Green Book

Release Date:  11/21/18; In Theaters
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  PG-13
Director:  Peter Farrelly
Studio(s):  Innisfree Pictures, Participant Media, Wessler Entertainment,
Universal Pictures
Running Time:  Unknown
Cast:  Mahershala Ali (Don Shirley), Viggo Mortensen (Tony Lip).
Story:   The film, which is based on a true story, stars Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali as Dr. Don Shirley, a world-class black pianist, who hires Tony Lip (Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen), a Bronx-born bouncer, to drive him on a concert tour that extends from Manhattan to the Deep South. Using the “Green Book,” which serves as a guide to the establishments that were safe at the time for African-Americans, the pair form an unexpected bond during their lengthy road trip. Source: Popsugar.

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Tales From the Hood 2

Release Date:  10/2/18; DVD, VOD
Genre:  Horror
Rating:  R
Director(s):  Rusty Cundieff, Darin Scott
Studio(s):   Universal 1440 Entertainment, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE)
Running Time:  111 mins.
Cast:  Keith David (Portifoy Simms), Bryan Batt (John Lloyd), Kedrick Brown (Booze), Alicia Davis Johnson (PollyAnnas Hockenbull), Creighton Thomas (Cliff Bettis).
Story:   Keith David is Mr. Simms, who will present four horrific stories of lust, greed, pride and politics through tales of demonic dolls, possessed psychics, vengeful vixens and historical ghosts. Mr. Simms’s haunting stories will make you laugh… while you scream. TALES FROM THE HOOD 2 is squarely in the tradition of outrageous, entertaining anthology horror, but it also addresses serious issues with a forceful point of view, just as folklore has done throughout history.  Source:  Dread Central.

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The Foreign Exchange Student

Release Date:  9/4/18; DVD (Original Release – 2015)
Genre:  Thriller
Rating:  NR
Director:  Jonathan Milton
Running Time:  100 mins
Cast:  Donny Boaz, Ian Haywood, Jaye Alexander, Bianca Tonsall.

Story:   Sinclair John is a beautiful, troubled, young high school senior from Dominica. When her parents suspect she may have had something to do with her boyfriend’s death, they ship her to America under the Foreign Exchange Student Program. While living with her new family, she wreaks havoc and it’s up to Jackie to stop her.  Source:  Maverick Entertainment.

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DWB: Dating While Black

Release Date:  9/18/18; DVD
Genre:  Comedy
Rating:  NR
Director:  Van Elder
Studio(s):  Bullz Eye Productions, Maverick Entertainment
Running Time:  100 mins.

Cast:  Brandon Fobbs, Eddie Goines, Terry Dexter, William L. Johnson, Slink Johnson

Story:   DWB: Dating While Black is a very honest and comedic look at the dating process through the eyes of several individuals. Two former co-workers, Eric and Alex, have been recently laid off from their jobs and they run into each other on a job interview. While searching for new jobs, they forge a personal relationship that involves Alex, a womanizing ladies’ man, helping the naive and recently dumped Eric understand women better. Along the way are various dating scenarios from different characters who come in and out of the lives of both Alex and Eric who all demonstrate the struggles, strains, and triumphs of Dating While Black.  Source:  Maverick Entertainment.

Trailer:

Brute Sanity

Release Date:  10/16/18; DVD
(Original Release Date – 2017)
Genre:  Action
Rating:  NR
Director:  Sam Vanivray
Studio(s):  Imaginary Danger Productions, Summer Hill Films, Maverick Entertainment
Running Time:  100 mins. 
Cast:  Adjovi Koene, Steven Lawlor-Jones, Sam Vanivray.
Story:   Keradin, an up-and-coming FBI agent, successfully extracts a stolen artifact from a den of criminals, despite freakish hallucinations. A year later, Keradin has returned to academia as a postdoctoral researcher in neuropsychology.  Her former FBI boss swarms her research center with a group of agents to find a second artifact – a device which can alter reality.  Realizing Maskin has sinister intentions, Keradin teams up with a thief to find the artifact first while Maskin unleashes bizarre traps to stop her.  Source:  Maverick Entertainment.

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The First Purge

a/k/a Purge:  The Island

Release Date:10/2/18; DVD
Genre:  Horror, Action.
Rating:  R
Director:   Gerard McMurray
Studio(s):   Blumhouse Productions, Perfect World Pictures, Platinum Dunes, Universal Pictures.
Running Time:  98 mins.

Cast:  Y’lan Noel (Dimitri), Lex Scott Davis (Nya), Joivan Wade (Isaiah), Mugga (Dolores), Lauren Velez (Luisa), Marisa Tomei (The Architect-Dr. Update), Christian Robinson (Capital A), Kristen Solis (Selina), Patch Darragh (Chief of Staff-Arlo Sabian), Rotimi Paul (Skeletor), Mo McRae (7&7), Siya (Blaise).

Story:   During the country’s first purge, any level of crime (including murder) is legal for 12 hours. Because all emergency services are also suspended, the citizens must keep themselves connected and protected during a night of sheer terror and uncertainty. Isaiah and his sister work as activists who are trying to keep everything under control while promoting peace, but are finding it increasingly difficult to promote their agenda when not even the government agrees. As the night goes on the crimes become more intense, frequent, and leave the activist group more unsure about the future of their country.  Source:  DVD Release Dates.

Trailer:

Respect

Release Date:  8/14/20
Genre:  Biography
Studio(s):  MGM
Director:  Liesl Tommy

Cast:  Jennifer Hudson (Aretha Franklin), Forest Whitaker (C. L. Franklin), Tituss Burgess (Reverend Dr. James Cleveland), Marlon Wayans (Ted White), Tate Donovan (John Hammond), Marc Maron (Jerry Wexler), Audra McDonald (Barbara Franklin),
Mary J. Blige (Dinah Washington), Heather Headley (Clara Ward), Saycon Sengbloh (Erma Franklin), Leroy McClain (Cecil Franklin), Hailey Kilgore (Carolyn Franklin), Skye Dakota Turner (Young Aretha Franklin).

Story:  The life story of legendary R&B singer, Aretha Franklin.

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Update 11/7/19:  The Wrap reported that Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald and Mary J. Blige have all joined the ensemble cast of MGM’s Aretha Franklin biopic Respect starring Jennifer Hudson.  Tituss Burgess, Tate Donovan and Marc Maron are also joining the life story of the queen of soul, as are Broadway stars Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Heather Headley and newcomer Skye Dakota Turner.

Whitaker, Wayans, McDonald, Sengbloh and Kilgore are all playing members of Franklin’s family. Whitaker will portray Aretha’s father, Reverend CL Franklin, who was also Franklin’s manager early on in her career and himself was known as the man with the “Million-Dollar Voice.” Wayans plays Ted White, Franklin’s first husband. McDonald will play Aretha’s mother, Barbara Franklin. Sengbloh and Kilgore will play Franklin’s sisters. And Turner, known for her role in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” on Broadway, will play a young Aretha Franklin.

The rest of the cast is playing some other musical luminaries that surrounded Franklin throughout her career. Blige will play recording artist Dinah Washington. Headley will play Clara Ward, the gospel artist and leader of The Famous Ward Sisters. Burgess stars as “King of Gospel,” Reverend Dr. James Cleveland. Donovan stars Columbia Records producer John Hammond, and Maron is playing Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler.

Respect is fully sanctioned by Franklin’s estate and will include many of her iconic songs, including “Respect,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” “Spanish Harlem” and “Young, Gifted and Black.”  Source:  The Wrap.  Photo Source:  Oprah Magazine.

Details as of 8/16/2018:  In January, it was announced by record executive Clive Davis, at his annual pre-GRAMMY party in NYC, that Jennifer Hudson had signed on to portray Aretha Franklin in the biopic based on her memoir Aretha: From These Roots.  He also announced that Franklin actually handpicked Hudson to play her.  The movie will center around Aretha’s journey to discover her true voice and who she wanted to be as an artist.  Currently the film doesn’t have a release date and there are no plans to speed the production in the wake of Aretha’s passing

Sadly on this date, Franklin’s publicist confirmed that the legend died of advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.  Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to the Queen of Soul and took to Instagram to remember the legendary artist.  Hudson Instagrammed a video of herself listening to Franklin’s cover of The Beatles’ “Let It Be.”  “I have no words, so I will let the Queen say it!” Hudson wrote. “But I will say while teaching me about your life, u taught me so much about life and schooled me in mine. I will never forget those teachings #riparethafranklin.”  Sources:  People, ET Online, TMZ.  Photo Source:  ET Online.