Thu04242014

Entertainment

‘Stokely: A Life’

Stokely 600"It was Thursday, June 16, 1966... Less than a year before, President Lyndon Johnson had signed the Voting Rights Act... Stokely Carmichael was now in Mississippi to ensure that the federal laws... would apply to black sharecroppers living in plantation communities...

"(Just) released from his latest stay in jail... Stokely's voice broke through the humid Mississippi night... 'This is the 27th time that I've been arrested,' he shouted, 'and I ain't going to jail no more... We want black power!'

"Carmichael made a case for political revolution. 'We have begged the president. We've begged the federal government... Every courthouse in Mississippi ought to be burned down tomorrow!'

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The duo at LiveTone Studios

livestudio 600It was close to midnight when I finally made it to LiveTone studios located in what Urban Memphis calls "Blackhaven." The term of endearment echoes the rich pride of the people who live in this part of town and would love nothing less than you knowing that they do.

I came in with a puzzled look on my face after passing by a couple of Memphis famous strip clubs in full swing. Kevin "Sleepy" Plunkett and Tazz Fields were inside taking a break from stirring up music magic and were awaiting my arrival. I kicked back on a couch, ink pen and paper in hand ready to do an interview. I quickly intertwined in a discussion about the state of the music world.

"I like a lot of things about music right now," said Sleepy. "I like the different techniques used now. You can really tell that the people making the beats are giving them a lot of thought. I really do like a lot of the songs that come out. I don't like them all, but I do like some.

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Kam’s Kapsules: OPENING THIS WEEK

nialong 600For movies opening March 14, 2014

BIG BUDGET FILMS

"Need for Speed" (PG-13 for nudity, crude humor, reckless driving and disturbing crashes) High-octane revenge thriller, inspired by the video game of the same name, revolving around a recently-paroled street racer's (Aaron Paul) attempt to even the score with the wealthy business partner (Dominic Cooper) who'd framed him for manslaughter. With Imogen Poots, Michael Keaton and Scott Mescudi.

"The Single Moms Club" (PG-13 for sexuality and mature themes) Tyler Perry wrote, directed and co-stars in this tale of female empowerment about a support group created by five, frazzled single moms (Nia Long, Zulay Henao, Amy Smart, Cocoa Brown and Wendi McLendon-Covey) whose kids attend the same private school. Supporting cast includes Terry Crews, Eddie Cibrian and William Levy.

"Veronica Mars" (PG-13 for sexuality, violence, profanity and drug use) Kristen Bell reprises the title role in this screen version of the TV mystery series which finds the super sleuth returning home from New York to attend her high school reunion and to assist an ex-boyfriend (Jason Dohring) suspected of murder. With Krysten Ritter, Ryan Hansen and Francis Capra.

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J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise help a retired sheriff’s deputy shine on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’

choir 600Retired sheriff's deputy Ezra Harris of Chattanooga, Tenn. gained national headlines after a YouTube video of his mangled rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at a memorial service went viral and gained over 1.3 million views as "worst rendition of the national anthem ever."

Recently, Harris got a second chance of sorts and some backup. The vocal support came from the Stellar Award nominated urban inspirational music ensemble J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise. The group stopped by the New York studios of ABC's "Good Morning America" for a special makeover week music segment.

Producers of the No. 1 rated morning show decided to give Harris a chance to redo the anthem during its "do over" week makeovers this past week. Staffers called in J.J. Hairston and country music star Dierks Bentley to individually coach Harris on how to sing the song and to memorize the lyrics.

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Nia Long: ‘The Single Moms Club’ interview

NiaLong 600Stunningly-attractive leading lady Nia Long returned to the big screen last fall in the highly-anticipated sequel "The Best Man Holiday" where she reunited with original cast mates Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Morris Chestnut and Harold Perrineau. Early last year, she joined the all-star cast of Showtime's "House of Lies" alongside Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell.

Here, Nia talks about co-starring as May in "The Single Moms Club" opposite her son Massai, as well as Amy Smart, Zulay Henao, Tyler Perry, Terry Crews, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Cocoa Brown.

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Oscar Predictions 2014

OscarPredictions 600"12 Years a Slave" is benefiting from the most Best Picture buzz as we approach Oscar night, although this is shaping up as one of those rare years when the award for Best Director will probably go to a different film, "Gravity." Look for "12 Years" to net only a trio of statuettes overall, with "Gravity" likely landing seven.

"12 Years a Slave" is the sort of elaborate historical drama the voters just love to recognize, as reflected in such past picks as "The King's Speech," "Gladiator," "Shakespeare in Love," "Titanic," "The English Patient," "Schindler's List," "Driving Miss Daisy," "The Last Emperor," "Amadeus" and "Out of Africa," to name a few. And since the Anglophilic Academy ostensibly is impressed by English accents, it will also help that "12 Years: is a British production.

Besides forecasting the winners, I also suggest which nominees in each category are actually the most deserving. Furthermore, because some great performances are invariably overlooked by the Academy entirely, I also point out some who should've at least been nominated.

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OPENING THIS WEEK: Kam’s Kapsules

kamkapsule220 600For movies opening Feb. 21, 2014

BIG BUDGET FILMS

"3 Days to Kill" (PG-13 for sensuality, profanity and intense violence) McG directs this espionage thriller by Luc Besson about an ailing spy (Kevin Costner) who grudgingly agrees to crack a terrorist plot when he'd rather retire to spend some quality time with his teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) and estranged wife (Connie Nielsen). Cast includes Amber Heard, Eriq Ebouaney and Richard Sammel.

"Pompeii" (PG-13 for intense violence, disaster scenes and brief sexuality) Romance drama, set in 79 A.D. against the backdrop of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, revolving around the efforts of a slave-turned-gladiator (Kit Harrington) to rescue his soul mate (Emily Browning) before she is forced by her wealthy father (Jared Harris) into an arranged marriage to a crooked politician (Kiefer Sutherland). With Rebecca Eady, Carrie-Anne Moss, Sasha Roiz and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

 

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Forest Whitaker: The ‘Repentance’ interview

forestw 600Forest Whitaker is a distinguished artist and humanist. He is the founder of PeaceEarth Foundation, co-founder and chair of the International Institute for Peace and is the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation.

He is also a talented, versatile performer and one of Hollywood's most accomplished figures. Here, he talks about his latest movie, "Repentance," a psychological thriller co-starring Anthony Mackie, Sanaa Lathan, Nicole Ari Parker and Mike Epps.

Kam Williams: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: "What interested you in producing and starring in "Repentance?"
Forest Whitaker: I'd say the fact that it's a movie that talks about dealing with your past issues and past pain, and being able to move forward in the future from that. I think that's a lesson that we all have to deal with and learn from. In addition, the film offered me a great opportunity to do a really interesting character with an amazing cast of actors, and to be directed by a friend and associate, one of my partners. We own a company together. So, a lot of things came together to make this happen for us.

 

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We want the funk!

funkyconcert 600Clear Channel's WDIA-V101 "We Love You Valentine Concert" held at Harrah's Casino Event Center in Tunica was funktastic and just what old school enthusiasts like myself needed.

Here's my snapshot review of the Saturday night show.

The Jones Girls were the opening act, treating the packed house with songs such "Runaway Love," "Nights Over Egypt," and "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else." Lead singer Brenda Elaine Jones Williams is the only original member still in the group. Still, this group of "Jones Girls" set a good tone for the rest of the night.

 

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This week’s DVD releases

dvdrelease 600Top Ten DVD list for Feb. 18, 2014

"Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00C8CQTJY/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

"Silver Screen Romances" (8 Movie Collection)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00GOC752E/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

"For the Love of Liberty: The Story of America's Black Patriots"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00GOC7538/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

"The Ellen Show: The Complete Series"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00H4WGH22/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

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Kam’s Kapsules: OPENING THIS WEEK

robocop 600BIG BUDGET FILMS

"About Last Night" (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and brief drug use) A modern reimagining of the 1986 romantic comedy based on "Sexual Perversity in Chicago," the David Mamet play following two couples (Kevin Hart and Regina Hall, and Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant) whose relationships are put to the test as they venture from the bar to the bedroom. With Paula Patton, Christopher McDonald and Terrell Owens.

"Endless Love" (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, partying and partial nudity) Remake of the romance drama about the star-crossed love affair between teens (Gabriella Wilde and Alex Pettyfer) from opposite sides of the tracks. With Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick, Emma Rigby and Dayo Okeniyi.

"RoboCop" (PG-13 for sensuality, drug use, brief profanity and pervasive intense violence) Sci-fi remake, set in Detroit in 2028, about a police officer (Joel Kinnaman) who is turned into a bionic crime-fighting killing machine equipped with state-of-the-art gadgetry after being critically-injured by a car bomb. Talented cast includes Oscar-nominees Samuel L. Jackson (for "Pulp Fiction"), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (for "Secrets & Lies"), Gary Oldman (for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"), Jackie Earle Haley (for "Little Children"), along with Michael Keaton and Jay Baruchel.

 

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Diverse ways of viewing diversity

seinfield 600Comedian Jerry Seinfeld made some comments last week about not caring about "diversity" in Hollywood, especially in the area of comedy, and set off some very heated conversations across the country.

Seinfeld was on "CBS This Morning" being interviewed about his Internet-based show, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee." Seinfeld has been criticized in the past, as he is now, for having no minorities on his hit TV show "Seinfeld."

When asked about this by the reporter from CBS, Seinfeld said, "People think it's the census or something? This has gotta represent the actual pie chart of America? Who cares? Funny is the world that I live in. You're funny, I'm interested. You're not funny, I'm not interested. I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that...It's more about PC nonsense than are you making us laugh or not?"

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About Regina and Kevin!

AboutLastNight 600Regina Hall and Kevin Hart discuss their new film, "About Last Night," a remake of the classic romantic comedy released back in 1986.

Kam Williams: Hi, Kevin and Regina, thanks for the interview. I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak with you. ...What interested you two in "About Last Night?"
Kevin Hart: What interested you, baby?
Regina Hall: Well, I loved the script. I'm always thrilled whenever I see a good script. And of course, when I then heard that Kevin was going to be my co-star... that sealed the deal. Need I say anything more? How about you, Kev?
Kevin: Like you, the script, first of all. I also liked that this was a different type of role for me, and that the original movie was so amazing!
Regina: A classic!

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