Media

mediaRelease Date:  2/25/17; TV One
Genre:  Drama
Running Time:  Unknown
Director:  Craig Ross, Jr.
Studio:   TV One

Cast:   Penny Johnson Jerald (Jackie Jones), Brian White (Michael Jones), Gary Dourdan (Jabbar Randolph), Stephen Bishop (Will Randolph), Chrystee Pharris (Crystal Jones), Blue Kimble (Anthony Jones), Pooch Hall (Clay), Denise Boutte.

Story:   Media is a backdoor pilot to a potential series that will explore the drama and secrets behind a powerful family dynasty.  The TV movie is described as a riveting story of a wealthy family battling the competitive challenges of keeping their status and position in the communications industry. Passion, intrigue and murder become a lethal recipe for powerful matriarch Jackie Jones and her children. Jackie is the founder of Jones Universal Media Properties, aka JUMP, the world’s premier urban media conglomerate. A family tragedy forces her son, prominent lead city attorney and prosecutor Michael Jones, to abandon his political aspirations and take over the company just as a ruthless rival challenges JUMP’s longtime domination of a lucrative industry. Michael is confronted by sins of the past, and the dangers of the present when Jabbar Randolph, CEO of JUMP’s biggest competitor, is released from prison. Grabbing back the reigns from his brother, Will, Jabbar embarks on a mission of revenge, betrayal and corporate intrigue.  Source:  Deadline, Shadow and Act.

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Bold Evil Liar

bold-evil-liarRelease Date:  2015
Genre:   Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  120 mins.
Director:  Jomae Scott
Studio(s):  Jomae Productions; Maverick Entertainment

Cast:  Vernon Snoop Robinson (Apollo), Andromeda Jones (Bel), Robin L. White (Joi), Emerald Khan (Eve), Sophia Knolton (Gennie), Amy Cannon Bryant (Datra), Jamar Harris (Drake).

Story:   Apollo Love and his wife, Joi, don’t know if their marriage can survive his affair with the beautiful seductress, Bel. Although the affair has ended, Bel is in full stalker mode while the Love family tries to deal with Apollo’s unfaithfulness, and the recent death of Joi’s parents. A web of lies and secrets that have been hidden by other members of both of their families are uncovered, and everyone starts to look scandalous. In the end, the biggest Bold Evil Liar wins.  Source(s):  Maverick Entertainment; IMDB.

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Fences

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Release Date 12/25/16 (In Theaters)
Genre:   Drama
Rating:  Unknown
Running Time:  139 mins.
Director:  Denzel Washington
Studio:   Bron Studios, MACRO, Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions

Cast:  Denzel Washington (Troy), Viola Davis (Rose), Mykelti Williamson (Gabriel), Russell Hornsby (Grimm), Stephen Henderson (Bono), Saniyya Sidney (Raynell) Jovan Adepo (Cory).

Story:  In Fences, Denzel Washington returns to the director’s chair for the fourth time in his career.  It’s based on a play by August Wilson that won a Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Awards, revolving around a sanitation worker in Pittsburgh who is haunted by his dream as a young man to become a professional baseball player, at a time before the major leagues were integrated.  Washington starred with Viola Davis in a Broadway revival of the play in 2010, which won Tony Awards for both of them.  The two are reprising their roles as Troy and Rose in the movie.  Joining Washington and Davis in front of the camera are:  Mykelti Williamson, Russell Hornsby, Jovan Adepo and Saniyya Sidne.

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Details:  Back in 1987, Wilson’s play was set up at Paramount as a potential vehicle for Eddie Murphy, who was looking for a serious role.  He had his eye on a part as the older son of Troy Maxson, currently played by Washington in both a stage version of the play and the movie.  By December 1988, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, now extinct, had Murphy rewriting his own character, which, according to the paper, he thought “came off too wimpy in the play.”  Eventually, he left the writing to Wilson, but the project became tangled in the playwright’s insistence that Fences, which deals with racial barriers and intricate family relations, should have a black director. “Until the industry is ready to hire a black to direct De Niro or Redford, blacks should at least be able to direct their own experience,” he said in January 1990, at a conference sponsored by the California Afro-American Museum.  “White directors are not qualified for the job. The job requires someone who shares the specifics of the culture of black Americans,” Wilson added.

Actually, Paramount was trying to accommodate.  A black executive worked on the film and by 1992 Paramount was in talks with John Singleton, who was then riding high on his success with Boyz N The Hood.  Ultimately, Singleton bowed out, as did Murphy.   Produce Scott Rudin appears to have gotten involved in about 1997, when he was still a powerhouse producer at Paramount.  Eventually, Rudin sent Wilson’s script to Washington, as a potential director. Washington, according to people who have tracked the project through the years, said yes; but he wanted to revive it first on Broadway, which he did.  Wilson died in 2005, but his one-man campaign for a black-directed film became something of a movement.

Fences which opens nationwide on Christmas Day, is beginning to look like a serious rival to Nate Parker’s The Birth Of A Nation along with Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and perhaps others to carry the torch for black cinema.  Sources:  Shadow and Act; Movies.com; Deadline.

 

Daughters Of The Dust

daughters-of-the-dustRelease Date:  11/18/16; Re-Release In Theaters
(Original Release Date: December 1991)
Genre:   Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  112 mins.
Director:  Julie Dash
Studio:   American Playhouse, Geechee Girls, WMG Film, Kino International

Cast:  Cora Lee Day (Nana Peazant), Alva Rogers (Eula Peazant), Barbarao (Yellow Mary), Trula Hoosier (Trula), Umar Abdurrahamn (Bilal Muhammad), Adisa Anderson (Eli Peazant), Kaycee Moore (Haagar Peazant), Bahni Turpin (Iona Peazant), Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Viola Peazant), Tommy Redmond Hicks (Mr. Snead).

Story:  Daughters of the Dust is a drama about the struggle between tradition and progress. Set in the early 1900s, it is the story of the Pazants on the eve of the family’s migration from their Sea Island home to the mainland, leaving their land and legacy behind. Nana Pazant, the eighty-eight-year-old matriarch of the family, fights to keep the family she raised together on the island to maintain the traditions handed down by her African ancestors. Eula, her granddaughter, is pregnant with the baby of a man whom her husband believes raped her. Haagar Pazant would like to throw off the traditions of the past for the opportunities of the future which await her and her family in the North. She wishes to establish herself as the family matriarch of the New World. Cousin Yellow Mary has returned from Cuba “ruint.” but on this eve of departure, she comes to reclaim her family place.

Daughters of the Dust is the first dramatic feature film to explore the traditions of the Gullah, the descendants of African slaves who once worked the indigo, rice and cotton plantations and later inhabited the many islands dotting the South Carolina and Georgia coastlines. These African Americans speak with a distinct accent known as “Gullah” or “Geechee.”  Ms. Dash, herself a descendant of the Gullah, drew heavily from their oral traditions and extensively researched her ancestors for five years with the assistance of Geechee scholar Margaret Washington Creel. Thus, the film represents a historical document.  Source:  Sundance.org.

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Jean Of The Joneses

jean-of-the-joneses

Release Date:  10/23/16; TVOne
Genre:  Comedy
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  86 mins.
Director:  Stella Meghie
Studio(s):   Search Engine Films, Circle Blue Films, Pokeprod, GPA Films

Cast:  Taylour Paige, Sherri Shepherd, Erica Ash, Michelle Hurst, Mamoudou Athie, Francois Arnaud, Demore Barnes, Anna Hopkins, Gloria Reuben.

Story:  A comedy about a dysfunctional family of women who have happily sent all the men in their lives running and a daughter who’s desperate to break the tradition.  To say that twenty-something writer Jean is at a crossroads would be putting it kindly — she really doesn’t know which way she’s headed. A vista of unenticing career prospects opens before her, and her latest relationship has just unceremoniously ended. Chronically self-analyzing, she often hangs out with her two aunts, mother, and grandmother Daphne. The women constantly bicker and judge each other’s life choices, a routine that’s interrupted when the estranged patriarch of the family literally dies on their doorstep.  Ray, the paramedic who takes their 911 call, falls fast for the acerbic Jean. The feeling is more or less mutual, but their potential romance will have to take a back seat to the chaos leading up to the funeral. In a series of sometimes harsh, always-spirited discussions — fueled by a complex family history, a few drinks, and the occasional toke — the women will do their best to figure themselves out, and to understand each other.  Source:  Tribeca Film Institute; Tiff.net.

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Basketball 3:16

basketball-3-16Release Date:  10/18/16; DVD
(Original Release Date: 2014)
Genre:  Drama/Inspirational
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  75 mins.
Director:   Ramasses Head
Studio(s):  Famous Filmworks, History In The Making Entertainment, Where Media Meets, Touch the Heart Productions, Maverick Entertainment.
Cast:  Pharoah Powell (Calvin Nichols), Karen Cox (Mary Nichols), James Earl-Rockefeller III (Reverend James Morgan), Brian Hooks (Derrion Nichols), Jonez Cain (Constance Thomas), Marcus D. Spencer (K Money).

Story:  Sometimes there comes a point in your life where you need to grow up, but only you know when that time comes. That time always comes in one shot and sometimes it’s your last shot. The Lord can be found in many places; a Church, a book or even a basketball court. Growing up is not about an age, it turns out it’s about a mindset. When you’re a child, you speak as a child, think as a child and reason as a child… when you become a man you put away childish things. The question of the day is… “How many shots does a man need to get it right, or does he ever get it right?”  Source(s):  Maverick Entertainment; Amazon; IMDB.

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Surviving Compton:  Dre, Suge & Miche’le

michele-biopic-stillRelease Date:  10/15/16; Lifetime
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  NR
Director:  Janice Cooke
Studio(s):   Sony Pictures Television and Thinkfactory Media.
Cast Rhyon Nicole Brown (Michel’le), Curtis Hamilton (Dre), Jamie Kennedy (Jerry Heller), R. Marcos Taylor (Suge Knight).

surviving-compton-stillStory:  The blockbuster film Straight Outta Compton mesmerized music fans with its vivid look behind the scenes of the pioneering hip hop collective N.W.A.  Now get ready to hear a shocking new side of their story.  Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le, tells the tale of Michel’le Toussaint, who rose to fame in the early days of rap as the so-called “First Lady of Ruthless Records.”  Surrounded by industry titans like Eazy-Z, Tupac Shakur, and obviously Suge Knight and Dr. Dre, she achieved major chart success – only to have it tarnished by betrayal and corrupt business dealings.  Her romantic relationship with Dre lasted for nearly a decade, during which time she veered further into a world ruled by substance abuse and crime. A blossoming affair with Knight, Dre’s friend and business partner, would offer temporary salvation, but ultimately complicate all of their lives.  Source(s):  People; Billboard.

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