Gail Choice | 12/15/2010, 5 p.m.
Before you know it, Christmas Day will be here. Just in case you haven't finished your shopping, I'd like to offer these DVD suggestions to add to the video libraries of your loved ones, friends, neighbors and co-workers.
"This Christmas" (2007). If this is not a part of your family video library, it should be. I predict that "This Christmas" will stand the test of time and become a Black family classic. It's a feel-good movie, with all the head-trips, fights, mishaps, and love that makes up a family. The star-studded cast includes such favorites as Idris Elba, Loretta Divine, Columbus Short , Regina King and Mekhi Phifer.
"The Princess and the Frog" (2009) relays the notion that every little girl deserves to be treated as a princess. It's uplifting, funny and very Disney; a real joy. No doubt there will be a number of Princess Tiana toys under the tree, this special gift, not only marking history as Disney's first black princess, but underlining the fact that dreams do come true.
"Takers" (2010). Okay, I could say this movie is for your female family members and friends, but that would do this exciting, action flick a disservice. "Takers" is a nonstop, full-throttle nail-biter that just happens to have a very good-looking cast. Idris Elba, (I can never tire of looking at him), Michael Ealy, and Matt Dillon take us to the edge. We're looking for a sequel.
"Expendables" (2010) should definitely be on your list. The cast of "Takers" may look good, but it takes old school to show them how to survive and kick some serious butt. Sylvester Stallone put together one heck of a team who fight like they have nothing to lose, not even their lives. From Jet Li taking on Dolph Lundgren to Terry Crews in his first action hero role, this movie is lots of fun and very clever.
"Losers" (2010) didn't do that great at the box office, and that's a shame. The movie was a blast. After being betrayed and left for dead, members of a CIA black ops team root out those who targeted them for assassination. The promotion focused on actress Zoe Saldana and left the rest of the stellar cast like Idris Elba, Columbus Short, and Chris Evans hanging. If the promotional focus had been more on the team film-goers would have been all over this movie. I predict this film will do well on DVD.
For the romantics in your life, "Just Wright" (2010) is just right. This is a modern-day romance complete with golddiggers like Paula Patton, out to get her a basketball starter and her best friend who is never considered a threat. Common stars as the heartthrob in this game of winner takes all. Queen Latifah scores big in this movie, and takes on the plight of the big girl who, too, is looking for love.
The remake of "The Karate Kid" (2010) is fantastic. Young Jaden Smith is whisked off with his mom (Taraji P. Henson) to China. Of course he's bullied to the point that even my chest hurt from all the kicks he took. But our man Jackie Chan (Mr. Han) teaches him the art of Kung Fu correctly and with honor. The lovely vistas, a look at how Chinese live and work, add excitement to the film, and speaking of excitement, props to Jaden for getting into such great shape, and showing off his athletic skills.
"Black Dynamite" (2009) is for those brothers and sisters who talk a lot about back in the day. Michael Jai White stars as the legendary Black Dynamite. "The Man" killed his brother, pumped heroin into local orphanages, and flooded the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor. Black Dynamite was the one hero willing to fight "The Man" all the way from the blood-soaked city streets to the hallowed halls of the Honky House. White is a martial arts expert in his own right, and his high kicking, fast-talking afro-wearing character asks the question, "Can you dig it?"
Family movies such as "Toy Story 3," "Despicable Me," and "Shrek Forever After" have universal appeal, and will keep you laughing and leave a smile on your face.