Straight Outta Compton Passes

In 1980s California, a group of young men (O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell) form the hip-hop group N.W.A and revolutionize music and pop culture with brutally honest songs about life in the ‘hood.  Director of Friday and Law Abiding Citizen, F. Gary Gray is teaming up with Ice Cube again to bring you…

NWA

The advance screening of Straight Outta Compton will be held on Tuesday, August 11 at 7:30pm at the AMC Waterfront 22. To join me in this special screening, please comment below with your favorite West Coast movie.  I have a few: Next Friday (2000), Training Day (2001), and Rush Hour 2 (2001).

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Magic Mike XXL Passes

“Magic Mike XXL” reunites Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez and Gabriel Iglesias, stars of the 2012 worldwide hit “Magic Mike” (2012).  Picking up the story three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, “Magic Mike XXL” finds the remaining Kings of Tampa likewise ready to throw in the towel. But they want to do it their way: burning down the house in one last blow-out performance in Myrtle Beach, and with legendary headliner Magic Mike sharing the spotlight with them.

Magic Mike XXL film poster
(Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

Beginning at 7:30 pm on Thursday, June 25th, Movie Scene Queen and Warner Brothers Pictures is hosting a special screening at AMC Waterfront 22.  Please comment below with your favorite Channing Tatum movie for a chance to win tickets.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

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

Top Five Is Just What We Needed From Chris Rock

Chris Rock has become a household name as legendary standup comedian, Saturday Night Live vet, and most recently, as the voice of Marty the Zebra in the Madagascar series. But, the 49-year-old has dabbled in movie production and direction too. In his latest flick, Top Five, Rock is pretty much playing himself. Andre Allen (Rock) is a big-time movie star who fears going back into the comedy world after 4 years of sobriety and a chain reaction of box office flops.

Top Five, which also stars Rosario Dawson, J.B. Smoove, and Gabrielle Union, is one of this year’s most creative and witty movies. Chris Rock, in true fashion, pushes the envelope with his racy, vulgar humor. One joke in particular involved a quick jab at JFK and the grassy knoll, so you can image the level of inappropriate hilarity.

Rapping buddies Jay Z and Kanye West serve as co-producers of the film. While the Roots’ Questlove managed the movie’s score as executive music producer. With that many musical geniuses involved, I was a little bummed to actually hear the music featured in the movie. The soundtrack was unoriginal and was filled with your everyday radio playlist.

While the music was predictable, the random listings of favorite rappers held more weight than that of the actual musical selection. The topic, specifically hip-hop, infrequently surfaced throughout the movie as characters discussed their own top rappers. This dialogue was the impromptu spice to this filmic feast.

There are so many surprise guests, both comedians and entertainers. So many wonderful, hilarious cameos that I am not willing to spoil their appearances. The obvious funny men, Cedric the Entertainer and Kevin Hart, were amongst the elite group.

Rosario Dawson’s character resonated with me personally and professionally. She played Chelsea Brown, a New York Times film critic who ghost writes under other names. I am Chelsea Brown- the journalist who wears many hats in the hopes of telling an honest story. Unlike other story chasers, we both possess the need to uncover the great, positive stories rather than dig up dirt.

This field is no easy ballpark. Between meetings some one-dimensional people and tasteless headlines, the idea of making newsworthy, well-written pieces is minimal. While there are some great perks to this work, it can get sidetracked with fame, recognition, and greed.

4 STARS: Chris Rock needed this movie. Chris Rock fans also needed this movie. Top Five is undeniably an amusing reflection of selecting and ranking who or what is most important in any given subject.

Since no one dared to show love to the ladies of hip-hop, here’s my Top Five Female Lyricists of All Time:

1.) Lauryn Hill
2.) MC Lyte
3.) Lil’ Kim
4.) Nicki Minaj
5.) Foxy Brown

Honorable Mention: Queen Latifah


Who’s in your Top Five?

Separating Beyond the Lights from Love and Basketball

Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker star as an unlikely couple in the romantic comedy, Beyond the Lights. A British singer, Noni Jean (Mbatha-Raw), is wrestling with instant fame and identity issues when she meets a LAPD officer, Kaz Nicol (Parker) who saves her life. With many forces against them, the pair tries to preserve their young love.

It has been 14 years since Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed Love and Basketball. Black audiences instantly fell in love with the chronological love of two athletes, who despite a rough patch of distance prevailed as childhood sweethearts. When Prince-Bythewood created Beyond the Lights, Relativity Media made a bad decision by closely connecting the two films in their marketing and promotions.

Realizing that the 2000 film was Prince-Bythewood’s biggest work and most notable love story, the connection instantly creates room for comparison. Besides love and Gina Prince-Bythewood, these are two different movies that should be valued as separate entities.

In every way possible, Noni and Kaz just did not flare the same spark and fan admiration as Monica and Quincy. The stories and setting were almost opposite and movies overall messages were not even in the same ballpark. The best way to appreciate Beyond the Lights is to separate the movies from its predecessor.

Beyond the Lights was not memorable and, even in the midst two hours, there was nothing left for the imagination or memory. While believable, the couple was your average atypical romance met with adversity, hurt, and reconciliation.
Mbatha-Raw’s character literally transforms from self-absorbed prom queen to a natural hair, modern woman, all in the name of love. Even though Noni is a fictional character, the woman she transformed into was the same woman I saw a few weeks ago at St. Benedict the Moor church. On set of Will Smith’s new movie, Concussion, it is clear that her “raw”, jovial talent is a mere reflection of who she really is.

She literally walked on that movie set and the room immediately lit up- no lashes, makeup, weave, and acrylic nails.  Similar to her royal role in Belle, Mbatha-Raw has used her multi-racial background in movies to address identity issues that many women are facing. Who am I? What does it mean to be comfortable in my own skin? Does artificial body enhancements define my self-image?

3 Stars: Gugu Mbatha Raw and Nate Parker together are effortlessly in sync. But because the movie has been saturated in Love and Basketball references, it takes away from the film’s individuality. There’s no need for a Venn diagram. It is up to the audience to separate the two fictional love stories.

Throwback Movie of the Month- Waiting to Exhale (June 2013)

Waiting to Exhale 2

Now as an adult, the 1995 classic Waiting to Exhale makes more sense! The unfair rules of the game called love. The awkward dating scene. The struggles of being the other woman. The hectic life of single motherhood. The regretful dark clouds of abortion. The overall uncertainties, unfortunates, and inconsistencies of love would drive any woman insane. In Forest Whitaker’s directing debut, Waiting to Exhale, based off of the Terry McMillan novel, follows four women whose friendship becomes stronger as they battle a rough year.

Savannah- The Settled One
Played by the late Whitney Houston (RIP), Savannah Jackson was the typical successful Black woman; over consumed with her hectic life as a TV producer. Savannah’s love was often put on the back burner making her career superior. She settled for the occasional love of a married man, Kenneth (Dennis Haysbert- you know the Allstate Insurance man “Are you in good hands?”). Kenneth used his sick wife and young daughter as an excuse to remain in his martial commitment. In the end and against her mother’s advice, Savannah left Kenneth while supporting her friends in their own searches for love.

Bernadine- The Hurt One
Played by Angela Bassett, Bernadine Harris had it all until after 11 years of marriage she was confronted with a cheating husband, messy divorce, and single motherhood. Equipped with all the right qualifications to have her own career, Bernie was stuck with no financial resources to care for her home. Her biggest realization was the fact that her former husband was already shacked up with another woman and no longer the sole provider of her family. Bernie had to make a safe balance between caring for her children, reconciling the broken pieces of her heart, and identifying the resources to properly finance her newly constructed family.

My favorite Bernie scene was when she met James Wheeler (Wesley Snipes) in a hotel bar after a day in divorce court. All too many times when I’m traveling on business I find myself being James Wheeler; a person in foreign places meeting complete strangers but relating to them on many different levels. I’ll admit I’ve never (and I mean never) then spent the night wrapped in that stranger’s arms. But how simply sublime would it be to gravitate to someone you’ve never meet before in the matter of minutes.

Robin- The Broken One
Played by Lela Rochon, Robin Stokes, similar to her friend Savannah, was a successful executive who was in love with another woman’s husband, Russell (Leon). Dealing with post-abortion syndrome, Robin yearned for her ideal family and in the movie, you see Robin wasting her time with several men in hopes to snag her own husband. Like most of us women, Robin has a hard time letting Russell go knowing he’s the root of all her relationship problems. In the end, Robin finds the most “peace” with giving up that “piece” of her life.

Gloria- The Reasonable One
Played by Loretta Devine, Gloria Matthews was a beauty shop owner and single mother of a teenaged son, Tarik (Donald Faison). She falls madly in love with her next door neighbor, Marvin (Gregory Hines). Marvin quickly eased Gloria’s fresh wounds after finding out that her ex-husband was gay. Out of the four women, she’s the most reasonable one spewing helpful, realistic advice to her three female friends.

Overall, I love the way African American women were depicted in this film. Sexy & Successful! We’re not all married or all on welfare. Yes, we have our flaws but we create a diverse balanced group of beautiful creatures. The movie was praised for having an all-Black cast and being well received around the world. Well there were two White women in the movie; (1) the little girl who was performing oral sex on Gloria’s son and (2) Bernie’s husband’s mistress who was eventually pimp slapped in the middle of the board room. (But who’s keeping count!)

The Soundtrack
My hope is to eventually expand this blog to cover music as well as movies because Waiting to Exhale was a double pleasure; great movie and an even better soundtrack. I was recently in Boston and I listened to the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack from beginning to end. The soulful soundtrack brings back sweet yet sour memories of the any person you’ve ever loved intimately. What other soundtrack was originally produced and written by legendary music mogul Babyface featuring greats like Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, TLC, Brandy, CeCe Winans, and Toni Braxton? The greatness was all captured on one little CD. It’s a classic!

4.75 STARS: Any woman can relate to the turbulent ride of being with any man. RIP Whitney Houston

This blog post is dedicated to the ONE, who out of all the HIMs, took a piece of me and still kept it!

waiting-to-exhale-dvd-cover-65

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