Google+

Screen Chemistry Abounds in Superstar-Bodyguard Romantic Romp

Beyond the Lights

Film Review by Kam Williams

Screen Chemistry Abounds in Superstar-Bodyguard Romantic Romp

 

Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) has it all, or so it seems. After years of trying to make it, the emerging pop singer is finally on the brink of superstardom, thanks to several hit singles she recently released, duets with her famous rapper boyfriend, Kid Culprit (Machine Gun Kelly).

Nevertheless, when we meet Noni in the midst of a whirlwind tour of appearances on award shows, she’s secretly miserable and seriously 121816_galconsidering suicide. That’s because every step of her assault on showbiz has been dictated by her abusive mother, Macy (Minnie Driver), the proverbial stage-mom from Hell.

Noni no longer recognizes her real self in the mirror underneath the purple hair extensions, the provocative wardrobe, and the phony smile that masks the hard cold truth about a vulnerable soul at the end of her rope. Then, just as she’s set to launch herself from the balcony of a penthouse suite at the posh Beverly Hills Hotel, fate intervenes in the person of Kaz (Nate Parker), the quick-thinking LAPD officer assigned to protect her from the paparazzi and overzealous fans.

Springing into action, he grabs an arm and pulls Noni back over the rail. Now that she has been 120359_galafforded a second chance at life, one can’t help but wonder whether she’ll wise up and declare her independence from her miserable misanthrope of a mother? Or, will she notice that the right man for her might be the handsome hunk with bulging biceps who saved the day, even if he’s not a rich celebrity like the unreliable bad-boy she’s currently dating?

 

These are the foremost questions subsequently explored by Beyond the Lights, a steamy romantic romp written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees and Love & Basketball). Don’t be duped into thinking that you’ve seen this same story somewhere before, given how the plot is vaguely reminiscent of Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner’s The Bodyguard (1992).

Beyond the Lights unfolds in unique fashion. This amorous tale of female empowerment might be better thought of as an engaging blend of hip-hop performances and soap opera drama that’s at its best when leads Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker generate beaucoup chemistry while sharing the screen.

Love in the time of hip-hopera!

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, suggestive gestures, partial nudity and matures themes

Running time: 116 minutes

Distributor: Relativity Media

 

Entertainment

John Barrowman Thinks Casting Agents Should be Deaf, Dumb and Mostly Blind

  John Barrowman Thinks Casting Agents Should be Deaf, Dumb and Mostly Blind   By Jeremy Bamidele Science fiction, fantasy, and in lesser cases horror films have been ahead of their times in addressing social issues. This is partly due to their ability to disassociate themselves from the normalcy of reality. In fantasy, racial wars and prejudices are represented through orc vs. elves. Such disassociations allow them to seriously address issues while … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Blood Brothers

  Blood Brothers The Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith Basic Books Hardcover, $28.99 392 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-0-465-07970-4 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This book] is the story of how Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and the central role Malcolm X played in his life. It is a tale of friendship and brotherhood, love and deep affection. It is also a story of deceit, betrayal, and violence--inside and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

New Home Sales Jump in April

  New Home Sales Jump in April By Burt Carey Sales of new homes hit their highest rate since 2008 in April, according to the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau. April sales increased 16.6 percent over March figures, which correlates to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 home sales projected for the year. The median price of those new homes was $321,000, the highest median price ever recorded. That’s up 9.7 percent from sales one year ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

The “Grand” Role

  The “Grand” Role by Amy Lignor   There are tons of parenting magazines out there that offer support, advice, and more to the expectant parent or parents. And, I think we can all agree, there are millions of people who wish to offer up advice on everything from how to treat said baby to how you should raise them, educate them, talk to them – heck, there are millions who will be more than happy to advise you on just about every aspect of your baby’s future. … [Read More it Good for You...]

Outdoors

Yamaha Propeller Selector, Endless Propeller Solutions

  Yamaha Propeller Selector, Endless Propeller Solutions   The Yamaha Propeller selection page on Yamaha’s webpage is a great tool for every boat owner as a tool not only to make sure the correct prop is on their boat but also gives the ability and freedom to change the prop with ease, depending on the application. Everyone knows the equipment used for bass fishing is not the same for chasing tuna offshore, and the same logic applies to selecting a prop. At … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Tiger Woods Opts Out of U.S. Open, Quicken Loans

  Tiger Woods Opts Out of U.S. Open, Quicken Loans By Burt Carey Tiger Woods isn’t ready to stage a comeback just yet. The 14-time major champion sent messages via Twitter and his website Tuesday that he would not be competing at either the U.S. Open at Oakmont next week or the PGA Tour’s Quicken Loans tournament the following week. "While I continue to work hard on getting healthy, I am not physically ready to play in this year's U.S. Open and the Quicken … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Feds Eyeing a Crackdown on Predatory Payday Lenders

  Feds Eyeing a Crackdown on Predatory Payday Lenders By Burt Carey The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing new regulations designed to place limits on excessively high-interest loans issued by short-term lenders. The CFPB proposal would require so-called payday lenders to prove borrowers have an ability to repay a loan by the time it comes due – usually by the borrower’s next pay period – without having to renew the loan or take out a new … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

The New “IN” Thing Just Happens to be “UP”

  The New “IN” Thing Just Happens to be “UP” by Amy Lignor   Whether you choose South Africa or Yankee, Connecticut, the new “in” places to travel and lay your head just happen to be based on the one “resort” that Tarzan was so proud of. Yes. You guessed it…the swank, high-class, relaxing treehouse. All over the globe people have decided to sink money (a great deal of it) into creating one of the oddest choices to stay architecturally. An “odd” choice that just … [Read More its Good for You...]

Google+