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Sunday, August 4, 2019

NikolaReviews Gives "The Best Of Enemies Two Thumbs Up"

I saw a movie the other day "The Best Of Enemies" that I've been thinking a lot about, it chipped away at my resentment due to a surgery I had and has made me see "service" in a different light. What gave this new perspective even more value was that two people Ann Atwater played by Taraji P. Henson and Claiborne Paul (CP) played by Sam Rockwell held resentments much deeper and ever present then I think I could even fathom before 2015.  Sacrifice and Service does mean something to people and can penetrate even the deepest wounds, I know it is true because I feel my stubbornness in typing this.

For the most part of my life I looked at service and volunteering as a willingness of the heart, something that's supposed to feel good, the reciprocal inner reward of being the hero to the rescue. I never thought service could come or should come from a place of resentment. I think I never really imagined it could come from any other place other than love and willingness. If my heart wasn't in it, I thought it to be appropriate to just say "NO", in efforts to be authentic and genuine.

However my perspective has changed after watching the story of Ann Atwater an African-American social and union activist/leader in North Carolina, and Claiborn Paul (CP) head of Klux Klan Clan sector come together with a force that was full of bitterness, hurt, and anger from a history of segregation, violent acts of intimidation, racism, that was currently present when they were asked to organize a "Charrette" "something no one had heard of") to determine if the schools should desegregate after a school fire. Neither wanted to or were willing to lead the "Charrette", but out of pure bitterness and hatred both were afraid to allow members with softer views to lead. Ann Atwater thought some blacks were too educated and wealthy to understand the struggle of under privileged blacks in North Carolina and for CP, he and his Klu Klux clan members were afraid to let whites lead the Charrette who identified with the black struggle.

In this movie a town divided were forced to come together,  in hopes to PROVE that they should stay apart, only to learn that there prejudices were based on falsehoods and preconceived notions that developed from "separatism." In simple terms, "basically not really knowing or understanding the other."

Threatened that the courts could make an unfavorable decision that would not go well for either the blacks or the whites of the community. The townspeople were given a chance to work together over 10 days to come to their own decision that the court system would honor.  It is during this duration that Ann and CP are forced to learn about each other, the causes of their flawed, difficult personalities, developed historical hatred, and last but not least the struggles of survival which they witness the DUPLICITY OF THEIR HUMANITY, when combating the fears of fellow peers, the economic struggle of family life for both CP as a business owner, with a disabled son, and Ann Atwater with the insufficient conditions of her people and her unrelenting leadership.

Frustrated and resistant against their own observation of humanity in  "the other", begrudgingly at different times during this movie both sacrifice and give service in a reciprocated sort of saving grace.When peoples lives and lively hoods are on the line and the spirit moves you or forces you to put aside your resentments to help a person in need a sort of magic, transformation, or God's grace can occur. It's a bitter, hard move, that hurts, but can sometimes offer you what you least expect.

Movie Review By Nikola Naylor-Warren

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Nikola Reviews The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Well I finally finished The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides reading 150 pages in one night.  It took me a little longer to finish it, because I left the book home when I went to Philly to visit family.  It would of been a perfect book to read in my downtime in Wildwood, NJ. I even received a notice from the library only to find out when I tried to renew that there were 79 holds and I had to return it.  Luckily for me the librarian gave me until the 23rd to finish.  I am happy to say I finished 3 days earlier than what I expected. The book was just that good.

After reading The Silent Patient, I'm officially going to have to retire the word "Shady" because pretty much that's how I described almost every character in this story.  The Silent Patient tells the story of Alicia a painter who is married to Gabriel and a psychotherapist named Theo who tries to help Alicia out of silence after she is sent to an insane asylum for killing her husband.

Alicia who was known for her artwork became infamous after the murder of her husband because of her silence and a self portraying portrait she painted in the likeness of her husband and herself called the Alcestis which has roots in a story told in Greek mythology.  The only evidence left for people to wonder, speculate, and assume Alicia's guilt was a painting that drew crowds worldwide.

As Alicia sat silent for years in an insane asylum, Theo a psychotherapist with a past is determined to help Alicia break from her silence when no other therapist or doctor has been able to succeed in years.  He applies for a job where Alicia is committed and is hired.  Immediately he is taken back by Alicia presence, the mystery behind her silence, and the frustration of not being able read her emotion even when coming face to face.

As the new psychotherapist at The Grove, Theo encounters Diomedes who is in charge of Alicia's psychotherapy. Diomedes admires Theo's zeal to help Alicia, although he doesn't think he will have any success because he had tried for years and given up, he still allows Theo to try, thinking nothing will come of it.

Immediately Theo encounters deterrence from staff and patients when attempting to break Alicia's silence. Specifically with Christian Alicia's psychiatrist who appears to over prescribe Alicia with medicine. There's other staff and patients Yuri, who sometimes appears to be on Alicia's side but dabs in illegal narcotic behavior by dealing medicine, and Elif who has bouts of crazy behavior throughout the book.

Theo realizes the only way he is going to help Alicia is by understanding how she became who she is today.  So he starts an investigation of her past leading up to her being accused of murdering her husband.  This is when the shadiness scaffolds.  Theo visits Alicia's childhood home and is greeted by an Aunt who hates her and a tall brolly cousin named Paul who seems to be stuck mentally in adolescence because of his controlling domineering mother. It is here in her childhood home he learns things about Alicia's mom and dad that are troubling.

Theo also pays a visit to Gabriels brother Max Berenson whose demeanor frightens him when he tries to learn the dynamics and inheritance details that results from Gabriel's death. He later visits Jean-Felix Alicia's art studio partner who from the start seemed to be holding something back from Theo as he tried to learn more about Alicia and what inspired her art specifically the Alcestis painting.

Everyone around Alicia Christian, Paul, Max, Jean-Felix carried a piece to the puzzle of Alicia's past that helped lead to and maintain her silence.  Theo is determined to help Alicia put those pieces together, and even as he learns more about Alicia's past he formulates a way for her to do so, by painting.

Theo receives permission from Diomedes to allow Alicia to have an art studio at The Grove (insane asylum), miraculously Alicia starts to paint and as her painting burns into the mind of Theo.  Theo's troubles at home come to the forefront with his wife Kathy when he learns a secret that he tries to suppress in efforts to help Alicia break her silence.

This book is a page turner.  I did not want to put it down. I honestly can say I did not expect its ending. I literally yelled out loud OMG!, Wow!, the ending took me by surprise. If you are reader that likes "spin", this is a book to read.

Book Review By 
Nikola T. Naylor-Warren
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Monday, June 3, 2019

Nikola Reviews an Informative Episode of Real Housewives of the Potomac Season 4 Ep. 5

Let's Talk

It has been my experience with recent movies, talk shows, and comments that an educated aware African-American can sometimes share the flip side of the same coin in other words in order to recognize a sharp edge sword often one is a sharp edge sword, past examples the "brown paper bag party." What might it be in 2019?

I appreciated watching a more serious episode of The Real Housewives of the Potomac it was informative, it let me know, that some do know. Thank God! Often, I watch some of the other Real Housewives shows so I'm not reminded of what is, but instead reflect on what could be. However, I know that none of US, not even the other other Housewives shows anymore, especially women, are living in a time where we are at liberty to always be light-hearted and make everything superficial. It is also true that facing reality can weigh you down and sometimes you just want to laugh, be uplifted, and coast in bliss to the next destination. I did recognize the deliberate split in content RHOP made in this last one hour episode a lot of serious ending it with the ladies having fun.

On my personal twitter page my bio states that I like to be creative but often I am more compelled and inclined to tweet about the social injustices facing our country today than about my product designs, business ideas, and creative writing. I'm learning that sometimes you have to force the narrative to change in both action and words.

Two Thumbs Up RHOP

Review Written By Nikola Naylor-Warren
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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Nikola Reviews gives The Intruder Two Thumbs Up!

Nikola Reviews gives The Intruder two thumbs up and I am excited to write this next review. Thanks to someone I had the luxury of having the entire movie theater to myself. I truly loved the cinematography of this film, the setting was beautiful along with the attractive power couple Megan Good (Anna) and Michael Ealy (Scott). It also had some of my 'love to hate em' characters from other shows Tommy Eagan from Power, real life name Joseph Sikora who plays Mike in The Intruder, and Dennis Quaid who plays Charlie.

Just like Anna played by Megan Good I have dreamed of having a house just like the one her and her husband Scott (Michael Ealy) moved into. Only I haven't been willing to kill to get it, keep it, or MAINTAIN IT, similar to the recent ideas of some presented in the GEICO commercial.  It's comforting sitting in the shade!

Well any who, Dennis Quaid Charlie offers a closeness to the power couple after selling them his beautiful home in Napa Valley that penetrates deep under Scott's skin causing him to act what seems at first paranoid and irrational. Mike's character comically didn't stretch far from Tommy Eagans character because he was the first to detect Charlie's "to friendly creepy helper m.o.".  

Anna plays the lonely but privileged housewife having just moved into her 3. something million dollar home that her husband Scott just bought for her.  Anna is not happy with the time Scott spends at work, to pay and fulfill Anna's dreams of having and raising children in her fairy tale new home.  As she begins to decorate and maintain this huge Napa Valley home, Charlie who should of moved to Florida, seems to pop up at the opportune time to help Anna who is constantly disappointed by her husbands wandering eye and absence.

Not to spoil all that happens, this movie offers suspense and gall watchers will least expect. There isn't a dull moment throughout the entire film.  All the actors were A+, and most importantly again, the filming, location, choice of characters, made it pop.

Review Written By Nikola Naylor-Warren
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Monday, May 20, 2019

Nikola Reviews Gives Dead To Me on Netflix Two Thumbs Up!

Nikola Reviews just binged watched a series on Netflix called "Dead To Me" with Christina Applegate and I have to say it was the perfect show at the right time.  I completely identified with the emotional roller coaster Christina Applegate went through as a struggling single mom having to grieve her dead husband murdered in a hit-and-run, juggle a career, and kids all at the same time. I could not stop laughing at the raw honesty of dysfunction forced to function.  Often I think that's what all of us are doing but like to portray picture perfect lives instead of our best efforts.  I feel like as long as we're making our best efforts and things don't go as we planned it then you're still doing good as far as I'm concerned.

This show lets real emotion off the hook with no apologies just a direction to move past, move forward, and make improvements.  There are lots of extreme moments of tall tales, ridiculous drama, and just the plain outrageous.
But it was fun watching the characters attempt to make everything that is so wrong right.

Review Written By Nikola Naylor-Warren
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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Nikola Reviews Tolkien for Historical Film Lovers!

Review Written by Nikola  Naylor-Warren

For those who have an acquired taste for movie watching and don't bore easily with the sometimes necessary pace required to depict how greatness is achieved Tolkien has no choice but to move slowly into the evolution of how language is formed.

Language is not stolen but inspired....
Professor Wright

It is through the story of Tolkien we learn that language is not developed just through pronunciation of words, but through it's meaning, association, and most importantly what is felt by the individual when the words are spoken. 

This feeling and love of language was first planted at a very young age by Tolkien's mother's story telling and recitation of philosophers. Tolkien (Played By Nicholas Hoult) used language to cope with tragedy creating a world that he would eventually open up to us all through his own writings and story telling. 

Throughout the movie Tolkien takes a journey with three childhood friends one who may someday be a great writer like himself, suppressed in his chosen profession as a great poet Jeff, academically challenged Robbie, and last but not least fun loving Christopher.All make a pact to forward their futures and form a group and use the words of a famous writer to help assert themselves as they mature in society.

Tolkien enters a slow progressing love affair with Edith (Played by Lilly Collins) a musician who has lived a life of conformity and takes an interest in what Tolkien initially thinks is ridiculous- his imaginative use of language- which to his surprise offers moments of escape to Edith.

It is Tolkien's Professor, Professor Wright who brings to Tolkien's attention after a night of sorrow and drunken rage of ranting and raving using his made up language, that Tolkien is told that his words are not ridiculous but instead the beginning stages of how a new language is formed.

It is at this point that Tolkien begins to take his language seriously, but his education is cut short as Germany invades England. After facing death and salvaging his relationship with his lost love, he later goes on to develop his language and writes one of the greatest stories of all time using the interpretive words of language called "The Hobbit".

Review Written By Nikola Naylor-Warren
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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Nikola Reviews Blue Diary By Alice Hoffman

When I look for books to read, I look for books that open doors to perspectives or experiences that sometimes make you appreciate life a little better. Honestly, I look for books to read that help me escape from my own life and problems. Books that bewitch you with every turn of the page.  I've just finished reading another book that did just that. However, instead of helping me escape my own reality, Alice Hoffman captures in Blue Diary, the stillness of love and the vulnerability of stability before life throws you something you never quite fathomed possible.

As I started to read Blue Diary I was in awe of the love Jorie and Ethan shared.  I was so in love with how Alice Hoffman described how much Ethan loved his wife Jorie, and the hero like character he portrayed as the volunteer fireman who rescued a little girl from a fire, saved a teenager from a car wreck, worked full-time as the town contractor, and still had time to dote on his wife providing everything her heart desired that I tweeted under @NikolaReviews before I was even done reading the book  I started reading a new book and last night Alice Hoffaman's words made me reflect, there are things that are so beautiful, that feel so good in life that come for free that sadly not all of us experience.

Kat Willams is a twelve year old girl who lives next door to Ethan, Jorie, and Collie who is Ethan's son. Kat recognizes the father of her best friend Collie on a local news report for a murder committed 13 years ago. Kat is a complicated character with deep emotional wounds that she hides, she is smart, observant, and has the mind of an adult after she battles merely existing after her own father whom she loved dearly kills himself. Because of these unwanted wounds Kat sees to the soul of people past what most want others to see.

What Alice Hoffman has written so far in Blue Diary as a picture perfect life to be admired suddenly shatters in minutes as authorities arrive at the home of Ethan, Jorie, and Collie.  The book takes a turn in a very wrong direction that unleashes the unimaginable and the unforgivable.

As the book takes a turn, I the reader, do to.  I felt portrayed and begin reading the book looking for clues to uphold my original view.  The book unravels not into the mystery of the crime itself, but a mystery of character and the layers that time can add to a persons soul.

Review Written By Nikola Naylor-Warren
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As A Mom I Sometimes Try to Incorporate My Children Positively into Some of My Hobbies
My son is an undercover artist, I decided to include a sculpture he made for my book review.

NikolaReviews Gives "The Best Of Enemies Two Thumbs Up"

I saw a movie the other day "The Best Of Enemies" that I've been thinking a lot about, it chipped away at my resentment due ...