Troop Zero

Release Date:  2/1/19; Sundance Film Festival
Genre:  Family
Rating:  NR
Director:  Bert & Bertie
Studio(s):   Amazon Studios, Big Indie Pictures, Escape Artists
Running Time:  94 mins.
Cast:  Viola Davis, Allison Janney, McKenna Grace, Mike Epps

Story:  Nine-year-old oddball Christmas Flint (Mckenna Grace) is obsessed with space and making contact with the aliens of the universe. When she finds out the prize at the 1977 Birdie Jamboree is getting her voice on NASA’s Golden Record, Christmas forms her own misfit Birdie troop. Nothing can prepare them for the painfully perfect world of the legit Birdies. But, led by their reluctant yet fearless troop mama (Viola Davis) and Christmas’s dad (Jim Gaffigan), they find glory in the most unexpected circumstances—much to the despair of the ever-judgmental school principal, Miss Massey (Allison Janney).  Source:  Sundance.org.

Widows

 

Release Date:  11/16/18; In Theaters
Genre:  Drama/Thriller
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  Unknown
Director:  Steve McQueen
Studio(s):   See-Saw Films, Film 4, New Regency Pictures,
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Cast:   Viola Davis,  Andre Holland, Cynthia Erivo, Daniel Kaluuya, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell.

Story:  Remake of Lynda La Plante‘s 1983 British miniseries of the same name.  Tells the story of a group of armed thieves who are killed during a botched robbery. In the wake of their husbands’ deaths, the thieves’ wives band together to finish the job the men in their lives couldn’t successfully complete.  Source:  Slashfilm.

Trailer #1:

Teaser Trailer:

Fences

fences-poster

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.

Trailer 1:

Trailer 2:

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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.

 

Lila & Eve

Lila & EveRelease Date:  7/17/15 (Limited and On Demand)
Genre:  Drama/Thriller
Rating:  R
Running Time: 94 mins.
Studio(s):  A+E Studios, ChickFlick Productions, JuVee Productions, Lifetime Films, Samuel Goldwyn Films.
Director:  Charles Stone, III

Cast:  Viola Davis (Lila), Jennifer Lopez (Eve Rafael), Shea Whigham (Holliston),
Aml Ameen (Stephon), Andre Royo (Skaketti), Chris Chalk (Alonzo), Michole Briana White (Mae), Yolonda Ross (Patrice).

Story:  Lila and Eve tells the story of Lila (Davis), a grief-stricken mother who in the aftermath of her son’s murder in a drive-by shooting attends a support group where she meets Eve (Lopez), who has lost her daughter. When Lila hits numerous roadblocks from the police in bringing justice for her son’s slaying, Eve urges Lila to take matters into her own hands to track down her son’s killers. The two women soon embark on a killing spree of their own, as they work to the top of the chain of drug dealers to avenge the murder of Lila’s son.  Source: Movie Insider.

Trailer:

Get On Up

 

Get On Up 2Release Date:  August 1, 2014
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  Not Available
Running Time:  Not Available
Studio:  Universal Pictures
Director: Tate Taylor
Cast:  Chadwick Boseman (James Brown),  Viola Davis (Susie Brown), Octavia Spencer (Aunt Honey), Nelsan Ellis (Bobby Byrd), Jill Scott, Dan Aykroyd (Ben Bart), Lennie James (Joseph James), Tika Sumpter (Yvonne Fair)

Story:  Based on the incredible life story of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, the film will give a fearless look inside the music, moves and moods of Brown, taking audiences on the journey from his impoverished childhood to his evolution into one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. (Synopsis taken from comingsoon.net).

Details: The Godfather of Soul led a very turbulent life, which included drug abuse and four marriages. Producer Brian Grazer and longtime friend of James Brown, started working on Get On Up with the soul legend himself involved in the development of the project up to his death in 2006. Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, who also knew Brown, is also on board as a producer.  (Source:  Movie Pilot; Photo:  Universal Pictures).

Trailer #1

Trailer #2