Basketball Girlfriend

Basketball GirlfriendRelease Date:  6/24/14; Direct-to-video
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  75 mins.
Studio:  Nu-Lite Entertainment; eOne Entertainment
Director:  Jean-Claude La Marre
Cast:  Eurika Pratts (Carmen Johnson), Miguel A. Núñez, Jr. (Mr. Murray), Ernest Dancy   (Tyrone), Ernest Thomas (Lenny), Kristian Bernard (Blak), Jean-Claude La Marre (The Hatian).
Story:  Tyrone is one of the top college basketball stars in the country, but when his brother is released from prison he begins to feel the pressure of going back to hustling drugs on the street. Tyrone’s coach hopes to set his talented player straight by introducing him to Carmen. Carmen is a beautiful tutor, who in a tragic twist of fate turns out to be the sister of a rival drug lord. (Source: promotional material, IMDB).

Trailer:  Coming soon

TWO GUN MAN FROM HARLEM

Poster

 THE HARLEM BAD-MAN GOES WEST!

Details
Year of Release: 1938
Genre: Western
Rating: N/A
Runtime: 66 mins.
Black & White
Studio: Merit Pictures
Producer: Richard C. Kahn & Alfred N. Sack
Director: Richard C. Kahn

Cast
Herbert Jeffrey a/k/a Herb Jeffries (Bob Blake/The Deacon)
Margaret Whitten (Sally Thompson)
Clarence Brooks (John Barker)
Mantan Moreland (Bill)
Matthew ‘Stymie’ Beard (Jimmy Thompson)
Spencer Williams, Jr. (Butch Carter)
Mae Turner (Ruth Steel)
Jesse Lee Brooks (The Sheriff)
Rosalie Lincoln (Dolores)
Tom Southern (John Steel)
The Cats and the Fiddle The Four Tones

Synopsis

After hanging out with friends and later spending time with pretty Sally Thompson and her talkative young brother Jimmy, Bob Blake returns to John Steel’s Wyoming ranch, where he works as a cowboy.

Bob Blake

At the ranch, Bob discovers that Steel has been murdered by a man with whom his wife Ruth was having an affair, and whom she refuses to name.  As Bob inspects the body, Ruth substitutes her lover’s gun with Bob’s, and Bob subsequently is accused of the crime by the sheriff.  During the sheriff’s interrogation, Bob’s friend Bill, the ranch cook, turns off the lights, Bob hides, and the sheriff, believing that Bob has escaped, rides off with his men.

Once alone with Bob, Ruth confesses to framing him and insists that he leave the area to avoid arrest.

Ruth tells Bob to leave townBob hitchhikes across the country and eventually arrives in Harlem, where he meets a man known as The Deacon, a killer who was once a preacher and who Bob greatly resembles.

Bob meets the DeaconBob gets the idea to assume a new identity and return to Wyoming disguised as a church elder in order to clear his name.  Bob, now known as The Deacon, allies himself with Butch Carter.  Carter, a miner who has been paid by the well-to-do John Barker, to kidnap and murder Ruth as she knows that Barker killed her husband.

Carter rides to Sally’s ranch, where he forces himself on her.  Bob, who has been told by Jimmy that Sally is being pressured into marrying Barker to avoid foreclosure on their father’s ranch, saves Sally from Carter’s advances.Bob makes Butch pay Sally

Bob cleverly cons Carter into paying Sally two thousand dollars, which she happily gives to Barker to pay off her father’s loan.Sally pays BarkerSoon after, Bob fights with Barker and confers with an angry Ruth, who has been locked in a shed by Carter.  While Jimmy rushes to find the sheriff at Bob’s request, Barker and Carter plot to get rid of The Deacon.  They converge on the old mine where Bob has taken Sally for protection.  While Bob fights with Barker, Bill uses his trusty frying pan to save his friend from Barker’s hired gunman.

Bill saves Bob 2Just as the sheriff arrives, Bob overwhelms Barker and takes the lawman to Ruth, who finally exposes Barker as her husband’s killer.  Bob’s true identity is revealed and he leaves with a smitten Sally.

Sally learns that The Deacon is Bob

Source(s):  Turner Classic Movies; YouTube.

The Book of Negroes

The Book of Negroes Movie StillRelease Date: 2/16/15 (Made-for-TV)
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Available
Director: Clement Virgo
Studios: Conquering Lion Pictures, Out of Africa Entertainment

Cast:  Aunjanue Ellis (Aminata Diallo), Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Sam Fraunces), Ben Chaplin (Captain John Clarkson), Louis Gossett, Jr. (Daddy Moses), Greg Bryk (Robertson Appleby), Jane Alexander (Maria Witherspoon), Allan Hawco (Solomon Lindo), Rick Roberts (General Washington), Lyriq Bent (Chekura Tiano), Stephan James (Cummings Shackspear).

Details:  According to Shadow and Act, the novel’s synopsis reads: abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle—a string of slaves— Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic “Book of Negroes.” This book, an actual document, provides a short but immensely revealing record of freed Loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the US for resettlement in Nova Scotia, only to find that the haven they sought was steeped in an oppression all of its own.

Aunjanue Ellis stars as Aminata Diallo, while Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lou Gossett, Jr. play Sam Fraunces and Daddy Moses respectively.  Gooding’s Fraunces is a freed slave from Jamaica who runs his namesake tavern (Fraunces Tavern), participates in several historical events, and later moves to Mount Vernon to run George Washington’s household.  Daddy Moses is Moses ‘Daddy’ Wilkinson or Old Moses, an African American slave, and Methodist preacher in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone. Though blind and crippled, Wilkinson led a band of runaway slaves to freedom in 1776.  Also Lyriq Bent is playing Chekura, who, as a young boy, made the crossing with Aminata when she was sold into slavery, is separated from her, and later reunites with her when they are adults, and have a child together.

The adaptation of the novel will be a 6-hour TV mini-series which will air on BET Networks in the U.S. in February 2015 and CBC in Canada on January 7, 2015.

Source(s): Shadow and Act; IMDB.

Trailer:

 

Memphis (I)

Status: Development Status Unknown as of 7/3/14
Release Date: TBA
Genre: Drama/Biography
Rating: Not Available
Studio: Scott Rudin Productions/Veritas Films
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Forest Whitaker (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Story: The script depicts Dr. King’s final days as he struggled to organize a protest march on behalf of striking black municipal sanitation workers in Memphis, TN, where he was slain. That storyline is juxtaposed with an intense manhunt for King’s assassin, James Earl Ray, involving some of the federal authorities who, at Hoover’s direction, had dogged King’s every step with wiretaps and whispering campaigns before the civil rights leader’s death.

Details: Universal Pictures backed out of director Paul Greengrass’s would-be project in April 2012, after reportedly getting cold feet about the MLK estate’s issues with the allegations of infidelity in the screenplay. Then Greengrass turned his attention to Captain Phillips, his Somali pirates picture and the project was essentially abandoned. Now it is back on again with producer Scott Rudin in tow, but just not right away.

In May 2013, The Wrap revealed that Oscar winner Forest Whitaker may be adding another prestige project to his plate, as he’s in talks to play Martin Luther King, Jr. in writer-director Paul Greengrass’ drama Memphis.”  However, Greengrass, in an interview reported by Deadline in January 2014, promised that he will make the film, he just wants to do something else beforehand as he takes his time to find the right actor to play the Civil Rights leader. Source(s): Deadline, IMDB.

Check back for further details on Memphis as this story develops.  See also Selma.

Selma

Selma teaser poster

Release Date:  January 9, 2015
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating: Unknown
Studio:  Paramount Pictures, Cloud Eight Films, Celador Films,
Harpo Films, Pathe, Plan B Entertainment, Lee Daniels Entertainment
Director:  Ava DuVernay

Cast:  David Oyelowo (Martin Luther King, Jr.), Oprah Winfrey (Annie Lee Cooper), Carmen Ejogo (Coretta Scott King), Lorraine Toussaint (Amelia Boynton), Giovanni Ribisi (Lee C. White), Tim Roth (George Wallace), Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Fred Gray), Common (James Bevel), Tom Wilkinson (President Lyndon B. Johnson), Tessa Thompson (Diane Nash), Dylan Baker (J. Edgar Hoover), Wendell Pierce (Reverend Hosea Williams), Niecy Nash (Richie Jean Jackson), Lakeith Stanfield (Jimmie Lee Jackson).

Story:  The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.  Source(s): AFI Fest.

Trailer: 

Robeson

Paul RobesonStatus:  Development Status Unknown as of April 24, 2017
Release Date: TBA
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  Not Available
Studio:  Four Stars International/Equinox Films
Director:  Vondie Curtis-Hall
Cast:  David Harewood (Paul Robeson), Louis Gossett, Jr. (W.E.B. Dubois), Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Eslanda Goode Robeson).

Details:  Variety reports that Vondie Curtis-Hall will direct the upcoming Paul Robeson biopic with shooting set for early 2014.

“Robeson” has been in development since early 2013 with South African director Darrell Roodt attached to helm and David Harewood on board to play the lead. Roodt is no longer attached and producers have opted to read other actors for the role.

Robeson, born in 1898, was a singer, actor and orator from the 1920s through the 1950s best known for his  acting in “Othello” and his singing of “Ol’ Man River.” Robeson’s political activism brought him to the attention of Senator Joseph McCarthy, leading to the revocation of his passport for eight years despite his contributions as an entertainer to the Allied forces during WWII. (Source: Variety).