Summer of Soul Passes

Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten–until now. SUMMER OF SOUL shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln, and Max Roach.

Movie Scene Queen is hosting a special screening of Summer of Soul on Monday, June 28, 2021 at 7 PM in the Waterfront. Please comment below with your favorite song. I’ll start. One of my favorite songs is “A Song for You” by Donny Hathaway (1971). I know the song is before my time, but it’s such a s beautiful, timeless piece.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen™

Review: Four beautiful, talented Black men portray four beautiful, talented Black men in ‘One Night in Miami’

On Feb. 25, 1964, Civil Rights icon Malcolm X, pro football Hall of Famer Jim Brown, singer Sam Cooke, and boxing legend Muhammad Ali spent an infamous night in a Miami motel room just simply talking. In Regina King’s directorial debut, “One Night in Miami,” the film follows four icons after Ali, who was still known as Cassius Clay, beat Sonny Liston. The quartet met in Malcolm X’s room to discuss life, civil rights, its impact, religion, and the Nation of Islam, especially since Ali was on the verge on converting.
One might think this is just a conversation amongst friendly celebrity buddies, but in a screenplay composed by Kemp Powers, we find out that this particular night is a turning point for all four men.

In a recent discussion facilitated by Amazon Studios, I told the “One Night in Miami” leading actors that they are “four beautiful, talented Black men portraying four beautiful, talented Black men.”
All four actors, Leslie Odom Jr. (Cooke), Kingsley Ben-Adir (Malcolm X), Eli Goree (Ali), and Aldis Hodge (Brown), blushed in the compliment.

But it is true. It is difficult to play a non-fictional character, especially for Hodge, who played Jim Brown, the film’s only living historical figure. Hodge admits that he was nervous, but he’s already hearing great reviews from Jim Brown about “One Night in Miami.”


Odom, Ben-Adir, Goree and Hodge are an ensemble of strength and flair. It was a pleasure to witness so many phenoms at work simultaneously. Without hesitation, I have never seen four Black men in a historical context playing their hearts out. In movies such as “Selma,” “42,” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” there’s a focus on one or two historical figures.

In “One Night in Miami,” there were four, and every man shined just as bright as the next.

Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier, Four beautiful, talented Black men portray four beautiful, talented Black men in ‘One Night in Miami’

Step Passes

STEP is the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step team set against the background of the heart of Baltimore. These young women learn to laugh, love and thrive – on and off the stage – even when the world seems to work against them. Empowered by their teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches and families, they chase their ultimate dreams: to win a step championship and to be accepted into college.

This all female school is reshaping the futures of its students’ lives by making it their goal to have every member of their senior class accepted to and graduate from college, many of whom will be the first in their family to do so. Deeply insightful and emotionally inspiring, STEP embodies the true meaning of sisterhood through a story of courageous young women worth cheering for. 

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The screening will be held on Tuesday, August 8th at 7:30 PM at AMC Waterfront 22.  For tickets, please comment below with your favorite dance/step movie.  MSQ’s Favorite: Stomp The Yard (2007)

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

2Pac movie ‘All Eyez on Me’ is amazing, despite the haters

WAMO 100 ADVANCE SCREENING— The Courier’s film critic and Movie Scene Queen owner, Merecedes J. Howze, with rapper Kid Ink, who was in Pittsburgh to watch the advance screening of ‘All Eyez on Me’ with hundreds of WAMO 100 listeners at Southside Works, June 15. (Photo by Gail Manker)

Demetrius Shipp Jr. kicks off “Summer17” with an amazing portrayal of the late, great Tupac Shakur in “All Eyez On Me.” Yup, you read that right, “Amazing!”

While some took this film as an opportunity to nitpick, I watched “All Eyez On Me” as a film critic and beloved fan. Released on Tupac’s birthday, June 16, the picture was well-written and did a really great job of cramming 25 years of life into two hours.

Shipp, the man who played Tupac, was very authentic in capturing the thuggish, conscious ways of the Death Row Records rapper. Shipp not only resembles Tupac tremendously, he also perfected his mannerisms, from how he held his cigarette to his fast speech. We’ve seen the sad attempts of actors trying to play Tupac before and Shipp has risen to the top.

Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier: 2Pac movie ‘All Eyez on Me’ is amazing, despite the haters

All Eyez On Me Passes

WAMO 100 and Movie Scene Queen are celebrating Black Music Appreciation Month with a special screening of All Eyez On Me, the untold story of Tupac Shakur.

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The true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr.), from his early days in New York to his status as one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices. Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mindset establish him as a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his death.

The special premiere of All Eyez On Me will be held on Thursday, June 15 at South Side Works Cinemas.  Please comment below with your favorite Tupac song.  Issa tie for me: Brenda’s Got a Baby and I Ain’t Mad At Cha.

A special thank you to WAMO 100 for making this event possible!

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Queen of Katwe Passes

Queen of Katwe is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.  The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo, Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.

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Disney’s  QUEEN OF KATWE will be showing Monday, September 19 at 7 PM at Cinemark Robinson Township. Immediately following the screening, there will be a live satellite Q&A with Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and director Mira Nair.  Please comment below with favorite movie set in Africa.  Disney Channel’s The Color of Friendship (2000) would have to be my favorite!

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

 

Steve Jobs Passes

With public anticipation running high, Apple Inc. co-founders Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and Steve “Woz” Wozniak get ready to unveil the first Macintosh in 1984. Jobs must also deal with personal issues related to ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan and their young daughter Lisa. Eventually fired, Jobs launches NeXT Inc. and prepares to release a new computer model in 1988. Ten years later, Jobs is back at Apple Inc. and about to revolutionize the industry once again with the iMac.\

Steve Jobs

This screening is one of two opportunities available for Tuesday, October 20.  Please see the previous post for ticket information about catching The Last Witch Hunter, which was filmed here in Pittsburgh.  Choose wisely.  In the meantime, if you’d like to see Steve Jobs, please comment below with your favorite Apple product.  And if you’re not an Apple fan, then surprise me! 🙂

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

UPDATE:  I got the passes late.  I’m sorry.  Please print off the pictured tickets below:

STEVE JOBS - E-PASS - PITT - 10.20

Woman In Gold Passes

Start the week off right with a Monday Night screening…

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Woman in Gold, which opens April 1st, is the remarkable true story of one woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage and seek justice for what happened to her family. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), she embarks upon a major battle which takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the U.S. Supreme Court, and forces her to confront difficult truths about the past along the way.

The advance screening will be held tomorrow, Monday, March 30 at 7:00PM at the AMC Waterfront 22. Please visit: http://www.gofobo.com/itRIS86281 for passes.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Selma

Dozens of films have been created to depict the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—but none have been as riveting and piercing as ‘Selma’. In delicate detail, the movie highlights the three 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches which ultimately led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The movie also resurfaces sensitive topics like MLK’s marital infidelity, FBI wire tapings and intimidation tactics, and the initial pushback from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

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Directed by Ava DuVernay, the movie has a crowded lineup including David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Common, Lorraine Toussaint, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Oyelowo and Ejogo were spitting images of the Nobel Peace Prize recipient and his late wife. From voice to posture to presentation, the pair is the most potent part of the film. Their lonesome moments together on screen echoes true unification of one of the greatest couples of all time.

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Even some of the notable moments in history makes your whole body shake in disbelief when ‘Selma’ reenacts the occurrences. For example, the 4 little girls and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church is one of the country’s most heinous crimes. We ought to all be familiar with it, but for some reason when DuVernay gives her rendition of the bombing it takes cinematic recreation to a whole new level.

The same approaches civil rights activists displayed in 1965 are mirror images of the work being committed today. Riots and protests have emerged all over the country for Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner. In my mind the biggest uproar has been in the small suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Ferguson has drawn thousands of people in hope to get answers and justice.

Selma is the ideal learning tool for this Black History Month. As the first major motion picture depicting Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, ‘Selma’ can be a direct connection to opening up conversation about other tense cities like Watts in 1965, Los Angeles in 1992, and even, Ferguson in 2014.

Gun violence and police brutality in 2015 is what voting rights was in 1965– a call to action to promote unity and change. Fifty years later, racially motivated disparities of the world are an opportunity to respond like they did in Selma. Anytime we witness a racial injustice or inequality it is our duty to mount up in the same fashion as the leaders in Selma.

The most rewarding part of Selma is the showcase of the unsung heroes like Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young, Viola Liuzzo, John Lewis, James Reeb, and Ralph Abernathy. American history injects lethal amount of untold truths surrounding African American history. As a child, I was taught the bare minimum about slavery and Martin Luther King Jr. was the poster child for the Civil Rights Movements. It is pure excitement when movies like Selma, 12 Years A Slave, and Lee Daniels’ The Butler can bring cinematic clarity to these unknown circumstances of historical events.

DuVernay wasted no time getting straight to the point. My only question is: Where has Ava DuVernay been? Although she has other smaller film projects, we, as movie spectators, need more from her cinematic bank. Her delivery was mere perfection and visually, trumps every introductory African American History course by strategically focusing on the height of Dr. Martin Luther King’s career and intricate details that surrounded it.

5 STARS: ‘Selma’ is the best film of 2014 and serves a timely purpose in the wake of the civil rights and liberties that are currently being taken advantage of. This film is a fruitful yet frightening, gut-wrenching yet glorious reminder that Selma was just a battle in an on-going race war.

 

Get On Up DVD

The biopic depicting James Brown’s life as the Godfather of Soul, Get On Up, will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 6th, 2015. Movie Scene Queen is giving away a handful of DVDs!

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Rated PG-13, Get On Up stars Chadwick Boseman in yet another career-making performance as James Brown, with a stellar supporting cast that includes Oscar®-nominee Viola Davis, Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Oscar-nominee Dan Aykroyd, Craig Robinson and Jill Scott. James Brown’s ferocity, talent and ambition propelled him from his hardscrabble South Carolina roots to some of the most prestigious musical venues in the world, earning him a reputation as “the hardest working man in show business.” Get On Up takes audiences behind the scenes of his brilliant, six-decade-long career for an uncensored look at the turbulent forces that drove the legendary performer.

Please comment below for an official entry. Winners will be announced on Friday, January 9th.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

And the winners are…

Ronnell Perry

Asia Sims

Elio Wade

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