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‘BAD BOYS FOR LIFE’ REVIEW: WORTH THE WAIT

Tina French

Directors: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Writers: Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, Joe Carnahan

Stars: Will Smith, Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano

Running Time: 2h 3m / Classification: Rated R


The third installment of the Bad Boys franchise just hit theaters worldwide and let’s just say, it’s been a long time coming!

The last time audiences followed the adventures of officers/ best friends Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) was in 2003 when Bad Boys II was released. Michael Bay directed that sequel which grossed $273 million worldwide.

Bad Boys For Life follows the duo as they reunite once again when a mysterious assassin (played by Jacob Scipio) murders multiple people involved in an old police case. Lowrey is also gunned down but he survives. After six months of hospital recovery, the officer is eager to find the man who put him there. Burnett is not on board at first. He vowed to leave his violent ways behind if his best friend pulls through. But when their beloved police captain takes a hit, uncle Mike and now pop pop Marcus (his daughter gives birth to a boy in an earlier scene, and Reggie is the father!) team up one last time to put end to the wave of homicides and to take down whoever is responsible.

The film co-stars Vanessa HudgensAlexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola NúñezKate del CastilloNicky Jam, Bianca Bethune and Joe Pantoliano.

The chemistry between Smith and Lawrence is undeniable and carries a lot of the movie. Their sense of humor and special bond translates well through their characters. All of it feels authentic. The jokes are not overexaggerated or forced, just enough to make you enjoy them. You will laugh at them trolling each other and will be touched by their I-always-got-your-back-type friendship.

The action sequences in this latest installment are more lucid than in its predecessors. Slashed throats, bullets penetrating torsos, point-blank shots to the face – directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (who are best known for directing the TV series Snowfall) did not hold back. Demolished buildings, burning helicopters, shoot outs, explosions, high-speed car chases – action junkies will be satisfied.

At some point in the movie, the Bad Boys team up with a younger, elite team called AMMO (which stands for Advanced Miami Metro Operations). The tech-savvy youngsters are clearly juxtaposed to Lowrey and Burnett who are used to handling things the old way. Their constant clashing finds its resolve when the agents face the mastermind behind the series of killings. Her name is Isabel Aretas (played by Kate del Castillo) and she has a bone to pick with Lowrey. We learn that many years ago, even before the Bad Boys, Lowrey was on an undercover mission that resulted in him putting the “only woman he ever loved” (Isabel) in jail. And… here we are introduced to the plot twist (we will keep it a secret for now), which felt a bit forced but definitely a surprise. Its placement is kind of a necessary step to unveil the hidden secrets, evoke an emotional response on Lowrey’s part, and, ultimately, conclude the storyline (specifically, for Bad Boys For Life, not the entire franchise). The after-credit scene suggests there might be a Bad Boys 4 coming.

Bad Boys For Life is entertaining and action-packed. Its been 17 years but it’s like they never left! If you are a fan of Bad Boys and Bad Boys II, then you will enjoy this third (but apparently not final) installment.

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Christian J. Simon Talks ‘Under Wraps,’ Comedy and Disney Legacy

Best known for his role as Max’s best friend Leo in family comedy Sydney to the Max, Christian J. Simon is now starring in a reboot of Disney Channel’s first original movie, Under Wraps. Just in time for Halloween!

The story follows small-town teen friends Gilbert (Simon), Marshall (Malachi Barton), and Amy (Sophia Hammons), who accidentally revive and release a 4000-year old mummy in the days leading up to Halloween.

At first terrified, the friends quickly learn that the Mummy, who they affectionately name ‘Harold,’ is actually nice and in dire need of assistance. A group of criminals captures and intends to sell the mummy. To save the life of their friend, the trio has to come together, face their fears, and rush to return Harold to his sarcophagus before midnight.

Christian J. Simon, Malachi Barton, Sophia Hammons in 'Under Wraps'

We chatted with Christian, a rising comedic star, and talked about the movie, the legacy of Disney, and what it means to be a part of it.


HM: Tell us about your character, Gilbert.

CS: Gilbert loves to have a good time. He is smart, funny, gets scared very easily; he doesn’t like horror movies, which is funny because he is the total opposite of his best friend Marshall, who’s always pushing him to face his fears.

HM: What was the scene you enjoyed filming the most?

CS: Every scene was fun to shoot. There was something in every scene. But I remember how fun the car scenes were, and I say the last scene. I’m not gonna say too much cause y’all gotta tune in.

HM: How familiar were you with the original movie?

CS: No, I didn’t know what Under Wraps was when I got the audition. And I actually ended up watching it after I booked the job with my castmates in Vancouver, Canada. Which I think was great cause it was after we already put our own spin on the characters and what we thought they would be.

HM: With Disney as a brand known for creating a lot of original movies and you are a part of this legacy, which has a lot of significance to generations coming after you. How does it feel to be a part of this legacy?

CS: It feels amazing. I grew up watching Disney Channel, so to be on a network like this and [do] not just one but two things. Oh gosh, God is so good! I say to all kids out there, keep working hard and don’t give up. If you believe in something and have something that you wanna do, don’t stop. You gonna face a lot of rejection [for] whatever you choose to do. But you gotta let it be fuel for your fire and keep going and know that you can do it.

Watch our full interview above, and make sure to check out Under Wraps on Disney+ on Friday, October 8.

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Denzel Washington Brings New Drama to Macbeth

A new level of visual art was showcased through the freshly released teaser of The Tragedy of Macbeth. Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington brings his omnipresent demeanor to the modern depiction of the play, interpreted by film producer Joel Coen (Money Talks). Oscar-winner Frances McDormand is co-starring alongside Washington Oscar and many other theatrical titans. 

The Tragedy of Macbeth is sizing up to premiere as the solo work of Coen, who worked with his brother, Ethan Coen, and produced past scenic projects together. Coen announced his redirection in focus back in August. 

Acting heavyweights in the drama genre are playing iconic roles such as Lady Macbeth, played by McDormand, and Lord Macduff, embodied by Corey Hawkins (The Walking Dead). 

The melancholic footage provided to the public worked as a small savory bite before the full course of the project, arriving in theaters on December 25, before streaming on platforms like Apple+. It was heavily passed along and re-shared on Twitter this past Tuesday. 

The New York Post captured McDormand stating, “In Joel’s adaptation, we are exploring the age of the characters, and in our adaptation, the Macbeths are older. Both Denzel and I are older than what is often cast as the Macbeths. We’re postmenopausal, we’re past childbearing age. So that puts pressure on their ambition to have the crown. I think the most important distinction is that it is their last chance for glory.”

Washington is seen in the new teaser, implementing his signature smirk, leaving the audience with enough suspense to brush up on the Shakespearean knowledge of the story. The feeling of finding out more about this portrayal is at an all-time high. The film will set the tone for the New York Film Festival on September 24. 

Watch the official trailer below.


Betti Halsell, senior writer at Hollywood Melanin

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Michael K Williams’ Cause of Death Revealed

Michael K. Williams’ cause of death was found to be a fatal drug overdose.

Per TMZ, the New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner determined the 54-year old’s manner of death was acute intoxication due to a lethal combination of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine. His death was ruled an accident.

As a reminder, the actor was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, on Labor Day.

May he continue to Rest In Peace.

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