Joyll’s Movie Review – Exodus: Gods and Kings

Exodus: Gods and Kings | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX (Screengrab)

I decided to literally start this review just moments after leaving the theatre because I feel it’s important to present a point of view that’s fresh and something that’s not just noise similar to what you’re receiving from so many of the other reviews.

First you will hear many critics downgrade Christian Bale’s portrayal of Moses. I disagree with that wholeheartedly. The material he was given in the screenplay is EXACTLY what he worked with and exactly what he handed us. So the failure of Exodus: Gods and Kings does not lie at his feet.

Problem #1: The people of Egypt and the people known as the Hebrews WERE NOT CAUCASIANS. Undoubtedly they were brown-skinned and in many places dark-skinned.

There are many people in the supporting cast of this film who show you EXACTLY what the people of Egypt and the people of Israel would have looked like. As a person who is closer in design to the people we SHOULD have been seeing in this film, I can’t deny that is initially a bit upsetting. However, I made it a point to leave my bias about that as far away from my screening as possible and I believe I have done just that.

This film suffers from three major issues that I believe are attributable to poor editing, poor casting, and a half-wit screenplay.

First, we are supposed to believe that Ramses and Moses were raised as Brothers. And although John Turturro as Seti does a decent job of building a bridge that shows you what their connection and camaraderie SHOULD look like, because there is VERY – and I MEAN VERY – little interaction between Moses and Ramses, it just doesn’t sell like it should.

And that’s problematic because you as a viewer NEED that relationship cemented in order to understand why it was EXTREMELY difficult for both Ramses and Moses to endure what follows.

This includes the exile of Moses, his first meeting with God, Ramses hunting of Moses, (a man he does not want to kill but feels he must kill to save face, as well as risk losing the undying obedience of the slaves), and the plagues.

One thing I should reiterate, I believe Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale did exactly what they were asked to do with what they were given. Consequently, do I think there were better actors that could have portrayed the characters better? NO. Skin colour ASIDE? NO.

The second issue? The absolute miscasting of Sigourney Weaver and the misuse of Sir Ben Kinglsey, a talent that just doesn’t get its due and is so ill-used it’s a travesty. And there’s a lot of that in this film. There are far too many instances of miscasting in supporting members that play key roles in the story but just don’t have the material necessary to make it what it has the potential to be.

The third issue? The film does entirely too many jumps from place to place and person to person. There is VERY little continuity from scene to scene, and worse still director Ridley Scott does a poor job of showing the passage of time as Moses ages. He literally ages and the rest of the film seems to stand still! And that’s tragic to say the least. If you don’t know the story this is highly problematic because you will get lost and find yourself at odds with what you’re seeing on-screen and how that relates to the timeline of events as the story has been told.

Now for the things that DO work:

This is a Ridley Scott film. Therefore the special effects and cinematography are indeed amazing as is the use of the terrain where the film was shot. A film this grand of a scale without a doubt requires that type of impact, otherwise the message doesn’t get received.

I also like Ridley’s interesting take on GOD and can see why he chose to portray Him in such a manner: you wouldn’t initially feel fear in His presence but when you do feel fear, there can be no doubt as to why and Who indeed is in control.

Again, I enjoyed both Christian and Joel’s performances and I cannot emphasis enough that they did the absolute best with what they were given. There is simply not enough of a connection established in the early stages of the movie that enables you to see the tremendous difficulty they face in going at odds with each other by the time the film is all over.

With that said, do I recommend a screening of this film?

ABSOLUTELY I do!

I think that if you go into the theatre with an open mind (and remember Ridley’s interpretation is slightly different than the original story) and not so lofty expectations, you should feel like the majority of the people who screened it with us did: somewhat satisfied and even more so, intrigued.

Also, I remind you to remember, this film is NOT a testament of faith, it is a display of the strength of will and the power of HOPE.

Joyll CambridgeJoyll Cambridge hails from Manchester, United Kingdom and currently lives in New York, New York. She loves all things movies, fitness and swirling. To read Joyll’s personal blog at The Humanist Exec, click here.

Joyll is joining The Swirl World team as our resident movie reviewer. Look for more movie reviews from Joyll!

Be sure to “Like” The Swirl World on Facebook and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

You can also follow us on Sound Cloud and listen to the show on Stitcher Radio

Copyright ©2014  Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™,  All rights reserved. Photo of Joyll Cambridge used with permission. Photo from the movie “Exodus: Gods and Kings” obtained from Entertainment Weekly.

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Joyll’s Movie Review: John Wick

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How many times do you screen a film and sit there afterwards thinking, “WOAH?!?!”

I see 100-150 films a year and honestly, it doesn’t happen as much as I would like it to. That isn’t the case with John Wick. You actually sit there as the credits are rolling and go, WOAH.

The thing that really sets this film apart from other hit man sagas is that you so identify with John (played extremely well by the PERFECT fit Mr. Keanu Reeves) that you not only empathize with his plight, you feel his hopelessness and his sadness in such a profound way that it takes you a few minutes after the film is over to find the energy to stand.

The film’s basic premise is a retired hit man who was the Russian mafia’s sharpest assassin and has found something so, so much more than he deserves in his beloved wife. He has walked away and found a life so much greater than the one he lived. The trouble is, he was so great at what he did that there are all these forces that seem to be conspiring to bring him back into that life no matter how hard he has tried to run from it.

The idiot savant son of his former boss does something so unspeakable at that absolute worst possible time, that while you’re screening it you find yourself in sync and saying the lines that are playing out even though you’ve not seen the film before. And no, this is NOT because the film is predictable, but because you see the chaos and fury that is coming and know that there isn’t a person alive powerful enough to stop it.

I have to say, I’m VERY proud of the performance Keanu put forth and pray there is a part two or that we see him in more films like this. When he is given brilliant material, we get to marvel at and enjoy his brilliance. It’s been there all this time and thankfully John Wick has a solid enough screenplay to showcase his performance in such an enjoyable way, that this film beckons for a second or even third screening.

John Wick is NOT your typical hit man/action fodder at all. In fact, it’s such a powerfully constructed enigmatic film, that you find yourself talking about it days later and reminding yourself that there’s nothing in the film, no scene, no characters that didn’t leave their mark on such a powder keg of a movie.

Even John Leguizamo, who’s in the film for all of ten minutes, gives such a strong performance in that short frame that you finding yourself wishing he were on the screen much longer. Not to mention a solid supporting stint from Willem Dafoe that leaves you wanting so much more and yet you’re oh so grateful for all he has put into his character Marcus already.

The film also has an excellent soundtrack that adds to the film’s mettle in such a way that it’s actually another actor and deserves SAG credits. It’s so critical and so well laid out and every song queues the next scene so extremely well, you find yourself floating along from scene to scene because of it!

An absolute MUST SEE.

Joyll CambridgeJoyll Cambridge hails from Manchester, United Kingdom and currently lives in New York, New York. She loves all things movies, fitness and swirling.

Look for more movie reviews from Joyll!

Be sure to “Like” The Swirl World on Facebook and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

You can also follow us on Sound Cloud and listen to the show on Stitcher Radio

Copyright © 2014  Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™,  All rights reserved. Photo of Joyll Cambridge used with permission. Photo of Keanu Reeves from the movie John Wick obtained from this source.

 

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Unscripted: A Conversation About Eric Garner

interracial couple

Unscripted:

A private and unscripted conversation between The Swirl World Podcast Co-Host Michelle Matthews Calloway and The Romance Arsonist Gynger Fyer concerning the death of Eric Garnerand the effect on potential conversations between men and women involved in interracial relationships.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of Michelle Matthews Calloway and Gynger Fyer, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of other members of The Swirl World Team.

If you can’t see the podcast player, click here.

You can listen to the conversation on Sound Cloud.

If you can’t see the Sound Cloud Player, click here.

During the course of the conversation we mention guests who appeared in previous podcast episodes.

To listen to the podcast episode featuring JJ and Dani Tatum, click here.

To listen to the podcast episode featuring Tom and Alida Sharp, click here.

 Join In The Fray: What conversations are you having (or not having) concerning the case of Eric Garner?.

Interracial coupleWant to be a guest on the podcast, or know someone who should? Send an email to Podcast@TheSwirlWorld.com.

Be sure to “Like” The Swirl World on Facebook and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

You can also follow us on Sound Cloud and listen to the show on Stitcher Radio

Copyright © 2014  Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™,  All rights reserved. Photos property of The Swirl World™.

 

 

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Hair Is Hair – Or Is It?

Happy Black Woman

Differences in hair textures require differences in care. Do you know the elements required to maintain optimal hair health regardless of texture?

In this episode, The Swirl World Podcast Men’s Editor Mark Custard, The Hair Maven Kaye Flewellen and I discuss “Black” hair and “White” hair, and “Black” salons and “White” salons in our concluding two-part conversation.

To listen to Part One of this conversation, Five Tips For Gaining Celebrity Clients, click here.

To listen to the episode on Sound Cloud, click here.

Kaye 5Kaye can be found teaching classes, speaking to various organizations and working magic with hair.

To purchase her book, A Mane Attraction, click here.

Visit her website at TheHairMaven.com.

Follow Kaye on Twitter @KFlewellen.

To follow Kaye on Instagram (and see some amazing hairstyles and celebrity photos), click here.

If you’re on Facebook, you can receive doses of interesting information on all things hair, beauty, fashion and empowerment by going to her page, Kaye Flewellen – The Hair Maven.

Want to be a guest on the podcast, or know someone who should? Send an email to Podcast@TheSwirlWorld.com.

Be sure to “Like” The Swirl World on Facebook and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

You can also follow us on Sound Cloud and listen to the show on Stitcher Radio

Copyright © 2014  Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™,  All rights reserved.  Post contains affiliate links.

 

 

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Joyll’s Movie Review: The Equalizer

The Equalizer_You know I often joke about if you haven’t done a certain something, then I don’t trust you.

Well, here is one of those times when I’m not joking. If you haven’t seen Denzel Washington in The Equalizer, I.DON’T.TRUST.YOU.

Why?!?! Because it’s honestly one of the best films of the year and easily a Top 10 Performance for Denzel – and that’s saying A LOT!

The premise is simple: Washington is a retired CIA operative who’s trying all too hard not to be a fish out of water in the dredges of Boston. Over a series of nights when he can’t sleep, he encounters a young and enigmatic Chloe-Grace Moritz aka Alena.

You can see the immediate connection between the two and when a bad thing happens to a young and alone Alena, you can even see the smoke coming from Robert McCall’s (Washington) head as he sets forth on a harrowing journey of revenge and redemption.

McCall is highly adept at utilizing whatever he has around him to snuff the lives out of the Russian mobsters that have inflicted pain not only upon Alena, but the everyday citizens of the city of Boston. The crazy thing? Once he starts on his impetuous, adrenaline-fueled journey, there can be no doubt that he will NOT stop until all is right and I do mean ALL.

McCall is a reluctant hero and yet you couldn’t imagine someone more at home and at ease with the choices he is forced to make to have PEACE – “Brick by Brick, Dollar by Dollar, BODY BY BODY.”

This movie is an absolute masterpiece and one that if you’re breathing, you definitely will want to view more than once, because it’s that exhilarating and endearing. McCall is truly a hero we ALL can identify with – reluctant or not.

Joyll CambridgeJoyll Cambridge hails from Manchester, United Kingdom and currently lives in New York, New York. She loves all things movies, fitness and swirling.

Look for more movie reviews from Joyll!

Be sure to “Like” The Swirl World on Facebook and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

You can also follow us on Sound Cloud and listen to the podcast on Stitcher Radio

Copyright © 2014  Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™,  All rights reserved. Photo of Joyll Cambridge used with permission. Movie poster from the movie “The Equalizer” obtained from IMDB.com.

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Isn’t She Lovely? Meet Shannon Blake of Facebook’s “Lovely Black Dolls!”

Beautiful black womanI could try to describe Shannon Blake’s “Lovely Black Dolls” Facebook page, yet I know that I cannot do it justice.

Lovely Black Dolls on Facebook is literally one of those things you have to see to believe.

Lovely – no, beautiful – no, GORGEOUS Black women and girls of every hue and skin tone, from all walks of life, from literally all over the globe.

The images are breathtaking, and they serve to further affirm what we know to be true:

Black women and girls are FIERCE.

Black women and girls are POWERFUL.

Black women and girls are WONDERFUL.

Black women and girls are A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.

Black women and girls are LIKE. NO. OTHER!

In this podcast episode you will meet Shannon Blake, the creator of the immensely popular “Lovely Black Dolls” Facebook page.

Shannon is a woman with a vision, and she has more than enough love for Black women to share. In addition to sharing her vision for Lovely Black Dolls, Shannon discusses her three other highly successful Facebook pages:

Living Black Barbie Dolls

What A Beautiful World God Has Created

and

Beautiful Hotels

Her fans range in the thousands (Beautiful Hotels is well on its way to 200,000 fans).

In her conversation with The Swirl World’s Co-Host Adrienne London Leach, Shannon shares her strategies for growth and success.

 

You can listen to the podcast on Sound Cloud by clicking here.

Baby indoors smilingWant to be a guest on the podcast, or know someone who should? Send an email to Podcast@TheSwirlWorld.com.

Be sure to “Like” The Swirl World on Facebook and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

You can also follow us on Sound Cloud and listen to the show on Stitcher Radio

Copyright © 2014  Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™,  All rights reserved. Photos property of The Swirl World™.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

 From Our Family To Yours . . . .

Wishing you life’s bounty . . . today, tomorrow and always . . .

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from The Swirl World!

 

Copyright © 2014  Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™,  All rights reserved.

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Five Tips For Gaining Celebrity Clients

Kaye and MO

Ever wonder how some people become leaders in their industry – and even gain celebrity clients for their business?

Want to know how our guest “The Hair Maven” Kaye Flelwellen had the opportunity to take a photo with First Lady Michelle Obama?

Kaye stopped by the podcast to chat with The Swirl World’s Men’s Editor Mark Custard and me.

Kaye provides five tips to show you how she went from her salon in Dallas to the White House.

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or an established business owner, the tips provided in this episode will help propel you to success.

To listen to this episode in Sound Cloud, click here.

Kaye 5Kaye can be found teaching classes, speaking to various organizations and working magic with hair.

To purchase her book, A Mane Attraction, click here.

Visit her website at TheHairMaven.com.

Follow Kaye on Twitter @KFlewellen.

To follow Kaye on Instagram (and see some amazing hairstyles and celebrity photos), click here.

If you’re on Facebook, you can receive doses of interesting information on all things hair, beauty, fashion and empowerment by going to her page, Kaye Flewellen – The Hair Maven.

Want to be a guest on the podcast, or know someone who should? Send an email to Podcast@TheSwirlWorld.com.

Be sure to “Like” The Swirl World on Facebook and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

You can also follow us on Sound Cloud and listen to the show on Stitcher Radio

Copyright © 2014  Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™,  All rights reserved. Photos used with permission. Post contains affiliate links.

 

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Joyll’s Movie Review: Beyond The Lights

Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker are a perfectly matched pair in Beyond The Lights, a wonderful film about a girl LOST in the hypocrisy that is fame.

It’s a powerful portrayal and showcases the fragility of life. It also reveals truly how outward appearances can and usually are deceiving. I only wish they had talked in greater detail about mental health and showcased this young superstar getting the help she so desperately needs.

The movie is a moving portrayal of the dangerous web that is today’s music business and gives a glimpse of the true internal struggle young and exploited musicians make simply because they have VERY little control over their own lives.

The theme is Nina Simone’s Blackbird, flightless and broken, and it indeed fits the mettle of the film every step of the way. An absolute MUST see!

Joyll CambridgeJoyll Cambridge hails from Manchester, United Kingdom and currently lives in New York, New York. She loves all things movies, fitness and swirling.

Look for more movie reviews from Joyll!

Be sure to “Like” The Swirl World on Facebook and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

You can also follow us on Sound Cloud and listen to the show on Stitcher Radio

Copyright © 2014  Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™,  All rights reserved. Photo of Joyll Cambridge used with permission. YouTube Video is the official movie trailer of the film Beyond The Lights and is the property of Vevo.

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Movie Review: Whiplash

Whiplash2

Have you seen the movie Whiplash starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons?

The Swirl World’s movie buff Joyll Cambridge saw the movie on November 15 and shares with us her review:

Whiplash is an incredible portrayal of the dynamic that is student and teacher. The movie does a masterful job of showcasing just how far we will go to live our dreams.

Miles Teller’s absolutely phenomenal performance as young Andrew, a guy who’s pretty much never wanted to do anything else in life except be a master drummer, is so powerful, enigmatic and brutal that it leaves you sweating and breathless many times throughout the film.

It’s truly a “no guts, no glory” type of story and yet there is such a humanity to his portrayal that you find yourself moving to the beat right along with him more times than you can count.

The movie shows you that those who want to live their dreams not only sacrifice so much, but endure such a battle and struggle that few are strong enough to fight and even fewer strong enough to ACTUALLY win.

I expect golden globe nominations for Miles along with him being on the long list for Oscar 2015. There are very few weak legs in the film and you find yourself feeling so exhilarated by it, that when you finally catch your breath, you almost can’t believe what a cinematic achievement you’ve just seen.

J.K Simmons’ brilliantly brutal tongue in cheek portrayal of Fletcher gives you such a jolt to the heart that you find yourself literally wanting to jump into the screen and go toe to toe with him. No doubt he is a bully, but not just any ordinary playground bully.

He’s so much more than the layman can handle and yet he’s managed to zero in on the maestro that is young Andrew and make him his target for better, or for worse.

I give it an easy 4.5 out of 5 stars and a definite absolute MUST SEE, in fact MUST NOT MISS for any film goer looking to be challenged and to question your views of those in the spotlight.

BRAVO Miles! BRAAA-VO!!!!

Joyll CambridgeJoyll Cambridge hails from Manchester, United Kingdom and currently lives in New York, New York. She loves all things movies, fitness and swirling.

Look for more movie reviews from our Joyll!

Be sure to “Like” The Swirl World on Facebook and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

You can also follow us on Sound Cloud and listen to the show on Stitcher Radio

Copyright © 2014  Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™,  All rights reserved. Photo of Joyll Cambridge used with permission. Photo from the movie “Whiplash” obtained from IMDB.com.

 

 

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