The voice of Aretha Franklin shines in full operatic aria in ‘The Upside’ movie with star Kevin Hart

Music travels with us throughout our lives. It makes the world go round. For many, it is a lifesaver, gateway to the soul and makes up the soundtrack of our lives. Like the great reggae artist,  Bob Marley so eloquently says, “When the  beat hits, you feel no pain.”

photo by @debrafrombrooklyn

NYC based Influencer @debrafrombrooklyn rocks stripped pants and purple booties at a screening of ‘The Upside’ movie in Manhattan

 

This brings me to the recent release of ‘The Upside‘ a comedy-drama starring funny guy Kevin Hart taking a spin at a serious role opposite thespian Bryan Cranston and Oscar winner Nicole Kidman. The movie which features the music of late music icon, Aretha Franklin is a remake of the 2011 French movie, ‘The Intouchables’  which starred  Omar Sy and  Francois Cluzet.  In this American remake, the concept is kept pretty much the same but lacks the full-on heartwarming charm and inspiration that the  French version exuded thanks in parts to Sy.  The movie, based on a true story, tells the story of two men from different backgrounds culturally and financially, who change each other lives for the better. Hart plays Dell, an ex-con out on parole hired as the caretaker of Phillip (Cranston), a billionaire and quadriplegic, the result of a paragliding accident. Kidman plays Phillip’s assistant.

The movie is the first comedy-drama released for  2019. That it includes a soundtrack featuring the music of the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin   who passed away in August of 2018 will definitely lend to getting lots of music fans talking and filling theater seats. I had the opportunity to attend a recent screening in New York City, given by the  MOMS .

New dad Kevin Hart chats with The MOMS, Denise Albert  and Melissa Gerstein

New dad Kevin Hart chats with The MOMS, Denise Albert, and Melissa Gerstein …..photo by @debrafrombrooklyn

 

Aretha’s musical chords are woven perfectly into scenes. Hart himself even gives it a go, with a comedic spin, of course, singing on the much beloved  “Think”.  Four of Franklin’s songs appear on the movie’s soundtrack, each song adding flair to the storyline, like when  Dell is overcome with his appreciation of classical music while attending the opera alongside  Phillip and hearing  Nessun Dorma sung superbly by the Queen of Soul.

Surprisingly, taking the #1 Weekend Box Office opening position away from front runner  ‘Aquaman‘ which is holding high with billion dollar sales worldwide, ‘The Upside’ on its Jan 11-13 opening weekend cemented itself to the list of movies featuring  Aretha’s music that went on to become memorable.

 

Like I said music makes everything better.  I felt that the music saved the ‘Upside.’  The movie could definitely have been better. If I had to watch the movie again I would probably opt for the French version as Hart and Cranston didn’t fully click like Sy and Cluzet. The movie did showcase that if given more opportunities  Kevin Hart should really try dipping into more dramatic roles but without the funny.  Finally,  I would also ask Hollywood to stop going back to that old drawing board script that depicts black male characters as ex-cons, dead beat dads or not privy to a socially elite lifestyle.

 

With that being said out of 10  popcorn bowls The Upside  gets 5

Want to check out ‘The Upside’ movie  soundtrack take a listen here at the website Lyric Soundtrack.

Want to see the 2012 French version  ‘The Intouchables’  which starred  Omar Sy as the lovable  Driss a down and outer from the projects of Paris and Francois Cluzet playing the role of Phillipe. Watch here

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by Debra Lewis-Boothman

 

PADDINGTON BEAR MOVIE SHINES WITH AN EXTREMELY CUTE BEAR, A VILLAINOUS NICOLE KIDMAN AND CLASSIC CALYPSO MUSIC Debra Lewis-Boothman

 

A warm, feel good family movie that will make you laugh, scream, cry and cheer-crownheightsmom

Nicole Kidman who stars in  the Paddington Bear movie opening Jan 16 says she would have done a lot more  movies her kids could go see if only she was offered  children’s film scripts she found interesting. That time my friends has finally come and  it’s just wonderful!

“It [children’s movies] was something I have always wanted to do ,” says Kidman 47.  ” I don’t get offered a lot of children’s films I find interesting or compelling.” The star sat  with the MOMS‘ Denise Albert and  Melissa Musen Gerstein  for their first Mamarazzi event of 2015, before screening the Paddington Bear movie  at the Film Society at Lincoln Center on Jan 7.  “It was just a gorgeous script,” says Kidman. “Adorable!” the star adds.

Nicole Kidman plays a not-so-sweet Natural History Museum Taxidermist

The movie  released already  across France and the UK  has grossed  international box-office receipts totaling  $109,713,825 thus far  according to Box Office Mojo .It is set to open  in the USA on Jan 16.

Paddington is the type  of  family movie  that will  certainly   have adults and kids alike swooning  and wishing  for their own real-life Paddington Bear. I, for one,  after seeing the movie  wanted  to leave the screening room  with a new addition to my family and loads of marmalade. I wanted a warm  cuddly  bear. Heck,  give me the adoption papers ASAP, I will  sign on the dotted line .  Paddington Bear is a  keeper.Not to mention, he’s as cute as a bug.

On all accounts   I absolutely ADORED the movie.  It has definitely achieved what Nic Kidman hoped  movie audiences will take away after see  the  film. “For me, it is just so nice  when people come out feeling great,” she tell Musen Gerstein. Adding, “It makes you feel good.” Indeed, it does Ms. Kidman. Indeed, it does!

The MOMS Denise Albert and  Melissa Musen Gerstein  both decked out in Trish

Denise Albert and Melissa Musen Gerstein both decked out in Trina Turk from Rent The Runway pose with Kidman.

Having already  had the sneak peek, which, my kids were not too happy about missing  I had to promised  that our tix will be  purchased way ahead of time on Jan 16 so we can go directly to the movie theater after school . In the  meantime reading  the new Paddington books  at our local Barnes and Noble bookstore in Cobble Hill will suffice .

It is not often that  Hollywood gets it right when it comes to film adaptations of books but with Paddington the  seamless adaptation drawn from the characters immortalized in the books  hooked me right away. Those not familiar with the books will certainly want to read more about this cuddly Peruvian’s bears many adventures.

The movie  tapped into so many of my emotions within its 95 minutes—-I laughed, cried, cheered , jeered and soared . I became a kid again remembering back to my young childhood days of losing myself  with Mr Bond as my guide while  reading about  Paddy on his adventures. There is never a dull moment.

You  kids can pick up a book and read along with Paddington at bookstores  nationwide

Your children can pick up a book and read along with Paddington .Reading is FUN!

Being married to  a British citizen it  was special looking for  familiar  sights  and places I have been in London.  Even more exciting  was seeing  and hearing  the sweet sound of  classic calypso music  being played throughout the film. I am from Barbados so to know that the music of the late Trinidadian calypsonian, Lord Kitchener  was included on the movie’s soundtrack was exciting. Kitchener’s  flute tinged tune ” London is the Place for Me” adds to the  movie’s splendor.

It has been said that  Michael Bond the author and  writer was so influenced  by the caribbean  culture in  London during in the late 40s and early 50s that he  include  elements of it  in his writings. It is definitely included beautifully  in the movie.

See Lord Kitchener and others embarking  on London in  the 30’s below

 

See D Lime and Tobago Crusoe featured in the movie perform “London Is The Place for Me “below:

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Kidman truly owns this role.  Presently filming the drama “Genius” alongside  actor Jude Law  it was surprising to hear her share  with the audience that  she almost considered giving up the  craft she loves. “At one point I was going to stop working,” she says.  “It  was happening when I was pregnant with Sunday.  I talked to my mum about it. I said, I am done.  My mum  had given up her job to help raise us at home and she  said to me, ‘You should still do something creative. Still keep a finger in the pot because I just feel that  it is your destiny and you shouldn’t give that up completely. ‘”

Mom knows best. “I was thinking,  ok maybe she is right.and so I  went and started to do some films and started producing  and that is how I manage my life now.” Plus, she adds, “I always have them[her family] travel with me. ”

 

Clearly having her family around her while filming  impacted Kidman’s  work. The results?   A job well done!

Padding Bear opens nationwide  on January 16. Check your local listings.

Click here for a history on Paddington Bear and his creator  Michael Bond