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Movie Review: ‘Miss Bala’

Do not come after Gloria Fuentes or her friends!

Directed by Twilight’s Catherine Hardwicke from a script by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, Miss Bala does a good job bringing forth a strong female Latina lead, who can do it all – from applying a perfect contour to handling an AK-47.

Gloria Fuentes is a makeup artist from Los Angeles, who finds herself trapped in a cross-border drug enterprise.

Miss Bala is a remake of the Mexican crime drama action film by the same name, which premiered back in 2011 at the Cannes Film Festival.

Gloria Fuentes (played by Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez) travels to Tijuana to support her childhood friend Suzu (Cristina Rodlo) as she enters the Miss Baja California beauty contest. After a shootout at a Tijuana nightclub, Suzu is nowhere to be seen. Gloria, desperate to find her best friend, is forced to work for the head of a drug cartel, Lino (Ismael Cruz Córdova), who offers his help. As if she wasn’t in enough danger, D.E.A agent Brian (Matt Lauria) threatens to arrest Fuentes if she refuses to go undercover and reveal Lino’s plans to him.

The intense hour-and-forty-four-minute story focuses on Gloria’s personal story – a Mexican-born, California-raised young woman, who is an outcast in her native land. Along with that, the viewer is presented with a low key of love story – Lino develops an emotional connection with Gloria, as he also grew up in California, just like her. The question of him possibly becoming a better man for her finds its resolution at the very end.

A few things can be said about Gina Rodriguez’s character. What is worth mentioning is that doesn’t see complicity as the primary path to survival. Gloria never gives up on the chance to find her friend, she constantly weighs her options and makes crucial decisions.

Overall, if you like women-led action movies, Miss Bala is worth watching. The movie is packed with many plot twists and numerous shooting scenes.

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Film & Television

First look at the Mahalia Jackson biopic starring Danielle Brooks

Mahalia Jackson is known as one of the greatest gospel singers of all time. On Feb. 3, Lifetime will premiere her story on the small screen in Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia.

Produced by Robin Roberts (Good Morning America) and directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon (American Son), the film stars Grammy-Award winning actress Danielle Brooks portraying the legendary gospel singer focusing on her civil rights activism. 

The Mahalia Jackson story arrives Feb. 3. Watch the trailer below.

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Film & Television

‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’: Sneak Peek

The release of highly anticipated Space Jam sequel is nearing, and today, fans got a tiny peek at what is coming thanks to HBO’s newly released promo video that included this short visual of Lebron James and Bugs Bunny.

Space Jam: A New Legacy is scheduled for a July release.

Starring in the live-action/animated sports comedy, alongside James are Don Cheadle and Sonequa Martin-Green. Returning are the Looney Tunes characters – Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, and Daffy Duck. Basketball stars including Anthony DavisChris PaulDamian Lillard, Diana Taurasi, Cheney Ogwumike, and Nneka Ogwumike are also featured in the movie.

 Malcolm D. Lee (Girls Trip, The Best Man) is directing. Black Panther‘s Ryan Coogler is producing.

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Film & Television

‘One Night In Miami’: Regina King on her decision to cast non-U.S. actors to portray American characters

While speaking at a BAFTA Masterclass in London on Tuesday (Jan 12), in reference to British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir portraying Malcolm X and Canadian actor Eli Goree playing a young Muhammad Ali, director Regina King said: “If I was moved by a performance, I really don’t care where a person’s from.” She also stated, “As an audience member, to me they truly understood what they were doing, what they were embodying. After Kingsley’s first audition, I wanted to give him some notes. I wanted to just talk to him and get to know him and get to know what his relationship was to Malcolm. He said all the things that I needed to hear him say and I think it’s unfortunate that this is where we are.”

She continued, “One of the things that I’ve truly understood or discovered throughout this process of One Night in Miami, is that upon first receiving this and reading it, I thought, ‘Wow, Kemp, this is just a love letter to the black man’s experience in America.’ But then taking that step back and really taking in marginalized people across the world. There are feelings and experiences that black people in the UK, in Brazil feel that are the same as in America. While the history of how a country came to be may be different, the marginalization of a black man is the same, colorism is the same in all of those places.

“Kingsley was the best actor for that role and Eli was the best actor for that role. Sure, neither one of them are American. But can they relate to the experience and the pain felt by a black person for being disregarded just because of the color of your skin? Absolutely, they can. Can they take it upon themselves to make sure they educate themselves on the ways it’s specific to America in the history of how black Americans had built this country, it was built on the bodies of Black Americans? They can definitely educate themselves on that and they did. I wouldn’t change my choices for anyone.”

The debate about British actors being chosen over American talent has intensified in recent years with actors David Oyelowo, Cynthia Erivo and Daniel Kaluuya portraying civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman and Fred Hampton, respectively. Some argue that non-American actors should not get these roles. Others find no issue in it whatsoever. What side of the argument are you on? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

King’s directorial debut, which debuted at the Venice Film Festival last year, will launch on Amazon Prime January 15.

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