In Case You Missed It! (ICYMI) August 19, 2017

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Happy Saturday MMT Fam! I’m starting a new post category called “In Case You Missed It,” or ICYMI for short, to catch you up (and condense) music and movie news bites!

Typically, this info is regularly posted at MMT on Facebook, or my Instagram¬†and Twitter pages, but I wanted to make sure the website subscribers are also “in the know.” ūüėČ

First up, ¬†is the amazing deal Groupon is having for the “ICON” Janet Jackson’s upcoming “State of The World” tour in Philly. You can click here to purchase $40 or $75 tickets – but act quick because they are selling fast!

And if you missed this concert announcement, the one and only Brandy Norwood will appear in Philly on September 23 at the Theatre of the Living Arts (TLA). Get additional information and tickets at tlaphilly.com.

Next up is the streaming event most comic lovers are discussing, the release of the long-awaited Marvel’s The Defenders on Netflix Friday, August 18! Our resident Marvel contributor Darryl King has been super busy with his first love, film making and editing, but I know for a fact that he’s binge-watching¬†the show this weekend, and I pray his schedule allows him to give us a proper review and wax poetic about Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist soon. ūüôā

For those who still don’t have a Netflix subscription, even though we’ve recommended some great watches in the MMT Netflix Picks section, you can sign up for a free month of viewing by clicking the link here!

And congrats are in order for director/producer Malcolm D. Lee, producer Will Packer, and the stars of Girls TripRegina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah – which grossed 100 million dollars according to yesterday’s box office totals, making it the first film¬†starring, written, directed and produced by African-Americans to reach that mark.

Lastly, if you missed some of the blockbuster films MMT reviewed this year – including Spider-Man: Homecoming, War For the Planet of the Apes, and Girls Trip – cable channel FX will have you covered! According to Deadline Hollywood, the network has acquired several major movies titles from Fox, Universal and Sony for cable broadcasting. So stay tuned to the FX channel schedule for those release dates!

Until next thoughts family, Thomasena

PS – There are advantages to reading to the end! Congrats to subscriber Earlene Drummond, who won that copy of Phoenix Forgotten on DVD/Digital/Blu-ray! We’re giving away a copy of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, courtesy of our friends at HBO Films, soon! So make sure you’re not only following, but interacting with us on the MMT social media sites! I keep on eye out for those active responders ūüėČ

 

 

MMT Quick Review of GIRLS TRIP

Set amidst the Afrocentric treasure that is the Essence Festival, GIRLS TRIP is a hilarious comedic romp, filled with celebrity cameos, entertaining performances, and an intriguing story of friendship, “extreme” fun, foul play and forgiveness. Having attended the festival as a first-timer, only two weeks prior, I was drawn right back to the cadence, charm and party atmosphere of the city, nicknamed “The Big Easy, while viewing.

“Girls Trip” tells the story of four friends – veteran actresses Regina Hall (When The Bough Breaks, The Best Man Holiday), Jada Pinkett-Smith¬†(Gotham, Magic Mike XXL) and Queen Latifah (Star,Bessie), with scene stealing actress/comedian Tiffany Haddish¬†(The Carmichael Show) – who reunite after several years of ups, and major downs for part of the foursome, for a New Orl√©ans trip.

Easy comparisons of the film will be made to “Bridesmaids,” and the more recently released “Rough Night,” which highlights women reuniting for big life events. However, this film avoids the “wedding” trope, and explores universal themes through four African-American women who are reuniting to support and celebrate Hall’s character (Ryan Pierce) being selected as the keynote speaker for the aforementioned fest.¬†As the one who appears to have it all together, Ryan’s friends find out she needs support, in more ways than one, and secrets are revealed that test the boundaries and strength of the “Flossy Posse’s” friendship.

In regards to the cast, let me first say that Tiffany Haddish is a star rising towards an extremely bright path. She not only held her own along side heavyweight female leads, she often stole the show. And Regina Hall, who is adept at providing comic relief in her own right – see 2014’s “About Last Night” as an example – brought it as the straight “man” opposite the comic riot that is Haddish.

As a (gasp) middle age woman, it was also a delight to see Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett-Smith reunited on-screen – and be sure to look out for the nod to their 1996 all female lead hit (hint, hint).

But this just isn’t a film with female star power – with actors such as Larenz Tate (Power, Deuces), Mike Colter (Luke Cage) and newcomer Kofi Siriboe (Queen Sugar) bringing the heat for the male team. The female dominated audience I viewed the film with did everything but stand, although I can’t be sure what happened behind me, with the ovation given to Siriboe when his character is first introduced.

And can Mr. Tate please share what fountain of youth he has located, because he has delayed aging significantly! As friend to the crew and touring bass player Julian, Tate also brought “go for it girl” moments for one of the posse members, and a serious heart-throb factor – especially for one of my companions, who so accurately noted that you could put stills of him from both “Love Jones” and this film side by side and he’d look the same.

All in All, “Girls Trip” was the most fun I’ve had watching a film in a while, and I have no doubt that director Malcolm D. Lee (Barbershop: The Next Cut, The¬†Best Man Holiday) and screenwriters Kenya Barris (Barbershop: The Next Cut, black*ish) & Tracy Oliver (Barbershop: The Next Cut, Survivor’s Remorse) have knocked this one out of the park, will surpass box office expectations, and create an influx of “flossy posses” at next year’s Essence Festival.

Until next thought, Thomasena

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY: advance screening of GIRLS TRIP on July 18 (Philly, PA)

Happy Tuesday MMT Fam! We’ve acquired 25 pairs of passes to the Philly advance screening of the highly anticipated comedy GIRLS TRIP – produced by Will Packer (Ride Along and Think Like a Man franchises, Almost Christmas) and directed/produced Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man franchise, Barbershop: The Next Cut) – on next Tuesday, July 18.

In the film, four lifelong friends РRegina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah Рtravel to New Orléans for the annual Essence Festival and sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

Want to put your name in the hat to win tickets? You must be subscribed to this website (and¬†if you also follow MMT on Facebook¬†your chances are doubled!) and send an email to contests@musicmoviesthoughts.com with the subject line “Big Easy” and your full name in the body. Twenty five winners will be selected at random and notified by Sunday, July 16.

You can check out a trailer for the movie below and get additional info at the official website here. GIRLS TRIP opens in theaters nationwide on July 21.

Good Luck!

MMT Quick Review: BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT

Barbershop: The Next Cut

14 years ago, we met Calvin Palmer (Ice Cube), Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), Terri Jones (Eve) and the rest of the eclectic crew in the original Barbershop film – where Calvin struggled with his desire to overcome financial burdens by selling the south side Chicago business his grandfather started, until he realized how vital the shop was to the community and the people who regularly gathered and worked. Two years later brought Barbershop 2, with Calvin and the barbershop staff facing gentrification and development issues in the neighborhood. And now Ice Cube and several original cast members – including the aforementioned, Sean Patrick Thomas, Anthony Anderson, and Deon Cole – and a few newcomers (Common, Regina Hall, Nicki Minaj) are back in the latest installment BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT.

In this third film, directed by Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man Holiday) and co-written by Kenya Barris (Black*ish) & Tracy Oliver (Survivor’s Remorse), the audience finds Calvin once again contemplating selling¬†the shop – but for a more selfless reason this go-round, as his need to keep his teenage son safe in a community impacted by gang violence has become increasingly difficult. The film explores this timely and socially relevant theme, with a few other storylines, the usual amount of humor, and a few tense and serious moments that allude to violence, but are still very appropriate for mature pre-teens & up (it has a PG-13 rating, so use your discretion).

A few weeks back, I spoke with stars Ice Cube and Deon Cole regarding the film. When I asked Cole to share his experience (Black*ish) and thoughts on Barris as storyteller he replied,

“His writing is wholesome, but real and necessary. And he brings that realness to any project he does without beating people over the head – but where they feel, ‘Yeah this actually happens.’ As soon as I knew he was writing, and with Cube and Malcolm D. Lee attached, I prayed every night to be a part of it.”

And viewing this film, the audience is certainly not “beat over the head” but given a look into a very real issue facing communities across the country, with much-needed humor interspersed – and without a doubt it gets barbershop real¬†(watch out for the R. Kelly and Cosby jokes!) with the comedic styling of Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Anderson, Deon Cole, Lamorne Morris and J.B. Smoove.

There are several things I loved about this film, from the positive display of fatherhood (and how to handle disagreements, with Common and Ice Cube’s characters) to a perfectly cast cameo/appearance by Jamal Woolard – who played the lead in Notorious – as gang leader Marquis. And I always enjoy watching young actor Michael Rainey Jr., who starred with Common in the Sheldon Candis film LUV (see MMT review here) and who currently plays Ghost and Tasha’s son Tariq on the hit show Power.

My only complaint is I would have loved to see Calvin’s wife Jennifer, portrayed by Jazsmin Lewis who’s been in all three films, given more screen time. I think she deserves a little more than a bit part.

But, it was a welcome addition to see Regina Hall whose character (Angie) merged her beauty salon with Calvin’s shop to help them both financially – which brings a completely new dynamic, men vs. women, on most debates inside the shop. Add into this mix a possible love triangle – Eve, Common, Nicki Minaj – and I’d say this movie offers something for everyone’s enjoyment.

Considering MMT gave three opportunities to advance screen, I’m hoping many of the Philly area fam can chime in on this one! What were your thoughts on the film? Who attended the screening with the special appearance by Ice Cube and Deon Cole?

BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT opens nationwide today April 15. And you can check out what Ice Cube told me about Cedric the Entertainer’s warning to the new cast members in my Examiner article here. ūüôā

Until next thought, Thomasena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY: a quick review and interview with writer/director Malcolm D. Lee

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What’s new family? ¬†I’ve been waiting a bit to let you know my thoughts about The¬†Best Man Holiday, the follow-up to 1999 hit film The Best Man. ¬†Now let me preface my statements with this: I am that person that watches the original film, which I consider a modern-day classic, at least once a year, ¬†so my anticipation level for this new film was at maximum. ¬†And the story that Malcolm D. Lee (Soul Men, Roll Bounce) wrote, and directed, with this sequel did not disappoint. ¬†Just as I expected, it felt as if I was catching up with several old friends. ¬†I had a chance to tell Lee that during his press tour this week in Philadelphia while asking him a few questions about the film, cast and a possible sequel.

MMT: How did you determine what the characters’ life paths would look like (in the sequel), and did the fact that so many people loved and related to them shape your decision?

Malcolm: ¬†To a degree, but it was more about growth and evolution. ¬†When you’re fresh out of college , in your 20’s and single, you’re thinking about different things than when you’re in the late 30’s/early 40’s with a marriage, children, career, roadblocks and “forks in the road.” ¬†The Best Man was my first movie, so I didn’t want to repeat myself but wanted it to be more sophisticated. ¬† I knew I wanted Lance to have another struggle with his faith, Harper to experience struggles where he had to confront his own mortality, and Candy’s past to rear its head again. ¬†But at the same time, I wanted everybody to progress and mature. ¬†The studio was nervous about the direction¬†of this film because the tone was different. ¬†But I knew that people loved The Best Man not just because of the wedding setting, the bachelor party, etc. ¬†But it was about the characters and I felt like we could do the same thing with the circumstances in this movie.

MMT: The movie definitely takes the viewer through a range of emotions, and I felt like I was re-connecting with old friends.  How was it for you re-connecting with the entire main cast and what were you most looking forward to working with them this time around?

Malcolm: The overall process of working with them.  I knew that we had to have a collective conscience about the movie, be on the same page, and challenge but support one another at the same time.  Just an opportunity to work with them again; they were a big part of my career.  And I think that the movie helped their careers in a lot of ways, and this movie can do the same thing.  Not only for them as individuals but for the industry as a whole, if the movie is successful.   This will be a normal thing and not such an event. A movie like The Best Man Holiday will just be a part of the pantheon of Black movies or movies in general.

MMT: The ending does allude to possibly a third film.  Will there be?

Malcolm: That all depends on how well this does. ¬†If the box office warrants a third one, I’m down with a third one. ¬†I have a strong idea for it. ¬†But I will say this, if there is going to be a sequel it will not take fourteen years. ¬†We don’t want it to be Best Man: The Nursing Home or Best Man: Cocoon!

When I asked if he knew the sequel would be a holiday themed film, Lee shared he did and that he toyed with the idea when he started drafting it back in 2005 while listening to Christmas music, and coping with a death in the family. ¬†He stated he really didn’t commit pen to paper however until he received the okay from the studio.

And when I asked him the MMT signature question regarding what musical artist/group project he would bring to the big screen if possible, I think I may have actually stumped him, but not in a bad way! ¬†Lee presents as very astute in his responses and he thought a bit before sharing “perhaps Otis Redding,” adding that he loves the story of his discovery, or maybe Prince. ¬†He also offered Michael Jackson, but added that a project about him might be “too big.”

I must be honest, The¬†Best Man Holiday is by far one of my favorites this year. ¬†I laughed, laughed louder, teared-up, and then just cried. ¬†A couple of side notes: the location where most of the movie takes place is simply breathtaking and the holiday decor is fabulous. ¬†And ladies, as if the entire lead male cast and their New Edition lip-sync isn’t enough to get you there, I read that Morris Chestnut lost 30 lbs for this role and he looks A-MAZING. ¬†Don’t be mad fellas, I’m a woman so I’m partial but this is one film where the eye-candy has an equal playing field. ¬†And yes fellas, you will probably shed tears as well.

If you love the original like me, you will have a great time reuniting with the crew in this film. ¬†And if you’ve never seen the original, this is a character-driven movie with which many can identify. ¬†You will not feel too left out, but do catch up by watching or owning the original as soon as possible! ūüėČ

Okay that’s it for me family. ¬†Make sure you stop by and leave a thought or two in the comments section after you see the film. AND… giveaway alert! ¬†If you go see the movie this weekend, which is opening weekend, send me a screenshot/picture of your ticket stub to thinkmusicmovies@aol.com for a chance to win a The Best Man Holiday poster signed by Malcolm D. Lee. ¬†Your stub can be from any 11/15-11/17/13 showing. ¬†Winners will receive notification on Monday, November 18.

Good luck family!  Until next thought, Thomasena

GIVEAWAY: win passes to screen ‘Best Man Holiday’ (Philly, PA)

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Hey MMT Family! ¬†This is our 100th post and we’re celebrating with a GIVEAWAY! If you’re following the Facebook page, you knew to look out for this one! MusicMoviesThoughts has partnered with Allied-THA to giveaway passes for a screening of Universal Pictures’ Best Man Holiday the long-awaited sequel to Malcolm D. Lee’s 1999 directorial d√©but “The Best Man.” ¬†The entire main cast has returned for the sequel also written and directed by Lee. ¬†I screened the movie earlier this week, and I’ll give my review next Friday but trust me you don’t want to miss this one!

The screening will take place next Wednesday night in Philadelphia. ¬†In order to put your name in the hat, make sure you’re following this site or our Facebook page and send an email to thinkmusicmovies@aol.com with your full name and the subject line “Best Man.” ¬† Winners will be announced by next Monday.

You can read a synopsis about the film and watch a trailer below, or get additional info at the official website here. ¬†“Best Man Holiday” opens in theaters nationwide on November 15.

Alright family, good luck!  Until next thought, Thomasena

Best Man Holiday synopsis

After nearly 15 years apart, Taye Diggs (television’s Private Practice), Nia Long (Soul Food), Morris Chestnut (Kick-Ass 2), Harold Perrineau (Zero Dark Thirty), Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow), Sanaa Lathan (Contagion), Monica Calhoun (Love & Basketball), Melissa De Sousa (Miss Congeniality) and Regina Hall (Scary Movie franchise) reprise their career-launching roles in The Best Man Holiday, the long-awaited next chapter to the film that ushered in a new era of comedy.  When the college friends finally reunite over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited. Malcolm D. Lee returns to write and direct this sequel to his directorial début.  Sean Daniel (The Mummy franchise) will produce alongside Lee for The Sean Daniel Company.