March 13, 2014

LAWT News Service

 

Ernest L. Thomas, star of 70s classic comedy sitcom “What’s Happening” was the honored guest at an intimate viewing of TV One Network’s  “Unsung” series which featured Thomas. The event was held Wednesday, March 12- 6:30pm-9:30pm at Stir LA Restaurant & Lounge in Sherman Oaks. Known best for his big smile that lights up a room, his infectious laugh and his iconic roles as Raj from “What’s Happening” and “What’s Happening Now,” Mr. Omar in “Everybody Hates Chris” and his role in “Malcolm X”, but Ernest is so much more than just a comedic actor.

 Ernest writes screenplays, has sold a script to Sony Pictures and has written a book in collaboration with his mother entitled “Conversations with My Mother: Food for the Mind, Body and Soul”. He also manages new talent and is producing several shows currently in development with his production company, Bravokid Entertainment.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

March 06, 2014

 

ARIES

Beware of financial pitfalls that you’ve set for yourself. Strengthen all your relationships by understanding motivations of others. Spend time at home. Enjoy what you already have. Soul Affirmation: Often it’s not what I say but the way I say it that gets the message across. Lucky Numbers:  4, 6, 47

 

TAURUS

Don’t expect to win every battle, especially with your lover. This week winning is losing. Backing down is winning. Shyness produces a bold result. It’s easy to collect that long-standing debt. Soul Affirmation: I keep money on my mind this week.
Lucky Numbers:  18, 25, 39

 

GEMINI

Possibilities of hearing good news about home are greatly expanded. Savor the news rather than thinking about other annoyances. Travel is on the horizon. Plan the trip this week. Soul Affirmation: Jewelry reflects the beauty of my feelings about myself.
Lucky Numbers:  26, 44, 52

 

CANCER

Feather the nest. Stock up on stuff for the long haul. Cement relationships. A friend needs your support. Enjoy giving it. You will receive good news about a pal. Soul Affirmation: Cheerfully handling what comes at me is the test of who I am.
Lucky Numbers:  13, 22, 31

 

LEO

Be cautious and conservative with money. You are extremely witty this week. Allow others to enjoy your good humor. Your leadership skills are very high, and others will follow. Soul Affirmation: Luck is my best friend this week.
Lucky Numbers:  14, 20, 44

 

VIRGO

This is a good time for you to seek agreement on a plan that involves a relative. Take the time to remind your lover how much you care. Get a little sentimental if you have to. Don’t be too critical of that softer side of your personality. Soul Affirmation: Self confidence is the key to my success this week.
Lucky Numbers:  2, 9, 19

 

LIBRA

You’ve made your point. Now wait. Wait for the feedback about the impact it had on the people around you. Be careful of those who don’t celebrate with you. They feel the impact and are resisting the positive effects. Soul Affirmation:  Before goodness can come I must expect goodness.
Lucky Numbers:   5, 16, 23

 

SCORPIO

Be sharp! All of your needs will be met in indirect ways. Gifts will come from unexpected sources. They will be carefully packaged to go unnoticed. Unwrap everything and look inside. There will be empty boxes, but there will also be a prize in an unanticipated situation. Soul Affirmation: I look for the good in all that comes to me this week.
Lucky Numbers:  3, 10, 41

 

SAGITTARIUS

Push. Now is a good time to push. Your energy is higher than ever. Someone might get offended, but you can’t please everyone. Hire a pro for something that you planned to do yourself, especially if a expertise is involved. Soul Affirmation: Success is mine because I feel successful.
Lucky Numbers:  5, 7, 12

 

CAPRICORN

Review your “to do” list again.  You may need to slow down to discover something that you didn’t realize while you were in the flow of events. Your lover is going to be a little difficult to understand. Soul Affirmation: To live is to love
Lucky Numbers:   5, 16, 23

 

AQUARIUS

Back off if an argument arises. You’re probably the one who is too busy. Forgiving yourself is often harder than getting someone else to forgive you. Go easy on yourself. Soul Affirmation: Two hats fit well on my big head.
Lucky Numbers:   3, 20, 32

 

PISCES

Make a special effort to spend all week with your lover, husband or wife. Your sense of the importance of relationships is keen and this is a good time to strengthen your passionate partnership. Take your lover to a party. Devote attention. Soul Affirmation: Change is my middle name.
Lucky Numbers: 12, 51, 52

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

March 06, 2014

Therapist Thomas Carter (Anthony Mackie) has just published a popular self-help book about the near death experience which helped him turn his life around. He is proud of the fact that after almost perishing in a horrific, alcohol-related car crash in his teens, he eventually not only earned graduate degrees in World Religion and Clinical Psychology but went on to wed his soul mate, Maggie (Sanaa Lathan).

Today, Tommy has a happy marriage and a flourishing practice founded on a spiritual philosophy combining faith and positive thinking. But sadly, his enviable fortunes have proven to be the polar opposite of his wayward brother Ben’s (Mike Epps) lot.

The recently-paroled ex-con was barely back on the streets before word of a $12,000 bounty being placed on his head spread around their native New Orleans. So, when Ben approaches his successful sibling for enough cash to keep his bloodthirsty adversaries at bay, empathetic Thomas opts to raise the ransom by extending the best-selling tome’s publicity tour.

At a local book signing, he is approached for an autograph by a fan also urgently in need of 1-on-1 counseling. Against his better judgment, the literary rock star agrees to see Angel Sanchez (Forest Whitaker) as a patient, since the $300/session fee definitely will put a dent in brother Ben’s debt.

Even worse is Dr. Carter’s fateful decision to make house calls to the home of this loner left devastated by the death of his mother (Adella Gautier). For, although it might be easy to diagnose the source of the deeply-disturbed man’s anguish, the only hint that he’s at the end of his emotional rope is his estrangement from his wife (Nicole Ari Parker) and young daughter (Ariana Neal).

The plot thickens when Angel takes his new shrink hostage, tying him up in his basement-turned-makeshift torture chamber. The psycho proceeds to behave sadistically while conveniently managing to keep up appearances for the sake of any visitors and passersby.

Directed by Philippe Caland (Ripple Effect), “Repentance” is a momentarily-intriguing psychological thriller that establishes a compelling premise only to morph into an otherworldly horror flick. Over the course of this rudderless adventure, Forest Whitaker ultimately finds himself abandoned by an implausible script.

The Silence of the Butler!

Fair (1.5 stars)

Rated R for profanity, violence and torture

Running time: 90 minutes

Studio: Code Black Films

Distributor: Lionsgate Films

To see a trailer for “Repentance,” visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwBgGZIzliw.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

March 06, 2014

LAWT Wire Services

 

NEW ORLEANS — A cold, gray day greeted revelers — but didn’t deter them — along parade routes Tuesday as the Carnival season in New Orleans headed to a crest with the unabashed celebration of Mardi Gras.

The first street marching groups, including clarinetist Pete Fountain’s Half-Fast Walking Club, were to begin their marches along oak-lined St. Charles Avenue and into the business district.

The Zulu parade began on schedule, led by a New Orleans police vanguard on horseback that included Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Later, the floats of Rex — the king of Carnival — and hundreds of truck trailers decorated by family and social groups would wind down St. Charles Avenue.

Rain fell, and umbrellas and raincoats sprouted along the parade route. Sleet was falling on some merrymakers in areas north and west of the city.

But revelers gathered by the thousands in the French Quarter, where the bawdy side of Mardi Gras would surely be on full display.

Mark Nelson of St. Louis said he would be in the mix even in a downpour for his first Mardi Gras.

“That’s why God made washing machines,” Nelson said as he sipped on a daiquiri.

Revelers lined up near a stand on Bourbon Street where artist Gail Vertucci was painting Carnival masks on faces.

“These people are crazy,” she said. “They’ll get painted no matter what. It doesn’t matter if it’s pouring rain, these people will line up all day long.”

Die-hards braved the weather in costume in the Quarter.

The weather wasn’t going to stop them.

“We’ll drink, drink, drink until it gets drier,” said Dean Cook of New Orleans as he walked Bourbon Street dressed as a pirate with vampire fangs.

“Mermaids love the water,” he said of his wife, Terrina Cook, who was dressed in a shiny blue mermaid costume, complete with a fin.

Along the Uptown parade route, Carol LeBlanc and husband Hov LeBlanc of New Orleans were strolling along St. Charles Avenue with friends Vicki and Duane O'Flynn from Arabi, La. The troupe was dressed as scarecrows, stuffed with grass and wearing plaid pants and tattered coveralls.

The cold weather wasn’t worrying LeBlanc. “I’ve got my long johns on,” she said.

Nearby, April Womack and her family had tents set up. Grills were fired up, and pots of crawfish were boiling. They camped overnight, a family tradition for almost two decades. “It’s all about location,” she said.

Her cousin, Yolanda Moton, said Mardi Gras is the opportunity for an annual family reunion, with relatives coming from as far away as Georgia. “This is the one time of the year that everyone in the family fits this in their schedule.”

Sue and Kevin Preece from Edmonton, Canada, were at their first Mardi Gras.

“We wanted to come for Mardi Gras for about 10 years. It was on my bucket list, and he (Kevin) made it happen,” said Sue Preece, a social worker.

Ronnie Davis, a professor of economics at the University of New Orleans, decided to break his button-down image for at least one day. Clad in tutus, he and his wife, Arthurine, strolled through a rain-thinned crowd.

“All year I have to dress professionally. This is the one time I get to act like a fool,” Davis said.

Celebrations were scheduled throughout south Louisiana and in coastal Mississippi and Alabama, sharing the traditions brought by French colonists in the 18th century.

In Louisiana’s bayou parishes, riders on horseback would go from town to town, making merry in what is called the Courir du Mardi Gras.

The merriment must come to a halt at midnight, when the solemn season of Lent begins. New Orleans police were expected to sweep down Bourbon Street at midnight in the annual ritual of letting revelers know the party is over for another year.

The Zulu krewe’s 2014 Witch Doctor, Derek Rabb, said he was charged with praying for the krewe’s good health and good weather on Mardi Gras. “By God’s grace, there will be sun,” he said.

When out of costume, Rabb works at New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. A member of the organization for the past eight years, he said being in such a high-profile position has been an experience he won’t soon forget.

“It’s been a whole lot of fun,” he said. “It’s allowed me to meet some really interesting people.”

Kitty Jensen, of Washington, D.C., said she and about 15 others from the nation’s capital were part of the Kilt of Many Colors and were scheduled to march in the Rex parade.

“We are the party that never ends,” said Jensen, dressed in an airy, royal purple ball gown, reminiscent of the Renaissance era.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

March 06, 2014

By Kam Williams

 

Bill Marks’ (Liam Neeson) life went into a tailspin after his young daughter lost her battle with childhood leukemia. The inconsolable police officer has since sought solace in a bottle of alcohol, an addiction which cost him his marriage and career.

Today, the ex-cop is lucky to be employed as an air marshal, a job he decided to take despite a terrible fear of takeoffs. On this particular evening, he’s been assigned to protect a packed transatlantic flight from New York to London.

The trip starts out uneventfully enough, with Bill hiding his identity while making the acquaintance of the attractive passenger (Julianne Moore) sitting next to him. However, a crisis arises over the middle of the ocean soon after he receives a text from an anonymous caller claiming to be in the cabin and threatening to murder a passenger every 20 minutes unless $150 million is deposited into an offshore bank account.

Initially, he dismisses the message as a prank on the part of the only colleague (Anson Mount) aboard the plane, since a breach of the supposedly-impenetrable federal network is almost impossible and a criminal offense to boot. Nevertheless, once the first victim does indeed die, Bill realizes he has an urgent emergency on his hands.

Who might the hijacker be? The Muslim (Omar Metwally) sporting a skullcap? The trash-talking black teenager (Corey Hawkins) reluctant to surrender his cell phone? Somebody else? Of course, the actual perpetrator won’t be easy to pinpoint in this ever-escalating, deadly game of cat and mouse.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, Non-Stop is yet another adrenaline-fueled vehicle featuring Liam Neeson. The surprising success of Taken, has belatedly turned the rugged Irishman into an action star, as reflected in subsequent similar outings in The A-Team, Taken 2, Unknown, and the upcoming Run All Night.

Here, Neeson safely sticks close to the Taken formula, starting with his character’s name (Bill Marks as opposed to Bryan Mills) and his playing a broken soul in need of redemption. Again, he rises to the occasion in tough, two-fisted fashion, though also exhibiting a vulnerability certain to move you to tears during the closing credits.

Besides an engaging premise and a satisfying resolution, Non-Stop is blessed with an inscrutable plot which delicately ratchets up the tension as it winds its way towards an unpredictable denouement. Thus, the picture unfolds less like a mob scene disaster flick than a cleverly-concealed whodunit where everybody with a phone is a suspect.

Cells on a plane!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for sensuality, profanity, intense violence and drug use

Running time: 106 minutes

Distributor: Universal Pictures

To see a trailer for “Non-Stop,” visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nODrjQUR5YU

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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