It’s that time of the year when TV stations preview their upcoming season slates; I’ll be attending BET’s showcase this Wednesday, here in New York, so, you’ll get my first-hand reactions to whatever is thrown at me.
For now, however, I just learned that the Syfy Channel has apparently acquired stateside rights to a film called Age Of The Dragons, a film I’ve highlighted on this site previously. It’s essentially a re-imagining of Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick, starring, in an unexpected, if inspired casting, Danny Glover as the tyrannical Ahab. Vinnie Jones and Sean Astin also co-star.
My last post on the flick announced the UK DVD release, and, at the time, there was no sign that it would make its way to the states. Well, now it is, and most of you will get to see it… assuming you’re interested.
The Syfy Channel will debut the film in July, although no specific day has been given; though, I’m sure that’ll be made available as the month draws near, as well as what a new trailer, I’d imagine.
The trailer for the upcoming Winnie Mandela biopic, starring Jennifer Hudson as the titular character, and Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela, was met with much ridicule and derision when we unveiled it last fall; and rightfully so in my not-so humble opinion! The film was woefully miscast, and it’s evident; the acting just doesn’t look strong; the accents were poor; the makeup team did a horrible job aging J-Hud, and more. I embedded it again below if you missed it the first time.
The trailer quickly went viral, much to the chagrin of the film’s production team, who felt that it was essentially an unauthorized leak. Although I’m not sure how much of a difference an authorized unveiling would have made. The proof is/was in the pudding; unless they planned on cutting a much better trailer than what we all saw. And I wouldn’t be surprised if, given the terrible reception that first trailer received, they re-cut and re-release another.
Anyway… maybe this will help soften some of the damage that’s already been done for some… maybe not. I stumbled upon this April 17th write-up on J-Hud, in which she talks about the immense sacrifices she made for the Winnie role, to ensure her performance was authentic enough.
We’ve covered the film on this site, so here’s a brief refresher…
Inspired by the real-life romances that blossomed during then Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, the movie takes place in the run-up to the 2008 election. Brian White plays a black volunteer coordinator working for the local John McCain office who strikes unexpected sparks with the devoted Indian Obama volunteer coordinator, played by Mallika Sherawat.
Ruby Dee and Loretta Devine co-star in this romantic comedy.
William Dear directed from a screenplay by Gary Goldstein.
I have no idea how CodeBlack plans to release the film; it’ll surely be a very limited release, if what they did with Thomas Ikimi’s Legacy which starred Idris Elba is anything to go by.
Below is a teaser trailer for the film:
Just recently I did an interview with producer Debra Martin Chase who has produced several film and TV projects such as Just Wright, Cinderella, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Cheetah Girls, and just recently Lemonade Mouth for the Disney Channel.
I thought it was a pretty good interview, and my goal is to always try and ask questions that most interviewers don’t (… or in other words I don’t kiss ass).
She also was, I thought, pretty honest about the current troubled state of Hollywood today, and added that black producers in Hollywood should concentrate on broadening out, making all kinds of films, not just black films, because they’re impossible to get made right now (Unless your initials are TP).
Considering the torrent of comments over that recent John Singleton interview, I wonder what you guys will say about her.
You can read my interview HERE.
We recently featured his ITVS Futurestates short film, Remigration, which received mucho acclaim; what I didn’t know was that Mr Barry Jenkins was working on another short film, which he tells me he shot the weekend before the South By Southwest Film Festival, late February, early March.
This one was commissioned by the BORSCHT Film Festival in Miami, FL, which commissions and showcases films by emerging artists “that tell Miami stories that go beyond the typical portrayal of a beautiful but vapid party town.”
Barry was born and raised in Miami’s Liberty City, by the way.
Barry’s BORSCHT short is called Chlorophyl, and it’s one of 6 commissioned films by the festival, and will screen there on April 23rd, next Saturday.
The film is said to be inspired by Miami musician Millionyoung, and “follows a listless girl as she struggles with unrequited love, moving to the music of the city and set against some of Miami’s hidden architectural gems.”
Past BORSCHT-commissioned films have gone on to screen at international film festivals and venues, including Cannes, Tribeca, Sundance, and the Guggenheim Museums.
So I’m sure Chlorophyl will travel… in the meantime, watch the teaser trailer below; and if you’ll be in the Miami area next weekend, check out Barry’s film and the festival:
Boy, with those needs, what kind of flick is Mr Perry making this time around?
But anyway… News on the march…!
Cynthia McWilliams (The Chicago Code, and Prison Break) will join Damon Wayans in the upcoming new CBS comedy series pilot that’s set at a sports radio station, in which Wayans plays a smart-ass sports radio host.
The character he plays, named Nick Herd, is said to be inspired by current ESPN personality Colin Cowherd.
McWilliams will play his wife, Megan, an MBA who’s given up her career to raise two children from a previous marriage, as well as Nick’s child also from his previous marriage – a set-up that’s starting to take a toll on her.
Wayans’ My Wife And Kids director, Andy Cadiff, will helm the pilot episode, and the real Colin Cowherd will serve as a producer on the project, which will also star Danny Comden (Dirt) as the manipulative producer of Wayans’ Herd’s show.
Look for it in the 2011/2012 season.
In it, she stars as Dr. Amanda Waller, a scientist.
For those unfamiliar with the DC comics universe, as I am… nicknamed “The Wall,” she is a former congressional aide and government agent often placed in charge of the Suicide Squad, a semi-secret government-run group of former super-villains working in return for amnesty. She also was the former leader (code rank: White Queen) of the covert-ops organization, Checkmate. She later served as Secretary of Metahuman Affairs under President Lex Luthor.
Some of her abilities include being highly trained in logistics, strategic management, military tactics, game theory, and espionage.
In most depictions of her that I’ve seen, she’s drawn heavy, but, while promoting the upcoming Jumping The Broom, Ms Bassett was sure to let us know that she’s not of a similar size as the illustrated Dr Waller, and other things about the role… Cinemablend reported the following:
“ “Well, I’m not 300 pounds,” Bassett started, referring to the way that the character is drawn in the comics, where she’s nicknamed The Wall. Asking about her portrayal of the character in the Martin Campbell-directed movie, she said that she’s actually “not heavily involved in the first movie,” but does hope that she will develop more in the sequels. That said, in describing the character she nailed more than a few traits, saying that she has “That intellectual, that bright, that no-nonsense, that means business [personality]. [She's] getting it done and in the trenches nothing fazes her.””
Actress Kimberly Elise welcomes 44. Born in Minneapolis, her boasting rights include appearances in Set It Off, In The House, Beloved, Bojangles, Bait, John Q, Girlfriends, Woman Thou Art Loosed, Diary Of A Mad Black Woman, The Great Debaters, Grey’s Anatomy and For Colored Girls.
Actress Lela Rochon turns 47 today. A native of California, she’s appeared in numerous films and tv shows including Breakin’, The Facts of Life, The Cosby Show, Amen, Harlem Nights, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Boomerang, The Wayans Bros., Any Given Sunday, Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Brooklyn’s Finest and Waiting To Exhale. Her most recent project was Blood Done Sign My Name.
Earlier today, I received a production listing of new films currently being shot in and around British Columbia, and, in scrolling through the list, saw that 1 of them co-stars Terrence Howard, in a film we’ve never covered on this site. I guess we just missed it.
The film, described in the listing as a “thriller about backwoods criminals seeking to silence a hunter,” is called A Single Shot; and in it, Howard co-stars alongside Emily Mortimer, William H. Macy, and Juliette Lewis. It’s an adaption a novel of the same title by Matthew F. Jones, and will be directed by David M. Rasenthal.
The much longer synopsis for the Jones’ book reads: “John Moon lives alone in a trailer on the land that was his family’s farm until the bank foreclosed on it years ago (for reasons he has never fully understood). His wife has just left him, taking their infant son with her, and John must support himself with odd jobs and poaching game on a neighbor’s land. Out hunting deer one morning, he hears the rustle of branches and fires a single shot–only to discover that he has killed a teenage girl. Horrified, Moon tries to cover up his tragic mistake and then to find out who the girl was and what she was doing in the woods. Fear, guilt, and obsession leads him to unearth a shocking pattern of evil involving the residents of the town–and before long all the plots have converged on him.”
However, this time he hasn’t said anything that would have the gay community up in arms, or spark outrage for mocking Japan’s earthquake victims. Thankfully no.
Mr Cent has shifted his attention to one Samuel L. Jackson, lauding him as for his thespian skills, calling on the Academy to finally recognize and award Mr Jackson with an Oscar for his work.
To wit… Fiddy told Vibe magazine, “Samuel L. Jackson is probably the most underrated actor. Like, he’s trying to go for the world record of underrated… You have the strongest monologue and awesome performance in Pulp Fiction, and it’s overlooked. Props don’t count. He deserves an Academy look.”
By the way, Samuel has only been nominated once for an Oscar, and it was for his performance in 1994′s Pulp Fiction.
Further, and maybe more interesting… as we all know, Mr Jackson has been quite vocal in the past about his contempt for rappers as actors; if you missed it, here’s a refresher from several years ago: “To take people from the music world and give them the same kind of credibility and weight that you give me, Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker — that’s like an aberration to me; you just can’t do that… It’s not my job to lend credibility to so-and-so rapper who’s just coming into the business… I know there’s some young actor sitting in New York or in L.A. who’s spent half of his life learning how to act and sacrificing to learn his craft but isn’t going to get his opportunity … because of some actor who’s been created — and you can use the word ‘actor’ loosely.”
Need I say more? It’ll be out on DVD this Tuesday, the 19th of April. Cost? $17. It’s a 2-disc set with audio commentary, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. Click the image below to preorder. And, by the way, Spike Lee will be holding a DVD signing of the film at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York City, on Wednesday, April 20.
It’s my first time seeing the trailer; YouTube says it was uploaded on the 8th of this month.
The film, described as a “blaxploitation movie which focuses on the “science lab origins” of his neo-ghetto alter-ego, a violent playboy who wears a $1 party mask, drives ‘rraris and makes no sense,” was produced years ago, it seems. I did some digging and couldn’t quite pinpoint the exact date. I found articles going all the way back to 1998/1999, talking about the project; the most recent was a Billboard magazine piece in which RZA said about the film: “I found the old films, the old artwork, everything… They’re low-budget films, but they’ve got a vibe to them and I think they offer the hip-hop community something. When I was first doing it, it felt like I could’ve had a bigger budget, but now it feels like a classic.”
To explain what he refers to as films (plural) as opposed to 1 feature film, I found this quote from another article, also in 2008: “I still got it. I made it. Actually, I did like two 45-minute episodes. The Bobby Digital character, he’s a superhero at one point, right. But then he’s also just this fucking guy in the streets at another point. I did one episode based on, like, ’89. I did one episode that was supposed to be like 10 years later. I’ve still got a lot of faith in the character. I’m hoping to maybe get a comic-book deal or something. I have these people talking to me, stuff like that.”
Rio is officially the biggest film out right now. Not only did it claim the No.1 spot this weekend, but also in 92 other countries around the world, where it opened this weekend as well.
Scream 4 was a big disappointment, grossing only half of what was predicted, proving that you can go to the well once too often, and that audiences knew that, and felt that 3 Screams already were enough.
Robert Redford’s The Conspirator did well in its very limited opening, and Your Highness can be officially called a flop.
But the film that still impresses me is the “little film that could” Insidious, made for just under $1 million by the director of the first Saw movie, and the producers of those Paranormal Activity movies. The film will probably wind up being the most successful film this year, ratio wise, when you compare its production costs to its box office take. Stick to a popular genre, keep costs low and pre-sell the movie to overseas and domestic distributors, and the ancillary rights as well, before it’s released, and eveything it makes at the box office is pure profit. Is there a lesson here for black filmmakers? Then again maybe not. You tell us.
This week’s box office list below:
Actor and comedian Martin Lawrence welcomes 46 today. He’s appeared in a number of blockbuster films including Do The Right Thing, House Party 2, Bad Boys, Boomerang, Big Momma’s House, Wild Hogs and Blue Streak. His popular comedic television show Martin lasted five seasons. Also, he starred in as well as directed A Thin Line Between Love And Hate.
Former pro basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar turns 64. The native New Yorker has acted in a slew of TV shows and films including Airplane!, Tales From The Darkside, Different Strokes, 21 Jump Street, Amen and Martin. His latest venture is On The Shoulders Of Giants, a documentary honoring the Harlem Rens, the first African American-owned, all-black basketball team that dominated the game from 1922-1948.
Screening at this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival in California, Tunahaki is a documentary film showcasing nine orphans who use their dance and acrobatic skills to change their lives. The film is directed by Mason Bendewald.
Tunahaki is the extraordinary story of nine gifted orphans and their journey from Africa to America and back. The story begins at an orphanage called Tunahaki, in Tanzania at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
We meet Abdul, a young man walking down a dirt road to school, he’s thankful for what he has despite his lot in life. Abdul and the other children are talented acrobats, a skill they have learned from “Teacher-David”, a poor man who runs the orphanage. David gives the children hope for a future.
Here’s a film that’s guaranteed to make you feel good all over. Below is a preview trailer for the still-in-the-works documentary The Anderson Monarchs which is about an “an all-girls soccer team competing, living, and thriving in an at-risk urban neighborhood in Philadelphia”.
Named after the great Marian Anderson and Jackie Robinson’s Negro League baseball team, and coached by Walter Stewart, the team was nominated in 2008 by Sport Illustrated as Sports Team of the Year, and called the “future of American Soccer” by the London newspaper The Guardian.
The film, directed by Eugene Martin, is currently soliciting completion funds through Kickstarter, and is currently just $10,000 short of its $25,000 goal. What better excuse to help out? For more info about the film go HERE.
Watch a preview below:
Gugu Mbatha-Raw has joined the case of Stephen Sommers’ supernatural thriller titled Odd Thomas, which is based on the bestselling novel by Dean Koontz.
In the film, Mbatha-Raw will play Viola, the best friend of the main protagonist’s girlfriend, and a waitress with 2 adopted daughters of a dead junkie. A BBF with a heart of gold then…?
Oh, by the way, for the uninitiated, BBF stands for Black Best Friend - a black character in cinema that’s becoming almost as well-known and documented as the proverbial Magical Negro. It’s only a matter of time before a Wikipedia page is created for it.
Anywho… it’s work and visibility, right?
In the film, Anton Yelchin stars as the title character, Odd Thomas, described as “a clairvoyant short-order cook who encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark forces.” Lifted from the author’s website: “Odd Thomas is a memoir written by an innocent, self-deprecating young man who wishes to live a simple and unremarkable life. Since childhood, however, Odd’s life has been complicated by his ability to see the spirits of the lingering dead, a talent that thwarts his hopes for quiet and anonymity. These lost souls seek Odd’s help in leaving this world behind. He takes great satisfaction in being able to aid them, and his selfless efforts on their behalf function as a metaphor for a teenager’s search for meaning in a world full of mystery… Ultimately, Odd is torn between his desire for an ordinary, simple life and his supernatural gifts.”
Addison Timlin will play his girlfriend.
Principal photography is scheduled to start next month in Santa Fe, NM.
Starring one Mr Tyler Perry, Madea’s Big Happy Family opens a week from today – April 22nd.
We received an invite to the red carpet premiere in Los Angeles next week Tuesday, the 19th. I live in New York, but hopefully, I’ll be able to get someone in L.A. to attend on our behalf, and report with some early thoughts.
If you’re like me and have absolutely no interest in seeing Scream 4, AND you live in New York City… may I suggest that you rush over to the theaters at Film Forum in lower Manhattan, and instead invest your money in Chadian auteur Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Cannes Grand Jury Prize-winning film, Un homme qui crie (A Screaming Man), which was picked up in June for North American distribution by Film Movement, last fall.
We’ve already covered Un homme qui crie quite a bit on this blog, so I won’t rehash previous entries. Both MsWOO and Sergio have seen the film, and both reviewed it; read MsWOO’s thoughts HERE; and Sergio’s HERE. I’ll be seeing it tomorrow, and my own thoughts will surely follow.
The film will play for just 2 WEEKS at, so I encourage you to check it out while you can, before it leaves. I really do hope it travels, so that many more of you can see it as well.
Trailer follows below if you haven’t seen it yet:
Consider it our birthday present to ourselves and to you as well… tomorrow, April 16th will mark the 2nd anniversary of this site’s existence. It was on that day that I posted the very first Shadow And Act entry. It’s a coincidence, and maybe it was also a foretelling of sorts that the very first Shadow And Act post was an announcement for a filmmaker series featuring Spike Lee and Lee Daniels organized by the Tribeca Film Festival, Apple, and indieWIRE.
I say it’s was maybe a foretelling or sorts because, I’m happy to announce that, as of next week Tuesday, April 19th, Shadow And Act will be joining the indieWIRE Network.
Shadow And Act will now operate within an organization with an iconic heritage, known for its journalistic excellence, and up-to-the-minute breaking news coverage, and more, all in support of, and to strengthen the independent film community.
I’ll be announcing all the details regarding the change – notably, the URL where we will exist, our new subscriber feed info (RSS, Email, etc) for those with subscriptions, and more.
So, this is just a heads-up!
It all may seem sudden, but we’ve actually been working at this for a little while now, and it’s all finally coming together, with our debut on the network imminent!
Long time readers of this site will recall our announcement back in the summer of 2009, when Will Packer (Stomp The Yard, Obsessed, Takers) of the burgeoning production powerhouse, Rainforest Films, along with Screen Gems, acquired the film rights to the book, which was atop the New York Times Best Sellers List for at least 6 straight months.
Well, 2 years later (how time flies) according to a series of tweets by Mr Packer himself just minutes ago, the screenplay adaptation is apparently done, with the film scheduled to shoot this summer.
To wit… Packer tweeted: “MY NEXT MOVIE BASED ON @IAmSteveHarvey’s bestseller “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” shoots this summer… All my real up and coming actors stay tuned for casting info… All my 15MIN OF FAME ppl stay tuned to learn how you can win a walk on role. I’ll be on @IAmSteveHarvey’s show next Tues to give details.”
And you know I’ll be listening for those details, so that I can share here.
Packer didn’t mention anything further, notably who will direct and who has been cast, etc. But we’ll find out soon enough.
Given that Harvey’s book isn’t a fictional narrative (although some may disagree :)), it’s anyone’s guess how Packer and company have translated the content to script.
I haven’t read Steve Harvey’s book, so maybe those of you who have can chime in…
Courtesy of Essence… The first single from a svelte Jill Scott’s upcoming new album, Light of the Sun.
The film includes commentary by Seattle notable music figures like Quincy Jones, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Mark Arm (Mudhoney), Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie), Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden), Kim Warnick (The Fastbacks) and Kenny G and using interview footage, archival materials, original music, and live performances, the film paints a picture of a thriving and vibrant music scene centered around the city’s small African-American population.
Below is the trailer and you can view the complete award-winning film HERE for one week only.
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