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Weekend B.O. July 11-13 (Despite Strong Opening Weekend, 'Apes' Won't Save Hollywood This Summer)

18 hours ago

First of all "Dawn of The Planet of the Apes" is fantastic - one of the best films of the summer. The reviews have been nothing but stellar and, as expected, it was No.1 this weekend, with a huge opening of $73 million. That easily beat the previous "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," which had a weekend opening of $54.8 million. But it’s not going to be the savior. And by that I mean, the savior of this summer film season's box office. As I pointed out last week in my b.o. report (Here), total domestic b.o revenues are down considerably from last year, some 20% over all. Yet, there were articles by some box office analysts earlier this week, saying that »

- Sergio

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First Promo for 'American Horror Story: Freak Show' ('Fallen Angel')

19 hours ago

Angela Bassett will indeed be returning for the next season of FX's "American Horror Story," which will be titled "Freak Show," joining returning stars Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy and Kathy Bates, as well as newcomers to the group, Michael Chiklis and Wes Bentley. Showrunner Ryan Murphy previously revealed that everyone from last season would be returning for season four in "some capacity," including Gabourey Sidibe and Jamie Brewer. Set in Jupiter, Florida, in 1950, "Freak Show" finds Lange playing a German ex-pat who is managing one of the last freak shows in the USA. Her »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Harold Perrineau's Daughter, Aurora Perrineau, Joins Cast of Sci-Fi Romance 'Equals'

11 July 2014 4:55 PM, PDT

We missed the uproar earlier this year, over her casting as Shana in the upcoming "Jem and the Holograms" live-action movie adaptation - the animated TV series that ran from 1985 to 1988, which centered on a music company owner, her singer alter-ego Jem, her band the Holograms, and their adventures. I'm not at all familiar with the animated series, but, from what I gathered, in short, the character she was cast to play (Shana) is supposed to be much darker than she is (the usual Hollywood #Colorism casting matter). Filming on "Jem and the Holograms" is done (it's in post-production currently), under the direction of Jon M. Chu ("G.I. Joe: »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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'Muted' Filmmakers Discuss The Film With Joy-Ann Reid On MSNBC

11 July 2014 4:46 PM, PDT

Let’s be honest, for the most part, unless the film stars Kevin Hart or deals with slavery, the mainstream media, and in particular television, doesn’t focus much on black films, except for those predictable "The Year of Black Cinema" type articles which appear every few years or so. And it’s even rarer for short black films. Which is why it was unusual and refreshing to see that MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid, on her network program, "The Reid Report," actually took the time out to profile "Muted" with the filmmakers - director Rachel Goldberg, producer Tara Tomicevic and writer/actress Brandi Ford. The powerful film, which was fully funded through a very »

- Sergio

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Interview: Reggie Rock Bythewood Talks 'Gun Hill,' 'Beyond the Lights,' Career, and Much More

11 July 2014 4:29 PM, PDT

On July 2, Reggie Rock Bythewood's long-gestating crime drama "Gun Hill" had its Bet premiere, with plans of turning the two-hour pilot into a television series. Named for Bythewood's childhood neighborhood of Gun Hill in the Bronx, NY, and inspired by his own estranged relationship with his father, the film stars Larenz Tate as a pair of twin brothers on opposite sides of the law. When one twin is killed, the other assumes his identity as a DEA agent in order to escape his troubled life as an ex-convict. Emayatzy Corinealdi and Aisha Hinds co-star in the film, which re-airs on Saturday, July 12 at 8pm Eastern on Bet. In a candid and in-depth conversation with »

- Jai Tiggett

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Afrinolly Selects 8 Film Directors to Make the Cinema4Change Short Films

11 July 2014 1:29 PM, PDT

Earlier in June, Afrinolly opened a call to film makers to pitch for the Cinema4Change films. Films which were a product of a screen writers workshop held in April where over 20 top notch screen writers in Nigeria were expose to research works that would guide in the development of screenplays that would not only highlight social change issues but would also entertain and educate the public. After five days of pitch sessions for the over 150 film makers who applied and pruning by the panel of Judges; Tunde Kelani, Femi Odugbemi and Jane Maduegbuna, Afrinolly is excited to announce the selected film makers who would directing the first set of Cinema4Change short films. Over the next few »

- Afrinolly

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Cinematographer Cybel Martin Will Make Feature Directing Debut w/ Vampire Story 'Black as Night'

11 July 2014 11:58 AM, PDT

Cybel Martin - whose instructive and entertaining words of wisdom on all things cinematography, that many of you have read and appreciate on this blog - will be making her directorial with "Black As Night," described as an urban vampire story centered around a 15 year old girl living in the South Bronx. Penned by screenwriter Sherman Payne, whose thriller script "Furlough" was sold to David Linde’s Lava Bear Films and producer Brian Witten ("Chernobyl Diaries"), last year, the story's synopsis reads: "Girls from the South Bronx never obsessed over 'Twilight.' If they did, maybe 15 year-old Shawna would have a better idea how to defend her »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Nzingha Stewart will Direct Jill Scott, Eve & Regina Hall in Rom-Com 'With This Ring'

11 July 2014 10:47 AM, PDT

Lifetime (that fledgling black TV network that doesn't call itself a black TV network) has announced its production of yet another original movie centered around the lives of black characters.  This time it's a rom-com titled "With This Ring," which will star Jill Scott, Eve and Regina Hall, in a tale of 3 single best friends who vow to get themselves hitched within a year, after they attend the lavish New Year's Eve wedding of a 4th friend.  Nzingha Stewart will direct the Sony Pictures Television-produced project from her own script, which boasts Tracey Edmonds, Sheila Ducksworth and Gabrielle Union as executive »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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'Facts of Life' Stars Kim Fields, Lisa Whelchel Reunite In Trailer for Dramedy 'For Better or For Worse'

11 July 2014 10:14 AM, PDT

Here's a trailer for the Hallmark Channel Original Movie World Premiere that sees Kim Fields reunite with her "Facts of Life" co-star, Lisa Whelchel, in a drama titled "For Better or For Worse," which, I learned today, premieres Saturday, July 19 at 9/8c. The film - an adaptation of the bestselling novel "For Better or For Worse" by Diann Hunt - was shot earlier this year in Vancouver, Canada.  Antonio Cupo co-stars alongside Whelchel and Fields in what is described as a heartwarming romantic comedy about a woman who learns that perhaps there is such a thing as second chances when »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Review: Ron Howard's Jay-z Documentary 'Made in America' Tries to Be Too Many Things & Doesn't Always Succeed

11 July 2014 9:37 AM, PDT

"Made in America" has all of the ingredients of a train wreck—its director, Ron Howard, reportedly had only 10 days of preparation takes the helm of this mammoth project executive produced and starring an equally mammoth personae: Jay Z.  This documentary suffers an identity crisis: it poses as a backstage pass to a turnt-up music festival but it’s really a short biopic about Jay-z and his ascent in Hip Hop as an elder statesman. This film shouldn’t be new to readers of Shadow & Act given that its been around the block a couple of times, making its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, and in 2012 airing on Showtime chronicling an urban »

- Abdul Ali

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Channel 4 (UK) Commissions 6-Part Series Looking at "Fiercely Debated" Immigration Issue

11 July 2014 9:15 AM, PDT

The UK's Channel 4 has commissioned a brand new 6-part (each an hour long) observational documentary series which will capture life on a street in Southampton, where the mix of residents has been transformed over time and continues to evolve as a result of immigration.  Cameras will follow the lives of some of the residents of Derby Road in the Bevois district of the city for the series, which currently has the working title "Immigration Street." It is an ethnically diverse street where the majority of residents were not born in the UK. The series will explore how the changing population is shaping the community, relationships, friendships and everyday life for those who »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Writer/Film Programmer Nadia Denton and Nigerian Filmmakers in Conversation At BFI Southbank In Sept

11 July 2014 8:37 AM, PDT

Nadia Denton, film programmer and the author of the book "The Black British Filmmaker’s Guide of Success" has a new title coming out this fall. The author says that "The Nigerian Filmmakers’s Guide to Success: Beyond Nollywood" is designed to be a reference manual that will pull together industry guidance and best practices for African filmmakers. To celebrate and announce the release of her new book, Ms. Denton, along with several prominent Nigerian filmmakers, will have a public discussion about the industry and key issues at the British Film Institute, Southbank in London on Saturday, September 20th starting at 11Am. The event is part of the »

- Sergio

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Review: 'Life Itself' - Based on Roger Ebert’s Memoirs - Feels Like 3 Films Rolled Into 1

11 July 2014 8:17 AM, PDT

"Life Itself," based on Roger Ebert’s 2011 memoirs, feels like three movies rolled into one. The first movie consists of a generic tableau of the early life of Roger Ebert, with sporadic moments of real insight into the man’s persona. I say sporadic because, throughout the first third of the movie, I’m reticent to say, I found myself somewhat… bored. Sure, it was interesting to learn that Mr. Ebert was a recovering alcoholic. As a fan, I was surprised to learn this for the first time, watching the film. It was also interesting to learn how he came to work for the Chicago Sun-Times, what his friends thought of his taste in women, how he came to write the screenplay »

- Michael Jones

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First-Look Preview of 'Sleepy Hollow' Season 2 + Producer Promises More Back-story on Abbie

11 July 2014 7:47 AM, PDT

Get excited "Sleepy Hollow" fans! Just 2 months to go until your favorite Fox hit drama returns - September 22 at 9pm. Those of you who'll be attending Comic-Con this month (in about 2 weeks) will likely be treated to some sneak peeks from the upcoming new season, as well as time with the series' cast, who will probably all be there live, in person. As for what you can expect for season 2, Executive producer Mark Goffman recently shared the following: "We're going to be digging into Abbie's past a lot more, and getting to know more about her family and her heritage, which is a big part of the show this season. We're also going to be filling out the town even more, so we'll »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Review: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Delivers

11 July 2014 7:11 AM, PDT

A sequel that expands on the story ideas and emotional resonance of its predecessor, without jogging in place for two hours and change, is hard to come by in this day and age in Hollywood, but “Dawn of The Planet of The Apes” delivers in a big way. It retains the knockout visual effects and weighty sci-fi allegory that the almost 60-year-old franchise demands, while continuing the story of “Rise of The Planet of The Apes” in about as organic a way as we could have hoped for. And it's all anchored by an incredible motion captured performance from Andy Serkis. It may end as a warming up for better things to come, but the ride there is powerful enough to enjoy without the safety of a closure »

- Dylan Green

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French-Martinican Rapper-Turned-Actor Joeystarr is a Mysterious Agent in Busy 1st Trailer for Thriller 'Colt 45'

10 July 2014 4:57 PM, PDT

None of the movies he's starred in have been formerly released here in the USA (or, at least, English-subtitled versions of them for non-French speakers), but I'm hoping that, eventually, one of them will be picked up by an American distributor and released in these United States, because I'm really curious to finally see what this guy can do on screen, given just how active he appears to be in French cinema, especially in what look like rather high profile, mostly action/thriller projects - likely a rarity for a French-Martinican rapper-turned-actor in France. Up next for the busy Joeystarr is a crime thriller titled "Colt 45," from Belgian director Fabrice Du Welz, »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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The History, Significance & Changing Landscape of an African American Resort Community in Stanley Nelson's 'A Place Of Our Own'

10 July 2014 3:38 PM, PDT

"A Place of Our Own," by Stanley Nelson, is a film which some of you may already be familiar with as it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2004. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the description reads: “In this cinematic love song to place and identity, director Stanley Nelson explores the rarely seen world of the black middle class and the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, where African Americans have vacationed for generations. Using wonderfully evocative photography and landscape cinematography, Nelson lets us into a side of black identity rarely incorporated into the larger lore of Americana. Through intimate interviews in »

- Wendy Okoi-Obuli

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'On the Run Tour: Beyonce and Jay Z' to Premiere on HBO in September

10 July 2014 3:00 PM, PDT

The next best thing to actually being there for it, I suppose... "On The Run Tour: Beyoncé and Jay-z," featuring the superstars in their first collaborative tour – and their first HBO concert event – will debut in September, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming.  Taping September 12 and 13 at Stade de France in Paris on the only international leg of their current tour, the special will feature the superstars performing more than 40 songs. "This is a major musical event that belongs on HBO," noted Lombardo. "It’s going to be a night to remember." Although 17-time Grammy winner Beyoncé and »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis Project Breaks its $325,000 Crowdfunding Goal w/ 10 Hours Left. Time to Make a Movie!

10 July 2014 2:30 PM, PDT

With just 10 hours left until the end of his Indiegogo crowdfunder to help finance "Miles Ahead" - his long-in-gestation Miles Davis project - the campaign has surpassed its $325,000 goal! Its current total sits at $336,781, as of the time of this post. But, with 10 hours to go, you can still contribute (here); I'm sure Don Cheadle wouldn't mind.  Not quite down to the wire, but close enough! I have yet to contribute to a single "celebrity" crowdfunding campaign (I've given a lot to the *smaller* non-celeb indie projects); but this is one that I opted to contribute to, if only because it's a project I really want to see on the screen, and I dig the talent »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Disrupting Lazy Racism in the Media

10 July 2014 1:30 PM, PDT

As a Black person who writes about race, I have many fruitful conversations with readers. I believe that American culture shortchanges its citizens, in that, there are few healthy venues for conversations about race. Americans are hungry for a dialogue about race. Of course, there are various reasons for wanting the conversation. However, at this point, it should be clear to everyone that the media does not want a conversation about racism. Do Americans want a conversation about racism? I do. Over the July 4th weekend, 82 people were shot in Chicago. 82. That’s 82 human beings with 82 families. Chicago has a public health crisis. I will not repeat the common steps to rail about other mass »

- Tanya Steele

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