MMT Quick Review of ‘Think Like A Man Too’ and interview with Meagan Good & Michael Ealy

Think Like A Man Too (Sony Pictures)

Happy Saturday MMT Family!  So I wanted to post this last night, but to be honest I was, as the old folk used to say, “dog tired!”  I don’t even know what that reference means, but I was it! 🙂 Anyway, I hope that everyone who went to the Think Like A Man Too red-carpet advanced screening here in Philly not only enjoyed the film, but told others to get out and see it opening weekend! Funny with a good dose silly, this sequel to the 2012 romantic comedy finds the all-star cast back together, but this time in Las Vegas celebrating the pending nuptials of Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence J.) with the obligatory bachelor and bachelorette parties – that go horribly wrong!

In town earlier this month for the red-carpet, and press interviews the following day, were stars Meagan Good and Michael Ealy. I wrote about their red-carpet quotes on Examiner (click link for article), but also asked them a few questions the next day as well (Michael via telephone due to illness) including which musical artists they would love to portray in a feature film.

MMT: You’ve both demonstrated a variety of range with respect to roles (from the dramatic like Eve’s Bayou and Video Girl, Sleeper Cell, For Colored Girls, and Jellysmoke to the comedic like Roll Bounce, Barbershop and the Think Like a Man movies). How do you go about selecting your roles and do you prefer one genre over another?

Meagan Good (photo by: Robert Mendelsohn)Meagan Good: I select by what’s in my heart, whatever I get excited about.  I like to play anything that’s complicated and seems interesting. Comedic is way harder than drama for me. I’ve done a bit in the past, but I was always the kid who told a joke and everyone’s like, “Stop!”  So, I was almost insecure about it. The first “Think Like A Man” is what opened me up; and a huge part of that is Tim (Story, the director) being so amazing, helping me to “take the training wheels off,” and allowing me to be more fearless. I felt like I got my first taste of trusting my instincts in that space, so when I went on to do “Anchorman 2” the training wheels were off and I wasn’t ashamed to try new things.  And with “Think Like A Man Too” I was like let’s go for it, and into the idea of physical comedy because I don’t think women get to do it enough.  Often times it’ll be “just stand there and look pretty,” and I’m like, “No, I want to fall over the side of a chair like Lucille Ball so write it in!”

Michael Ealy: Barbershop and that role of Ricky was very impactful.  Ricky represents a lot of brothers out there.  And that was important in terms of picking that role, because I haven’t been a thug a day in my life!  In terms of picking a role like Darwyn in “Sleeper Cell,” again it’s a role of impact. You have a Muslim, post-911, working for the FBI.  It was a great concept. With “For Colored Girls,” I had my reservations about throwing children out of a window. But when I did the research on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I realized that there were soldiers out there suffering, the VA was overrun and they weren’t getting help in time. And I thought there was not a more timely issue. That’s pretty mMichael Ealy (photo by: Robert Mendelsohn)uch how I pick roles, based on how much impact I will have on the story. I don’t have to be the lead.  And I definitely prefer drama over comedy. When I do drama, I just go to certain levels that stretch me as an individual that I don’t get in comedy.

MMT: So this question is for my site’s music fans.  If you could portray any artist, past or present, who would it be and why?

Meagan Good: Whitney (Houston).  I feel very much like a kindred spirit to her.  I understand the probability to be so incredible, love so hard, and give so much.  And also be self-destructive, in pain and feel like nobody really gets what you’re feeling. Also, our birthdays are one day apart and I spent a good amount of time with her.  She was just so incredible, and it’s unfortunate that people forget everything that came before the things that happened more recently. And it’s also sad that people forget that she was a human being.  She deserves to have her story told and I think she was a queen.

*Side note – because I was on limited time at a round table with two other journalists, I didn’t follow-up with Meagan and ask her opinion on the Lifetime TV movie project; that is being directed by Angela Bassett and starring Yaya Alafia as Whitney Houston.  Also, I’m still praying for a big screen version and who knows, Meagan might certainly snag the lead on that! Now, how did Michael answer?

Michael Ealy: (to Meagan) You would kill that! For me, it would be Prince. I think that’s such a far stretch for me.  A total musician. A guy who has been clouded in mystery his entire life. He’s so private about his life that he made “Purple Rain,” which was his story, and he made it himself and didn’t let another actor do it. The mystery that surrounds Prince has always fascinated me because he is an artist that is iconic, but no one knows much about him at all.

Well all of the round table certainly agreed with the latter choice, and Ms. Good described it best when she mentioned that Michael carried that “mystique” similar to Prince and would be a great choice for the role.  It was really cool to see the camaraderie displayed between these two during our interview, even with Michael sick and over the phone, and I’m sure that the entire cast had a blast reuniting for this sequel.

"Think Like A Man Too" Philly round table with Meagan Good (photo by: Sean Sanders)

All in all, I really enjoyed Think Like A Man Too, but I do still have a sweet spot for the original. No longer a story about the “love battle of the sexes,” it’s a battle to have the best time in Las Vegas, with big laughs and some surprises added to the mix. If you enjoyed the first, you should really be entertained by the sequel.

“Think Like A Man Too” opened nationwide Friday, June 20.  The films stars Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence J., Romany Malco, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Gary Owen, Gabrielle Union, LA LA Anthony, and Philadelphia native son Kevin Hart. To get additional info about the film, go the official website here.

Oh, and Mr. Ealy was sick the next day, but don’t think I didn’t get my pic the night before! 🙂 Shout out to LeAnne Lindsay (Tinsel & Tine) for holding my camera and getting a great shot!

"Think Like A Man Too" Philly red-carpet with Michael Ealy (photo: Thomasena Farrar)

Until next thought family, Thomasena

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening for ‘Think Like A Man Too’ Thursday, June 12 (Philly, PA)

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What’s up MMT Family? So, who’s been waiting for Sony Pictures’ Think Like a Man Too to hit theaters?  Yeah, I didn’t think it was just me! And some of you are in luck, because MMT is giving away passes to the advanced screening this Thursday in Philly.

To try your luck at passes, click here and enter code MMTTLAM if asked.  Both passes and Thursday night seating are on a first come-first served basis, so try to arrive at the theater early!

You can check out the trailer and synopsis below of “Think Like A Man Too” and make sure to stop back and leave a comment or two if you screen it.  Good Luck Family!

Until next thought, Thomasena

THINK LIKE A MAN TOO synopsis

In the highly anticipated sequel, which was inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man, all the couples are back for a wedding in Las Vegas.  But plans for a romantic weekend go awry when their various misadventures get them into some compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event.

 In Theaters June 20, 2014

 

A Quick Review of LUV

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Hey there Music Movie fam!  How is 2013 treating you so far?  I have to tell you, I’ve been very blessed by it and we are only two weeks in, so I can’t wait to see what else this year has to offer :). Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of viewing a film that comes out this Friday, January 18th, called LUV starring actor, rapper Common (Just Wright, American Gangster) and newcomer Michael Rainey Jr.  With both of the aforementioned delivering powerful performances, the film also features standout performances from Charles S. Dutton (The Obama Effect, Fame), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, Mooz-lum), Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire, Brooklyn’s Finest) and the incomparable, insurance selling voice himself Dennis Haysbert (The Unit, 24).  LUV also has a cameo by the talented Meagan Good (Think Like A Man, Deception), and I know my fellow “Sparklelites” will appreciate seeing veteran actor Lonette McKee (Sparkle – 1976, Malcolm X) on the big screen delivering a solid performance as Common’s mother.

luv-LUVDennisHaysbertCredit_BillGray_rgbLUV tells the story of 11-year-old Woody Watson who, with his mother in rehab and his father out of the picture, lives with his grandmother (Lonette McKee) in suburban Baltimore and longs for his family to be reunited. His charismatic Uncle Vincent (Common) has recently returned home after eight years in prison, determined to straighten out his life by opening a high-end crab shack that will establish him as a solid citizen with a legitimate future.

One day, instead of dropping Woody off at school, Vincent decides to give the boy a tutorial on how a man gets things done. After a trip to a tailor to get Woody a custom-fitted suit, the pair heads to the bank to sign off on the loan Vincent needs to fulfill his dreams. But when his meeting with a bank officer puts the brakes on his plans, Vincent has no one to turn to for help but his former associates, including Baltimore crime boss Mr. Fish (Dennis Haysbert) and his brother Arthur (Danny Glover). A day that begins with a parking- lot driving lesson and Woody’s first oyster takes a desperate turn when Fish insists Vincent run one more drug deal to demonstrate his loyalty. Soon Vincent finds himself pulled back into the violent world he is trying to escape—and Woody has to decide whether to follow his hero…or become his own man. luv-Common-Danny_rgb
LUV is the début feature film by director Sheldon Candis, from a script by Candis and Justin Wilson, and is one of the best coming of age stories I’ve seen in a long time.  Mr. Candis was brilliant in his depiction of his native Baltimore, drawing the viewer in to the point of eerie familiarity; I swore at times I was looking at Philly streets.  The movie also moves well with a 1 hour 34 minute running time, and keeps your attention until its climactic ending. You know I don’t do spoilers, but I will say there are some gritty and violent parts, with adult language, hence an R rating.  I would highly recommend this movie for mature pre-teens and teens, as there are definitely some honest lessons to be shared.  And for the weeping willows, like myself, you may want to bring tissue (that’s all :P).

Now remember, this is an independent film and that means…you guessed it, support it opening weekend!  And make sure to do it Friday, Saturday or a matinée on Sunday so those numbers can make the most impact :).  You can check out the trailer below, and stop back by and let me know your thoughts after you see the film.

Until next thought family, Thomasena

The Obama Effect – A Discussion with Charles S. Dutton

What’s new Music Movie Lovers!  We are less than 24 hours away from knowing the winner of the 2012 Presidential Election, and I cannot stress enough how important it is to make your voice heard by VOTING!  Last post, I recommended a great film that is being released today on DVD, and available on Video On Demand, entitled The Obama Effect.  I had the pleasure of speaking with writer, director and star of the film, the legendary and Emmy award-winning Charles S. Dutton, about the movie, its cast, his love of history, upcoming projects, as well as projects he wishes to make.  So sit back and read part I of my interview below, in time for Election Day, and check back later this week for part II (trust me, you won’t want to miss it!).

Thomasena: What inspired you to write the screenplay for The Obama Effect?

Charles: We started shooting the picture right after (President Obama’s) inauguration; but right before the election Barry Hankerson (producer) called me and said we should be the first ones to do a film if he wins.  I said either way we have a film: if he doesn’t win we have a film about his running for the presidency, and if he does win we’ve got a film about the first Black president.  So after (him) winning, I just needed to decide what type of story we wanted to tell.  It had been a very contentious and tumultuous election period, so we decided to do a satirical look at the 2008 election.  And after talking with a lot of folks who worked on the campaign, and experiences I had myself, I started putting together a story not necessarily about Obama; but about a man who was so obsessed with being involved in that historical moment, and getting Obama elected, that it led to other things in his life.

We were going to bring the movie out in 2010, but (the President’s) approval ratings were so low. And with the birth of the Tea Party, etc., I suggested we wait because it became an ever evolving phenomena with this President and the American public’s reaction to him.  So we had a lot of new stuff that we could shoot and put in the film.  For instance, the scene where Katt (Williams) addresses the all White audience/group (a satirical version of the Tea Party) and they walk out on him? That scene was never in the original script, and was never in the original shooting of the film. So we found new material in waiting until the second election to release the film.

Thomasena: Now you mentioned Katt Williams, who I thought was brilliant in this film. Did you have any actors in mind specifically before the movie was cast?

Charles: Not really. Everyone auditioned pretty much except Glynn Turman, who is a buddy of mine, and Meagan Good.  No one made a lot of money doing this movie; and everyone in the film did it for the sole reason that it was a historical film. They wanted to do it.  And the people who auditioned got the roles on their own merit. Vanessa (Bell Calloway) auditioned for the role of the wife and knocked it out of the ball park. We originally offered the son (who is a boxer) role to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. but it didn’t work out, so I selected Zab Judah.  And you know sometimes the second choice is the right choice, and Zab was really good in his film début.

Thomasena: When I viewed the film, I found myself becoming emotional during the scene when President Obama is elected.  Now we, the audience, already knew what was going to happen but it was as if we were seeing it for the first time.  I was in a mixed audience (race and age wise) and everyone appeared to have a similar experience; some people clapped, while some cheered. Did you expect that to happen or were you trying to elicit that sort of emotion from the audience?

Charles: I purposefully set out to attempt that, I didn’t know if I was going to succeed.  What I was going for, along with it being a satire, was to try to capture the euphoria, emotion and passion of that period, particularly election night.  In the process of making the film, my concentration was constantly on the climax and getting people to fall back into just how they felt that night.  Whenever I see the film with an audience, people express just what you said, so in that regard I felt like we achieved what we were going for in the film.

Thomasena: Now I want to segue for a minute and then come back to the election.  I read in an online bio that you are an American history buff, is that true? And do you have a favorite period of study?

Charles: Yeah, I like American History period, but I have a certain angle on it.  I’m a buff from the African-American view, but I’m also a buff for finding those people who aren’t talked about in the history books.  We all know who Crispus Attucks was, but in searching the American Revolution I discovered this man named Colonel Fye [sic] who was a thorn in the Patriots side and fought with the British.  And I kept saying where is the movie on him? If I go to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Virginia, I don’t go there to see or find out what Jefferson did.  I go to find out where the slaves stayed, or learn how many slaves he owned. I’m a buff for the Native American Calvary Wars, in the late 1800’s, but for knowing what role the Buffalo Soldiers played.  And why isn’t the one Black scout, Isaiah Dorman, who led Custard through the Black Hills, and was slaughtered with all the other 7th Calvary members, mentioned in history books or movies? It’s those nuggets that I look for, from a perspective of where and how prominently African-Americans were involved.  And if our roles were prominent, why are we constantly cut out of the history books?

Thomasena: In light of how easily dismissed many of the efforts of African-Americans have been historically, and coming back to that 2008 election, what impact did seeing an African-American president elected have on you?  Where were you when it happened?

Charles: I was just like everybody else, at home with family watching the results, and got emotional like everyone else.  I was (flipping) from channel to channel to news shows I like, and I think (the channel) was on the Brian Williams show when he said, and I’m paraphrasing, for the first time since the Kennedy administration there will be little children in the White House…and then we knew. It was quite a moment to recognize and quite a feeling, just reflecting on the possibilities.  But, the euphoria of it is one thing and the reality is another. And I snapped out of the euphoria just a few minutes after the election, because racism was not going to stop. I knew President Obama was going to have a hard four years, and an even harder four more if he wins (the 2012 election).

Now, I hope you enjoyed reading, as much as I enjoyed experiencing, part I of my interview with Charles S. Dutton.  He is, by far, one of the most amazing people I’ve interviewed and it’s not hard to see why the projects he touches are infused with so much passion.  Be sure to check back in for part II, where we discussed his groundbreaking show Roc, advice he would give to persons re-entering society from prison, and which musicians he would like to do a biopic for (or is it one already in the works?).  If you haven’t done so already, click the Follow tab and sign up to automatically receive new posting updates, so you’ll know ASAP when I post part II :).

You can check out more about The Obama Effect movie, including the official trailer and story synopsis, at www.obamaeffectmovie.com.   You’ll also find a link to watch the film on VOD and to order the DVD.  Lastly, here’s one final task and please choose to accept: VOTE 11/6/12! 

Until next thought family,  Thomasena

GET OUT AND VOTE – ELECTION DAY 11/6/12

Hey There Music Movie Lovers!

We are less than a week away from the Presidential Election here in the U.S., and I want to take time to first and foremost encourage everyone to VOTE!  There are some critical things (Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and a woman’s right to choose to name a few) that will be greatly affected by the result of this election.  You cannot make an impact with non-action and judgement; and please do not be deceived by those who choose complacency, your vote counts!

I want to also recommend a movie that I viewed in limited release last July, that’s currently on Video On Demand and will be released on DVD next Tuesday, Election Day.  Written, directed by and starring one of my favorite actors, the Emmy award-winning Charles S. Dutton (Roc, The Corner), The Obama Effect is a dramatic comedy that highlights how important it is to create positive change within yourself, your family, as well as the world around you.  The film also stars Vanessa Bell Calloway (The Last Fall, A Beautiful Soul), Katt Williams (one word – HYSTERICAL!), Meagan Good (Jumping The Broom, Think Like A Man), Wesley Jonathan (The Soul Man, Roll Bounce), veteran actor Glynn Turman (Super 8, House of Lies) and IBF Light Welterweight and Welterweight boxing champion Zab Judah.  You can find out more about the film, as well as watch the film on VOD or pre-order the DVD, at www.obamaeffectmovie.com.

Okay family, off my soapbox :). But seriously, I am not telling you who to vote for, but am asking that you simply learn the facts and do it.  If you found yourself in Hurricane Sandy’s path, I pray that you and yours are safe and well.  The “furry gangstas” (a.k.a. my two cats) and I lost power for approximately 22 hours, but I am not complaining as I know it could have been worse. The storm, however, did prevent me from screening two movies I had scheduled, Flight and Skyfall.  I may get another chance to catch and review Skyfall in time for its release, but I’ll definitely catch the Denzel Washington driven vehicle Flight this weekend after it opens.  If you check it out as well, stop back by and let me know your thoughts!

Until next thought family, Thomasena