MMT September 2017 Netflix Picks

Happy Saturday MMT Fam! This Fall equinox has brought with it some pleasant, cooler weather – the perfect time for a stay in movie weekend! I wanted to share a few of my Netflix choices from the month, and of course I want you to share some thoughts if you’ve seen or when you watch them – and if it’s the latter, it’s the perfect “Netflix and Chill (literally)” season … if you add anything to that chill part, it’s on you not me! ūüėČ

First up is the Netflix original film WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY, starring Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close and Willem Dafoe. Rapace in the lead takes on the task of playing “seven” identical sisters, born in a dystopian era where the government has mandated that each family is allowed to have only “one” child – a rule that is monitored by the infamous Child Allocation Bureau (CAB).

Hidden by a rebellious grandfather (Dafoe) after their mother dies during childbirth, the sisters are raised and taught to survive using one sole identity, Karen Settman, while leaving their home on each one’s specified day – which corresponds to their names (Sunday through Saturday, respectively). When Monday goes missing, the remaining sisters fight to keep the truth hidden, avoid capture by CAB and its villanous head (Close), while simultaneously finding out what happened to their sister.

This movie had some campy parts, but at best it is an action-packed futuristic tale filled with “woman” power. Rapace was phenomenal at the task of portraying seven different people/personalities, and Dafoe and Close brought the heavyweight star power to the flick.

For a sci-fi story, there were a couple of plot holes that I thought could have been tighter, especially at the resolution, but the movie was enjoyable and entertaining to view nonetheless.

My second pick from September is the critical hit THE FOUNDER starring Michael Keaton as the late Ray Kroc – a travelling salesman who comes across brothers Mac and Dick McDonald – the originators of the McDonald’s brand – in 1950’s California, becomes enamored with their business setup, and positions himself to take the business away – subsequently creating a billion dollar franchise empire.

To say this story is fascinating, and disheartening, is an understatement. And Keaton is at peak performance, simultaneously making you both captivated by and despise Kroc throughout the entire film.

Written by Robert D. Siegel (The Wrestler) and directed by John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks), the movie also stars Nick Offerman (Dick McDonald), John Carroll Lynch (Mac McDonald), and Laura Dern as Kroc’s first wife Ethel.

If you haven’t seen this movie, it is truly a must see – and, if you eat at McDonald’s, it might make you question ever stopping by those “golden arches” again.

Okay, since I chose two serious ones, my final pick is really goofy but funny – if you like college boy humor – the original Netflix film NAKED starring Marlon Wayans.

The premise: immature guy (Rob) is heading out-of-town to marry his dream woman (Megan), but faces several obstacles including a reluctant soon to be father-in-law (Dennis Haysbert), a very accomplished ex-boyfriend of his fiancée (Scott Foley), and the unfortunate fact that he keeps waking up naked in an elevator and having to repeat parts of his wedding day before saying his I dos!

Comedy ensues, and led by Wayans and the extremely talented and funny Regina Hall (Girls Trip), the film boasts plenty of sophomoric laughs, and a cameo by singer/songwriter Brian McKnight, while Rob attempts to stop the insanity, change the course of his day, and get married.

Alright family, those are my picks for the month. Let me know what you think, and feel free to leave some recommendations for the coming months – there’s a huge selection on the streaming service and a chance that I haven’t seen them!

Until next thought, Thomasena

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening of Barbershop: The Next Cut Wednesday, 3/23 (Philly, PA)

barbershop

We’re excited about this one family! MMT is giving away 25-admit two passes to Wednesday’s Philly red-carpet premi√®re of BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT starring Ice Cube, Cedric The Entertainer, Regina Hall, Common, Sean Patrick Thomas, Anthony Anderson, Jaszmine Lewis, JB Smoove and Nicki Minaj. And guess what? Actor/rapper/producer Ice Cube will be in attendance at the Philly premi√®re!

To put your name in the hat, send an email with the subject line “Next Cut” and your full name in the body to thinkmusicmovies@gmail.com. This contest is open to website subscribers only. All winners will be selected at random and notified on Monday, March 21.

Watch the trailer below and get additional information at the film’s official website here. BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT opens in theaters nationwide on April 15.

Good luck family!

 

 

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! ūüôā 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! ūüôā 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! ūüôā

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! ūüôā

Until next thought, Thomasena