#CinNoir Chat – Ridiculous 6 Controversy

During the latest #CinNoir chat, my co-hosts and I chatted it up about the latest news and happenings in television and film. We started with our movie reviews.


I reviewed the Queen Latifah produced film Brotherly Love which stars one of my faves, Keke Palmer as well as Cory Hardrict and Macy Gray.  Also, Rebecca reviewed the teen horror flick, Unfriended.

We also discussed the Bruce Jenner interview with Diane Sawyer and the trouble surrounding the Adam Sandler project “Ridiculous 6.” Several Native American actors and one consultant walked off set because of the project’s degrading and stereotypical images of Native Americans. Of course we weighed in on the controversy.

In case you missed it, here is the recap:

#CinNoir Chat – Body Diversity on Primetime TV

Primetime television is leading the charge in Hollywood when it comes to body diversity and the images we see of women on a weekly basis.  Shows like Being Mary Jane and  The Mindy Project are going boldly where few have done before.  During the latest #CinNoir chat, my co-hosts Candice, Rebecca and I discussed this new wave of body diversity and the shows that we think are getting it right.


We started by discussing Being Mary Jane and the recent recurring storyline of Mary Jane encouraging her niece, to adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose weight.  In a recent espisode, Mary Jane even insunuated that Neicy need not wear a semi revealing dress because of her size. Body diversity, fat-shaming, and body acceptance are not topics usually discussed on television. For so long, we have been inundated with the blond haired, blue-eyed, thin standard of beauty.  But with the recent influx of more ethnically diverse women on television, we are seeing that there is more than one standard of beauty.

Also, Rebecca reviewed the upcoming documentary Mavis! about the life and career of soul singer Mavis Staples. Check out the trailer:

Mavis! – Documentary Trailer from Film First on Vimeo.

And lastly, we chatted about the Empire season finale.  We dished about the good, the bad, and what we hope to see in season 2.

black female characters cookie

In case you missed it, here is the recap: 

International Women’s Day: Making Moves in Hollywood (Cinema In Noir)

International Women’s Day is a yearly celebration acknowledging and honoring the acheivements of women.  This year’s theme is “Make it Happen.”

On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I celebrated International Women’s Day by chatting about the latest female centric tidbits of casting news.  Anika Noni Rose, Nia Long, Paula Patton, and Joy Bryant have all booked pilots for the upcoming television season. These women are making big moves in the world of television.


We also discussed the latest episode of Scandal.  The episode focused on the shooting of an unarmed black teen by a police officer and addressed the issue of race head on.  We also reviewed the premiere episode of the new series American Crime.

Lastly, we shouted out several of our favorite women of color making it happen in Hollywood, behind the scenes and on the web.

So, how did you celebrate International Women’s Day?  What women in Hollywood are making it happen in your opinion?


Check Out Film Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Kimberly Renee on BlogTalkRadio

#CinNoir – The Evolution of Black Female Characters on TV

Black female characters are reigning supreme in primetime television. During the latest #CinNoir chat, my co-hosts Candice, Rebecca, and I discussed the evolution of the black women on television. From Beulah in the 1950s,  Julia in the 1960s, Florida in the 1970s and Clair in 1980s, we chatted about all the black female characters that we have loved and admired through the years.

black female characters beulah

We also chatted about the black female charaters who are currently on top and the impact they are having on the television scene. Olivia, Cookie, Annalise, Mary Jane…which of these current black female characters  will reach icon status?

Candice also reviewed the new NBC mini-series, The Slap.

In case you missed it, here is the recap:

Who are your favorite black female characters, past and present?

Golden Globe Predictions (Cinema in Noir)

It’s Golden Globe prediction day on Cinema in Noir.   This week we returned from winter break with a show packed with review, news, and the Golden Globe predictions. We began with our review of Fox’s new his show Empire. The show stars Taraji P. Henson, Terrance Howard, and Jussie Smollett.


We then gave Golden Globe predictions for tonight’s telecast.  Listen in to see which ones we got right.


Lastly, we gave our 2015 resolution wish list of trends we hope to see in Hollywood this year and films we are looking forward to seeing.


Check Out Film Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Kimberly Renee on BlogTalkRadio

My 15 Movie Resolutions for 2015

Happy New Year! It’s only been a few days, but 2015 is shaping up to be an AWESOME year already. As usual, the new year marks a time of reflection and resolutions. This year, I have decided to focus my New Year Resolutions on the movies I watch.  In addition to watching more films, this year I want to expand my personal knowledge of film and  challenge myself to watch films that I usually would not, in genres that I tend to shy away from, and by a more diverse group of filmmakers.  So here are my 15 Movie Resolutions for 2015:

1. Watch 365 New (to me) Films in 365 Days (#TeamNFOTD)


2. Watch at least one documentary a week

3. Watch one throwback film a week (made before 1980)

4. Watch two foreign-language films a month

5. Watch at LEAST one film I vowed NEVER to watch

6. Watch one movie I’ve lied about watching (there are a few…LOL)

7. Watch twelve Academy Award Best Picture winners


8. Watch twelve Best Actor/Actress winning performances

9. Read one screenplay a month

10. Watch one horror film a month

11. Watch one science fiction/fantasy film a month

12. Watch a film trilogy


13. Watch twelve films my first time directors

14. Watch 52 films by a female directors

15. Watch 24 short films

AvaDuVernayCamera2BONUS: Watch, support, talk about, blog about, tell the WORLD about more films directed by and/or written by women of color


 What are your 2015 movie resolutions?


#NFOTD2014 – A Year in Review

As you may or may not know, I have been participating in #NFOTD (New Film of the Day) for the past two years. For those who don’t know, NFOTD was started by film-lover and director of photography, Cybel Martin. Every day #NFOTD participants watch a film that they’ve never seen before and tweet (and/or Instagram) about it. In 2014, I watched a grand total of 326 films (65 more than in 2013).

Here are my other #NFOTD2014 statistics:

Narrative Features – 226 (68.3%)
Documentaries – 73 (22.4%)
Short Films – 18 (5.5%)
Foreign Language Films – 6 (1.8%)
Female Screenwriters – 97 (29.8%)
Female Directors – 74 (22.7%)
Female DPs – 26 (8%)

So here are my selections for #NFOTD2014 and a few extras).

1. Favorite Theatrical Release: Beyond The Lights

Beyond the Lights

Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythwood

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver

The 411: I love a good love story, and this is a GREAT one! The story, the performances, the direction are all perfect.

2. Favorite Streaming/DVD: Four of Hearts

Directed by: Eric Haywood

Starring: Nadine Ellis, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Michelle Krusiec, Gabriel Olds

The 411:  Four of Hearts is a mature look a sex, love, and relationships. Driven my great dialogue and solid performances, the film is must see.

3. Favorite/Most obscure: The Babadook

The-Babadook-PosterDirected by: Jennifer Kent

Starring: Essie Davs, Noah Wiseman

The 411: The Babadook is the kind of movie that plays with your mind and leaves you looking under the bed for monsters. Hand’s down, one of the creepiest movie I’ve seen in a long time.

4. Favorite Documentary: Life Itself

Life ItselfDirected by: Steve James

Starring: Roger Ebert, Chaz, Ebert

The 411: This film is a beautiful tribute to a man who spent his life loving, watching, and talking about film. I think Ebert would give it two thumbs up.

5. Member’s Choice: Wadjda


Directed By:  Haifaa Al Mansour

Starring:   Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Abdullrahnab Al Gohani

The 411:  Wadjda is a delightful film, the first shot entirely in Saudi Arabia.  It’s also a brilliant coming of age film and a great mother/daughter film.

Bonus Selections

Favorite Short Film: A Long Walk

Directed by: Chinonye Chukwu

Starring: Coleman Domingo, Francois Battiste, Da’Vine Joy Randolph

The 411: A moving short film about a a boy’s exploration of identity

Favorite TV Movie: An En Vogue Christmas


Directed by: Brian K. Roberts

Starring: Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron-Braggs, Rhona Bennett, Genelle Williams, David Alan Grier

The 411: The film features a fictional account of an En Vogue reunion.  The film boasted several great musical performances.  Basically, it’s every childhood dream I had, rolled up into ONE film.

Favorite Throwback: ‘night Mother

Directed by: Tom Moore

Starring: Sissy Spacek, Anne Bancroft

The 411: Based on the play by the same name, the film features two outstanding performances.

Favorite Stand-up Comedy Film: Wyatt Cenac, Brooklyn

Directed by: Wyatt Cenac

Starring: Wyatt Cenac

The 411: The funniest and most sincere stand-up routine I’ve seen in a while.

Seven Sistas of Film, 2014

2014 has been a pretty good year for film.  And theses women have given us some amazing, fun and memorable performances. These performances run the gamut in terms of genre. So with a few hours to spare, I give you my seven favorite sistas of film for 2014.  Enjoy!

Rosario Dawson as “Chelsea” in Top Five and “Dolores Huerta” in Cesar Chavez

RosarioI have been a fan of Rosario for a while now. In Top Five, she effectively plays a journalist on a mission to find out why a comedian respects in no longer funny. As always, Rosario brings her charming nature to the role.


Likewise, In Cesar Chavez, Rosario give us a glimpse of the force of nature that is Dolores Huerta.  I just wish she’s been featured more in the film.


Regina Hall as “Joan ” in About Last Night

about-last-night-regina-hallRegina Hall is a force to be reckoned with.  It takes a true comedic talent to hold her own against Kevin Hart, but Regina does just that. In About Last Night, she does more than hold her own, she brings the funny and will have you dying of laughter.


Taraji Henson as “Catana Starks” in From The Rough and “Terry” in No Good Deed

taraji-henson-from-the-roughTaraji plays a woman on a mission with fierce determination and heart.  This is evident in two of her performances this year.  In From The Rough, she portrays a dedicated coach with a band of unlikely golfers.


In No Good Deed, she plays mother determined to save her own life and the lives of her children.  On both occasions, Taraji’s performances reminded me of why I enjoy her work.


Gugu Mbatha-Raw as “Dido Elizabeth Belle” in Belle and “Noni” in Beyond the Lights


I don’t care what ANYONE says, 2014 belonged to Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The starlet starred in not one, but two critically acclaimed films, both written and directed by black women.  Has this EVER happened before? And Gugu delivered in the radically different roles.  In Belle she exudes hopefulness and passion.


In Beyond the Lights she channels pop divas Rihanna and Beyonce in a way that makes you do a double-take. Both roles exemplify Gugu’s versitility and talent.


Teyonah Parris as “Coco” in Dear White People


I thought I was gonna hate Coco, the blue-eyed, sometimes blond diva on the hunt for fame in Dear White People.  But in the capable hands of the super-talented Teyonah Parris, I found myself drawn to her every time she was on the screen. I long to see Teyonah more on the big screen.


Tessa Thompson as “Sam” in Dear White People

Sam in Dear White PeopleTessa Thompson is being heralded as one of the breakout stars of 2014.  And deservedly so. As Sam in Dear White People, Tessa brings life to the undergrad trying to establish her identity on a divided Ivy-league campus in our “post-racial” society.


I previously mentioned in my Best of 2014 post that I have not yet seen Selma. But I am obsessed with the female cast, namely Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, Oprah Winfrey, Tessa Thompson. From what I’ve heard, this is no doubt a film about MLK (as portrayed by David Oyelowo). But the women of Selma hold their own and I can not wait to rave about them once I see the film. In the meantime, check out this featurette on the Women of Selma.

Watch here:

Who else gave a memorable performance this year?  Who is your favorite sista of film for 2014?

Seven Sistas of Television, 2014

2014 has been an AMAZING year for television.  It seems television is blazing a trail for women of color in leading roles. Trying to narrow down  this list down to seven was damn near impossible. But these seven women (plus a few bonuses :-)) have given us some complex, layered and memorable performances. So  I give you my seven favorite sistas of television for 2014.  Enjoy!

Viola Davis as “Annalise Keating ” on How To Get Away With Murder


Viola Davis gave us one of the most “OMG WTF just happened” moments of 2014.  Actually, she gave us two or three courtesy of her work on the Shonda Rhimes show How To Get Away With Murder.


In an unprecedented move, Viola shed her make-up and wig in a pivotal scene that had the world talking.  As usual, Viola brings strength, grace, and an unparalleled sense of humanity to her character Annalise.


Nia Long as “Billie Page” on  The Divide

zap-the-divide-season-1-photos-20140715-001The Divide was hands down one of the best shows of the year. Unfortunatly, it was cancelled prematurely.  But we will always have one season of the awesome Nia Long as Billie Page. I love that Nia always brought the drama while playing this strong, intelligent, yet conflicted character balancing work, family, and a little corruption. The show may be gone, but Billie will love on in our hearts forever.


Kelly McCreary “Dr. Maggie Pearce” on Grey’s Anatomy

MaggieI have been a fan of Kelly McCreary since I watched her on the short-lived Emily Owens, MD. So I was super excited when she appeared on Scandal and doubly excited when I learned she was joining the cast of Grey’s Anatomy.  As the recently discovered sister, Kelly is bringing new life (and drama) to the long running series.


Naturi Naughton as “Tasha St. Patrick” on Power


Power has to be one of the most underrated shows on television right now.  And Naturi Naughton is bringing it as the wife with her own agenda and goals. I am really impressed with Naturi’s career path.  Her transition from 3LW to serious actress has been great to watch.


Gina Rodriguez as “Jane” on Jane the Virgin

1.02lWhen I saw Gina Rodriguez in the indie film, Filly Brown, I knew that sooner or later, the world would know her name.  And I was right.  Although the scenarios on the show can be over-the-top and outrageous (as a good soap should be), never have I doubted Jane’s sincerity or the respect Gina has for the character.


Tracee Ellis Ross as “Bow” on black-ish

10218196 We’ve know for a while that Tracee Ellis-Ross excels in comedic roles. So I was overjoyed by her return to television comedy.  This time around we  get to see an older, wiser Tracee as Bow, the matriarch of the Johnson Family on black-ish.  Tracee ‘s hilarious interactions with the kids has her in the race for best TV mom of 2014.


Lorraine Toussaint as “Vee” on Orange is the New Black


Full disclosure: I am obsessed with Lorraine Toussaint. So,  I was more than excited when I found out she was going to be on one of my favorite shows.  And boy did she deliver.  As a fan, I got a see a completely different side of the actress. Lorraine’s portrayal of Vee had me shook. I loved every minute of it.

HONORABLE MENTION: Abby, Jenny, and Mama Mills on Sleepy Hollow

Mills-sisters-forehead-touch-Sleepy-Hollow-2x09-e1416336896862On Sleepy Hollow, the Mills sisters (played by Nicole Beharie and Lyndie Greenwood) personify badassery every single week.  But one of my favorite moments of the season came when we got to meet their mother, played by Aunjanue Ellis.

SH mama

I loved the backstory and the chemistry between the three characters.

Who else gave a memorable performance this year?  Who is your favorite sista of television for 2014?

My Best of 2014 (And a Few I Saw So You Don’t Have To)

On the last #CinNoir chat of 2014 we listed the best and worst of 2014. In case you missed it, check it out here.

Here are my choices for best of 2014:

1. About Last Night

About Last Night

Kevin Hart and Regina Hall are the supporting cast in this remake of the 80’s favorite, but they steal the show They are SO freaking hilarious together.

2. Belle 


How often do we see a British costume drama with a person of color in the lead? Never. Ever. Until Belle.  This is an important film. And it’s really good.

3. Beyond the Lights

Beyond the Lights

It’s so rare that we get to see true love portrayed on the big screen between two leads of color. The chemistry between Kaz and Noni is palpable. You fall in love with them immediately.

4. Boyhood

BoyhoodShot over the course of 12 years, Boyhood is simply a once in a lifetime cinematic experience. It’s made even better with great performances by the cast.

5. Dear White People
Dear White People

This is a rare glimpse into the life of the black undergrad on a predominately white campus. I love the film because it focuses on the black college experience outside of the dance team/step team/drum line.

6. Gone Girl
Gone GIrl

Never is the film adaptation of a story EVER as good as the book. Until now. Gillian Flynn’s screenplay, David Fincher’s direction, and the performances by Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck were all pitch perfect.

7. Life Itself

Life Itself

This is the best documentary I’ve seen this year.  The film is a beautiful tribute to a man who spent his life loving, watching, and talking about film. I think Ebert would give it two thumbs up.

8. Maleficent


Angelina Jolie shines as the misunderstood title character in this retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

9. St. Vincent

St. VIncentI love that in this coming of age film, Melissa McCarthy gets to play the straight woman to Bill Murray’s cantankerous Vincent.

10. Top Five

Top Five

Hand’s down, my favorite Chris Rock film.  A very smart film with tons of hilarious and purposeful cameo appearances. Sidenote: If The Academy gave awards for cameos, DMX would be a front runner.

HONORABLE MENTION: My Best Film of 2014 That I Have Not Seen Yet: Selma


Best of 2014

Selma opened in NY, LA, ATL, and DC on Christmas Day, and does not arrive in NC until January 9, 2015.  So, I have not yet seen the movie yet but I already know I will love it :-)


Last, and MOST certainly, the least.  Here are my picks for the worst of 2014

Sex Tape – Yep, it’s as bad as you thought.

Think Like a Man Too – I really wanted to love this film. I REALLY  did not love it at all.

A Million Ways to Die In The West – Should have been called A Million Reasons I Wanted to Die While Watching THIS Movie.

Get on Up – The only saving grace for this movie was Chadwick Boseman’s performance. But not even Chadwick could save it this chaotic mess of a movie. AND most of my girl Tika’s work was cut, so yeah…I’m salty.

Cuban Fury – Never heard of it?  Yeah, there’s a reason for that.


What films are on your best of list for 2014? Worst?