Remembering Chadwick Boseman

“You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking, you are under pressure.”~Chadwick Boseman

On August 28th, the shocking news of American actor Chadwick Boseman’s death was announced. 

His family released this statement:

At the young age of 43, he lost his four year battle with Colon Cancer. During those four years, he secretly endured surgeries and chemotherapy whilst filming numerous films.

His brilliant role as King T’Challa of Wakanda in Black Panther brought him worldwide recognition, but his acting career starting long before the Marvel Universe.

Black Panther Poster

Boseman attended Howard University, and graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Directing. With the help of mentor Phylicia Rayshad and Denziel Washington, he was able to attend the Oxford Mid-Summer of the British American Drama Academy in London.

If you view Chadwick’s impressive IMDb profile, you can see he portrayed a wide range of iconic characters. From portraying the legendary Jackie Robinson in “42” to the talented James Brown in “Get On Up.”  https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1569276/

Not only was Chadwick a talented actor, but more importantly, he was devoted Christian who authentically lived out his Christian life. 

In 2018, Boseman gave an inspiring commencement speech at his alma mater (Howard University). He began his 34 minute message by “first, giving honour to the Creator”. In the middle of the speech, he shared the story of his rocky road to success and how he had to have faith in God during the difficult time.”

Chadwick Bosemen at Howard University 2018

In his speech, he stated, “Sometimes you need to feel the pain and sting of defeat to activate the real passion and purpose that God predestined inside of you.” 

“God says in Jeremiah, I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future graduating class. Hear me well on this day. When you hit this day when you have reached the hilltop and you are deciding on next jobs, next steps, careers, further education, you would rather find purpose than a job or career.

“Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfil.

“Whatever you choose for career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose. When I dare to challenge the system that would relegate us to victims and stereotypes with no clear historical backgrounds, no hopes, talents, when I questioned that method of portrayal, a different path opened up for me.”

In my opinion, when you’re at peace with God, and you know you’re ill, your perceptive/lens about life changes. Your priorities change, and you attempt to live every moment to the fullest. 

Chadwick Boseman was an extraordinary man, husband, actor, and he used his sphere of influence for good.

His faith, grace, strength, talent, and resilience is a lasting legacy for the generations to come.

Well done, good and faithful servant.”~ Matthew 25:23

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything You gave me.”

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‘Enola Holmes’,Netflix Movie: Plot, Cast, Trailer & Release Date

Enola Holmes Movie Poster

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once succinctly stated, “The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” 

In a world where we tend to overlook the obvious, the upcoming mystery adventure film “Enola Holmes”,  will soon be hitting our home TV screens via Netflix.

The Plot

Based on the Enola Holmes Mysteries series of books by author Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes, the film, sees the young heroine waking on her 16th birthday to find her mother has vanished. 

An assortment of gifts have been left behind, but there are no apparent clues to her whereabouts. Now in the care of her two older brothers, who want to ship her off to a finishing school, Enola escapes through London to find her mom.

The Trailer

Cast

What do you get when you cross Superman,  Eleven from Stranger Things, and the Red Queen from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland? 

Viola! You get, Enola Holmes.

The ensemble cast :

Henry Cavill ( Sherlock Holmes), Millie Bobby Brown (Enola), Helen Boham Carter (Enola’s mother, Eudoria Holmes), and Sam Clafin (Mycroft).

Release Date

Prior to the full trailer release on August 25th.  Netflix released a cryptic teaser trailer on August 17th, with the caption: “alone loshme reeebtpms wnettyrhitd”

Each word in the caption is an anagram, which when solved, reads: “Enola Holmes September Twenty third”. 

My Thoughts

After viewing the trailer, the film looks promising. Who doesn’t like a film with mystery, intrigue, action-adventure, comedy, and a strong female driven plot? 

Will you be watching Enola Holmes on September 23rd on Netflix, or will you be skipping the film?

The game is afoot.”~ Sherlock Holmes

Is the Nostalgia of Blockbuster Video Making a Comeback?

Do you remember the days when you would visit Blockbuster video, were you would roam the endless aisles of videos, get lost in a sea of VHS cassettes, and rent the latest flicks for a $1 each? 

Ah, those were days!

A few days ago, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, and I saw that a friend had retweeted a tweet from Blockbuster. I automatically thought to myself, “I thought they were out of business?” 

The tweet stated, ”Just checking in.” 

https://twitter.com/blockbuster/status/1293201636236627968

Later that same day, I visited their Twitter page to see how active the company was on the platform. To my surprise, they posted a second tweet:

Ok, we’ve seen enough. Checking out.”

https://twitter.com/blockbuster/status/1293318870074302467

Nostalgic memories of Blockbuster came flooding in like a tidal wave: the vast array of different genres films, VHS players, VHS cassettes, and those darn late fees.

Most importantly, the one item that was your passport to rent movies: your Blockbuster membership card.

Suddenly, I remembered I still had my Blockbuster membership card!!

My Blockbuster Membership Card

I rummaged through several drawers in my dresser, and I actually found it!

For whatever reason, I held onto the card. Perhaps, the nostalgia of a simpler time is what compelled me to tuck the card away with other special momentos. I’m not quite sure why, but it was there.

As I was sharing with my twenty year old daughter how I still had my membership card from Blockbuster, she mentioned how there’s a massive following (subculture) among Millennials and Generation Z that collect merchandise from the company. 

I immediately googled Blockbuster video, and sure enough, my daughter was right!

For example, on Ebay, I saw a “vintage” Blockbuster video membership card for $2000. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Blockbuster-Membership-Card/254264065805?hash=item3b3351bf0d:g:8YgAAOSwtYddA~RW

That’s right! My jaw dropped.

From there, I went down a long rabbit-hole. On Ebay and Etsy, I found old empty VHS cassette cases with the Blockbuster video logo on it, key chains, t-shirts, stickers, hats, coffee mugs, and etc. 

In addition, back in December of 2019, the edgy fashion design house (Dumbgood), opened a pop-up Blockbuster Video shop for one week in NYC. Blockbuster-inspired merchandise was their main focal point. Visitors were able to shop everything from $12 branded key chains to iPhone cases to $400 VHS chain necklaces. There was are even “Be Kind Rewind!” t-shirts for sale. https://dumbgood.com/

NYC Blockbuster Pop-Up Shop

As I continued my research, I found there was only one remaining Blockbuster Video store open in the entire world, and it’s located in Bend, Oregon. https://bendblockbuster.com/

Blockbuster Video Store in Bend, Oregon.

Despite a global pandemic, the store has remained strong, and has customers flocking from all over the U.S. In addition, for customers who want authentic merchandise from the company, can now purchase items on their online store. 

In the age of Netflix and other streaming platforms, Harding credits her store’s success to both local support and Bend’s budding tourism industry.” 

Not only can you visit the last remaining Blockbuster store, but now you can even rent it out over night. 

You heard me right. Through Airbnb, the store is now available for overnight sleepovers for $4 a night.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/44577127?source_impression_id=p3_1598562598_m8o8qaY%2FMN1jUXKE

But, there’s a catch…..only residents from Deschutes County are permitted to request to book a stay at the store. The store is also only available for a limited time — for three individuals and a one-night reservations that will take place September 18, 19, 20th.

The owner of the store is only allowing county residents to stay the night at the store to thank them for their support during these uncertain times.

If the only remaining Blockbuster Video store in the world was open in your hometown, would you visit the store to rent movies, and buy trendy merchandise?

Better yet, if you had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to rent the store out for a one-night sleepover with two of your best friends to relive those nostalgic memories, would you jump at the chance?

LOTR vs. Harry Potter (Part 1)

Geeks across the globe fiercely debate one another with this simple question:

What fantasy franchise is better…..Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter?

In my opinion, it all depends what you value in a fantasy film/book.  

Since the topic is vast, it requires an in-depth analysis of both J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling. In the upcoming posts, I’ll dive into each author, their works, characters, films, and how they’ve influenced our culture. 

For the time being, I’m going to start with a simple infographic comparing both franchises.

Click below:

https://infogram.com/lotr-vs-harry-potter-1hzj4od0ol8d6pw

Are you a “Potter Head” or are you a “Ringer”? Have you read the books, but have not watched the movies, or have you done both? Comment below with your answers. 

Update on AMC Theaters Re-Opening: Health & Safety Measures (Part 2)

About a week ago, I wrote a blog post about AMC Theaters re-opening their doors on August 20th. AMC Re-Opens on Aug 20th: One-day 15-cent Movie Tickets.

However, when the theater chain announced their re-opening, they didn’t effectively communicate to the public a detailed plan on how they would implement health and safety measures for audiences. 

With that being said, the company recently posted on their website new health and safety protocol measures for all their 660 theaters across the U.S, and 244 theaters in Europe.

Here’s a quick run through:

Photo by Anna Shvets
  • Masks are required upon entry: Neck gaiters, open-chin bandanas, and masks with vents/exhalation valves are not permitted.
  • Whilst in the auditorium, you still need to wear your mask. However, if you’re eating or drinking, you can remove your mask.
  • Social distancing standards: following the directional signs throughout the theater. 
  • Auditorium capacities will be at 40%.
  • Cashless Transactions.
  • Simplified menu selections: popcorn, Coca_Cola Freestyle, candy, nachos, hot dogs, and AMC Kid packs.
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes available throughout the theater.
  • Condiments are upon request.
  • Refills for beverages and popcorn is currently unavailable.
  • Daily health screenings for managers and crew.
Photo by Matilda Wormwood

Enhanced Cleaning Procedures

  • Extra time added for their staff to clean in between movies.
  • Auditoriums are disinfected before each show with new electrostatic disinfectant sprayers.
  • Every night, the company will be vacuuming carpeted areas using vacuums with HEPA filters.
  • Throughout the day, common areas and high touch points are routinely cleaned and sanitized: hard surfaces, including doors, handrails, recliner buttons, and tray tables will be disinfected before each showtime.

To read more about the company’s health and safety procedures, please visit their website. https://www.amctheatres.com/amc-safe-and-clean?rel=safe-and-clean_reopening_hp_hero

After reading AMC’s detailed safety plan, I feel a little bit more comfortable returning to their movie theaters. Hopefully, paying audiences will respect the new company policies, and will be respectful towards their fellow film neighbor. 

What are your thoughts? With a detailed safety plan, are you willing to return back to AMC theaters?

Why “Schoolhouse Rock” Matters

The phrase “knowledge is power” is often attributed to Frances Bacon, from his Meditationes Sacrae (1597).

In the 1970’s, an animated children’s television series that aired on Saturday mornings on ABC, adopted the slogan “Knowledge is power.” The series was called, Schoolhouse Rock! The themes that were covered included: grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics.

History of the Show

In the early 1970’s, David McCall an advertising executive, noticed his young son was struggling to learn his multiplication tables, despite being able to memorize the lyrics of every single Rolling Stone’s song. 

Therefore, McCall came up with the brilliant idea to hire Bob Dorough to write a song that would teach multiplication to children, which became “Three Is a Magic Number.” Tim Yohe was an illustrator who worked with McCall at his advertising agency and was hired to create the visuals that accompanied the song.

In 1973, McCall pitched the series to ABC Vice President (Michael Eisner), and cartoon director (Chuck Jones).

The rest is history.

Why Does Schoolhouse Matter?

The Saturday morning cartoon was a staple for every child who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. 

As an adult, I have fond memories of watching the program as a child, and I still remember their catchy lyrics. From learning how a “Bill” was passed in Congress, to understanding my multiplication facts in their  “Figure 8” episode. 

The series brilliantly communicated complex subject matters in a creative, imaginative, and entertaining manner.

Therefore, I would say, “Schoolhouse Rock!” embodied the slogan, Knowledge is power”, and left a lasting legacy to millions of children across the United States. 

Have you ever watched “Schoolhouse Rock!”? If so, what is your favorite episode?

“The Secret Garden” Remake: 5 Things You Should Know Before You Stream the Movie.

In 1911, English author Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote one of the most delightful and enduring classics of children’s literature, “The Secret Garden.”

Several stage and film adaptations have been made over the years, and now STX Films has produced a remake of the classic. The film was directed by Marc Munden and produced by the same team behind “Paddington”.

The film follows a young orphan girl who, after being sent to live with her uncle, discovers a magical garden on the grounds estate.

When you think of “The Secret Garden”, you might envision a whimsical children’s film filled with fantasy and lovely outdoors visuals.

Sadly, two-thirds of the film is dark and inappropriate for children under the age of ten years old.

If you plan on splashing $20 for the movie rental, then you should be aware of five key elements of the film:

1. Colin Firth

That’s right, Mr. Darcy from “Pride & Prejudice” stars in the film.

If you’re envisioning his character as a “knight in shining armor” as he usually portrays in films, then you’ll be sadly disappointed.

Firth (Uncle Archibald Craven) is a stern, depressed, and hunchbacked character.

2. Dark Premise

The first two acts of the film were a bit too dark for a children’s film. Certain scenes in the film even made me turn away because I thought someone was going to die.

For example, when Mary lost her parents in India, she was all by herself in her home for a long duration of time, without food and found by British forces. The suspense of the scene even made me wince.

In addition, the sadness and darkness was visually expressed through color: blue, grey, dark green hues.

3. Bratty Aristocratic Kids

Both Mary (Dixie Egerickx) and Colin (Edan Hayhurst) are unlovable characters: they both come across as spoiled/bratty aristocratic children.

Don’t get me wrong, both actors are extremely talented. However, I believe their intent to capture their character’s unfortunate circumstances was lost in translation.

4. The Film Touches on Serious Mental Health Issues

I do have to commend the filmmakers for addressing certain mental health issues that affect our modern day culture: depression and grief.

For example, there are flashback scenes of Mary trying to get the attention of her depressed mother, who wouldn’t leave her bedroom. “Her sadness has made her unwell,” Mary’s father explains. “It’s not her fault.” 

Furthermore, the filmmakers brilliantly communicated both visually and verbally how grief can affect us all differently. 

As in the case of uncle Archibald, he was so grief stricken about the loss of his wife that his own reality was blurred, and it affected his relationship with his son.

On another hand, Mary used her imagination to escape and repress her grief.

5. Beautiful Cinematography and Scenery

The cinematography and scenery is the best part of the film, and it’s here where the “Secret Garden” shines. You’re automatically transported to a magical paradise. 

The stunning outdoor scenes were actually filmed in the U.K.: Trebah Garden, Bodnant, Woodhall, Fountains Abbey, Duncombe Park, Ilford Manor, and Puzzlewood. 

In addition, the film’s official Twitter page offers an activity packet for children to download. The packet includes a crossword puzzle, word search, bookmarks, memory game, and different coloring pages.

Colorful Bookmarks

To download the entire activity pack, please visit https://www.secretgarden.movie/activitypack/

The film is now streaming on Amazon Prime, HULU, Apple TV, and other streaming platforms.

The remake of “The Secret Garden” was not what I was expected, nor do I think it’s appropriate very small children. However, with the uncertain times we live in, I believe this film does offer an escape for families, and it gives a positive message of hope. 

Are you interested in watching the remake of the “The Secret Garden”? If so, comment below. We would love to hear your thoughts. 

AMC Re-Opens on Aug 20th: One-day 15-cent Movie Tickets.

“What’s a bigger mystery box than a movie theater? You go to the theater, you’re just so excited to see anything – the moment the lights go down is often the best part.” ~J.J. Abrams

With over 51,000 COVID cases currently in the U.S., indoor movie theaters have been vacant and temporarily closed to the public.

Starting August 20th, the AMC theater chain will have a one-day promotion: 15-cent movie tickets.

That’s right, a whopping 15-cents for the price of admission. The promotion was inspired by the founding of AMC theaters, which started in 1920 when the Dubinsky Brothers established a single movie screen in Kansas City, Mo.

Movies in 2020 for 1920 prices.

“We are thrilled to once again open our doors to American moviegoers who are looking for an opportunity to get out of their houses and apartments and escape into the magic of the movies,” Adam Aron, CEO and President of AMC Theatres, said in a statement.

The company also plans on bringing $5 movie ticket prices back for older pre-leased films: Black Panther, Ghostbusters, Grease, and StarWars:Empire Strikes Back.

The real question is, will this be enough to lure audiences back to movie theaters?

Everyone loves a good bargain, and paying 15 cents for a movie ticket is one heck of a deal. However, I need to ask myself,” At what price is my health worth?”

There’s so many questions that have not been addressed by the company. For example: “Will seats be spaced 6 feet apart?”, “Are masks required for entry?”, “Will they be sanitizing the seats after each showing?”, “How is the concession stand operating?”, “Can customers bring their own food?”, “What is the maximum capacity for each auditorium?”, and “Will workers be required to be tested?”

If AMC layed out specific health and safety measures during their re-opening of their theaters, then I would feel much safer returning to a large movie theater with a collective audience.

Are you ready to return to an indoor movie theater with bargain prices, or are you apprehensive about sitting in a large theater with complete strangers?

Filming During COVID: Is It Worth the Hassle or Do You Wait?

Did you have a current project that was scheduled to be filmed in L.A. during COVID, and now you’re scrambling for a contingency plan? 

Most producers usually have a contingency plan in case of an emergency.  However, no one could have foreseen or planned for the COVID pandemic. We live in unprecedented times, and the world we live in has forever changed.

All film sets now have strict health and safety guidelines for all creatives in the film industry. To ensure everyone’s safety, The L.A. County Department of Health and Safety has implemented strict guidelines for filming. 

Here is some key guidelines for film sets:

  •  All film sets need to hire a COVID-19 Compliance Officer (C19CO). The C19CO is responsible for establishing and enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols, training staff on protocols, and monitoring compliance. 
  •  Workplace provides all personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention supplies needed on the job, including face coverings, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and (when needed) gloves, mobile handwashing stations, and other equipment and supplies.
  • All employees and visitors are required to wear cloth face coverings whenever they are in contact with others unless the production activity does not allow for the wearing of a cloth face covering.
  • There is regular, periodic testing of the cast and crew on a given production to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
  • Employee screenings are conducted before employees may enter the workspace. Checks must include a check-in concerning cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and fever or chills and if the employee has had contact with a person known to be infected COVID-19 in the last 14 days. 
  • Employees (including staff, cast, crew, vendors, and clients) who have contact with others are offered, at no cost, an appropriate face covering that covers the nose and mouth.
  • Employees are instructed to wash or replace their face coverings daily. 
  • All workstations are separated by at least six feet.
  • Break rooms, restrooms, and other common areas should be disinfected frequently: Distribution area, Make up/ Hair and Costume areas, Cast Green Rooms or trailers, Break rooms, and Restrooms 
  • All shared equipment, microphones, and tools must be disinfected after each use. 
  • All shared clothing must be cleaned after each use. 
  • All wigs or other shared prosthetics must be disinfected after each use. 
  • Only essential cast and crew should be on or near the set at any time. 
  • Where feasible, all workspaces shall have one directional traffic (separate entrances and exits) to prevent contact or crowding near doorways.
  • All staff, cast, crew, musicians, vendors, clients and other visitors have been instructed to maintain at least a six (6) feet distance from each other at all times, except when specific tasks require closer work. 
  • In offices, film and sound editing areas, employee workstations are separated by at least six (6) feet and common areas are configured to limit employee gatherings to ensure physical distancing of at least six (6) feet.
  • All contracts, scripts, music sheets, and any other documents that are normally shared are either distributed digitally, or are printed and individually assigned to cast, crew and musicians to avoid sharing. 
  • All visitors, are instructed that they must wear cloth face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times in the facility unless they are alone in a closed office.
  • All props, costumes and set materials must be disinfected before first use on the set, and between uses by different actors.
  • All cast shall wash or sanitize hands when beginning the filming of a scene and not touch their face during the filming session. Any crew that must interact with the set or cast must also wash or sanitize their hands.
  •  Any work, including scenes, requiring cast or crew to be closer than six (6) feet must be as brief as possible and cast must be as silent as possible to avoid spreading droplets through talking.
  •  Large crowd scenes should be avoided. 
  • All on location filming must adhere to operating hours between 7am and 10pm whenever feasible.
  • All actors and crew shall wash or sanitize hands before handling any food.
  •  No buffets allowed.
  •  No communal food or drink service (no coffee pot, no single service coffee maker).
  •  All food and drink must be single serving only.
  • Sit-down meals: either require eating in shifts, or seating areas large enough to allow for physical distancing of six (6) feet or more.
  • All on location filming must adhere to operating hours between 7am and 10pm whenever feasible.

If you would like to read or download the entire PDF of The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health and Safety, then please visit https://www.filmla.com/covid-19/

After reading the long detailed guidelines, you might feel like wearing a “bubble suit” to protect yourself. It’s no wonder so many filmmakers are either pushing back their shoot dates, or moving their film location to another state/country. 

For example the state of Georgia does have COVID guidelines for film sets and locations, but they’re not as restricted as in California. Therefore, a plethora of filmmakers are moving their film sets/locations to Atlanta: less restrictions, cost-effective, and a competitive lucrative tax credit from the state. 

If you had a film that was scheduled to be filmed in L.A. or California, would you wait until the COVID virus subsided, move the film location to another state/country, or would you all together the cancel the shoot? 

5 Simple Tips For Capturing Family Memories On Your Smartphone

Do you find yourself ruining a picture by having your thumb in the image, or are you frustrated by not being able to capture decent pictures of your children?

Well, you’re not alone. Millions of parents across the globe find themselves in the same predicament.

With the advancement of technology, we all have access to a smartphone.  Whether it’s in our back pocket, or in our purse, we have access to tools that have the ability to capture amazing pictures of our loved ones.

As children grow like the weeds, parents find themselves scrambling to document those special moments in their children’s lives. 

 Here’s five simple tips that will help parents create lasting family photographs/videos:

1) Lighting

Being indoors can be a bit tricky. Therefore, find a room where there’s enough natural light. For example, have your children play by a window, and walk around the room where the light highlights their face.

Depending on whether you’re indoors or outdoors, always be aware of lighting.

To avoid shadows on your child(s) faces, the best lighting for outdoors is in the shade. Try to find enough shade underneath a tree or canopy.

2) Composition

In photography/video there’s a rule of thirds. 

Attempt to have your child(ren) placed on either the left or right of the screen. At all costs, DO NOT have them in the center of the frame (unless, it’s a group picture).

3) Get Down to Their Level

By sitting or bending down to their eye level, you’ll be able to capture a more meaningful story that is taking place.

4) Move Around

As I mentioned previously, moving around the room to find the best angle will give you more of a selection of angles to choose from. Each angle captures a different mood, lighting situation, and perceptive.

5) Have Fun!

So many parents force their children to sit and pose for a picture, and it’s one of the worst things you can do.

We all know kids can’t still for a minute, and they’re miserable when you force them to smile, and say “Cheese”. Pictures that are forced do not reflect the child’s personality, or the moment you’re trying to capture.

If you want memorable pictures, have fun and relax! 

Try this:

-Make sure your phone is fully charged.

-Find a room in your house that has good natural lighting (preferably by a window).

-Lay a blanket down with toys and books on the floor.

-Sit down on the floor with your child.

-Allow your child to play for a few minutes.

-Start asking them a few questions while they’re playing.

-Gently call their name, and “Snap” away with your smartphone!

When you capture your child(ren) in a genuine moment of play, or a parent reading a book, you will snatch those priceless memories you desire as a parent.

If you have any creative ways of capturing memories on your smartphone, or a funny story to share, we would love to hear from you!