Insight News

Oct 06th

Birthday Girl Mysteriously Dies in Atmospheric Thriller

Birthday Girl Mysteriously Dies in Atmospheric ThrillerThe Contenders

If you like unraveling multi-layered mysteries, but are interested in a whodunit a little less mind-bending and less time-intensive than the thoroughly-confounding Inception, then look no further than this readily-digestible character-driven drama. The facts here are quite simple. Nora (Anna Gutto) and Ken (Nick Stevenson) have decided to host a birthday party for a friend at their sumptuous, beachfront summer home with a view.

Unfortunately, complaining of a headache from a minor car accident which occurred en route, the guest of honor upon arriving excuses herself to an upstairs bedroom to lie down to recuperate. Ken, the only person to check-in on her, offers her aspirin as relief from the aches and pains caused by the fender-bender.

Mediocre Multi-Layered Mindbender Not Nolan’s Best

Mediocre Multi-Layered Mindbender Not Nolan’s BestInception

I can count on one hand the number of directors who’ve had four of their films land on my annual Top Ten List. In the case of Christopher Nolan, there’s Memento (2000), Insomnia (2002), Batman Begins (2005) as well as The Dark Night (2008), which was my #1 pick a couple years ago. So, naturally, I eagerly-anticipated the release of his latest offering, a multi-layered sci-fi thriller about mind control starring Leonardo Di Caprio.

Unfortunately, Inception fails to measure up to this critic’s high expectations, although it is an amusing enough diversion to remain recommended. That being said, the film’s flaws are considerable, starting with its unwarranted length of 148 minutes. For, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, it’s easy to see how about an hour’s worth of its premise-establishing celluloid is actually inconsequential filler that should have hit the cutting room floor.

The second problem is the amount of mental gymnastics necessary to follow a hopelessly-convoluted plot desperate to be way too clever for its own good. Sorry, I happen to resent it when a summer blockbuster feels more like an SAT test than relaxing escapist entertainment.

The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America

The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  and Race, Class and Crime in America “This book is about more than the arrest of one man. It is abut how we need to examine our criminal justice system to ensure that fairness, not power, is the currency of our system. When we move from a presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt, we diminish our sense of community and undermine our democratic ideals.

I examine the race and class dimensions of the Gates arrest by looking at how other successful, prosperous and noteworthy African-American men have grappled with a wide range of encounters not only with the police but with countless everyday citizens and have found themselves being judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character… Ultimately, if we are to move forward as a nation, we must… develop a justice system that is truly committed to the presumption of innocence.”
-- Excerpted from the Introduction (pg. 13)

When Dr. Henry Louis Gates was arrested for breaking into his own home last summer, black and white America’s diametrically-opposed response to the alleged misunderstanding was reminiscent of the two groups’ similarly contradictory reactions to the Rodney King beating, the Amadou Diallo shooting and the OJ verdict. But what made the Gates case more intriguing was the fact that here was a revered Harvard Professor who relies on a cane being carted off in handcuffs like a common criminal, and even after the cops knew full well that they had made a mistake.

In an Introspective Mood

In an Introspective MoodTavis Smiley - The “Been in the Storm Too Long” Interview

From his celebrated conversations with world figures, to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, as a broadcaster, author, advocate and philanthropist, Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change. He is currently the host of the late night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show on Public Radio International (PRI).

Time Magazine honored Mr. Smiley in 2009 as one of "The World’s 100 Most Influential People." The Smiley Group, Inc. (TSG) is a communications corporation established in support of human rights and related empowerment issues. TSG serves as the holding company for various enterprises encompassing broadcast and print media, lectures, symposiums and the Internet.

Here, Tavis talks about Been in the Storm Too Long, a special report on the City of New Orleans airing on PBS on July 21st ET/PT. He also speaks about the On Your Side Tour with Tavis Smiley, a series of free financial empowerment workshops he’s staging in various cities around the country between now and the end of 2010.

Neo-soul artist Tiffany Carter says 'You ain't seen nothing yet' to Minnesota!

Neo-soul artist Tiffany Carter says 'You ain't seen nothing yet' to Minnesota!The room was awestruck, catatonic; lost in the haze of trying to exist inside a memory on the night of “Chantel SinGs Presents Diva’s on the Rise Part 2: A Celebration of Women and Empowerment,” as R&B and NEO-SOUL artist Tiffany Carter exited the stage after wowing crowds with her vocal instrument at the Lounge Night Club.

It’s rare when a guest act becomes the main attraction, but not for Tiffany Carter whose musical gift, in front of and apart the microphone, make every second feel like a melodic journey to the forefront of an ear sensation.

Igniting excitement in her audience, and fulfilling an inherent need never met when prior artists have braved the microphone, Carter, who was fresh off the steam of opening up for National R&B artist Case, a few weeks prior, commanded the stage at “Divas on the Rise” like a headliner, giving us a quaint visual of what’s to come when she’s the exclusive answer to every musical question.

How pets can help you heal

How pets can help you healPet owner recalls how her dog’s companionship assisted her recovery from surgery

Man’s best really can do a lot more than fetch.

Studies have shown for years how pets can help us emotionally as well as physically. They can give us a sense of purpose; help ease loneliness and isolation, while helping us to keep our blood pressure and cholesterol levels low, as well.

Just ask Sara Krill, author of the book My Pal Lou: The Story of Me (, who recalled how her faithful beagle Louie eased her pain when she was recovering from a painful hysterectomy brought on by endometriosis.

“I can’t describe the heartache of the decision I finally had to make to have the surgery,” she said. “I had always wanted children, but the pain of the endometriosis became too much to bear, often bringing me literally to my knees. I knew that once I had the surgery, there would be no chance whatsoever that I could have a child of my own. That being said, perhaps I transferred those maternal feelings to the way I treated Lou, but the truth is that my relationship with him helped to heal me, and kept me whole during one of the most difficult periods of my life.”

The Last Airbender

The Last AirbenderLike clockwork, every two years during the summer Indian born writer/director M. Night Shyamalan comes to the cinematic table with a film of intrigue and suspense that proposes to raise eyebrows and ignite questions from its audience.

But since the late summer release of his 1999 chilling mega hit “The Six Sense,” he’s often failed to pull in Hollywood’s beloved box office numbers. These numbers don’t necessarily speak to one’s ingenuity, but they mark the difference between being known for the ability to draw viewers to the box office, versus suffering from the seething point of view of Hollywood’s finest film critics who can make or break the success of a film in one short review.
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