March 06, 2014
Therapist Thomas Carter (Anthony Mackie) has just published a popular self-help book about the near death experience which helped him turn his life around. He is proud of the fact that after almost perishing in a horrific, alcohol-related car crash in his teens, he eventually not only earned graduate degrees in World Religion and Clinical Psychology but went on to wed his soul mate, Maggie (Sanaa Lathan).
Today, Tommy has a happy marriage and a flourishing practice founded on a spiritual philosophy combining faith and positive thinking. But sadly, his enviable fortunes have proven to be the polar opposite of his wayward brother Ben’s (Mike Epps) lot.
The recently-paroled ex-con was barely back on the streets before word of a $12,000 bounty being placed on his head spread around their native New Orleans. So, when Ben approaches his successful sibling for enough cash to keep his bloodthirsty adversaries at bay, empathetic Thomas opts to raise the ransom by extending the best-selling tome’s publicity tour.
At a local book signing, he is approached for an autograph by a fan also urgently in need of 1-on-1 counseling. Against his better judgment, the literary rock star agrees to see Angel Sanchez (Forest Whitaker) as a patient, since the $300/session fee definitely will put a dent in brother Ben’s debt.
Even worse is Dr. Carter’s fateful decision to make house calls to the home of this loner left devastated by the death of his mother (Adella Gautier). For, although it might be easy to diagnose the source of the deeply-disturbed man’s anguish, the only hint that he’s at the end of his emotional rope is his estrangement from his wife (Nicole Ari Parker) and young daughter (Ariana Neal).
The plot thickens when Angel takes his new shrink hostage, tying him up in his basement-turned-makeshift torture chamber. The psycho proceeds to behave sadistically while conveniently managing to keep up appearances for the sake of any visitors and passersby.
Directed by Philippe Caland (Ripple Effect), “Repentance” is a momentarily-intriguing psychological thriller that establishes a compelling premise only to morph into an otherworldly horror flick. Over the course of this rudderless adventure, Forest Whitaker ultimately finds himself abandoned by an implausible script.
The Silence of the Butler!
Fair (1.5 stars)
Rated R for profanity, violence and torture
Running time: 90 minutes
Studio: Code Black Films
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
To see a trailer for “Repentance,” visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwBgGZIzliw.
By Kam Williams
Bill Marks’ (Liam Neeson) life went into a tailspin after his young daughter lost her battle with childhood leukemia. The inconsolable police officer has since sought solace in a bottle of alcohol, an addiction which cost him his marriage and career.
Today, the ex-cop is lucky to be employed as an air marshal, a job he decided to take despite a terrible fear of takeoffs. On this particular evening, he’s been assigned to protect a packed transatlantic flight from New York to London.
The trip starts out uneventfully enough, with Bill hiding his identity while making the acquaintance of the attractive passenger (Julianne Moore) sitting next to him. However, a crisis arises over the middle of the ocean soon after he receives a text from an anonymous caller claiming to be in the cabin and threatening to murder a passenger every 20 minutes unless $150 million is deposited into an offshore bank account.
Initially, he dismisses the message as a prank on the part of the only colleague (Anson Mount) aboard the plane, since a breach of the supposedly-impenetrable federal network is almost impossible and a criminal offense to boot. Nevertheless, once the first victim does indeed die, Bill realizes he has an urgent emergency on his hands.
Who might the hijacker be? The Muslim (Omar Metwally) sporting a skullcap? The trash-talking black teenager (Corey Hawkins) reluctant to surrender his cell phone? Somebody else? Of course, the actual perpetrator won’t be easy to pinpoint in this ever-escalating, deadly game of cat and mouse.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, Non-Stop is yet another adrenaline-fueled vehicle featuring Liam Neeson. The surprising success of Taken, has belatedly turned the rugged Irishman into an action star, as reflected in subsequent similar outings in The A-Team, Taken 2, Unknown, and the upcoming Run All Night.
Here, Neeson safely sticks close to the Taken formula, starting with his character’s name (Bill Marks as opposed to Bryan Mills) and his playing a broken soul in need of redemption. Again, he rises to the occasion in tough, two-fisted fashion, though also exhibiting a vulnerability certain to move you to tears during the closing credits.
Besides an engaging premise and a satisfying resolution, Non-Stop is blessed with an inscrutable plot which delicately ratchets up the tension as it winds its way towards an unpredictable denouement. Thus, the picture unfolds less like a mob scene disaster flick than a cleverly-concealed whodunit where everybody with a phone is a suspect.
Cells on a plane!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for sensuality, profanity, intense violence and drug use
Running time: 106 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
To see a trailer for “Non-Stop,” visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nODrjQUR5YU
LAWT News Service
The newest vehicle from The Lincoln Motor Company – the Lincoln MKC – shared the spotlight with some of today’s most impactful and inspiring talents as part of ESSENCE magazine’s 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel on February 27.
Lincoln partnered with TV host and social media personality Bevy Smith on the pre-event Lincoln Blogger Bar. To celebrate Lincoln’s fifth year of involvement, Lincoln held the “Shine Like A Star” contest on ESSENCE.com for its readers. The winner received a VIP trip to attend the event as an exclusive guest of Lincoln, a red carpet makeover and dinner at an LA hotspot.
Three of the year’s most impactful and inspiring talents were honored with the Black Women in Hollywood Award: 2014 Academy Award nominee Lupita Nyong’o (Best Breakthrough Performance); Cheryl Boone Isaacs (Trailblazer Award) and Ava DuVernay (Visionary Award, presented by Lincoln).
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the event also paid tribute to legendary performers who were champions of the Civil Rights movement, including: Diahann Carroll, Nichelle Nichols, Jim Brown, Denise Nicholas and Clarence Williams III.
“This year’s Black Women in Hollywood program especially resonates with Lincoln because it celebrates today’s exciting and talented performers while also recognizing important contributions that laid the groundwork for wonderful work we all can enjoy,” said Shawn Thompson, Lincoln manager, multicultural marketing.
“Today’s Lincoln brand celebrates a heritage nearly a century in the making while creating premium vehicles and experiences for a new luxury customer.”
The all-new Lincoln MKC, the brand’s first small premium utility vehicle, was revealed late last year in New York City. It will be on sale later this year.
Lincoln Motor Company was the presenting sponsor for ESSENCE’s 7th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon at The Beverly Hills Hotel.
The 2014 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon honored three outstanding women: director/writer, Ava DuVernay; Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President, Cheryl Boone Issacs; and “12 Years a Slave” actress, Lupita Nyong’O. Lincoln had the honor of awarding Ava DuVernay with the 2014 Black Women in Hollywood Visionary Award. The award was co-presented by ABC’s “Scandal” actress, Kerry Washington.
50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the event also paid tribute to legendary performers who were champions of the Civil Rights movement, including: Diahann Carroll, Nichelle Nichols, Jim Brown, Denise Nicholas and Clarence Williams III.
One lucky winner of Lincoln’s #shinelikeastar Instagram contest was able to attend the event and take in the Lincoln experience with a guest. Celebrity guests like Ava DuVernay, Bevy Smith, Denise Nicholas, Nichelle Nichols and others arrived to the event in the 2014 Lincoln MKZ.
ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, now in its seventh year, is noted as one of the must-attend events during Oscar week.
February 27, 2014
By Zenitha Prince
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
Maya Angelou, one of America’s leading poets, wrote a moving tribute to Nelson Mandela that has recently been published. (Photo Credit/Dwight Carter)
Maya Angelou’s moving tribute to fallen South African leader Nelson Mandela, called “His Day Is Done,” will be preserved in book format just in time for Black History Month.
“I’m delighted, honored, pleased and just over the moon,” Angelou told theAFRO of Random House’s decision to publish the slim tome.
When news of Mandela’s declining health first made headlines nearly two years ago, Angelou said she was contacted by the U.S. State Department and asked to write a tribute to the beloved African leader on behalf of the American people. They wanted to be prepared for his possible death, they said, and asked her to keep the request and the poem secret until at least 48 hours after his passing.
“I knew President Mandela; we had met 50 years ago in Egypt [and] over the years we had developed a close friendship [and] we had great respect and affection for each other,” the acclaimed poet recalled. “It was very hard to write about this person who I liked and adored as if he were dead.”
But she set herself to the task—pouring the thoughts, memories and feelings in her heart and head onto the page before snipping and tucking them into poetic form.
As the wife of South African freedom fighter Vusumzi L. Make of the Pan African Congress, Angelou was often present at gatherings of Mandela and other activists—who were a rowdy lot, she said.
“But among those loud, boisterous voices he [Mandela] was as gentle…and he was generous,” she said. “He spoke to everybody; he had time and a kind word for everybody from the doorman to the housekeeper.”
She hailed his strength, writing in the poem that Mandela was the world’s “David armed with a mere stone, facing down the mighty Goliath” of apartheid. And, after 27 years of imprisonment on Robben Island, this “hope of Africa” burst through the prison doors with “His stupendous heart intact, his gargantuan will hale and hearty.”
She honored his grace, which he demonstrated when he gave his former jailers seats of distinction at his inauguration.
“I think that was one of his great gifts to us—he taught us how to forgive,” Angelou said. “He was a great friend to the world.”
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