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Review: Michael B. Jordan delivers a brawler in ‘Creed III’



It must be a daunting prospect to pick up a franchise on the third movie. Add in the pressure of following filmmakers like Ryan Coogler and Steven Caple Jr. in your directorial debut that you’re also starring in and it’s enough to make you wonder what on earth Michael B. Jordan was thinking.

But “ Creed III,” in theaters nationwide Friday, is a new start for Adonis Creed. He’s finally out of the shadow of his father Apollo and Rocky Balboa, whose legacy loomed large over the first two films (Sylvester Stallone decided “Creed II” would be his last). With Rocky out of the way, and the younger Creed solidly in place as the best in the world, the franchise can breathe a little and grow.

Enter the Dame (not that kind of dame).

This one is in the form of Jonathan Majors, an old buddy from their teenage years in a group home in the early 2000s. Dame, or Damian Anderson, is a bit older than Creed. He’s the one who’s boxing in the underground matches at night. The young Creed (Thaddeus J. Mixon), a little awkward, a little too eager to please and a little too ready for trouble, is the one carrying water (and bags and gloves) and helping him strategize. There is a palpable menace established early on with these two — an unequal power and age dynamic, sure, but also the implication that Dame (Spence Moore II) is more than willing to play dirty. He carries a gun. He fixes games. And he has a hold on young Adonis. The flashback ends with a violent altercation outside a convenience store. Dame goes away. Creed becomes Creed.

This flashback is important but does get the film off to a bit of a slow start, jumping forward chronologically to Creed’s last fight and then to his present-day retirement life — a luxurious and tranquil existence in the Hollywood Hills in a modernist mansion with his daughter Amara (Mila Davis Kent) and wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson), who has given up singing mostly to produce hit records. Life is nice for the obscenely rich in LA: The clothes are expensive, the cars are price upon request, the house always spotless and the staff unseen (save for a chef in one scene). At the gym run by Duke (Wood Harris), he’s trying to mentor the next generation of champions.

Then Dame re-appears and the movies gets its urgency back. His old pal was locked up for 18 years after that incident and is freshly out of prison, wanting to pick up his life and his boxing aspirations where he left off. Creed is pleasant but guarded — for much of the film he acts like an aloof celebrity, hyper conscious of not letting anyone in too close and compartmentalizing the uglier aspects of his past. Still, he takes him out to lunch and offers to help him in any way he can. This is both the right thing to do and also a huge mistake.

“Creed III” is, among other things, about what happens when men don’t talk about their feelings (and ignore Duke’s advice).

At times, it also feels more like a thriller than a sports film as you watch Dame infiltrate Creed’s world. It’s always Creed’s idea, there’s always an invitation, but Dame’s sudden omnipresence starts to feel unavoidable and ominous. Dame has a bit of Eve Harrington in him, but also a very real, very relatable chip on his shoulder for the time he lost. In another movie, he could very well be the underdog we’re rooting for — some of the audience may be rooting for him even so.

Lurking behind everything is the madness that comes from not being able to do what you were born to do. It’s something athletes grapple with earlier than most other professionals. An injury at 23 could take you out when you’re just getting started and in this film Creed, Dame and Bianca are having similar existential crises — though Dame’s desperation is the driving force behind everything that happens.

Jordan and his filmmaking team craft two particularly stunning matches full of suspense, drama and slow motion sweat beads flying through the air. These are only lessened by the cheesy, unhelpful announcers spouting cliches and no actually helpful exposition or explanation outside the ring. And ultimately, it’s a promising debut for the 36-year-old, who shows here that he’ll never let his own star ego get in the way of a film: Majors steals the show, and Jordan is there to capture it.

There’s a comforting but predictable rhythm to a boxing franchise like Rocky and now Creed. The movies must keep justifying themselves, inventing new challenges that make them all feel different enough. But most essentially boil down to the same framework: You have to knock the champion down to a believable underdog again. While there is a case to be made for the final fight to, let’s just say, go a different way than it does, “Creed III” is still a knockout.

“Creed III,” an MGM release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association for, “Violence, some strong language and intense sports action.” Running Time: 116 minutes. Three stars out of four. —- MPA Definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


Fantasia, Babyface, Rickey Smiley, and More Sizzle at the Inaugural Music Fest Orlando



Fantasia delivered an unforgettable performance at the inaugural Music Fest Orlando, Saturday, March 25, 2023. (Photo by Dutches Scott / Florida National News)
ORLANDO, Fla. – Over 8,000 patrons flocked to Orlando on Saturday, March 25, for the inaugural Music Fest Orlando held at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. The good vibes and ambiance were felt from the gates to the vendors and the stage. Setting the tone for the festival was the opening artist’s segment that included: Arkeshia, Ashley Peck, Lolita, Pretti Emage and The Don D’rel. The vibes continued with legendary DJ’s, Demp, Nasty 305 and BoWeezy , who kept the crowd on their feet and the energy flowing. The outdoor festival continued with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, with a riveting and soul-stirring performance by headliner Fantasia and an R&B nostalgic performance by Babyface. We took a trip down South with the sounds of Goodie Mob, Plies, the 69 Boyz and JT Money. In addition, fans enjoyed a soulful set with Lyfe Jennings and Levelle, and the festival also included some afro-beats tunes with artist KowKow. Special appearances included Havier Daivon, Married to Medicine costars Dr. Scott and Contessa Metcalfe, and Tyesha Williams. Also, the one-day outdoor live music festival was hosted by acclaimed comedian, actor, and national radio personality, Rickey Smiley, who kept the crowd entertained all night.
Music Fest Orlando has proved to be the ultimate music and cultural experience in the heart of Orlando, gathering fans from the southern region, including Miami, Jacksonville, Atlanta and even the city of Orlando. Tanya Baskerville, a resident of Orlando and an avid festival goer, stated, “I had an amazing time! It was a beautiful experience to see everyone come together to support our own! From the artists to all the beautiful black businesses. Felt like a family reunion. Nothing but positive vibes. I loved it and can’t wait until next year! I will be back!”

Music Fest Orlando is a celebration of Black music and culture and a party with a purpose. A portion of the ticket proceeds over the weekend will benefit students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities through the HBCU Initiative. This initiative seeks to provide students in the Central Florida area with financial assistance to further their post-high school education. Also, Music Fest Orlando Founder Ernest Wilson donated $2,000 to Pink Possible, a non-profit organization focused on breast cancer survivors. “Giving back to assist kids furthering their education and contributing to assist Brest Cancer survivors is a passion of mine,” states Founder Ernest Wilson Music Fest Orlando.

In addition to the live performances, the 2023 Music Fest Orlando featured delectable bites and a myriad of retail buys featuring a diverse assortment of small and minority-owned businesses, including Clique Wines. Music Fest Orlando is the adult spring break experience of the south at the intersection of music, art, and culture.

Also, during the weekend, attendees enjoyed a pre-social party hosted by artist CeeLo Green the night before the festival, March 24, 2023, at Dove Cote in the heart of downtown Orlando. For more information on next year’s festival, visit

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‘Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures’ Takes Families on a Fun-Fueled Excursion



Photo courtesy of Disney and Feld Entertainment.
Photo courtesy of Disney and Feld Entertainment.

TAMPA, Fla. — Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures will whisk families away on an immersive getaway chock-full of magical participatory moments. Featuring new and classic tales, this a multi-generational experience visits Amalie Arena from March 23 -26.

Hit the road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a high-octane ride in Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. Exciting twists and turns await as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and guests of all ages embark on an interactive and memory-rich adventure to iconic Disney destinations. See the world from the rooftops of London with Mary Poppins and Jack and his band of dancing lamplighters. Travel to the sun-soaked Motunui and help Moana restore the heart of Te Fiti. Set off on a safari and snap unforgettable photos of wild cheetahs and monkeys when guests traverse through the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa. Discover a whole new world and be swept up in Aladdin’s princely parade filled with spectacular stunts, magical moments with Genie, and a brand-new song from Jasmine that will render the audience “Speechless.” Mosey on over to a larger-than-life comedic carnival and team up with Woody and Bo Peep as they search for their new friend Forky. Fans will hit a high note with Mickey and pals while singing along to beloved Disney tunes as they welcome Merida, Belle, Ariel, Mulan and Tiana to the ice.

Families should be prepared for a getaway jam-packed with unexpected hijinks and surprise, up-close character interaction as Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures makes a pitstop right in Tampa!

Event Location: Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602

Dates and Times of Performances:

Thursday, March 23 7 PM
Friday, March 24
7 PM

Saturday, March 25 11 AM, 3 PM, 7 PM

Sunday, March 26 11 AM, 3 PM

For ticket prices and to purchase tickets visit

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Winners from the 2023 Oscars



Michelle Yeoh accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role for "Everything Everywhere All at Once" at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Michelle Yeoh accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role for "Everything Everywhere All at Once" at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Oscar winners announced Sunday:

Best picture: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best actress: Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best actor: Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”

Best supporting actor: Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best supporting actress: Jamie Lee Curtis, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Original song: “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR”

Film editing: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best director: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best animated feature: “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

International feature film: “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Germany)

Documentary feature: “Navalny”

Live action short: “An Irish Goodbye”

Cinematography: James Friend, “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Makeup and hairstyling: “The Whale”

Costume design: Ruth E. Carter, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Documentary short: “The Elephant Whisperers”

Animated short: “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse”

Production design: “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Music (original score): Volker Bertelmann, “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Visual Effects: “Avatar: The Way of Water”

Original screenplay: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Adapted screenplay: “Women Talking”

Sound: “Top Gun: Maverick”

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