she does all she can to keep her family together, and their two kids Jasper (Christian Convey) and Daisy (Oakley Bull) who have to deal with their big brother no longer being present for family activities and the conversations that must be had because of Nic resorting to theft to feed his addition..

Beautiful Boy gives us a glimpse into the lives of those who struggle with a family member with a drug addictions while at the same time

Release date

September 7, 2018 (TIFF)

October 12, 2018 (United States)

Opens: October 12, 2018

Runtime: 120 minutes
Production Company: Plan B Entertainment, Big Indie Pictures
Cast: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan
Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Screenwriters: Luke Davies, Felix Van Groeningen
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Brad Pitt
Executive Producer: Sarah Esberg, Nan Morales
Based on Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff
Cinematography: Ruben Impens
Production designer: Ethan Tobman
Costume Designer: Emma Potter
Art Director: Patrick M. Sullivan Jr.
Set Decorator Jennifer Lukehart
Editor: Nico Leunen
Casting Director: Francine Maisler
Distributed by Amazon Studios