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‘The Photograph’ Review: an Invigorating Story Of Life and Love

The Photograph, Universal’s latest romantic drama, premieres this week just on time for Valentine’s Day. Written and directed by Stella Meghie, the film stars Insecure‘s Issa Rae and Y’lan Noel, Atlanta’s Lakeith Stanfield, and Roxanne Roxanne‘s Chante Adams.

The Photograph takes us on a journey of two love stories – one set in the past, the other – in the present. Mae Eames (Rae), a successful Queens Museum curator and estranged daughter of a famed photographer Christina Eames (Adams), struggles with her mother’s sudden passing. Mae is especially hurt about not knowing that she was sick. Her life takes a turn when she discovers a letter, written by her mother, chronicling her life in Louisiana. There is one man whose name keeps coming up in those letters, Isaac (Noel), Christina’s big love. The man she chose to leave behind to pursue her dreams in New York.

While Mae is going through her discoveries about her mother, journalist Michael Block (Stanfield) is doing a story on the now aged Isaac in Louisiana. Block learns about Christina’s work and decides to interview her daughter, Mae, back in New York. They meet, they fall in love. But the question is – is love really enough? As both professionals navigate their careers and love lives, they are forced to choose one over the other… or could they find a way to make this work after all?

Rae and Stanfield are great together, they have beautiful chemistry. The romantic scenes are beautifully set and shot. The verbal and non-verbal interactions are sweet and believable. The supporting cast also does an amazing job. The happily married couple Asia and Kyle (played by LilRel Howery and Teyonah Parris) are adding a great layer to the story. Both successful with two kids, the Blocks are an example of black marriages we need to see more of on the big screen.

The Photograph is refreshing. It moves at a comparatively slower pace – tracking shots, dialogues that are not rushed, the music ( a topic which, by the way, deserves a whole separate article) that instantly pulls you into Michael, Mae, Isaac and Christina’s worlds and ads so much soul.

The Photograph inspires with its simple yet captivating story of two successful black people who meet and fall in love. It is a modern-day saga that echoes some of our favorite on-screen stories of black romance such as Love Jones (1997), Love and Basketball (2000), and If Beale Street Could Talk (2018). If you loved any of these, you’ll enjoy The Photograph.

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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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