Dope

DopeRelease Date:  1/24/15 (Sundance Film Festival)
Genre:  Comedy
Rating:  NR
Running Time: 115 mins.
Studio(s): Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions, IamOTHER Entertainment,
Revolt Films, That’s Dope.
Director: Rick Famuyiwa

Cast:  Shameik Moore (Malcolm), Zoë Kravitz (Nakia), Forest Whitaker (Narrator), Blake Anderson (Will), Tony Revolori (Jib), Kiersey Clemons (Diggy), Keith Stanfield (Bug), Rick Fox (Councilman Blackmon), Kimberly Elise (Lisa), Roger Guenveur Smith (Austin Jacoby), De’aundre Bonds (Stacey).

Story:  Malcolm is a high school geek with a high-top fade, carefully navigating life in The Bottoms, one of the toughest neighborhoods in Inglewood, California. He and his fellow outcasts share a voracious appreciation for all things ’90s hip-hop, opting to sport Cross-Colours and Z. Cavariccis at the risk of being clowned at school. He dreams of attending Harvard, but first he has to make it home every day. When a drug dealer takes a shine to Malcolm and invites him to his birthday party, Malcolm’s crew is swirled into a hilarious blender of offbeat characters and bad choices where redemption can only be found in Bitcoin. Source: Sundance.org.

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Enter The Dominion

Enter the Dominion

Release Date 1/27/15 (DVD); 9/28/13
Genre:  Thriller
Rating:  NR
Running Time: 96 mins.
Studio:  Maverick Entertainment
Director: Jason Gourdine
Cast:  Dylan Christian (Jonathan Zander), Nicholas Gourdine (Sheldon Marcus), Pastelle Perry (Veronica Nettles)

Story:  Media giant Jonathan Zander is known for his take no prisoners business attitude. Under suspicion, Zander must find a new, trustworthy person for his organization. When he meets the talented, yet socially challenged, Sheldon Marcus, he finds the perfect tool to funnel his next business deal through. The effects of this deal could cause damage, but he will stop at nothing to increase his profits. After leaving a life of mediocrity, Sheldon must decide if he will participate in the deconstruction of society or attempt take down one of the most connected and dangerous business moguls in the world. Source: Maverick Entertainment.

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Memphis

Memphis PosterRelease Date:  1/13/15 (DVD); 1/17/14 (Sundance Film Festival)
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time: 78 mins.
Director:  Tim Sutton

Cast Willis Earl Beal, Constance Brantley, Larry Dodson, Devonte Hull, Lopaka Thomas.

Story:  A strange singer with God-given talent drifts through his adopted city of Memphis with its canopy of ancient oak trees, streets of shattered windows, and aura of burning spirituality. Surrounded by beautiful women, legendary musicians, a stone-cold hustler, a righteous preacher, and a wolf pack of kids, the sweet, yet unstable, performer avoids the recording studio, driven by his own form of self-discovery. His journey quickly drags him from love and happiness right to the edge of another dimension.

Details:  According to Matt Zoller Seitz of Rogerebert.com, Memphis is a quasi-documentary drama about the creative struggles of Memphis blues musician and poet Willis Earl Beal, who’s playing a version of himself here. Beal is a superficially compelling character, in his passive and medicated way. He seems to be blocked. His label wants him to finish his new album but he seems to have fallen down a sort of tinkering spiral, endlessly reworking his work. Is he a perfectionist, or is he procrastinating? When his bandmates press him for more specific directions and grow irritated by his vagueness, are we seeing a misunderstood genius struggle to make himself understood by lesser talents, or a man whose gifts don’t really match his mystique?  Read the full review here:  http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/memphis-2014
Source(s): IMDB, rogerebert.com.

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Knock ‘em Dead

Knock 'em DeadRelease Date:  1/13/15 (DVD);
6/1/2014 (Limited Release)
Genre:  Comedy
Rating:  TV-MA
Running Time:  93 mins.
Studio:  Rapid Heart Pictures
Director:  David DeCoteau

Cast:  Rae Dawn Chong (Jenny), Candice Coke (Dee Dee), Preston Davis (Tommy), Jackée Harry (Savannah), Anne-Marie Johnson (Alex), Debra Wilson (Darien), Christopher Judge (Freddy), Omarosa Manigault (Eva Lang), Phil Morris (Harley).

Story:  Three rival actresses and their crew, desperate and hating each other, reunite for a horror movie sequel when someone starts killing them off just like in their movie. Sources: Amazon, IMDB.

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White Water

White Water
Release Date:  2/7/15 (TV One)
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  Unknown
Studio:  White Water Productions, Inc.
Director:  Rusty Cundieff

Cast:  Sharon Leal (Annie), Larenz Tate (Terrance), Lori Beth Sikes (Emily), Brody Rose (Tommy), Barry Shabaka Henley (Rev. Stokes), Zhane Hall (Red).

Story:  According to Shadow and Act, White Water is the story of a 7 year-old black kid in segregated 1963 Opelika, Alabama who becomes obsessed with the desire to taste the water from the white’s only drinking fountain and sets out on a quest to do the unthinkable: drink from it. Based on a children’s book by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein, which was itself based on their childhood experiences. Source(s): Shadow and Act; IMDB.

Bolden


Release Date:  5/3/19
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  R
Running Time: 108 mins.
Studio:  King Bolden
Director:  Dan Pritzker

Cast:  Gary Carr (Buddy Bolden), Erik LaRay Harvey (Bartley), Yaya DaCosta (Nora Bolden), Reno Wilson (Louis Armstrong), Karimah Westbrook (Alice Bolden), JoNell Kennedy (Ida Bass), Robert Ri’chard (George Baquet), Serena Reeder (Mavis), Michael Rooker (Pat McMurphy), Ian McShane (Judge Perry).

Story:  The film is set in 1931 New Orleans, when Buddy Bolden, a long-time asylum inmate, hears the strains of a Louis Armstrong concert drift into his room from the radio in a nearby nurse’s station. The sound evokes memories of his long-forgotten youth as a ground-breaking cornetist, when he played and improvised his way to the forefront of a new musical style, ultimately creating what would evolve decades later into jazz.

Ian McShane will portray Bolden’s nemesis the politician Judge Perry, with Erik LaRay Harvey as Bolden’s manager Bartley, Yaya DaCosta as wife Nora Bolden, Michael Rooker as Perry’s enforcer Pat McMurphy, and Reno Wilson as Louis Armstrong.

Cornet player Charles “Buddy” Bolden was born on September 6, 1877. At the age of 30, he was committed to an asylum where he died in 1931. The only recording he made was never found. He invented Jazz.  BOLDEN reimagines the compelling, powerful and tragic journey of an unsung American hero and the social context in which his revolutionary music was conceived. Weaving together fragmented memories of his past, BOLDEN invites you to experience a world fueled by passion, greed and musical genius, in early 1900s New Orleans.  Source: Blackfilm.com.

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Details:  On November 14, 2014, NOLA.com reported, Bolden, director Dan Pritzker’s long-gestating biopic on jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden — the so-called “first cornet king of New Orleans” — is coming home to the city in which Bolden made his name. After filming in Atlanta and North Carolina, the production is packing its bags for the Crescent City. Pritzker’s self-financed passion project first went before cameras in 2007 and then underwent a first round of reshoots in 2009. This latest round is expected to see Pritzker reshoot approximately half of his film.

Part of the reason for the extensive reshoots is because actor Anthony Mackie, who portrayed Bolden in the first two shoots, was unavailable for this latest round of shooting. He is being replaced in the cast by actor Gary Carr. Other cast members include Ian McShane, who will take over for Jackie Earle Haley in the role of Bolden nemesis Judge Perry; and Nelsan Ellis, who will play Bolden’s band manager. Jazzman Wynton Marsalis composed the film’s score.

The talented but troubled Buddy Bolden is among the more colorful characters in New Orleans’ jazz history. A huge draw in his hometown of New Orleans in the early 1900’s, his “Funky Butt (Buddy Bolden’s Blues)” is among his more celebrated numbers, one widely covered by other musicians. Tragically, Bolden’s career — and his life — was cut short by a struggle with mental illness. By the time he was 30, he was institutionalized at the Louisiana State Insane Asylum, where he lived for the remainder of his life. He died at 54 years old of what is described as alcohol-related psychosis and was buried in a pauper’s cemetery in New Orleans.

His musical influence, however, long outlasted him. No known recordings of his work exist, and facts about his life have become intermingled with myth. Still, with his improvisation-heavy blend of ragtime and blues — which he performed with his Bolden Band under the name King Bolden — he is widely recognized as an originator of the musical form that would become jazz.

Source(s): NOLA.com (adapted); Movie Insider; IMDB. Photo Credit: NOLA.com.

My Favorite Five

Release Date 1/6/15
Genre:  Romance
Rating:  Unknown
Running Time: Unknown
Studio: Overflow Entertainment, Silver Lining Entertainment, Cassiopeia Productions
Director: Paul D. Hannah

Cast: Rochelle Aytes (Hailey Colburn), Brian White (Christopher Michaels), DeRay Davis (Sans), Erica Hubbard (Sybil), Jay Ellis (Jonathan Colburn), John West, Jr. (Darnell Raye), Steven Williams (Robert Colburn), Valarie Pettiford (Pamela Colburn), Jillian Murray (Shelly), Quinton Aaron (T.I.), Angeline-Rose Troy (Rebecca), Leonard Roberts (Matthew), Elimu Nelson (Peter), Amin Joseph (Jamison).

Story: Hailey is a self-proclaimed serial dater who has no interest in marriage, kids or a picket fence. Hailey does however enjoy the company of men, five to be exact. She believes no one man can possess all five of her most coveted qualities. She works as a recovery specialist for a glorified corporate collection agency that specializes in the “million dollar debtor”. Hailey’s methods are scandalous, but gets the job done. Soon Hailey meets Christopher, her next mark, who has sworn off women and has no interest in her. As the five falls from the flock one by one, Hailey has to cross lines to get the one man who has it all. Source: IMDB.