Movie Marathon: 28 Films to Watch this Valentines Day Weekend Part 1

Originally posted on my pop culture blog Uncanny Pop last year.

This weekend, Valentines Day arrives and you know what that means, it’s time to have a romantic movie marathon! There are many films in this genre but I’ve narrowed it down to 28 just to get your started. Here’s the first 14.

1. When Harry Met Sally…

In 1977, college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) share a contentious car ride from Chicago to New York, during which they argue about whether men and women can ever truly be strictly platonic friends. Ten years later, Harry and Sally meet again at a bookstore, and in the company of their respective best friends, Jess (Bruno Kirby) and Marie (Carrie Fisher), attempt to stay friends without sex becoming an issue between them.

2. Fools Rush In

Three months after a one-night stand with Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek) in Las Vegas, New York City real estate developer Alex Whitman (Matthew Perry) learns she is pregnant. Despite being a terminal bachelor, Alex is drawn to Isabel, and the pair marries. Isabel’s father, Miguel (Tomas Milian), suspects Alex has bad intentions, and the couple finds themselves pressured by both their families. When Alex is offered a promotion, he is torn between his new life in Las Vegas and success in New York.

3. The Wedding Singer

Set in 1985, Adam Sandler plays a nice guy with a broken heart who’s stuck in one of the most romantic jobs in the world, a wedding singer. He loses all hope when he is abandoned at the altar by his fiancé. He meets a young woman named Julia (Drew Barrymore), who enlists his help to plan her wedding. He falls in love with her and must win her over before she gets married.

4. Coming to America

Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who will love him in spite of his title. To escape an arranged marriage, Akeem flees to America accompanied by his persnickety sidekick, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), to find his queen. Disguised as a foreign student working in fast food, he romances Lisa (Shari Headley), but struggles with revealing his true identity to her and his marital intentions to his king father (James Earl Jones).

5. Romancing the Stone

A dowdy romantic-adventure writer is hurled into a real-life adventure in the Colombian jungle in order to save her sister, who will be killed if a treasure map is not delivered to her captors. She is helped out by a brash mercenary, and together they search for the priceless gem located in the map.

6.  Pretty in Pink

Andie (Molly Ringwald) is an outcast at her Chicago high school, hanging out either with her older boss (Annie Potts), who owns the record store where she works, or her quirky classmate Duckie (Jon Cryer), who has a crush on her. When one of the rich and popular kids at school, Blane (Andrew McCarthy), asks Andie out, it seems too good to be true. As Andie starts falling for Blane, she begins to realizes that dating someone from a different social sphere is not easy.

7.  A Cinderella Story

Sam (Hilary Duff), a teenager in California, is obliged to work as a janitor and dishwasher in the diner of her stepmother (Jennifer Coolidge). After a cell phone mix-up, Sam begins an anonymous text-messaging and e-mail relationship with a boy. They agree to meet at a school dance, but when Sam finds out that her secret pen pal is none other than Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray), the cutest boy in school, she panics and looks for a way to make herself cooler.

8. Easy A

Prompted by her popular best friend to spill details of her boring weekend, Olive (Emma Stone), a clean-cut teen, decides to spice things up by telling a little lie about losing her virginity. When the high-school busybody (Amanda Bynes) overhears the conversation and spreads it all over campus, Olive is suddenly notorious but for the wrong reasons.

9. The Proposal

Faced with deportation to her native Canada, high-powered book editor Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) says she’s engaged to marry Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), her hapless assistant. Andrew agrees to the charade, but imposes a few conditions of his own, including flying to Alaska to meet his eccentric family. With a suspicious immigration official always lurking nearby, Margaret and Andrew must stick to their wedding plan despite numerous mishaps.

10. Monster-in-Law

Charlotte (Jennifer Lopez) is smitten when she meets Dr. Kevin Fields (Michael Vartan). So when Kevin pops the question after they start dating, Charlotte happily accepts. But she soon realizes that Kevin’s mom, Viola (Jane Fonda), is not quite thrilled to have a new family member. Viola, a newscaster, has just lost her job and is feeling rather attached to Kevin, so she regards Charlotte as her new competition — and will apparently do anything to make her son call off the wedding

11. Pretty Woman

In this modern update on Cinderella, a prostitute and a wealthy businessman fall hard for one another, forming an unlikely pair. While on a business trip in L.A., Edward (Richard Gere), who makes a living buying and breaking up companies, picks up a hooker, Vivian (Julia Roberts), on a lark. After Edward hires Vivian to stay with him for the weekend, the two get closer, only to discover there are significant hurdles to overcome as they try to bridge the gap between their very different worlds.

12. Life After Beth

A guy (Dane DeHaan) discovers that his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) has returned from the dead, but his joy turns to horror as she slowly undergoes a horrible transformation.

13. Blind Dating

Danny (Chris Pine) is a blind man who does not let his impairment get in the way of living his life to the fullest, except when it comes to love. Danny’s brother (Eddie Kaye Thomas) sets him up on a series of blind dates, but all of them go disastrously wrong. Just when Danny is about to give up, he meets Leeza (Anjali Jay), a nurse who works for Danny’s doctor. There is just one catch: Leeza, who is from India, is promised to another man.

14. Crazy, Stupid, Love

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the American dream. He has a good job, a beautiful house, great children and a beautiful wife, named Emily (Julianne Moore). Cal’s seemingly perfect life unravels, however, when he learns that Emily has been unfaithful and wants a divorce. Over 40 and suddenly single, Cal is adrift in the fickle world of dating. Enter, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a self-styled player who takes Cal under his wing and teaches him how to be a hit with the ladies.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

29 Days of Black Love In Film Part 1

I originally posted this over at my pop culture blog Uncanny Pop last year.

In honor of Black History Month and Valentines Day, here’s a list of 29 black films all about love (click here to see part 2). The films are in order by the year that they were released.

1. Paris Blues (1961)

Ram Bowen and Eddie Cook are two expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris where, unlike America at the time, Jazz musicians are celebrated and racism is a non-issue. When they meet and fall in love with two young American girls, Lillian and Connie, who are vacationing in France, Ram and Eddie must decide whether they should move back to America with them, or stay in Paris for the freedom it allows them.

2. Nothing But A Man (1964)

African-American rail worker Duff Anderson (Ivan Dixon) has left his 4-year old son with a nanny, and now drifts through life with little ambition. Duff’s outlook on life changes when he meets schoolteacher Josie Dawson (Abbey Lincoln), a gentle preacher’s daughter. Although Josie’s father (Stanley Greene) disapproves of Duff’s lifestyle, the two eventually marry. Duff and Josie struggle to hold on to their marriage as Duff must face up to the oppressive racism of 1960s America.

3. For Love of Ivy (1968)

Two Long Island teens force a roving gambler (Sidney Poitier) to date their maid (Abbey Lincoln), to keep her from quitting.

4. Lady Sings The Blues (1972)

Pop star Diana Ross portrays legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday in this biographical drama. Beginning with Holiday’s traumatic youth, the film depicts her early attempts at a singing career and her eventual rise to stardom, as well as her difficult relationship with Louis McKay (Billy Dee Williams), her boyfriend and manager. Casting a shadow over even Holiday’s brightest moments is the vocalist’s severe drug addiction, which threatens to end both her career and her life.

5. Claudine (1974)

Claudine (Diahann Carroll) is a single mother in New York City who endures an exhausting commute to the suburbs where she works as a maid for wealthy families. In one carefully tended white community, she meets Roop (James Earl Jones), a charismatic but irresponsible garbage collector. Romance quickly ensues, but Claudine doubts that their relationship is good for her six children, and Rupert, despite his good nature, is reluctant to take on fatherhood.

6. Mahogany (1975)

Struggling Chicago fashion design student Tracy (Diana Ross) goes from rags to riches when a chance meeting with hotshot fashion photographer Sean (Anthony Perkins) in the department store where she works leads to a runway life as a model in Rome. Tracy’s overnight success and strong ambitions bring her professional success as a designer, but her diva antics may destroy her relationship with social activist Brian (Billy Dee Williams), as well as her respect in the fashion world.

7. Coming to America (1988)

Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who will love him in spite of his title. To escape an arranged marriage, Akeem flees to America accompanied by his persnickety sidekick, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), to find his queen. Disguised as a foreign student working in fast food, he romances Lisa (Shari Headley), but struggles with revealing his true identity to her and his marital intentions to his king father (James Earl Jones).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqfJqLFQSIk

8. The Bodyguard (1992)

Best-selling pop diva Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston) has a stalker whose obsession has risen to the level of disturbing threats. At the urging of her manager (Gary Kemp), Rachel hires former secret service agent Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner) as her bodyguard. Initially resented and treated with disdain for his hard-nosed security procedures, Farmer soon becomes an integral part of Rachel’s inner circle. As they spend more time together, client and protector become closer still.

9. Boomerang (1992)

A cocky ad executive, Marcus (Eddie Murphy) has a reputation as a ladies’ man. However, Marcus gets a taste of his own medicine when a merger finds him working under the beautiful Jacqueline (Robin Givens), who has a similarly cavalier attitude about romance. Marcus and Jacqueline become involved, but he is put off by her noncommittal approach to their relationship. Meanwhile, Marcus also begins to develop feelings for the pretty Angela (Halle Berry), who is more thoughtful than Jacqueline.

10. Poetic Justice (1993)

Still grieving after the murder of her boyfriend, hairdresser Justice (Janet Jackson) writes poetry to deal with the pain of her loss. Unable to get to Oakland to attend a convention because of her broken-down car, Justice gets a lift with her friend, Iesha (Regina King) and Iesha’s postal worker boyfriend, Chicago (Joe Torry). Along for the ride is Chicago’s co-worker, Lucky (Tupac Shakur), to whom Justice grows close after some initial problems. But is she ready to open her heart again?

11. The Inkwell (1994)

Drew (Larenz Tate) is a quiet 16-year-old still recovering from the trauma of accidentally burning his own house down. Drew’s parents, Kenny (Joe Morton) and Brenda (Suzzanne Douglas), take the family to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., to vacation with their wealthy relatives for the summer. On the island, Drew discovers an upper-class black community that centers on parties held at a beach called the Inkwell. There, he falls for two different women (Jada Pinkett, Adrienne-Joi Johnson).

12. Jason’s Lyric (1994)

In a violent, drug-infested neighborhood in Houston, Jason (Allen Payne) dreams of something better. He works as a TV salesman and helps out his mother, and tries to steer his criminally minded brother, Joshua (Bokeem Woodbine), onto the right path. But real joy enters Jason’s life when he meets Lyric (Jada Pinkett). As their romance develops, Jason starts to see a future for himself — while also being forced to confront a painful secret from his past.

13. Mr. and Mrs. Loving (1996)

In the American South, a black woman and the white man she loves are hounded by racist police and inflexible family members. Mildred “Bean” Jeter (Lela Rochon) and Richard Loving (Timothy Hutton) have fallen hard for one another, but an antiquated statute still in effect in the 1960s says that their relationship is against the law. Their fight to forge a life together puts their freedom at risk as they wage a legal battle that takes their case to the Supreme Court.

14. Love Jones (1997)

Two urban African-Americans, Darius (Larenz Tate), an aspiring writer, and Nina (Nia Long), an aspiring photographer, share an instant connection after a chance meeting at a Chicago club. The two bond over music, photography and poetry, and eventually begin a torrid romance. However, when Nina decides to move to New York and mend her relationship with her ex-fiancé, Marvin (Khalil Kain), it leaves Darius heartbroken, and the couple’s future in jeopardy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOYPqcb_jig

2015 My Year In Books

year in books

Happy New Year! 2016 is officially here and that means new year resolutions. While I’m still thinking about what if any more resolutions I’ll make, I do have one that I’ve been doing every year since 2013 that I’ll share with all of you.

Every year I make a resolution of reading a certain number of books for the year.  To help me monitor and stay on track, I use Goodreads. They have a yearly reading challenge for folks to use and since 2013 I’ve been using it with great results. Last year I wanted to read at least  60 books for the year. I’m happy to say that I surpassed that goal and read 89 books!

You can take a look back at my year in books for 2015 here.  The books I read were diverse in that some were poetry, others were comics and graphic novels, while still other books were novels.  As for this year, I’m hoping to read at least 80 books for 2016.  I’m already in the midst of reading two books so I’ve started off right.

What are your reading goals for this year?

Book Review: Almost Alive

22349283Let me just start by saying that I love the cover of the book. Miss Barr does an excellent job of creating covers for her stories and this cover definitely gets the attention of a would-be reader.

Almost Alive is a supernatural tale of epic proportions. Its theme of good vs. evil reminds me a little bit of the CW’s Supernatural and Buffy, but instead of vampires there are demons attached to the souls of humans, and witches. The novel’s protagonist Michelle is a person who survived a suicide attempt and has returned to the land of the living with no actual purpose in life.

Her parents are living a double life and she’s lost her friends and boyfriend. Michelle is truly alone, until she meets a young man named Julian at her new school. In meeting him, Michelle discovers that she has a demon attached to her soul and the rest of the book is about her struggling to deliver her soul from evil and finding a reason to live.

The Christian themes of good and evil, sin and temptation, demons, and prayer are heavily featured throughout the story and are at times delivered right on the nose. Some readers may find the exposition of them to be somewhat preachy. There’s also a bit of slut-shaming-in my opinion-in the early part of the story.

However the pacing of the story is well balanced and doesn’t stray from beginning to end. Readers will enjoy the character’s growth and development as they’ll sympathize and understand each of the characters’ motivations. The ending of the book is only the beginning of Michelle’s and Julian’s journey. I could see this book being a TV show and I think readers will definitely enjoy it.

Over all Almost Alive delivers and is a great addition to the paranormal, urban, horror, and supernatural genres.

4/5

My Work In Comics

Happy Friday! I hope you had a good week and I hope that you’ll have a good weekend. Aside from poetry, I also like to write comic book scripts. It can be a very daunting process and I’m learning as What follows is a short list of comic book stories that I’ve written that have been published:

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Womanthology: Heroic

My first comic book story (ever) was published in this anthology. It’s titled “Defect: Light to Combat the Darkness.” The story was illustrated by Kelly Turnbull and colored by Dawn Best.  A page of the script was featured in the Womanthology: Heroic Sketchbook.’

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Womanthology: Holiday PDF

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My second story was a one page Hanukkah story titled “Don’t Let the Light Go Out.” It was illustrated by Brenda Kirk.

womanthology-valentines-day-cover

Womanthology: Valentines Day Special

A one page story written in honor of my late grandma, it’s titled “June” and was also illustrated by Brenda Kirk.

CRIME COVER

Grayhaven Comics The Gathering Crime Anthology

I wrote a four page story titled “Tzedek: The Lost Ones.” It was illustrated by Leigh Walls.

Gatheringallwomen2

Grayhaven Comics The Gathering All Women 2 Anthology

Wrote a four page story titled “Willehmina King of Thieves: Never A Dull Moment.”  It was illustrated by Taty Silva and lettered by Erica J. Helfin.

Gathering3

Grayhaven Comics The Gathering Time Travel Anthology

My most recent story titled “The Musical Mechanism” was published in this anthology.

I hope to continue writing and publishing stories for readers to enjoy.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Book Review: The Holy Dark by Kyoko M.

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Kyoko M.’s The Black Parade series concludes with the final novel The Holy Dark. At the end of She Who Fights Monsters, our heroine Jordan Amador had almost brought on the apocalypse, was a fugitive on the run (which was brought to an end by the president’s pardon), she had lost her best friend’s trust, and she’s estranged from husband, the archangel and commander of the Lord’s army Michael O’Brien.

When The Holy Dark begins, Jordan is continuing her mission of finding the remainder of the Judas coins while trying to keep one step ahead of the archdemons Moloch and Belial who want her dead. Can Jordan salvage her relationships? Can she stop the archdemons’ plan for world domination? As you read, you’re gonna go on one hell of a ride to find out.

At the beginning, the pacing is a little slow but after a few chapters, the story picks up and never slows down until you reach the end. Just when you thought you’ve learned all you could about the characters there’s more that has yet to be revealed. The characters themselves continue their personal journeys and learn that they can’t go through life carrying their burdens alone, that they work better as a team.

Reading the book one theme is constantly present throughout. The word ‘ohana’ comes to mind to describe it-you know the word from the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch. In Hawaiian, ‘ohana’ means family and family means no one gets left behind. That theme is prominent in the story.

Overall I loved this book.

I’ve enjoyed watching these characters grow and come into their own from start to finish. I’ve enjoyed the pop references, humor, romance, sex, sadness, and anger that is depicted in each book. With the lack of creativity and diversity being discussed in the publishing, TV and Film industries, Kyoko M.’s The Black Parade series brings something new to the table. I hope to see the series brought to life on the big screen.

I want to thank Kyoko for sharing her talents with us and bringing readers this series. I look forward to reading more of her work.

5/5

Purchase here.

Take The Road Less Traveled: My Picks for Summer Reading 2015

It’s summer time and that means it’s time for summer reading! Whether it’s assigned or by individual choice, here are fifteen book suggestions from yours truly.

1. The Martian

This is an enjoyable sci-fi book and the movie version of the story will be out later this year.

2. The Holy Dark

I’m currently in the midst of reading this book and like it’s predecessors-it’s the final book in the The Black Parade Series from Kyoko M.-it’s good, I mean very good.

3. The Outsiders

This is one of my favorite books. The first time I read it was in 7th grade, and you’ll see it on my summer reading list more than once because I never tire of reading it.

5. Civil War: A Marvel Event

Another book that’s currently being turned into a movie for next year, I had to read it.

6. April Showers Always Brings Musical Flowers: NaPoWriMo 2015

This is my second book in my NaPoWriMo series and so I thought I feature it on here along with the following book two books for the poetry lovers out there.

7. Musings of a Blerd: A 90s girl living in a dystopian world

This is my fifth poetry book, I think it’s my favorite so far. I hope you enjoy it.

8. Will I Think of You?

I recently learned that the late Leonard Nimoy also was a poet and so I had to read a few of his books. Out of the ones I read this one is my favorite.

9. The Color of God’s Eyes

Another book I’m currently reading, this is by indie author Christina Barr.  This is the third book I’ve read of hers and I’m definitely a fan of her work.

10. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

If you need a laugh or just need to relate, or both, the semi-autobiography by Issa Rae aka Awarkward Black Girl is for you.

11. Trigun Vol. 1

It’s one of my favorite anime, so I had to read the manga and it didn’t disappoint.

12. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

I read the first volume of this autobiography graphic novel and I needed to read this one, definitely an eye opener.

13. Storm Volume One: Make It Rain & Storm Volume Two: Bring the Thunder

Okay if you haven’t been reading Storm’s solo book what is wrong with you?! Next month issue 12-the final issue in the series that Greg Pak wanted to tell will arrive so get caught up with these two volumes.

14. How To Write Short: Word Craft For Fast Times

This one is for all of the writers out there. It was very informative and there are writing exercises for you to try in each chapter.

15. Trumpet of Conscience

With everything that has been going on around the world but specifically in this country, I needed to read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lot’s of folks have been speaking his words without truly understanding them-particularly those who have issues with the many protests against police brutality.

And that’s my list for this year. If you have summer reading picks please leave them in the comments! Be sure to look out for book reviews for the books I’m currently reading. Happy reading!

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