Dear White People* 2014

dear white people
T. Thompson, M. Richardson and Black Activist cast/image: hollywood.com

Well, this movie was an interesting piece. It was very reminiscent of  Spike Lee‘s style of film making, but with a fresher and a more balanced viewpoint about the white and black sides of the issue of race among young people in American college/culture today. As it didn’t divide the audience like Lee’s movies tended to do. Have race relations changed much from the Spike Lee days of the 80’s? Perhaps, which is good but there are issues which still prevail in our society here in the US and Justin Simien addresses them with more humor and less anger which was refreshing and entertaining.

The Premise…

Sam White, Tessa Thompson, is a mixed race black activist and radio host for a talk show called “Dear White People.” Sam does the show from her college campus and as she speaks to different stereotypes white people might have about black people she calls them out about it on the radio. Sam also by the urging of her black activist friends and dorm mates, decides to run for dorm president. In the mean time she has secrets, secrets that are very contradictory to her activist radio show and new candidacy for office. And if the secrets were to come out she would be called out and discredited herself. 

The Ivy League cast/image: Ivy-style.com
The Ivy League cast/image: Ivy-style.com

Since Sam likes to call others out, she’s about to get her own comeuppance as some of the other black students are about to get their’s too. Then, with human contradictions running rampant everywhere like in life all the character’s have their own brand of hypocrisy going on. The acting here was top-notch and everyone in the movie was spot on for their specific archetypal characters. For instance, there was a black girl Colandrea ‘Coco’ Conners, Teyonah Parriswho was somewhat of a wannabe white girl with dark skin, straight hair weave, and blue contact lenses. Then there’s the white guy, Mitch, Keith Myers who tries to speak like a black guy but lives in a privileged ivy league fraternity house and is rivaling with Sam’s activist dorm and radio program.

The Sum Up…

With very funny one liners, and a good soundtrack, and strong story, the movie manages midway through to become a better movie than it starts out being. The dialog is fast and spoken in current young people dialect so I admit, I missed or didn’t understand everything being said. (Wow, since I’m an early gen X’r, I don’t understand young people anymore or pop culture, and that’s unfortunate). The actors were very compelling and fresh and for the most part new faces to the movie scene. With a few older generation faces like,  Dean Fairbanks, Dennis Haysbert, to give the movie some weight so us oldies wouldn’t feel left out. The movie get’s a B ~ NOTE WORTHY, see either in theaters or on DVD but see it, as it also gets a SAFETY ALERT, for language, sex scenes, drug use, 2 dubious relationships, and subject matter. The movie started off kind of confusing and slow but sped up once the first act was over, and for that I would say it’s a movie to see twice just to catch all the dialog, especially if you have a comprehension problem like I guess I do. This movie isn’t for kids under 17, and this movie is rated R (limited release). 

 

 

Fury** 2014

B. Pitt as Wardaddy/image: moviedownloadsfree.com
B. Pitt as Wardaddy/image: moviedownloadsfree.com

Brad Pitthas become one of the actors I really look forward to seeing in movies these days. He’s matured into a middle-aged father figure type and nice guy. Almost every movie I’ve seen him in since World War Z, he’s played a tender, sweet, caring character and here he’s no different. Although a little more gruff, and scary in this one but still his humanity comes through as well as his fan wear, bare-chested fine chest muscles.

The Premise…

In World War II, Wardaddy, Pitt is the Army Sergeant of his 5 man tank team and they are an eclectic bunch. Having just lost one of their guys in a battle, they need a replacement for the team and Norman, Logan Lerman, is their new man. Since the team have been together in battle for three years, Norman’s initiated in since he’s the newbie, and part of his initiation is to clean out the remains of their fallen fifth man as he’s still in the tank.

M. Pena, L. Lerhman, B. Pitt, J. Bernthal, S. LeBeouf/image: hdmovietrailers.eu
M. Peña, L. Lerman, B. Pitt, J. Bernthal, S. LeBeouf/image: hdmovietrailers.eu

Their new mission is to ride ahead of the troops who are on foot and take out as many Nazi’s as possible. The problem, there are only 4 tanks and as they try to keep the Germans at bay, one by one the tanks are getting taken out. The other issue, the German’s have better stronger tanks and bringing the fight to the American’s. So as we get to know these 5 guys, Bible, Shia LaBeouf, Gordo, Michael Peña, and Coon-ass, Jon Bernthal, we also see the comradery of the group. 

Pitt’s acting is convincing here, actually all the acting is top-notch. Everyone in the film seemed on the verge of tears from Wardaddy to Norman. Bible, LaBeouf, had big crocodile tears in his eyes for most of the film. It was nice to see actor’s really give an intense performance as it was clear they took the subject matter seriously. David Ayer, director and writer of the film, did a great job of giving the story cohesiveness. This war movie was reminiscent of old war movies from the 50’s and 60’s about World War II.

 The Sum Up…

With the story focusing on the tight-knit group of 5 men, the film didn’t get side tracked and wasn’t confusing. It also gave the movie legs and even though some scenes were very graphic, it wasn’t over done. All seemed necessary to push the story along. It also was nice to see the characters evolve over time. With a SAFETY ALERT, for graphic scenes of violence, language, and subject matter this movie gets a B+ ~ NOTE WORTHY, see either in theaters or on DVD but see it. Not everyone is into war flicks so I can’t give it an A. This movie is rated R.

Gluten~Free Cornbread

Here is a very good gluten free option. I just made this dish tonight and it was pretty good. My oven was acting stupid but besides that I think this came out nicely, I ate it with my Black Eyed Pea & Kale Soup. (I took this pic also.)

Author: Gluten Free Gigi
Recipe type: Bread Cuisine: Southern
Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 25 mins Total time: 35 mins

This recipe is free from: gluten, dairy/casein, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, with an egg-free option, too!cornbread daylight

Ingredients

1 cup certified gluten-free cornmeal (Buy organic cornmeal for GMO-free.)
½ cup white (or brown) rice flour, I use brown rice flower.
½ cup cornstarch (Non-GMO cornstarch is available in many markets or online.) Or you can use potato starch it’s gluten~free too.
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar (You can substitute your favorite sweetener here, decrease the amount, or omit the sugar entirely.)
1 cup milk (Plant- or dairy-based will work. Use unsweetened coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk.)
⅓ cup oil (olive oil, or rice bran oil.)
Egg replacer (prepared according to package directions) to equal 2 large eggs (or you may use 2 large eggs OR ½ cup egg substitute, like Egg Beaters, if you prefer.)

Note: you can also add a pinch of fresh rosemary or dried rosemary for an extra added flavor.


Instructions

Preheat oven to 400° F.
Grease an 8-inch square glass baking dish (or similar sized dish of your choice, or a cast iron skillet, if you have one.)
Place the baking dish or skillet in the oven as the oven preheats while you mix the bread. A hot skillet before you pour in the batter ensures a crisp outer crust, which is a must with cornbread!)
In a mixing bowl, whisk dry ingredients to blend.
Add milk, oil, and eggs; stir until batter is completely smooth.
Carefully remove hot pan from the oven using an oven mitt, and pour the batter into the hot pan (this seals a crisp edge on your cornbread).
Return the pan to oven and bake 20-25 minutes, or until cornbread is golden brown on top and deep golden brown around the edges.
Cut into squares and serve hot from the oven either on its own or with a drizzle of honey.Daytime cornbread

http://www.glutenfreegigi.com/gluten-free-cornbread/

Gone Girl** 2014

R. Pike, Amy and B. Affleck, Nick/image: screenrant.com
R. Pike, as Amy and B. Affleck, as Nick/image: screenrant.com

Wow, I just saw this movie and my mouth dropped open from beginning to end. Talk about a man being objectified by a woman. I can’t say too much about it or I will give it away. This is one of those reviews that will be very short. 

The Premise…

Nick Dunne, Ben Affleck, has a problem. His wife is gone and he’s accused of killing her. As he tries to clear his name, the evidence is piling up against him. He’s concerned for his wife and also about not going to jail for a murder he says he didn’t commit. His wife, Amy Dunne, Rosamund Pike, is the narrator of the story and the movie is told from her perspective at first. But as the story unfolds it is then switched to Nick’s perspective and narrated by him, which gave the film an interesting spin. 

Pike’s acting was exceptional here, a very unusual role for her. Affleck, also plays against type but not as much as Pike, which made it very fun to watch. It’s interesting when leading actor’s play against type it gives the audience more to look at and surprises you. Also, the co-starring roles were exceptional too. Nick’s twin sister Margo Dunne, Carrie Coon, played a very attentive sister, who cared a lot about her brother and wanted him cleared of the crime. Then Tanner Bolt, Tyler Perry, who almost seemed miscast at first was very entertaining playing the hotshot lawyer for Nick. His acting was surprisingly good, and gave the film a lighter tone, not funny but light-hearted, because this film was very dark otherwise. 

The Sum Up…

This film had a slow start but sped up quickly and became something unpredictable. With lot’s of twists and turns, and surprises, this thriller was very well written, directed, and acted. All the cast members were compelling and really conveyed the story well. With it’s very good dialog and directing style David Fincher kept the audience on edge as to what would happen next. I really like Fincher’s directing it’s usually top-notch and here was more of the same. The score is, A ~ THEATER WORTHY, see this in theaters it’s that good. With a SAFETY ALERT, for nudity, subject matter, and graphic scenes of violence, this movie is rated R.

 

Picky About Customer Service

99 cent store/image: canyon-news.com
99 cent store/image: canyon-news.com

Upturned Noses ~ Even the most laid back and egalitarian among us can be insufferable snobs when it comes to coffee, music, cars, beer, or any other pet obsession where things have to be just so. What are you snobbish about?

When I’m standing in a long line at the check out stand, for instance at a 99cent store and there are only 2 cash registers open, I get annoyed because of all the places that you shouldn’t have to wait this is one of them. Why? Because I’m buying things for $1, and it’s not rocket science to add up $1 purchases.  Also, when this store is making a killing on the things they sell, I think to myself, “they can’t afford to hire a few more people to work the rush hour times, for the customer’s convenience? The other day I was waiting in line and it wrapped around and down an isle so I politely put the sunglasses I wanted to buy back and left the store. There were about 10 people in front of me and five behind, and as far as I’m concerned that was 10 too many waiting for one cashier. So when I left I saw 2 cashier’s out on breaks smoking cigarettes, I thought this is bad management and they won’t get my dollars today!!!

Practicing The Past, To Get To The Future

Sky/Image: en.wikipedia.org
Sky/Image: en.wikipedia.org

One Way Street ~ Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?

I definitely would have to pick the future, because I was pretty stupid in my youth. And the prompt didn’t say you will be able to keep what you’ve learned up til now. So for me, the future is my choice. The Bible states that, Continue reading

The Equalizer* 2014

D. Washington as Robert/image: hitflix.com
D. Washington as Robert/image: hitflix.com

Denzel Washington, has never been my favorite actor but I’ve mostly enjoyed his movies, umm, expect for Training Day , that was a NO. Anyway, as he’s matured in age I’ve come to appreciate him even more as an actor and most of his choices of roles. (The reason I went to see this one is because of the trailer and one amazing scene I saw.) Except when he plays the guy who dates a woman half his age. That’s such a boring storyline and overused cliché I can’t watch ANY old male actor in this redundant movie troupe, it’s creepy to me. But I digressed, anyway this role he plays in The Equalizer was very multi dimensional and entertaining. Not to mention this is my favorite movie genre, I LOVE HIT MAN MOVIES!!! Continue reading

Black Eyed Pea & Kale Soup

Black Eyed Pea&Kale Soup
Black Eyed Pea & Kale Soup.

As part of my health and fitness, and not eating meat, I have to find new ways to cook so I have options as a vegetarian. So it’s been a very eye-opening experience to learn to like to prepare my food before I actually cook it. Something that wasn’t taught to me as a youth since I was born into the time of the microwave era. Which led to all kinds of packaged processed food that we have found will kill us. So that said, it’s been amazing how fun it is to see and know what is in my food. Also to see that the things I’m making will not leave a greasy sticky residue on my innards because it’s all plant-based, organic, and gluten free and makes it even more excited to share.

I just made this recipe last night, something I didn’t think I would enjoy but LOVED. I found it on myfitnesspal.com a site that is a virtual food journal so you can keep track of your daily food intake, calories, and fitness.

I also have directions for how to prepare dried Black Eyed Peas. This will help to get the soup just right. My cooking time was 1 hour and 8 minutes using an over the stove sauce pan. Also, I think this soup feeds more than 6 people but I guess that depends more on serving sizes. As you can freeze the soup and save it for another time, bean dishes are flexible that way. You can eat this recipe as a soup as pictured or you can try it by straining most of the broth and plate the black-eyed peas with all the veggies on a bed of quinoa or rice + top with sauerkraut + a dash of hot sauce = amazing.

How To Prepare Dried Black Eyed Peas (I suggest this step to prevent a gassy situation!!!)

How to cook black-eyed peas:  Place dried peas in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow to stand for 60-90 minutes with pot covered. Drain water rinse beans with cold water and drain again, then prepare beans with directions from below. Soaking is not essential for black-eyed peas, but cooking time can be shortened if they get a quick soak in hot water (as opposed to a longer one in cold water, like other beans). I know the bean prep seems long but it’s well worth it.

Prep Time: 15 minutes for cutting veggies, beans 93 minutes, Cooking Time: 1 hour 8 minutes on stove.


 

Ingredients

1 pound dried black-eyed peas
2 quarts vegetable stock
4 cups kale, chopped
6 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon cumin
dash of red pepper flakes
Optional seasoning: black pepper, sea salt (to taste)
Optional garnish: hot sauce

Directions

  1. In a saucepan on medium heat, add coconut oil and onions and cook until softened. Add in celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until the mixture is nice and caramelized and cooked through (look for the onions to get slightly golden brown and reduced).
  2. Add spices (rosemary, sage, cumin, pepper flakes), salt, and pepper to this mixture.
  3. In a large pot or crockpot, pour in vegetable stock, beans, and kale.
  4. Add the sauteed mixture of onions, carrots, celery into the Crockpot and let cook on “high” for 2 hours, stiring occasionally, and cooking for another 1-2 hours on “warm” or until the beans are cooked.
  5. If you’re using a large pot on the stove, simply cook on medium heat for 2 hours or until the beans are nice and soft.
  6. Note: you have a lot of flexibility in the cooking process- if you enjoy your beans very cooked/very soft simply cook for much longer. If you like your vegetables and beans not as soft, cook for less time.
  7. Stir occasionally and taste test to find your happy medium. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Serves: 6 | Serving Size: 1/6 of soup

Per serving: Calories: 248; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 140mg; Total Carbohydrate: 44g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugars: 11g; Protein: 9g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 783mg; Vitamin A: 313%; Vitamin C: 122%; Calcium: 19%; Iron: 12%

- See more at: http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/2014/09/black-eyed-peas-kale-soup/#sthash.OceuxDaM.dpuf

What’s Really Going On, With American Cinema?

In the last decade or so, I’ve observed that more and more American films with American characters are mostly foreigners playing these roles. Some of the old familiar American faces have all but disappeared into digital movie static and I’m not sure what this is all about? Is it because we don’t have very good American actors available anymore or is American acting not convincing anymore? It’s very puzzling and there is definitely a deficiency in the American acting queue of late. Continue reading

My Ms. Know It All!

Ladybug at a weddingDelayed Contact ~ How would you get along with your sibling(s), parent(s), or any other person you’ve known for a long time — if you only met them for the first time today?

The person would be my daughter, and she would probably get on my nerves because my daughter is a Ms. Know It All. When she was younger and in elementary school, she had answers for everything, since she grew up right in the age of computers and the internet, she would look it up and answer any, “I wonder why” question, I or someone she and I were with ever had. And her running answer to most of these questions was I saw it on myth busters. What I mean to say is, when I would ask her about her sources for answering the question she would say I saw it on myth busters and as she got older it just got worse. Continue reading