Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Negromancer February 2021 is #28DaysofBlack

UPDATE:  So that's it.  The inaugural edition of #28DaysofBlack is over.  See you for #NegromancerBlackSummer May 31, 2021.

Welcome to February 2021. Welcome to Negromancer 2.0.  This is the rebirth of Negromancer, the former movie review website as a new movie review and movie news blog.

This month is special, as I am launching #28DaysofBlack, in celebration of "Black History Month." This program features a month of reviews of African-American cinema. This includes films starring Black actors and also films written by, produced by, and/or directed by Black directors.  I will also include reviews of films that are created by filmmakers that are not Black, but prominently feature contributions from Black people.

There will be some auxiliary programming focusing on reviews of comic books and books created by African-Americans or are, at the very least, African-American themed. You can find these at my I Reads You and Patreon blogs. - Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

Support me by donation at Paypal or on Patreon.

All images and text appearing on this blog are © copyright and/or trademark their respective owners.


Please, visit my BLACK FILM Review Page here for more reviews. 


Feb. 1 - Film Review:  The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Feb. 2 - Film Review:  Carmen Jones
Feb. 2 - Comics Review:  Justice League of America (Vol. 3): The Injustice Gang

Feb. 3 - Film Review:  If Beale Street Could Talk

Feb. 4 - Film Review:  Daughters of the Dust

Feb. 5:  Film Review: Suicide Squad

Feb. 6:  Comics Review: Eric Jerome Dickey's Storm #1-6
Feb. 7 - Book Review:  Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage

Feb. 8 - Film Review:  BlacKkKlansman

Feb. 10 - Film Review:  Coffy
               Film Review:  Harlem Nights
Feb. 11 - Film Review:  Fences
Feb. 12 - Film Review:  A Madea Family Funeral
Feb. 13 - Comics Review:  Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies #30 

Feb. 14 - Comics Review:  Black Panther by Jack Kirby Vol. 1

Feb. 15 - Film Review:  Get on Up
Feb. 16 - Film Review:  Marshall 
Feb. 17 - Film Review:  Hollywood Shuffle

Feb. 18 - Film Review:  I'm Gonna Git You Sucka

Feb. 19 - Film Review:  Darwin's Nightmare
Feb. 20 - Comics Review:  Quincredible Vol. 1
Feb. 21 - Manga Review:  Me and the Devil Blue Book One 

Feb. 22 - Film Review: A Wrinkle in Time

Feb. 23 - Film Review: Lilies of the Field
Feb. 24 - Film Review: The Brother from Another Planet
Feb. 25 - Film Review: Harriet

Feb. 26 - Film Review: Little Woods
Feb. 27 - Comics Review: Hardware: The Man in the Machine

Feb. 28 - Comics Review: King by Ho Che Anderson


Negromancer News Bits and Bites from February 21st to 28th, 2021 - Update #21

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

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:


BOX OFFICE - From Deadline:   The winner of the 2/26 to 2/28/2021 weekend box office is the animated "Tom & Jerry" with an estimated take of 13.7 million dollars, the second highest pandemic opening weekend.

GOLDEN GLOBES - From Deadline:  "Deadline" is live-blogging the Golden Globes, which will allow readers to keep up with the announcement of winners.

From Deadline:   Ellen Pompeo penned an open letter the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and “White Hollywood” a day before the 2021 Golden Globes.

From Deadline:  The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which puts on the Golden Globes, does not have a single voting member who is black.  The Directors Guild of America has joined the chorus of voices castigating the HFPA for this.

SCANDAL - From Deadline:  "Justice League" actor Ray Fisher and Warner Bros. still having a public feud.

COVID-19 - From YahooEntertainment:  Oscar-nominated actress, Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine), has revealed that her father, Michael, recently died of complications of COVID-19.

MOVIES - From YahooEntertainment:  Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Lee Daniels, talks about creating his own lane in Hollywood and why he still independently finances his films.

COMICS TO FILM - From Deadline:   Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and producer J.J. Abrams prep "Superman" reboot for Warner Bros.  There is no word on whether Henry Cavill, who has been playing Superman since "The Man of Steel" will be back.

SPORTS - From YahooSports:  The WNBA finally rids itself of its worst owner, former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler, with a new ownership group.  One of the owners is a player, Renee Montgomery, whom Loeffler once disparaged.

STREAMING - From Deadline:   Winston Duke ("Black Panther") is in talks to play African-American historical figure, Marcus Garvey," in Amazon's "Marked Man."

MOVIES - From IndieWire:   No longer involved in the Marvel's "Blade" franchise, Wesley Snipes is developing his own "Blade-killer" movie.  It is a supernatural action movie with elements of shapeshifters and time travel.

STREAMING - From Deadline:  Steve Soderbergh will direct Zoe Kravitz in New Line's "KIMI" for HBO Max.

STREAMING - From THR:   ViacomCBS makes its pitch for the streaming service, "Paramount+" which is a rebranding of CBS All Access. There will be sports, reboots, sequels, and spinoffs.

COMICS TO FILM - From VanityFair:  The true history of "Justice League: The Snyder Cut."

SCANDAL - From THR:   Revered and controversial French actor, Gerard Depardieu, was charged by French authorities with rape this past December.  The news just broke recently, and the charge relates to an accusation of the rape of a young actress back in December 2018.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:   BET has renewed "Tyler Perry's The Oval" for a third season after its Season 2 premiere.

STREAMING - From Deadline:   Netflix has won the auction for a story pitch for a film called, "The Bluff," which would be a vehicle for Zoe Saldana.

COVID-19 - From WebMD:  500,000 Americans now dead from COVID-19

BOX OFFICE - From Variety:   The winner of the 2/19 to 2/21/21 weekend box office is "The Croods: A New Age" with an estimated take of 1.7 million dollars.

SCANDAL - From YahooEntertainment:  Actress Gina Carano says that she is not going down without a fight after "devastating" firing from Disney-Lucasfilm, where she was an actress on the Disney+ series, "The Mandalorian."

BLM - From TheRoot:  African-American St. Louis Officer Luther Hall has secured a $5 million settlement agreement in his lawsuit against the city, related to his alleged assault by white members of the St. Louis Police Department while he was working undercover as a demonstrator during protests against police violence.

SCANDAL - From Deadline:  Fired-from-Lucasfilm actress, Gina Carano, says that she has some shocking stuff to say about Lucasfilm.

Nickelodeon Establishes "Avatar Studios" to Manage "Avatar: The Last Airbender" Property

Nickelodeon Establishes Avatar Studios, Brand-New Content Division Devoted to Expanding the World of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra

Original Series’ Creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko Join Nickelodeon as Co-Chief Creative Officers of Avatar Studios

First Project Under New Studio Banner is an Original Animated Theatrical Film to Begin Production This Year

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nickelodeon announced the launch of Avatar Studios, a newly formed division designed to create original content spanning animated series and movies based on the beloved world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Original creators and executive producers Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko will helm the studio as co-chief creative officers, reporting to Ramsey Naito, President, Nickelodeon Animation. The Studio’s output will bow on platforms including Paramount+, ViacomCBS’ subscription video on-demand service; on Nickelodeon’s own linear and digital platforms; as well as on third-party platforms and in theaters.

The first project from Avatar Studios is slated as an animated theatrical film set to begin production this year. Additional details will be available soon.

“Avatar: The Last Airbender and Korra have grown at least ten-fold in popularity since their original hit runs on Nickelodeon, and Ramsey Naito and I are incredibly excited to have Mike and Bryan’s genius talent on board to helm a studio devoted to expanding their characters and world into new content and formats for fans everywhere,” said Brian Robbins, President, ViacomCBS Kids & Family. “Creator-driven stories and characters have long been the hallmarks of Nickelodeon, and Avatar Studios is a way to give Mike and Bryan the resources and runway to open up their imaginations even more and dive deeper into the action and mythology of Avatar as we simultaneously expand upon that world and the world of content available on Paramount+ and Nickelodeon.”

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years since we created Avatar: The Last Airbender. But even after all that time, there are still many stories and time periods in Aang’s world that we are eager to bring to life. We are fortunate to have an ever-growing community of passionate fans that enjoys exploring the Avatarverse as much as we do. And with this new Avatar Studios venture we have an unparalleled opportunity to develop our franchise and its storytelling on a vast scale, in myriad exciting ways and mediums. We are exceedingly grateful to Brian Robbins and Ramsey Naito for their enthusiasm and respect for the Avatar property and us as its stewards. From the start, they’ve supported our ambitious plans and created a positive, proactive environment for us. We’re excited to be back at Nickelodeon where Avatar began, doing what we do best in the biggest way possible. We can’t wait to build the great teams and productions to make all of this fantasy a reality,” said Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino.

Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender aired for three seasons originally on Nickelodeon, where it began in February 2005 and concluded in July 2008. The series has received the Peabody Award, a Primetime Emmy, Annie Awards and Genesis Awards. The series follows the adventures of the main protagonist Aang and his friends, who must save the world by defeating Fire Lord Ozai and ending the destructive war with the Fire Nation.

Avatar: The Last Airbender emerged from its initial three seasons (61 episodes) as one of the most beloved animated properties in history. In addition to the series’ success, the property also has been translated into a successful comic book and graphic novel series, which continue to roll out new original stories. The “Avatar: The Last Airbender” graphic novel spent 70 cumulative weeks on the New York Times Graphic Novel Bestseller list, hitting number one. The DVD and Blu-rays are also incredibly successful, with the “Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Complete Series” generating nearly $5MM in retail sales since its 2018 release.

The Legend of Korra launched in April 2012 on Nickelodeon and ran for four seasons (52 episodes). Its first season premiered as basic cable's number one kid's show and drew 3.8 million viewers per episode, the highest for an animated series that year. Created and executive produced by DiMartino and Konietzko, the series is translated in more than 25 languages for Nickelodeon branded channels internationally.

The property has translated into a successful ongoing graphic novel series written by TV series co-creator DiMartino. The first graphic novel storyline, Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, has captured various Top 10 sales spots across children's fiction, YA science fiction, and graphic novel categories since its debut in 2017. The epic story of The Legend of Korra, set in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender 70 years later, follows the journey of Avatar Korra, a 17-year-old girl striving to live up to the legacy of her predecessor Avatar Aang, while using her mastery of all four elements to confront political and spiritual unrest in a modernizing world.

About Bryan Konietzko:
Bryan Konietzko graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design’s illustration department in 1998. He worked in TV animation as a character designer, storyboard artist, and art director before teaming up with Michael DiMartino to co-create and executive produce the Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. He is the creator of the upcoming graphic novel series Threadworlds, to be published by First Second Books.

About Mike DiMartino:
Michael Dante DiMartino began his training at the Rhode Island School of Design where he graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Film and Animation Department. His directing credits include the primetime animated series King of the Hill, Family Guy, and Mission Hill. DiMartino is a co-creator of the award-winning animated Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel, The Legend of Korra. From 2002 to 2014 he served as executive producer and story editor on both series. He continues Korra’s story as writer for the graphic novel, Turf Wars, published by Dark Horse comics. He is also the author of the fantasy novels Rebel Genius and Warrior Genius. DiMartino currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

About Nickelodeon:
Nickelodeon, now in its 41st year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of ViacomCBS Inc. (Nasdaq: VIACA, VIAC).


Amazon wants me to inform you that the link below is a PAID AD, but I technically only get paid (eventually) if you click on the ad below AND buy something(s).

ViacomCBS Announces its Paramount+ Streaming Strategy and Programming Slate

ViacomCBS Unveils Comprehensive Streaming Strategy and Expansive Slate of Originals Headed to Paramount+

  •     Paramount+ to feature massive content catalog of more than 30,000 episodes, 2,500 movie titles and over 1,000 live sporting events, plus around-the-clock news coverage
  •         Select Paramount Pictures films to stream on Paramount+ following a short theatrical release, including A Quiet Place Part II, PAW PATROL: The Movie and Mission: Impossible 7
  •         Over 50 original series to premiere on Paramount+ over next two years, including Halo, Frasier, Criminal Minds, iCarly, The Real World, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, shows from the Avatar, Yellowstone, Star Trek and SpongeBob SquarePants universes and more
  •         Paramount+ to feature depth of content across key genres, including 7,000 episodes of kids’ content, 5,000 episodes of reality and 6,000 episodes of comedy
  •         Marquee sporting leagues and events on the service include the NFL, Masters, PGA TOUR, NCAA, SEC, The PGA Championship, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, National Women’s Soccer League, Concacaf and more
  •         News offerings available include renowned CBS News programs, new series such as 60 Minutes+, live streams of local affiliates in over 200 markets across the U.S. and the 24-hour streaming news service CBSN
  •     Paramount+ to launch in the U.S. on March 4, 2021 with broad distribution and leading launch sponsors, including General Motors, Expedia and Procter & Gamble
  •     Paramount+ will introduce two pricing tiers in the U.S.: A premium plan at $9.99 per month and an ad-supported base plan at $4.99 per month available in June
  •     Paramount+ to debut in Latin America and Canada on March 4, 2021, the Nordics on March 25, 2021 and Australia later this year, capitalizing on ViacomCBS’ global production capabilities, infrastructure and reach with additional markets to be announced

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC; VIACA) updated investors on its differentiated streaming strategy, which leverages the company’s strong product offerings across free, premium and pay segments with Pluto TV and SHOWTIME® OTT to create a linked ecosystem with the highly anticipated launch of Paramount+ on March 4, 2021. Paramount+ will feature a powerful combination of live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment from ViacomCBS’ portfolio of world-renowned brands and production studios, including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel.

New details about Paramount+ were unveiled during the ViacomCBS Streaming Event presentation, including an expansive slate of over 50 exclusive original series across scripted dramas, kids and family, reality, comedy, music, sports, news and documentaries that are set to premiere on the service in the next two years, including 36 arriving in 2021. These originals will join a deep and growing content catalog of more than 30,000 episodes and 2,500 movie titles. In addition, pricing tiers, leading launch sponsors and international rollout plans were announced.

“In today’s entertainment landscape, ViacomCBS stands apart as the only media company to fully embrace every segment of the streaming universe across free, premium and pay,” said Bob Bakish, President and Chief Executive Officer, ViacomCBS. “The launch of Paramount+ supercharges our strategy with a broad pay service that will be home to everything consumers love, all in one place: live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment, at scale. As we look ahead, ViacomCBS is ideally positioned to harness the full power of our assets and capabilities – from our world-class production studios and the value of our massive content library, to our global marketing platform and local relationships – to seize the global opportunity in streaming.”

Tom Ryan, President and Chief Executive Officer, ViacomCBS Streaming, said, “Built from an iconic portfolio of beloved consumer brands and iconic franchises like SpongeBob and Star Trek, Paramount+ is a compelling and differentiated streaming offering for all audiences. In combination with Pluto TV and SHOWTIME®, the service will further strengthen our robust linked streaming ecosystem, giving us a critical competitive advantage as we pursue our goal of reaching consumers across every platform, at every price point, with creativity, content and experiences that are second to none.”

Differentiated Content Strategy – Sports, News and Premium Entertainment, At Scale

The content strategy for Paramount+ is rooted in a commitment to telling great stories across every genre, including must-watch sports and news programming. The live and on-demand service will leverage the company’s biggest franchises and storied IP, including through premium originals and a deep library of shows and movies from some of the world’s greatest content creators, highlighting the hit-making power of ViacomCBS to deliver a truly unique offering with can’t-miss content and wide demographic appeal.

Paramount+ To Feature Robust Collection of Films

Select upcoming films from Paramount Pictures will have their streaming debut on Paramount+ immediately following a theatrical release window of 30-45 days, including: A Quiet Place Part II, PAW PATROL: The Movie and Mission: Impossible 7. Other key titles arriving on Paramount+ in 2022 following their theatrical runs, and in some cases after their pay TV debuts on EPIX, include: Snake Eyes, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Top Gun: Maverick, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Transformers 7, Dungeons and Dragons, Scream and more. Paramount Pictures’ recent titles will be available as well, from Dora and the Lost City of Gold and Sonic the Hedgehog to Bumblebee and Rocketman, all coming to Paramount+. These films will join the previously announced The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge on the Run, which will be available on Paramount+ at launch.

Additionally, Paramount Pictures announced an agreement with EPIX to make thousands of movie titles from a wide variety of studios available to Paramount+ subscribers. Beginning late spring, the service will stream some of the most popular films and franchises of all time, including films from the James Bond and Hunger Games franchises to features like The Addams Family and The Avengers, among many others in a deal that will grow the service’s film library to over 2,500 titles.

And, following a theatrical release by MGM and an exclusive pay television window with EPIX, MGM’s new movies will become available on Paramount+, including House of Gucci, Creed III and the highly anticipated new James Bond film, No Time to Die.

The company also outlined plans to ramp up production of movies made exclusively for Paramount+. The first of these feature-length films offered will include new versions of Paranormal Activity and Pet Sematary as well as an original supernatural story, The In Between, featuring Joey King, the star of the smash hit, The Kissing Booth. These titles produced by Paramount Players will join a collection of exclusive original movie premieres supplied by the broader portfolio of ViacomCBS studios.

Expansive Slate of Upcoming Paramount+ Original Series

Today’s virtual presentation previewed an extensive new slate of original content for Paramount+, ranging from gripping dramas and unscripted series to franchise expansions and brand-new animated titles.

Scripted Dramas

With brilliant creators, top talent and smart execution, ViacomCBS has been the creative force behind countless award-winning scripted drama series. This incredible collection will come together as a key pillar of the Paramount+ content library, with new additions of exclusive originals and exciting new takes on iconic franchises outlined as follows:

  •     Criminal Minds – top rated series in broadcast and streaming returns with a new scripted series that brings the team back together to investigate a single, fascinating case over 10 episodes.
  •     Flashdance – a young woman struggles to make her mark in the ballet world while navigating romance, money, art, friendship, and how to love herself. Award-winning Mad Men writer Tracy McMillan is writing and executive producing the drama series which will pick up from where the story left off, but in present-day. True Blood’s Angela Robinson will direct and executive produce the series with Lynda Obst.
  •     Halo – based on the iconic Xbox® franchise, Halo’s epic universe and cast of characters come to life in this new original drama series. In the new television adaptation, Halo will take place in the universe that first came to be in 2001, dramatizing an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. Halo will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future.
  •     Land Man – set in the proverbial boomtowns of West Texas, Land Man is a modern-day tale of fortune seeking in the world of oil rigs. The series is an upstairs/downstairs story of roughnecks and wildcat billionaires fueling a boom so big, it’s reshaping our climate, our economy and our geopolitics.
  •     Love Story – Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the executive producers of Gossip Girl, The O.C. and Looking for Alaska, are bringing to Paramount+ a series based on the award-winning perennial film, Love Story.
  •     Mayor of Kingstown – follows the McLusky family, power brokers in Kingstown, Michigan, where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry. Tackling themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at their attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither.
  •     Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – the next installment of the popular Star Trek franchise is based on the years Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The series will follow Captain Pike, Science Officer Spock and Number One in the decade before Captain Kirk boarded the U.S.S. Enterprise.
  •     The Italian Job – when the grandchildren of the legendary Charlie Croker inherit his old safety deposit box, the quest for the infamous Italian bullion is reignited. The series, from Paramount Television Studios, is executive produced and written by Matt Wheeler (Hawaii Five-0), and produced by Donald De Line.
  •     The Man Who Fell To Earth – starring Oscar-nominee and BAFTA-winner Chiwetel Ejiofor, is based on the Walter Tevis novel of the same name and the iconic film starring David Bowie. The series will follow a new alien character who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution, and must confront his own past to determine our future.
  •     The Offer – a scripted limited event series from Paramount Television Studios, based on Oscar-winning producer Al Ruddy’s extraordinary, never-revealed experiences of making The Godfather. The 10-episode event series is written and executive produced by Michael Tolkin (Escape at Dannemora, The Player). Ruddy will also serve as executive producer, alongside showrunner Nikki Toscano (Hunters), and Emmy® Award-winning producer Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys).
  •     The Parallax View – a scripted series from Paramount Television Studios, based on the iconic film. The series will be executive produced by Paula Wagner.
  •     Y:1883 – follows the Dutton family as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America. It is a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one.
  •     Yellowstone Spinoff, 6666 (Working Title) – founded when Comanches still ruled West Texas, no ranch in America is more steeped in the history of the West than the 6666. Still operating as it did two centuries before, and encompassing an entire county, the 6666 is where the rule of law and the laws of nature merge in a place where the most dangerous thing one does is the next thing… The 6666 is synonymous with the merciless endeavor to raise the finest horses and livestock in the world, and ultimately where world class cowboys are born and made.

Kids and Family

Home to some of the biggest franchises in the world, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and PAW Patrol, the kids’ portfolio is fueled by Nickelodeon’s library of nearly 7,000 hit episodes, plus a string of all-new originals based on the most beloved characters in the brand’s history, such as:

  •     Avatar – Nickelodeon’s new animation studio division dedicated entirely to creating content based on the wildly popular world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Led by the series’ original creators Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, in partnership with the Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Avatar Studios will produce for Paramount+ a wide-range of Avatar-inspired content, ranging from spinoffs and theatricals to short form.
  •     Dora the Explorer – a new live-action series based on the iconic character, designed for an older audience of kids 6-11 and their families.
  •     iCarly – a new chapter for the most successful kids’ sitcom of all time, where original cast members Miranda Cosgrove, Nathan Kress and Jerry Trainor join new friends for a look at these characters’ present-day lives, adventures and comedic mishaps.
  •     Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years – the first-ever spinoff of SpongeBob SquarePants, Kamp Koral is a CG animated original series that takes viewers back to when the iconic characters of Bikini Bottom met for the very first time, in a summer camp like no other.
  •     Rugrats – an all-new series featuring Nick’s iconic babies, back together with the original voice cast in new CG animation.
  •     Star Trek: Prodigy – the first-ever Star Trek for the kids and family audience, combining the Nickelodeon sensibility with the action and adventure hallmarks of the Star Trek franchise.
  •     The Fairly OddParents – a live-action take on one of Nick’s longest running and most successful animated hits.

This Nickelodeon-created slate joins Paramount+’s previously announced original kids’ series such as WildBrain’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Boat Rocker’s new Danger Mouse and new editions of Lassie, George of the Jungle and Mr. Magoo from DreamWorks Animation’s Classic Media.


A genre created by MTV in 1992, reality TV is one of the most popular forms of content today. It reigns at the top of broadcast and cable ratings around the globe and in streaming, it’s the fastest growing vertical. ViacomCBS leads the reality category with over 5,000 episodes of the biggest reality hits, with plans to expand its collection with the following original and reprisals:

  •     Big Brother Live Feeds – offers an in-depth, exclusive pass to the show where fans have the opportunity to watch all the action inside the Big Brother house.
  •     Dating Naked – the most vulnerable social experiment returns to bring dating back to its most honest, unguarded and naked form. Can these modern daters strip back their preconceived notions, carefully curated images AND their clothes to reveal their true selves and find love?
  •     Ink Master – the tattoo competition reality series where some of the nation’s top tattoo artists battle it out in various tattoo challenges that not only test the artists’ technical skills, but also their on-the-spot creativity for the title of Ink Master.
  •     Love Island on Paramount+ – an extension of the popular CBS reality series that takes subscribers beyond the boundaries of what’s shown in the broadcast with exclusive content and live visits to the Villa.
  •     Queen of the Universe – in a singing competition like no other, drag queens from all around the world compete to see who is Queen of the Universe. High heels, high octaves, high competition - this drag queen singing competition will blow your wig off. From Emmy® Award-winning production company, World of Wonder.
  •     Road Rules – back with a new roster of Road Warriors. These strangers will be abandoned in a far-flung location and stripped of their modern-day luxuries by boarding a restricted life in an RV, traveling from location to location. They will be guided by a set of clues, odd jobs and missions for money. If they last to the end of the trip, they walk away with the life changing prize.
  •     RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars – the best of the best from the Emmy® Award-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race return to compete for $100,000 and a coveted spot in the Drag Race Hall of Fame. In each episode, legendary queens will battle it out until only one drag queen is crowned the winner.
  •     The Challenge: All Stars – twenty-two of the most iconic, boldest, and fiercest Challenge All Stars from the original Real World and Road Rules have been selected to return for a second chance at the ultimate competition. All have history, but when relationships are the key to survival, will these legends be able to form new bonds or will their past lead to their demise? With $500,0000 and their legacies on the line, which of these All Stars will prove they are still the best of the best?
  •     The Real World: Homecoming: New York – almost 30 years later, the original “seven strangers” that paved the way for modern reality TV are moving back into the New York loft where it all began. Viewers will be reunited with the cast from the very first season of The Real World in a brand new multi-episode docuseries to find out, once again, what happens when they stop being polite… and start getting real. Series begins streaming on Thursday, March 4th.


When it comes to beloved IP and iconic comedic franchises, Paramount+ delivers with a rich library of over 6,000 episodes in the genre alone. Joining this massive catalog of comedy titles, exclusive series arriving soon include:

  •     Frasier – Frasier’s back – and he’s more exactly the same than ever. Kelsey Grammer reprises his role as the Dr. Frasier Crane.
  •     Grease: The Rise of the Pink Ladies – with both classic and new songs, and a diverse cast, the series is a prequel to the unforgettable musical film, Grease, and tells the story of how Frenchy’s older sister, Jane, founded the Pink Ladies. The series, from Paramount Television Studios, is executive produced by Annabel Oakes (Atypical, Transparent), Marty Bowen (Twilight) and Erik Feig (La La Land).
  •     Guilty Party – a dark comedy starring Kate Beckinsale as a discredited journalist who finds herself in over her head when she latches onto the story of a young mother sentenced to life in jail for murdering her husband – a crime she claims she didn’t commit.
  •     Inside Amy Schumer – the Peabody, Emmy® and Writers Guild Award-winning franchise returns with five specials starring Amy Schumer, one of the entertainment industry’s leading forces as a stand-up comedian, actress, writer, producer and director.
  •     Reno 911! The Hunt For QAnon – a super-sized event based off the long-running hit, critically-acclaimed Comedy Central series. Most recently, Reno 911! received two 2020 Emmy® Award nominations for Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series and for Outstanding Actress in A Short Form Comedy or Drama Series (Kerri Kenney-Silver). In 2021, the show is nominated for a Critics Choice Award.
  •     The Game – the popular BET sitcom returns with a mix of original cast and new players, and will offer a modern-day examination of Black culture through the prism of pro football.
  •     The Harper House – an animated family comedy that follows an overconfident female head of a household as she struggles to regain a higher status for herself and for her family of oddballs after losing her job and moving from the rich side to the poor side of an Arkansas small town.
  •     The Weekly Show with Trevor Noah (Working Title) – Trevor Noah will star in and produce an initial six episode series looking at stories across the societal landscape and talk with the people behind the headlines: people you know; people you don’t know; and people you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
  •     Younger – Darren Star’s critically acclaimed smash-hit, Younger, follows Liza Miller (Sutton Foster), a talented editor navigating the highly competitive world of publishing — while juggling the complications of mixing business with pleasure and facing the lie she created about her age to land her dream job.

Additionally, exclusive original comedy movies that will reignite franchises for new and nostalgia-driven fans alike are expected to arrive on Paramount+ in year one:

  •     Untitled Beavis & Butt-head Movie – Emmy® Award-winning Mike Judge reimagines MTV’s seminal, Gen X-defining Beavis and Butt-Head who return for another movie adventure to kick-off the new series.
  •     Workaholics Movie – made-for-streaming movie based off the popular long-running Comedy Central series starring Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, Anders Holm and Kyle Newacheck.


For almost 40 years, MTV has chronicled the world of music through the eyes of the most important artists — telling the stories that only MTV can, because MTV was there. And now, on Paramount+, MTV is unlocking its treasured vault to bring new and exclusive series like:

  •     Behind the Music – Behind the Music is back! The groundbreaking and prolific music documentary series returns with several new episodes and the best of the vault remastered and updated for today’s audiences with artist interviews, a creative refresh and reimagined visual style.
  •     From Cradle to Stage – this new six-part, unscripted television series from Director Dave Grohl was inspired by his mother, Virginia Hanlon Grohl, and based on her critically-acclaimed book, From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars. The series is a dynamic personal exploration of the special relationship between successful musicians and their moms. Each episode features a famous performer and their mom as well as Dave and Virginia.
  •     Unplugged – MTV’s most iconic musical performance franchise will come to Paramount+ several times a year as special intimate MTV Unplugged events featuring some of the world’s biggest artists.
  •     Yo! MTV Raps – MTV is bringing back its most storied hip-hop series and music franchise Yo! MTV Raps for Paramount+. The return of Yo! MTV Raps will include hosted segments, live performances, cyphers and lifestyle content, and will serve as a comprehensive deep dive into the current state of hip-hop. After its debut 33 years ago on August 6, 1988, Yo! MTV Raps became the premiere destination for all things hip-hop. The advent of the series was crucial to the rise of rap music worldwide, creating a global passion for the genre and greater hip-hop culture, which has since become the most dominant force in mainstream music and pop culture worldwide.

CBS All Access Originals to Continue as Paramount+ Originals

In addition to the forthcoming titles produced exclusively for Paramount+, the award-winning CBS All Access originals will rebrand to Paramount+ originals and continue to super-serve fans of:

  •     No Activity – a half-hour police comedy, starring Patrick Brammall and Tim Meadows, which was previously a live-action series, will be completely animated for season four.
  •     Star Trek: Discovery – the series, starring Sonequa Martin-Green, follows the voyages of Starfleet on their missions to discover new worlds and new life forms, and one Starfleet officer who must learn that to truly understand all things alien, you must first understand yourself.
  •     Star Trek: Lower Decks – a half-hour animated comedy series, focuses on the support crew on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the U.S.S. Cerritos, in 2380. Ensigns Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford and Tendi have to keep up with their duties and their social lives, often while the ship is being rocked by a multitude of sci-fi anomalies.
  •     Star Trek: Picard – features Patrick Stewart reprising his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard, which he played for seven seasons on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The series follows this iconic character into the next chapter of his life.
  •     Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News – a daily news satire series featuring a cast of animated characters, led by anchor James Smartwood, lampooning real-world news stories and interviewing live-action guests.
  •     The Good Fight – the critically acclaimed drama starring Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart follows her next chapter at one of Chicago’s preeminent African-American law firms. The wide-ranging topicality of the series captures the current sociopolitical era as the firm confronts real life issues of today.
  •     Why Women Kill – a dark comedy created by Marc Cherry, is an anthology series that examines how the roles of women have changed over the decades, but how their reaction to betrayal... has not.


In bringing everything sports fans love on CBS to Paramount+, the service will feature over 1,000 live sporting events per year, including regular season games, playoffs, championships and more across the following marquee properties:

  •     THE NFL ON CBS
  •     The Masters
  •     NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship
  •     PGA TOUR
  •     SEC ON CBS
  •     The PGA Championship
  •     National Women’s Soccer League
  •     UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League – Paramount+ is the only place in the U.S. where soccer fans can find exclusive English-language coverage of every UEFA club competition match, every season.

In addition, Paramount+ is expanding its exclusive English-language rights in the U.S. with three more soccer properties, featuring hundreds of additional matches.

  •     Concacaf – offering more than 200 Concacaf matches, starting with the Concacaf Nations League Finals in June of this year, which will feature the U.S. Men’s National Team. Coverage will feature all 41 national teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean across different competitions, including the qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, which will feature the defending champion U.S. Women’s National Team.
  •     Liga Profesional de Fútbol – Paramount+ will stream more than 300 matches a year from Argentina’s top soccer division.
  •     Campeonato Brasileiro Série A – Paramount+ will stream more than 360 matches a year from Brazil’s premier soccer league.

The service will also be the exclusive home of a long-running, Emmy® Award-winning original series Inside the NFL, which takes fans even deeper into the game and the passion of the NFL all season long. And knowing fans don’t stop watching when the players stop playing, Paramount+ will feature the 24/7 streaming sports news service, CBS Sports HQ.


With breaking news and impactful journalism, the award-winning CBS News team will offer Paramount+ subscribers deep insights into the world through best-in-class reporting. News offerings will include renowned CBS News programs, new series such as 60 Minutes+, live streams of local affiliates in over 200 markets across the U.S., and the 24-hour streaming news service CBSN.

In addition to news programs audiences already know and love, Paramount+ will be home to brand-new titles based on CBS News’ premier franchises, including:

  •     60 Minutes+ – a compelling new version of the renowned newsmagazine and number one news program in America. Award-winning correspondents Enrique Acevedo, Seth Doane, Wes Lowery and Laurie Segall bring Paramount+ viewers a new perspective on the investigative reporting and exclusive newsmaker interviews that have made 60 Minutes must-watch television for generations.
  •     48 Hours original: The Lie Detector – a Texas Ranger who for decades led the department’s investigations into its most twisted and high profile murder cases takes viewers behind the scenes of those crimes and into the minds of the people who committed them. The Lie Detector is a true crime docuseries from the Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning producers of 48 Hours in a new and compelling original format exclusively for Paramount+.


ViacomCBS is a definitive leader in storytelling, and audiences are increasingly hungry for shows that document history, from the distant past to history that’s being made today. Driven by these insights, Paramount+ is partnering with some of the world’s best filmmakers to debut an incredible slate of gripping, powerful and relevant documentaries, including the following from CBS News, CBSN, CBS Sports, MTV Documentary Films and the Smithsonian Channel:

  •     76 Days – a look at life in the earliest days of the COVID-19 crisis in Wuhan, China, the Oscar Shortlisted 76 Days focuses on frontline hospital workers and their patients, bearing witness to the human resilience that persists in times of profound tragedy.
  •     Black Gold – from Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky's Protozoa and Emmy® Award-winning Time Studios, this is a true-life conspiracy thriller about a decades-long campaign to trade our planet for profit.
  •     For Heaven’s Sake – blends comedy and crime documentary formats for a unique take on uncovering the truth. The series follows the search for Harold Heaven, who mysteriously disappeared from his remote cabin in Ontario, Canada, in the winter of 1934.
  •     The Real Criminal Minds – a true crime docu series, featuring a former real FBI profiler. The series will examine real cases, and real criminal behavior, illustrated by clips fans will remember from the fictional series.
  •     Watergate – from MTV Entertainment Studios, this series will illuminate a moment in our history that parallels so much of what’s happening now.
  •     Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In – tells the story of the legendary manager of Manchester United, and one of the most memorable figures in European football.
  •     Stories from the Beautiful Game – an original soccer documentary series produced by Pete Radovich, the award-winning coordinating producer of CBS Sports’ UEFA coverage. Paramount+ will release several soccer documentaries every year, starting later in 2021.

In addition to long-lead productions, ViacomCBS will also produce exclusive Insta Docs for Paramount+. These instant documentaries will be released within days of breaking news and will dive deeper into events that capture the attention of the nation.


Paramount+ Pricing Tiers

Paramount+ will have two pricing tiers available to U.S. subscribers that marry the best of live and on-demand programming.

The premium tier, at $9.99, will be available with the full depth and breadth of live sports, around-the-clock news programming and world-class entertainment spanning Paramount+ originals to an expansive suite of current and library shows and movies. The offering will include CBS’ live linear feed and commercial-free on demand viewing, with 4k, HDR and Dolby Vision, mobile downloads and cross-platform dynamic play functionality.

An ad-supported tier will launch in June for $4.99 and offer the best in sports, news and entertainment. At that time, the current $5.99 plan will no longer be available for new users, but existing users will maintain grandfathered access. The ad-supported tier will feature a compelling offering of exciting Paramount+ originals, marquee sports content including live championship-level soccer and live NFL games, breaking news through CBSN and an extraordinary collection of content, including the full suite of current and library CBS shows available on demand.

Both Paramount+ tiers will feature a seamless user interface, enhanced curation and discovery, personalized homepages, content categories and central hubs for ViacomCBS’ brands. Additionally, each subscription option will include parental control capabilities and up to six individual profiles.

Broad Distribution

At launch, Paramount+ will be available online at, via the Paramount+ app for iOS and Android, and across a wide number of platforms, including smart TVs, connected-TV devices, online, mobile, gaming consoles, and leading OTT providers.

Launch Sponsors

ViacomCBS is proud to present General Motors, Expedia and Procter & Gamble among a select group of leading launch sponsors for Paramount+ in the U.S. Through marketing integrations, custom activations and ViacomCBS’ suite of ad capabilities, these advertisers will have unparalleled access to leading brands, popular IP and premium digital video to deliver significant reach and impact across ViacomCBS’ highly engaged and diverse audiences.

International Rollout

Paramount+ will debut internationally in 18 Latin American countries and Canada on March 4, 2021, the Nordics on March 25, 2021 and Australia with a rebrand and expansion of 10 All Access later this year, with additional markets to follow.

With production capabilities across five continents, strong distribution agreements and local relationships and expertise around the world, Paramount+ will leverage ViacomCBS’ leading global reach – including the largest global broadcast footprint – to drive streaming growth and international expansion. ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) will build on its momentum in prized formats, and as one of the top global producers of Spanish-language content, to bring exclusive series to market for fans of kids and family, scripted dramas, reality and more.

In select international markets, Paramount+ will offer audiences exclusive originals that include The Man Who Fell to Earth, Mayor of Kingstown, Guilty Party, Halo and The Offer, among others, an expansive content library of over 5,000 hours of iconic ViacomCBS IP and hit franchises across genres and a premium user experience. For most international subscribers, Paramount+ will also be the home to SHOWTIME® and feature celebrated series Dexter, Ray Donovan, The Affair, Your Honor, The Comey Rule and Escape at Dannemora. And importantly, like in the U.S., internationally Paramount+ will offer some of the biggest kids franchises in the world, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora the Explorer and PAW Patrol – in addition to the highly anticipated Kamp Koral and Nickelodeon Animation Studio’s The Astronauts.

Premieres of prized formats including some of MTV’s biggest global reality franchises – such as Acapulco Shore and Are You The One?: Brazil in Latin America, as well as Story of Songs in the Nordics, and a deep catalogue of the best reality hits such as Jersey Shore, Ex on the Beach, Catfish and more – will be available in Latin America, the Nordics and Australia.

And, through ViacomCBS International Studios (VIS), a division of ViacomCBS Networks International, top creators from around the world will also debut premium local scripted dramas on the service. For example, in Latin America, the service will debut:

  •     The Envoys – a supernatural thriller co-produced with Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter, Juan José Campanella.
  •     Cecilia – a female-led dramedy from renowned Argentine writer and director Daniel Burman and starring acclaimed Mexican actress Mariana Treviño.

Subscription pricing will vary slightly by market, but Paramount+ will be available to international audiences at a compelling price point.

Internationally, Paramount+ will be available online at, via the Paramount+ app for iOS and Android, and across a number of connected TV devices and OTT platforms. The service will also have broad distribution on major platforms in international markets, including Claro Video, Mercado Libre, Izzi & Claro Brazil in Latin America, and Nuuday, Telenor and Allente in the Nordics.

About ViacomCBS:
ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC; VIACA) is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates premium content and experiences for audiences worldwide. Driven by iconic consumer brands, its portfolio includes CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, CBS All Access, Pluto TV and Simon & Schuster, among others. The company delivers the largest share of the U.S. television audience and boasts one of the industry’s most important and extensive libraries of TV and film titles. In addition to offering innovative streaming services and digital video products, ViacomCBS provides powerful capabilities in production, distribution and advertising solutions for partners on five continents.

For more information about ViacomCBS, please visit and follow @ViacomCBS on social platforms.


Friday, February 26, 2021

#28DaysofBlack Review: "LITTLE WOODS" Introduces an Up and Coming Director

[The independent film, the crime drama and quasi-modern Western, “Little Woods,” made noise at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2018.  It was released theatrically in the United States in April 2019.  The film marked writer-director Nia DaCosta as an emerging director and earned her the job of writing and directing Universal's update-sequel to the classic 1990s horror film, “Candyman.”  Later, Marvel Studios chose DaCosta to direct the sequel to its billion-dollar hit, Captain Marvel (2019).  Candyman's release was delayed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so while audiences await its release, they can watch DaCosta's directorial debut, Little Woods.]

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 22 of 2021 (No. 1760) by Leroy Douresseaux

Little Woods (2018)
Running time: 103 minutes (1 hour, 43 minutes)
MPAA – R for language and some drug material
PRODUCERS:  Rachael Fung, Tim Headington, and Gabrielle Nadig
EDITOR:  Catrin Hedström
COMPOSER:  Brian McOmber

DRAMA/CRIME with elements of thriller and western

Starring:  Tessa Thompson, Lily James, Luke Kirby, James Badge Dale, Lance Reddick, Jeremy St. James, and Charlie Ray Reid

Little Woods is a 2018 drama and crime film from writer-director Nia DaCosta.  The film focuses on two sisters who work outside the law to fix bad situations in their lives via the Canadian–U.S. cross-border drug trade.

Little Woods introduces a young woman named Oleander “Ollie” King (Tessa Thompson), who lives in Little Woods, North Dakota.  Ollie is on probation because she had been bringing prescription medicine illegally across the border between Canada and North Dakota.  With eight days left on her probation, Ollie is determined to reinvent her life.  With the help and encouragement of her probation officer, Carter (Lance Reddick), Ollie has applied to find work in Spokane.

However, Ollie is getting numerous requests to return to her old life, which included illegally selling prescription medicine, as she scrapes by on odd jobs.  And Ollie might have a reason to return to a life of crime.  Her estranged sister, Deborah “Deb” Hale (Lily James), is barely surviving, living in an illegally parked trailer with her young son, Johnny (Charlie Ray Reid).  Deb is barely getting any help from her bum baby-daddy, Ian (James Badge Dale).

Worse still, Ollie, who has been living in the home of her and Deb's recently deceased mother, Bridget Sorenson, has discovered that a local bank has begun foreclosure proceedings on the house.  There is a payment of 5,682 dollars due to the bank in one week.  Desperate to make a place for Deb and Johnny, Ollie may jeopardize her future by selling and running drugs again.

Little Woods is the directorial debut of writer-director Nia DaCosta.  The subject matter and setting may seem like strange choices for an African-American director, but the story is a familiar one of familial obligations; the up-and-down relationship between bickering, but loving sisters; and the desperate day-to-day lives of the poor and struggling people of small town America.  DaCosta offers a riveting family drama that is part crime thriller and modern Western – that also has an excellent soundtrack full of plaintive songs that set the appropriate mood.  This is an engaging and sometimes haunting film that holds one attention.

However, the character writing is not as strong as it needs to be.  The screenplay relies on familiar conflicts between loved ones, friends, and acquaintances.  Bill (Luke Kirby), the local pill kingpin, barely registers as a character, and Ian's relationships with both Deb and Ollie, which are obviously, rich with potential, rely on familiar indie drama tropes.  Still, Tessa Thompson and Lily James deliver urgent and edgy performances of their respective characters.

My reservations aside, Little Woods is a necessary film because Nia DaCosta presents a side of the American experience, a side that need that needs to exist more in American popular culture.  DaCosta expertly details the lack of affordable housing, inadequate heath care, and shitty jobs that make ordinary people make choices that often hurt them or land them in jails and prisons or on parole and probation.  Little Woods is not a pretty film, but it exemplifies the power of film drama, and it makes me expect big things of Nia DaCosta.

7 of 10

Friday, February 26, 2021

2020 Black Reel Awards:  1 nomination: “Outstanding Emerging Director” (Nia DaCosta)

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

#28DaysofBlack Review: "HARRIET" and Cynthia Erivo Are Magnificent

[A powerful historical Black woman deserves to have her story told powerfully.  Harriet Tubman, the face of the Underground Railroad, gets that in director Kasi Lemmons' 2019 film, “Harriet.”]

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 21 of 2021 (No. 1759) by Leroy Douresseaux

Harriet (2019)
Running time:  125 minutes (2 hours, 5 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for thematic content throughout, violent material and language including racial epithets
DIRECTOR:  Kasi Lemmons
WRITERS:  Gregory Allen Howard and Kasi Lemmons; based on a story by Gregory Allen Howard
PRODUCERS:  Debra Martin Chase, Gregory Allen Howard, and Daniela Taplin Lundberg
EDITOR:  Wyatt Smith
COMPOSER:  Terence Blanchard
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Clarke Peters, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Jennifer Nettles, Janelle Monáe, Omar Dorsey, Tim Guinee, Zackary Momoh, Henry Hunter Hall, Deborah Olayinka Ayorinde, and Rakeem Laws

Harriet is a 2019 biographical film and historical drama from director Kasi Lemmons.  The film is a fictional depiction of the life and work of Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), a black woman who was an American abolitionist, a suffragette, and the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad.  Harriet the movie tells the story of the runaway slave who transformed herself into one of America's greatest heroes by helping to free other slaves.

Harriet opens in Bucktown, Maryland, the year 1849.  A black female slave named Araminta “Minty” Ross (Cynthia Erivo) is newly married to a freedman, John Tubman (Zackary Momoh).  Minty is a slave on the farm of Edward Brodess, along with her mother, Rit (Vanessa Bell Calloway), and her sister, Rachel (Deborah Olayinka Ayorinde).  Minty's father, a freedman named Ben Ross (Clarke Peters), approaches Edward Brodess about gaining freedom for Rit and the children she bore based on an agreement made by Brodess' father, but Brodess rudely declines.

Shortly afterwards, Brodess dies, and his son, Gideon Brodess (Joe Alwyn), decides to sell Minty down the river, which mean down into the deep south, the worst place for a slave.  Minty suffers “spells” since being struck in the head as a child, but they are also visions from God.  The spell that Minty suffers after Gideon decides to sell her is the vision that Minty believes is telling her to run away before she is taken to the slave auction.

Fearing that she could endanger her husband and family, she leaves them behind and, after a long journey, makes her way to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A year later, Minty has renamed herself Harriet Tubman and makes her first journey back to Maryland.  There, she will either take her first steps to free other slaves, or she will be returned to a cruel fate at the hands of an evil owner.

In Harriet, writers Gregory Allen Howard and Kasi Lemmons fashioned a story that captures the horrors of slavery in a manner similar to that of the 2013 film, 12 Years a Slave.  However, 12 Years a Slave is the tale of a free black man trapped in hell of chattel slavery who is determined to survive until a miracle arrives.  Harriet is the tale of a black woman born into slavery who takes her fate into her own hands and runs through a hell's gauntlet to find freedom.

To that end, Kasi Lemmons as director creates a film that moves that narrative via action and opportunity.  Characters take action and take advantage of the opportunity to gain freedom.  As Harriet says at one point in the film – “God was watching me but my feet were my own.”  Harriet's lead character is a pistol-packing, action movie heroine every bit as stalwart as Captain America and as ruthless as actor Clint Eastwood's most famous roles in Westerns.

Actress Cynthia Erivo, as Harriet Tubman, is the center of this film's holy trinity.  Erivo's Harriet is a force of nature and the wrath of God against slavery.  In the film's quiet moments, Erivo presents Harriet as thoughtful and contemplative, but she maintains the roiling storm within, the elemental forces that drive her to return to the land of slavery time and again to free other slaves.  Erivo seems to transform Harriet's spells and visions into a living thing that devours fear and cowardice and the evil that is slavery.  One can believe that this Harriet was the star of the Underground Railroad, the network of secret routes and safe houses in the United States used by enslaved black people to escape from slave states and into free states and Canada.

Erivo's almighty performance earned her an Oscar nomination for “Best Actress.”  It is a shame that she did not win, and it is a shame that Harriet did not receive more Academy Award nominations than it did.  This film has good supporting performances, an excellent musical score, and costume design that created costumes for the cast that look like the real deal.  However, it is Gregory Allen Howard, Kasi Lemmons, and Cynthia Erivo that drive Harriet into being what may be the best film of 2019.

10 of 10

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

2020 Academy Awards, USA:  2 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” (Cynthia Erivo) and “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures-Original Song” (Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Brian Campbell for the song “Stand Up”)

2020 Golden Globes, USA:  2 nominations:  “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Cynthia Erivo) and “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Joshuah Brian Campbell music/lyrics and Cynthia Erivo-music/lyrics for the song “Stand Up”)

2020 Black Reel Awards:  6 nominations: “Outstanding Actress, Motion Picture” (Cynthia Erivo), “Outstanding Director, Motion Picture” (Kasi Lemmons), “Outstanding Supporting Actress, Motion Picture” (Janelle Monáe), “Outstanding Cinematography” (John Toll), “Outstanding Costume Design” (Paul Tazewell), and “Outstanding Production Design” (Warren Alan Young)

2020 Image Awards (NAACP):  7 nominations:  “Outstanding Motion Picture,” “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture” (Cynthia Erivo), “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture” (Leslie Odom Jr.), “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture” (Janelle Monáe), “Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture: (Cynthia Erivo), “Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture-Film” (Kasi Lemmons), and “Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture-Film” (Kasi Lemmons and Gregory Allen Howard)

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved.  Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Amazon wants me to inform you that the link below is a PAID AD, but I technically only get paid (eventually) if you click on the ad below AND buy something(s).

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

#28DaysofBlack Review: "THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET" Still Out of This World

[Outside of television, no white filmmaker has presented the depth, diversity, and scope of African-American characters on the big screen to the extent that writer-director John Sayles has.  For years, I encountered black people who thought that Sayles' fourth feature film, “The Brother from Another Planet,” was a “black film.”  Why is that?  Sayles has the ability to create characters and stories from outside the mainstream of society or of storytelling, but his directorial approach is more observational than dictatorial.  The result is a film like The Brother from Another Planet, in which no one can say of those black characters, “they all look alike” or act alike.]

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 20 of 2021 (No. 1758) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Brother from Another Planet (1984)
Running time: 108 minutes (1 hour, 48 minutes)
MPAA – R for language, some drug content and brief nudity
PRODUCERS:  Peggy Rajski and Maggie Renzi
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Ernest R. Dickerson
EDITOR:  John Sayles
COMPOSERS:  Mason Daring; Denzil Botus; Martin Brody; John Sayles and others


Starring:  Joe Morton, Daryl Edwards, Steve James, Leonard Jackson, Carolyn Aaron, Bill Cobbs, Tom Wright, Minnie Gentry, Dee Dee Bridgewater, David Strathairn, John Sayles

The Brother from Another Planet is a 1984 science fiction and drama film from writer-director John Sayles.  This low-budget, independent film focuses on a mute alien that looks like an African-American man as he navigates the streets of Harlem and avoids the aliens hunting him.

The Brother from Another Planet opens inside an alien space craft of some kind that is in distress.  The pilot struggles with the controls of the ship that eventually crashes in the water near Ellis Island.  The alien emerges from the water, and other than his three-toed feet, he looks like a black human male.  He makes his way to New York City, specifically Harlem.

In a way, he successfully blends with the denizens of NYC, and makes his way into a bar owned by a man named, Odell (Steve James).  There, Odell and the regulars:  Fly (Daryl Edwards), Walter (Bill Cobbs), and Smokey (Leonard Jackson) begin to refer to the alien as “The Brother” (Joe Morton).  The Brother has the ability to heal his wounds and to heal or fix machines, and he soon lands a job as a technician and repairman.  Meanwhile, two men in black (David Strathairn and John Sayles) are hunting for The Brother … because he is a slave.

It has been over a decade since I last saw The Brother from Another Planet, but there was a time period when I saw it several times.  Every time I saw it, I loved it as much as I did the time before, if not more.  Before I watched it recently, I wondered how I would feel about it now, and it turns out that I am still in love with this film.  I once described The Brother from Another Planet as one of my all-time favorite films, and it must remain so.  As a low-budget, independent science fiction film, it is ripe for a remake.  However, the truth is that even with its seat-of-the-pants film-making and bare-bones special effects, The Brother from Another Planet seems to be perfect the way it is.  At least, that is what my mind keeps thinking.

Writer-director John Sayles has described The Brother from Another Planet as being about the immigrant experience of assimilation.  In a way, both The Brother and the denizens of Harlem and NYC, in general, are aliens, depending on the perspective and point of view from which they are viewed.  In fact, Sayles' Harlem in a grimy, funky alien world of people and places.  Somehow, Sayles makes every person and every thing unique; nothing and no one is like anything or anyone else.

For all that the cast brings to the film, The Brother from Another Planet's strength is in its creator, John Sayles, and in its star, Joe Morton as The Brother.  Sometimes, the film seems like a series of documentary or anthropological vignettes – as erratic in their presentation as they are inventive in the conception.  In that he is a most imaginative filmmaker, Sayles is a genius at creating characters that the viewer will want to observe.

Joe Morton's performance, exploratory without being penetrative and aggressive, brings the disparate parts of this film together into a whole, although it is not a seamless whole.  Perhaps that is the point; very little of this film's setting should seem connected.  On this planet that is our Earth, Joe Morton's Brother explores the strange worlds within the strange world.  Morton's is one of the greatest film performances that I have ever seen.  Without saying a word, Morton becomes like the actors of the silent film era, using physicality and facial expressions (or lack thereof) to tell The Brother's story, doing so in vivid colors and with rich texture.

The Brother from Another Planet is indeed an immigrant story, focusing on a being forced to be an immigrant and to find a new place in which to live because he is a slave.  The film is not about slavery, although the fact that The Brother is a runaway slave waits patiently on the periphery of this film and its narrative.  But, then again, The Brother from Another Planet gives the viewer so much to think about, and its seems like a chapter in a larger narrative.  Perhaps, that is why every time I watch this film, I feel like The Brother, always discovering something new.

10 of 10

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

#28DaysofBlack Review: "LILIES OF THE FIELD" Feels Timeless and Spiritual

[For his performance in Lilies of the Field, Sidney Poitier became the first Black man to win the “Best Actor” Oscar.  Poitier received his Oscar at the 36th Academy Awards ceremony, held in April 1964.  It would be 38 years later, at the 74th Academy Awards in March 2002, when the second Black man won a “Best Actor” Oscar, Denzel Washington.  That night, Halle Berry also became the first, and of this writing, only Black woman to win a “Best Actress” Oscar.]

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 19 of 2021 (No. 1757) by Leroy Douresseaux

Lilies of the Field (1963)
Running time:  95 minutes (1 hour, 35 minutes)
WRITER:  James Poe (based on the novel, The Lilies of the Field by William E. Barrett)
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Ernest Haller (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  John W. McCafferty
COMPOSER:  Jerry Goldsmith
Academy Award winner


Starring:  Sidney Poitier, Lilia Skala, Lisa Mann, Isa Crino, Francesca Jarvis, Pamela Branch, Stanley Adams, and Dan Frazer

Lilies of the Field is a 1963 drama film from producer-director, Ralph Nelson.  The film is based on the 1962 novel, The Lilies of the Field, written by William Edward Barrett.  Lilies of the Field the film focuses on a traveling handyman and the nuns who believe that he is the answer to their prayers.

Lilies of the Field opens somewhere in the Arizona desert.  Homer Smith (Sidney Poitier), an itinerant jack-of-all-trades, stops at what he assumes is an ordinary farm to obtain some water for his car, a station wagon.  There, he sees a group of women working around the farm.  These women turn out to be five nuns:  Mother Maria (Lilia Skala), Sister Gertrude (Lisa Mann), Sister Agnes (Iro Crino), Sister Albertine (Francesca Jarvis), and Sister Elizabeth (Pamela Branch).  The nuns, who speak very little English, introduce themselves as German, Austrian and Hungarian nuns.

Maria, the “Mother Superior” (the leader of the nuns), persuades Homer, whom she calls “Homer Schmidt,” to do a small job of roofing repair on the main building.  He stays overnight, assuming that he will be paid in the morning.  The next day, Smith tries to persuade Mother Maria to pay him by quoting from the Holy Bible, but she responds by asking him to read a Bible verse from the “Sermon on the Mount” (“Consider the lilies of the field...).  This won't be the last time that Mother Maria stonewalls Homer on the payment she owes him, but his strengths and skills are apparent to her and her nuns.  Mother Maria believes that Homer has been sent by God to fulfill their dream of building a chapel (which they call a “shapel”) on their land.

If people remember Lilies of the Field, it would be for Sidney Poitier's performance, which earned him the “Best Actor” Oscar, and for the film's historical relevance.  Poitier's win for portraying Homer Smith was the first time a black man had won the “Best Actor” Oscar, and it was also the first time a black actor had won an Academy Award in a lead acting category.  To date, Homer Smith is my favorite performance of Poitier's.  Poitier presents Homer as a man full of skill, grit, and determination, with plenty of sly wit and humor.  Most of all, through Homer, Poitier makes the audience believe in man's capacity for kindness and in a man having a sense of duty and honor that he does not use to place himself above other men.

The film is blessed with several good performances.  Lilia Skala, who earned a “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar nomination for her performance, can convince the audience that Mother Maria is a real person and not just a character in a movie.  Skala makes Maria's faith seem genuine, and it is Maria's faith in God that in turn makes this film feel like a religious movie, or even a Christian movie, for that matter, without Lilies of the Field specifically being either religious or Christian.

Faith in God and faith in the goodness of man are at the heart of this film.  James Poe's screenplay and the way that director Ralph Nelson presents this story combine to send a simple message of faith in God over worrying about the things one wants to happen.  Lilies of the Field is not a Christmas movie, but I think it could be a wonderful entry in people's “Happy Holidays” playlist.

I found myself often very emotional while watching this film.  At a little more than a hour and a half of run time, Lilies of the Field seems like a fairy tale, a folk tale, or even a Biblical story.  It is magical.  It is wonderful.  And it makes faith seem like a very good thing, indeed.  When people speak of the magic of Hollywood films, I think that there is plenty of that magic in Lilies of the Field.

10 of 10

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

1964 Academy Awards, USA:  1 win: “Best Actor in a Leading Role” (Sidney Poitier); 4 nominations: “Best Picture” (Ralph Nelson), “Best Actress in a Supporting Role” (Lilia Skala), “Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium” (James Poe), and “Best Cinematography, Black-and-White” (Ernest Haller)

1964 Golden Globes, USA:  2 wins:  “Best Actor – Drama” (Sidney Poitier) and “Best Film Promoting International Understanding” and 2 nominations:  “Best Motion Picture – Drama” and “Best Supporting Actress” (Lilia Skala)

1965 BAFTA Awards: 2 nominations: “Best Foreign Actor” (Sidney Poitier) and “UN Award” (USA)

2020 National Film Preservation Board, USA:  1 win: “National Film Registry”

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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Monday, February 22, 2021

#28DaysofBlack Review: "A WRINKLE IN TIME" is Wonderfully Weird


[I imagine that The Walt Disney Company had to make “A Wrinkle in Time” an accounting write-off.  The film under-performed at the box office, which is a shame.  It is one of the most original science fiction and fantasy films of the 21st century.  I also honestly believe that this film is such a unique vision because it was directed by an African-American woman, Ava DuVernay.]

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 18 of 2021 (No. 1756) by Leroy Douresseaux

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
Running time:  109 minutes (1 hour, 49 minutes)
MPAA – PG for thematic elements and some peril
DIRECTOR:  Ava DuVernay
WRITERS:  Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell (based on the novel by Madeleine L'Engle)
PRODUCERS:  Catherine Hand and Jim Whitaker
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Tobias Schliessler (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Spencer Averick
COMPOSER:  Ramin Djawadi


Starring:  Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Pena, Andre Holland, Rowan Blanchard, and David Oyelowo

A Wrinkle in Time is a 2018 science fiction and fantasy-adventure film directed by Ava DuVernay.  The film is based on Madeleine L'Engle's 1962, A Wrinkle in Time, the first book in her “Time Quintet” series.  A Wrinkle in Time the movie follows a young girl, her brother, and a school friend as they set off on a quest across the universe to find the girl's missing father.

A Wrinkle in Time introduces 13-year-old Meg Murry (Storm Reid).  She continues to struggle to adjust at school four years after the disappearance of her father, Alex Murry (Chris Pine), a renowned astrophysicist.  Meg and her gifted younger brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), have also been in trouble with their school's Principal Jenkins (Andre Holland).  Even their mother, Dr. Kate Murry (Gugu Mbatah-Raw), struggles in the wake of the disappearance of her husband.  However, Meg has made a new friend, her classmate, Calvin O'Keefe (Levi Miller).

Then, the Murrys and Calvin start to get unusual visitors.  They call themselves “the Misses.”  They are Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), a trio of astral beings who claim that the “tesseract,” a method of space travel that Alex Murry was studying, is real.  These astral travelers reveal that they have come to help find Alex, who has transported himself across the universe.  They need Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin's help, and they need them to be “warriors.”  However, Meg doubts her own abilities and really doesn't like herself all that much, and that will make her vulnerable to the powerful enemy that awaits them, “The IT.”

The cinematography by Tobias A. Schliessler, the costume design by Paco Delgado, and the production design by Naomi Shohan come together to create one of the most visually beautiful science fiction films that I have seen in a decade.  The film editing by Spencer Averick and the gorgeous score by Ramin Djawadi make that beauty move and feel vibrant, creating a film like no other.

Beyond the high production values, director Ava DuVernay has fashioned a big-hearted film that is one of the most ambitious science fiction and fantasy films in recent memory.  I have never read Madeleine L'Engle's now legendary novel, so I assume that screenwriters Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell (and any other writers that contributed to the final product) condensed the character drama in order to focus on Meg Murry.  However, DuVernay and the writers, through Meg, tell a story in which love and imagination and determination and fortitude can send humans on a voyage that traverses not only our galaxy, but also the universe.

Young actress Storm Reid as Meg Murry is poignant and engaging as the young hero who must learn to both love and accept herself and to believe in herself.  Her teen (or 'tween) struggles seem honest and genuine.  In a movie full of offbeat performances of odd characters, Reid makes Meg seem solid and the driving force of this narrative.

Young Deric McCabe seems supernaturally self-assured as Charles Lawrence Murry, making the young brother an important counterpart to Meg.  Levi Miller is a pleasant addition as Calvin O'Keefe whose main role is to believe in Meg even when she doesn't believe in herself, but the story also gives Calvin his own poignant journey.

I get why adults, especially film critics, had mixed feelings about the film.  I think young viewers will get it, and this film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time is important because Ava DuVernay, once again, reinvents what a black female can be on screen in a Hollywood film.  A Wrinkle in Time may be a fantasy film dressed in the many multi-colored robes of science fiction, but this film introduces new kinds of warriors in service of the universe.  And one of those new colors is a young black girl, and that makes A Wrinkle in Time an exceptional film for this time.

9 of 10

Monday, February 22, 2021

2019  Black Reel Awards”  3 nominations: “Outstanding Cinematography” (Tobias A. Schliessler), “Outstanding Costume Design” (Paco Delgado), and “Outstanding Production Design” (Naomi Shohan)

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved.  Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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