Showing posts with label Lee Daniels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lee Daniels. Show all posts

Monday, January 31, 2022

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from January 23rd to 31st, 2022 - Update #22

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

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:


TELEVISION - From Deadline:  Director Rawson Marshall Thurber will "creatively oversee" eOne's "Dungeons & Dragons" TV series, which thus far, is not tied to a particular network or streamer.

BOX OFFICE - BoxOfficePro:   The winner of the 1/28 to 1/30/2022 weekend box office is Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios' "Spider-Man: No Way Home" with an estimated take of 11 million dollars.

DISNEY - From Deadline:  "Hocus Pocus 2," the sequel to the popular 1993 Disney film, "Hocus Pocus," is set to debut Halloween 2022 on Disney+.

CULTURE - From Vox:   "The New Orleans funeral reminds us that grief is a burden that can be shared" by Nicole Young. This is an article about the New Orleans tradition of a funeral "second line."

NETFLIX - From Deadline:  The live-action "Masters of the Universe" film has moved from Sony Pictures to Netflix.  Kyle Allen ("West Side Story") will play Prince Adam/He-Man.

MOVIES - From Deadline:  Sources say that Jason Momoa is joining the tenth "Fast & Furious" film, "F10."

MOVIES - TheNewYorker:  "The Damage Done by a Hollywood Stereotype" is an interview with actor Robert Capron who was "Rowley Jefferson," the best friend/jolly fat kid in the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" film series.

MOVIES - From THR:   New Line is moving forward with the development of a sequel to its 2021 hit and reboot, "Mortal Kombat,"  The film's screenwriter will be Jeremy Slater, the head writer of Marvel Studios' "Moon Knight" series.

DISNEY - From  THR:  Disney will use cultural consultants, including form the dwarfism community, while in production of its live-action version of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves."  This is in response to criticism from Emmy-winning actor, Peter Dinklage.

NETFLIX/ANIMATION - From ETCanadaNetflix has dropped a teaser trailer for "Pinocchio," a stop-motion animated film from director Guillermo del Toro that will debut in the fall.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:  Actor Dylan McDermott will replace actor Julian McMahon on the CBS series, "FBI: Most Wanted."  McMahon's is slated to make his last appearance on the series on March 8th, with McDermott debuting in April.

NETFLIX - From Deadline:   Netflix has reportedly paid near 65 million dollars for director Lee Daniels' star-studded exorcism movie package.  Stars in the cast include Octavia Spencer and Glenn Close.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficePro:  The winner of the 1/21 to 1/23/2022 weekend box office is Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios' "Spider-Man: No Way Home" with an estimated take 14.13 million dollars.

From Negromancer:  My review of "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

OSCARS - From VarietyJennifer Hudson and her film, "Respect," could set a record for Black women at the Academy Awards.

MOVIES - From THR:  The "Scream" filmmakers found actor Mason Gooding so charming that the decided not to kill off his character, "Chad Meeks-Martin."

TELEVISION - From Deadline:  Actor Julian McMahon is leaving CBS' "FBI: Most Wanted" after three seasons.  He character, "Agent Jess LaCroix," leaves the series in an episode airing March 8th, 2022.

STREAMING - From Deadline:  Legendary and Warner Bros. are developing a sequel to the classic 1983 film, "A Christmas Story."  Entitled "A Christmas Story Christmas" it will debut on HBO Max and actor Peter Billingsley will reprise his role as "Ralphie Parker."


From THR:   American actor, Howard Hesseman, has died at the age of 82, Saturday, January 29, 2022.  Hesseman was best known for his work on television.  He memorably portrayed rock DJ "Dr. Johnny Fever" on the late CBS sitcom, "WKRP in Cincinnati" (1978-82).  He was twice nominated for the "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series" Primetime Emmy for his performance as Fever.  He later portrayed high school history teacher, "Charlie Moore," on the first four seasons of the former ABC series, "Head of the Class."

From Deadline:   Actress and singer, Carol Speed, has died at the age of 76, Friday, January 14, 2022.  Speed was best known for her role in the blaxploitation films, "The Big Bird Cage" (1972), "The Mack" (1973), and "Abby" (1974), a horror film in which she plays a minister's wife who is possessed by a demon.

From THR:  American voice actor, Peter Robbins, has died at the age of 65, by suicide sometime during the third week of January 2022, according to a statement made by his family Tuesday, January 25, 2022.  Robbins was the first actor to perform the voice of "Charlie Brown" in classic television specials based on the "Peanuts" newspaper comic strip.  Robbins first voice Charlie Brown in the TV documentary film, "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" (1963), which was about "Peanuts" and its creator, Charles M. Schultz.  He also voiced Charlie Brown in such beloved TV classics as "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965) and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (1966).



From COFCA:  The Columbus Film Critics Association name "The Power of the Dog" the "Best Film" of 2021.

From Deadline:  Netflix's Black Western, "The Harder They Fall," was named the "Best Picture" of 2021 at the 13th annual African American Film Critics Association Awards.  The Western tied with "King Richard" for most wins with four.  Will Smith was named "Best Actor" for "King Richard."

From Deadline:  The nominations for the 2022 / 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards have been announced.

From Variety:  The snubs and surprises in the nominations for the 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards.

From Variety:   At the 2022 / 79th Golden Globes, "The Power of the Dog" wins "Best Motion Picture-Drama" and "West Side Story" wins "Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy."

From VarietyThe National Society of Film Critics names the Japanese film, "Drive My Car," the best film of 2021.

From AwardsWatch:  The nominations for the 22nd Annual Black Reel Awards were announced a few weeks ago. Netflix's Black Western, "The Harder They Fall," has a record 20 nominations.  The winners will be announced February 27, 2022.

From AwardsWatch:  The Columbus Film Critics Association announced the nominations for their annual film awards.  Director Jane Campion's "The Power of the Dog" leads with 12 noms.  The winners will be announced Thurs., Jan. 6th, 2022.

From Deadline:  The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has named the Japanese film, "Drive My Car," the "Best Picture" of 2021.

From Deadline:  The 2022 / 37th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards have announced their nominations. "Zola" leads with six nominations. The winners will be announced Sun., March 6, 2022.

From THR:  The 2022 / 79th Golden Globes Awards nominations have been announced.  "Belfast" and "The Power of the Dog" lead with seven nominations each.  Winners will be announced Jan. 9th, 2022.

From GoldDerby:   The 2022 Critics Choice Awards nominations have been announced. "Belfast" and "West Side Story" leads with 11 nominations each. Winners will be announced Jan. 9th, 2022.

From Deadline:   The American Film Institute announced the "2021 AFI Awards" Top 10 list, and the list includes "Dune," "The Tragedy of Macbeth," and "West Side Story."

From THR:  Director Aleem Khan's "After Love" tops the 2021 British Independent Film Awards, winning six awards, including "Best Film of 2021."

From Variety:   The New York Film Critics Circle has named the Japanese drama, "Drive My Car," as the "Best Film of 2021."

From Deadline:  The National Board of Review hands director Paul Thomas Anderson's "Licorice Pizza" it "Best Film" and "Best Director" awards.  Will Smith picks up the "Best Actor" award for "King Richard."

From THR:  Netflix’s "The Lost Daughter," directed by actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, dominated the 2021 Gotham Awards in New York on Monday night (Nov. 29th).  The film won in four of the five categories in which it was nominated, including "Best Feature."



From Deadline:  This link will take you to Deadline's Halyna Hutchins page, which articles related to everything about her shooting death on the set of the Western film, "Rust."

From THR:   A Republican New Mexico legislator, State Sen. Cliff Pirtle of Roswell, on Monday introduced a bill that would require all film set personnel who handle firearms to complete a safety course offered by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department.  This is in the wake a cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, being fatally shot on the set of the Western, "Rust," last year by Alec Baldwin with a weapon he says he thought was not loaded with live ammunition.

From DeadlineAlec Baldwin and the other producers of the doomed Western film, "Rust," want a California judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against them by the script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell.

From Deadline:   Alec Baldwin has finally turned over his cell phone to police for their probe into the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Baldwin's Western film, "Rust," last October in New Mexico.

From Variety:  One of the producers of tragic Western film, Rust, Emily Salveson, pushes tax shelters and hid income.

From THR:  "I let go of the hammer and 'Bang,' the gun goes off" says Alec Baldwin says in his first interview of the moment when a gun he was holding accidentally killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Western film, "Rust."

From DeadlineAlec Baldwin will sit down with ABC's news-reading clown George Stephanopoulos for a one hour special tomorrow night to talk about what happened on the set of the movie "Rust."  It will be Baldwin’s first extensive interview about the shooting.

From Deadline:  Industry veteran, Thall Reed, the father of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the Western, "Rust," may have handed the police a tip on why the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, was shot to death on the set.

From THR:  A search warrant affidavit filed Tuesday for a prop shop sheds light on how alleged live ammunition ended up on the set of the Western film, "Rust," where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed in October.

From Deadline:  A month after cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, was shot and killed on the New Mexico set the movie Western, "Rust," by a prop gun “discharged” by Alec Baldwin, those closest to the cinematographer held a private ceremony and interred her ashes at an unknown location.

From Deadline:  Actor Daniel Baldwin defends his brother, Alec Baldwin, in the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film, "Rust."  "Someone loaded that gun improperly," Daniel says.

From Deadline:  The newest lawsuit involving the tragic shooting on the set of the Western film, "Rust," has been filed by the film's script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, against Alec Baldwin, the producers, the production company, armorer Hanna Gutierrez Reed, and others.

From DeadlineSerge Svetnoy, the gaffer on "Rust," has filed a lawsuit against several parties related to the film, including the production, the financiers, star Alec Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and first Assistant Director David Halls.

From THR:   In the wake of the tragic accidental shooting on the set of his film, "Rust," Alec Baldwin on Monday took to social media to urge Hollywood to employ a police officer on every film and TV set that uses guns.

From THR:   The budget for "Rust" - Alec Baldwin was set to earn $150,000 as lead actor and $100,000 as producer, while $7,913 was earmarked for armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and $17,500 was set aside for the rental of weapons and $5,000 for rounds.

From Deadline:  Attorneys for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the set of the film, "Rust," said that they’re looking into whether a live bullet was placed in a box of dummy rounds with the intent of  “sabotaging the set.”

From THR:   Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the film, "Rust," released a statement through her lawyers.  She says she had “no idea where the live rounds came from” that were recovered by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's during the investigation of the accidental on-set shooting death of Halyna Hutchins.

From Jacobin:  An opinion piece says that cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' death on the set of the film, "Rust," was not a freak accident, but was about Alec Baldwin and his fellow producers' cost-cutting decisions.  Baldwin accidentally fired the gun that killed Hutchins.

From Deadline:   Two of executive producers on "Rust," Allen Cheney and Emily Salveson, disavow responsibility for the film's troubled production.

From THR:   Iconic "Ghostbusters" actor Ernie Hudson is reeling from the news of the death of Halyna Hutchins, like the rest of Hollywood. Hudson also appeared in the film, "The Crow," the film in which its star, Brandon Lee, was killed because of an on-set accidental shooting.  He also agrees with the call to ban real guns from movie sets.

From THR:  The Sheriff of Sante Fe County says that his office has recovered three guns and 500 rounds of ammunition from the set of the movie "Rust" where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed.

From Deadline:  Regarding criminal charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film "Rust," District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweis, "all options are on the table - no one has been ruled out."

From THR:  Does Hollywood Need Guns? Will new regulations lead to an overreactions to a tragedy.

From Deadline:   "Rust" producers have opened an internal investigation into the fatal shooting on the set of the Western film.  They have hired outside lawyers to conduct interviews with the film's production crew.

From Deadline:  "Rust's" AD (assistant director), Dave Halls, has come under scrutiny in the wake of the on-set shooting death of the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.

From Deadline:  The affidavit of Sante Fe Sheriff's Department Detective Joel Cano has been made public. It can be read at "Deadline."  The affidavit was for a search warrant from the property were the Western, "Rust," was being filmed.

From THR:  The production company behind "Rust" has shut the film down until the police investigation into the fatal, on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is through.  The Sante Fe County Sheriff's Office has also revealed a timeline of the shooting.

From Deadline:  The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department confirmed Thursday night that Alec Baldwin “discharged” a prop gun on the New Mexico set of the movie, "Rust."  As a result, one crew member, director of photography Halyna Hutchins, was killed and director Joel Souza was injured and remains in a local hospital - his condition unknown.

From THR:  "Rust" director, Joel Souza, who was wounded in the accidental on-set shooting, says that he is "gutted" by the death of his cinematographer on the film, Halyna Hutchins.

From Deadline:  The fatal shooting on the set of "Rust" may have been "recorded" according to detective for Santa Fe Sheriff's Department.

From Deadline:  The production company behind the film, "Rust," will launch an internal safety review after the fatal accident that killed Halyna Hutchins; possible prior gun incidents; and a camera crew walkout.

From CNN:   Crew member yelled "cold gun" as he handed Alec Baldwin prop weapon, court document shows.

From Variety:  Actor Alec Baldwin releases statement on the death of Halyna Hutchins: "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness."

From Variety:  The prop gun that killed “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza on during an on-set accident on Thursday contained a “live single round,” according to an email sent by IATSE Local 44 to its membership.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

BET+ Announces New Comedy, "Ms. Pat"

BET+ Picks up New Scripted Comedy “Ms. Pat” From Award-winning Producers Brian Grazer and Lee Daniels

Based on Comedian Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams’ Stand-up Comedy and Memoir, ‘Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat’

Imagine Television and Lee Daniels Entertainment to Executive Produce

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BET+ announced the pick-up of new original scripted comedy, “Ms. Pat,” from Imagine Television and Lee Daniels Entertainment. Based on Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams’ stand-up comedy and memoir, the ten-episode multi-camera sitcom will tell the story of a former convicted felon turned suburban mom (Ms. Pat), whose hustle and resilient spirit was forged on the streets of Atlanta. To much reserve, she now finds herself in conservative middle America alongside her well-intentioned husband, played by J. Bernard Calloway (“City On A Hill”), a struggle of a sister played by Tami Roman (“The Family Business”), and two distinct sets of kids played by Theodore Barnes (“The Prince of Peoria”), newcomer Briyana Guadalupe, and Vince Swann (“50 Central”), raised under very different circumstances.

Brian Grazer, Lee Daniels, President of Imagine Television Samie Kim Falvey, and Anthony Hill (who serves as the series’ showrunner) will executive produce, alongside Ms. Pat and Jordan E. Cooper (“Star”), who also penned the pilot. “Ms. Pat” marks Grazer’s and Daniels’ first scripted project on the network.

    “We are thrilled that Lee Daniels Entertainment, a division of Disney, and BET are working together for the first time. Historic!”

“We are thrilled to welcome powerhouse creators Lee Daniels, Brian Grazer, and writing phenom Jordan E. Cooper home to the BET family. We look forward to bringing Ms. Pat’s story to life on BET+ and offer viewers more premium content that reflects and celebrates the spectrum of the Black experience and tons of laughs,” said Traci Blackwell, Executive Vice President, Scripted Programming, BET.

“I have always been drawn to stories that celebrate universal human themes of family and love. Ms. Pat is an authentic, truthful voice that reflects what’s going on in our culture and how it relates to family. Because of her fierce authenticity, fans already love her humor and irreverence. She and Jordan E. Cooper have created this family comedy that will reach even more of the world - and we all desperately need to laugh,” said Brian Grazer. “I am excited to be working again with Lee Daniels and BET+ to bring Ms. Pat's story to life - showcasing her powerful tale of survival, as she finds humor and love in all things life.”

“This is the type of show I wish I had growing up - raw, funny, and honest. Ms. Pat and Jordan Cooper are magic together,” said Daniels. "We are thrilled that Lee Daniels Entertainment, a division of Disney, and BET are working together for the first time. Historic!”

Declared by The Washington Post as “unforgiving and darkly hilarious,” and The New York Times as “brutally honest and outrageous,” Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams is a comedian, author, podcaster, and actress who brings a raw, in your face, and hilarious perspective to her work. Ms. Pat was just hailed by Variety Magazine as a Top 10 Comic To Watch. She has appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Comedy Central’s “This Is Not Happening,” Netflix’s “Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy,” TV Guide Network’s “Standup in Stilettos,” Nickelodeon’s “Mom’s Night Out,” and was just featured in the second season of the Netflix stand-up series “Degenerates.”

Jordan E. Cooper is a playwright and performer who resides in Brooklyn, New York, by way of Hurst, TX. Jordan received an Obie award for his writing and performance of his play AIN'T NO MO', which just completed a sold-out world premiere run at The Public Theater. He was nominated for the same play, The Drama League's Distinguished Performance award alongside Bryan Cranston, Laurie Metcalf, and Andrè De Shields. He also starred in the award-winning independent film “Wolf.” Jordan has also been featured in The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and V Magazine. He received his BFA from The New School For Drama.

“Ms. Pat” is executive produced by Brian Grazer ("Empire," "Wu-Tang: An American Saga," "Genius: Aretha") and Samie Kim Falvey for Imagine Television; Lee Daniels ("Empire," "Star," "Precious"), Marc Velez, and Pam Williams for Lee Daniels Entertainment; Anthony Hill (“Family Reunion,” “Ravens Home”) who will also serve as the series’ showrunner; Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams; and Jordan E. Cooper, who also penned the pilot.

BET+ is the preeminent streaming service for the Black audience, 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 including hit series First Wives Club from Tracey Oliver, Tyler Perry’s Ruthless and Bruh, Will Packer’s Bigger, hit unscripted anthology series American Gangster Trap Queens, exclusive originals from Carl Weber including The Family Business, Sacrifice and Influence to name a few. Visit BET.Plus to learn more and follow @BETPlus on social to join the conversation and get the latest.

Lee Daniels Entertainment is a full-service production company founded in 2001 by Academy Award-Nominated Director, and Writer and Producer, Lee Daniels. Since its inception, LDE has been responsible for some of Hollywood’s most exhilarating film projects including Monster’s Ball, The Woodsman, Shadowboxer, The Paperboy, The Butler, Precious and more. LDE is gearing up for the release of The United States vs. Billie Holiday for Paramount Pictures, also directed by Lee Daniels. More recently, LDE’s expansion into television has birthed what could be considered some of the most dynamic TV storytelling to date - FOX’s Empire and Star. In 2015, Lee Daniels went on to sign an overall development deal with 20th Century Fox TV, where he continues to create develop, write, direct and supervise new projects under his Lee Daniels Entertainment banner. Additional upcoming projects include Good People, Sammy Davis Jr. Mini-Series, The Spook Who Sat By The Door, Our Kind of People and Mason Dixon.

Imagine Television Group is comprised of Imagine Television and Imagine Television Studios. Imagine Television was founded in 1986 by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and is run by Imagine Television President Samie Kim Falvey. Over the years, the company’s productions have been honored with 198 Emmy nominations and 30 Golden Globe nominations. In 2018, the company formed Imagine Television Studios to produce and finance a slate of projects that currently includes the series “Genius: Aretha” with showrunner Suzan-Lori Parks and starring Cynthia Erivo; “Why Women Kill” for CBS All Access from Marc Cherry; “Swagger” for Apple with Kevin Durant and Reggie Rock Bythewood; “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” for Hulu with The RZA and Alex Tse; and “Joe Exotic” with Amazon. Imagine Television is also producing “Filthy Rich” from Tate Taylor and staring Kim Cattrall for Fox. Additional productions include Fox’s award-winning series “Empire;; Nat Geo’s Emmy®-winning Genius anthology series; Fox’s Golden Globe- and Emmy®-winning Best Drama Series “24”; NBC’s Peabody Award-winning series “Friday Night Lights”; Fox’s Emmy®-winning Best Comedy “Arrested Development”; Fox’s “Shots Fired” and “Lie To Me”; WB’s “Felicity”; ABC’s “SportsNight”; and HBO’s “From the Earth to the Moon,” which won the Emmy® for Outstanding Mini-Series. Howard and Grazer began their collaboration in the early 80’s on the hit film comedies “Night Shift” and “Splash,” and continue to run Imagine as executive chairmen.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from September 17th to 23rd, 2017 - Update #24

Support Leroy on Patreon.

MOVIES - From ThePlaylist:  Bradley Cooper's remake of "A Star is Born," in which he co-stars with Lady Gaga, will arrive in theaters the summer of 2018.

MOVIES - From THR:  Margot Robbie's Tonya Harding biopic, "I, Tonya," gets a release date that will qualify it for this year's Oscar race - December 8th.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Ron Perlman talks about his early career and playing make-up heavy roles like Hellboy.

MOVIES - From CinemaBlend:  "The Purge 4" announces new cast members.  A "Purge" TV series is also in the works.

BLM - From YesMagazine:  NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick may not have an NFL job, but his his national anthem protests remain strong in the NFL.

MOVIES - From YahooEntertainment:  Stephen King would like you to give the film, "Cell," a chance.  It is the 2016 adaptation of his 2006 novel, Cell.  The movie flopped and received scathing reviews.

MOVIES - From BleedingCool:  "Avatar 2" will reportedly begin filming Monday, September 25th.

MOVIES - From YahooEntertaiment:  Linda Hamilton a.k.a. "Sarah Connor" is rejoining Arnold Schwarzenegger in James Cameron's "Terminator" reboot.

CELEBRITY - From YahooLifestyle:  Halle Berry shares a photo of her new man, Alexander Grant, who is better known as "Alex Da Kid," the British songwriter and producer.

TELEVISION - From Variety:  Lee Daniels is developing two new projects for Fox.

ANIMATION - From Variety:  "The Croods 2," the sequel to DreamWorks Animation's 2013, Oscar-nominated hit, is back on schedule, September 18, 2020.

MOVIES - From  Five films that influenced "L.A. Confidential," which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary.

DISNEY - From Variety:  Judi Dench may join Kenneth Branagh's "Artemis Fowl" adaptation for Disney.

OSCARS - From GoldDerby:  Cambodia has made Angelina Jolie's film, "First They Killed My Father," their "Foreign Language Film" entry in this year's Oscars race.

NEWS - From YahooFinance:  Toys 'R' Us could go bankrupt within weeks.

MOVIES - From Esquire:  What is known about the sequel to the current box office smash, "IT."

MOVIES - From TheGuardian:  Liam Neeson says that he is retiring from action films.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 9/15 to 9/17/2017 weekend box office is "IT" with an estimated take of $60 million.

EMMYS - From Deadline:  A list of 2017 Emmy winners - updated.

From YahooLifesytle:  Jane Fonda's faux-ponytail on the Emmy red carpet is freaking people out.

From GoldDerby:  The site has uncovered the complete ceremony rundown (the order in which the awards will be announced) for tonight's 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards.

STREAMING - From Deadline:  A locations manager for the Netflix show, Narcos, was shot dead while scouting locations for the show.

COMICS-FILM - From BleedingCool:  Jessica Chastain to produce and star in a movie based on the "Painkiller Jane" comic book.  The film has a writer, Christine Boylan.

TELEVISION - From SlashFilm:  Fox is rebooting its 1994 film, "True Lies" (directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger) as a TV series.


From NewYorkDailyNews:  Boxing legend Jake LaMotta, whose nickname was "The Raging Bull," has died at the age of 95, Tuesday, September 19, 2017.  His life was recounted in Martin Scorsese's 1980 film, "Raging Bull," in which Robert DeNiro portrayed LaMotta in a performance that won him a best actor Oscar.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Viola Davis, Lee Daniels Common Join "BET Presents the ABFF Honors"

Viola Davis, Lee Daniels, Common, Maxwell, Omari Hardwick, Morris Chestnut and Dionne Farris among Big Names to Take the Stage During the 2017 “BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors”

Actress and Director Regina Hall to Host Annual Ceremony

Awards Show Tapes Friday, February 17 in Los Angeles and will air on BET and Centric Wednesday, February 22 at 8:00PM ET

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BET Networks and American Black Film Festival (ABFF)’s “BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors” is thrilled to announce that Viola Davis, Lee Daniels, Common, Morris Chestnut and Omari Hardwick are confirmed to present during the annual ceremony taping in Los Angeles on Friday, February 17th, 2017. Also set to take the stage are Maxwell and Dionne Farris, who will woo the audience with sultry performances. ABFF Honors' mission is to celebrate Black culture by honoring individuals, movies and television shows that have had a significant impact on American entertainment. “BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors” airs on BET and Centric on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 at 8:00PM ET.

Hosted by actress and director Regina Hall, “BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors” is proud to celebrate some of Hollywood’s most iconic artists. As previously announced, the show will honor actor and director Denzel Washington with the “Hollywood Legacy Award;” writer, producer and actress Issa Rae with the “Rising Star Award,” film director and producer F. Gary Gray with the “Excellence in the Arts Award” and actor and singer, Terrence Howard with the “Excellence in the Arts Award.” In addition, there will be a special appearance by some of Young Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Jay Ellis (Insecure, The Game), Kofi Siriboe (Queen Sugar), Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse, Straight Outta Compton) and Kylie Bunbury (Pitch).

“BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors” is sure to be a highlight of the Hollywood Awards season and Black History Month. The event is executive produced by ABFF Ventures founder Jeff Friday, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones for de Passe Jones Entertainment, Jesse Collins for Jesse Collins Entertainment, and Connie Orlando, Stephen G. Hill and Debra Lee for BET Networks.

The 2017 ABFF Honors sponsors are AT&T, Cadillac and Prudential Financial Inc. (Red Carpet Partners) and Hennessy (Official Spirit Partner).

For more information about the 2017 ABFF Honors, log on to Also, follow us on our social media platforms:

Twitter: @ABFFHonors
Instagram: @AmericanBlackFilmFestival
Facebook: American Black Film Festival
YouTube: American Black Film Festival

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. It supports emerging artists to foster a wider range of images, stories and storytellers represented in the entertainment industry. The festival is committed to the belief that Black artists and content creators deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts. ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the motion picture industry, and strengthen the Black filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development. Today, the ABFF is recognized as the preeminent pipeline to new Black talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world. The ABFF is a property of ABFF Ventures LLC, a multifaceted entertainment company specializing in the production of live events, television and digital content targeted to upscale African American audiences.

For additional information about the festival, visit


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from December 25th to 31st, 2016 - Update #40

Support Leroy on Patreon.

TELEVISION - From Reason:  Anthony Bourdain:  The rise of Authoritarianism across the world should concern everyone.

TELEVISION - From BleedingCool:  HBO is going to debut the documentary about Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds on January 7th, 2016 at 8 PM ET/PT.  It is entitled "Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds."

TELEVISION - From TVLine:   Leslie Jordan says that NBC is ordering 10 episodes of the Emmy-winning television series, "Will & Grace."  Jordan won an Emmy for playing recurring character, "Beverly Leslie."

SPORTS - From YahooSports: Corporate media talking heads swore that NFL QB Colin Kaepernick was hated by his San Francisco 49er teammates because of his "Pledge of Allegiance" protests.  Those same teammates just gave him the team's highest honor.

POLITICS - From AlterNet:  Carrie Fisher hated President "elect" Donald Trump and was not shy about it.

POLITICS - From AlterNet:  Conservative gun-nut columnist, M.D. Harmon, let a child play with his gun and the gun went off while junior was fondling it, killing Harmon.

OSCARS - From TheGuardianUK:  There is some truth to what Lee Daniels says about #OscarsSoWhite.

MUSIC - From Esquire:  Music legend David Crosby talks about Trump and Kanye.

MOVIES - From BleedingCool: "Kong: Skull Island" is connected to the Vietnam War.  The film's director thought that idea wouldn't go over well...

MUSIC - From YahooMusic:  Run-DMC sues Wal-Mart and Amazon for 50 million.

CELEBRITY - From YahooSports:  Tennis superstar Serena Williams is engaged to marry Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian.

COMICS-FILM - From TheWrap:  Ryan Reynolds apparently shot as scene as his character Deadpool for next year's X-Men/Wolverine movie, "Logan."

From THR:  Ryan Reynolds would like for there to be a Deadpool/Wolverine movie.


OBIT - From People:  Carrie Fisher has died at the age of 60, Tuesday, December 27, 2016.  She was best known as "Princess Leia" in the "Star Wars" films.  I'm numb.

From THR:  The actress Debbie Reynolds has died at the age of 84, Wednesday, December 28, 2016.  Reynolds was the mother of actress Carrie Fisher who died at the age of 60, Tuesday, Dec. 27th, 2016.  A Hollywood legend, Reynolds appeared in such classic Hollywood musicals as "Singin' in the Rain" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."

From YahooNews:  Todd Fisher talks about his mother, Debbie Reynolds, final moments.

From YahooNews:  Carrie Fisher could make us laugh through the pain.

From BleedingCool:  The comic book community reacts to the death of Carrie Fisher.

OBIT - From People:  The author Richard Adams has died at the age of 96, Saturday, December 24, 2016.  Adams is best known as the author of the beloved classic children's novel, "Watership Down," first published in 1972.

OBIT - From YahooStyle:  The actor and comedian, Ricky Harris, has died at the age of 54, Monday, December 26, 2016.  He was best known for his recurring roles on "Moesha" and "Everybody Hates Chris."

TELEVISION - From TheGuardianUK:  A&E has cancelled "Generation KKK," its eight-part doc about the hate group, after learning that producers paid nominal fees to members of the Ku Klux Klan to get them to participate.

STAR WARS - From BleedingCool: Rian Johnson, who is directing Star Wars Episode 8, defends the much-maligned Star Wars prequel films.

ECO - From BBCNews:  Save the cheetah!

BOX OFFICE - From Variety:  "Rogue One" is expected to win the four-day Christmas weekend, 12/23 to 12/26/2016, with an estimated take of $96.1 million.


OBIT - From YahooMusic:  British singer, songwriter, producer, and pop superstar, George Michael, has died at the age of 53, Sunday, December 25, 2016.

From YahooCelebrity:  George Michael had a difficult life of depression, drugs, and arrests.

From YahooMusic:  George Michael's best musical moments.

From YahooCelebrity:  Celebs react to Michael's death.

From YahooMusic:  George Michael - a life in photos.

From YahooMusic:  The evolution of the genius of George Michael.

From YahooMusic:  What George Michael had to say about Prince one time.

From RSN:  The frank and uncompromising LGBT icon, George Michael.

From YahooMusic:  George Michael reportedly left behind an estate worth $130 million U.S.

BOX OFFICE - From TheWrap:  Estimates have "Rogue One" on top of the Christmas weekend box office.

From Patreon:  My "Rogue One" review.

CHRISTMAS:  From YouTubeMerry Christmas!!! and Happy Holidays!!! -- A*O*A. offers "Afraid of Americans," an electro/industrial remake of David Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans," a single from his 1997 album, "Earthlings." [via Warren Ellis' "Orbital Operations"]  Visit them here.

BLACK LIVES MATTER - From ABC:  There is growing backlash over the arrest of a African-American mother in Fort Worth, Texas who called the police after her son was physically abused by a white neighbor.

COMICS - From BleedingCool:  DC Comics is apparently planning a summer comic book event that is centered on Batman.


From YouTube:   An extended look at "Riverdale," the CW's re-imagining of the world of Archie Comics. It debuts January 26th, 2017.

From YouTube:  First official trailer for Ridley Scott's "Alien: Covenant," which is due May 19, 2017.

From YouTube:  First trailer for "Despicable Me 3," due in theaters Summer 2017.

From YouTube:  First official teaser trailer for the long-awaited "The Lost City of Z."

From YouTube:  Official trailer for "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter," due at the end of January 2017. [I think they will reboot or restart the series after this film, just going on what I read about two years ago.]

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from October 1st to 8th, 2016 - Update #28

Support Leroy on Patreon.


From Newsarama:  Creator Robert Kirkman at "The Walking Dead" NYCC panel.

From BleedingCool:  Kate Beckinsale says that Marvel is doing something with "Blade."

From BleedingCool:  More from DC Comics' "Rebirth" NYCC panel.

MOVIES - From Variety:  The Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, John Boyega thriller, "The Circle," has a release date, April 28, 2017.

JAMES BOND - From Vulture:  Maybe Daniel Craig isn't ready to stop being Bond.

CELEBRITY - From Guardian:  In a video, Robert DeNiro says that he'd like to punch Donald Trump in the face.

BOX OFFICE - From Variety:  "The Girl on the Train" will likely be the winner of this weekend's box office.

COMICS-FILMS - From Variety:  Forest Whitaker joins Marvel's "Black Panther."

MOVIES - From IndieWire:  How Mel Gibson helped Nate Parker on "Birth of a Nation."

MOVIES - From ThePlaylist:  Amy Adams returning for "Disenchanted," the sequel to "Enchanted."

MOVIES - From Variety:  "Blade Runner 2049" is the name of the "Blade Runner" sequel.

POLITICS - From TheDailyBeast: Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone says that the administration of President Obama is the worst for whistleblowers.

MUSIC - RollingStone:  Bruce Springsteen talks about a number of subjects in this interview, including Black Lives Matter.

MOVIES:  From WarofthePlanet:  The website for next year's "War for the Planet of the Apes."

COMICS-FILM - From YahooSports:  Some people are complain the Marvel-Netflix's "Luke Cage" is too Black...

COMICS-FILM - From YahooMovies:  The DVD release of "Suicide Squad" to contain a cut of the film with 13 extra minutes.

MUSIC - From RollingStone:  The songwriter, Rod Temperton, died last week in London at the age of 66.  He may be most famous for his collaborations with Michael Jackson including naming Michael's record-setting LP, "Thriller" as well as penning the title track and two more songs for the album.

MOVIES - From TheWrap:  Disney has set a release date for its live-action 3D remake of "Mulan," November 2, 2018.

MOVIES - From SlashFilm:  The Oscar-winning film-scoring team of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will score Peter Berg's film, "Patriots Day."

MOVIES - From Variety:  Chloe Moretz will join Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton in a remake of Italian horror master, Dario Argento's "Suspiria."

TELEVISION - From SlashFilm:  A teaser has been released for the upcoming "Twin Peaks" revival on Showtime next year.

MOVIES - From YahooNews:  Finally, Nate Parker, director of the buzzy "Birth of a Nation," is saying what he should have said a long time ago about the "rape charges" he once faced.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 9/30 to 10/2/2016 weekend box office is "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" with an estimated take of $28.5 million.

CELEBRITY - From TheWrap:  Kirk Douglas celebrates his 100th birthday early Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the 95th anniversary of the Motion Picture Television Fund.  Douglas' actually birthday is December 19th.  I have a feeling that he will live past 100.

ECO - From TheGuardian:  Leonardo DiCaprio takes his new documentary film, "Before the Flood," to the White House to screen for President Barack Obama.

CRIME - From YahooNews:  The 6-year-old boy who was shot at Townville Elementary in South Carolina on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 has died of his injuries.

MOVIES - From YahooNews:  New image of Emma Watson and Dan Stevens from Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast."

MOVIES - From Variety:  Lee Daniels, the Oscar-nominated director of "Precious," is making a movie musical about his life.


From YahooMovies:  First trailer for "Jackie" with Natalie Portman.

From Deadline:  First teaser for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" which lands in 2017.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from December 6th to 12th, 2015 - Update #22

Support Leroy on Patreon.


From BleedingCool:  "The Hateful Eight" was originally conceived as a novel starring Django.

From Deadline:  Ron Howard updates "Arrested Development" Season 5.

From BuzzFlash:  J.K. Rowling says Donald Trump is worse than Lord Voldemort.

From Vulture:  Idris Elba may have the lead in the adaptation of Stephen King's "Dark Tower."

From YahooTV:  2015 Golden Globe nominations.

From TheWrap: SAG nominations.

From IndieWire:  David Oyelowo to play Muhammad Ali for Ang Lee.

From TheHollywoodReporter:  An article about the upcoming debuts and features at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

From Deadline:  Queen Latifah to star in Lee Daniels project for Fox.

From Vulture:  Bill Murray will play a dog in a Wes Anderson stop-motion film.

From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 12/4 to 12/6/2015 box office is "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part Two," the film's third straight weekend at the top.

From TheHollywoodReporter:  The performance of holiday-themed horror film, "Krampus," surprised with its second place finish at the weekend box office ($16 million).  I was not surprised, and I thought it might actually gross a little more.  "Chi-raq" is reportedly a huge hit in Chicago, the setting of Spike Lee's film.

From GoldDerby:  Director Sean Baker and star Mya Taylor talk about their buzzed-about film, "Tangerine."

From Variety:  Ethan Hawke joins Luc Besson's "Valerian."

COMICS - Films and Books:

From Variety:  Cate Blanchett in talks to join Marvel's "Thor: Ragnarok."


From Deadline: African-American Film Critics name "Straight Outta Compton" best picture.

From TheHollywoodReporterLos Angeles Film Critics Association names "Spotlight" the best film of the year.  However, "Mad Max: Fury Road" wins in three category, including "Best Director" for George Miller.  It was the runner-up in two categories, including the "Best Film" category.

From TheHollywoodReporterThe Boston Society of Film Critics names "Spotlight" the best picture of 2015.

From TheHollywoodReporter:  Alex Garland's "Ex Machina" is named Best British Independent Film at the 2015 British Independent Film Awards, and dominates with 4 wins.


From YahooMovies:  Have a seat, John Boyega tells William Shatner.

From YahooTV:  While in Australia promoting "The Force Awakens," Harrison Ford responds to his fan, Donald Trump.


From YouTube:  Official "X-Men Apocalypse" trailer.

From Vulture:  First trailer for Warner Bros.' "The Legend of Tarzan."

From Deadline:  The debut trailer for Spielberg's "The BFG."

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for the Week of March 8th to 14th, 2015 - Update #10


From YahooMovies:  Alex Gibney talks about his Steve Jobs doc.

From TheWrap:  Eddie Murphy may appear in Lee Daniel's Richard Pryor biopic as Richard's father.

From ShadowandAct:  What to expect from "Empire" Season 2.

From ShadowandAct:  A list of 73 pilots for the 2015-16 TV season that feature African-American leads or supporting characters.

From SlashFilm:  Sony Pictures announced an all-male "Ghostbusters" movie to go along with it all-female "Ghostbusters" movie.  Or maybe it's a shared universe and a team-up.

From TheWrap:  A guilty plea in the "Midnight Rider" trial.

From TheWrap: The winner at the March 6th to 8th, 2015 box office is Chappie with an estimated haul of $13.3 million.

From YahooMovies:  China lifts the box office of box office flop, Jupiter Ascending.


From Comicvine:  Superman's new look - coming in June. It's ridiculous.

From SlashFilm:  Chris Pine rumored for Green Lantern.

From YahooTV:  Another look at Supergirl's costume for the upcoming "Supergirl" TV show.


From EntertainmentWeekly:  A history of "Rogue Squadron," which may explain the 2016 Star Wars spin-off film, "Rogue One."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for the Week of August 10th to August 16th, 2014 - Update #13


From the BostonHeraldJackie Chan says that he has been approached about appearing in a few sequels, including "Rush Hour 4" and "The Expendables 4."

From Today:  Star Trek legend, George Takei (Sulu), recalls his family being taken at gunpoint (with bayonet) in 1942 on their way to an American internment camp during World War II.  This story and more will be included in "To Be Takei," the documentary about his life.

From DeadlineMike Epps apparently delivered an explosive screen test that has him as the front-runner to play iconic stand-up comic and actor, Richard Pryor, in a planned biopic from Oscar-nominated director, Lee Daniels, for The Weinstein Company.

One of the other actors being considered is Marlon Wayans, who was the choice when Adam Sandler's Happy Madison was producing a Pryor film with Dreamgirls' Bill Condon directing.  Michael B. Jordan and Nick Cannon are also being considered.  Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway are among those considered to play Pryor's wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor.

From YahooFinanceAmazon is refusing to accept pre-orders on some Walt Disney DVDs in a battle that is similar to Amazon's feud with book publisher, Hachette.

From YahooCelebrityTyler Posey, star of MTV's "Teen Wolf," played Jennifer Lopez's young son in the 2002 film, Maid in Manhattan.  Lopez and Posey reunited on stage last night at the 2014 Teen Choice Awards.  This article also has a list of the award ceremony's winners.  Most of the winners were movies based on books written for teens and the young adult audience.

COMIC BOOKS - Movies, TV, and Comics:

From IGN:  SPOILERS! Lex Luthor's dastardly plot in "Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" may have been revealed.  It involves a corpse and kryptonite.

From Yahoo:  Vin Diesel teasing or trolling his fans about starring in a possible Marvel Studios film featuring the Inhumans.

From TheWrap:  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles update won the August 8 to 10, 2014 weekend box office.

From THR:  Ninja Turtles sequel announced for June 3, 2016.

From YahooMovies:  Photographic evidence that Guardians of the Galaxy star, Chris Pratt, was homeless and lived in a van at one time.


From LatinoReview:  Episode VII plots, villains, spoilers, etc.

From IndieRevolver:  An alleged look at how Han Solo (Harrison Ford) will look in Star Wars: Episode VII.

From IndieRevolver:  About the alleged Sith villain of Episode VII.

From Twitter:  An interesting photo.


From Variety: Lauren Bacall, legendary Hollywood actress and icon of the Golden Age of Hollywood, has died at the age of 89.  She made her debut at the age of 19 in the film, To Have and to Have Not (directed by Howard Hawks), opposite another legend and icon, Humphrey Bogart.  She died at her apartment in Manhattan today, Tuesday, August 12, 2014.  My heart is broken.  Negromancer sends condolences to Ms. Bacall's family and friends.

From TheWeek:  Bacall on Humphrey Bogart's illness and death.


From CNN:  The actress, Arlene Martel, has died at the age of 78.  She was known to "Star Trek" fans as "T'Pring," the Vulcan priestess who was engaged to marry Spock in the episode "Amok Time" (the first episode of the second season).  Martel died Tuesday, August 12, 2014.  Negromancer sends condolences to her family and friends.


From 20th Century Fox:  Second trailer for the animated film, The Book of Life. Film is due Halloween 2014.


From YahooNews and the NYPost:  Brittney Griner of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury is engaged to fellow WNBA player, Glory Johnson of the Tulsa Shock.  Both Arizona and Oklahoma, however, practice bigotry in their marriage laws.

From TruthoutHow the Mainstream Media Helped Kill Michael Brown.  The author's argument makes sense, especially the standpoint of the relationship between law enforcement a crime reporters.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jordan Flaherty Names "Beasts of the Southern Wild" as 2012's Best Film

One of my favorite writers is journalist Jordan Flaherty, who is also a staffer with the Louisiana Justice Institute.  If there is a better journalist in Louisiana than Flaherty, he or she isn't better by much.  He has written a must-read piece on the year in movies for Truthout, "Best Films of 2012: Top Ten Picks From a Bumper Crop of Bold Creations."

You can read it here, but I am cheating and printing here, "Jordan Flaherty's Top Ten Movies for the Year 2012:"

1. Beasts of the Southern Wild

2. The Central Park Five

3. United in Anger: A History of ACT-UP

4. Middle of Nowhere

5. The Master

6. Red Hook Summer

7. Moonrise Kingdom

8. 5 Broken Cameras

9. Killing Them Softly

10. The Paperboy

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: "Monster's Ball" Retains Its Dark Power (Happy B'day, Halle Berry)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 17 (of 2002) by Leroy Douresseaux

Monster’s Ball (2001)
Running time: 111 minutes (1 hour, 51 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong sexual content, language, and violence
DIRECTOR: Marc Forster
WRITERS: Milo Addica and Will Rokos
PRODUCER: Lee Daniels
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Roberto Schaefer (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Matt Cheese
COMPOSERS: Asche and Spencer with Chris Beaty
Academy Award winner


Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Peter Boyle Buck Grotowski, Heath Ledger, Coronji Calhoun, Sean Combs, Mos Def, and John McConnell

The subject of this movie review is Monster’s Ball, a 2001 romantic drama from director Marc Forster. The film is best remembered for Halle Barry winning the Academy Award for Best Actress, the first black actress in a leading role to win the award.

Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thorton) is a racist prison guard who works on death row. As he followed his father Buck (Peter Boyle) into the profession, so has his own son Sonny (Heath Ledger, The Patriot) followed him as a prison guard. When Sonny botches the “last walk” of a condemned black man, Lawrence Musgrove (Sean “P. Diddy” Combs), Hank and Sonny fallout and a brutal physical confrontation with tragic consequences. Hank meets and falls in love with Lawrence’s widow Leticia (Halle Berry) who also loses her son Tyrell (Coronji Calhoun). Their relationship confuses and conflicts them as they awkwardly seek their way towards love for each other.

Monster’s Ball is one of those films that does not work as entertainment so much as it explores the storytelling possibilities of a visual medium. Directed by the little known Marc Forster, the film is tightly directed, every frame is of importance to the story. Forster’s visual panache recalls Steven Soderberg’s bold indie feature sex, lies and videotape, and Forster takes great care in steering away from formula storytelling.

The script by Milo Addica and Will Rokos occasionally plays fast and loose with credulity. The viewer really has to suspend disbelief during several scenes. What saves the story is the gritty realism that permeates the script. The writers trust the visual communication of the film, but don’t rely on glitz and glamour to prettify the story. The screenwriters understand that the director and the cast will contribute as well. The screenplay is blueprint and a drama as well.

The acting is superb. Too watch these fairly well known actors open themselves up to what must surely be alien lives and idea is breath taking. Nothing that Heath Ledger has done to date has been this good. His Sonny is both an angel and a martyr; his youthful and clean face is a glimmer of hope extinguished by the pain of his family’s sordid past. Peter Boyle has a long career of making great characters, and his portrayal, as Hank’s racist senile father is another creation well played.

The star crossed and cursed lovers of the film played by Thorton and Ms. Berry are mesmerizing. Thorton has tackled unusual and compelling characters in his career. Ms. Berry has let her guard down and plays a character worlds apart from the high profile, glossy, sex objects she usually plays. To open herself to play a character that would be ridiculed, reviled, and pitied in the real world, who is akin to a pariah, is an act worthy of praise. Ms. Berry bares herself before the camera to be a plain and common woman beset by sorrows. Leticia’s simple needs, wants, and desires are foreign to many viewers and actresses. It’s good to see a cutie pie actress tackle serious and challenging drama.

To watch Thorton and Ms. Berry on the screen is a gift. When the mind calls for something other than a simple pastime, this movie fits the bill. A more unusual and hypnotic screen pair than Thorton and Ms. Berry is rare. They give bravura performances. Monster’s Ball may not be entertainment per se, but it is still a fine cinematic experience.

8 of 10

2002 Academy Awards: 1 win: “Best Actress in a Leading Role” (Halle Berry) and 1 nomination: “Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen” (Milo Addica and Will Rokos)

2003 BAFTA Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” (Halle Berry)

2002 Golden Globes: 1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Halle Berry)

2002 Black Reel Awards: 1 win: “Theatrical - Best Actress” (Halle Berry)


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: "Shadowboxer" is Bat-Shit-Crazy (Happy B'day, Helen Mirren)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 253 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Shadowboxer (2005)
Opening date: July 21, 2006
Running time: 94 minutes (1 hour, 34 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong graphic violence and sexuality, nudity, language, and some drug use
DIRECTOR: Lee Daniels
WRITER: William Lipz
PRODUCERS: Lisa Cortes, Lee Daniels, Damon Dash, Brook Lenfest, and Dave Robinson
EDITOR: William Chang and Brian A. Kates


Starring: Cuba Gooding, Jr., Helen Mirren, Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Ferlito, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Macy Gray, Cullen Flynn Clancy, Tomy Dunster, and Mo’Nique

The subject of this movie review is Shadowboxer, a 2005 crime thriller directed by Lee Daniels. After the film’s theatrical release in the summer of 2006, two of its stars would go on to win Academy Awards, Helen Mirren and Mo’Nique, and one had already won an Oscar, Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Clayton (Stephen Dorff), a nasty crime lord, hires the assassin Rose (Helen Mirren) and her stepson/partner/longtime lover, Mikey (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), to kill his wife, Vickie (Vanessa Ferlito), whom he believes is cheating on him. However, during the hit, Rose, suffering from cancer and on her last job, discovers that Vickie is pregnant and hesitates. Vickie immediately goes into labor and delivers a son. Rose takes mother and newborn and flees with Mikey to a new life in a pastoral suburb. Soon, the baby is seven-year old Anthony (Cullen Flynn Clancy), and the past is about to catch up with this unconventional family.

Shadowboxer is an audacious, unconventional thriller. Director Lee Daniels and writer William Lipz create a crime thriller than can masquerade as a family melodrama. This flick, however, has an awkward pace. Sometimes it is slow, and other times it is a meditative tale that shadowboxes with being philosophical – philosophy that it delivers either through imagery or dialogue. (Mikey religiously practices shadow boxing.) Shadowboxer’s overarching plot is a crime thriller tale full of cold, ruthless murderers, thugs, criminals, and assorted lowlifes, but it often comes across as low budget thriller with most of the actors merely posing rather than acting. The bad guys and badasses come across as stock characters, or maybe the direction they received for their performances was too artsy.

Shadowboxer doesn’t have any great or even really good performances, but this strange off-kilter flick spends the second half builds into a story of an unconventional family coming to grips with itself. The fact that the family members can be a workable nuclear family (even though this merger wasn’t meant to be) only makes seeing things work out that much more desirable. Rooting for this desperate, but loving family makes Shadowboxer’s narrative, pacing, and structural problems all less important.

6 of 10

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Friday, July 8, 2011

Review: Kevin Bacon Deserved Oscar Nod for "The Woodsman" (Happy B'day, Kevin Bacon)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 66 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Woodsman (2004)
Running time: 87 minutes (1 hour, 27 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexuality, disturbing behavior, and language
DIRECTOR: Nicole Kassell
WRITERS: Steven Fechter and Nicole Kassell (based upon the play by Steven Fechter)
PRODUCERS: Lee Daniels
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Xavier Perez Grobet
EDITORS: Lisa Fruchtman and Brian A. Kates
Black Reel Award winner

DRAMA with elements of a thriller

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Eve, Mos Def, David Alan Grier, Michael Shannon, Benjamin Bratt, Kevin Rice, and Hannah Pilkes

Walter (Kevin Bacon) spent 12 years in prison on charges of sexually abusing small children. Now, he’s released and trying hard to regain some sense of normalcy in his life. He lands a job working in a lumberyard only because he worked for his boss, Rosen’s (David Alan Grier), father. At the new job, he meets and begins a halting romance with another employee, a woman named Vickie (Kyra Sedgwick), but Walter’s biggest task is to keep from giving in to his compulsions and committing more crimes against children.

The Woodsman, simply put, is as riveting as the most intense horror films (something like The Exorcist) and as heart-stopping as the most extreme action films (Die Hard or The Rock). That’s built on two things – the situation and the Kevin Bacon’s heart-wrenching performance. The plot is tight and deals with the life of a child molester/sex offender in an even-handed way. Of course, there are obviously some genre conventions (Walter’s romance with Vickie and Walter’s struggle to stop another child molester from creating a victim) designed to create a moderately happy or, at least, hopeful ending. Sometimes, The Woodsman seems a bit over the top, in both the portrayal of Walter’s struggles not to offend again, and in the number of other victims or similar situations Walter encounters in what, for us, is a movie under an hour and a half long.

Still, director/co-writer Nicole Kassell and co-writer Steven Fechter do a fantastic job turning a complicated and difficult subject matter and societal issue into a small film that rings with such truth. They make The Woodsman one of those important films that is first a good movie and then, an honest and informative way of presenting the matter as art. I would quibble that the lack of time left some good characters, especially Kyra Sedgwick’s Vickie and Mos Def’s Sgt. Lucas as mere shadows, when they deserved more.

Kevin Bacon’s performance as Walter is one of a handful of performances in 2004 film releases that was overshadowed by Jamie Foxx’s super turn in the Ray Charles biopic, Ray. Bacon quietly, but with such magnum force, details Walter’s internal and external struggles in the way he moves, talks, eats, sleeps, works, etc., and the most-telling parts of the performance are in the nuances, the spaces between the obvious. Long an underrated actor, The Woodman may do for Bacon what Dead Man Walking did for Sean Penn.

8 of 10

2005 Black Reel Awards: 2 wins: “Best Actor, Independent Film” (Mos Def) and “Best Independent Film” (Newmarket Films); 1 nomination: “Best Actress, Independent Film” (Eve)

April 18, 2005


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lee Daniels at American Black Film Festival

AOL Black Voices' "BV on Movies" is reporting that Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels will be this year's honoree at the 14th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF).  The festival will be held in Miami from June 23-26.  Go here for more information on the festival.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Negromancer News Bits and Bites Special: Hugh Jackman Cast in Upcoming Lee Daniels Film

Over at AOL's Black Voices' BV on Movies, Wilson Morales has new information on director Lee Daniels' upcoming film, Selma.  British actor David Oyelowo has been cast as Martin Luther King.  Various sources are reporting that Hugh Jackman will also have a role in the film.