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US

written by Kathia Woods

Jordan Peele gave us one of the most compelling movies with "Get Out" helping to redefine the horror genre. "Us" helps further to cement his innovation of the genre.

He's not giving us the in your face obvious terror. He's adding to the Hitchcock narrative however with a modern twist.

When "US" Trailers were first released, everyone was shook by the idea that doppelgangers are terrorizing this family. How do you call for help when the enemy is you?

Not only is it genius but it also allows for an opportunity to have a cultural dare I say political debate.

One family is affluent the other is struggling. One family has the luxury of options while the other family wants a say over their lives.

What makes this movie so amazing are the details? Subliminal messages that come back to haunt the leading family.

It's the orange jumpsuits with the leather sandals that hint at neutrality because after all, they don't have the luxury of fashion.

Lupita Nyong’o is having quite the year, and with "US" she takes another step towards Superstardom.

As Adelaide Wilson, she's protective of her family and as her alto ego she downright terrifying. There are so many things to unpack from her eyes, body language, and that scary voice.

Winston Duke as Gabe Wilson demonstrates that his turn as M'backu wasn't a fluke. In "US" he embodies the middle-class dad. He proudly sports his Howard University sweatshirt while at the same time aspiring to gain all of the trappings of success from a summer home to a boat.

If Lupita and Winston are the anchors of this movie, the kids are the engine.

Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex as Zora and Evan Wilson are amazing. It's hard for adults to convey terror as actors; however, to ask children to invite terror into their being is difficult. These two not only allowed it but added extra elements. As frightening as Lupita was these two were even scarier which seems impossible in a movie that has so many twists and turns. Again it's not the killing but in the subtleties such as facial expressions and body language. There something unsettling but delicious about children being dark.

Nice addition to this cast was Elizabeth Moss as Mrs. Taylor. Moss hot of her successful Hulu series " A Handsmaid Tale" continues to show us that she's come a long way from " Mad Men." Her scenes as her alter ego are some of the evilest ones. I'm also glad that she wasn't omitted in the trailers giving the viewer an additional piece of suspense.

"US" is a horror movie but it almost seems limiting to call it that because it's so much more. It's political, it's cultural, innovative and just a damn good movie. Jordan Peele has accomplished with two films what many directors have failed to do with twenty. He's making statements while entertaining. I also love that he pays attention to details such as having an African-American family that doesn't only have dark skinned parents but the children match the parents' hue. Mainstream films at times lack context; however, this film makes them an integral part of the story.

Also, the feature of the song " I got five on it" adds to the fact that Peele stands firmly in his blackness no explanation needed.

"Us" is the type of movie that we will see over and over again because there is so much to unpack. One viewing isn't enough.

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Beach Bum

by Kathia Woods

Beach Bum is a movie about Moondog. He's a staple in Key West where he spends his days getting high, drinking PBR and occasionally writing. He's a poet by profession but dedicates all his time medicated. He has a wife that has a lover and a daughter that settled into marrying a man so dull he makes a Mormon seem exciting.

Beach Bum is director Harmony Korine recent attempt to highlight a character that colors outside the lines. If you're familiar with his work, you know that his movie pace can be belaboring such is the case here.

Matthew McConaughey playing a Stoner is not a stretch. Those expectations remain low upon viewing this movie.

Beach Bum has many issues. The movie boasts an all-star cast but grossly misuses them.

The concept for Beach Bum wasn't wrong; its execution is what was troublesome.

Moondog eccentric mannerism was only charming for an hour after that it became laboring.

Snoop Dog was also misplaced. One would think a movie that features weed as one of the themes and the charisma of Snoop would create magic on screen, but it doesn't. He's a limiting sidekick. One of the most dynamic artists of our time and he's lackluster.

Jonah Hill as Lewis Moondog's publicist also isn't very interesting.

I get that this movie was about celebrating Key West laid back way of life. The whole idea of tuning out very much exists there lamented among the thousands of tourists but it’s not executed well.

Zac Efron pops up as a fellow stoner and luckily for him, this performance will hopefully be forgotten seeing that he just turned in a fantastic performance as Ted Bundy.

The bright light in this train wreck was Martin Lawrence. Lawrence hasn't made many movies lately. His comedic bone brings much-needed humor to a film that otherwise seemed in slow motion at times.

Director Harmony Korine has given us much better work. I understand what he was attempting here, but the bottom line is the movie got stuck in neutral and just became predictable, instead of giving us an insight to a character that is very comfortable in his skin Moondog became a caricature.

They're not wrong with going of grind, but a movie requires progression. You know a beginning, a middle and an end. We got two hours of a middle.

Matthew McConaughey at this stage in his career should not portray boring characters such as this; however, since his academy award, his roles have been stale. Gone is the young gunner from Texas that shook up Hollywood and in its place an artist that seems to have settled for an easy check. I am not giving up on McConaughey yet, but Beach Bum isn't the way back to memorable.

Diversity- Snoop Dog and Martin Lawrence make appearances

Scale. - This movie gets a five, and that's due to Martin Lawrence, but even he couldn't save this movie.

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Booksmart

by Kathia Woods

High School is a smorgasbord of different personalities all just trying to navigate through this cesspool called popularity. You have your Jocks, your burners, and Booksmarts.

Olivia Wilde's directorial debut introduces us to Amy and Molly. Best friends and uber achievers. Their whole focus is academic excellence.

One is going to Yale and the other to Colombia in the fall. The movie takes us to the last days of Senior Year. Each was eagerly waiting for school to end so that they can embark on their precisely planned real lives.

Amy and Molly are generation z version of Square Pegs' Amy and Lauren. They don't need anyone else because they have each other. Who cares if the rest of their classmates considers them weird. They are focused and willing to sacrifice fun in exchange for a guaranteed future.

This plan seemed to be working until they realize that some of their intellectually challenged classmates managed to secure themselves spots in some of the countries best colleges as well as companies.

Could one possibly have fun and still be successful. That's the million dollar question the girls try to solve before they say bye to High School.

Booksmart is fun a ride. We are finally getting more movies centered on young women and some of the challenges they face. Bo Burnham gave us the outstanding Eight Grade, and Olivia is giving us Booksmart.

The two leads outstandingly portrayed by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever are the anchors of this delightful comedy. I loved how they had each other's backs. They encouraged and supported each other hence being able to sustain the fright that high school can be at times.

Dever as Amy is vulnerable but steady from her dealing with her sexuality to her interesting choice of wardrobe. Feldstein as the control freak Molly equally holds her own. She’s pushy, sarcastic and knows that in spite of what others may think they can't tinker with her GPA.

It's crucial for us to recognize that this is a movie about Generation Z, not Millennials. This generation had the internet, social media and cell phones since birth. They are all about social standing and likes.

They interact more over social outlets than personal contact. In spite of all these technological advances, they still go through the typical growing pains. Boy Crushes on popular boys, scared to be themselves, finding your group that secures your lunchtime won't be lonely and so forth. All of those themes are still apparent in this film.

One of my favorite characters in Booksmart was Jared played by Skyler Gisondo. He's rich, but he can't buy his way into any click. He tries to use hip-hop culture to elevate his cool status, but it just comes across as odd. You know the guy that wears Gucci, Prada and Yeezy's all at the same time however like most teenagers he's just trying to fit in no matter how bizarre.

Olivia Wilde picked a great script to make her directorial debut. She poured a lot of love into this movie, and it shows. Molly and Amy are about to become young legends, and I can see this movie becoming part of the lexicon of Generation Z. I highly recommend you make this movie a mother and daughter movie date night. It just makes you feel good and reminds you that they are just teenagers struggling to get through life, but the journey is always made more comfortable with a ride or die chick by your side.

Diversity: The fact two girls were the lead and this was directed by a woman is a win win.

Scale: I give this movies an eight because its important to show young people that everyone struggles in high school.

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Well Groomed

by Kathia Woods

Well Groomed" is a delightful documentary about the world of designer grooming. The movie follows three competitive dog groomers. Adriane Pope of the Mad Hatter design uses competitive grooming as an artistic outlet. Angela Kumpe, the top competitor, is all business about grooming. Her brand includes selling dog accessories, and doggie hair color. Nicole Beckman is still developing her artistic voice and is the newcomer on the scene.

First-time filmmakers Rebecca Stern gives us a feel-good insight into the industry. We caught up with her at SXSW. "Well Groomed" is competing in the documentary feature competition.

"Well Groomed" is a delightful documentary about the world of designer grooming. The movie follows three competitive dog groomers. Adriane Pope of the Mad Hatter design uses competitive grooming as an artistic outlet. Angela Kumpe, the top competitor, is all business about grooming. Her brand includes selling dog accessories, and doggie hair color. Nicole Beckman is still developing her artistic voice and is the newcomer on the scene.

First-time filmmakers Rebecca Stern gives us a feel-good insight into the industry. We caught up with her at SXSW. "Well Groomed" is competing in the documentary feature competition.