GIVEAWAY: ROE passes for THE SHACK (Philadelphia, PA area)

The Shack

Happy Wednesday MMT Fam! We have a great giveaway today, but it’s for subscribers only – so if you aren’t signed up, what are you waiting for? We’re giving away 2 pairs of run-of-engagement passes to the upcoming drama THE SHACK, starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer.

Based on the New York Times best-selling novel, The Shack takes us on a father’s uplifting spiritual journey. After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips [Sam Worthington] spirals into a deep depression causing him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa [Octavia Spencer]. Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths that will transform his understanding of his tragedy and change his life forever.

To put your name in the hat to win, send an email with your name in the body and the subject line “Shack” to contests@musicmoviesthoughts.com. Two winners will be selected at random and notified on Friday.

You can watch the trailer below and get additional info at the official website here. The film opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, March 3.

Good Luck!

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening of HIDDEN FIGURES on Wednesday, January 4 (Philly, PA)

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Happy New Year’s Eve MMT Fam! We have a giveaway for both subscribers and non-subscribers today, but you have to be quick because this is one hot ticket! MMT has acquired 30 seats to next week’s Philly screening of one of the most talked about movies this awards season, HIDDEN FIGURES featuring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae.

The film tells the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

To try your luck at a pass, click here to get to the gofobo landing and follow the “get my passes” prompt. Passes, like theater seating, are not guaranteed and are on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can check out the trailer to the film below and get additional information at the official website here. HIDDEN FIGURES is currently playing in select theaters, and opens nationwide on January 6.

 

MMT Quick Review: Hidden No More a review of “Hidden Figures” by Darryl King

hidden-figures

History has a funny way of hiding truths and a special way of revealing… the past. Institutional racism often can be the impetus to concealing important stories about interesting people and is the core reason America is just now discovering the incredible story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – the three intelligent and wonderful African-American women, who worked at NASA during a very racist and tumultuous time in American history and who overcame these obstacles to help get America up into space. “Hidden Figures” is the film that shines a light… where there was once darkness.

Most biopic pictures take some liberties to shape a story for general audiences, but this film doesn’t shy away from issues of race – and the intelligence and importance of these three ladies in particular – and the works of many of the African-American women in general who worked for NASA.

“Hidden Figures” has some stellar Oscar worthy performances that carry the film. Starting with Taraji P. Henson (Katherine Johnson) as the straw that stirs the drink, leading this cast through the social waters of the time. Henson’s performance is commanding, engaging, and robust, while not being over the top.

Her counterpart is Kevin Costner (Al Harrison) who is the leader of the NASA space program focused upon getting America into space. He walks a fine tightrope between a mean and demanding boss and the understanding and caring white male character who learns to tolerate racism.

Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan) was the heart of the movie, as her character meant to ground the film with motherly precision, helping the audience with loving the plight the story. As a character, Kirsten Dunst (Vivian Michael) works because she starts as the typical lovable racist who you desire to hate until she seemingly grows in the film beyond her biases. But the stand out of this movie was… Janelle Monae!  Who knew that this incredible singer could steal an entire movie. Janelle (Mary Jackson) is so endearing, energetic, and funny and she captures every scene which she appears.

While “Hidden Figures” may be a soft, heartwarming version of the actual events and lives of three incredible women, it still is a story that is sorely needed for history’s sake and for the filmmaking process. This picture has the dexterity to allow for the ominous clouds of racism to hover throughout the whole picture. This film does not try to hide or solve racism by allowing the white characters to grow beyond their stereotypes or by allowing the black characters to forgive and forget the treatment they receive while just trying to overcome their obstacles, and that’s why “Hidden Figures” works.

“Hidden Figures” also keeps as the overall theme of the race for space in the rear view of story, so in the midst of struggle and growth for our characters for personal salvation, the desire to see America beat Russia into space still looms large throughout this movie. This overarching theme about space travel helps us to at times forget about the “space” between the races.

Interesting enough, films today have more too often become the history lesson that we no longer get in schools and in our homes and it is because of this reality that the film “Hidden Figures” becomes a greater work because it is admirable enough to inspire a new generation to seek out and to study the fascinating tale of three incredible African-American women.

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson… you are Hidden no more!

Darryl King (photo courtesy of Darryl King)Darryl King is a video director, film writer and avid Marvel/DC comic book/movie lover. In addition to his popular comic book movie reviews, you can check out his reviews of The Birth of a Nation and The Magnificent Seven right here on MMT.

 

MMT Quick Look: HIDDEN FIGURES

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Hey MMT Fam, who’s been keeping tabs on the Olympic Games? There have been some pretty mesmerizing feats performed, right? And how amazing will it be to recant history and tell the grands, great nieces/nephews etc. that you witnessed the history making athleticism of Simone Manuel, Simone Biles and Michelle Carter?

And speaking of female history makers, during this year’s Olympics 20th Century Fox debuted the first trailer for its upcoming film HIDDEN FIGURES – which is based on the untold true story of the remarkable African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The movie stars Taraji P. Henson (Katherine Johnson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughn) & Janelle Monáe (Mary Jackson).

You can watch the trailer and the read the synopsis of the film below, and get additional information at the official website here. HIDDEN FIGURES opens in theaters January 13, 2017.

image001 (1)PS – And you know how that history making Olympian Gabrielle Douglas has her own doll? Well, a new LEGO project has been created celebrating the “Women of NASA,” which features five women, including mathematician Katherine Johnson – who’s highlighted in HIDDEN FIGURES. The project is currently under review, with hopes to be approved and sold by film’s release in January. You can share information and get updates about the LEGO project at its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds.

HIDDEN FIGURES synopsis

HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

 

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening for ‘Black or White’ on January, 27 (Philly, PA)

Black or White (Relativity Studios)Happy Friday MMT Family!  We’ve got two great giveaways this evening, and for this first one you’ll need to be quick! We’ve partnered with Relativity Media to give away 25 pairs of screening passes for the new film Black or White, starring Academy award-winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, here in Philadelphia on Tuesday, January 27.

To try your luck, click here and follow the prompts to get passes.  Passes, like screening seating, are not guaranteed and on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can read the below synopsis and watch the trailer for Black or White, and get additional information about the film at the official Facebook page here.

Good luck family!  Until next thought, Thomasena

BLACK OR WHITE

Release: January 30, 2015

Starring: Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Jillian Estell, Bill Burr, Jennifer Ehle, André Holland, Gillian Jacobs and Anthony Mackie

BLACK OR WHITE is the story of a grandfather (Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner) who is suddenly left to care for his beloved granddaughter.  When her paternal grandmother (Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer) seeks custody with the help of her brother (Anthony Mackie), the little girl is torn between two families who love her deeply.  With the best intentions at heart, both families fight for what they feel is right and are soon forced to confront their true feelings about race, forgiveness, and understanding. Anchored by an all-star cast and based on real events, the movie is a look at two seemingly different worlds, in which nothing is as simple as black or white. 

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening passes for ‘Get On Up’ Wednesday, July 23 (Philly, PA)

Get On Up (Universal Pictures)

Hey there MMT Family!!!!!  I am so excited to post this particular giveaway!  Not only have I been waiting for the James Brown biopic Get On Up for what seems like an eternity, but I had the pleasure of interviewing the late singer’s daughter Deanna Brown-Thomas and cannot wait to share the full version of it with you in a couple of weeks – on August 1, the movie’s release date, to be exact! Until then, click here to get to my examiner.com article from last month.

Want to put your name in the hat for passes?  Send an email to thinkmusicmovies@gmail.com with the subject line “Get On Up” and your full name in the body of the email.  You must be a follower of the MMT website in order to win. All winners will be chosen and notified by Tuesday, July 22.

You can watch the below trailer for “Get on Up” and get additional info about the movie at the official website here.

Good Luck family!!!  Until next thought, Thomasena

 

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening for Fox’s ‘Red Band Society’ on Thursday, June 26

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What’s new MMT Family?  We’ve been invited to take part in a special advance screening of a new show debuting this Fall on FOX called RED BAND SOCIETY, starring Octavia Spencer. This special preview screening will take place on Thursday, June 26 at 7 pm.  All attendees will be “treated” to free concessions, bracelets and t-shirts as a thank you for coming! There also will be a special treat at the end of the preview –  3 cast members from the show will be at the theater for a Q&A with the audience! To get a pass, follow the instructions below.  Seating and passes are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Special Preview Showing of Fox’s RED BAND SOCIETY
UA Riverview
Thursday, June 26, 2014
7pm

Visit – Gofobo.com/RedBandSociety and select PHILADELPHIA to download passes

for you and a guest to attend a preview of the first episode!

Concessions, bracelets and t-shirts will be given out to all guests in attendance!

You can check out the trailer and synopsis below and get additional info at the official website here.

Alright family, let me know what you think about this one!

Until next thought, Thomasena

Synopsis:

From Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and starring Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer (“The Help,” “Fruitvale Station”), Dave Annable (“Brothers & Sisters,” “666 Park Avenue”) and a charismatic cast of fresh faces, RED BAND SOCIETY is a provocative, unconventional and unique coming-of-age dramedy about a group of unlikely and rule-bending friends and the adults who mentor them through the ups and downs of adolescence in Los Angeles’ Ocean Park Hospital. Exploring everything from strong friendships, and first loves, to humorous mishaps and heartbreaks, the series is a story of life, with an edgy comedic tone all its own.

FRUITVALE STATION: a review and Q & A with writer/director Ryan Coogler

MICHAEL B. JORDAN, OCTAVIA SPENCER, RYAN COOGLER behind the scenes in FRUITVALE STATION (courtesy of The Weinstein Company)
MICHAEL B. JORDAN, OCTAVIA SPENCER, RYAN COOGLER behind the scenes in FRUITVALE STATION
(courtesy of The Weinstein Company)

I can remember, back in January of 2009, starting the New Year as many do with new goals set, new expectations for myself, and the feeling of a fresh start. Then several days later, I was one of many persons who viewed a terrible tragedy on a YouTube video. It was a haunting and poignant reminder of how precious life is and how sudden it can be taken. I’m of course referring to the death of 22-years-old Oscar Grant III, who was murdered on January 1st, 2009 by a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit District) police officer at the now infamous Fruitvale subway stop in Oakland, CA. Oscar was removed from the train by BART officers, after he fought with rivals, and was shot in the back while lying face down on the train platform.

Among those persons who viewed the video was then 22-year-old film student Ryan Coogler, who explained in promotional materials that the event itself and the subsequent aftermath inspired him to make FRUITVALE STATION. “During the trial I saw how the situation became politicized: depending on which side of the political fence people stood on, Oscar was either cast as a saint who had never done anything wrong in his life, or he was painted as a monster who got what he deserved that night. I felt that in that process, Oscar’s humanity was lost. When anyone’s life is lost, the true nature of the tragedy lies in who they were to the people that knew him or her the best.”

Spawned by Coogler’s passion to share Oscar’s story with humanity, and with Academy-award winners Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and Octavia Spencer (The Help) signed on as producers (with Spencer also portraying Grant’s mother in the film), “Fruitvale Station” has taken audiences and critics by storm, winning awards at both the Cannes and Sundance festivals. I had the fortunate opportunity to sit down with, the now 27-year-old, Ryan Coogler who visited Philadelphia with his beautiful fiancée, Zinzi, for a press tour back in June.

I know you are a counselor at Juvenile Hall (in San Francisco). If you were watching the film with the kids you work with, what is the one thing you would want them to take from the story?

The fact that they, and people like them, have something to live for. And the idea that if their lives are cut short, their loved ones feel the consequences, as well as others that they may not know or those that they may have had conflict.

I was one of the persons who viewed one of the videotapes not long after the tragedy occurred. And I was amazed at how much I wanted Oscar to succeed in this journey (you explored in the film) even though I knew he wouldn’t. What has been the most surprising, or gratifying, reaction you’ve received to the movie so far?

It is two things. When audience members share they’ve never heard of the case, and I think it’s amazing that you can do some work and it enlightens even one person about an event. And the other is when people come up to me, usually people of different backgrounds, and say that they will never look at a case or headline about somebody like Oscar the same again.

I was curious about the scenes with the woman (Katie) at the fish market, and the web designer (Pete) he met. Were those characters representatives of people he met or actual people?

They are representatives. The character Katie is a combo of two real people. The fish market scene really happened. And there was a white woman Oscar had met earlier that day (New Year’s Eve), who was at BART and recognized him before the fight. She taped the altercation on the train platform, took the video immediately to the family at the hospital, and also testified in court about what she saw.

Coogler’s story of Oscar Grant and Grant’s journey on what would be his last day is nothing short of amazing storytelling. The film captures the audience at the shocking first scene; and yes I will go off script with this spoiler: the opening scene is one of the videotapes from January 1st, 2009 so be prepared. And the film leaves you breathless through the ending scene, which is nothing if not heartbreaking. Michael B. Jordan (Red Tails, Friday Night Lights) gives a riveting performance as Oscar Grant III, and I cannot see him or Coogler nomination-less next award season. And Octavia Spencer is just dramatic gold in her on-screen portrayal of Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson.

“Fruitvale Station” opened last Friday in select theaters in both NY and LA, is being released in additional theaters (including Philadelphia) this Friday, July 19, and will open nationwide on Friday, July 26. On the heels of the Zimmerman verdict, and simply on its own merit, Fruitvale is a MUST SEE. To find showtimes and theaters in an area near you, click here. You can also get additional information about Oscar Grant and the Oscar Grant Foundation by clicking here.

I am really looking forward to reading your comments after you see this magnificent film. Until next thought family, Thomasena

GIVEAWAY: Win passes to screen “Fruitvale” (Philly, PA)

photo: courtesy of The Weinstein Company
photo: courtesy of The Weinstein Company

Hey Music Movie Family, I’ve got a special giveaway for you this time.  MMT has obtained passes to the Philadelphia screening of Fruitvale, a film based on the true story of 22-year-old Oscar Grant; who was fatally shot by a BART police officer at the Fruitvale train station (New Year’s Day, 2009). The screening will be held next Monday, June 24 and hosted by WDAS-FM’s Patty Jackson.
There will be a Q & A panel after the screening with writer/director Ryan Coogler and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.

For a chance to win an admit-two pass you can: 1) make sure you’re signed up (on the right) to follow this site and send an email to thinkmusicmovies@aol.com with your full name and subject line Fruitvale or 2) you can like the new MusicMoviesThoughts Facebook page and leave a comment under the “Fruitvale” post.  Winners will be selected and notified no later than Friday, June 21.

You can read a synopsis of the film and check out the official “Fruitvale” trailer below.

Good Luck family!  Until next thought, Thomasena

Fruitvale (synopsis)

Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award
for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, director Ryan Coogler’s
FRUITVALE STATION follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-
year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and
feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start
on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother (Octavia Spencer), whose
birthday falls on New Year’s Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina
(Melonie Diaz), who he hasn’t been completely honest with as of late, and being a
better father to Tatiana (Ariana Neal), their beautiful four year-old daughter.
Crossing paths with friends, family, and strangers, Oscar starts out well, but as the
day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easily. His resolve takes a
tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale
subway stop on New Year’s Day. Oscar’s life and tragic death would shake the Bay
Area – and the entire nation – to its very core.