LEGEND is Tom Hardy’s Tour de Force

Film Title: Legend

(L to R, center) Ronnie and Reggie Kray (TOM HARDY) raise a glass at their mother?s home in ?Legend?. From Academy Award? winner Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) and Working Title comes the true story of the rise and fall of London?s most notorious gangsters, both portrayed by Hardy in a powerhouse double performance.

legend-posterFilm Review by T.C. Lesesne

Fat chance anybody has ever heard of the Kray brothers. The British outlaws were bigger than life, and ruthless to the core, and yet captured the fancy of London’s high society as club owners and hosts of lavish entertainment events that attracted some of London’s most respected politicians and celebrities on the 1950’s and 60’s.


ONE AND THE SAME: yet so different – Tom Hardy as both Ronnie (left) and Reggie Kray (right)

The trailer alone for LEGEND got my attention strictly due to the awesome look, style and bold statement revealing that Tom Hardy, just off the monster success of the 2015 mega-hit MAD MAX FURY ROAD.

With LEGEND, the dynamics are amazing and the tone is sizzling. The soundtrack is classic, and the performances are absolutely on point, especially that of Tom Hardy who got my attention with a fabulous performance in the last installment of The dynamics are amazing.


The REAL Kray brothers – Reggie (left) and Ronnie (right) Photos by Getty Images

The soundtrack is classic, and the performances are absolutely on point, Legend comes the theaters with lots of height and expectation, and even more anticipation at the opportunity to watch Tom Hardy portray both Reginald and Ronnie Kray, the notorious  British gangsters who rose to fame and fell hard  in the 60s.


Smooth but violent- both brothers (both player by Hardy) were equally lethal, yet inexplicably fascinating – hence a movie about them

Legend is a beautiful is shot highly stylized gangster film set in the 60’s in the East End of London and captures the rise of twin brothers Reggie, the handsome and socially sophisticated entertainer and club owner, who is also a ruthless and brutal gangster who cares deeply about his own neighborhood. Then there’s Ronnie, the psychopathic, mentally ill, murderous twin who has plenty of corks and issues that he deals with as intelligently as he can while his mental health deteriorates in his rise to power.


in spite of a few plot holes, LEGEND is all the more fun to watch when both brothers are on screen together- supported by the magic of movies, hardy is able to work with…himself

The two brothers are inseparable and totally devoted to one another in spite of the collision course that their actions, personalities and crimes bring them head to head.


Making a point: Ronnie Kray shows that action speaks louder than words in a bold and unexpected action a scene from LEGEND

The film also exposes another love story deeper than that of the two brothers. It is a passionate yet toxic love relationship between Reggie and the gorgeous young Francis, a girl from the East End hood and sister to one of the mobsters who work for Reggie. Their story often dominates the film as it helps reflect the gradual downfall and mental decline of both of them due to the stress of their lifestyle in crime and club-life.

Kudos to LEGEND director Brian Helgeland for capturing the look feel and style of the 60s while managing to keep the film balanced.

Film Title: Legend

Academy Award? winner BRIAN HELGELAND (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) on the set of ?Legend?. From writer/director Helgeland and Working Title comes the true story of the rise and fall of London?s most notorious gangsters, Reggie and Ronnie Kray, both portrayed by Tom Hardy in a powerhouse double performance.

Kudos to the cast as well, pacifically to Tom Hardy who was able to provide a straight ahead yet compassionate performance of both brothers, in spite of their psychopathic, criminal and murderous intentions. This film is certainly a must see for your 2015 end of year film list.

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Miami Urban Music and Film Festival featuring breakout hip hop & Soul Talent

Razor brings his stylish but hard hitting talents to the MUMFF

Razor brings his stylish but hard hitting talents to the MUMFF

The Miami Urban Music and Film Festival is proud to showcase an impressive lineup (that’s continuously growing) of emerging south Florida talent on September 25th and 26th. Miami artist “Razor”  is a velvet-voiced R&B singer poised to take the stage along with 18 year old  Hip hop sensation “Don Juan.”   Also in the lineup  is “K-Bo” who brings a unique perspective to URBAN hip hop.

The Miami urban music and film festival is a grassroots effort  to bring Miami based  musical talent, producers,  film makers various other creatives before new audiences. Bringing all these groups together to form support networks and shared resources.  The event and subsequently planned activities throughout the year aim to fortify  a viable sustainable economy and successful  culture.

18 year-old Miami phenom Don Juan won over the MUMFF  organizers .

18 year-old Miami phenom Don Juan won over the MUMFF organizers .

These artists have registered, auditioned, and shown that they are ready  to step up the game. “They are delivering music that is  raw, and honest and that’s what we’re looking for” said Tony C. Lesesne, who us one-of the producers of the MUMFF. “They are young so they’ve got so much potential that we feel with the right level of consistency, they have a shot at success on a national and even international level.”
MUMFF organizers said supporters and advocates of the MUMFF  have lots of ways to stay connected. Lesesne Media Group Entertainment will sponsor media outreach, video interviews and media releases that will appear on its web channel (www.lesesnemediagroup.com) .

Stay up to date with the MUMFF each day on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube

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STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON – an instant cassic

11800482_917211135011947_8129127646553427858_nby Tony C. Lesesne

Straight outta Compton is charting a record-setting path by hitting the #1 spot two weeks in a row. Personally I must say that having kept up with the group in N.W.A. with great fascination, I was also eagerly anticipating the release of this film, and was very excited to catch the early screening of the film. I’ll tell you now that I will not provide you any spoilers that will ruin any part of the film. What I will do is examine the elements that make a film a hit, or a bomb as best I can.

THE STORY/SCRIPT – We all know that there was far too much drama, excitement, and tragedy to go around with each of the individuals involved with N.W.A. FROM 1986 to 1991 and beyond to try to pack into a two hour film. 11813334_915041315228929_4968207816632537956_nBut the script was outstanding for a number of reasons. Right from the start we see that this is a film that is a period piece, and a slice of musical history. Its also a coming of age story that captures a time in Los Angeles, and America when gang violence and drugs, race relations, hip hop music, and police brutality came together for a toxic mix that helped shape each of the members of NWA.  It’s exciting to see the story that effectively blends documentary realism with the true-to-life members in a balanced well organized fashion. The script moved quickly and captured the rise of this group and some of the tragic and dramatic turns that we often read about in the news, or saw tv coverage on MTV.

THE ACTING – For this film become effective, the actors have to look and play the part of some of hip-hop’s greatest icons. That’s a tall order and I must say that the task was achieved far beyond my expectations. Specifically Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr. who truly rose to the occasion in such a way that it was hard to tell the difference between the two. Other notable performances included the lead actor Jason Mitchell who portrayed Eazy E as a gangsta with charisma, style, bravado and yet vulnerable. 11794167_914918138574580_6288103470061940906_oAlso notable was R. Marcos Taylor, the actor who portrayed the notorious and infamous Suge Knight. Not only did he look the part but he was menacing and charming, crazy and volatile. So the acting was absolutely on the money.

THE MUSIC – All I can say is it crushed. Nothing more to say there.

THE SETTING & TONE- Yes indeed the film captured the essence of a group that gave voice to inner-city black America. It was a voice that horrified many, and forced some to even try to ben them, or force them to censor their shows.  11694164_904986656234395_5782591006728701650_nThey openly railed against bitches, hoes, punks, snitches, police, and commonly dropped lyrics about sex, drug dealing, robbery, gang banging, black on black crime, and the need to make it out of the hood. The thing that most don’t realize is that they were not referring to themselves in their music, but rather speaking from the eyes of people violent people they knew and saw in their communities. 11059615_915439541855773_4074939744898419930_nYes much was left out especially some of the controversial elements associated with some of the members that are not so desirous of a person. Also not much was made of the is relating to celebrating gun violence and degrading women. Still the film is an instant classic as far as I can see. You check it out and tell me what you think.

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Johnson+ earthquakes, + tidal waves=Box Office Success

screen-shot-2015-02-24-at-10-44-38-am-124683Put Dwayne Johnson in a tight life-or death situation along with a monumental collapse of a big chuck of California and you’ve got some eye-popping action that is winning at the box office.

Watching this kind Billy-Corbenof terror seems to thrill audiences, as long as the threat isn’t real, but knowing that the San Andreas fault has the real potential to completely wreck shop adds fuels to the flames of fear but seems to entice audiences as well. LA is simply devoured as buildings tumble and crash to the ground, and waves the size of mountains roll into the coastline with beautiful yet horrific detail as CGI stuffs the wreckage in your face. San-Andreas-Movie-Review-Image-5All you can hope for is that Johnson and his daughter get through it alive. not mush of a great scrip tis needed here, just let nature crush everything and allow Johnson to do his thing.

Who DOESN’T love THE ROCK. He’s bankable and fun to watch, so Hoorah for THE ROCK…uh, make that Dwayne Johnson, who this past weekend topped the North American box office with a BANG as his latest action flick San Andreas opened to an estimated $53.2M. WOW!maxresdefault That marks a new career high for a solo star of a movie. San Andreas is the high-octane, cataclysmic Warner Bros. disaster film that averaged an impressive $14,089 from 3,777 locations and truly exceeded film industry expectations.san-andreas-movie-1
hoover_dam_falls_in_san_andreasAlthough reviews were lackluster, movie-goers boosted the film for the spectacle (and special effects) of West Coast destruction and for Johnson’s mega-star wattage, especially female audiences that made up 51% which is rare for action movies.

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Kingsmen: The Secret Service is a funny, bloody thrill ride

Stars of Kingsmen

Stars of Kingsmen

Say what you want about academy nominee Samuel L. Jackson, but I say he makes a great and comical villain as a Russell Simmons-like genius gone over the edge in the hilarious, yet ultra-violent Kingsman: The Secret Service. Jackson and Gazelle, his blade laden, yet exotic sidekick are as fun to watch as anybody else in this film, except academy winner Colin Firth, Firth takes control of the story with style, wit, and bucket loads of kick ass, take no prisoner hand to hand combat sequences that rival The Matrix.

Tragon Egerton takes on the lead role as Egsy, a rough and tumble young man from the rugged streets of London who has enormous physical and mental skills, but no real direction. He succeeds in the most important way; being likeable and relatable to audiences. In the film, Egsy is recruited by secret society super agents called the Kingsmen. But to make it in, he has to compete for a spot on their world-saving super team. This happens just as a maniacal billionaire entrepreneur comes up with a new technology to wipe out half the planet.

Egerton plays a new super agent

Egerton plays a new super agent

What’s fun about Kingsman: The Secret Service is that is pays genuine homage to the super-agent genre while still being funny, not corny, and at the same time, not taking itself too seriously. But seriously folks, the violence are extreme, and unapologetic, so hang on to your seats when the fighting begins.

Mark Strong makes a point inKingsmen

Mark Strong makes a point inKingsmen

There is no love interest, and the plot and action move at a steady clip, with some eye-popping sequences that you see in the biggest, baddest spy films ever made. Instead, actor Mark Strong as Merlin helped bring depth to the story as the man responsible for training Kingsmen, and also is a super hacker for the organization. Strong’s character was a critical element of the success of the film, especially in the third act. Michael Caine is as reliable and as entertaining as ever as the stiff, arrogant head honcho for the Kingsmen.

Samuel L. Jackson is the brilliant super-villain

Samuel L. Jackson is the brilliant super-villain

The comic book-inspired earned an estimated $35.6M from 3,204 locations for a muscular $11,111 average on its opening weekend. Those polled by CinemaScore gave a decent B+ average grade while reviews were generally positive. The opening weekend performance was at the same level as Denzel Washington’s last film The Equalizer (also R) which debuted to $34.1M and not far from the $39.2M of Liam Neeson’s Taken 3. That’s great company to have and Kingsman: The Secret Service is one film I’d advise you checking out if you love spy genere flicks.

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Fifty-Shades-Grey-Movie-Pictures-From-Set (1)“Going in, I was keeping my expectations low because so much hype has been built around this film that the only way it could go is downhill, unless there would be some academy-worthy acting, or a screenplay that just killed.  ‘Fifty Shades’ turns out to have more sex that SEX AND THE CITY and more intensity than TWILIGHT (but for the grown girls). I guess that tells you who the target audience is right?

To my surprise, the first act had wit and humor and intensity than Sex and the City and more intelligent and far more sexual than Twilight. Fifty Shades even at times managed to cross into the realm of a romantic comedy.  And for the record, the soundtrack was bangin’ from start to finish. From a sexy, slower Beyonce rendition of “Crazy in Love” that provided a dynamic and quite erotic effect, to the swinging guitars and screams from the Rolling Stones, the tracks gave the film a throbbing tempo and ambiance.

rs_1024x759-140117151237-1024.jamie-dornan-dakota-johnson-50-shades.ls.11714_copySo here’s the real deal; this movie is quite erotic and hyper-sexual so if you’re queasy about seeing naked bodies doing the wild thang, over and over again then definitely avoid this film. In the story, we meet Anastasia, who is about to graduate from college. Before that, she agrees to stand in for her sick roommate for a scheduled interview with the young handsome Seattle billionaire Christian Grey. As the interview progresses, Christian realizes that he is attracted to Anastasia and she is fascinated with him as well.heres-the-first-trailer-for-fifty-shades-of-grey-that-was-too-racy-to-show-on-tv

The billionaire hunk is so drawn to the awkwardly sweet, easy-going college girl from a middle class family that he goes after her with all he’s got. Her dazzles her, and seduces her, but then it gets very interesting as the love story gets more sexual, and much more edgy. This is where the controversy emerges because as soon as he learns that Anastasia is a virgin Christian takes his pursuits to a new and fascinating level because we learn that he is a “dominant” and wants her to be his “submissive.”1D274906429135-x_tdy_fifty_shades_trailer_140724.blocks_desktop_large

fifty-shades-greyNo spoilers here, but I will say that Johnson, is a solid actor who’s fun to watch, and her body is captured as the erotic landscape that Christian explores at length.  The second act could possibly be described as a high-budget soft-core porn film that wrestled with love, desire, sex, dominance, choice and psychological instability. dakota-johnson-in-50-shades-trailerYou watch both characters evolve in ways that were surprising and refreshing because the young couple impacted one another so much that they both had to make hard choices, and difficult compromises to preserve their unique relationship.


Again, this is not a film to see if you’re looking for a high-concept brain challenging thriller. It’s a twisted, erotic, relationship-driven fantasy romance film that takes you inside an intriguing relationship. The moral of the story; LOVE HURTS!

Tony C. Lesesne is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Lesesne media Group Entertainment and movie aficionado for the HOLLYWOOD SPOTLLIGHT. Check out his shows each week at  http://www.lesesnemediagroup.com

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Chris Rock’s Top Five surprises

Tony C. Lesesne

Tony C. Lesesne

Chris Rock’s Top Five was a surprise in many ways. Rock turns in an intelligent, raucous, fast paced comedy with an ensemble of supporting comedians on the cast that make it his best work yet.

top-five-posterRock, who also wrote and directed the film, plays as Andre Allen, a former stand-up comedian who’s been in some stupid but high-grossing films and now wants a serious change.
Andre is back in his home town of New York City to promote his first “serious” film, Uprize, about the Haitian slave revolt of 1791. His fans want no part of it but rather want more of the same silliness they have come to know and love, which is Hammy, the crime-fighting bear. It’s clear that Uprize is a horrible movie.
top fiveAdding fuel to Andre’s frustration is planned wedding to reality-TV star Erica (Gabrielle Union), just as he agrees to an interview with New York Times reporter Chelsea Brown, played by Rosario Dawson.

What follows is an adventure between the two and an exploration of both of their lives and decisions.  Rock is seriously funny, intelligent, and witty. He also should be commended for including a star-studded cats with such proven talent as J.B. Smoove as his manager/handler/bodyguard; Kevin Hart as his agent, apparently trying to outdo Quentin Tarantino for use of a certain racial pejorative; and Tracy Morgan as just one of Andre’s funny friends from the hood.

The scenarios are often sexual, over the top, and from time to time, even cute as we see both Rock and Dawson expose the pain and struggle they both have with addition and relationships. Union gets credit for making her character, Erica, and model of fame for fame sake and what she is willing to do to stay in the limelight.
Cedric-the-Entertainer-in-Top-Five-Movie-Film-2014The surprise scene stealer was Cedric the Entertainer, who turned in one of his most dynamic performances of his career as a bigger than life street hustler turned hilarious Houston comedy promoter.

I definitely suggest all film aficionados and comedy lovers to check out Top Five, as it may be a comedy classic when we look back at the work of Chris Rock.

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