All posts by Dapper Dr Feel

About Dapper Dr Feel

Felipe Patterson aka Dapper Dr. Feel, #BlackLoveConvo & Entertainment | @fdapperdr Dapper Dr. Feel is a Entertainment journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association and African American Film Association.


I’m a Virgo: Boots Riley Delivers a Masterful Blend of Humor and Social Commentary

Jharrel Jerome as Cootie

Starring: Jharrel Jerome, Brett Gray, Kara Young, Allius Barnes, Olivia Washington, Mike Epps, and Carmen Ejogo

Synopsis: From visionary filmmaker Boots Riley, I’m A Virgo is a darkly-comedic fantastical coming-of-age joyride about Cootie (Jerome), a 13-foot-tall young Black man in Oakland, CA. Having grown up hidden away, passing the time on a diet of comic books and TV shows, he escapes to experience the beauty and contradictions of the real world. He forms friendships, finds love, navigates awkward situations, and encounters his idol, the real life superhero named Hero, played by Walton Goggins (Hateful 8Righteous Gemstones). I’m A Virgo is a mythical odyssey that questions the purpose of the mythical odyssey.

In a world inundated with formulaic television shows, I’m a Virgo (brainchild of the brilliant director and writer Boots Riley) emerges as a refreshing breath of fresh air. With its unique blend of humor, social commentary, and surrealism, this series does what all of Riley’s stories do…transcend the boundaries of conventional storytelling. Through its meticulously crafted characters and thought-provoking narrative, I’m a Virgo captivates viewers and leaves them pondering the intricate complexities of contemporary society.

Taji Mag had the opportunity to get an exclusive interview with the cast. From the quirky yet lovable protagonist to the ensemble of talented actors who authentically bring their characters to life, these interviews will offer unprecedented insights into the creative process, the challenges faced, and the profound impact I’m a Virgo may have on television.

Allius Barnes and Brett Gray
Kara Young and Olivia Washington
Jharrel Jerome

My Reaction and Review of the Show

Brett Gray as Felix, Kara Young as Jones, and Allius Barnes as Scat

Engaging Characters

One of the standout aspects of I’m a Virgo is its ensemble, which brings a diverse range of characters to life with great performances. Each character is meticulously developed, allowing viewers to forge a genuine connection with their stories and experiences. Every character feels authentic and relatable, from the quirky and enigmatic protagonist Cootie (played by Jharrel Jerome) to the eccentric supporting cast.

As Cootie’s father, Mike Epps had me cracking up with his advice and impromptu song lyrics. In every scene, he is acting a fool!… yet still provides support and love for his oversized son. 

Cootie’s crew consists of Felix (played by Brett Gray), Scat (played by Allius Barnes), and Jones (played by Kara Young), bringing out the best of our protagonist. They are the characters who expose him to the whole he desires to be a part of while his parents try their damndest to protect him from himself. They are my favorite part of the series, along with Cootie himself, because of the heart they possess and how they embrace Cootie. It reminds me of high school and how it took my circle of friends to help me find confidence and learn how to survive this new environment.

One of the biggest surprises for me was the Flora character, played by Olivia Washington. She is Cootie’s love interest and one of the few characters who genuinely understands his uniqueness. Washington is both endearing and rememberable in this role, the audience is bound to like her. I was really drawn to the expressiveness of her eyes while acting, especially when she sees Cootie for the first time.

The antagonist, Hero (played by Walton Goggins) serves as a vigilante who falls short with his approach but wins over the population with charm and technology. Although you want to hate him, his character is still compelling. 

The depth and complexity of the characters shine through as they navigate a surreal world that mirrors our own. They grapple with personal dilemmas, confront social injustices, and challenge the status quo, making the series a compelling exploration of human nature and societal dynamics which I found to be intriguing.


Walton Goggins as Hero

Surreal Humor

Boots Riley’s signature surreal humor infuses I’m a Virgo with an irresistible charm. The show seamlessly weaves absurd scenarios and witty dialogues, resulting in laugh-out-loud moments pushing conventional comedy’s boundaries. The clever wordplay and unexpected twists keep viewers engaged, constantly guessing what might happen next. The comedic timing is impeccable, and the satire cuts through societal norms like a blade.

Social Commentary

I’m a Virgo transcends pure entertainment, serving as a powerful platform for social commentaries, like all of Riley’s projects. Through its engaging storytelling, the series fearlessly tackles relevant issues, such as capitalism, racial inequality, and the dehumanizing effects of modern technology. Some of the commentary can be found in the popular cartoon Parking Ticket, a cartoon filled with violence, crazy antics, and random characters but essential messages are within each clip; it’s almost poetic. Boots Riley’s incisive critique of contemporary society encourages viewers to question the status quo and consider alternative perspectives.

The show’s ability to address weighty subjects with sensitivity and humor is commendable. By blending satire and social commentary, I’m a Virgo becomes an invaluable tool for sparking conversations about the challenges we face as a society, which is what I love about Riley’s work.

Visual Aesthetics and Soundtrack

Riley’s directorial vision shines through in the mesmerizing visual aesthetics of I’m a Virgo. Every element contributes to the series’ immersive atmosphere, from the vivid and imaginative set designs to the meticulously crafted costumes. The show’s vibrant color palette and inventive cinematography create a visual feast for the eyes, enhancing the overall viewing experience.

Furthermore, the carefully curated soundtrack enhances the emotional impact of each scene. The eclectic mix of musical genres perfectly complements the narrative, elevating key moments and intensifying the show’s overall mood. 


I’m a Virgo, directed and written by Boots Riley, is a television series transcending conventional storytelling’s boundaries. The show’s engaging characters, surreal humor, and thought-provoking social commentary stand as a testament to Riley’s creative genius by fearlessly addressing societal issues with wit and satire. Make sure to catch the series on Prime Video June 23rd.


Secret Invasion: A MARVELous Maze of Deception

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Marvel Studios’ SECRET INVASION, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Des Willie. © 2023 MARVEL.

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Emilia Clarke, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Olivia Colman, Ben Mendelsohn, and Don Cheadle

Where to Watch: Disney+

Release Date: Streaming June 21st

Season(s): 1

Synopsis: Secret Invasion is set in the present-day MCU; Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) learns of a clandestine invasion of Earth by a faction of shapeshifting Skrulls. Fury joins his allies, including Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), and the Skrull Talos, who have made a life for himself on Earth. Together they race against time to thwart an imminent Skrull invasion and save humanity. 

Marvel’s Secret Invasion has been one of the most anticipated series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and it’s finally here! With Samuel L. Jackson in the lead, after watching the first two episodes, I can say that this show is a thrilling addition to the MCU. So far, it lives up to all its hype.

In Secret Invasion, we follow Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the former head of S.H.I.E.L.D., his longtime ally Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), and a group of superheroes as they combat the Skrulls, a race of shapeshifters who have infiltrated Earth. The show is set post-Avengers: Endgame and focuses on the aftermath of The Blip, which brought back the half of humanity that disappeared after Thanos’ infamous snap. The show does an excellent job of addressing the implications of The Blip on society, Nick Fury’s absence, and the MCU as a whole.

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Rebel Skrull leader Gravik in Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

One of the biggest strengths of Secret Invasion is the powerhouse cast led by Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson delivers a captivating performance as Fury, perfectly capturing his gruff demeanor and sharp wit, but there is something different about Fury this time around. We see a softer side to him as he reconnects with old friends and makes new allies while addressing a familiar foe who poses a considerable threat to himself and humankind. It’s no surprise that Jackson’s presence brings depth and gravitas to the series, and audiences will be glad to see him take center stage in this action-packed adventure.

The supporting cast of Secret Invasion is equally impressive. Ben Mendelsohn returns as Talos, the Skrull who previously appeared in Captain Marvel. Mendelsohn brings humor and heart to the character; his dynamic with Jackson is a show highlight. Additionally, the show features a strong lineup of female characters, including Emilia Clarke (new addition to the MCU as G’iah) and Olivia Colman as MI6 agent Sonya Falsworth. Sonya is one of my favorite characters in the series because of her ruthlessness. Her confident presence is intimidating because she knows her way around pretty much any situation. Female characters play significant roles in this series as they help drive the story forward while handling their own personal missions.

Kingsley Ben-Adir plays Gravik, leader of the rebel Skrulls, and boy is he a formidable opponent. His mercilessness is shown early on as he is willing to destroy anyone or anything to achieve his goal. His expressionless demeanor makes him even more feared because you can’t actually tell what he’s thinking or, better yet, if he has anything to lose. I look forward to seeing how his character will impact the story. 

Olivia Colman as Special Agent Sonya Falsworth in Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

The plot of Secret Invasion is complex and multi-layered, but it’s executed with precision and finesse. The show keenly explores themes of identity and trust…fitting for a story about shapeshifters. Plenty of plot twists and turns will keep audiences guessing. The series draws from various Marvel Comics storylines, but manages to create its own identity and direction. While the show does have connections to the larger MCU, it can be enjoyed as a standalone story and, yes, it does make mention of why the superheroes we all love and know are not heavily involved early.

The Secret Invasion action scenes are top-notch and provide plenty of excitement. Director Ali Selim uses inventive camera work and editing techniques to showcase high-quality fight sequences and weapon usage. The show balances spectacle and character-driven drama, which is a winning formula for any superhero tale. Seeing a series with this level of scale on the small screen is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Rebel Skrull leader Gravik in Marvel Studios’ SECRET INVASION, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.

The series also benefits from high quality production with impressive visual effects and set pieces that boast a more than healthy budget. There’s no poor CGI here! The attention to detail with costumes and makeup is also commendable as the Skrulls seamlessly blend in with human characters.

Ultimately, Secret Invasion (outside of its slow start in the first episode) is a thrilling and satisfying addition to the MCU that lives up to all its hype so far, if not exceeding it. Samuel L. Jackson delivers a standout performance as Nick Fury, while the supporting cast is equally impressive. The plot is well-executed and explores themes of identity and trust that will resonate with audiences. Marvel fans and newcomers alike will find plenty to enjoy in this bold and ambitious series. Secret Invasion firmly cements Marvel’s dominance on both the big and small screen and sets the stage for what’s to come in the MCU. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself on Disney+ starting June 21st.


The Blackening…An Exclusive Interview with Melvin Gregg, Antoinette Robertson, and Jay Pharoah

Antoinette Robertson as Lisa in The Blackening. Photo Credit: Glen Wilson

The Blackening is the unapologetically Black film that will be in theaters just in time for Juneteenth weekend. I’m already dubbing this one a cult classic. In an exclusive interview with Taji Mag, actors Melvin Gregg, Antoinette Robertson, and Jay Pharoah open up about what it was like to work on such a revolutionary film. They share their thoughts on representation in Hollywood, some known Spades rules, and their ideal horror films.

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): Was it refreshing working on an unapologetically Black movie? And if yes, how so?

Melvin Gregg (MG): I could be unapologetically Black. A lot of times, I feel like I gotta kind of pull my Blackness back a little bit just because of the contrast to the task, but here I could be what’s really comfortable for me, which is an actor. You don’t always want to be comfortable, but it’s nice sometimes, especially in comedy.

Antoinette Robertson (AR): It’s nice that we weren’t diluting anything down. We came as our full selves. We weren’t making it palatable for anyone. We were just being ourselves. I really love the idea of Black people just being themselves on screen instead of being an idea of what Blackness is. 

Jay Pharoah (JP): The freeness of being able to talk like you talk when white people aren’t around. 

AR: No code-switching.

JP: Yes, no code-switching.

MG: Sometimes, it is automatic. I feel like people are saying “Why are you doing that?”, but it’s ingrained in us when some people are around. It’s not like you trying to put on some shit.

The Blackening stars Jay Pharoah, Antoinette Robertson, and Melvin Gregg

DDF: There’s definitely an uncredited star of the film…the game of Spades. If your partner is terrible at spades or does not know how to play, are they invited to the family cookout? 

AR: No 

JP: Nah

MG: They can come, but they can’t sit at the table. Just go do something else. 

AR: If you would like to maintain a good relationship with anybody (best friend, friend, family member, husband, wife, whatever the case may be), don’t let them be your Spades partner, ESPECIALLY if they can’t play. It’s different if you guys [could] read each other’s minds. If you can’t play, you can’t sit at the table.

JP: You gotta sit at the kid’s table. Where your knees are touching the edge of the table. 

DDF: Out of all your castmates, who would you choose as your Spades partner and why? 

AR: Grace (Byers)

MG: You chose Grace because she was your partner in the movie. 

MG: I would choose Grace or X (Mayo) because they know how to play. Jay doesn’t know how to play. 

JP: What? Where did that come from? 

MG: You said you prefer to play Uno. 

JP: No, I did not. I said I preferred to play Phase 10. I never said I didn’t know how to play Spades. 

MG: I didn’t feel the passion when we talked about it…Spades is a passion thing. 

JP: I make my books, bro. I make my books. I stand on that. 

MG: I remember you talked about Crystal Light and Phase 10. 

JP: I talked about Crystal Light because I don’t drink Kool-Aid.

AR: Your Black Card is getting revoked right now. 

PH: How is my Black Card getting revoked right now? 

MG: It’s not getting revoked, it’s under review. 

Yvonne Orji as Morgan and Jay Pharoah as Shawn in The Blackening. Photo Credit: Glen Wilson

 DDF: Could you be in a horror film outside of The Blackening? Who would be your co-star, and who would be the villain? 

AR: I’m going with Chucky as my villain and I am going with Blackface (an antagonist in The Blackening) to be my co-star because he is six foot six with big feet, and he’d kicked the shit outta that doll.

JP: My villain would be the Jeepers Creepers character. My co-star would be Sinqua Walls because we’ve known each other for like three years. I think we would find a way to mess him up so he wouldn’t eat us, you know what I mean? We’d probably do something like cut his wings off and barbecue them, some shit like that. 

AR: That’s so dark. 

JP: How’s it dark? Cut his wings off and barbecue them.

AR: You don’t have to eat him, though.

PH: Because I’m a Libra and we gotta do things on the scale. You know what I mean? We gotta keep it equal on both sides. 

MG: I’d choose X (Mayo), and my villain would be The Leprechaun. The Leprechaun would talk shit, but X would too. 

DDF: In keeping with Black traditions, there’s a Kool-Aid making scene in the film. What’s your personal recipe for Kool-Aid?

AR: It is not the diabetes version that he (Melvin) makes in the film.

MG: I’m not feeding my kids Kool-Aid. I look back at my parents and I’m like, “Why would you have me drink Kool-Aid?”. Why DID I grow up drinking Kool-Aid? It’s just sugar and water. I ain’t made Kool-Aid in so long.

JP: Crystal light. That’s my recipe for Kool-Aid. That’s why I’ll make Crystal Light. What did Chappelle say? Sugar, water, purple? I remember we had the blue and red flavors at my house twice. My mother was like, “you know, I’m out on this Kool-Aid”.

MG: It’s hilarious. One of my cousins, I took him to Florida. This n***a ain’t never been nowhere before, and he was at the restaurant. The restaurant employee was like, “What do you wanna drink?”. He was like, “red”. Then the guy was like, “Red what?”. Then my cousin was like, “Y’all ain’t got red? Like Hawaiin Punch? Y’all got purple?” and all of my friends from college, they were looking at him like “Yo, who is this?”


DDF: That’s hilarious. Thanks for sharing. So, what do you want the audience to remember about your character?

AR: Lisa is like every Black woman in America, there’s a lot bubbling. We could use a little bit more kindness. Protect black women a little bit more or we might, you know, lose our shit like Lisa did in the movie.

MG: King is resilient. You know? You knock him down and he gets back up and keeps fighting.

JP: I want them to take away my character. He’s a bit overzealous. A little too trusting. That’s what I want them to take away…and Black Lives Matter.


The Blackening – a Horror-Comedy That’s Unapologetically Black and Utterly Hilarious

Antoinette Robertson as Lisa, Grace Byers as Allison, Jermaine Fowler as Clifton and Dewayne Perkins as Dewayne in The Blackening. Photo Credit: Glen Wilson

Starring: Melvin Gregg as King, Grace Byers as Allison, Antoinette Robertson as Lisa, Sinqua Walls as Nnamdi, Jermaine Fowler as Clifton, Dewayne Perkins as Dewayne, Xochitl Mayo as Shanika, Yvonne Orji as Morgan and Jay Pharoah as Shawn

Director: Tim Story

Where to Watch: In theaters

Date of Release: June 16th

Length of Time: 1hr and 36mins

Fear and laughter go hand in hand in Tim Story’s latest offering, The Blackening. This horror comedy is hilarious, a laugh-out-loud blend of satire and humor that just works. And it’s about time someone put the actions and thoughts of real people on screen during a horror movie. Just to think, this all started from a viral short film on Youtube of the same name.

On the surface, The Blackening seems like your typical horror comedy. A group of friends travel to a cabin in the woods to celebrate Juneteeth ( I don’t know to many Black folk that would celebrate Juneteenth in the woods, which is acknowledged in the film.) Who becomes hunted by a killer in a creepy house and tormented by a mysterious killer, Black Face, who wants the group to play a game…until the last man or woman stands. The usual horror movie cliches are all there: weird police officers, bumps in the night, and an eerie atmosphere. But The Blackening takes these Black tropes and turns them on their head, so we end up with something fresh, fun, and absolutely bonkers.

Melvin Gregg as King, Grace Byers as Allison, Antoinette Robertson as Lisa, Sinqua Walls as Nnamdi, Jermaine Fowler as Clifton, Dewayne Perkins as Dewayne, and Xochitl Mayo as Shanika in The Blackening. Photo Credit: Glen Wilson

The tone of the movie is its biggest draw. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, which makes for a refreshing change of pace. Horror comedies are nothing new, but what sets Tim Story’s movie apart is that it doesn’t rely on cheap scares to get a reaction out of its audience. Instead, it finds humor in the absurdity of the situation, poking fun at horror movies and the Black experience in equal measure.

The entire cast is a delight and funny, but special mention Dewayne Perkins, who plays Dewayne in the film, returns as he starred in the short film that The Blackening was based on, he is more knowledgeable about the horror genre and the more believable and entertaining character. There was also, Clifton, played by Jermain Fowler, who was the nerdy archetype, think Urkel except weirder. There were several moments Fowler had campy moments on screen with the other characters, and when it comes to seeing who is the Blackest, he stuck out like a sore thumb because of his awkwardness. 

The horror elements are solid, but the comedy shines here because the characters react the way I, or any other Black person, would during these scenarios in the film.  Whether it’s a running joke about the town’s “blackening” or a ridiculous chase scene involving a 6’6 athletic man in a Black Face mask trying to murder a group of friends, there’s always something to laugh at. Basically, the antagonist is a hybrid of The Jigsaw killer, Ghost face from the Scream movies, and Jason from Friday the 13th. And it’s not just the quips and one-liners – the movie is packed with visual gags and absurd set pieces that had me howling with laughter. It’s not often you see Black characters in horror films live to fight the villain and, better yet, outrun them. The best I can remember is the Black character Julius in Jason Takes Manhattan, where he tried to fight Jason on a rooftop in New York. He threw a barrage of punches that barely affected Jason, only to have his head knocked off with one punch. Then there’s Joel ( Duane Martin) in Scream 2, who decided to do what I would do, leave the location where people are dying. I’m still cracking up at the fact he left Gale’s ass at the college with the camera and like, “People are getting murdered, and I’m out!”

The movie’s pacing is sometimes tight, and there’s never a dull moment. The jokes come fast and furious, but it never feels overwhelming. And while there are certainly some cringe-worthy moments – the gore factor is relatively high – Tim Story’s deft direction keeps everything in balance. The movie knows when to ramp up the tension and when to let loose with some ridiculousness, resulting in a thoroughly entertaining experience from start to finish. 

There may be some comparisons to Scary Movie and there but the film is more rooted in the completely Black experience in a horror movie, where the characters are predominantly Black, and they are completely different is personalities and how they interact with each other. 

Grace Byers as Allison in The Blackening. Photo Credit: Glen Wilson

Horror comedies are a tough nut to crack, but The Blackening hits the mark perfectly. It’s a movie that manages to be both genuinely funny and genuinely scary, a rare feat in a genre that usually leans too heavily on one or the other. But with Tim Story at the helm, we get a movie that’s both a love letter to the horror genre and a biting satire of it. It’s the kind of movie you’ll want to see again and again to catch all the little jokes and visual nods you might have missed the first time. I am sure this movie will have clips plastered all over social media and trending for weeks. 

In short, if you’re looking for a horror comedy that delivers laughs and scares in equal measure, look no further than The Blackening. It’s a wild ride that’ll have you cackling with laughter and cringing of your seat at the gore. And honestly, we could all use a good laugh right about now.


How This Black & Indigenous Curator is Putting Louisville on the Map

Huddled over a canvas or gazing thoughtfully at a sculpture, Shauntrice Martin is in her element. She has honed her craft for years, working with various media and exploring race, culture, and identity themes. Her art has captivated audiences in Louisville, KY and beyond, earning her a well-deserved reputation as a rising star in the city’s flourishing arts scene.

But for Martin, art is more than just a vocation. It’s a passion that extends beyond the studio into the community where she lives and works. As a Louisville Visual Art Association board member, she has actively engaged in the city’s cultural landscape, partnering with other artists and curators to bring new perspectives and fresh voices to the forefront.

For Martin, building awareness and understanding around issues of race and identity is always at the forefront of her work. “The stories of my ancestors inspire me,” she says, “those who were taken from their homes, families, and cultures and brought here against their will, their stories are our stories, and we must remember them”.

Martin’s work reflects a deep sense of connection to the past and a commitment to telling forgotten stories. Her mixed media pieces (including sculpture, photography, and textiles) are often layered and complex, inviting the viewer to engage with them on a deeper level. Using different textures and materials, Martin creates a sense of tension and depth that mirrors the complexity of her themes.

Throughout her career, Martin has been inspired by various curators, artists, and creatives who have challenged her to think more deeply about her work. Among her influencers are Kelli Morgan (Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Speed Art Museum), Poet and Activist, Hannah Drake, and Aurora James (a fashion designer committed to sustainability and ethical production).

Martin is also guided by the legacies of the artists who came before her, particularly those from her hometown of Louisville. “We are at the epicenter of creativity,” she says. “There is something incredibly innovative and culturally significant about the West End of Louisville in particular”.

For Martin, the West End is a place of deep historical significance, one that the experiences of African Americans and other marginalized communities have shaped. She points to the Ohio River (which played a key role in the slave trade) as a reminder of the city’s heritage and the need to keep telling these stories.

But despite the weight of this history, Martin remains optimistic about the future of the arts in Louisville. She is particularly excited about the work of artists like Hannah Drake, who push the boundaries of what is possible and create new conversations around race and identity.

For Martin, the importance of these conversations cannot be overstated. “We must continue to have these discussions, to push ourselves and others to think more deeply about the issues that affect us all,” she says. “It’s through art and creativity that we can begin to build bridges and find common ground”.

Martin is deeply committed to highlighting and promoting the work of other Black artists. She created Chahta Noir as a resource for artists to network and develop their skills. Some of the artists she has worked with include Lance G. Newman II, Tomisha Lovely-Allen, Sandra Charles, Ashlee Phillips, and Jon P. Cherry. For Martin, showcasing the work of Black artists is not just a passion but a mission. She believes that Black artists are often overlooked and undervalued in the art world and that it is her responsibility to help change that.

As Martin continues to make her mark on the Louisville art scene, her work serves as a reminder of art’s power to heal, inspire, and challenge. Through her captivating and thought-provoking pieces, she invites us to consider our histories, identities, and place in the world. In doing so, she reminds us that art is not just a product but a process that requires us to engage with each other and the world around us in new and meaningful ways.

Martin has had her work featured in some of the top art spots in Louisville. Places like the Speed Art Museum, Roots 101 African American Museum, Kennedy Center, and Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture & History have housed her works.


How The Flash Gave New Life to the DCEU Franchise in Just One Sprint

Starring: Ezra Miller, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon, Ron Livingston, Maribel Verdu, Kiersey Clemons, Antje Traue, Ben Affleck, and Michael Keaton

Where to Watch: In theaters

Date of Release: June 16th

Length of Time: 2hrs 24mins

Synopsis: Worlds collide in The Flash when Barry uses his superpowers to travel back in time in order to change the events of the past. But when his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, Barry becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod has returned, threatening annihilation with no Super Heroes to turn to. That is, unless Barry can coax a very different Batman out of retirement to rescue an imprisoned Kryptonian. Ultimately, to save the world that he is in and return to the future that he knows, Barry’s only hope is to race for his life. But will making the ultimate sacrifice be enough to reset the universe?

What can I say? I came for Micheal Keaton’s Batman and stayed because The Flash actually turned out to be a good movie. It is an ambitious and thrilling superhero adventure that more than lives up to audience’s expectations. From the opening frame to its pulse-pounding conclusion, this film is a frenetic rush of action, emotion, and mind-bending time-travel hijinks that will surely leave audiences satisfied. 

At the center of the film is Ezra Miller’s charismatic and vulnerable performance as both a current version of Barry Allen (aka The Flash) and a younger alternate version of Barry Allen. Miller brings a youthful energy to the role, capturing the unbridled optimism of a young hero with newfound powers and the deep emotional pain that drives him to use those powers to rewrite his tragic past. It’s too bad his recent legal issues have overshadowed his potential, as I am sure there would’ve been some award nomination buzz. 

But it’s not just Miller’s magnetic performance that makes this movie successful. The supporting cast also turns in fantastic performances, with Michael Keaton shining as the alternate version of Bruce Wayne/Batman and Sasha Calle bringing a certain gravitas to her role as Supergirl. Keaton’s introduction into the film is fitting, entertaining, and surprising as he is almost unrecognizeable in long hair and a beard. I may be slightly biased as an 80’s baby, but this is my favorite version of Batman outside of Christian Bale. 

We are all still recovering from the news of Henry Cavill not returning as Superman, but Calle’s performance gave me hope for the future. Calle’s portrayal was powerful and vulnerable; the writers gave the character a relatable and compelling story arc. 

Beyond some strong performances, The Flash excels in its special effects and action sequences. Director Andy Muschietti creates a visually stunning world as vibrant and colorful as the comic books on which it is based. Its extensive use of visual effects creates mind-bending action sequences that push the envelope of what is possible on the big screen.

I also enjoyed the return of the Kryptonians, General Zod (played by Michael Shannon), and Faora-UI (played by Antje Traue); they are even more brutal in this film than in their first appearance in Man of Steel (2013). When told to dominate and destroy without any sympathy, they annihilate humanity. 

Can we take a moment to talk about Keaton’s fighting sequence when they rescue Supergirl? It was beautifully shot and the fight choreography was masterful, paying a massive tribute to my favorite version of The Caped Crusader. I’m pretty sure this scene will be posted on Youtube and viewed more than a few times. 

However, what truly sets The Flash apart is its heart. At its core, this story is about the power of family, the pain of loss, and the desire for redemption. Muschietti handles these emotional themes with care and sensitivity while never losing the exhilarating sense of fun that propels the film forward.

Moreover, The Flash takes risks with the superhero genre, introducing time-travel elements that keep the audience on the edge of their seats throughout. Barry’s attempts to change history are compelling and suspenseful, adding depth and complexity to the storyline (something often missing in other DC films). 

There are a bunch of easter eggs and cameos that comic book fans will enjoy. If you haven’t already heard Twitter going crazy over it, I am sure you will because it definitely put a smile on my face, but don’t worry, I won’t ruin it for you. 

Overall, The Flash is a good superhero movie well-deserving of applause. It fully embraces the fantastical elements of the comic book world while delivering a meaningful emotional message.

In a time when the DCEU has struggled to consistently produce quality films, The Flash arrives on the scene just in time to be recognized as a 2023 summer smash. Although it’s not my favorite for ‘Comic Book Movie of the Year’, it still is one of the best DCEU films I have seen.


‘Flamin’ Hot’: A Sizzling and Spicy Tale of Success and Overcoming Adversity

Jesse Garcia and Dennis Haysbert in FLAMIN’ HOT. Photo by Anna Kooris. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

Where to Watch: Hulu or Disney+

Date of Release: June 6th

Length of Time: 1hr 39mins

Starring: Jesse Garcia, Annie Gonzalez, Dennis Haysbert, Emilio Rivera, Tony Shalhoub, Matt Walsh, Bobby Soto, Jimmy Gonzales, and Brice Gonzalez

Synopsis: This is the inspiring true story of Richard Montañez who, as a Frito Lay factory janitor, disrupted the food industry by channeling his Mexican heritage to turn Flamin’ Hot Cheetos from a snack into an iconic global pop culture phenomenon.

Flamin’ Hot is a movie that will spice up your life! The biographical drama tells the inspiring true story of Richard Montañez, the son of Mexican immigrants who went from janitor to executive at Frito-Lay by creating one of the company’s most successful products – Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Directed by Eva Longoria and starring Jesse Garcia as Montañez, the film takes viewers on a heartwarming journey of perseverance, passion, and ingenuity. We see Montañez facing adversity at every turn, but he never gives up on his dreams of success. The movie explores the complexities of identity, race, and class, all while celebrating the power of determination to overcome obstacles. In my opinion, this is why the film is so relatable to its viewers. 

One of the standout performances in the film is given by Annie Gonzalez who portrays Montañez’s supportive wife, Judy. The chemistry between Garcia and Gonzales is palpable, and their relationship serves as a testament to the power of partnership in achieving success. During my interview with producer DeVon Franklin, he mentioned the importance of Richard’s support from his wife and how vital she was to his success. 

Annie Gonzalez, in FLAMIN’ HOT. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

Another performance I applauded was by veteran actor Dennis Haysbert who plays Clarence C. Baker, another supporting and encouraging character who helped Richard in his pursuit of success. The chemistry between Haysbert and Garcia was a bromance for which I couldn’t help but cheer. I could see a hint of Pedro Cerrano, whom Haysbert played in Major League and Major League II

Brice Gonzalez (who plays Richard’s son) was adorable in this film, especially when he tried out the samples of Flamin’ Hot recipes. It brought me back to my childhood and my own reaction to tasting the spicy snack for the first time. His character added some cute heart-warming moments to the film. Also, how much Richard’s kids loved and believed in him was beautiful to see onscreen.

Flamin’ Hot also boasts impressive visuals with stunning cinematography perfectly capturing the film’s vibrant energy. There are plenty of mouth-watering shots of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that will leave viewers craving a bag of their own by the end of the movie. I know I did! It’s worth mentioning how Longoria makes the challenging flashback scenes and transitions work, a testament to her directorial skills. I’d say Longoria had a successful debut as a director and I look forward to checking out her future projects.

Overall, Flamin’ Hot is a film that will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted. It’s a celebration of the American dream and a testament to the power of hard work and ingenuity. If you’re looking for a movie that will ignite your passion for life, Flamin’ Hot is one to watch.


‘An Angry Black Girl and Her Monster’  Challenges Preconceptions Through Powerful Storytelling

Synopsis: Vicaria is a brilliant teenager who believes death is a disease that can be cured. After the brutal murder of her brother, she embarks on a dangerous journey to bring him back to life.

Starring: Laya DeLeon Hayes, Chad L. Coleman, and Denzel Whitaker

Director: Bomani J. Story

Where to Watch: In theaters and On-Demand

Date of Release: In select theaters on June 9th. On-Demand and streaming on June 23rd.

Length of Time: 140 mins

An Angry Black Girl and Her Monster is a powerful and thought-provoking movie exploring racial injustice and socioeconomic inequality. The movie tells the story of a young black girl struggling to navigate a world that often feels stacked against her. Despite her many challenges, she refuses to let her spirit be broken and instead finds solace in her studies and her pursuit of finding the cure for death…resurrection. 

Laya DeLeon Hayes brilliantly plays Vicaria, a poster child for STEM in the Black community. She is not only brilliant but also confident and loves her family…qualities we want to see more of in Black youth. She shares a close bond with her father, Donald (played by Chad L. Coleman) who struggles with drug addiction after the loss of both his wife and son, Chris. What is so interesting about the dynamic of Donald and Vicaria’s relationship is that even though Donald struggles with addiction, Vicaria still supports her father and is not ashamed of him. After all, they both have an addiction; hers is simply science-focused. 

Denzel Whitaker as the local drug dealer, Kango, is a character who is not reduced to just a lowly drug dealer. We see his character has more layers than he puts off. Only Whitaker could make this role work in this type of film. During an interview with director Bomani J. Story and actor Chad L. Coleman, we learn that Whitaker is one of the reasons some of the cast joined the project in the first place, including Coleman himself.

What makes An Angry Black Girl and Her Monster compelling is its unflinching honesty. The movie doesn’t shy away from complex topics, but instead dives headfirst into issues like police brutality, racial profiling, and poverty. Through its nuanced and thought-provoking storytelling, it encourages viewers to think critically about the systems of oppression in our society and consider how we can work together to bring about real change. I found the film intriguing because there is no real antagonist; like in the real world, for these characters there are only obstacles and their reactions based on their experiences. 

The film also touches on how Black men view themselves and their mental health. This is artistically depicted in Donald’s transitions into Chris, his Frankenstein-type monster. This is one specific reason why I feel a connection to the film and believe it could be used as a discussion piece for many others who want to have the discussion but don’t know where to begin. 

In addition to its powerful message, An Angry Black Girl and Her Monster is a wonderfully crafted movie. Its visual style is stunning with vibrant colors and intricate details that make each scene feel like a work of art. I applaud Costume Designer Cailey Breneman for the unique and creepy look of the monster, Chris, who is absolutly terrifying. Many gory horror films have cheap props and, instead of grossing out audiences, cause people to laugh or think “a 5-year old could do better”. That is not the case in this film, as the death scenes look convincingly real and can traumatize you if you are not a fan of gore. Story’s feature film debut is a success, lending him a promising future in the realm of not only horror but any genre into which he decides to venture.

Overall, An Angry Black Girl and Her Monster is a must-see movie that should be part of the cultural conversation. From the onset of the Black Lives Matter movement in July of 2013 up to recent events, this movie challenges us to take a hard look at our world and strive toward a better, more equitable future. I don’t expect all audiences to understand the film’s underlying messages and themes; however, I do expect the movie to spark more conversation about oppressed communities and discrimination…hopefully productive conversation that can lead to the further empowerment of Black communities nationwide.


DeVon Franklin on Flamin’ Hot: A Story of Perseverance and Belief

DeVon Franklin, Jesse Garcia, and Eva Longoria on the set of FLAMIN’ HOT. Photo by Anna Koori’s. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

DeVon Franklin is a well-known Hollywood producer, author, and motivational speaker who has made a name for himself by using his faith and values to guide his work. In a recent interview, Franklin shared insights about his latest project Flamin’ Hot, his views on the entertainment industry, and how he stays true to his beliefs in a challenging industry. From producing faith-based movies to navigating the complexities of Hollywood, Franklin’s unique perspective sheds light on the intersection of faith and entertainment in today’s culture.

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): Why was it essential for you to tell this story?

DeVon Franklin (DF): It was important for me because I found it motivational and inspirational. My main thesis in Hollywood and what I’m passionate about is telling authentic stories that can be uplifting and inspiring. When Richard Montañez told me his story about seven years ago, I said “Wow, you know, this is motivating me and it’s inspiring me.” I feel like if it did that for me, it would do that for others. 

DDF: You have given a lot of great motivational speeches and written a lot of books. I’ve read some of them and have seen Richard use the “learn to serve” practice. Are there other practices Richard used that you talk about? 

DF: Yeah. You know, it starts with service, you gotta serve your way to the top. You have to carry a crown before you wear one. Richard certainly exemplified that. Also, not allowing his job title to dictate his destiny, that was critical. He could have thought “Oh, well I’m just a janitor”, but he didn’t think that way. He’s like, “Well, I might be a janitor today, but tomorrow I could be CEO”. For him to see a vision for himself, that is when he realized his work was essential to his success. That’s one of the things that people may not realize, it’s there in the film in Richard’s journey. 

Also, Richard was a joy to be around. We portrayed it in the film that he became an employee of the month once, but he was employee of the month for years because he was working the hardest. He was there for his colleagues and his coworkers. He was there for his factory. My uncle used to say, “Our attitude determines our altitude”. I think people are going to see that in Richard’s story. He had the right attitude.

Another thing is support. He had the support of his wife, Judy, the support of his family, and the support of mentors like Clarence at the plant as well as the CEO, Roger Enrico. That support was essential for him to succeed in the ways that he did. 

DDF: What are some of the challenges you faced bringing this film to fruition, and how were you able to overcome them?

DF: You know, listen, making a movie is hard. I had a lot of challenges. One of them was getting the story right. Getting the script right where it needed to be and getting a studio ready to make the film was a challenge.

It took a long time, working on the budget and trying to figure out how we could make the movie that we wanted to make for the money that we were being given to make it. One of the most significant challenges in production was the factory. We had to recreate a Frito-Lay factory that was functional to produce chips, Doritos, Fritos, and Lays. It had to all work.

So it took a lot of engineering on our part from production designers and our art department and our director. That was the hardest thing that we had to do: to recreate an actual factory to the degree that it was functional and it looked believable on film. 

DDF: Flamin’ Hot touches on the themes of immigrant identity, hard work, and innovation. How do you hope audiences will receive these messages, and what impact could the film have on viewers? 

DF: You know, I hope the audience receives these messages. Well, I hope they receive these messages with enthusiasm and an open heart and an open mind. I do believe this movie is going to have an impact. We’ve tested the film in Los Angeles and Miami. We won the Audience award at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Those things are just indicators that this is a film that is connecting a strong chord with people. I think any of us can see ourselves in Richard; we all, at times, feel like an underdog. We all feel like we are underrepresented and overlooked. Yet, if we don’t let that be an excuse, then we can do great things. So my hope is the audience will take that away and that they, too, will become like Richard. 

DDF: What was it like witnessing the chemistry between Jesse, who plays Richard, and Dennis, who plays Clarence, on set?

DF: Oh, it was great. It was great, man. I mean I’ve worked with Dennis Haysbert before on my last film, and he’s a legend. I’ve enjoyed working with him. So when it came to casting, the part of Clarence was top of the list. It was great that he said “Okay, for DeVon, I’ll do it… usually I may not do it, but for you I’ll do it”. And so to see him and Jesse have such chemistry and for them to work together so well, to be able to bring the heart to the movie (and also some humor at times), that dynamic and that relationship was fantastic. It was [based] upon a real relationship that the real Richard had with a black mentor who worked in the factory. That character is inspired in part by real dynamics and a real story with Richard. So it was great to see Jesse and Dennis bring those characters to life.

DDF: This film was directed by the fabulous Eva Longoria. What was your reaction to the finished project, and where do you think her directing career will go after this? 

DF: My reaction was one of joy, one of amazement. Having worked on this film for so long, having a meeting with Richard and Judy, hearing their story, to be on set and to produce it, and then to see the final cut, it was unbelievable.

Eva is a phenomenal director. She will be one of the best and is honestly already one of the top directors in Hollywood. It’s just a matter of her continuing to have opportunities to show that. I’ve worked with a lot of filmmakers over my time as a producer. Also, I used to be an executive for Columbia Pictures, and so I’ve had experience with a lot of directors, and she is one of the best I’ve ever worked with. So I think that as far as her career goes, the sky is the limit. I feel like she’s going to only get more prominent as a filmmaker from here. 

DDF: What was your funniest memory on set? 

DF: Eva would bring her son to set. I think, at the time, he may have been two or three, and there was one time when he wanted to get in one of the boxes at the factory and go down the conveyor belt. So she put him up in the box and he went down the conveyor belt. It was just the cutest thing.

DDF: What is your earliest memory of experiencing Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? 

DF: Well, before developing the script and hearing Richard’s story, I had never had a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto. It wasn’t until we started working and started developing the script that I said, “I better try this product that I’m about to make a movie about”. I tried them, and I was like, wow! I understand the hype. They are highly addictive. I had to ration myself and say, “I’m only gonna eat these once in a while because if I make it a habit, it’s not gonna go too well. 

DDF: What was your favorite snack growing up since it wasn’t Flamin’ Hot Cheetos?

DF: Man, listen, Cool Ranch Doritos, Twinkies, Zingers, and that kind of stuff that I don’t eat right now. There used to be these apple pies, I can’t remember the name. Mother’s Oatmeal Cookies. I love those, man! So, yeah, those are some of the snacks I used to eat religiously, but what does Maya Angelou say? “When you know better, you do better”. So I had to move up off of some of that.

Check out Flamin’ Hot streaming on Hulu and Disney+ Friday, June 9th.


Behind the Scenes: A Conversation with Director Bomani J. Story and Chad L. Coleman About An Angry Black Girl and Her Monster

“An Angry Black Girl and Her Monster” is making waves in the independent film world with its 94% Rotten Tomatoes score. In this exclusive interview, Taji Mag sat down with director Bomani J. Story and veteran actor Chad L. Coleman to discuss the inspiration for the film, the creative process, and their aspirations for the future of Black Cinema in the horror genre. 

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): This is a fascinating film. I think of it as a horror concept film. Bomani, how did you come up with the idea? 

Bomani J. Story (BJS): It started with the literature. I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and was just floored by it. It gave me an anxiety attack. I loved it. After that, I knew I needed to do something with it because so much was left on the floor. I wanted to do something with it mixed with the muse of my two older sisters. It’s like I wanted to capture them and have them be an homage to it. That’s what spurred this story. 

DDF: Chad, how did you become involved with this project? 

Chad L. Coleman (CLC): Oh, I got a call about it from my agent. Then I found out that Denzel Whitaker would be a part of it. So I called him to vet out the director because I wasn’t familiar with Bomani J. Story. Mm-hmm. Once I found that information out and got more details, I knew it was going to be dope. To hear it from somebody I respect, like Denzel, it was a no-brainer. 

DDF: What was the process of creating and casting the Vicaria character played by Laya DeLeon Hayes?

BJS: As I mentioned before, it started with my older sisters. They were both my first contact with intelligence, you know? It’s like you don’t want to listen to your fucking parents say anything. The older sisters are old enough for you to respect and young enough for you to admire. So they took me under their wing. So it was just capturing my thoughts on them, how they move, and things of that nature. As for the casting, I mean, as soon as you see her (Laya DeLeon Hayes) audition, you just immediately [know]… it couldn’t be anyone else. I didn’t want to see anybody else after that. She was just fantastic. 

DDF: In the film, Vicaria mentions the women who inspire her. This includes Valerie Thomas (Data Scientist), Alice H. Parker (Inventor), and Marie Maynard Daly (Biochemist). How did you decide which historical figures to choose? 

BJS: To me, it was more of an exploration of how people are like, “I look up to certain people to do amazing things”; like notable inventors who created something incredible, started a movement, or did something unprecedented. There are many people one can place in this category, but for me, these were names that spoke to me.

DDF: Tell me about the development of Donald (Vicaria’s father), played by Chad L. Coleman. 

BJS: People can relate to that character. Wanting to protect your daughter and holding onto [personal] demons is something everyone faces on their own. I’m looking at my dad and how he raised us, things like that are what I could pull from.

DDF: Chris (the monster) has a unique relationship with his daughter Jada. Can you explain their relationship? After all, Chris is now an undead monster. 

BJS: I want to leave it up to the audience to interpret. You know what I mean? But I think Jada (Chris’ daughter) will look at things differently than an older person. As a child, the world is still so new to you. You’ll be more interested in things and look at life from a very innocent viewpoint.

DDF: Chad, what approach did you take to bring to life the Donald character? 

CLC: My life being a father and having a brother who faced many challenges in terms of substance abuse, but mainly being a father. Grieving for my Black sisters and brothers in marginalized places resonated deeply. The level of hurt, pain, and violence… the magnitude it has on the family. I think I was just excited that this dude’s exploration of it would not be candy-coated, that he went deep, and it had the resonance of The Wire for me, you know? I was excited that he could play on a classic like Frankenstein. When you think of Frankenstein, you don’t think of people of color. You don’t see the story’s relevance to us, and Bomani put that thing together amazingly. This will be an instant classic.

DDF: In the film, Donald struggles with drug addiction. Can you dive into this aspect of the character a bit?

CLC: He’s dealing with pain, feeling paralyzed, and feeling as if he isn’t completely able to protect his children. He’s unable to change his community and be that leader, the leader of his family in the way he wishes he could. So he had to inevitably self-medicate after losing the love of his wife and son. The family’s decimation carried a huge effect on this man, and it was essential to show that vulnerability.

DDF: This film resembles some of the obstacles Black men face today. Can you give your thoughts on this topic? 

BJS: Particularly for our situation, systematic pressure is multifaceted; it rears itself in different ways. Sometimes I like to think of it as a three-headed hydra. Whether it’s prejudice, classism, or sexism, they’re always just jumping and playing off each other. It’s like once you get rid of being impoverished, now we’re dealing with fucking prejudice, then sexism. When we get out of one, now you’ve got to deal with the other, you know? They’re constantly all just picking at you. That’s the type of shit we deal with. 

DDF: Chris’ physical character is akin to that of Frankenstein. How were you able to create the look for this monster? 

BJS: Yeah. With the book, one of the things that spoke to me was its themes of prejudice, how the monster is treated before he even opens his mouth. Today, that’s something, unfortunately, that we still have to face. People may not do it outright, and it’s slightly more subtle. It’s like another microaggression, they don’t humanize you or recognize you as human. The story was evolved around that.

DDF: Is there a film out there right now that you love, specifically a horror movie?

BJS: Yeah, I mean there’s been a lot of, like, this new, I don’t want to call it new age, but this wave of horror that’s been happening right now. I’ve been a big fan of films like Hereditary and The Wig. Then, you know, even further back to films like Black Swan, which I think is a horror film but not recognized. I feel like it introduced a new era of horror. I’m obsessed with the movie Pearl. Oh my gosh! That film is underrated, man. It’s a beautiful film! Yeah, it should have been nominated. Mia Goth’s performance is just insane. She’s fantastic! 

CLC: I’m an old-school guy. I like Carrie, The Thing, Aliens, The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Shining.

DDF: Chad, is there a horror film you would like to reimagine? 

CLC: I know it’s not considered a horror film, but I would recreate The Elephant Man. I would also like to play The Elephant Man because he doesn’t have to be a particular age. I think there’s so much in that story; just like An Angry Black Girl and Her Monster deals with so many social and political issues, so could The Elephant Man

DDF: What advice would you give to Black men?

CLC: We’ve got to be able to love ourselves, and we’ve got to take personal responsibility for the vulnerability. And it’s okay to be vulnerable, and it’s okay to go to therapy, and it’s okay to show love to one another. It does not make us weak. We’re going to be more robust when we stand up and bond with each other and understand that we are not each other’s enemy. It’s time for us to come together and support one another. It’s not just because I can rap or play basketball or I’m the most muscular guy. It’s because we got true love for each other. Stop judging each other, and stop bullying each other. Don’t be mad at me because I’m as smart as you. You know, I’m not judging you because you have challenges. Brothers of color need to come together. I tell my friends, we gotta stop worrying about somebody perceiving us a certain way. We need to look out for each other. It isn’t going to stop if we don’t stop it. 

DDF: Could you compare Tyreese, your character from The Walking Dead, and Donald in how they survive their environments? 

CLC: I think the similarities in the characters are the love of family and vulnerability. I believe [the concept of] a man who’s unable to be vulnerable is problematic for me, even though it may appear to be a sense of strength to society. How do you relate to your family? If you’re like a dictator, everybody’s scared of you. That’s not the most influential leader. So, I appreciate Donald doing his best and Tyreese doing the same with his sister. If you can’t model any level of vulnerability to the women in your life, that would be a problem.

DDF: What do you think people will get out of this film? 

BJS: I hope they get a little bit of intensity. You know, I hope they’re able to think a little bit. My greatest hope would be that people walk out of the theater with more than they thought they would get.

Catch An Angry Black Girl and Her Monster in theaters on June 9th.