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Review: 'Kubo and the Two Strings' Presents A Magical Adventure With A Meaningful Message

Come and join Kubo on his magical journey, plus in a few you'll be able to see Charlize Theron and Mathew McConaughey speak about the film,  

Kubo and the Two Strings chronicles the story of a young Japanese boy who goes on a quest to find his dad’s helmet, magical armor and sword—before his tyrant twin aunts deliver the items to his evil supernatural grandfather, Moon King. Thus, it’s pivotal that he finds these goods for protection and eternal life.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a story of freedom, which has its main subject, Kubo, seeking an armor of protection within the same confines of having (or yearning for) a family. Kubo (Art Parkinson of The Game of Thrones) has only one eye, the other is concealed by an eye patch, which is hidden under his long black bang cut. Despite the minor disability, he manages to scrape up some money by telling his village tales of origami figure fights. To enhance his storytelling abilities, he uses a string instrument. You’ll see his mother slipping in and out of a depressive toxic haze, and his samurai father seemingly eternally absent as he, apparently, lost a battle trying to get back his son’s missing eye.

The film directed by Travis Knight and written by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler was made by Oregon based animation studio, Laika Films—which is responsible for “Coraline” (2009) and “ParaNorman” (2012). Within the parameters of creating an animated film, Laika excels on the movie’s illustration filled with action packed scenes. There are eyeball filled oceans, and a humungous giant with screws on his head. All this coupled with interludes of a tundra like scenery; forming all a part of Kubo’s journey.

But he doesn’t do it all alone. There is definitely a sense of family here with Kubo’s surrogate parents being personified by a sassy no nonsense monkey (Charlize Theron) and jock like wisecracking meathead Beetle (Matthew McConaughey). Amid their travels, Monkey and Beetle constantly bicker, which makes for an entertaining dialogue between the two. This isn’t just another fantasy filled tale, there are lessons to be learned here about the power of family, hope and story telling all intertwined into one.

It’s filled with emotion heavy scenes that can have you questioning if this is really suited for a PG rated audience. Yet interestingly enough, it’s great to see an American film studio be so precise with its interpretation of Asian culture. It’s magical, fantasy filled and something that is out of this world—but it works. Infused within the storyline is this notion of the power that the dead have. That said, it's impressive how many different components of the culture are piled up together, yet free flow within the storyline. The pacing of the movie also works well with all its action, you won't feel lost as your watching it. Kubo will help you find your way, as he is finding his and what matters most to him.

 

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Jada Pinkett Smith In Talks To Reprise 'Matrix' Role

Earlier this year, it was announced that The Matrix would return for a fourth storyline. Although a release date has yet to be announced, box office names like Keanu Reeves, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Carrie-Anne Moss, and now Jada Pinkett Smith have been attached to the franchise's upcoming installment.

According to Deadline, Pinkett Smith might step into her previous role of Niobe from the films The Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions. Her agent is currently in negotiations with the movie's producers so it's not set in stone as of yet, but fans of the franchise hope to witness Pinkett Smith's appearance on screen. The Matrix premiered in 1999, depicting a sci-fi story of a battle between humans and machines.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Pinkett Smith said her husband and fellow actor, Will Smith, auditioned for the lead role of Neo (played by Reeves). “I knew it would be revolutionary,” she said. He ultimately passed on the character, stating "I probably would have messed The Matrix up. I would have ruined it, so I did y’all a favor.”

The mother-of-two auditioned for Trinity but the role ended up going to Moss. However, the movie's visionaries Lana and Lilly Wachowski wrote Niobe with Pinkett Smith in mind. “I thought Carrie-Anne was the perfect Trinity, and there was no way I could do what she did,” she said. “And that’s the only time in my career I’ve said that about losing a role.”

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Gina Rodriguez attends the Paley Center For Media's 2019 PaleyFest LA - "Jane The Virgin" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend": The Farewell Seasons held at the Dolby Theater on March 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
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Gina Rodriguez Issues Second Apology For Using The N-Word On Instagram

Gina Rodriguez has issued a second apology for her use of the n-word on social media.

On Tuesday (Oct. 15), the actress recited lyrics to The Fugees' 1996 single "Ready or Not" and posted it to her Instagram Story. Instead of using a portion of the song that didn't have the n-word in it, Rodriguez mumbled the n-word before snickering.

After critics pointed out her use of the word, she hopped back on social media to issue an apology. “ I just wanted to reach out and apologize," she said. "I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone by singing along to The Fugees, to a song I love, that I grew up on. I love Lauryn Hill, and I really am sorry if I offended you.”

Her second apology was more detailed as she somewhat took accountability for her actions. “The word I sang carries with it a legacy of hurt and pain that I cannot even imagine,” Rodriguez wrote. “I feel so deeply protective and responsible to the community of color but I have let this community down. I have some serious learning and growing to do and I am so deeply sorry for the pain I have caused.”

 

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A post shared by Gina Rodriguez-LoCicero (@hereisgina) on Oct 15, 2019 at 9:47pm PDT

But this didn't do much to smudge the pattern she has demonstrated towards conversations about blackness and identity. Critics returned to the many times in the past where the Jane The Virgin actress seemed to demean black issues. When Black Panther mania took over 2017, Rodriguez attempted to use the history-making moment to pivot to a demand for more Latinx actors in the Marvel and DC worlds.

“Marvel and DC are killing it in inclusion and women but where are the Latinos?! Asking for a friend...” Rodriguez said in a deleted tweet. Another moment where the actress took over a conversation about black women happened during an interview in September 2018. As Rodriguez and Smallfoot co-star Yara Shahidi spoke with entertainment journalist Blogxilla, he expressed how Shahidi was an inspiration to “so many Black women,” including his daughters. Rodgriguez chimed in saying, “So many women" which came off as an erasure of the topic of black women.

It all came to a head just a few months later when Rodriguez falsely claimed black actresses make more money than other women of color during Net-a-Reporter's roundtable discussion.

“I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay, especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it,” Rodriguez said. “Where white women get paid more than black women, and black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into.”

At the time, Modern Family's Sophia Vergara (who is Colombian) was famously the highest-paid actress on television followed by Kery Washington. After a tearful apology on Sway in the Morning for her comments, she pointed out how the black community has always been "family" to her and pointed out how her father is considered "dark-skinned" in Puerto Rico.

Lmaooooo @ Gina Rodriguez's "dark skinned" dad. Help. https://t.co/aBWhiUAfoc

— Monique Thee Auntie (@thejournalista) January 23, 2019

Hopefully, this incident will serve as a lesson for the actress. See more reactions from the incident below.

I’m convinced that Gina Rodriguez activates her anti-blackness in order to keep her name in peoples mouths. pic.twitter.com/AYcvKjh1LM

— Black Girls Book Club (@bg_bookclub) October 16, 2019

Gina Rodriguez apologies be like... pic.twitter.com/kcnHXdyvMW

— Kevín (@KevOnStage) October 16, 2019

nobody:#GinaRodriguez under her breath when she sees a black person after dark and subsequently crosses the street: pic.twitter.com/aTVqWRId0E

— Afropunzel (@afropunzelll) October 16, 2019

If Gina Rodriguez was a fan of #Blackish, she might've seen the backlash coming. 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/iJX5sd2BIh

— Jonny Spook-tastico 👻 (@IAmJonnyApollo) October 16, 2019

I know Gina Rodriguez can be dense af but I don't get the selective outrage.

Cypress hill, J.lo, Fat Joe, Tekashi 69, lil pump and even Eminem have said the N-word a couple of times but she isn't allowed to say it even if she's singing along to a fugees track? https://t.co/hGeNBTTuCd

— Adunni Achebe (@Adunni_Achebe) October 16, 2019

This is NOT #GinaRodriguez’s first time saying Nigga. She’s been mad comfortable in her anti Blackness for much too long🙄, in fact I’d say it’s opened doors: pic.twitter.com/CXutE4oJsC

— 🌹Sheopatra IS WRITING🌹 (@SheopatraSmith) October 16, 2019

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Trina Is Taking It “One Day At A Time” Following Mother’s Death

Trina is taking things “one day at a time,” following the death of her beloved mother, Vernessa Taylor, last month. The Love & Hip-Hop: Miami star took to social media  with an emotionally honest update, and to thank everyone for their “continued prayers” and “sweet messages.”

“Taking it all one day at a time. Appreciative for the continued support and sweet messages,” she wrote.

Missy Elliott, who was among the many replies to Trina’s tweet, left heart emojis and prayer hands under the post.

🧡🧡🙏🏾

— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) October 15, 2019

Taylor died from cancer in early September. Trina broke her silence on her mother’s passing a month later, sharing an Instagram post similar to her recent tweet. The message included special shoutouts to Elliott, LaLa Anthony, Lil Wayne, Trick Daddy, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, K. Michelle, Megan Thee Stallion, Tamar Braxton, Angie Martinez, Killer Mike and more who reached out to her after her mother died.

“All I can give and take is day by day, moments by moments right now and I am just asking for everyone to please understand that. We all grieve differently and this is the hardest loss I’ve endured to say the least! In this phase, I may even stumble a bit but I can’t let up on what I’ve built as a woman and as an entertainer,” she wrote. “Thank you to my team who has held me down during this time, I know things have not been easy on your end but I’m grateful to have you in my darkest moments!”

Read the full post below.

 

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I can write a two—page letter on how appreciative and grateful I am for all of the love, prayers, gifts, calls, texts and more that I have received during this time. And I thank you all. I wish I can name every single person that has been in my corner during this time, but I can’t even imagine how I would put them all in just this one post. I am so thankful for my Rockstarrs globally who have sent me prayers and who continue to support me: it gives me motivation day by day. All I can give and take is day by day, moments by moments right now and I am just asking for everyone to please understand that. We all grieve differently and this is the hardest loss I’ve endured to say the least! In this phase, I may even stumble a bit but I can’t let up on what I’ve built as a woman and as an entertainer. Thank you to my team who has held me down during this time, I know things have not been easy on your end but I’m grateful to have you in my darkest moments! Thank you Finger Licking, Sunday’s Eatery, StrongArm IMG, GMGPrints, and Dwight Richardson of Richardson Funeral Home. To my city, Miami and Mayor Francis X. Suarez, I was humbled and honored to receive the plaque you presented to my family for my mother and her commitments in the city. Ted Lucas (Slip N Slide Records) words aren’t enough to express on how you showed up and helped me so much, I am thankful to have started this journey under your wings as a music legend! EClass, home team always, and I am so grateful for your respect and love given to my family and I during this time. Thank you to Cheneka Chambers of Outrageous Events and your team for bringing the celebratory vision we envisioned for my mother alive. Special thank you to these beautiful ppl who have been reaching out, checking on me and sending condolences as well: LaLa, Missy Elliott, Lil Wayne, my brother Trick Daddy, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Seven Streeter, Rick Ross, K. Michelle, DaBrat, Meg Thee Stallion, Kandi, Kelly Price, Tamar Braxton, Angie Martinez, Killer Mike & Shay, Betty Wright and so many more..... 🧡🙏🏽

A post shared by katrina (@trinarockstarr) on Oct 2, 2019 at 12:39pm PDT

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