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REVIEW: Well-Intentioned Film 'Inevitable' Is A Next-Gen Coming-Of-Age Story

All seems final in George Tillman Jr.'s The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, but the film is more than just drugs, guns and poverty.

The no-win contest sounding film, which was scripted by Michael Starrbury (Black Jack), depicts a gritty tale starring relative newcomers Skylan Brooks and Ethan Dizon. The two take on the task of carrying the brunt of the picture, as Mister and Pete who paint a picture of the crime children are exposed to in Brooklyn, New York City.

The life in the King County projects has changed since the tale of The Education of Sonny Carson hit the screen. Director George Tillman Jr. (Soul Food, Men of Honor) notes these changes in the environment, as critics are likened to compare this picture to Lee Daniels' Precious. While the early scenes do lay down the tough realities lived by the characters, thereby building promising foundations, Inevitable takes audiences on a journey developing into a new age coming-of-age story.

Desperate to avoid being put in foster care, Mister and Pete struggle to survive on their own in Brooklyn, after the former's mother gets arrested and taken away. Mister (Brooks) is a 13-year-old whose recent flunking of the eighth grade is the least of his concerns. With no one but themselves to rely on, Mister takes care of the 9-year-old Pete (Dizon), a neighbor kid in a similarly sad circumstance.

A film like this is made or broken by its child actors, and George Tillman, Jr. and casting director Jessica Kelley found an incredibly talented leading duo in Brooks and Dizon. In the titular roles of Mister and Pete, respectively, their performances are weighty, flawless, thought-provoking, as their on-screen chemistry lights up the screen. Their beyond impressive skill helps to make the supporting performances from Jennifer Hudson, Anthony Mackie and Jeffrey Wright unrecognizable in their respective roles. Julito McCullum plays familiar territory as a neighborhood terror known as Dip Stick. Meanwhile, Jordin Sparks gives a terrific turn as an old neighborhood friend of Mister who has found a way out of the projects.

Tillman, Jr.'s picture also freezes in time the rougher areas of Brooklyn's most recently gentrified areas. Although gone is the Crown Fried Chicken on Franklin Avenue and Fulton Street, Brooks' exchange with Jeffrey Wright in a scene would seem like anything less than reality if you witnessed it yourself no less than five years ago. Nostrand and Myrtle Avenue also makes a healthy appearance, and make compelling set pieces to outline the environment of which the characters exist in.

Hudson, who plays Mister's drug-addled mother, is deglamorized and mired in negativity. She displays those dramatic chops she flexed maturely in Dreamgirls, but this is very much Brooks', and to a lesser extent Dizon's picture. The two reflect a powerful sense that will have audiences rooting for them, not because of empathy, but because the duo exude so much heart. Armed with big dreams and big chutzpah, Brooks and Dizon win a bigger war at the end of Inevitable. The young boys themselves do not remain entirely innocent throughout the picture, yet their perseverance and humor, even at the most dire straits, will have audiences championing their raw power and emotion.

In the end, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete brings the vivid textures of Kings County to the forefront. George Tillman, Jr. attempts to answer a new age question asked in New York City with this film: "It's 9:00 am, do you know where your child is at?!"

Skylan Brooks and Ethan Dizon amaze and astound as an odd-couple who push through the bleak public-housing corridors into audience's hearts.

Don't believe us?! Watch the trailer for yourself below:

The film is distributed by Codeblack Films / Lionsgates and will get a limited release starting October 11th. Don't miss this when it comes your way.

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‘Boyz N The Hood’ And ‘You Got Served’ Actress Esther Scott Dies At Age 66

Esther Scott, the actress who appeared in Boyz n the Hood, Beverly Hills 90210, Full House, You Got Served and more, has passed away at age 66.

Scott died last Friday (Feb. 14), days after suffering an apparent heart attack. Her death was first reported on Tuesday (Feb. 18) by TMZ.

According to the site, Scott was found unconscious in her Santa Monica, Calif. home last Tuesday (Feb. 11) and remained hospitalized for several days before passing away on Valentine's Day surrounded by friends and family.

"She loved what she did. She would get stopped on the street often and people would recognize her -- but they didn't know her name," Scott's sister told the website. "Hopefully now people will remember her name, her work and the contributions she gave to the entertainment industry."

The Queens native began her career as a voice actress in the ‘80s series StarWars: Ewoks. Scott’s first credited feature film role was as grandmother to the character Tisha (played by Leonette Scott) in Boyz n the Hood.

Scott worked steadily throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s, following up her appearance in Boyz n the Hood with roles in Encino Man, Don Juan DeMarco, Illegal Blue, Species, The Craft, and Out to Sea.

Scott found success in both TV and film appearing as a judge in Austin Powers in Goldmember, a grandmother in You Got Served, as well as roles in Dreamgirls, Transformers, Gangster Squad, and The Birth of a Nation, The Steve Harvey Show, Party of Five, Ellen, Hart of Dixie, and Sister, Sister.

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Malcolm X’s Assassination To Be Reinvestigated After Docuseries Raises Questions

A documentary on Malcolm X’s assassination has prompted authorities to reexamine the case. In Who Killed Malcolm X? historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad explores the many questions surrounding the death of one of history’s most pivotal figures. The six-part series originally aired on Fusion but has been gaining popularity since appearing on Netflix.

This February will mark the 55-year anniversary of Malcolm’s murder. The former Nation of Islam leader, who left the organization and changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was gunned down inside Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965. Three members of the NOI, Mujahid Abdul Halim, Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam, were convicted for the murder and sentenced to life in prison.

As noted by the Innocence Project, Aziz and Islam always maintained their innocence, while Halim confessed to partaking in the fatal shooting. In 1966, Halim testified that Aziz and Islam had “nothing to do” with the murder. In 1978, Halim identified four other men as co-conspirators. His confession was supported by FBI documents obtained by civil rights lawyer William Kunstler. Prosecutors in the original trial claimed to have been unaware of the documents and New York State Supreme Court Judge Harold Rothwax ultimately rejected a motion to vacate Aziz and Islam’s convictions. Rothwax died in 1997.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has since met with representatives from the Innocence Project “and associated counsel regarding the matter,” a spokesperson for the DA’s office said in an emailed statement, per NPR.

Although Islam died in 2009, Aziz, now 81, continues to fight to clear his name. He was freed on parole in 1985. The Innocence Project joined forces with civil rights attorney David Shanies to re-investigate Azis’s conviction. “We are grateful that District Attorney Vance quickly agreed to conduct a review of the conviction of Muhammad Aziz. Given the historical importance of this case and the fact that our client is 81 years old, we are especially encouraged that Mr. Vance has assigned two highly respected prosecutors, Peter Casolaro and Charles King, to work on this re-investigation,” the Innocence Project and Shanies said in a joint statement. “We look forward to working cooperatively with them to see that justice is done.”

Casolaro worked on the case of the Exonerated Five and King is a member of the Conviction Integrity Program of the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

As noted by the Innocence Project, there was no physical evidence linking Aziz or Islam to Malcolm’s murder. In fact, Aziz wasn’t even at the venue. The day of the murder, Aziz had returned home after being treated for a leg injury. He heard about Malcolm's assassination while listening to the radio that day, and has doctors and witnesses, to corroborate his story.

Watch the trailer for Who Killed Malcolm X? below.

 

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Ava DuVernay Named Director Of Nipsey Hussle Documentary For Netflix

Ava DuVernay's next cinematic feat will center on a hometown legend. According to Deadline, the acclaimed director will lead a documentary on Nipsey Hussle for streaming giant Netflix.

The announcement was made on Monday (Feb. 10), two weeks since DuVernay presented a musical tribute to the late rapper at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards. Hussle won two gramophones that evening: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap/Sung Performance.

In tribute to his birthday on August 15, the Emmy-award winning director shared a message on Twitter that expressed her gratitude for the interactions they had. "Grateful that he existed. Grateful we walked this vast earth at the same time," she wrote. "In the same city. Grateful that our paths crossed. Grateful for the work and wisdom he gave us."

For Nipsey. Ermias. Son. Brother. Partner. Friend. Artist. Champion. Grateful that he existed. Grateful we walked this vast earth at the same time. In the same city. Grateful that our paths crossed. Grateful for the work and wisdom he gave us. We miss you. Happy Birthday, Nip. xo pic.twitter.com/cNEZHUhiao

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 15, 2019

On March 31, 2019, Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, was fatally shot outside of his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles. His death rattled various communities and prompted supporters and new fans to take a look back at this trajectory within music and entrepreneurship.

According to Billboard, other streaming services in the mix included Apple and Amazon. Alongside Hussle's family, the entrepreneur's Marathon Films will also helm production duties.

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