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.” 😉

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. 🙂

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 😉

 

 

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 – Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah – travel 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 of ALMOST CHRISTMAS

Almost Christmas

For some of us, the holidays are a great time to not only gather with the loved ones, but to delight in the festive themed entertainment that the season has to offer – be it via songs/carols, television shows or films. And the new Will Packer (Ride Along, This Christmas) produced, David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim) written/directed ALMOST CHRISTMAS is a thoroughly enjoyable addition to the latter medium.

“Almost Christmas” tells the story of a widower named Walter Meyer (Danny Glover) who brings his four children – Rachel, Cheryl, Christian, and Evan – together at the family home for the first Christmas holiday since his wife’s passing. Knowing that there is some tension when the crew gathers, especially amongst Rachel (Gabrielle Union) and Cheryl (Kimberly Elise), Walter has hope that he can re-create the Christmas magic – via his late wife’s coveted recipes and a little help from his quick-witted sister-in law May (Monique) – that has previously filled his home.  What the patriarch doesn’t factor in are the discord and hidden secrets that almost destroy the chances everyone has of getting along during the five-day holiday break.

With an all-star cast that includes the aforementioned, as well as Romany Malco (Christian), JB Smoove (Cheryl’s husband Lonnie), Jessie T. Usher (Evan) and Omar Epps (as Rachel’s admirer Malachi), their chemistry worked well on-screen and gave off authentic, and comical, family dynamic. I do believe, however, that Nicole Ari Parker was really underused as Christian’s wife Sonya.

And the young people who portrayed the grandchildren – Nadej Bailey, Alkoya Brunson, and Marley Taylor – are adorbs and little comedic acting gems in the making. Also cool were the cameos from the legendary Gladys Knight and songbird Keri Hilson, who did a fine job as the unwitting, vixen Jasmine – a character that brings much drama, to say the least, to the Meyer’s home.

Although the film is a bit formulaic – the requisite fighting siblings, especially the rivaling sisters, the tragic undertone, the unrequited (maybe) love story – it is extremely entertaining, credited in part to Monique’s outrageous and spot-on humor. Yeah, she was given a script, but Mr. Talbert must’ve added, “Make it do what ‘YOU’ do!”

One thing I dislike doesn’t have as much to do with the movie, as it does the traditional Hollywood trope to cast curvy/heavier women as older characters. I would have very much enjoyed the hilarious and engaging Monique as one of Glover’s daughters – a la Kimberly Elise or Gabrielle Union – rather than his sister-in-law, whose character I estimated to be at least seven years younger than his. And who can forget the time the plus size beauty was cast as Countess Vaughn’s mother in “The Parkers,” when in reality she is only eleven years older than Vaughn.

Even with the predictability, a descriptor I also used in my review of Talbert’s “Baggage Claim,” the movie is engaging and fun – with vibes reminiscent of Soul Food, This Christmas and Best Man Holiday. Unlike “Baggage Claim,” which I believed was funny but mostly forgettable, I am looking forward to watching this film again, and adding it to my holiday film collection.

With a 1:52 minute running time, and a PG-13 rating, the movie is a solid comedic pick for the pre-teen and up audience at your next family gathering. ALMOST CHRISTMAS is out in theaters nationwide today, November 11.

Until next thought, Thomasena

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening of ALMOST CHRISTMAS on Thursday, November 3 (Philly, PA)

ALMOST CHRISTMAS

Happy Tuesday MMT Fam! We’ve acquired 20 admit-two passes to the Philly première screening of ALMOST CHRISTMAS this Thursday, November 3. And in the spirit of Christmas giving, we’re requesting all winners bring a canned good item to donate to Philabundance – whose mission is to end and help those who are battling hunger in our region.

So, are you ready to be a blessing AND win one of those admit-two passes? You must be subscribed to this website and send an email to contests@musicmoviesthoughts.com with the subject line “Philabundance” and your full name in the body. Twenty subscribers will be picked at random and notified via email on Wednesday evening.

You can watch the trailer and read the synopsis below, and get additional info about the film at the official website here. ALMOST CHRISTMAS opens nationwide on November 11.

Good Luck!

ALMOST CHRISTMAS synopsis

A new comedy from writer/director David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim) and producer Will Packer (Ride Along, Think Like a Man series, This Christmas), Almost Christmas tells the festive story of a beloved patriarch who asks his family for one gift this holiday season: to get along. If they can honor that wish and spend five days under the same roof without killing one another, it will be a Christmas miracle.

The all-star cast of Almost Christmas is led by Kimberly Elise, Danny Glover, John Michael Higgins, Romany Malco, Mo’Nique, JB Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Omar Epps, Nicole Ari Parker, Jessie T. Usher and DC Young Fly.

 

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

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY: Win ‘Ride Along’ on Blu-Ray/DVD

RIDE ALONG (Universal Studios Entertainment)

Hey there MMT Family!  I’ve got a special giveaway for you this evening!  You guys know that I really enjoyed interviewing Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, and producer Will Packer during the Philly red-carpet premiere for Ride Along! And we’ve partnered with Allied-THA to give away 3 copies of the movie on Blu-Ray/DVD!

So who wants to put their name in the hat?  Make sure you 1) are signed up to follow this site (hint: check for confirmation email if you’re a new follower) & 2) send an email to thinkmusicmovies@gmail.com with the subject line “Ride Along DVD” and your full name and address in the body.  All winners will be selected and notified by Sunday, May 11.

You click here to read the MMT quick review of “Ride Along” and look below to read a synopsis. Ride Along is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD.  It is also available On Demand. You can click here for additional purchase info.

Good Luck Family! Until next thought, Thomasena

Ride Along synopsis

For the past two years, high school security guard Ben (Kevin Hart) has been trying to show decorated detective James (Ice Cube) that he’s more than just a video game junkie who’s unworthy of James’ sister. When Ben finally gets accepted into the police academy, James invites him on a ride-along designed to scare the hell out of him and ultimately demonstrate if Ben has what it takes to take care of his sister. But when the wild night leads them to the most notorious criminal in the city, James will find that his new partner’s rapid-fire mouth is just as dangerous as the bullets speeding at it. Also starring John Leguizamo and Laurence Fishburne, Ride Along is an action-packed comedy with big thrills and even bigger laughs.

GIVEAWAY: win passes to screen ‘Ride Along’ starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart (Philly, PA)

Ride Along photo

Hey MMT family what’s new?  Well this year has certainly started off with a bang to say the least! Last Wednesday, I interviewed actor/comedian Kevin Hart, iconic hip-hop artist/actor Ice Cube, and producer Will Packer on the red carpet at the Philadelphia première screening of Ride Along, which opens nationwide next Friday, January 17.  I will share more details from the interview and a review next Friday, or you can click here to get an early read about the red carpet interview on Examiner.  Until then, who wants free passes to next Tuesday evening’s screening?

To put your name in the hat, you must 1) be a follower of this website and 2) send an email to thinkmusicmovies@aol.com with your full name in the body and RIDE ALONG in the subject line. I will randomly select winners, who will be notified by Sunday evening.  Scroll below to view the trailer and read a synopsis of the movie.

Well that’s it family!  Good luck to everyone who enters! 😉

Until next thought, Thomasena

RIDE ALONG synopsis

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube lead the lineup in Ride Along, the new film from the director and the producer of the blockbuster comedy Think Like a Man. When a fast-talking guy joins his girlfriend’s brother—a hot-tempered cop—to patrol the streets of Atlanta, he gets entangled in the officer’s latest case. Now, in order to prove that he deserves his future bride, he must survive the most insane 24 hours of his life.