Monday, March 30, 2020

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from March 22nd to 31st, 2020 - Update #32

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

Support Leroy on Patreon:

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 and Hollywood and Beyond:

From YahooNews:  Yahoo has a dedicated page of links updating news about COVID-19.

From Deadline:  The news site "Deadline" has a dedicated page for news about coronavirus and the film, TV, and entertainment industries.

From TheNewYorker:  The venerable magazine has a dedicate COVID-19 page free to all readers.

From YahooSports:  The 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been moved to 2021 due to COVID-19 and will take place form July 23, 2021 to August 8, 2021

From Variety:  Grammy Award-winner and country music recording artist, Joe Diffe, has died of COVID-19-related complications.  Diffe was known for his string of 1990s country song hits, including "Pickup Man" and "John Deere Green."  Diffe was 61.

From CBSNews:  CBS has announced that former CBS executive and journalist, Maria Mercader, has died of COVID-related complications.

From YahooSports:  Former NFL wide receiver (Denver Broncos) and collegiate football and track and field star (LSU), Orlando McDaniel, has died of COVID-19.

From NYDailyNews:  The Fox Business News network has parted ways with Trish Regan, host of "Trish Regan Primetime."  Regan was one reportedly one of Fox's most aggressive coronavirus conspiracy theorists.

From YahooNews:  The prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, has tested positive for COVID-19.

From TheDailyBeast:  Iconic rapper, Scarface, of the iconic rap group, "Geto Boys," says that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

From YahooEntertainment:  Veteran character actor, Mark Blum (the TV series "You"), has died at the age of 69 from complications of COVID-19.

From YahooEntertainmentJosh Wallwork, a 45-year-old crew member on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," has died from COVID-19-related complications.

From YahooNews:   Britain's Prince Charles has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

From YahooSports:  Pro basketball player, Karl-Anthony Towns (the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves) has revealed that his mother has been placed in a medically induced coma because of "lung problems" due to COVID-19.

From Deadline:  Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally has died of complications due to COVID-19.

From VarietyDavid Bryan, the keyboardist for and founding member of the Grammy-winning rock band, "Bon Jovi," has tested positive for COVID-19.  Bryan is also a Tony Award-winning composer for his work on the musical, "Memphis" (2003).

From BleacherReport:  Thursday morning (March 19th), NFL coach, Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints, told ESPN that he had tested positive for COVID-19.  He gave NBC Sports' Peter King an update on his condition.

From NiagaraGazette:  Oscar-winning film producer and newly minted convict, Harvey Weinstein, is one of two prisoners at Wende Correctional Facility in Western New York state who has tested positive COVID-19.

From THR:  Spanish opera singer Placido Domingo has said that he has tested positive for COVID-16.

From YahooNewsSenator Rand Paul, Republican from Kentucky, becomes the first known U.S. senator to test positive for COVID-19.

MOVIE NEWS:

From Deadline:  MGM is all over the film rights to the science fiction novel, "The Hail Mary," from author Andy Weir ("The Martian").  Ryan Gosling is set to star in and produce the film.

From Variety:  Sony will give its recent smash hit, "Bad Boys for Life," an early digital release, March 31st, with a Blu-ray/DVD release of April 21st.

From VarietyWoody Allen's memoir, "Apropos of Nothing," was released today (Monday, March 23rd) by a new publisher, Arcade Publishing, with little fanfare.  The books previous publisher, Hachette Book Group, after some of its employees staged a walkout.

TELEVISION NEWS:

From Deadline:   The U.S. Supreme Court sides with Comcast over Byron Allen in Allen's lawsuit against the cable gaint.  In a unanimous decision, the court send the case back to a lower court where Allen must prove "but for."  According to the courts ruling, “a plaintiff must initially plead and ultimately prove that, but for race, it would not have suffered the loss of a legally protected right.”

STREAMING NEWS:

From Variety:  Netflix and director Ava DuVernay have won a dismissal of a defamation lawsuit brought against them over their "Central Park Five" TV series, "When They See Us."

From YahooEntertainment:  Oscar-nominated actor Jonah Hill says that no one has seen his best performance ever, in a film entitled "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot."

OBITS:

From NBCNews:  Civil Rights icon and leader, Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, has died at the age of 98, Friday, March 27, 2020.  Lowery founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King.  A dean of the Civil Rights movement, Rev. Lowery delivered the benediction at the President Barack Obama's inaugaration in 2009, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama later that same year.

From SoapOperaDigest:  The soap opera actor, John Callahan, has died at the age of 66, Saturday, March 28, 2020.  He appeared in several daytime soaps, but is best known for the role of "Edmund Grey" on "All My Children" (ABC) from 1992 to 2005

From THR:  Harlem Globetrotters legend, Fred "Curly" Neal, has died at the age of 77, Thursday, March 26, 2020.  Neal, known as a wizard of dribbling the basketball, was a member of the Globetrotters during their "golden age" in the 1970s and 1980s.  With the Globetrotters, Neal appeared on several TV series.  Curly was animated character in two Globetrotter Saturday morning cartoon series, as well as appearing on three episodes of animated "The New Scooby-Doo Movies."

From Variety:  Writer-director, Stuart Gordon, has died at the age of 72, Tuesday, March 24, 2020.  Gordon's best known films were "Re-Animator" (1985) and "From Beyond" (1985), which were both adapted from stories by the great horror writer, H.P. Lovecraft.  Gordon was one of the creators of Disney's "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" franchise, and he was also a writer and director of live theatre.

From THR:  Playwright Terrence McNally has died at the age of 81, March 24, 2020.  McNally won four Tony Awards and also a Tony Lifetime Achievement Award.  He is known for writing plays such as "Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune" (1982), "Love! Valour! Compassion!" (1994), and "Master Class" (1995).  His work in musical theatre includes "Kiss of the Spider Woman" (1992) and "Ragtime" (1996).

From Variety:  The singer and musician, Eric Weissberg, has died at the age of 80, Sunday, March 22, 2020.  Weissberg was best known as a banjo player, and his most commercially successful recording was his banjo solo in "Dueling Banjos," which was used as the theme of the infamous 1972 film, "Deliverance."

From CNN:  Pop and country music singer and actor, Kenny Rogers, has died at the age of 81, Friday, March 20, 2020.  He was one of the best-selling recording artists and his career spanned several genres.  Hew was a three-time Grammy Award winner and had numerous hits, including his signature song, "The Gambler" (1978).  The song inspired a series of hit films starring Rogers, beginning with 1980s' "Kenny Rogers as The Gambler."

From RollingStone:  Rob Sheffield lists what he thinks are the late Kenny Rogers' best moments, with video links included.



Saturday, March 28, 2020

New Film Studio, Camel Rock Studios, Opens in New Mexico

First Film Studio in Hollywood History Founded by Native American Tribe Unveiled

Innovative New Camel Rock Studios Delivers Confluence of Cultures

SANTA FE, N.M.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The first movie studio owned by a Native American tribe in the history of Hollywood is set to open its gates in the soft, reddish-brown foothills of New Mexico’s majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and will be targeting the rapidly increasing production of movies, television and mobile entertainment platforms throughout the world.

    “It’s a bit of a back-to-the-future facility”

The storied Tesuque Pueblo’s Camel Rock Studios backlot movie ranch will initially include standing sets, panoramic vistas and planned shooting stages unparalleled in the world. “It’s a bit of a back-to-the-future facility,” said Timothy J. Brown, president and CEO, Pueblo of Tesuque Development Corporation. “Camel Rock was conceived to follow the tradition of the historic Hollywood studios—like Warner Bros. and Paramount—with their off-site film ranches.” Though the legendary Warner Ranch, nestled in the San Fernando Valley after WWII, is now the site of a giant mall and a Costco, and the Paramount Movie Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains is now federal parkland, the need for such facilities has never been stronger.

Camel Rock Studios is not your typical purpose-built urban sound stage. To meet the growing demand, the remarkable new production facility is a confluence of cultures, capturing the magic of film and television production, the mystique of Santa Fe, and the centuries-old Native American culture—delivering an environmentally conscious and restorative environment for production.

Tesuque Pueblo has initiated a unique approach to film and television production that has major Hollywood studios taking notice … offering community support that provides tribal knowledge of northern New Mexico. “It’s certainly an important milestone for our pueblo to launch the first studio of its kind. The pueblo has a storied history of movies shot on location at Camel Rock and represents a wonderful opportunity for the Hollywood community to share in the benefits of one of the most amazing places on Earth, featuring a studio nestled in terrain of mythical seminal beauty in the heart of Pueblo country," said Pueblo of Tesuque Governor Robert Mora, Sr.

With the support of New Mexico and the Santa Fe Film Office, Tesuque Pueblo has reimagined a former casino into a vibrant production space. The 75,000-square-foot multi-use production facility and film studio features standing sets, along with 100 acres of breathtaking open space on the pueblo. The appeal of the studio is its diverse landscape that mimics locales around the world. Additionally, the pueblo serves as a gateway to northern New Mexico, with access to iconic locations including Ghost Ranch, Taos and El Santuario de Chimayo.

New Mexico has emerged as a rich and expansive resource for worldwide film and television production, and the studio’s diverse locations and production assets are expected to play an invaluable role in meeting the rising demand from Hollywood producers.

The movie ranch soft-opened in 2019 with a major feature film from Universal Pictures starring Tom Hanks: “News of the World,” based on the best-selling novel by Paulette Jiles and directed by Paul Greengrass (The “Bourne” films). The film will arrive in theaters this Christmas. Producer Gregory Goodman said, “We recently wrapped our first major production at Camel Rock Studios and couldn’t have been more pleased with our experience. The studio anticipated and met all of our needs, and their attention to detail made for a seamless production. We certainly intend to bring more films to Camel Rock in the future.”

Native American Chris Eyre, an internationally recognized film and television director and producer whose work has been awarded with a Peabody, Emmy and Sundance Audience Award, is a Camel Rock Studios advisor. “In the past, Native Americans have been misrepresented and marginalized both in front of and behind the camera,” said Eyre. “In 2020 the Tesuque tribe of New Mexico is changing this narrative, and I am honored to be part of this groundbreaking new endeavor.”

Cherokee American actor, film producer and Oscar honoree Wes Studi, critically acclaimed for his work in Academy Award-winning films “Dances with Wolves” and “The Last of the Mohicans,” shared his support for Camel Rock. “Tesuque Tribe’s production facility has already proven itself with the film ‘News of the World.’ They are a great new addition to the film and television world of New Mexico,” he said.

The early success of Camel Rock has positioned the studio for future development; and in the coming years the facility is expected to include a studio backlot, new sound stages, a production facility and wide-ranging production services. “We have an aggressive five-year plan to expand our business and our footprint,” said Brown. “As we grow our studio, we are striving to make this a comprehensive production facility that will support global productions across multiple platforms, including film and television, digital streaming, music, and gaming.”

For additional information, visit camelrockstudios.com.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Recent Release, "Bloodshot," Now Available on Digital

Columbia Pictures’ Bloodshot To Be Available For Digital Purchase Starting March 24

CULVER CITY, CA — Given unprecedented theater closures nationwide, Columbia Pictures has set the sale date of Bloodshot on EST (electronic sell through) for March 24, 2020. The Valiant comic-book property will be available for digital purchase for a suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S. with all leading digital retailers. International digital sale dates will be solidified in the days ahead with territory-specific COVID-19 impact considerations.

“Sony Pictures is firmly committed to theatrical exhibition and we support windowing,” said Tom Rothman, Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group. “This is a unique and exceedingly rare circumstance where theaters have been required to close nationwide for the greater good and Bloodshot is abruptly unavailable in any medium. Audiences will now have the chance to own Bloodshot right away and see it at home, where we are all spending more time. We are confident that -- like other businesses hit hard by the virus -- movie theaters will bounce back strongly, and we will be there to support them.”

Based on the bestselling comic book, Vin Diesel stars as Ray Garrison, a soldier recently killed in action and brought back to life as the superhero Bloodshot by the RST corporation. With an army of nanotechnology in his veins, he’s an unstoppable force –stronger than ever and able to heal instantly. But in controlling his body, the company has sway over his mind and memories, too. Now, Ray doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not – but he’s on a mission to find out.

Bloodshot is presented by Columbia Pictures in association with Bona Film Group Co., Ltd. and Annabell Pictures & The Hideaway Entertainment. Directed by David S. F. Wilson. Screenplay by Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer. Story by Jeff Wadlow. Based on The Valiant Comic Book. Produced by Neal H. Moritz, Toby Jaffe, Dinesh Shamdasani and Vin Diesel. Executive Producers are Dan Mintz, Louis G. Friedman, YU Dong, Jeffrey Chan, Rita LeBlanc, Buddy Patrick and Matthew Vaughn. The film stars Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell and Guy Pearce.


About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com/corp/divisions.html.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Review: "Birds of Prey" Gets Close to Fantabulous

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 6 (of 2020) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Birds of Prey (2020)
Running time: 109 minutes (1 hour, 49 minutes)
MPAA – R strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material
DIRECTOR:  Cathy Yan
WRITER:  Christina Hodson (based on characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics)
PRODUCERS:  Sue Kroll, Margot Robbie, and Bryan Unkeless
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Matthew Libatique (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Jay Cassidy and Evan Schiff
COMPOSER:  Daniel Pemberton

SUPERHERO/FANTASY/CRIME/COMEDY/ACTION

Starring:  Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ewan McGregor, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina, Dana Lee, and Steven Williams

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), or simply Birds of Prey, is a 2020 superhero fantasy film and crime comedy from director Cathy Yan.  The movie is based on several characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics.  Birds of Prey focuses on a group of women who find common cause in their struggle against a violent crime boss.

Birds of Prey opens after the events depicted in the film, Suicide Squad (2016).  Psychiatrist turned crazed criminal, Dr. Harleen Quinzel a.k.a. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), has returned to Gotham City with her criminal accomplice and boyfriend, The Joker.  However, Joker breaks up with Harley and kicks her out of their house, so she moves into an apartment above a Chinese restaurant owned by a man named Doc (Dana Lee).

In Gotham City, Harley Quinn was virtually untouchable... because she was the Joker's girlfriend... which she isn't anymore.  Now, it's open season on Harley,  The man who most wants her dead is Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), a sadistic gangster who masquerades as a suave nightclub owner, but Harley earns a reprieve from Sionis.  He covets something called “the Bertinelli diamond,” which is currently in the possession of a young pickpocket named Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco).

However, the quest for Cain and the diamond will force Harley to unite with three other women:  Dinah Lance a.k.a. “the Black Canary” (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), a burlesque singer who works for Roman; Renee Montoya (Rose Perez), a police detective in the GCPD; and Helena Bertinelli a.k.a. “the Huntress” (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a vigilante that criminals call the “crossbow killer.”  Now, Harley and these women will show Gotham's underworld that it is the criminal class that should be afraid... of these birds of prey.

Birds of Prey's paper-thin plot:  retrieving a diamond; next, protecting a teen girl; and then, battling Roman Sionis, is not important.  This is a movie about “bad girls” having fun at the expense of really bad men, and Birds of Prey is quite good at that.  Director Cathy Yan makes the best of her ingredients:  a zany mix of actors, fantastic costumes, and eclectic sets and delivers an inspired, madcap movie of brutal, comic violence.  Birds of Prey is the kind of violent comedy that finds the wicked side of comic book stories and characters, the way the Deadpool films did.

Like the best comic books, Birds of Prey is over-the-top.  Why have a pet dog when you can have a pet hyena?  Why wear merely flashy costumes when you can wear the most fantabulous fashions?  Why hit an adversary when you can maim the mutha?  And what is a car chase without a chick on roller skates?  The women of Birds of Prey:  Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, and Ella Jay Basco take their performances seriously without taking their roles too seriously.  Even Ewan McGregor adds just a touch of camp to his gleefully cruel creation, Roman Sionis.

I won't pretend that Birds of Prey is a great film, but it is the kind of inspired, R-rated comic book film that I wish we saw more.  And besides the soundtrack is pretty damn good.  So I am heartily recommending Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) to moviegoers who enjoy comic book films.

7 of 10
B+

Saturday, February 8, 2020


The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

BOOM! Studios from Diamond Distributors for March 25, 2020

BOOM! STUDIOS

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Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 25, 2020

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DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 25, 2020

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Dynamite Entertainment from Diamond Distributors for March 25, 2020

DYNAMITE

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BET Announces "What to Watch on BET"

What to Watch on BET, BET+ and BET Digital

Week of Thursday, March 19 - Wednesday, March 25, 2020

“TYLER PERRY’S RUTHLESS” PREMIERED MARCH 19 ON BET+. First three episodes, of the one-hour drama, are available now with new episodes launching every Thursday.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--What to watch across all BET platforms the week of March 19- 25, 2020, including “Tyler Perry’s Ruthless” on the premium streaming service BET+, New episodes of “Tyler Perry’s Sistas,” “Twenties” and “Boomerang” on BET, “Being” on BET Her, “Finding” on BET’s YouTube Channel and more.

WHAT-TO-WATCH SPOTLIGHT

“TYLER PERRY’S RUTHLESS” PREMIERED MARCH 19 ON BET+
#Ruthless @RuthlessBETplus

“TYLER PERRY’S RUTHLESS,” a spin-off of the hit television series “Tyler Perry’s The Oval,” tells the riveting story of a woman named Ruth who kidnaps her young daughter to join her in the dark underworld of a fanatical religious cult. “TYLER PERRY’S RUTHLESS” is the first new original series from Tyler Perry to stream on BET+, a joint venture between BET Networks and Tyler Perry Studios. First three episodes, of the one-hour drama, are available now with new episodes launching every Thursday. “TYLER PERRY’S RUTHLESS” stars Melissa L. Williams, Matt Cedeño, Lenny D. Thomas, Yvonne Senat Jones, Baadja-Lyne Odums, Jaime Callica, Nirine S. Brown, Blue Kimble, Stephanie Charles, Hervé Clermont, Anthony Bless, and Bobbi Baker. “TYLER PERRY’S RUTHLESS” is executive produced, written, and directed by Tyler Perry. Michelle Sneed also served as Executive Producer of the series for Tyler Perry Studios.

“BEING” SEASON SEVEN AIRS SATURDAYS AT 10: 00 PM ET/PT ON BET HER @BETHerTV

Season seven of BET Her hit docu-series, “BEING,” returns to chronicle the lives of dynamic African American women and their intimate stories of struggle, perseverance, and success in the entertainment industry. Each one-hour episode will highlight one of music and entertainment's most compelling figures, featuring never-before-seen photos, videos, revealing interviews and more. This season will document the lives of Deborah Cox, Arlan Hamilton, Angela Yee, Yandy Smith and Kemba Smith. “Being: Angela Yee” premiered Saturday, March 21, 2020.

“TYLER PERRY’S SISTAS” AIRS WEDNESDAYS AT 9:00 PM ET/PT ON BET & BET HER
#SistasOnBET

Episode #121 “From The Balcony” airs Wednesday, March 25- The dating game has Danni at a disadvantage when her feelings get the best of her. Andi tries to be strong for Gary. Karen stands strong on her principles. Sabrina opens up in the midst of a tragedy.

“TYLER PERRY’S SISTAS” follows a group of single black females as they navigate their “complicated love lives,” careers and friendships through the ups-and-downs of living in a modern world of social media and unrealistic relationship goals. The one-hour drama takes viewers on a roller coaster ride of emotions and hilarious moments that are the epitome of #squadgoals. KJ Smith, Mignon, Ebony Obsidian, Novi Brown, DeVale Ellis, Chido Nwokocha, Anthony Dalton, Brian Jordan Jr., and Kevin A. Walton star in “TYLER PERRY’S SISTAS.

“TWENTIES” AIRS WEDNESDAYS AT 10:00 PM ET/PT ON BET & BET HER
#TwentiesOnBET

Episode #105 “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” airs Wednesday, March 25- A earthquake shakes up the girls’ relationships. Marie becomes wary of Chuck when a night watching porn together goes awry. Hattie grows more fond of Ida when tasked with sorting her old manuscripts, leading to a heart-to-heart that proves both intimate and endearing. The episode features guest appearances by Sean “Big Sean” Anderson and NBA Player Iman Schumpert.

“TWENTIES,” from Executive Producer and Creator Lena Waithe, centers around a screenwriter, Hattie, and her girlfriends Marie and Nia as they pursue their dreams and love, while testing the limits of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” in Los Angeles. While they live separate lives, the girls lean on each other for guidance as they navigate their twenties. Jonica T. Gibbs, Christina Elmore, and Gabrielle Graham star in “TWENTIES.” Lena Waithe executive produced with Susan Fales-Hill, who co-show ran with Waithe. Rishi Rajani and Andrew Coles also executive produced. Justin Tipping directed the pilot, and, also executive produced

“BOOMERANG” AIRS WEDNESDAYS AT 10:30 PM ET/PT ON BET & BET HER
#BoomerangOnBET

Episode #203 “Don’t Wanna Love You” airs Wednesday, March 25- - The powers of influence are explored when social media influencer, Tia, lands a high-paying one-night gig at a strip club while David comes under the influence of a new megachurch. The episode will feature a guest appearance by Jaleel White.

Executive Produced by Lena Waithe and Halle Berry, “BOOMERANG” is a half-hour subversive, smart, serialized comedy, fueled by romance, friendship, gender politics, love, and of course, sex. Starring Brittany Inge, Tetona Jackson, Leland Martin, Lala Milan, Tequan Richmond and RJ Walker, the series follows a group of childhood friends who are looking to make their own mark in the world…all while navigating their feelings for each other

Following are some of the week’s additional highlights on BET:

FRIDAY, MARCH 20

“BLACK-ISH” MARATHON STARTING AT NOON ET/PT— Starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin, Laurence Fishburne, Jenifer Lewis, Jeff Meacham, Peter Mackenzie, and Deon Cole.

“TYLER PERRY’S DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN” at 5:30 PM ET/PT – Starring Kimberly Elise, Steve Harris, Shemar Moore, Cicely Tyson, and Tyler Perry.

“ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS” at 8:30 PM ET/PT— Starring Mike Epps, Ice Cube, and Eva Mendes.

SATURDAY, MARCH 21

“RAY” AT 4:30 PM ET/PT – Starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, and Regina King.

“DJANGO UNCHAINED” AT 8:00 PM ET/PT– Starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson.

SUNDAY, MARCH 22

“TYLER PERRY’S THE FAMILY THAT PREYS” AT 6:00 PM ET/PT– Starring Tyler Perry, Alfre Woodard, Sanaa Lathan, Kathy Bates, and Taraji P. Henson.

“STOMP THE YARD” AT 9:00 PM ET/PT – Starring Columbus Short, Meagan Good, Ne-Yo, Darrin Henson, Laz Alonso, Valarie Pettiford, and Chris Brown.

MONDAY, MARCH 23

“TYLER PERRY'S TEMPTATION: CONFESSIONS OF A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR” AT 6:00 PM ET/PT– Starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Brandy Norwood, Vanessa Williams, Robbie Jones, and Kim Kardashian.

TUESDAY, MARCH 24

“TYLER PERRY’S MEET THE BROWNS” AT 9:00 PM ET/PT – Starring David Mann, Tamela Mann, Tyler Perry, Lamman Rucker, LaVan Davis, Rick Fox, Chloe Bailey, Angela Bassett, Lance Gross, and Sofia Vergara.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25

“TYLER PERRY’S SISTAS” AT 9:00 PM ET/PT ON BET & BET HER.*

“TWENTIES” AT 10:00 PM ET/PT ON BET & BET HER.*

“BOOMERANG” AT 10:30 PM ET/PT ON BET & BET HER.*

**Descriptions are listed above under “What To Watch” Spotlight section.

Following are additional highlights now streaming on BET+:

To subscribe to BET+ visit https://www.BET.com/BETPlus

“FIRST WIVES CLUB” ON BET+
#FirstWivesTV @FirstWivesclub

After neglecting their friendship, best friends Ari (Ryan Michelle Bathe), Hazel (Jill Scott) and Bree (Michelle Buteau) reunite to help each other through rough patches in their lives. Together, they navigate music superstar Hazel's tabloid-ridden divorce, campaign manager Ari's unsatisfying marriage to her political candidate husband, and orthopedic surgeon Bree's cheating husband. Tired of always being the ones to make sacrifices in their lives, Ari, Hazel and Bree vow to prioritize their friendship and have more fun. Along the way, the women learn that as long as they have each other, there's nothing they can't do. The 9-episode, half-hour, scripted series, “First Wives Club,” is based on the popular 1996 film from Paramount Pictures, which featured Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, and Goldie Hawn. Executive produced and written by Tracy Oliver, writer for the box office hit, "Girls Trip."

“BIGGER” on BET+
#BiggerOnBET

“BIGGER,” a half-hour scripted comedy starring Tanisha Long, Angell Conwell, Rasheda Crockett, Chase Anthony, and Tristen Winger, takes place in the East Atlanta neighborhood, Little Five Points. The series follows a single-black-woman who is dealing with the threat of marriage to a boring-in-bed boyfriend and the sudden, random death of a college acquaintance. The tragedy drives her ambitious group of friends to take a deeper look at their stagnant lives, asking themselves— is there something bigger and better in life. The first three episodes of the series will be made available at launch with additional new episodes rolling out on a weekly basis. “BIGGER” was created by Felisha Marye and executive produced by Will Packer and Devon Shepard, who also served as the showrunner.

“SACRIFICE” on BET+
#SacrificeFilm

BET+’s new original movie “SACRIFICE” starring Paula Patton (“Hitch,” “Precious”), takes place in Los Angeles following Daniella Hernandez, played by Patton, a highly sought-after entertainment lawyer. The legal thriller tracks Daniella as she navigates the nefarious lives of her rich and famous clients. Daniella has a reputation that proves problematic to LA Law enforcement, forcing her to be at odds with her sorority sister turned nemesis District Attorney Beverly Rucker. In an attempt to protect her often unscrupulous clients, Daniella enlists the services of her resourceful assistant and a young ex-hacker and tech genius. “SACRIFICE” is executive produced, written, and directed by Chris Stokes. Marques Houston also serves as the film’s co-executive producer for Footage Films. For images, bios and additional show assets go to: https://www.betpressroom.com/program/sacrifice/

“AMERICAN GANGSTER: TRAP QUEENS” on BET+
#AmericanGangster

An adaption of the groundbreaking, critically acclaimed television version American Gangster, “AMERICAN GANGSTER: TRAP QUEENS” will give audiences a look into the lives and trials of some of America’s most notorious female gangsters. Each episode employs first-person accounts from the women themselves and cinematic re-creations to give viewers a fully immersed experience into the twisted criminal lives they led.

“DARK MONEY” on BET+
#DarkMoney

“DARK MONEY” tells the fictional story of the Mensahs, an ordinary working-class family from North London whose youngest son, Isaac (Max Fincham), upon returning home from filming a major Hollywood movie, shatters the family’s world when he reveals he was abused by a renowned filmmaker while abroad. The four-part BET+ original explores the impossible set of decisions and the consequences that follow when Issac’s parents, Manny (Babou Ceesay) and Sam Mensah’s (Jill Halfpenny) decide to accept a substantial pay-off in return for their silence. A timely and relevant story about the struggle to heal, protect those you love, and seek justice in the face of unfathomable trauma; attempting to answer the question “what is the real cost of silence?”

“PREACHER LAWSON: GET TO KNOW ME” ON BET+
#GetToKnowMe

In BET+’s first original comedy special, “PREACHER LAWSON: GET TO KNOW ME,” Preacher offers a hilarious spin on his life experiences, including his run on American’s Got Talent, and his ongoing life struggles with kitten allergies, veganism, and cold weather-induced ashiness. The hour-long special is now available exclusively through BET’s new streaming service. Filmed at the renowned Vic Theatre in Chicago, “GET TO KNOW ME” is directed by Brian Volk-Weiss, and produced by Comedy Dynamics, A Nacelle Company, the team behind dozens of Grammy award-winning comedy programs, as well as platinum-level specials like Ali Wong’s Baby Cobra and Tiffany Haddish’s She Ready: From The Hood To Hollywood.

Additionally, the first twelve episodes of season one of “TYLER PERRY’S THE OVAL,” original film “INFLUENCE,” thousands of TV episodes and movies from the best Black creators are available to stream now exclusively on BET+, all in one place, commercial-free.

Following are additional digital highlights to read and watch on BET Digital:

“FINDING”
#FindingBET

BET’s original music series, “FINDING,” based on the long-lost talents of the ‘90s and early 2000s industry scene highlight hit-makers prepared to peel back the layers of their rise to stardom and rewinding to R&B and hip-hop’s prized era. “FINDING,” season 2 features Lil’ Zane, Chingy, Nicole Wray, Case, Young Bloodz, Murphy Lee and more. Watch and share Lil’ Zane’s episode now at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31CP7rM6i70&list=PLJHDZGUl8IlqTLU_4oJD8MIZPrqHYMz9k

“THE KICK-BACK COUCH: TWENTIES”
A rotating list of guests, including everyone from some of your internet faves to weekly home-viewers, jump in for a hilarious weekly reaction/recap video covering the latest episode of Lena Waithe’s “TWENTIES.” Watch and share the link below: https://www.bet.com/shows/twenties/the-kickback-couch.html

“BOOMERANG” AFTERSHOW:
In a funny and occasionally over-the-top recap series, Lena Waithe catches up with the breakout stars of her hit show “BOOMERANG” to get their reactions and in-depth character analysis on situations in the show. Click and share the link below: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2745788722185236

“BET BUZZ”: 5 daily topical news and entertainment videos

BET Digital launched a new daily video series highlighting the trending topics of the day. From celebrity news and election insights to COVID-19 updates, BET.com has you covered. Watch and share the link below:

    Zion Williamson Vows to Help Arena Workers:
    https://www.bet.com/video/news/bet-buzz/zion-williamson-vows-to-help-arena-workers.html

“106&PARK: MIC CHECK”

BET relaunches the beloved music franchise with a new weekly video series featuring music artists answering social media questions from their fans. Watch and share the links below featuring Masego:

    BET.com - https://www.bet.com/video/amplified/season-1/exclusives/masego-106-and-park-mic-check.html
    BET YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1nvbxURcgo&t=18s

Glam Gap

Exploring influencers in the style, beauty, and lifestyle space, BET.com launched their weekly Glam Gap video series featuring Honey Pot founder Beatrice Dixon discussing her startup journey and the positive response she received after the backlash to her Black History Month ad for Target. Watch and share the links below:

    BET Her YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr9-SeRccYg&t=34s
    BET.com – https://www.bet.com/video/the-glam-gap/season-1/full-episodes/the-glam-gap-episode-103.html

#ReclaimYourVote: Mike Bloomberg interview

BET Digital traveled to Washington, DC to interview Democratic presidential Mike Bloomberg about his plan to address the concerns of the American-American voters prior to dropping out of the campaign race. Watch and share the links below:

    Full interview on BET YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avBTUO8XhTA
    Full interview on BET.com - https://www.bet.com/video/news/politics/2020/bloomberg-discusses-his-economic-plan-for-black-america.html
    BET writeup: https://www.bet.com/news/national/2020/03/03/candidate-michael-bloomberg-on-his-economic-plan-for-black-ameri.html

Black Women’s History Month Trading Cards

To celebrate the accomplishments of Black women during Women’s History Month, BET Digital launched a series of beautifully designed trading cards highlighting the achievements of actresses, influencers, startup founders and more.


About BET
BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

ABOUT BET+
BET+ is a premium online streaming service with exclusive originals and thousands of TV episodes and movies from the best Black creators. A joint venture between BET Networks and Tyler Perry Studios, BET+ allows users to stream Black culture including hit movies, TV shows, stand-up comedy, award shows, and specials, all in one place, commercial free. The new service from BET Networks, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc., is the official home of Tyler Perry’s film, TV and stage works. The ad-free subscription video-on-demand service also provides users with access to original content from the likes of Will Packer, Tracy Oliver and many more. Visit BET.com/BETPlus to learn more.

About BET Digital
BET Digital is the interactive arm of BET, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B) and the preeminent provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs initiatives for the consumers of African-American culture. BET.com, the premier online destination managed by BET Digital, is a leading Internet source for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news. Other divisions managed by BET Digital portfolio include BET Mobile, which provides apps, ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; BET.com/BETHer the online extension for the 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American woman; BET Video On Demand (VOD), one of the largest On Demand service providing African-American content; and the BET Vertical Ad Network, a leading advertising network targeting the high quality consumers of African-American culture with more than 150 content publishers.

-------------------------

Friday, March 20, 2020

Review: "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 5 (of 2020) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Running time:  141 minutes (2 hours, 21 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action
DIRECTOR:  J.J. Abrams
WRITERS:  Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams; from a story by Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams and Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly (based on characters created by George Lucas)
PRODUCERS:  Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Michelle Rejwan
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Dan Mindel
EDITORS:  Maryann Brandon and Stefan Grube
COMPOSER:  John Williams

SCI-FI/FANTASY/ACTION/ADVENTURE/DRAMA

Starring:  Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Domhnall Gleeson, Billie Lourd, Dominic Monaghan, Warwick Davis, Denis Lawson, and Joonas Suotamo with Carrie Fisher (archive footage)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a 2019 science fiction, fantasy, and action film directed by J.J. Abrams.  It is the ninth movie in the Star Wars film franchise's “Skywalker Saga,” which began with the 1977 Oscar-winning film, Star Wars, created by George Lucas.  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is also a direct sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).  In The Rise of Skywalker, the surviving Resistance fighters battles the First Order as the last of the Jedi faces the most powerful of the Dark Side.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker begins one year after the “Battle of Crait” (as seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi).  Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is now “Supreme Leader” of the First Order, and he is vexed by mysterious broadcasts that carry the voice of someone claiming to be “the Emperor.”  Determined to find this “phantom Emperor,” Kylo uses a Sith device called the “Wayfinder,” which leads him to a secret part of the galaxy and the planet, “Exegol.”

There, Kylo discovers a physically impaired Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), the Emperor of the late Galactic Empire, long thought to be dead.  Palpatine reveals that he has been manipulating things behind the scenes, including luring Kylo to the Dark Side.  He wants Kylo to find Rey (Daisy Ridley) and to bring her to him.

Meanwhile, on the world the “Resistance” calls its home, Rey continues her Jedi training under the tutelage of General Leia Organa (archive footage of the late Carrie Fisher).  Thanks to a mole/spy in the First Order, the Resistance has learned of Kylo Ren's discovery.  Now, Rey, Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), BB-8, and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) leave on a mission to find a second Wayfinder, the one for which the late Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) had once searched, one that will lead them to Exegol.

Rey, Finn, and Poe will need the help of old heroes, like Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), and new friends, like Jannah (Naomi Ackie), if they are going to stop the forces of the Dark Side.  Kylo and Palpatine are plotting something called “the Final Order,” which includes a secret armada of the most powerful “Star Destroyers” ever assembled.

Hopefully, I can keep this review from running on too long.  The reviews for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, both formal and commentary from social media, are decidedly mixed.  Some think The Rise of Skywalker is the worst Star Wars movie ever.  Others have called it mediocre or average.  Some don't like one half of it and like the other half.  Some think it is the best Star Wars movie (1) in the sequel trilogy, (2) since the original trilogy (3) or the best Star Wars movie ever.

I think Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the best Star Wars film since the end of the original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi, which was released in 1983.  I like everything about The Rise of Skywalker.  The directing, the writing, the CGI and the science and technology, the cinematography, editing, film score, costume design, art direction and set decoration, and, of course the acting.

Co-writer-director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio give us a satisfying resolution to the story arcs of both Rey and Kylo Ren.  Finn and Poe Dameron finally get quality screen time that allows the audience to see the best of their characters.  A number of actors who have appeared in Star Wars films over the last four decades-plus lend their voices to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.  Lando Calrissian finally returns, with Billy Dee Williams making a star turn in each of his scenes.  Their are wonderful new characters (Keri Russell's Zorri Bliss) and the delightful return of familiar characters.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker also offers the revival of old plots, and the film contains numerous references to important moments in previous films (including the execution of a feat of power displayed by Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back).  Even the last shot of the movie references an important moment in the original Star Wars film.

I love Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker without reservation...  Well, maybe I think the movie is not long enough, because I could have watched another hour of it.  It is like a dark, but fantastic fairy tale, full of symbolism and magic.  So, you, dear reader, can take my sky-high recommendation with many proverbial grains of salt.  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is my favorite movie of the year.  It is a fine end to the “Skywalker Saga”... or it is a satisfying goodbye until we see Rey, Finn, Poe, and our favorite Star Wars characters next time.

10 of 10

2020  Academy Awards, USA:  3 nominations: “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures-Original Score” (John Williams), “Best Achievement in Visual Effects” (Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, Dominic Tuohy, and Roger Guyett), and “Best Achievement in Sound Editing” (Matthew Wood and David Acord)

2020 BAFTA Awards 2020:  3 nominations: “Original Music” (John Williams), “Best Sound” (David Acord, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Stuart Wilson, and Matthew Wood) and “Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects” (Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, Neal Scanlan, and Dominic Tuohy)


Friday, December 20, 2019

Edited Tuesday, March 17, 2020


The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved.  Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Negromancer News Bits and Bites from March 15th to 21st, 2020 - Update #21

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

Support Leroy on Patreon:

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 and Hollywood and Beyond:

From Deadline:  The news site "Deadline" has a dedicated page for news about coronavirus and the film, TV, and entertainment industries.

From TheNewYorker:  The venerable magazine has a dedicate COVID-19 page free to all readers.

From Deadline:  Writing for "The Washington Post," director Christopher Nolan said movie theaters need our help due to losses via COVID-19.

From YahooSports:  Several more National Basketball Association (NBA) players have tested positive for COVID-19, including two unknown members of the Los Angeles Lakers and three members of the Philadelphia 76ers.  So the NBA league office is directed teams to close their practice facilities.

From YahooCelebrity:  Actor Daniel Dae Kim ("Lost," "Hawaii Five-O") announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19

From NBCNews:  Hollywood power couple, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, leave an Australian hospital and return to their Aussie home for home quarantine as they recover from COVID-19.

From Deadline:  NBA star Kevin Durant is one of four members of the Brooklyn Nets who has tested positive for COVID-19.

From Variety:  Disney has pulled Marvel Studios' "Black Widow" from its May 2020 release date due to COVID19 concerns.  The new release date is unknown.

From Variety:  Some North American movie theaters have closed or have reduced seating capacity because of COVID-19.  So Universal Pictures will make some of its movies available on-demand as soon as Friday, March 20th, including "The Hunt" and "The Invisible Man."  DreamWorks Animations's "Trolls World Tour" will arrive April 10th.

From THR:  Actor Idris Elba says he has tested positive for COVID-19.

From YahooEntertainment:  Actress and former "Bond girl," Olga Kurylenko, has tested positive for COVID-19.  Olga appeared in the 2008 James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace."

From Deadline:  Director Baz Lurhmann and his family head into quarantine after one of the actors in his Elvis Presley biopic, Tom Hanks, tests positive for COVID-19.

From RSN:  6 quick about poverty and COVID-19 in the United States.

From YouTube:  In this video announcement, Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies (TCM) announces that the 2020 TCM Classic Film Festival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:   The winner of the 3/13 to 3/15/20 weekend box office is Pixar's "Onward" with an estimated take of 10.5 million dollars.

From Variety:  The box office in North America craters due to COVID-19 fears.  Tickets sales are an estimated 55.3 million dollars for the weekend.  That is the lowest since a weekend in mid-September 2000 grossed 54.5 million dollars.

----------
MOVIES NEWS:

From Deadline:  Jamie Foxx has signed on to direct a faith-based film, entitled "When We Pray."

From YahooEntertainment:  Cast and crew of "The Hunt" talk about the time President Trump attacked their movie.

From WallStreetJournal:  Five tips to finding a good Adam Sandler movie.


TELEVISION NEWS:

From Deadline:  Quibi is reviving the Comedy Central series, "Reno 911!"

OBITS:

From THR:  The actor, Lyle Waggoner, has died at the age of 84, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.  He is best known for playing "Steve Trevor" on ABC's "Wonder Woman" (1976-77).  When the series moved to CBS and became known as "The New Adventures of Wonder Woman" (1977-79), Waggoner portrayed Steve Trevor, Jr.  Waggoner was also a cast member on "The Carol Burnett Show" from 1976 to 1974.

From CBSSports:  Former world champion boxer, Roger Mayweather, has died at the age of 58, Wednesday, March 17, 2020.  Mayweather was also an accomplished boxing trainer and he was the uncle of boxing champion and superstar, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

From THR:  The film and television actor, Stuart Whitman, has died at the age of 92, Monday, March 16, 2020.  His best known films include "The Comancheros" (1961), "The Longest Day" (1962), "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" (1965), and "The Mark" (1961), for which he received a best actor Oscar nomination.  His best known TV role was probably as "Marshal Jim Crown" in CBS's "Cimarron Strip" (1967-68).

From YahooEntertainment:  The actor Lorenzo Brino, a child star on the TV series, "7th Heaven" (1996 to 2007, TheWB, TheCW), died in a car accident last Monday, March 9th, 2020.  He was 21.  Brino played the character "Sam Camden," and was a series regular from Seasons 6 to 10, and was featured actor in Season 5.