Respect

Release Date:  8/14/20
Genre:  Biography
Studio(s):  MGM
Director:  Liesl Tommy
Cast:  Jennifer Hudson (Aretha Franklin)

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

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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.

All Rise

a/k/a Monster

Release Date:  9/27/19; In Theaters
(Original Release: 2018)
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Director:   Anthony Mandler
Studio(s):  Tonik Productions, Charlevoix Entertainment, Bron Studios, Inc., Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures.
Running time:   98 mins.

Cast:  Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson, Jharrel Jerome, Rakim Mayers, Jennifer Ehle, Tim Blake Nelson, John David Washington, Nas, A$AP Rocky.

Story:   Steve Harmon, a bright, sensitive 17-year-old, stands trial for acting as a lookout during the lethal armed robbery of a Harlem bodega. Before his arrest, he was an honors student and aspiring filmmaker taking street-level snapshots and on-the-fly footage of neighborhood life. Now, Steve is seen as just another young black criminal, assumed guilty and labeled a monster. But Steve and his lawyer declare his innocence and attempt to defy the odds in a bid to win his freedom.  Source:  Sundance.org; Photo Source:  IMDB.

Update:   On April 22, 2019, Deadline reported that Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to All Rise, the drama written and directed by Anthony Mandler that premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival as Monster. The pic based on Walter Dean Myers’ New York Times-bestselling novel of that name is now headed for a fall 2019 domestic theatrical release.

The plot centers on Steve Harmon (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.), a 17-year-old honor student whose world comes crashing down when he is charged with felony murder. The film follows his dramatic journey from a smart, likeable film student from Harlem attending an elite high school through a complex legal battle that could leave him spending the rest of his life in prison.  Source:  Deadline.

Trailer:

Confirmation

Confirmation stillRelease Date:  4/16/16; HBO
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time:   Unknown
Studio(s):  ABC Signature Studios, Groundswell Productions, HBO Films.
Director:  Rick Famuyiwa
Cast:  Kerry Washington (Anita Hill), Wendell Pierce (Clarence Thomas), Erika Christensen (Shirley Wiegand), Zoe Lister-Jones (Carolyn Hart), Greg Kinnear (Joe Biden), Grace Gummer (Ricki Seidman), Jeffrey Wright (Charles Ogletree), Eric Stonestreet (Ken Duberstei), Kimberly Elise (Sonia Jarvis), Jennifer Hudson (Angela Wright), Alison Wright (Virginia Thomas).

Story:  Confirmation, the HBO original movie details the 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings.  Kerry Washington portrays law professor Anita Hill, who accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.  With Wendell Pierce as Judge Thomas and Greg Kinnear as Democratic Senator Joe Biden, who presided over the hearings as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Jeffrey Wright plays Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, Professor Hill’s lead attorney during the hearings.

Also Kimberly Elise plays Sonia Jarvis, a civil rights attorney on Anita Hill’s legal team. Jennifer Hudson portrays Angela Wright, another Thomas accuser.  Erika Christensen plays Shirley Wiegand, Hill’s close friend and Alison Wright portrays Ginni Thomas, Thomas’ wife.  Source:  Shadow and Act.

Trailer:

Teaser:

Black Nativity

Black NativityRelease Date:  4/15/14, DVD; 11/27/13, Theatrical Release
Genre:  Drama/Musical
Rating:  PG
Studio:  Maven Pictures; Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director:  Kasi Lemmons
Cast:  Angela Bassett (Aretha Cobbs)
Jennifer Hudson (Naima)
Forest Whitaker (Reverend Clarence Cobbs)
Mary J. Blige (Angel)
Jacob Latimore (Langston)
Nasir Jones (Street Prophet /Isaiah)
Tyrese Gibson (Loot /Tyson)
Vondie Curtis Hall (Pawnbroker)

Story:  In a contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes’ celebrated play, the holiday musical drama follows Langston, a street-wise teen from Baltimore raised by a single mother, as he journeys to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged relatives Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs. Unwilling to live by the imposing Reverend Cobbs’ rules, a frustrated Langston is determined to return home to his mother, Naima. Langston embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey and along with new friends, and a little divine intervention, he discovers the true meaning of faith, healing, and family. Source: Foxsearchlight.com, official site.

Trailer:

The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Peete

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & PeeteRelease Date: 2/4/14 (DVD); 10/11/13 (Limited)
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Running Time: 108 mins.
Studio: Codeblack Entertainment/Lionsgate Films
Director: George Tillman, Jr.
Cast: Skylan Brooks (Mister)
Ethan Dizon (Pete)
Jennifer Hudson (Mom Gloria)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Sergeant Pike)
Jordin Sparks (Alice)
Julito McCullum (Dip Stick)
Anthony Mackie (Kris)
Jeffrey Wright (Henry)
Story: During a sweltering summer in New York City, 13-year-old Mister’s hard-living mother is apprehended by the police, leaving the boy and nine-year-old Pete alone to forage for food while dodging child protective services and the destructive scenarios of the Brooklyn projects. Faced with more than any child can be expected to bear, the resourceful Mister nevertheless feels he is an unstoppable force against seemingly unmovable obstacles. But what really keeps the pair in the survival game is much more Mister’s vulnerability than his larger-than-life attitude. (Synopsis taken from Codeblack).

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