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Christmas 2013 Movie Guide

18 Dec

Whether you’re partaking in the “movies and Chinese food” tradition or you’re just in a mood to see a new flick, there are a few new releases worth checking out this Christmas. See below for four films that hit theaters next Wednesday.

Grudge Match

Sly Stallone and Robert DeNiro relive their days as “Rocky” and “Raging Bull” respectively, without actually reprising their roles. Henry “Razor” Sharp (Stallone) and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (DeNiro) get an opportunity to step back into relevancy when  a promoter (Kevin Hart) tricks the aging boxers into reviving a 30 year old rivalry. Expect references to the original Rocky and Raging Bull films as well as old guy jokes.

August: Osage County

Director John Wells brings this Pulitzer-Prize winning Broadway play about the women of the Weston family being reunited after a family crisis brings them back to their childhood home in the Midwest. As with many stage to big screen productions, Osage County features an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Abigail Breslin.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

When Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), an employee at Life magazine, fears he’s lost a photo that could potentially be used as the cover of the magazine’s final issue he goes on an adventure to find the missing negative. With a PG rating, Mitty is a family-friendly film which also features an all-star supporting cast including Kristen Wiig playing Mitty’s love interest and Shirley MacLaine.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorcese directs and Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the true story of corrupt New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort (based on his own memoir) who founded a brokerage firm while indulging in a hard-partying and drug-laden lifestyle. Supporting cast includes Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey.

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VIDEO: Cast of Annie Remake films ‘Tomorrow’ scene in Harlem

11 Dec

Jamie-Foxx-Quvenzhane-Wallis-Cameron-Diaz-film-Annie-in-Harlem

When we first learned Jay Z was working on the Annie remake and that there would be some updates to the original script questions were raised about the soundtrack. Would they stick to the original songs or would Jay do completely new songs? Maybe they’d just take the originals and do their own renditions?

Well it looks like they’re keeping the film’s most famous song. Footage has surfaced of Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, Rose Byrne and Cameron Diaz in Harlem singing “Tomorrow” in front of a big band and alongside other cast members. The lyrics and tune haven’t changed but the gang has added a bit of choreography.

Annie is scheduled for release on Christmas 2014. In the meantime, enjoy this little sneak peek of the closing scene:

 

‘Best Man’ sequel is a great ‘Holiday’ gift

15 Nov

Best-Man-Holiday-PromoLance (Morris Chestnut) and Mia Sullivan (Monica Calhoun) decide to host Christmas at their suburban New Jersey home and thus, The Best Man reunion begins.

It’s been 14 years since we saw the gang altogether but certain things haven’t changed.  Mia is still madly in love with her pro-footballer husband, Jordan (Nia Long) continues to put her impressive career ahead of any type of relationship and Quentin (Terrence Howard) – despite his juvenile nature and lack of couth 0 somehow still remains a regular voice of reason amongst the group.

Best-Man-Holiday-Dinner

Though so much has stayed the same, a lot has happened in the time that’s passed. Instead of the youthful “who’s slept with who” concerns of yesteryear, this sequel presents more adult issues including maintaining career success and the stress that comes with keeping their families together. Despite the hardships each couple – and even those uncoupled – are dealing with there there’s room for plenty of laughs dispersed throughout the film.

Best Man Holiday has it’s perks but not without it’s downfalls.  There’s eye candy for everyone – Shelby (Melissa DeSousa) isn’t the only lady randomly showing off her body and Morris Chestnut has his own unnecessarily long Taylor Lautner shirtless moment. Like any comedy, predictable moments happen every so often and although nostalgic, we probably could’ve done without some of the repeat storylines and scenes from the original. Bonus – though it’s not definite, the ending leaves room for a potential third film. 😉

Best-Man-Holiday-Ladies

Just how does Best Man Holiday measure up to its predecessor? It’s a tad bit funnier, just as dramatic but a lot more heavy. A decade and a half is a long time to wait for a sequel but overall, Director Malcolm D. Lee did a great job of weaving an old story in such a way that it’s relevant enough to hold our interest.

Eddie Cibrian gets grilled by Terrence Howard in latest ‘The Best Man Holiday’ trailer

29 Oct

Best-Man-Holiday-PosterWe’re getting closer and closer to the release of The Best Man Holiday and these teasers make me even more anxious!

In the latest trailer released for The Best Man sequel, we see Quentin (Terrence Howard) grill Jordan’s (Nia Long’s) new boyfriend (played by Eddie Cibrian) about why he’s dating their college buddy.  As if Quentin alone doesn’t have the power to intimidate the hell out of the new guy Julian (Harold Perrineau) jumps in with his own comments about Jordan and Harper’s (Taye Diggs) history that stir up even more potential trouble.

This scene reminds me of similar tension building moments in the original film and makes me even more anxious to see the sequel. Check out the clip below:

The Best Man Holiday is in theaters November 15 – are you as excited as me?

VH1’s CrazySexyCool biopic exceeds expectations

22 Oct
TLC: Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas

TLC: Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas

Before hip-hop culture went mainstream and  Instagramming nearly naked photos of yourself was considered “feminism” there was TLC. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins , Lisa, “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas embodied female empowerment as young women singing about relationships, sex, domestic violence and just about anything else your typical 20 something goes through. As the highest selling female R&B group of all time, TLC broke barriers and taught a generation of women about dealing with disease, trifling men, and how, if you’re not careful, you can rise to the top of the world and still be broke.

TLCatVMAsCrazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Biopic tells us the story of the 90s R&B trio through their eyes. We see how they came together, the various life events that almost tore them apart, their personal and professional tribulations and inner details of some of their most memorable moments, including losing their most outspoken member – Left Eye.

Since Left Eye (Lil’ Mama) isn’t around to tell her version of events, we see the entire story through the eyes of the two surviving members. This is apparent in how some of the characters are portrayed – Pebbles (Rochelle Aytes) is a jealous, manipulative, money hungry old woman with the cheapest quality wigs, and Darryl “Dallas” Austin (Evan Ross) could’ve been played by a better actor with at least a hint of personality. Instead we get a “My mom is famous so I got a job” actor with few actual lines and limited believability. But who am I to tell Chilli what Dallas Austin is really like right?

Lil Mama as "Left Eye" burning Andre Rison's house

Lil Mama as “Left Eye” burning Andre Rison’s house

Their bias is also apparent in Left Eye’s portrayal. As the only member not around to tell her own story, she’s also the only member who’s voice we never actually hear. Chilli (Keke Palmer) shares the story of her miscarriage and T-Boz (Drew Sidora) shares her health struggles but we’re constantly seeing Left Eye in the third person. We don’t sympathize when her ideas for the group are shut down, instead she’s kind of seen as the salty girl who’s not just “going with it”. As a result we see how the group go from three young women forming a friendship to T-Boz and Chilli being besties with Left Eye as their wacky third wheel friend. We do get a little insight into Left Eye’s character – there are moments when it’s obvious her erratic behavior is spurred by her troubled past and an ever looming feeling that she’s not being seen or heard – but we’re still not made to sympathize with her the same way we do with T-Boz and Chilli.

TLC-Biopic-Crazy-Sexy-Cool-Keke-PalmerDespite the apparent bias we do get a great glimpse of how the ladies professional and personal lives intertwined and finally saw what really went down with their money situation. Their son “Creep”? That’s about Chilli’s relationship with Dallas. That whole safe sex movement when the ladies literally wore condoms? That’s about Chilli’s miscarriage. “Waterfalls”? We all knew Left Eye wrote that rhyme on her way home from the halfway house, but this is as close as we get to looking at Lisa from Philly, as opposed to just “Left Eye”.

As great as it is, Crazy Sexy Cool does have it’s WTF? moments, including Chilli’s signature loose waves and baby hairs being mysteriously absent until the group is signed 30 minutes into the movie and Lil Mama’s struggle to conceal her Brooklyn accent. Despite these could-do-better moments (this is a TV movie after all) we do see a lot about the group that we didn’t learn in the pre-social media 90s era. They also took careful care to remind us of the little things like Left Eye’s signature bright scrunchies on her stingy ponytails/buns. Aah memories!

Real TLC vs. actors

Real TLC vs. actors

What is the best thing about this movie? You’ll NEVER guess. No, not the soundtrack full of TLC throwbacks as well as other 90s gems like “Groove is in the Heart”,  or even the fact that some of their original wardrobe is included – we see that dress Left Eye wore when she turned herself in to the cops – but Lil’ Mama’s surprising performance. Not only does the singer? rapper? host? actress nail Left Eye’s look but she manages to capture the late megastar’s energetic spirit, solemn inner child and hungry talent perfectly without overdoing it one bit. Even though Left Eye may not have been around to write her feelings into the script, Lil’ Mama did the best anyone could possibly do at making us feel for the young star. Don’t be surprised to see her up for an award for this performance. Probably nothing major like an Emmy but MTV, BET or the people in charge of the NAACP Image Awards have GOT to be watching!

I’d put Crazy Sexy Cool up there with Why Do Fools Fall in Love? in terms of made for TV biopics. They managed to sum up the ladies 10+ year career in two and a half hours and kept me entertained, while crying, throughout the whole film.