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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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Gang Member May Testify Against Defendants In 'Junior' Guzman-Feliz' Murder Trial

A member of the Trinitarios gang who witnessed the fatal stabbing of Bronx teenager Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz may take the stand against five defendants this week.

The first of two murder trials for the killing of Junior Guzman-Feliz began earlier this month, NBC4 New York reports. Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago (24), Jonaiki Martinez Estrella (24), Jose Muniz (21) and Manuel Rivera (18) and Elvin Garcia (23) were given second-degree murder, manslaughter, conspiracy, gang assault and criminal possession of weapon charges for the June 2018 stabbing of the 15-year-old.

It was previously reported that the leader of the Trinitarios gang assisted the police with information about the defendant but it isn't known if he is the same witness who will testify this week.

A total of eleven women and one man make up the jury. During the first few days of the trial, the courtroom watched three clips from the harrowing incident that showed Guzman-Feliz before and after the attack. The teen was reportedly stabbed by the defendants in a case of mistaken identity.

One of the clips was never seen by the public and showed the attackers dragging Junior out of the grocery story with the teen fighting back as the gang yielded machete and knives. Later in the trial, jurors were shown 13 different angles and the six locations of the group looking for the teen.

As family members sobbed in the court, prosecutors claimed that Junior's murder was premeditated given the weapons used. But defense attorneys deemed most of Junior's wounds as "superficial" and noted how the cut to his throat was the cause of his death. They also claimed four of the defendants did not intend to kill Junior. The defense rilled up the court, including Junior's family.

"Why would they need those weapons if they're not trying to kill someone?" sister-in-law Ione Guierrez told ABC7. "I need somebody to explain that to me." Junior's father was later escorted out of the courtroom for using profanity as the defendants reportedly laughed during the trial. "These guys are sitting there, just looking at us, just literally laughing," supporter Ilene Mariez told reporters. "The family got really really upset, and the father, towards the end, he was so upset he was using profanity," Mariez added. "So they pulled him from the courtroom."

Defense attorneys cross-examined witnesses like a woman who saw what happened from her apartment window. The witness said Junior motioned for her to call the police. After heading outside to help the teen, she said in disturbing detail his last word was "water."

A total of 14 people are facing jail time for Junior's death. The other nine suspects who are accused of taking part in other aspects of the assault will have a pretrial hearing dated for June 17.

Junior's passing sent waves around the country as clips were seen on social media. A number of celebrities took part in the #JusticeforJunior movement like Carmelo Anthony, Cardi B, Lala Anthony, Rihanna and Wesley Snipes. The street where Junior died was changed from Bathgate Avenue to Lesandro Junior Guzman Way. He was also honored by the NYPD with a scholarship created in his name. The teen was a member of the NYPD's Explores Program and had an interest in becoming a police officer.

"He was one of the good kids in the Bronx," his mother said at the time of his death. "He has never been in any fight, never, in 15 years. He was innocent. He never grew up on the streets. He was with me all the time."

If found guilty, the five defendants will face life in prison.

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Muhlaysia Booker: Transgender Woman Who Was Viciously Assaulted In April Found Shot To Death In Dallas

Around 6:40 a.m. on Saturday (May 18), Dallas police officials were called to the scene of a crime to discover that Muhlaysia Booker, a transgender woman who was physically attacked by a group of men last month, was fatally shot. According to Buzzfeed News, the 23-year-old Dallas resident was discovered face-down in the street. The police department ruled her death as "homicidal violence." An investigation is still underway.

In April, Booker was brutally assaulted by a group of men after a minor car accident. A 29-year-old suspect, Edward Thomas, was charged with aggravated assault, but later released on bond. Law enforcement states there's no evidence to believe Booker's death is connected to last month's incident.

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of Muhlaysia Booker," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings tweeted on Sunday (May 19). "I call on anyone with information on this homicide to please contact the Dallas Police Department." In 2018, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) revealed that 26 transgender people were murdered. Black transgender women made up a majority of that figure.

I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of Muhlaysia Booker. I call on anyone with information on this homicide to please contact the Dallas Police Department.

— Mike Rawlings (@Mike_Rawlings) May 20, 2019

Sarah McBride, HRC's national press secretary, previously said to CNN that the country's politicians need to take action.

"While there certainly are examples of individuals killed by people they know, including partners, many of the transgender people who have been killed are murdered by almost complete strangers," McBride said. "More people need to understand this epidemic of violence targeting marginalized people in this country, including transgender people, is hate-based and a byproduct of existing prejudice inflamed by politicians all too eager to appeal to the darker undercurrent of society."

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Rihanna Debuts First Look Of Fenty Label With LVMH

Rihanna let the world feel her power when it was announced that she would be the first black woman in history to create an original brand with LVMH. Now, in an interview with T Magazine, the pop diva is giving the world the first glimpse of pieces from her collaboration. RiRi sat down with T Magazine's Jeremy O. Harris, dug deep into her new world of luxury fashion, and even shared a few gems about R9.

"I've been slowly evolving throughout the fashion world. First wearing it, buying it, being recognized for my style and then collaborating with brands," she said. "I never just wanted to put my name on something and sell my license. I'm very hands-on, so I wanted to take it slowly and gain respect as a designer. I already had a relationship with them after Versailles campaign and the makeup line, so they extended the offer to me and it was a no-brainer because LVMH is a machine. Bernard Arnault was so enthusiastic; he trusted me and my vision."

 

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For Rihanna, she wants Fenty to embody all aspects of the human person. She has no qualms about what's feminine or what's masculine, and she looks to herself to better execute that vision she has for her Maison.

"I use myself as a muse," the Bajan beauty says. "[Fenty's] sweatpants with pearls, or a masculine denim jacket with a corset. I feel like we live in a world where people are embracing every bit of who they are. Look at Jaden Smith, Childish Gambino. They dare you to tell them not to." The Bad Gal made it clear that there's a difference between Rihanna the singer and her brands Fenty Beauty and now her line with LVMH. She says the line between her music and all other creative avenues she pursues has to be distinct because she refuses to lose her credibility.

 

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"Every collaboration I did outside of music, I used Fenty so that you didn’t have to hear the word 'Rihanna' every time you saw something that I did," she revealed. "So Rihanna stayed the music, the person. But these other brands are called Fenty." Although RiRi is currently venturing more into the "Fenty" side of things, she's still focused on Rihanna the artist with her reggae album in the works. There's no set due date, but she may very well have a name ready and it's a little tongue in the cheek.

"No, so far it's just been R9, thanks to the Navy" she answered when asked about a name. "I’m about to call it that probably, ’cause they have haunted me with this 'R9, R9, when is R9 coming out?' How will I accept another name after that’s been burned into my skull?"

Make sure to check out the upcoming Fenty pieces in RiRi's spread with T Magazine.

 

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https://t.co/tXI8jBAmBs #FENTY pic.twitter.com/r46mJoj5NJ

— FEИTY (@FentyOfficial) May 20, 2019

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