Aladdin

Hello Beautiful People!

Sorry I have been M.I.A. I must admit it’s been a mixture of auditions, self-tapes, writer’s block and going on a hardcore fitness journey. I made time to see Aladdin yesterday since its obviously my favorite Disney movie.

Photo credit IMDB

We all know adapting a film from animation to live action is incredibly challenging, but Aladdin did a wonderful job. Will Smith managed to keep Genies light-hearted essence while infusing his personality into his character. I felt like we got a little bit of Fresh Prince of Bel Air and an all-knowing, sassy Genie in one. Dalia (Jasmine’s friend and handmaiden) was also added to the film. Played by Nasim Padrad, who has been on Saturday Night Live, Gigi from Scream Queens and Aly on New Girl. Ms. Padrad adds depth to Jasmine’s character by bringing out her softer side with girl chats and quick-witted comments. Don’t worry Abu and Raja make their appearances throughout the film as well.

photo credit Daniel Smith/Disney

A Whole New World was sung in a lower register but was still enchanting and beautiful since we got to experience the various dips and dives of the magic carpet ride in reality instead of animation. I love that the costume designer Michael Wilkinson took the various colors from Jasmine’s animated outfits, but kept her costume modern and modest. Instead of having Jasmine run around in a crop top and Harlem pants she made her corsets with tulip pants and occasionally a sheer cape moment. The influence of peacock feathers was a nice nod to the original animation while still making it modern. The various beautiful earrings and matching necklaces added the classic princess touch. Fun fact: Naomi Scott who plays Jasmine, was in the movie Disney movie Lemonade Mouth and she played the Pink Power Ranger in the Power Rangers.

The addition of the song Speechless, sang by Naomi Scott brought this film into the 21st century. In a time when women are quite literally still fighting for the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, Speechless was right on time. Scott belts out, “I won’t be silenced you won’t keep me quiet, won’t tremble when you try it all I know is I won’t go speechless.” You can watch here, 5 million views and counting I might add. I for one am proud that Jasmine continues to be the intelligent, strong, badass Disney princess we have always loved. She is determined to take Jaffar down and run her country for the sake of doing what is right for her people.

While I know the casting is not one hundred percent historically accurate, the dancing in some people’s opinions could have been filmed better, I loved it. I think Guy Ritchie did a great job of making Aladdin modern while honoring the classic without making it cheesy.

The film is a circular narrative and ends in a beautiful way that leaves the audience feeling satisfied. Have you seen Aladdin? What did you think?

Girls Trip Review

Girls trip Essence

I saw the movie Girls Trip a few weekends back and have been meaning to post about it. If you are looking for a film that will make you laugh this is it. I promise you’ll walk out with sore abs! Girls Trip is about four best friends who have not seen each other in years and meet up again to go to the Essence Festival in New Orleans. We all know how hard it can be to meet up with your friends and keep in touch when you move to different places. This film stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and fabulous newcomer Tiffany Haddish! Tiffany is an absolute scene stealer. She is a magnetic actress on screen and a completely fearless comedian! In many scenes, my friend and I thought she outshined one of her fellow actresses, which is shocking since this is an incredibly talented cast. Girls Trip, in a nutshell, felt like a great weekend of drinking with college friends, laughing at men, going on crazy adventures with your girls and realizing no matter what happened in the past you’ll always be there for each other. Rotten Tomatoes gave Girls Trip an 87% rating, which is amazing since Rotten Tomatoes usually rates most films incredibly low.

This is one of the few films that pass the Bechdel test. The Bechdel test uses three criteria to determine if a film portrays female characters in a realistic way. In many films, there is only one female character in the film. Usually, the female character is a wife, girlfriend etc. If there is more than one female character when they are in a scene together they only talk about a guy or want to find a guy. The three criteria used to test a film for the Bechdel method is the following: it has to have at least two women in it, who talk to each other about something besides a man. Simple, but shockingly a lot of films do not pass this test. Throughout the film, the ladies talk about their memories of each other and the ups/downs of their friendships.

There is some nudity, but I do not want to give anything away so I won’t say any more!

Girls trip scene with Tiffany and Queen Latifa

I will say you can tell this film was written by women and it is beyond refreshing. One of those women is the same boss lady who writes for Blackish. (Which I highly recommend, it’s witty, relevant, comedic and endearing)!

This film has a little bit of the Hangover, with a splash of Bad Mom and a ton of girl power, to remind you that no matter what happens in life your best friends will always have your back.