September 25, 2014

 

By Dwight Brown

NNPA Film Critic

 

  

The last time they worked together, Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua conjured up “Training Day.” That collaboration won Washington an Academy Award for Best Actor, and it was the only time in Oscar history that a Black man won Best Actor in a film by a Black director. Now, the successful duo goes back to the well once more for another powerful and violent movie. Do they yield the same results?

 

This film adaptation is based somewhat on the 1980s TV series “The Equalizer.” Screenwriter Richard Wenk, who wrote The Mechanic that starred Jason Statham, doesn’t dig very deep. On his side is a universal premise that bad deeds should be avenged and someone, a hero or antihero, should be the avenger. Wenk doesn’t take that enticing notion anywhere. His pedigree doesn’t lead one to believe he can add more than two dimensions to any character or think beyond a formulaic screenplay. And he doesn’t.

 

Robert McCall (Washington) is a man with a secret past who works in a Boston hardware store (think Home Depot). There are inklings that the robust worker with the sarcastic sense of humor is more than just employee of the month. He’s helping a fellow portly co-worker lose weight so he can get a better job, which is a relatively innocent endeavor. The store gets robbed while McCall stands by the cash register.  A crying cashier has her wedding ring stolen by the robber.  Miraculously she finds it in her cash register the next day. Magic?  No. McCall?  Yes.

 

When McCall sees people being wronged, he secretly fixes their problems, often brutally. He has to up his game when he notices Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz, “The Amityville Horror”), a fellow customer in his favorite diner, is in distress. She’s a prostitute who is having problems with her pimp (Marton Csokas).  McCall, the equalizer, steps into action again, only his power is tested when he goes up against the Russian mob and a crooked cop (David Harbour).

 

Fuqua is great at choreographing gruesome, highly kinetic crime scenes that add tension and dread.  He did it in “Training Day,” “Brook­lyn’s Finest” and “The Replacement Killers.” That cacophony of violence is on view here and it escalates into a final action sequence in the hardware store. That’s when the film sinks into predictable B-movie territory and the one-note shallow lead character, predictable script and a lack of originality crescendo into a heap of violent nothingness.

 

This would be no more than a standard issue crime/action/thriller except Washington is such a strong actor you want to watch his performance until he is through rendering it. He holds down the screen with sheer vibrato. Supporting actors like Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman are decent, but it’s Washington’s movie.

 

“Training Day” left you emotionally paralyzed. This paint-by-numbers film, though powerful when you watch it, largely thanks to its lead actor, has no lasting emotional affect. None.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 25, 2014

 

Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19

 

There's the potential for a fresh start associated with relationships of all kinds, whether business, romantic, or friendly. The New Moon on Tuesday can be excellent whether you want to collaborate or fall in love. It's also good for signing a deal or contract, or making a commitment to someone. However, you'll be in your element for another reason, as fast-paced events might pave the way for fresh opportunities and exciting experiences. If you're feeling creative, you may get a very special offer this week.

 

 

 

Taurus Apr 20 – May 20

 

Opportunities to make a fresh start regarding work and lifestyle issues show up this week as the New Moon urges you on. If you've been meaning to start a diet or exercise routine, this is an excellent time to go ahead. You may be more inclined to stick with it. Around midweek an upbeat influence could bring inspirational thoughts your way that can help resolve a family issue or even enhance the possibility of personal healing. Conversation deepens when Mercury moves into Scorpio.

 

 

 

Gemini May 21 - Jun 20

 

Get ready for romance and a lot more besides as the New Moon in your pleasure and leisure sector creates the perfect opportunity for a new beginning. If you've been meaning to ask someone on a date, or you're thinking about taking a liaison further, this is the time to go ahead. On another note, creative opportunities can flourish if you're willing to take that first tentative step. Later, collaborating with someone on an idea that is nothing short of genius could provide your lucky break.

 

 

 

Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22

 

There's a stirring on the home front as Monday's New Moon inspires you to redecorate, sell, or perhaps purchase a new property. Plus, if you're thinking of remodeling or extending your place, this is the best time to make a start. However, it doesn't stop there, as a fabulous Jupiter/Uranus connection could bring a stroke of good fortune your way. This could be associated with a career break or the reaching of a goal that brings you a lot of extra cash in the process. Things are looking up!

 

 

 

Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22

 

With Jupiter in your sign encouraging you to showcase your skills and abilities, this week's New Moon can help your advertising campaign kick off in the best way possible. In addition, if you want to start an Internet business or get going with any online project, again, this is the time to go for it. The cosmos also has another special boon for you, as a high-powered transit may bring a very special opportunity out of the blue. Though challenging, you might really enjoy it!

 

 

 

Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22

 

Finances become the focus as the Sun dances into Libra and your personal money zone on Monday. Along with this, any changes you wish to make will be fast-tracked by the New Moon on Tuesday. If you're thinking about applying for a loan, redesigning your budget, or opening a savings account, this is the week to go ahead. Your intuition is very finely tuned, so if you get a persistent feeling to go somewhere or do something, heed it. Your fortunes could change as a result.

 

 

 

Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22

 

You'll be in your element as the Sun eases into your sign on Monday, followed by the New Moon on Tuesday. This is your opportunity to make changes in any area you choose, with a two-week window of opportunity open to you. However, the closer to September 23 you make a start the better. In addition, social opportunities sizzle as a spectacular alignment may bring someone your way with soul-mate potential. If you start a relationship this week, who knows where it may lead?

 

 

 

Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21

 

The mystery and magic heighten as the Sun enters your spiritual sector. This is the time to take a close look at your dreams, especially those that are particularly vivid. You could get valuable guidance as a result. Plus, if you're thinking of learning to meditate or taking up another spiritual discipline, this is the perfect time to go ahead, as the New Moon blesses your journey. Later, work and career developments seem well starred, with a chance that one opportunity may be too good to miss.

 

 

 

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21

 

Networking and socializing get a boost from the cosmos, with a New Moon enticing you to join groups or clubs and generally move in new circles. If you start a relationship this week, it could be very supportive in the long term. You might find that romance and business matters improve as a result of mixing and mingling with the right folks. Later, a stroke of good fortune could mean you're invited on a journey that changes your life in some way.

 

 

 

Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19

 

It's up, up, and away for your career as the week kicks off with a special opportunity to soar ahead. Make use of the New Moon to begin a project, sign that important deal, or start a new job. Plus, a renewed focus on teamwork hints that you'll do better if you're involved in a partnership or group. On another note, you could get an unexpected windfall that enables you to purchase items or even experiences that you've desired for some time.

 

 

 

Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18

 

You're on a roll socially, yet travel and adventure call out to you as well this week. If you're about to go on a journey or vacation, the New Moon can be a positive omen. Plus, if you're considering earning a qualification or you want to upgrade your skill set, this is the time to make a move. Later, a rare meeting with someone could be an inspiration. This person may share ideas that pique your interest and get you excited about the potential for the future.

 

 

 

Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20

Sensitive areas of life, such as shared finances and intimacy, are in focus this week, with a New Moon offering a chance for a fresh start. If you're thinking about getting hitched or even splitting up, this might be an ideal week to make the announcement. In addition, finances could get an unexpected boost as a fortunate transit could bring a windfall your way. Later, Mercury's move into Scorpio might encourage you to dig deep and seek hidden knowledge or information you need to know.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 18, 2014

 

Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19

 

You may be galvanized into action at the start of the week, ready to explore new ideas and opportunities. Good fortune shows up for you when you make the effort in the areas of romance and creative activity. Studying and travel may also be on your mind, which might entice you to look for more information. The weekend focus is one of dutiful activity, along with a chance to catch up with yourself. Drift, dream, and do things that nurture your soul.

 

 

 

Taurus Apr 20 – May 20

 

A passionate encounter might capture your imagination early in the week as thoughts about a certain person perhaps become obsessive. Being too premature here could result in embarrassment, so bide your time. Meanwhile, Mars in Sagittarius can make it competitive when it comes to business matters and entrepreneurial affairs. You'll want to explore the potential for increasing your earnings, and you're willing to move out of your comfort zone to do so. Later, try to avoid lending money - you may not get it back.

 

 

 

Gemini May 21 - Jun 20

 

Monday's Quarter Moon might inspire you to come up with creative ways to redecorate your home. The combination of borrowed ideas and natural genius could give your place a delightful makeover. When it comes to romance, an instant attraction might be tempting, but there's a chance it may not last. Later, issues associated with your job or career could divert your attention away from your partner. Give work a rest, and instead make a decision to spend quality time with your sweetheart.

 

 

 

Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22

 

Your intuition could conflict with the facts in a key situation, making it hard to choose the best path ahead. But if you can adopt a fresh perspective, you might find the right answer was there all along just waiting to be noticed. Mars in your health zone encourages you to explore ways to exercise without boredom. Consider dancing, swimming, or even martial arts if it will help you stay fit and feel fabulous. Enjoy a fun weekend and make time to relax.

 

 

 

Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22

 

Work and play conflict as the focus shifts. You may prefer pleasurable options to knuckling down to the daily grind. However, the offer of extra money might be enough to entice you to work long hours. The week unfolds in a relaxed way with romance high on the agenda. A love adventure may be just what you need to boost your mood and brighten current circumstances. Even online liaisons look very possible and could lead to something stronger. Watch your spending over the weekend. You could be tempted to splurge.

 

 

 

Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22

 

Will intense feelings tempt you to dive headlong into a romance? The current climate suggests it's possible even though deep down you know better. Meanwhile, you may zip into action on the home front, eager to get down to some DIY projects like redecorating or perhaps something bigger. If you're renting, this might be the time you decide to buy some property. Go easy over the weekend. You and your sweetheart may not see eye to eye, which could be unsettling unless you can be willing to compromise.

 

 

 

Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22

 

The more time you take to understand how you feel about a situation the better. Regular meditation and dream work can let you know how things sit with your subconscious and if your conscious mind is in alignment with it. With this inside information you should be able to make a more informed decision. Be careful when signing important documents or saving files on the computer. An edgy influence suggests you could lose out. You can save yourself a lot of trouble if you take a little extra care.

 

 

 

Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21

 

A very positive influence can make all the difference to your career situation. This is the time to put in the hard work that can lead to some jaw-dropping opportunities. With just a little effort you can reap big rewards over this week and next. What's more, if you don't succeed the first time, keep trying. This weekend a friendship or budding romance could show signs of growing more committed, but more trust may be needed before it can really blossom.

 

 

 

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21

 

An opportunity to net a lucrative contract could be yours early on. Don't waste time wondering whether or not to take it, as it won't be around for long. In addition, if you're after action and adventure, you can have plenty of both. The offer of a trip could lead to some exciting opportunities if you can be willing to move outside your comfort zone. If you prefer working, you have some excellent chances to upgrade your skill set or find a job in an exotic location.

 

 

 

Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19

 

Business talks and money transactions work in your favor as Jupiter continues its move through your zone of shared assets. Along with this, the presence of Mercury in Libra enhances your ability to negotiate with key people, giving you more leverage in crucial situations. The weekend brings a chance to collaborate on projects that may be hard work but also lucrative. Avoid giving away too much personal information, however, as you may regret it later (even though you might normally trust this person).

 

 

 

Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18

 

Everything is about attitude this week, so you might attract good things and people to you by keeping yours upbeat and cheerful. There is certainly a positive focus on your social sector, encouraging you to move in new circles that can bring positive opportunities your way. The cosmos is enticing you out of any rut you may have been in and pushing you to embrace a wider circle of friends and associates. Conserve your energy over the weekend - take the time to recharge.

 

 

 

Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20

 

A nice break from routine would do you a world of good and could quite possibly prove to be lucky. See what friends have on their agendas, and don't hesitate to join in if it sounds like fun. It's all systems go regarding a key ambition or important career goal. This is the time to plan for success and then take baby steps to achieve it. The only thing to watch out for is losing your focus. If you can remain true to your vision, you should do really well.

 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 18, 2014

 

By DAVID BAUDER

Associated Press

 

 

 

CBS and Rihanna are splitting up, more fallout from the Ray Rice domestic violence incident and the turmoil it has caused for the NFL.

 

Ravens cut Ray Rice after domestic violence video is released.

 

The network said Tuesday it was permanently editing a song featuring Rihanna's voice out of its Thursday night NFL telecasts — after the singer issued a profane tweet about it.

 

A portion of Jay-Z’s “Run This Town” featuring Rihanna was cut from last Thursday’s Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game because CBS was covering the controversy over Ravens running back Rice’s assault of his then-fiancee. CBS planned to use the song Thursday and for the rest of the season, but Rihanna tweeted, “CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? ... Y’all are sad for penalizing me for this.” She added an expletive.

 

CBS issued a statement saying that it was “moving in a different direction” with different theme music.

 

Meanwhile, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Company, which manages Rihanna and others, said that it had made the decision not to grant the song’s usage. Roc Nation said it felt CBS misled the public when it announced the song’s use for its telecasts, giving the impression Rihanna recorded specific music for the project. The company said it never saw or approved the news release issued by CBS.

 

The news release, issued Sept. 2, stated: “CBS Sports and NFL Network will open each game of Thursday Night Football in 2014 with Jay-Z’s Grammy Award-winning song ‘Run This Town,’ featuring megastar Rihanna.” It said the song would be paired with a narration by Don Cheadle.

 

The song was one of a handful of elements CBS cut out of its inaugural Thursday night football telecast. At the time, CBS Sports President Sean McManus said Rihanna’s own history as a victim of domestic violence was one part of the decision but not the overriding one. The song was to be featured in all six of the Thursday night games CBS was broadcasting this fall, plus eight more on the NFL network.

 

A spokesperson for Rihanna had no immediate comment on the CBS decision or her client’s tweet.

 

The decision means a significant loss of weekly exposure for Rihanna’s work: more than 10 million people watched the opening of the telecast last Thursday, according to the Nielsen company.

 

AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu contributed to this report.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 18, 2014

 

By Troy Tieuel

  

On Sunday, September 21 Bobbi Boss, an international hair company, celebrates women by sponsoring a hair stylist face off called the “Bobbi Boss America’s Next Top Stylist, Live on Stage” (BBLOS) in Los Angeles at the Westin Hotel.  Stylists from all over Southern California will gather and match clipper to scissor to see who can take the top stylist spot and ring in prizes totaling more than $7,000 and one talented model will receive $1000 plus the title “Glam Diva.”

 

Over the past month, the preparation for the Los Angeles BBLOS show has lead it’s staff all across the Southern California Basin, including San Diego, in search of the area’s best models, stylists and designers.

 

Casting events, led by the BBLOS National Tour Director Glynn Jackson, were held at the Weston Hotel as well as styling demonstrations held at various cosmetology schools such as Los Angeles Trade–Technical College and Marinello’s School of Beauty have flooded the internet with the hashtags #bobbiboss and #bobbibossliveonstage. 

 

“Inspiration of the day...,” Atahlyah J’aime posted as @Goddessj_me on her Instagram page, “today @glynnjackson came to our class, to give us some #divine guidance. He shared his story of his passion, his struggle and his success. He motivated me to continue to strive for #greatness. I am so #greatful and #inspired by his presentation and just to know that there are #wonderful #stylist like him gives me #highhopes in perusing my #dream and #passion.... #lattc.”  J’aime is a cosmetology student at Los Angeles Trade–Technical College.

 

Raven Flenoy, a Los Angeles based model, auditioned on September 1 for the BBLOS show and was selected, enjoyed working with the Bobbi Boss staff. 

 

“I loved it.  It was great,” said Flenoy, “It was very professional.  I loved that we went over walking the runway first, before the audition.  And also having a 1 on 1 with the Bobbi Boss people was even better.  It showed that they actually did, genuinely care about helping us improve in our craft.” 

 

Flenoy looks forward to showing her model walk live on stage and to hopefully win the title, ‘Glam Diva.’ The ‘Glam Diva’ will be featured in a fashion photo-shoot with celebrity fashion photographer Marvin Joseph, of the Washington Post Style Section, on the following Monday, September 22.

 

“As an artist,” explains Joseph on his website, “I don’t claim to have power over others.  I only create to empower others.” Joseph is a high-end creative that blends social messages with colorful aesthetics in his work.  This creative style has garnered him worldwide fame and recognition as well as an extensive client list.  His client base consists of Oprah Winfrey, Michelle and Barack Obama, Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Maya Angelou, Angela Bassett, Beyonce and Jay Z.  See more of Joseph’s work at http://www.marvinjoseph.com/. Working with Joseph are celebrity stylist Anthony Bradshaw, celebrity hair stylist Anthony Cherry, celebrity makeup artist Donna Holley-Beasley, and designer Glynn Jackson.

 

“The BBLOS Tour takes everyday women and re-designs them to strut their stuff,” explains Jackson who has an impeccable tour history with successful events in other large cities such as Huston, Atlanta and New York. 

 

Jackson goes on to explain the importance of image, and sees the impact of improving the average African-American woman’s self-image.  “It’s important to put out there that black girls have great role-models that they could look up to,” added Jackson, “and that is what we are trying to do with the hair show platform.”

 

The Los Angeles BBLOS Show will have three major sections, a runway competition, a stylist face off and an awards presentation.

 

The runway show will include local area models mixed with a few standout models imported from BBLOS’s past shows.  The models will walk their best walk wearing creative fashions and supporting Bobbi Boss inspired hair styles in hopes of winning the cash prize and getting selected for participation in the Golden Scissor’s Award Show in Washington DC.  At the Golden Scissors Award Show, the winning model will compete against the winners from around the nation for a chance to win the top prize of $6,000.  The Los Angeles BBOS Show winners will also receive travel vouchers totaling $1,500 to cover the expenses of traveling to Washington DC to participate in the Golden Scissors Award Show. 

 

“I will be attending the Los Angeles BBLOS Show as a judge, and also helping Mr. Jackson do the ground work, guerrilla style, going to beauty schools, going to salons and getting people to participate In this well anticipated hair show by Bobbi Boss,” said Anthony Cherry, a Los Angeles based, celebrity hair stylist known affectionately as the ‘King of Hair.’  Cherry has styled notable celebrities such as K. Michele and Angie Stone.

 

“People can expect to see fanfare,” continued Cherry, “everyday, beautiful sexy hair and the comradery of so many people coming together under one roof to actually make this event come to be magnificent and magical.”

 

Cherry has worked with Jackson and the Bobbi Boss staff on many past shows.  When asked what he expected to see from the Sothern California stylist, Cherry said, “I anticipate seeing a bunch of people come out and battle for that money!  To see people expose their talent to the world.  People that I have never seen before, people that the other judges will have never seen before.  With the help of Glynn Jackson to execute this mission, I expect to see that place off the chain!”  

 

During the ‘stylist face off,’ expert hair stylist from all over Los Angeles will style hair, live on stage in hopes of winning one of three cash prizes. 

 

“I don’t know everything, but what I have I can share with the world,” said Richard Grant, a hair stylist from the Brenton Lee Salon and Studio in Pasadena who will be competing for the Top Stylist prize, “it’s about sharing, teaching and giving back.”    

 

“We will be doing all different types of styles,” added Janai Richard, a texture and extension specialist at the Brenton Lee Salon and Studio, “Long, short, playing with a little bit of color, so I’m very excited about the competition.”

 

Other stylists involved in the competition are Nanette Gage from Supreme Cuts and Styles, Troy Ballard, SPA 313, David Williams, Brenton Davis from Influence Hair Salon, and Curtis Victor.

 

Also participating in the event are Derrick Jays from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Adrian ‘7’ Washington a celebrity stylist from the Ted Gibson Salon and the 7-Signiture Brand, Angela Rene’ designer and CEO of PurpleDivaDesigns.com and Bad Boy Roy from Columbia South Carolina, just to name a few.

 

For more information about the Bobbi Boss America’s Next Top Stylist, Live on Stage tour call the national number (202) 245-27445, ext 1 or go to https://www.facebook.com/glynnjacksondreamteam.  For more information on Bobbi Boss ®, go to www.facebook.com/Bobbi­BossFirstClassHair.

 

Bobbi Boss America’s Next Top Stylist, Live on Stage tour will hit Los Angeles Sunday, September 21 at the Westin Hotel, 5400 West Century Blvd, Los Angeles CA.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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