Taraji P. Henson Stars as Trailblazer in Inspirational Biopic


From the Rough

Film Review by Kam Williams

  Taraji P. Henson Stars as Trailblazer in Inspirational Biopic

            Catana Starks was serving as the female swim coach at Tennessee State University (TSU), when she learned that the school’s From_the_Rough_FilmPosterAthletic Director, Kendrick Paulsen, Jr. (Henry Simmons), was planning to form a golf team. Since golf had always been her first love, she approached him about becoming the new squad’s head coach.

            Her first hurdle, however, was convincing him that despite being female, she’d be able to field and manage an all-male squad. Second, she’d have to fill the roster with some promising prospects.

            The latter might prove to be quite a challenge, since TSU, as an HBCU (Historically-Black College/University), had an overwhelmingly African-American student body. That might make it hard to recruit good golfers. Try naming me a good black one besides Tiger Woods.

            So, Catana had her work cut out for her when A.D. Paulsen did decide to give her a shot. She began by widening her search beyond the school’s normal pool of African-American candidates.

            She looked near and far, even overseas, and by the beginning of the season she‘d assembled a motley, international quintet comprised of an African-American, a Frenchman, a South Korean, an Australian and a Brit. While they all were talented, each arrived on campus carrying some sort of emotional baggage.

            Ji-Kyung (Justin Chon) is a wannabe gangsta who wears his pants and speaks Ebonic slang. Meanwhile, Bassam (Ben Youcef), an Algerian from Paris, is bitter about the fact that he had to matriculate in America because of discrimination against Arabs back in his homeland.

            Then there’s Edward (Tom Felton), an English juvenile delinquent with a criminal record. Rounding out the crew are Cameron (Paul Hodge), an Aussie with allergies, and Craig, a black kid suffering from the soft bigotry of low expectations.

            Of course, Catana proceeds to whip the boys into shape, intermittently turning to the sage school janitor (the late Michael Clarke Duncan) for advice whenever she feels the weight of the world on her shoulders. The flick also features an interracial romance between bad boy Ed and a Goody Two-Shoes (Letoya Luckett) on her way to medical school.

            So, unfolds From the Rough, an inspirational overcoming-the-odds biopic co-written and directed by Pierre Bagley. The tale of female empowerment unfolds in fairly formulaic fashion, which means it’s designed for youngsters unfamiliar with the shopworn sports genre.

            A well-deserved, if syrupy sweet, overdue tribute to an African-American role model and trailblazer.

Very Good (2.5 stars)

Rated PG for mild epithets and mature themes

Running time: 97 minutes

Distributor:  Freestyle Releasing



Lin Shaye Stars in Scary Prequel Released on DVD

  Insidious: Chapter 3 DVD Review by Kam Williams Lin Shaye Stars in Scary Prequel Released on DVD The good news about Insidious 3 is that you don't have to be cognizant of the developments in the first two episodes to follow this one's plotline. That's because it's a stand-alone prequel which doesn't revolve around the Lamberts, the family haunted by ghosts in the franchise's previous installments. The best news of all is that, despite being rated only PG-13, … [Read More its Good for You...]


Susan’s Search: New Book by Alan Smith Takes Readers on a Journey for Reclaiming Health

  Author Alan E. Smith has published his new book Susan's Search on Amazon Kindle, just in time for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Susan's Search narrates the story of Susan Weaver, a woman in her 50s who’s just been diagnosed with breast cancer. After listening to lots of mainstream doctors, she’s confused and feels there has to be a better way to treat the problem so she starts researching complementary and alternative medicine. The book turns on her … [Read More its Good for You...]


13th Annual Pocono Mountains Film Festival

    The Pocono Mountains Film Festival The 13th Annual Pocono Mountains Film Festival will be held at the beautiful Camelback Resort on Friday, October 23rd and Saturday October 24th, 2015. This year's PMFF Honorees are:  Rhonda Ross/Music Career Achievement Award, Patrik-Ian Polk/Best Director  for 'Blackbird' (which starred  Isaiah Washington, Mo'Nique, and Julian Walker), Derrick Simmons/Film Career Achievement Award,\ Gary Smith/ Gary in the Morning … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Housing Sales Increase but Questions Remain

Housing Sales Increase but Questions Remain By Burt Carey   Big bankers and mortgage lenders like Bank of America and Merrill Lynch say changing demographics are fueling a first-time home buyers market in 2015 that may be short-lived. Real estate, it seems, is heating up – at least for value seekers. At the current rate, home sales are on pace to post their best year since 2007, even with increased prices. Fueling the action are two important elements: … [Read More its Good for You...]


Prime Time with Guggenheim!

  Davis Guggenheim The “He Named Me Malala” Interview with Kam Williams Prime Time with Guggenheim! Philip Davis Guggenheim is an Academy Award-winning director and producer whose work includes Waiting for Superman, It Might Get Loud, and An Inconvenient Truth, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2007. The following year, Davis produced and directed President Barack Obama's biographical film, A Mother's Promise, and he also made The Road We've Traveled for … [Read More it Good for You...]


Yamaha Marine Unveils New Prop Selector

  Yamaha Marine Unveils New Prop Selector by Ted Lund   Picking the right propeller(s) for your Yamaha Outboard-powered boat just got a whole lot easier thanks to an innovative new web-based interface called Yamaha Propeller Selector (, introduced recently by one of the world’s leading manufacturer of two- and four-stroke power solutions for the marine market. “Our customers have never had this much propeller information … [Read More its Good for You...]


Are Daily Fantasy Sports Rigged?

  Are Daily Fantasy Sports Rigged? By Burt Carey   The multi-billion dollar daily fantasy sports industry has come under scrutiny this week following a release of information on teams built from National Football League players before their week 3 games began. The New York Times broke the story Monday after a user on an online fantasy forum site recognized that an employee of the daily fantasy sports company DraftKings released data on player ownership … [Read More its Good for You...]


While VW Takes a Beating, Fiat Chrysler and Subaru Roll Out Big Plans

  While VW Takes a Beating, Fiat Chrysler and Subaru Roll Out Big Plans By Burt Carey   Less than two months after storming to the top of worldwide auto manufacturer sales in 2015, Volkswagen is reeling to absorb a recall of as many as 11 million vehicles to de-program software used on diesel models designed to fool emissions testers. Such bad news quite easily drowned out the industry’s good news for the week: Fiat Chrysler has reached tentative … [Read More its Good for You...]


Turning Leaves and History Await the Adventurous at Cumberland Gap

  Turning Leaves and History Await the Adventurous at Cumberland Gap By Burt Carey   Fall colors don’t get any prettier and history doesn’t get any richer than what you can find at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park this fall. Situated where Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee come together, Cumberland Gap is a pass in the Appalachian Mountains whose use dates back to crossings by Native Americans, early settlers and soldiers during the Civil War. … [Read More its Good for You...]