Issue #5: Movie Preview
OVERSEEN & OVERHEARD
ANDRE'S KIDS....Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins has joined the cast of Andre 3000's new animated series for the Cartoon Network, report our friends at AllHipHop.com. Outkast's Andre 3000 created and is executive producting the animated show, which focuses on a group of outcast kids from Atlanta and their mysterious mentor. The show is currently untitled.
DEJA VU?... Now, is it just us or is MTV's much hyped new hip hop-flavored series "The 'Shop" extremely reminiscent of similar programming which ran on one of ESPN's networks during summer '05, or are we crazy? Nice to see Tommy Mottola resurrecting his power on the visual hip hop tip, but wondering just exactly what is up? But while we figure out this confusion, we definitely want to give a major shout out to "The 'Shop's" lead in, "Wild N Out." Nick Cannon has really created and continues to persist in producing what is actually a very creative, multi-flavored offering that keeps you laughing. Seems Mr. Cannon might finally be finding his own and leaving past uninspired attempts behind. Kudos!
PAFF FEST TIME...The 14th Annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) takes place February 9-20 at the Magic Johnson Theatres in L.A. Attracting some 150,000 people annually, PAFF is the largest Black History Month event in the U.S.--so get your tickets early for the over 150 films from the U.S., Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, Europe and Canada, made by or about people of African descent, that will screen. Hit http://www.paff.org for more info.
WHITE OUT...Oh, Vanity Fair how can you still be doing this kind of crazy thing on your much-hyped, very influential Hollywood/Oscar issue? Selecting the sexy style guru Tom Ford was a fabulous choice, but why when the third Caucasian actress dropped out from the provocative cover, was that not a signal to make a quick call to an actress of color instead of using Ford as a stand-in. Or better yet, even making it a diverse cover from the very beginning. He looks good, sure, but not as good as say, Eva Mendes would have.
NEXT HOUSEHOLD NAME?...According to industry insiders, Anthony Anderson has signed a holding deal with Fox for an upcoming pilot. No word on the content of the possible series, but we're sure it's a sitcom.
GLOBAL YOUTH...Young wannabe filmmakers, the International Student Film Festival is looking for films. Deadline is May 1 for both high school and college level entries. For more information, visit www.studentfilmfestival.
DIDDY'S PEPSI SPOT GOES FLAT?...We weren't the only ones who questioned the casting of Diddy in the Diet Pepsi Super Bowl commerical. Seems the ad industry critics agree, including Apryl Duncan who noted on About.com that the ad "missed the mark" in its attempt to attract a younger generation of Diet Pepsi drinkers. We hate to say we told you so, but we did. Laying bets on Estee Lauder fragrance, anyone?
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE...So you've all heard by now that Vibe and Urbanworld are teaming up this year for the new and improved Urbanworld VIBE Film Festival, and they are putting out the serious call for entries. Taking place, June 21-25, the organizers are open to submissions in feature film, short film, documentary film, screenplay, and music video. Visit www.urbanworld.org for info.
VIEWERS SINK TEETH INTO BET'S "BEEF"
BET recently announced that "Beef," three-part documentary chronicling the often-times complex and volatile dynamics of relationships in the hip hop world, achieved first, second and third rating positions each night, respectively, for the week ending Feb. 1 in Black homes. Data is provided by Nielsen.
BLADE TO FIND HOME ON SPIKE TV
Spike TV has given the green light for a television series based on Marvel Super Hero "Blade" as the network's first original scripted series. The network has ordered 11 one-hour episodes, in addition to the previously announced two-hour kick-off episode, to be produced by New Line Television. Production will begin in Vancouver, Canada this spring. "Blade" premieres in June 2006. Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones (Over There) stars in the leading role. Rounding out the series cast are Jill Wagner ("Monk"), Neil Jackson ("Stargate SG-1"), Nelson Lee ("Traffic," the TV mini-series) and Jessica Gower ("Blurred").
DISNEY MERGER WITH CITADEL TAKES OFF
Earlier this week The Walt Disney Co. announced the merger of ABC Radio network and 22 stations with Citadel Broadcasting Corp. in a deal valued at $2.7 billion, according to reports. Disney and Citadel will form a new company, Citadel Communications. The deal does not includes Disney's ESPN and Radio Disney network, but will make Citadel the nation's third largest radio group.
The A-List Movie Preview
What you may want to see in the next few weeks, what you might wait for until DVD, and what not worth the time--in our opinion, of course.
DIRTY (Silver Nitrate)
In this shoot 'em up flick Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a not-so-by-the-books cop on LAPD's anti-gang task force whose tactics get called into question when partner, played by Clifton Collins Jr., starts to talk. Shades of Rampart. Can you say Training Day? We think--as did Oscar--Denzel did it better. www.dirtythemovie.com.
MADEA'S FAMILY REUNION (Lion's Gate) If you liked Diary of a Mad Black Woman, then we're sure you'll be in line for Tyler Perry's latest--Madea's Family Reunion. This time he pulled Cicely Tyson, Boris Kodjoe, Jenifer Lewis, and Tangi Miller into the mix. Directed, of course, by Tyler Perry. http://www.madeasfamilyreunionmovie.com/index_flash.php.
DAVE CHAPPELLE'S BLOCK PARTY (Focus Features)
You've heard all the hype, and now it is finally here. Dave ChappelleEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind); Mos Def, Wyclef, Kanye West, Big Daddy Kane, Jill Scott help kick the party into high gear. Sounds like summer fun in the middle of winter.
FIND ME GUILTY (Freestyle Releasing)
Find us guilty for wanting to see another Vin Diesel flick. This one should be better than the last--The Pacifier--since Sidney Lumet directs this drama about a man sent to prison on a drug charge after refusing to turn government witness against his former associates in the New Jersey Lucchesi crime family. Diesel swings it as Italian this time, playing Giacomo "Fat Jack" DiNorscio.
DON'T TRIP - HE AIN'T THROUGH WITH ME YET (Freestyle Releasing)
Original King of Comedy Steve Harvey returns to the stage with a new stand-up project. Filmed live at Bishop TD Jakes' MegaFest, Harvey pokes fun at everything from the rituals of a church service to the colorful characters in the congregation.
INSIDE MAN (Universal)
Spike Lee. Denzel Washington. It'll be worth it just to see these two team up again. This time, the drama revolves around a cop and a bank robber and a hostage situation. Clive Owens and Jodie Foster co-star. www.theinsideman.net
ATL (Warner Bros.)
Big Boi and Lonette McKee star in this Chris Robinson -directed movie about, you got it--Atlanta. Well, about four teens coming of age in a working-class ATL hood. The film is loosely based on Dallas Austin and Tionne Watkins' experiences growing up in Atlanta and hanging out at a local skating rink called Jellybeans. Sounds like a good Saturday afternoon movie. http://atlthemovie.warnerbros.com.
LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN (Weinstein Company)
Josh Hartnett, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, Lucy Alexis Liu directed by Paul McGuigan. High stakes gambling, deadly mix-up, mistaken identity, murder. All the ingredients for a fast-paced thriller.
PHAT GIRLZ (Fox Searchlight)
Not much about known about this comedy other than it stars Mo'nique
WAIST DEEP (Focus Features)
Vondie Curtis-Hall directs Tyrese, The Game, Meagan Good, Eric Lane, and Larenz Tate in this reel about an ex-convict (surprise, Tyrese) who gets tangled up with a gang after his car is hijacked with his son inside.
AKEELAH AND THE BEE (Lion's Gate)
We've heard so much about this one already, it seems like we've already seen it. So don't expect any surprise other than Keke Palmer--the urban Dakota Fanning. For those who've been under a rock, the film is about a precocious eleven-year-old girl, Akeelah Anderson (Palmer), from south Los Angeles, who is discovered to have a talent for words and enters a spelling contest. Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, directed by Doug Atchison.
LITTLE MAN (Sony Pictures)
The Wayans clan is at it again. This time around, a man (Shawn Wayans) anxious to be a father mistakes an extremely short-, baby-faced criminal (Marlon Wayans) on the run as his newly adopted son. Big brother Keenen Ivory Wayans directs. Kerry Washington and Tracy Morgan also star. Expect more tricks with makeup wizardry.
In case you weren't watching the Grammys on Wednesday night--and many didn't as "American Idol," according to Nielsen, bested the Awards telecast for that hour--The A-List just had to share with you some of its thoughts on this year's winners, and more importanlty, the non-winners.
So, just how does it happen that an artist has the most #1 singles in history aside from the Beatles and lose out to U2 (whom we love, but come on now)? And how can same said artist be the first-ever female artist to hold down both the #1 and #2 Billboard spots simultaneously and allegedly being pushed out to open the show by the flat-butt, lackluster-at-best performance of Madonna who was not even nominated for anything? And how can same said artist sell more than five million albums and lose out to the likes of Green Day and Kelly Clarkson. Kelly Clarkson??????
Yes, honey, we are talking about Mariah. And even though her "I'm so cute" act tends to work The A-List's nerves, no one can deny this woman's God-given talent. So what happened on Grammy night? How do both the #1 and #2 albums, Emancipation of Mimi and Late Registration, according to Billboard respectively, miss on these big-ticket, televised kudos and solely be relegated to the "black catagories"? Yes, we know that the Academy (and we'd really love to see breakdown percentages by gender, race and AGE on the Recording Academy voters, by the way) is looking supposedly for "art" not sales, but then this makes one question it all, as Variety editor-in-chief, Peter Bart, so wonderfully put during a recent episode of "Shoot Out." He said something to the effect of: Are we actually making an effort not to award art that sells the most and is actually more widely embraced by the public, and if so, what does that say? Further, in the case of the Grammys, is the Academy saying that the urban/hip hop beat is still not really sitting with us as "best song, album, record" even though the masses may scoop it up? Traditional R&B might slide in once every few years (Alicia Keys) or blues even less frequently (Ray Charles) or unusual fusions (Lauryn Hill, Outkast). Google past winners since 1998 just to amuse yourself (and also see how many times U2 consistently brings home the biggest laurels, by the way).
Worse, are these same voting members making the money from these types of records but not reciprocating with something that is actually worth more than money: recognition and validation? But it's still a business, so while we're at it, what additional economic benefits do these artists of color miss by not receiving these additional emotional reinforcements on national television?
Let's get it together Recording Academy, because shows like this are already slipping in ratings.
All anyone has ever asked for is fairness. As the recording industry is consistently rescued by artists of color each week on the Billboard charts, it would be nice to see some consistent reflection in the big ticket awards as well?
Ananda Lewis, Sanna Lathan, Violet Brown, Troy Marshall and Tosha Thomas hangin' until the wee hours at a ultra-private “listening lounge” given by Prince at his home Tuesday night.
Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child; Linda Johnson Rice, President,CEO, Johnson Publishing Company; Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick; Suzanne dePasse'; Rev. Jesse L. Jackson; Rev. Al Sharpton; Holly Robinson Peete; Freda Payne; Shaun Robinson (Access Hollywood); Judge Greg Mathis; and Ed Gordon were among those minglin' at the inaugural EBONY Pathfinder Awards: A Tribute to Excellence at the posh Seldom Blues Supper Club on the Detroit riverfront during Super Bowl weekend. Shout out to contributors Gil Robertson IV and Shareef Scott!!
We're out 'till next Friday.