MusicMovieThoughts Quick Picks 6/29/13

Twenty Feet From Stardom

Hey Music Movie family!  I’ll admit it’s been a bit since the last post, so I have a few recommendations for you this time around!  I want to start by first saying congrats to all the contest winners from this month’s giveaways.  I received great feedback from those who attended both the Fruitvale and Twenty Feet From Stardom screenings.  My personal movie pick for this weekend is “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” which I shared the synopsis and trailer for here (“Fruitvale” opens later in July and I will definitely share more about it in the near future).

In brief, Twenty Feet chronicles the stories of several background singers, some well-known, and a few not as known to the masses.  The doc gets the audience up close and personal with amazing vocalists like Lisa Fischer, Darlene Love, and Merry Clayton, among others, as they share their successes and defeats in the shadows of some of the top artists of their times.  To check release dates and theaters that will show “Twenty Feet From Stardom” in your area click here.   The film was released Friday, 6/28 at the Ritz Bourse here in the Philadelphia area.

I also have a few television picks for next week, and it so happens that each of them premieres on Tuesday, July 2.  The first is the documentary VENUS VS. directed by the superbly talented Ava Duvernay (Middle of Nowhere, I Will Follow).  “VENUS VS.”  highlights Venus Williams’ two-year battle advocating for pay equality for women in professional tennis.  The film will air next Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN (check local listings).

Next up is one of my guilty pleasures, and what I am sure will be a new guilty pleasure on the same channel!  I am talking about the mid-season return of The Game Tuesday, July 2 at 10 p.m. EST on BET, followed by the première of Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union at 10:30 p.m.  I know some of my Game die-hards have given up after last season, but I kind of like the Blue and Kiera storyline, and would like to see where it leads.  I also want to see Pookie go off when he finds out what Tasha has been up to behind his back!

With this next pick I’m definitely behind, but I really enjoyed Man of Steel.  It is probably the action film I had the most fun viewing thus far this summer.  This version delved into the psyche of young Clark Kent, and really had you vested in his journey to find out who he truly was as an adult.  The one con with the film, for me, was some of the CGI and the destruction scenes.  They were a bit much, and I could have done with a few less buildings being demolished, a few less windows being shattered, and hypothetically a few less persons dying!  On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it an 8.5.

I did also see and partly enjoyed World War Z, but I must admit I felt it was a mash-up of I Am Legend and Contagion.  If you’re a Brad Pitt and/or a zombie fan (or gamer) you’ll probably get your money’s worth, otherwise I would recommend checking out one of the former picks first.  Biggest con: there was a moment where I questioned the political correctness of one of the geographic choices and religious characterizations in the film.  But since I don’t do spoilers, I’ll just say pay attention to the Jerusalem wall scene and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below! That way if anyone dares to read the comments, it will be at their own risk. :)

Alright family, I believe that’s it…ooh wait!  I also saw White House Down and can sum that up in six words: Die Hard With A White House!  Was I at all entertained?  Of course, Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained, Ray) and Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, The Vow) are in it; but I’m sorry our armed service and secret service branches are not nearly as dumb as this movie made them out to be, and I couldn’t suspend disbelief that much!

Okay, now that’s really it. :)  Until next thought family, Thomasena

Will Smith walks BBC host Graham Norton and audience down memory lane (video)

Morning Music Movie fam!  I just have to share a video with you this morning that really made me smile.  Last Friday while promoting his new film After Earth on the BBC’s Graham Norton show with co-star and son Jaden Smith, Will Smith surprises the audience by performing The Fresh of Bel-Air theme song with DJ Jazzy Jeff.  But wait, there’s more!  Wait for Alfonso Ribeiro’s cameo and…oh, just watch the video, LOL.

I’m so Philly proud!  Until next thought, Thomasena

Sneak peek of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire during MTV Movie Awards

Hunger Games

Hey there Music Movie family!  This post serves as a heads up for all my Hunger Games fans.  Next Sunday, April 14, the exclusive teaser trailer to the highly anticipated movie sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will première live during the 2013 MTV Movie Awards.  To celebrate the première, Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth will introduce the 2 1/2 minutes of exciting footage. The teaser trailer will then be available online at following the award show.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” begins as Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson).   Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts.  Along the way Katniss senses that rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.  “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is directed by Francis Lawrence, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. The novel on which the film is based is the second in a trilogy that has over 50 million copies in print in the U.S. alone.   Lionsgate will release “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” on November 22, 2013. is the official site for the “2013 MTV Movie Awards” where fans can visit to vote and get up-to-date info on this year’s show, watch video of last year’s biggest occurrences, get the full list of 2012 show winners, and check out fashion and celebrity commentary from the red carpet.  Fans can head to through Saturday, April 13 to vote.  The MTV Movie Awards will air live on MTV at 9 p.m. ET.

You can get a mini first look at “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” at the link below.  If you watch the awards show and/or catch the official teaser, stop back by and share your thoughts. :)

Until next thought family, Thomasena

2013 MTV Movie Awards first look at “Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Grammys and BET Honors, Oh My!

Grammy pic

Good Morning Music Movie Family!  So the 55th Annual Grammy Awards will air tonight 8pm EST on CBS, and to be honest I’m not overly excited.  But, there are a few moments I am looking forward to, including the Sting, Bruno Mars, and Rihanna performance.  Why you ask?  Well I don’t know about you but every time I hear “Locked Out of Heaven,” I’m wishing that “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” follows!  Don’t necessarily know how Rihanna fits into the Grammy equation; but I guess we will all find out tonight won’t we?

I’m also looking forward to the Song of the Year category and would love to see Miguel win for “Adorn,” but am feeling the songwriting team behind that Kelly Clarkson hit “Stronger” or Carly Rae Jepsen, songwriter of that bubble gum hit “Call Me Maybe” heard EVERYWHERE, might walk away with the award. You can check out the rest of the Grammy nomination list at


What I’m most excited about is one of my all time favorite singers, the legendary Chaka Khan who celebrates 40 years in the music industry this year, receive her tribute on tomorrow’s BET Honors. The broadcast will air Monday night at 9pm EST on BET.  Now there are several artists who performed and paid tribute to the honorees, including Brandy, Mint Condition, Alicia Keys, and the SOS Band featuring Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.  But my girls Erykah Badu and Ledisi were also in the house, and I’m willing to bet they sang the heaven into a Chaka song!  Can’t wait to see, how about you?  Also included this year as BET Honorees are Halle Berry, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Lisa Leslie, and music industry legend Clarence Avant (if you don’t know his name, look him up!).

Alright that’s it for me Music Movie Lovers.  Stop back by and let me know what you liked, or didn’t, about the shows.  Going to leave you with some of that Bruno Mars below :)

Until next thought, Thomasena

PBS Celebrates Black History Month With Special Programs & New Website

motown image

What’s up Music Movie Family?  Last February, I shared a few of my favorite movie and tv program recommendations in honor of Black History Month.  But this year, PBS has it going on with its plan to celebrate Black History Month with special programs and a new Black Culture Connection website that connects PBS programming to digital resources (find out more at  The schedule lineup is as outlined below, and most films listed will also be available via streaming video on the PBS website.

PIONEERS OF TELEVISION – In the episode “Miniseries,” premiering Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 8:00-9:00 pm EST, hear “Roots” stars LeVar Burton, Louis Gossett, Jr., Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen, John Amos, Georg Stanford Brown and Ed Asner talk about the epic broadcast.

LIFECASTERS – premiering Thursday, February 7, 2013, 9:00-10:00 pm EST (check local listings), unites fiction and documentary film-makers to tell stories of Americans who use their strength, creativity and determination to reach their goals – a bit later in life. In one segment, Oscar-nominees Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert observe African-American dancer Sheri “Sparkle” Williams, one of the oldest female professional dancers still practicing in the U.S.

Whitney M. Young, Jr. was one of the most celebrated, and controversial, leaders of the civil rights era. In INDEPENDENT LENS “The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights,” premiering Monday, February 18, 10:00-11:00 pm EST, follow his journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League.

In AMERICAN MASTERS “Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll,” premiering Friday, February 22, 2013, 9:00-10:00 pm EST, discover the life, music and influence of African-American gospel singer and guitar virtuoso Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973).  One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Tharpe may not be a household name today, but the flamboyant superstar, with her spectacular playing on the newly electrified guitar, had a major influence on black musicians, including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Isaac Hayes and Etta James, and on white stars such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

In MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA, a PBS film about the modern American Women’s Movement, premiering Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 8:00-11:00 pm EST, one segment explores stories of how 1960s Civil Rights leaders helped inspire the pioneers of the modern American Women’s Movement. In addition, the film tells the stories of many groundbreaking African-American women, such as Barbara Smith, who started Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press to give women inroads into publishing, civil rights activist Diane Nash, & Yale-educated lawyer Eleanor Holmes Norton, a civil rights veteran who now serves in the House of Representatives.

Gwen Ifill interviews Berry Gordy, founder in 1959 of Motown Records, which became the most successful African-American-owned enterprise in the United States, in AN EVENING WITH BERRY GORDY, airing in February 2013 (check local listings). Gordy’s celebrated life as entrepreneur, songwriter, record producer, movie director and producer has left an indelible influence on music & films nationally and internationally. Performing tribute songs, that represent the old and new school Motown, are Valerie Simpson (Ashford & Simpson) and R&B musician KEM. Gordy’s son, Stefan Gordy, known to the music world as Redfoo  &  one half of the hip-hop musical group, LMFAO, will be in attendance.

In addition to the above, PBS will air encore programming to include:

AMERICAN MASTERS “Cab Calloway: Sketches” –  February 2013 (check local listings). Explore the life of this pioneering jazz legend, who charmed audiences with his bravado and showmanship.

BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA – February 2013 (check local listings).  Travel with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he uncovers Latin America’s African roots.

FREEDOM RIDERS: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE – February 2013 (check local listings).  Find inspiration in the story of the young civil-rights activists who journeyed through the Deep South in 1961.

INDEPENDENT LENS “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” – February 2013 (check local listings).  Take a cinematic and musical journey into the black communities of America, 1967-1975.

INDEPENDENT LENS “Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock” – February 2013 (check local listings).  Learn why this unconventional revolutionary paid dearly for her instant fame.

INDEPENDENT LENS “More Than a Month” – February 2013 (check local listings).  Find out why an African-American filmmaker wants to end Black History Month.

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE WILLIAM STILL STORY – Friday, February 15, 2013, 10:30-11:30 pm EST.  Hear the story of William Still, a free black man who accepted delivery of “human cargo” on the Underground Railroad.

SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME – Friday, February 22, 2013, 10:00-11:30 pm EST.  Explore the story of labor practices and laws that effectively created a new form of slavery in the South. Laurence Fishburne narrates.

Alright family, don’t say you couldn’t find anything to watch! :P  And if you’re looking for that program & movie list from last year, click here: Lastly, you can begin the celebration on Friday, February 1st, by watching the NAACP Image Awards, which will air live at 8 pm EST on NBC.  This year’s program will be hosted by actor/comedian/talk show host Steve Harvey, with in-house announcer (and Mr. smooth talking insurance salesman himself) Dennis Haysbert.  And speaking of Mr. Haysbert, who supported LUV?  Remember the motto: support independent film (especially opening weekend ;) ).

Until next thought, Thomasena


TV One’s Unsung Season Premiere “Isaac Hayes” Airing 1/23/13

Isaac Hayes

Hey there Music Movie Family!  I’m very excited to view TV One’s Unsung season première tonight, as it features “Black Moses” himself the late, great Isaac Hayes.  The remainder of the season will display one hour episodes featuring: Midnight Star, EPMD, Lou Rawls, Eddie Kendricks, The Whispers, Mint Condition, and Johnny Gill.  There will also be a two-hour special this season on the Disco era.

In honor of the Hayes special tonight, I’ve added video below of two of my favorite Isaac Hayes moments: his “Walk On By” video, featuring Larenz Tate and Chris Tucker, from the Dead Presidents soundtrack (shout out to Allen Hughes!) and a special treat from one of my favorite comedies (can you guess the movie before scrolling down? It’s a Wayans’ classic ;) ).

Okay family, you know the drill!  Leave a comment and let me know which episode you’re most excited to see.

Until next thought, Thomasena