TV Thoughts: Is BEING MARY JANE in Jeopardy? Gabrielle Union Suing BET over breach of contract

Gabrielle Union

Over the past three years, there have been several shows to which I became addicted – Empire (MMT live tweet every Wednesday @musicfilmdiva), Power, American Crime, Daredevil, Atlanta, Queen Sugar, Luke Cage and – the show that premiered on BET as a movie with a subsequent half-year wait before its episodic début – BEING MARY JANE. Now Deadline Hollywood has broken the story that star of the latter, Gabrielle Union, has filed a lawsuit against the BET network for breach of contract.

According to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court by the actress’s attorney Marty Singer,

“Although BET represented and assured Ms. Union before she agreed to perform in Being Mary Jane that it would never produce more than thirteen (13) episodes per season of the series,” the suit says, “BET now wants to shoot twenty (20) episodes of the series back-to-back and cram all of the episodes into a single season in order to fraudulently extend the term of Ms. Union’s contract, with no additional consideration, and to deprive Ms. Union of her agreed-upon compensation for the next two seasons of Being Mary Jane. It is outrageous that BET would treat one of its biggest stars in this manner after all she has done to support the network and contribute to its success.”

The actress is seeking damages to the tune of three million dollars, and a declaration that the network cannot request over 13 episodes per season.

This news comes just days after the welcome announcement of actor Michael Ealy joining the cast, opposite Union, for the upcoming fourth season. It also coincides with anticipated changes following the transition of showrunner Mara Brock Akil and husband/director Salim Akil – who left BET network after signing a deal with Warner Bros. TV. The Akils will retain executive producer credit, along with additions Will Packer and new show head Erica Shelton Kodish.

Let’s pray that “Being Mary Jane” not only makes it past this legal brouhaha, but that it continues successfully through seasons four and five – because let’s face it, The Following (add that to the above addiction list), Almost Human, Common Law, and Sleeper Cell were all cursed with cancellation, and the one common denominator was Ealy!

No shade towards Michael Ealy, I believe he was great in each role – especially my faves The Following and Sleeper Cell, where he played a serial killer/sociopath and an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a terrorist cell respectively. (Side note: I joked with Mr. Ealy about missing Sleeper Cell in a previous interview here).

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

Until next thought, Thomasena

 

 

 

 

MMT Quick Review of THE PERFECT GUY

The Perfect Guy (photo: Screen Gems)

Well MMT Fam, I was very eager to see the new movie THE PERFECT GUY, and knew I had a busy weekend scheduled, so I went to see it immediately after work today. I thought I’d beat the noisy evening crowd by going to the 5:15 showing, but there still were a few noisemakers present – who insisted on doing their own narration of the film while it was playing. And although the noisemakers were a bit intrusive, they added some excitement with the comedic parts of their commentary to an otherwise good, albeit clichéd, story – with a much hyped “twist” that didn’t pack as much of a punch as I expected.

Okay, so here’s the synopsis without any spoilers: Leah (Sanaa Lathan) breaks-up with her boyfriend of several years Dave (Morris Chestnut) and meets an IT tech named Carter (Michael Ealy) – with whom she, rather eagerly, starts a relationship. From the trailers (see below) the audience knows that things seem perfect until Carter displays a violent side – that rightfully scares Leah and she calls it quits. Unfortunately for her, Carter does – and will – not accept that no means no and proceeds to make Leah’s life a living hell on earth.

Alright, here are my pluses for the film:

  • Impeccable acting. But with those leads, would you expect anything less? Oh, and Sanaa Lathan is BOSS.
  • Michael Ealy was creepy good – but us “The Following” fans already knew this. By the way Following fans, IT Tech was Theo’s area of expertise, right?
  • Kathyrn Morris as one of Leah’s best friends – because I am still a “Cold Case” junkie even in syndication
  • Whoever did the wardrobe, especially for Leah’s character, gave me life!
  • I did mention that I thought it was a good story, right?

But the last plus leads to the only, but big, minus for me – the film really didn’t stray from the norm, thriller wise, and I expected way more with the “twist” that Screen Gems heavily marketed. Even though I enjoyed the story, I was very invested thinking the film was moving towards something that was going to shock – but for me that didn’t happen.

I’m pretty sure the target audience will show up and for the most part enjoy “The Perfect Guy” – but unfortunately many critics will find fault similar to the 2014 Screen Gems release “No Good Deed.” My recommendation is see the film, enjoy the story, but don’t expect it to stray too far from the familiar.

Alright family, you know the deal. Would love to hear your thoughts on the film once you see it!

Until next thought, Thomasena

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)

TLAM2_DOM_TSR_1SHT (1)

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

 

MMT Quick Review of ‘About Last Night’

About Last Night (photo: aboutlastnight-movie.com)

Happy Valentine’s Day MMT Family!  I pray everyone is doing something today that celebrates love, be it love of significant others, family or love of self!  And I have a great film recommendation, whether you’re going out on a date or just hanging with friends.  About Last Night starring Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall and Joy Bryant is a great romantic comedy best described by two words: smart and sexy.  A remake of the 1986 film of the same name, based on a David Mamet play and penned by Tim Kazurinsky, this updated screenplay penned by Leslye Headland highlights the ups and downs of love and casual dating in modern fashion and fun.

The chemistry between the leads was spot-on, but the highlight for me was watching Kevin Hart and Regina Hall match wits and passion on-screen.  Fresh off a three-week top of the box office win with his last film “Ride Along,” stopped only by last week’s opening of “The Lego Movie,” it will be interesting to see how well Hart’s latest offering fares.  But considering the nature of this holiday weekend, I’m betting he will at least come in the top three if not one of the top two spots (it’s also President’s Day weekend, kids have a three-day, and Lego is still going to be a favorite along with another romantic release “Winter’s Tale”).  And quick segue, while speaking of “Ride Along,” for those who missed my Examiner piece, check it out and note what producer Will Packer (who also produced this film and is teamed with both Hart and Ealy for the upcoming “Think Like A Man Too”) says about Hart’s amazing work ethic (see slideshow).

Back to the film at hand, I also really enjoyed the soundtrack, which highlighted the highs and lows of love as well with offerings such as “What You Won’t Do For Love” by Bobby Caldwell, “This Time” by John Legend and a new offering by Legend entitled “A Million.”

I certainly believe this one is worth the price of admission to see in theaters, and it makes a great girls or guys-night out movie for those who aren’t doing the partner thing this weekend.  “About Last Night” is in theaters nationwide today.  Check out the synopsis and trailer in my previous giveaway post here; and get additional information at the film’s official website by clicking here.

Alright family, that’s it for now and you know the drill!  Stop back and let me know your thoughts after you see the film.  Tell me what your favorite Hart line was, because there’s a treasure chest full in this one! 🙂

Until next thought, Thomasena

GIVEAWAY: ‘About Last Night’ screening Tuesday, February 11 (Philly, PA)

About Last Night (photo: aboutlastnight-movie.com)

MMT Family guess what’s new?  Another Kevin Hart giveaway?  Why yes!!!!!  We’ve again partnered with Allied-THA to give away passes for next Tuesday night to Hart’s new movie About Last Night, also starring Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald and Paula Patton.  We will select five winners for a plus one pass with reserved seating!

Ready to try your luck?  Send an email to thinkmusicmovies@aol.com with the subject line “About Last Night week 2” and your full name in the body.  Increase your chances by following this site or the MMT Facebook page.  All winners will be notified by email no later than Sunday evening.

You can find out more about the movie at the official website here and watch below to see the trailer.  “About Last Night” opens in theaters on Valentine’s Day, February 14.  Good luck family, again! 🙂

Until next thought, Thomasena

GIVEAWAY: win passes to see ‘About Last Night’ (Philly, PA)

About Last Night (photo: aboutlastnight-movie.com)

Hey there MMT Family!  It seems this is the month of the Kevin Hart movie giveaway!  First we previewed “Ride Along,” which has done extremely well at the box office.  And now, MMT has partnered with Allied-THA to give away passes for next Tuesday night to Hart’s new movie About Last Night, also starring Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald and Paula Patton.

So who wants to put his or her’s name in the hat?  Send an email to thinkmusicmovies@aol.com with the subject line “About Last Night” and your full name in the body.  As always, followers of the this site get first dibs, so make sure you’ve signed up (see right top of page).  All winners will be notified by email no later than Sunday evening.

You can find out more about the movie at the official website here and watch below to see the trailer.  “About Last Night” opens in theaters on Valentine’s Day, February 14.  Good luck family!

Until next thought, Thomasena

Looking for Something to do This Weekend? September 2012 Movie Picks

Hey there Music Movie Lovers!  Happy first day of Fall!  I know, I’ve slipped this past month (only two posts).  I have been extremely busy with some new projects, but not too busy to check out a few films and catch up on sharing some thoughts :).  So, if you’re in need of a few recommendations, the following are are my picks for the month of September.

First up is the movie Unconditional, which stars Michael Ealy (BarbershopThink Like a ManFor Colored Girls)  and Lynn Collins (X-Men Origins: WolverineJohn Carter).  Now if you follow this blog, you know I wrote about this last month and it came with a HIGH recommendation (see August 27th post).  I want to urge everyone to get out and support this movie THIS WEEKEND!  With respect to box office numbers, it is extremely important to support independent films on their opening weekends.

Unconditional displays fine acting performances not just from its leads but the supporting cast has a few stellar players; including the very talented Cedric Pendleton (he plays Anthony and wait…oh, just go watch and see!), and child actors Kwesi Boakye (remember the oppositional nephew from I Can Do Bad All By Myself?) and in her first movie role Gabriella Phillips (pictured above).  I also enjoyed the locales in which the movie was filmed, especially the home of Lynn Collins’ character Sam.  With its message of faith, redemption, and unconditional love, this movie is one for the video collection.  I have been inspired since viewing, and can’t wait for you to experience the same.  Make sure you check out the film’s website at http://unconditionalthemovie.com/ to get theater times and learn more about the ACT campaign.

Next up is a movie from David Ayer, writer of the movie Training Day, called End Of Watch starring Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as young LAPD officers in South Central LA.  Now, admittedly, it may seem like I’m recommending day and night as End Of Watch is a gritty, hold on to the edge of your seat, ride along shotgun with the police drama.  I must say, I did get a little weary of the camera work as the officers were video documenting their beat, and I swear one gang member’s entire vocabulary consisted of the f-word only. However, I did enjoy the realism of the film and both Gyllenhaal and Pena gave remarkable portrayals of their respective characters.  End of Watch is not for the faint of heart, so if you are not the special victims unit, gang violence or forensic type this movie is probably not for you.  For more info on the film, and to view the movie trailer, you can go to http://www.endofwatchthefilm.com/.

Alright, that’s it for me Music Movie Lovers.  Wait, question: what music are you listening to right now?  I know one of my faves, Le’Andria Johnson has a new CD out.  I haven’t heard it yet, have you?  What else are you listening to, what’s in the car, on the Ipod?  Get back to me and share your thoughts below if you go see either of the films 🙂

Until next thought family, Thomasena

Spread the Word – “Unconditional” the Movie Opens 9/21/12

What’s new Music Movie Lovers!  On my end all is GREAT!  If God is willing, I will celebrate my (fill in the number) birthday in less than an hour! Hey, I know you really didn’t think I was going to spill my age all over the internet did ya? ;). Anyway, I am going to thoroughly enjoy myself this week and I already started off the party last Friday night with the Liberation Tour, featuring Mary J. Blige (who I love!) with D’Angelo (who rocked!) and Melanie Fiona (who gave good voice).  I also attended the wonderful Praise in the Park Gospel concert in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday and was blessed with performances by Tamika Patton (if you don’t know, check her June interview on this site by clicking June on the right), Jason Nelson, Pastor Charles Jenkins, JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise, Byron Cage, among others with the headliner being the amazing Israel Houghton and New Breed.  Another wonderful event, I experienced in the past week, was a movie screening I attended for the upcoming film Unconditional.

This film, inspired by a true story, stars Michael Ealy (Think Like a Man, For Colored Girls)… wait a minute, let’s stop here.  No really – PAUSE.  Okay, so I had a conflict entering the movie theater to view this film that I’m going to share.  I was used to viewing this extremely talented actor differently (to put it mildly and unlustly like) when I watched Think Like A Man, Sleeper Cell (an AWESOME former Showtime series), Barbershop, etc. etc.  And now I was going to view him in a Christian themed film!!!! Chile, I was all kinds of praying and repenting up in that theater! 🙂  Alright seriously, for those who know anything about this man’s skills, I was completely engrossed with Mr. Ealy as Joe Bradford and really didn’t struggle…as much ;). The movie also stars the very talented Lynn Collins (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, John Carter) as Samantha Crawford who, after a tragic event, loses her faith and will to live.  That is until she chance encounters her long-lost friend Joe, portrayed by Ealy.  The film is inspired by the true story of Joe Bradford, who overcame extreme odds to become a powerful mentor and father figure for at risk youth in his community.

The movie does not open until September 21st, and I definitely will give a formal review upon its release.  Until then, please help spread the word about this movie.  You know I wouldn’t steer you guys wrong, this is a GREAT story.  You will laugh, cry (for those whose heartstrings are tugged easily), scream (quietly in the theater of course ;)) and cheer.  The message is universally themed and I dare you to leave the theater without feeling empowered or encouraged in some form. This film also has a groundswell of support for its community ACT campaign, which encourages moviegoers to become involved with organizations and non-profits in their respective communities.

To get more info about Unconditional, and find out what theaters in your area will show the film, go to http://unconditionalthemovie.com/.  Remember to show support early for this independent movie, the weekend of September 21st, and check back in to share your thoughts once you’ve seen it. 🙂

Until next thought family, Thomasena

Movie picks for March/April 2012

Happy “almost Spring” fellow music movie lovers!  I don’t know about where you live but here in Philly this winter weather has been UNPREDICTABLE!  Spring like days have been interspersed with heavy periods of rain, frigid nights, and minor appearances of snow (well, I’m not mad about that last part!).  Anyway, with the weather less than predictable there is one thing I can always count on….great movies to look forward to in the new year 🙂  So allow me to point your attention to a few that are coming up this month through April 2012:

1. In case I haven’t made it clear in previous posts I LOVE Eddie Murphy, and am so looking forward to A Thousand Words to be released on March 9th.  Co-starring Kerry Washington and directed by Brian Robbins (Old Head Roll Call – remember him as Eric on Head of the Class?), Eddie stars as a sheisty literary agent who will learn a lesson on choosing his words carefully or die, literally.

2.  My next choice is a documentary called The Bully Project that follows five children and their families for a year and chronicles the bullying crisis in America.  I am excited to see this documentary, but am disappointed that it has an R rating (mostly for language) which prevents many underage kids an opportunity to view and learn some important lessons.  A woman named Katy Butler is petitioning the MPAA at Change.org to request a PG-13 rating. You can join this effort and learn more about the petition at the following link: http://www.change.org/petitions/mpaa-don-t-let-the-bullies-win-give-bully-a-pg-13-instead-of-an-r-rating?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=autopublish

3.   I really cannot wait for the April 20th release of the romantic comedy Think Like a Man, based on the bestselling self-help book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man written by comedian/talk show host Steve Harvey.  First off, let me just say MICHAEL EALY.  And let me also just say…MICHAEL EALY ;).  Now he alone is enough to get me to theaters, but this movie also features an all-star cast that includes Kevin Hart, Meagan Good, and Taraji P. Henson.  And with the tagline “Let the mind games begin” I am definitely intrigued to see how it’s all going to go down.

4.  Also being released on April 20th is the documentary Marley.  Authorized by the late reggae legend’s family, Marley features rare performance footage and in-depth interviews with the people who knew him best.  Can’t wait to sit in theaters for this one!

Okay folks, that’s a few of my faves for March and April 2012.  I have to give honorable mention to The Hunger Games, in theaters March 23rd.  I haven’t read any of the extremely popular books, but am more than interested with the trailers I’ve seen.  I know some of the book “die hards” will give me the screw face for the small mention but I’m sure I will check it out at the matinée (albeit not on release weekend when the crowds will be massive!).  Okay, that’s really it for me.  What are you looking forward to seeing?  Will you support the docs The Bully Project and Marley?  Don’t forget to sign Katy Butler’s petition requesting a PG-13 rating for The Bully Project so more kids will have opportunity to view this important documentary.

Until next thought family, Thomasena

PS – check out my twitter feed on the right for movie poster pics from the highly anticipated Miles Davis biopic featuring Don Cheadle!  (tentative Summer 2012 release) and…SPARKLE poster pic (release date August 17th, 2012).  Anyone who follows me knows how I feel about Sparkle :)!