Category Archives: Film & TV

New Movie ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Under Fire for Animal Abuse, PETA Leads the Pack (Watch)

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*Uh oh. This is definitely not a good look for Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures. The two gargantuan studios have teamed up for the highly anticipated movie, ‘A Dog’s Purpose,’ scheduled for a January 27 release, but with claims of animal abuse, the opening weekend may start off badly.

According to a report by TMZ, based on a video they received, one of five German Shepherds used as animal actors in the film is seen  being forced into a pool of water. The terrified animal is said to be clawing at the edge of a pool as people off camera laugh and comment, “You just got to throw him in,” as a trainer tries to force the animal into rushing water.

TMZ reports that the scene was shot for the movie in Winnipeg, Canada, in November 2015.

The dog does eventually get in the water, but goes under almost immediately. An off camera person begins yelling “Cut it!” as crew members race toward the animal.

A part of the scene? No one off-set will ever know. Continue reading

‘Walking While Black, L.O.V.E. is the Answer’ World Premier at the Broad Stage (Watch)

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*The out-of-control, caught on camera behaviors of many law enforcement officers have civilians wondering if it might be better to just do away with the “service” and let us take our chances with the criminals.  The internet, in unison with widespread cellphone access, has successfully brought what always transpired in the dark into the light, and African American filmmakers are using their skills to put these issues on blast towards a positive solution.

Enter the documentary ‘Walking While Black, L.O.V.E. is the Answer.’

An official 2017 selection of the Pan African Film Festival, and inspired by personal experiences, director-producer AJ Ali teamed up with Oscar-winning cinematographer Errol Webber (“Music By Prudence”) on this powerful film about reconciliation and exercising the act of love. Continue reading

TNT Film Review: Hidden Figures Is The Year’s Best Movie

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*I’m tempted to tell you that the exceptional new Hidden Figures is the best movie I’ve seen this year. Since 2017 is just out of the gate, that comment might be seen as more than a little glib.

So I’ll go out on a limb and say this: Hidden Figures is the best movie I WILL see this year.

Usually, period pieces that are based on history don’t hold my attention, largely because we already know how the movie’s going to turn out. (We KNEW the Titanic was iceberg-bound and doomed, right? So who really cares about Leo DiCaprio’s “I’m the king of the world!” moment?)

With the story behind Hidden Figures, we already know that Neil Armstrong helps America win the space race, and that he walked on the moon eight years later. What most of us didn’t know was that a group of black women — “Colored Computers” they were called — were largely responsible for getting him there. Told from their perspective, THIS period piece kept me, literally, on the edge of my seat through the film’s final act. Continue reading

‘A Great Day in Black Hollywood’ Honors Filmmakers as 2017 BHERC Festival Opens

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(Hollywood, CA) – The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) opens its 23rd Annual African American Film Marketplace (AAFM) and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase with a Gala Celebration “A Great Day in Black Hollywood,” Friday, January 13, at the Harmony Gold Preview House, 7655 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90046.   This popular event honors outstanding professionals in film and will premiere over 66 short films during the 2017 S.E. Manly Film Showcase.

 The 2017 class of honorees are: Preston L. Holmes, Producer/Director, “The Ivan Dixon Award of Achievement;” Lillian Benson, Film Editor, “Lifetime Achievement Award;” Darryl McCane, Filmmaker and Youth Film Instructor, the “President’s Award” and Vanessa Williams, veteran actress, “Community Service Award.”

 BHERC is pleased to award Lillian Benson with the “BHERC Lifetime Achievement Award” for her groundbreaking film work, longevity and continued contributions to the film industry. 

Lillian Benson (Editor) is a native of New York. Her body of work as a television, video and feature film editor spans almost thirty years.  Ms. Benson is the first African-American female editor selected to be a member of the American Cinema Editors (ACE), the internationally recognized honorary society of film editors, where she serves as a member on the Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the International Documentary Association.  Continue reading

Denzel Disappears and Davis Delivers In New Film “Fences”

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*A lot has been written and said about Viola Davis’ stunning performance in the Denzel Washington-directed Fences. Her name is being mentioned as a potential Oscar contender.

Every word you read about Davis’ Oscar prospects is absolutely true. The actress is incendiary on screen, forcing you to feel every emotion her character displays as she manages the ups and downs of a life that may not have been lived to its fullest.

It’s been a long time since I saw a movie theatre crowd applaud after a performance. In Fences, Davis delivers a crying, knee-buckling, nose-running monologue that’s not to be missed. It left every woman cheering midway, and earned an ovation from the entire audience after Davis was done. Continue reading

A&E Plans To Premiere ‘Generation KKK’

Ku Klux Klan (KKK) meeting, South Carolina, 1951. © Heirs of W. Eugene Smith

*My #ThanksTrump hashtag is getting more and more use these days. I’m having fun on Twitter blaming Donald for everything from crowded parking lots at the mall this holiday season to global warming.

One thing we can legitimately thank the president-elect for — damn, it’s still hard to refer to him that way — is the rise in hate crimes and, generally, the emboldened nature of those who would rather divide than unify. One has to wonder whether this TV series would have received a green light by a major network during a calmer, gentler time.

Premiering January 10, the network will present “Generation KKK” as an eight-part documentary series. I’m referring to it colloquially as “The Anti-Roots.” Continue reading

Adopted Siblings Say Parents Kicked Them Out After ‘Extreme Makeover’ Win (Watch)

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The Friday family in happier times

*Oh man. If this is true, it is what you would call a low-down, dirty, shame. No ifs, ands, or buts, about it. Do you remember the hit show, ‘Extreme Makeover Home Edition?’ I never missed it. It was one of my favorite shows. It aired for nine seasons and ended in December 2012. But during its heydey, host Ty Pennington led a group of designers who sought out one deserving family to get their home renovated over a one week period. The team worked like crazy to get the task completed in time, and never failed to deliver. And they looked so genuinely happy for the winning family.

Well one featured family, the Friday’s, had seven children in all, including 5 newly adopted siblings. And when you watch the video (scroll down) you will see how the loving parents were on screen telling the renovation team how they had adopted these children, who were biological siblings, but needed help so badly. Forward five years, at least two of the siblings are grown, and they say that after the cameras stopped rolling, their adoptive parents kicked them, and eventually the others, to the curb.

Now an investigation has ensued.

What made the show so awesome was the entire community would come out at the end; with all kinds of congratulatory signs, as the family — who was generally sent to a place like Disneyland (all expenses paid) while the renovations were being done, would pull up behind a HUGE bus that blocked the newly renovated home and the crowd would chant, “Move that bus!” And once the bus was removed, jaws would drop at the incredible, amazing structure that stood before them.

The family (along with the designers) and the cameras would then rush into the new dwelling, and room by room, we would get to witness their glee.

The Friday’s were featured on the show in 2011. And Devonda and James Friday are seen on camera, in a most pitiful voice saying, “We desperately need you,” to come help our family.” Continue reading

The Cosby Show Coming Back To TV…”By Popular Demand?”

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*Bounce TV is bringing The Cosby Show back to television starting December 19.

The network says its decision to return the classic 80s sitcom to your home and mine was one made “by popular demand.”

The network announced the decision via a tweet:

“You asked, and we heard you loud and clear, Bouncers. We’re bringing #TheCosbyShow back by popular demand!  Tune in December 19th.  #TVOurWay” – @bouncetv

Predictably, the Twitterverse responded in kind.  Here are a few of my favorites:

“sorry would rather not imagine him drugging & raping those women between scenes. Would u air this if he’d raped your daughter?” @idkidd wrote.

“Good cause if Trump can be president we should be able to watch Cosby show. Thanks #BounceTV,” @oju1 wrote.

“Bounce TV you got be kidding me?? seriously Bill Cosby is being accused how many women on sexual abuse,” @Kellyannk308 “wrote.”  (Girl could use an editor, right?)

“Great! This show had an entire cast that made it wonderful tv,” @caramelcoat8dme wrote.

Here’s Bounce TV’s full statement:  Continue reading