Monday, March 30, 2015

Corner Spotlight: Tennis- Cured of Youth

No need to volley when it comes to deciding if Tennis'Cured of Youth is infectious. Although you may go back and forth when it comes to the song's meaning! The husband and wife duo manages to serve up a tune that can be played on any court!


She might leave the mark
But that's just the start
Hard to be self aware
To be the one who cares

It's when she's close
That I feel the most
Like I'll never find
Never find anything so divine

Here's your one chance
Baby, this is your night
Here's your one chance
Better hope you get this right

And I'll show her what a young love, 'kay
Make an entrance at the doorway, ooh ay
Best not to remember
That baby, it ain't easy

Ooh ooh ooh oo-oo-ooh
Na na na na na na na
Na na na na na na na na (2x)

Baby, don't look so sure, yeeeaaah
Na na na na na na na
Na na na na na na na na (2x)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Take Five: Women to Avoid (Reader's Response) !

Last week, I published what was perhaps the most  viewed ,debated and controversial entry in this blog's history, which can be found at this link here.  As stated in the outset of  the blog's revamp, one of the purposes of this space is to spark constructive conversation, even if opinions differ from my own. So, without further ado, here is one reader's take on last week's write up:

Hyperbole and humor not withstanding (I understand that’s the desired dialect of the internet), I think this post is more than a little… myopic? For starters, there’s nothing about these categories of women that is gender-specific. The easiest and most obvious way to be less sexiest is to open this list up to “people” and not just “women.” If you think there are no men out there who fit these descriptions, I have a toll booth on the NJ Turnpike that I’d love to sell you.

5. We’re not children anymore, and time is precious. If a woman has enough discernment to know that she’s digging you right away, then maybe she’s trying to help you out by letting you know that. Why the games? Why the waiting to call back, playing the coquette? Is the real red flag here to stay away from a woman who’s decisive and knows her own mind? I can understand how that might be a little scary.

4. Baggage is an equal-opportunity buzz-kill. Unfortunately, most of us will be on the receiving end of someone else’s terrible mistakes. Yes it’s a sad state of affairs that everyone who damages has been damaged also, but it’s the lay of the land. No, you shouldn’t have to pay for her last man’s mistakes. But she shouldn't have to prove to you that she’s different from your ex. On the flip side, why should we forget what we’ve learned, for better or worse, if we see similar patterns at play? A lesson hard-learned is still a lesson.

3. I read somewhere (I know I should cite my sources, but this is the internet—if you want to know that bad, look it up) that the phrase a woman most wants to hear isn't “How can I help?” it’s “I’ve got it.” “I’ve got it,” as in “You don’t have to ask me. I pay enough attention to know what needs doing, and I’ll just do it.” Be a doer. You won’t even notice her independence if you’re too busy getting s*** done. Also? Reverse psychology 101: Did it ever occur to you that the ones who are most vocal about “doing it for themselves” are the ones who need the most help? Finally, if she puts work in and gets things done without making any announcements, but you want extra belly rubs for taking out the trash? That might be why she doesn't ask you.

2. No, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but if that cover is printed in satin and gold, then it stands to reason that it may consider itself “top shelf.” This is not to excuse materialism, this is simply to say read the signs and know what you’re asking for. You want the "flyest" chick in the club that night? That flawlessness comes at a price, as does everything. And if she’s done the cost-benefit analysis, then our material girl is probably trying to make sure that her time, cost and sweat equity (yes, that time in the gym) yields a worthwhile result. See that stone on the ground near our material girl? Pick it up and throw it, and you might just hit our independent woman because they could be two sides of the same intimidating coin: on one side, “Can you do this for me,” on the other “I can do this for myself.”

1. I’ve heard more times than I can count that women are “complicated,” but I think we’re mistaking complicated for complex. And it’s not just women—all of us are complex, multifaceted individuals with many interests, needs, perspectives… If no one has communicated an exclusive or monogamous relationship, then why can’t she have more than one suitor? Should she drag her favorite jock to the theater when he couldn’t care less? Should she call up her rom-com loving snuggle buddy, when what she really needs is… ahem, some chiropractic alignment? Trying to get everything from one gentleman is a surefire way to be branded “needy.” And we know how much people love to bandy that term about when it comes to women.

Truth is, with the exception of baggage (and that’s just a given at this stage, so suck it up), these are all traits that, in the right context, would be desirable. Ms. #5 is affectionate and communicative; Ms. #4 has a history which makes her empathize with your own wounds from the past; Ms. #3 is self-sufficient and probably a good caretaker, to boot; Ms. #2 takes pride in her appearance, the very same appearance that made you look twice in the first place; Ms. #1 is probably the cool girl who doesn't put too much pressure on or demand too much from you. So, perhaps re-framing what you see will help you better understand what you get?

So what are your thoughts? Sound off in the comment section below. I know I will!

-CogNegro Out

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reel Talk: Chappie

Synopsis:In the near future, crime is patrolled by a mechanized police force. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.*

Review: When Neil Blomkamp's Chappie focuses on the central character's struggle with creation, nurture and acceptance, it soars! Ultimately however, the film falters due to its' ham-fisted characters and inane script.(C+)

Official Trailer

*Synopsis derived from

Monday, March 23, 2015

Corner Spotlight: Uptown Funk Empire - I'm a Manchild

Not to be confused with Mark Ronson's and Bruno Mars' smash hit Uptown Funk, I'm a Manchild is prominently featured in the opening credits of the motion picture Focus.This song had me daydreaming about partaking in a glass of Pinot Noir while overlooking a metropolis skyline from a downtown, hotel balcony. Not bad for a Monday huh?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Classic Corner: Colors for the Win?

By Da CogNegro

With the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron around the corner, everyone is being whipped into a frenzy about any tidbit of news related to  the future of comic book adaptations. However,  recent surfacing of pictures of Jason Momoa as Aquaman ,the announcement of Will Smith as the villainous Deadshot and other murmurings of traditionally white characters possibly being played by actors of color, have resulted in some vehement and vitriolic feedback. Recently, Michelle Rodriguez, of Fast and Furious fame, was questioned about  circulating rumors  regarding her role in  the upcoming Green Lantern movie. After scoffing at the question, she proceeded to state that  "minorities need to stop stealing white super hero roles!" 

I find this to be quite odd that Michelle  would  have this complaint being that she is of Latino descent herself. Anyway, she attempted to clear the air by posting an apology video on Facebook explaining that she meant no harm with her perceived, inflammatory statements. Rather, she just wants Hollywood to stop being "lazy" and for minorities to create their own "mythology" when it comes to superhero lore.  I an extent!

As an avid comic book fan for the past twenty-seven years , I am a stickler for  authenticity when it comes to adapting the material for the silver screen. These stories and characters have worked for decades and have a faithful following. Switching the mythology of these characters for the sake of being radical, "PC" or drawing in a new crowd is nothing more than diluting  and butchering the source material that we have grown to love!  I understand that slight "retconing" may be needed in order to feel a tad bit more contemporary. For example,  the original setting of Iron Man's origin was the Vietnam War not War in the Afghanistan as depicted in the movie. However, some changes are being done simply for shock  and controversy under the guise of "equality"For example, Micheal B. Jordan, who is a fantastic actor, has been cast as Johnny Storm in the upcoming clusterf.....I mean adaption/reboot of the Fantastic Four. Now for those who aren't familiar with the origin of Marvel's first family, Scientist Reed Richards is accompanied by, his then girlfriend, Susan Storm, her BROTHER Johnny Storm and college friend Benjamin Grimm on a mission to space. Of course, things don't go according to plan and they are soon stranded on a strange planet after their ship is bombarded with cosmic rays. As a result, they are all bestowed with fantastic powers. In the Fantastic Four comic, Sue and Johnny Storm are Caucasian siblings. I have no idea how the movie will explain the relationship between a black Johnny Storm and a white Sue Storm and frankly, no explanation will be rational or, in this instance, convoluted enough for me to accept it. I felt the same exact way when the late Micheal Clark Duncan was cast as the villainous Kingpin in Marvel's Daredevil.We get upset when Caucasians are cast as characters of other ethnicities because it's deemed offensive and inaccurate. Therefore, the same ire should be raised when actors and actresses of color are used to portray characters that are originally Caucasian.

However Ms. Rodriguez , there is a  plethora of diverse comic book heroes and heroines that Hollywood can adapt into feature films. Therefore, there is no need for a new mythology to be created because it already exist. For example, in 1993, Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan  introduced the Milestone Imprint under DC Comics. Milestone featured a cornucopia of characters that included the the heroic Icon, the inventive genius of Hardware, vigilantes known as Blood Syndicate and the most popular hero of the lot : Static!

Milestone's Debut Line of Comics

Not conventional enough for your liking? Well how about Marvel's Night Thrasher! By day ,Dwayne Taylor is a philanthropist  who runs the charitable Taylor Foundation. By night, he is the armored hero poised to challenge the scourge of urban decay! 

What about Living Lighting and Cecilia Reyes?  Both have served as either as an X-Men or Avenger and  are of Latino heritage!

Even as it relates to sexual orientation, Northstar and Shatterstar are two gay males that have been integral heroes in the mutant community!


So no Michelle, it's is not a fact that actors of color are "stealing" these particular roles. The true issue  is that Hollywood fails to utilize the surplus of diverse characters for its' projects. If this was done, there would be no need to cast "minorities" as characters already established as being Caucasian. You can simply just use these actors for characters that already exist!

Fortunately, it seems that Hollywood, or at least Marvel Studios, is listening to the fans' pleas   to showcase more diverse heroes with the planned release of both Black Panther and Ms. Marvel. It definitely shows a true effort  to explore the various facets of the comic universe and allows those who believe that they are not  presented in such a heroic capacity to truly be represented by characters that were originally meant for them. Besides, I can not wait  until small suburban children beg their parents to dress up as a "Black Panther" for Halloween!

Um Jimmy dear, isn't there a nice Spiderman costume that mommy can buy for you instead?

-CogNegro Out

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Reel Talk: Under The Skin

Synopsis : A mysterious woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. Events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery*

Review: "Kubrickian" in spirit, Under the Skin takes a minimalist approach to develop and convey its' overlaying themes. For those who rely on dialogue and guided narratives  to ascertain a film's meaning, disappointment and frustration will await with open arms. However, those who exercise patience will be rewarded with a lasting impression and excellent talking points well after the closing credits have finished rolling.(B)

Official Trailer

*Synopsis obtained from

Monday, March 16, 2015

Corner Spotlight: Ben l'Oncle Soul -Soulman

Ever wondered what a Motown standard would sound like if it were sung in French? I bet Monsieur Ben L'Oncle Soul can answer that question  for you. Tres Bien! (I knew those high school, foreign language classes would come in handy for something.)


J'ai pas le regard de Spike Lee
J'ai pas le génie de De Vinci
J'ai pas les pieds sur terre
La patience de ma banquière
J'ai pas ces choses-là.

J'ai pas la sagesse de Gandhi
L'assurance de Mohamed Ali
J'ai pas l'âme d'un gangster
La bonté de l'Abbé Pierre
Ni le ra de Guevara.

Je ne suis qu'un soul man
Écoute ça baby.
Je suis pas un superman
Loin de là.
Juste moi, mes délires
Je n'ai rien d'autre à offrir
Mais je sais qu'en vrai c'est déjà ça.

J'ai pas le physique des magazines
J'ai pas l'humour de Charlie Chaplin
J'ai pas la science infuse
Le savoir-faire de Bocuse
Non je n'ai pas ces choses-là.

J'ai pas la chance de Neil Armstrong
J'ai pas la carrure de King Kong
Plusieurs cordes à mon arc
La ferveur de Rosa Parks
Ni le courage de Mandela.

Je ne suis qu'un soul man
Écoute ça baby.
Je suis pas un superman
Loin de là.
Juste moi, mes délires
Je n'ai rien d'autre à offrir
Mais je sais qu'en vrai c'est déjà ça.

Je ne suis qu'un soul man
Écoute ça baby.
Je suis pas un superman
Loin de là.
Juste moi, mes délires
Je n'ai rien d'autre à offrir
Mais je sais qu'en vrai c'est déjà ça

Moi j'aurais aimé être comme eux ;
Être hors du commun.
J'ai bien essayé
J'ai fait de mon mieux,
Mais quoi que je fasse
A la fin :

Je ne suis qu'un soul man
Écoute ça baby.
Je suis pas un superman
Loin de là.
Juste moi, mes délires
Je n'ai rien d'autre à offrir
Mais je sais qu'en vrai c'est déjà ça.

Je ne suis qu'un soul man.
Écoute ça baby.
Je suis pas un superman
Loin de là.
Juste moi, mes délires
Je n'ai rien d'autre à offrir
Mais je sais qu'en vrai c'est déjà ça.

Non,non,non ,non
Juste moi,
Mes délire.
Mais je sais qu'en vrai c'est déjà ça !

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Take Five: Women You Should Avoid!

5. Ms. "Me Love you Long time" in no time!
How many of you fellas have been engaged in a decent,initial conversation on the phone and the female on the other end pauses, sighs, and utters the  following words to you: " You know, I really... really like you!" Whoo Hoo! You think you've hit the jackpot right? You might even engage in a little (looks at camera) hip hop dancing!

Get it, get it!!!

However, what  follows that  hasty deceleration are third outing plans, road trips, baby sitting schedules and baptismal dates! And this is all suggested before you guys  even have your first  official date!  In the words of  Antione Dodson, "Hide your wife, hide your kids"! A huge red Family Feud "X" should sound off so loud that it should awaken Steve Harvey's old hairpiece! Being that this female has come to this conclusion with out building a solid rapport ,foundation or even knows that you enjoy your Chef Boyardee with added oregano, it could possibly mean that she is emotionally fickle.Do you think you are the only guy that she has fallen for in a mater of 60 seconds?Absolutely not! So unless you want to be on the other end of disappointment, take this as a warning sign and moonwalk out the room accordingly *Shamone*

4. Ms.  "Take My Luggage Bell Boy "
We all carry emotionally baggage from previous encounters with the opposite sex. Such experiences should be stepping stones to building a better "you", which includes strengthening self worth and being able to recognize the treatment you deserve. However, some of us have  had a hard time NOT allowing past experiences  to dictate our present and future. I've had some women tell me that I'm going to hurt them,  in three weeks, due to the type of shoes I was wearing! Or the way I fold my napkin reminds me of their ex boyfriend, which means I may not pay taxes and  will cause them and their child to be put out of their home.Or if I don't pick up the phone, I was busy running a bordello out of the local Chick Fila. Not to mention, these women possess keen detective skills that can surely land them a couple of guest roles on CSI. Problem is, this mixture of paranoia, mistrust, and dejection is a Molotov Cocktail just waiting to explode!

Where are you going? To the restroom? Why? Didn't you pee two days ago!?

3. Ms. "Independent"
I love and appreciate a woman who has been able to gain success through hard work and dedication! Such practices have enabled her to have choices in life, which I find to be quite attractive and at times, motivating. I salute you all! However, if you encounter a female who  consistently walks around with a megaphone that has a Rosie the Riveter or Oprah bumper sticker plastered on it while shouting to the masses that she is a "Boss", "Independent" , has seventeen degrees or doesn't need a man to in her life, chances are you may be dealing with a highly insecure woman!

 People who are certain about themselves and their abilities need not take out ads next to Marlboro Cigarette billboards to announce their success stories! These individuals will  eventually, subtlety or overtly, remind you of your uselessness or emasculate you to the point that Bruce Jenner will tell you to "man up."  She may even do so in public!Leave them alone and let them enjoy their trips to the Bahamas at age 40+ ,accompanied with their other lonely friends,as they futility search to get their groove back.

2.Ms. "Material Girl"
I once dated this female who was audacious or stupid enough to say the following to me: " It's not like I don't pay my rent ...

I'm going to let you finish your quote CogNegro, but If anyone has ever started a sentence with the phrase, "It's not like I don't pay my rent", they've auditioned, at least twice, to be in a Juicy J video.

but I go hard in the paint for what I want! Clearly I had no idea what the hell she spoke of because that statement had no relevance to what was being discussed previously. So as I patiently waited to see "Ol girl" was trying to say, she proceeded to explain that when she sees something she wants, she goes for it! Ok, whatever!. What followed was an anecdote on how she eat Top Ramen noodles for two weeks in order to purchase a Fendi bag. (Sigh). No wonder I paid for all of our dates, you never had any damn food in your kitchen.! Such females are nothing more than parasitic entities who will use you until they have had their fill, throw your dried husk on top of those empty bags of Top Ramen, and fly off into the moonlight to leech off their next naive victim. But the material girls aren't just gold-diggers, no! They can also be classified as women, who are able to support themselves, but  are so consumed with materialistic possessions that their identity becomes synonymous with the brands or items they possess. Ever had a conversation with a woman and they proceed to go down a laundry list of  designers that only casting director of some random  Mona Scott reality show would be privy too? It can be quite off puting.

1.Ms. "Dr Frankenstein."

Ah the creme de la creme! These are indeed the most dangerous type of women you can encounter.These ladies may not present any glaring flaws or ornate issues . In fact, they can be quite charming, benign, engaging and even attentive. However, my father has an old saying, that he often shouts from another room, "Boy, the sun don't shine on just you"! These women are looking for the "the perfect mate" and they come to the conclusion that this is not a plausible feat, they begin to date various guys who possess one or more of the traits that they desire...SIMULTANEOUSLY!!! For example, Ryan may be the one that makes her laugh while Jimmy stimulates her mentally. But let's not forget DJ who has been known to be a wizard in the bedroom. Did I mention Alex? You know, Alex, the one who is a great listener and emotionally supportive. Dr. Frankenstein has no intentions of committing to any one of these gentlemen. Whenever there is a need to supplement a personal void, she will simply contact one of her "parts", interact with him until she is satiated and rinse, lather, repeat with he next "sap".

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Reel Talk: Focus

Synopsis: In the midst of veteran con man Nicky's latest scheme, a woman from his past - now an accomplished femme fatale - shows up and throws his plans for a loop.

Review: Beneath its' sleek,calculated and charming exterior, Focus relies a bit too much on the suspension of disbelief. That in itself, squanders  its' opportunity to truly live up to its' potential. (B-)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Corner Spotlight: Michael Kiwanuka- Tell Me a Tale

Hailing from London, Michael Kiwankua is a palatable miscellany of Folk, R&B and a smidgen of Gospel thrown in for good measure. Tell Me a Tale is a clear example of the aforementioned declaration.

Tell me a tale that always was,
Sing me a song that i'll always be in,
Tell me a story that i can read,
Tell me a story that i believe.
Paint me a picture that i can see,
Give me a touch that i can feel,
Turn me around so i can be,
Everything i was meant to be.
Lord i need loving,
Lord i need good, good loving. [x2]
Show me some strength that i can use,
Give me a sound that i won't refuse,
Tell me story that i can read,
Tell me a story that i can believe
Tell me a tale that always was,
Sing me a song that i'll always be in,
Turn me around so i can be,
Everything i was meant to be.
Lord i need loving,
Lord i need good, good loving. [x4]

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reel Talk: Top 10 Movies of 2014

No red carpets! No gaudy envelopes or musical montages! No stumbling Terrence Howard or Neil Patrick Harris prancing in his underwear! Not here folks! Just the moment you've all been waiting for... brought to you by the use of too many exclamation points!!! After watching fifty some odd films, I have narrowed down the top ten stand out movies of 2014! (Cue Echo)

Honorable Mention

Synopsis: A drama centered on a go-go dancer with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and begins working with a psychotherapist to uncover the mystery of the inner ghosts that haunt her.

Commentary:  Though this movie received nationwide distribution in 2014, it had been on the shelf since 2010, the year I originally viewed it and when it had its'  short theatrical run in Los Angeles. Therefore, it can not be included in the top ten list. Nevertheless, it is an outstanding film with Halle Berry juggling some major characters and themes It will be released on Netflix this month!


Synopsis: Jon, a young wanna-be musician, discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank.*

Review: The poster does not begin to describe the eccentricities and quirk you'll experience and for that very reason, Frank and his motley crew, are worth getting acquainted with. (A-)


Synopsis: A washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play.

Review:  A sharp script, deft camera work, career defining performances from its' supporting cast (Emma Stone and Edward Norton), and the resurrection of Micheal Keaton are some of the favorable components that make up the surreal yet sublime journey  known as Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (B+)


Synopsis: A group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe. 

Review: A collective groan was let out with the announcement that Guardians of The Galaxy would be adapted into a movie. A talking raccoon...really? Well despite the initial skepticism, James Gunn manages to transform one of Marvel's  most obscure properties into a fun filled, entertaining vehicle that can be enjoyed by all comers alike. Make mine Marvel (B+)


Synopsis: With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.

Review: Backed by Trent Reznor's haunting scores, Gone Girl is a lengthy yet engrossing trip down a nihilistic rabbit hole which journeys through media constructed martyrdom and the perception of convinced power within relationships. (A-)


Synopsis: The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Review: Bryan Singer returns to the franchise that made him a household name with X-Men Days of Futures Past. The iconic story arc gets it just due with Bryan at the helm. You can feel Singer painstakingly revising the missteps taken by previous entries in the series ,resulting in one of the most emotionally layered comic book adaptations to date.(A-)


Synopsis: As Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he teams up with another super soldier, the black widow, to battle a new threat from old history: an assassin known as the Winter Soldier.

Review:  Captain American Winter Soldier not only acts as great companion piece to 2012's Avengers, as it relates to being able to satisfy both comic book purist and the casual viewer alike, it also is able to weave quite the espionage tale filled with double turns, startling revelations, and wry dialogue.Welcome to new the age of comic book film! (A-) 


Synopsis: During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Review: At first glance, one may mistake The Imitation Game to be cold and calculating as the enigma code itself. What the viewer witnesses instead is a very nuanced and multilayered tale  of Mr. Alan Turning, brilliantly played by Bendict Cumberpatch, and the  heartbreaking trials and  inspiring triumphant of one ostracized by society.(A)


Synopsis: A chronicle of MLK's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.  

Review: Selma succeeds as a beautiful portrait of  progress  and triumph as well as a stark reminder of the sacrifices that were made to obtain basic human rights. Ava DuVernay  skillfully captures a rare, intimate and vulnerable glimpse into the  life of the towering figure known Martin Luther King, rousingly portrayed by David Oyelowo. Bravo! (A)


Synopsis:  Witness the lives of four Ivy league college students intertwine.

Review: Satirical, without over indulging in self deprecation, take note Aaron McGruder ,Key & Peele, etc.Dear White People is pugilistic yet dexterous in its' deconstruction of racial tropes and caricatures that have been the bedrock of black entertainment. Though the title may be polarizing, those with an open mind will benefit in learning that our culture is not simply a monochromatic, thumbnail sketch, but rather a menagerie of beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences. Go See! (A+)


Synopsis: A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential.

Review: Calculating with compulsion and jolting with meticulously built tension,Whiplash is appropriately named and is in contention for best film of the year.If J.K. Simmons doesn't leave you squirming in your skin, then perhaps you move to the beat of a stoic drummer! (A+) 

To check out the full list of movies viewed by The CogNegro in the year 2014, click here !