Blallywood Film Review: Whitney

by jesimieljon April 19, 2015
Whitney Houston’s debut album was released in February 1985, just five months before I was born. As my life was just beginning, her career was skyrocketing. By the time I was old enough to appreciate music, Whitney’s was a voice that often echoed in my parents’ home. It soared, accessing angelic softness and passionate strength […]

Blallywood Film Review: Selma

by jesimieljon December 27, 2014
Imagine having your entire life boiled down to four monosyllabic words.  Everything you’ve accomplished, every life you may have touched, every person you loved, and every moment of exhilaration minimized and reduced to a sentence on a page in a text book.  For a normal person like you and me, that wouldn’t be such a […]


Blallywood Film Review: Top Five

by jesimieljon December 13, 2014
It’s difficult to forget the painful performance Chris Rock turned out during his guest host spot on Saturday Night Live last month. I winced as I watched, unable to decipher whether fault lied in the hands of the writers or if Rock, dare I say, is rusty. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen […]

Blallywood Film Review: Dear White People

by jesimieljon October 30, 2014
College is both challenging and exciting for an infinite number of reasons.  For most, it’s your first time away from home, the homework is endless, the parties are epic, and just about everyone is horny. You’re on a swift path to self-discovery while balancing classes, extracurricular activities, and having a lot of fun. It’s often […]


Blallywood Film Review: No Good Deed

by jesimieljon September 29, 2014
Colin Evans is suspected of murdering several women. Though the evidence was insufficient to convict on those charges, we meet him as he is up for parole after serving time for manslaughter in a bar brawl after another man made eyes at his fiancée. A member of the parole board describes him as a “malignant […]

Blallywood Film Review: Get On Up

by jesimieljon August 13, 2014
James Brown is perhaps one of the most underrated artists of all time. His soul-stirring style and endless energy birthed an era of music that changed the industry for generations come. He is the most sampled artist of all time and has inspired some of the biggest acts in music history. One of those acts […]


Blallywood Film Review: 20 Feet from Stardom

by jesimieljon April 2, 2014
From a distance, it appears that background singers have it pretty good.  They travel the world with the biggest stars without the stresses of celebrity and, let’s be honest, they sing the most memorable parts of the songs.  However, background singing is a thankless job.  They work long hours for less money and no recognition […]
Blallywood Film Review The Trip To Bountiful

Blallywood Film Review: The Trip to Bountiful

by jesimieljon March 13, 2014
Horton Foote’s slightly obscure play, The Trip to Bountiful, quietly premiered on Broadway in 1953 for a total of 39 performances.  The play proved better fitting for the screen when it received a big movie remake in 1985.  It was well received and won Geraldine Page her ninth Oscar nomination and first win in the […]


Blallywood Film Review: Big Words

by jesimieljon January 26, 2014
“What happens to a dream deferred?” Langston Hughes asked this infamous question years ago and this film explores that very concept.  On the night of the historic 2008 Presidential election, we find three members of a once close-knit rap group having lost touch.  One member, a successful publicist now out and navigating a complicated relationship […]

Blallywood Film Review: The Best Man Holiday

by jesimieljon December 4, 2013
The Best Man, released in 1999, premiered to fair critical acclaim.  It was a warm and funny movie about college friends just before a high profile wedding in their circle.  Heavily ensemble based, the characters were upwardly mobile, educated, and attractive young black people at the beginning of their adult lives out of college.  It […]


Blallywood Film Review: 12 Years a Slave

by jesimieljon November 6, 2013
The year is 1841. Solomon Northup is a free black man living in upstate New York.  He is a gifted musician- articulate, bright, and sophisticated.  He is a romantic husband, trusting friend, and doting father.  He is well respected by black and white acquaintances alike.  But, when he meets two travelling “businessmen” on the lawn […]

Blallywood Film Review: CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story

by jesimieljon October 23, 2013
I learned something this week.  TLC is the second highest grossing female girl group in history, sandwiched by Spice Girls at number one and Destiny’s Child at number three. Without critical thought or genuine care to research it, I assumed (perhaps like most of you) that Destiny’s Child was on top. They certainly have more […]

Blallywood Film Review: Baggage Claim

by jesimieljon October 22, 2013
Montana Moore (Paula Patton) has given herself thirty days to find love. She’s been Maid of Honor at more than ten weddings and after her little sister Sheree (Lauren London) becomes engaged, she succumbs to the embarrassment of attending the wedding a single woman yet again.  Using her clout as a flight attendant, she and […]

Blallywood Film Review: The Butler

by jesimieljon August 22, 2013
Lee Daniels’ The Butler, based on the experiences of Eugene Allen, follows the life of Cecil Gaines, a butler who served in the White House for 34 years and over 8 administrations.  Players include a regal Forest Whitaker as Gaines, Oprah Winfrey as his saucy and consummate homemaker wife Gloria, a skillful and near perfect […]


Blallywood Film Review: Fruitvale Station

by jesimieljon July 31, 2013
The senseless killing of a black youth in Florida and the subsequent acquittal of his aggressor sent waves of anger and protest across the country.  Questions of racial profiling and gun control have reemerged and people have taken to the streets to demand justice for Trayvon Martin’s family.  In an ironic “life imitating art” event, […]

Blallywood Film Review: The Call

by jesimieljon March 26, 2013
Since 9/11, there has been an emphasis on honoring the difficult work of first-responders.  These everyday heroes risk life and limb for perfect strangers all in the name of a helping hand.  Perhaps the most difficult element of this type of work is the necessity to remain emotionally detached.  First-responders have to keep a clear […]


Blallywood Film Review: Hustle & Flow

by jesimieljon March 19, 2013
Hustle & Flow is a gritty story about an unlikely dreamer named DJay. He makes his meager income from pimping women and through a mid-life crisis decides to veer left and start a rap career.  He commandeers the help of a man named Key (Anthony Anderson) and they start working to record a demo.  He […]

Blallywood Film Review: Red Hook Summer

by jesimieljon March 4, 2013
The latest installation in Spike Lee’s series of movies chronicling life in Brooklyn is an insightful coming of age story about a young boy from the suburbs of Atlanta sent to live with his religiously zealous grandfather for a summer.  They clash from the start. Flik is sullen and unimpressed from the start and his […]