Posts by smundhra

Morgan Freeman Voices Vitruvius in The Lego Movie

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 2:15 pm.

(Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Morgan Freeman has lent his distinctive voice to dozens of roles over the years, from God to Nelson Mandela to several fictional presidents. Now, the actor’s vocal chords star in Warner Bros. refreshing animated film The Lego Movie.

Freeman plays the white-haired wizard Virtuvius in the story, about an everyman Lego minifigure who unwittingly takes on  President Business (Will Ferrell), who threatens to glue their free-form world together.

It may have been decades since you’ve played with Legos yourself, but this family-friendly flick is definitely more than the sum of its parts. Between the all-star cast, which also includes Chris Pratt and Hunger GamesElizabeth Banks, and the sharp, subversive storyline, The Lego Movie is simple enough for kids, but built for adults, too.

Check out a trailer below. The Lego Movie hits theaters on Friday, February 7.

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Lee Daniels Comments on Oscar Snub

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm.

(Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for DCP)

Lee Daniels finally broke his silence on The Butler’s notorious Oscars snub, and the A-list director kept it classy with his comments. Speaking to TMZ at LAX, Daniels says it’s the media that starts the Oscar hype, not the artists who make the films.

“We don’t do it for awards, we do it for the art,” Daniels reiterates. TMZ’s cameraman gives the director props for the film, telling him his family loved it and the audience he saw it with gave the film a standing ovation.

Daniels, looking visibly touched, tells him, “that’s my award.”

Awards or not, no one can take away The Butler’s amazing box office run and universal critical raves. It was one of the few awards contenders this year that resonated with both critics and audiences. While The Butler didn’t earn any Golden Globes or Oscar nominations, Oprah Winfrey was in contention for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress (the honor ultimately went to 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o) and is up for eight NAACP Image Awards.

Daniels himself is now part of the elite $100 million directors club, with the historical epic grossing $160 million worldwide against a budget of just $30 million. Not a bad consolation prize.

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Wild Style: 30th Anniversary Remastered Edition Hits Theaters on Friday

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: Courtesy of First Run Features)

Wild Style, the world’s first hip hop movie, turns 30 years old this week. In celebration, Music Box Films is releasing a remastered version of the film on DVD and a week-long theatrical run in New York City.

The independently-made drama, directed by Charlie Ahearn, revolves around the life of real-life New York City graffiti artist Lee Quinones as he deals with life, work and his relationships. The film features performances by hip hop pioneers like Grandmaster FlashFab Five Freddy and Rock Steady Crew. It’s hard to overestimate the cultural impact of the film, which inspired a number of films about the hip hop, including Style Wars and Krush Groove.

The film was voted as one of the top ten rock and roll films of all time by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has been exhibited as part of a 1980s art retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

The 30th Anniversary Edition of the DVD — out October 1 — will be loaded with bonus materials, including commentary by Ahearn as well as a 48-page booklet written by the director, featurettes about the film and interviews with the film’s players.

New Yorkers can see the film a one week theatrical engagement at the IFC Center, starting Friday, September 27 through Thursday, October 3. Director Charles Ahearn will be on hand for Q&A sessions for the 9:55pm shows on Friday and Saturday night.

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James Brown Biopic Gets Title, Release Date

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Friday, August 30, 2013 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

Days after it was confirmed that Chadwick Boseman will play James Brown in The Help director Tate Taylor’s upcoming biopic, the highly-anticipated film has a title and a release date.

The film will be called Get On Up, according to The Hollywood Reporter, after one of Brown’s biggest hits. The title also aptly describes Brown’s journey from poverty to superstardom.

Get On Up will hit theaters on October 17, 2014, Universal has confirmed.

The biopic on the Godfather of Soul, who dominated music for six decades and influenced countless artists, including Michael Jackson, has been over a decade in the making. Brown himself was involved with the development until his death in 2006. At different times, Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes were rumored to star.

But the meaty role has ultimately landed in the hands of relative newcomer Boseman, who earned the respect of critics for his portrayal of another historical icon, Jackie Robinson, in 42 earlier this year.

Production on the film begins this September in Mississippi.

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Kevin Hart to Play Chris Rock’s Agent in Finally Famous

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: Paras Griffin /Landov)

Kevin Hart is squeezing one more film into his already packed schedule. The actor/comedian, whose popularity in Hollywood has skyrocketed since his breakthrough role in Think Like a Man, has joined the cast of Chris Rock’s comedy Finally Famous.

The film centers on Rock (who is also directing), playing a comedian-turned-movie-star who tries to reinvent himself as a serious actor. He’s also a recovering alcoholic who owes his sobriety to his fiancée (Gabrielle Union), a reality TV star eager to stage their wedding on her show.

Hart will cameo as Rock’s Ivy-educated agent who supports his client’s upcoming televised wedding.

Rosario Dawson co-stars as a journalist assigned to interview Rock’s character for a magazine. A former party animal, she’s now sober and in a committed relationship, but sparks fly between her and the movie star. J.B. Smoove will play Rock’s “security guard-slash-assistant” who is never far from his boss’ side

Sherri Shepherd is also in the cast, playing Rock’s ex-girlfriend from high school who still lives in the neighborhood he grew up in and thinks about what could have been.

Hart is close to wrapping production on Think Like a Man Too, the sequel to last year’s hit comedy, and drops his latest comedy concert film, Let Me Explain, on July 3. He also has leading roles in About Last Night and Ride Along, slated for release later this year.

Get ready for the BET Experience, featuring Beyoncé, Snoop DoggR. Kelly, Erykah BaduKendrick Lamar and many more. Go here for more details and info on how to buy tickets.

Sign up now to attend free film screenings, celebrity basketball games and more.

BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.

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Beverly Hills Cop Television Reboot Dropped by CBS

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 9:30 am.

(Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images for AFI)

(Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images for AFI)

One of the most anticipated new series of the next television season just got stopped in its tracks.

Beverly Hills Cop, the series reboot of the classic comedy starring Eddie Murphy, has been dropped by CBS after the network put in an order for a pilot. The drama is now being shopped to other networks, says The Hollywood Reporter.

The news comes as a huge surprise to insiders, who thought a series order was imminent for the franchise spin-off particularly because of Eddie Murphy’s involvement. While the reboot centered on the son of Axel Foley, Murphy’s character in the 1984 hit, Murphy is an executive producer of the spin-off and was committed to appearing in a handful of episodes. Murphy starred as wise-cracking detective Foley in three installments of the franchise between 1984 and 1994. The films were huge hits and launched Murphy to the Hollywood A-list in his post-SNL days.

Murphy and producer Shawn Ryan (The Shield) are still holding out hope that the series will find a home at another network.

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Screenwriter Sues Tyler Perry Over “Temptation”

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 9:35 am.

(Photo: Paras Griffin /Landov)

Did Tyler Perry get tempted to steal the idea for his film Tyler Perry’s Temptation? A screenwriter from Gary, Indiana claims so.

William James, a small town scribe, is suing Perry for stealing the script for the critical bomb from him, reports TMZ. James says Temptation is a rip-off of his script Lover’s Kill, which he wrote in 2009. The synopsis for James’ original work is a woman, tempted by a man who ruins her picture-perfect marriage.

Um, isn’t that a tale as old as time? If James intends to pursue this in court, he’ll have to name virtually every author, screenwriter and filmmaker in history as co-defendants.  To make matters worse, James admits he doesn’t even know if Perry ever read his script. He submitted it blindly to Oprah Winfrey, hoping it would reach Perry.

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“The Intouchables” Star Omar Sy to Make Hollywood Debut

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

The Intouchables was one of the breakout hits last year, breaking Amelie’s record for highest-grossing international release of a French film. Now, lead actor Omar Sy is set to make his Hollywood debut.

Sy, who played a troubled teen from a rough neighborhood charged with caring for an invalid aristocrat in The Intouchables, is close to booking a role opposite Bradley Cooper in Chef. The project, in which Cooper will play a temperamental chef whose Parisian restaurant loses its Michelin star rating, will be directed by Blue Valentine’s Derek Cianfrance.

The actor has also landed the lead in French drama Chocolat (not to be confused with Johnny Depp’s seminal love story with the same name). The film portrays the life of Rafael Padilla, a former Cuban slave who becomes the first Black entertainer in France’s Belle Epoque era.

Hopefully we’ll see the French actor walk the red carpet at the upcoming Academy Awards, where The Intouchables is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

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Anthony Mackie Joins Chris Evans for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Friday, September 14, 2012 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

He’s hunted vampires and diffused bombs for his country, and now Anthony Mackie is ready for the ultimate act of cinematic patriotism. The Gangster Squad actor is officially on board for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the sequel to last year’s smash hit. In the film, Mackie will play Sam “Falcon” Wilson, an ally to Chris Evans‘ Captain America.

No one is more excited about the news than Evans himself, who gushed about Mackie to MTV News: “He’s so great,” Evans said of his co-star. “I’ve known Mackie for a few years now. I’m really happy we got him. We got lucky.”

Also lucky? The millions of women who will soon get to see Mackie in a skin-tight latex suit.

Falcon, introduced by Marvel Comics in 1969, was the first African-American hero in mainstream comics. He was also — trivia! — the first Black superhero to not actually have “black” as part of his name. The Falcon’s super power? He has a strong mental link to birds and the ability to fly like one.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier hasn’t started shooting yet, but it won’t be long before we get a glimpse of Mackie in all his winged glory.

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This Day in Film: “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar”

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 8:35 am.

(Photo: Universal Pictures)

Before Heath Ledger put playing against A sexual orientation stereotype on the to-do list for every actor chasing an Oscar nomination, Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo took a chance on a little film called To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. In the long-titled film, Snipes, Swayze and Lequizamo played New York City drag queens who embark on a cross-country journey that lands them in small-town Nebraska, where they bring some color, and life lessons, to the locals.  Saturday marked the 17th anniversary of the film.

Unlike its cinematic predecessors Some Like it Hot and Tootsie, in which the cross-dressing characters donned dresses as a campy disguise and much of the humor derives from their discomfort, in To Wong Foo, the three leading ladies put on panty hose, earrings and sequins as a way of staying true to themselves. As Snipes’ ultra-fabulous Noxeema Jackson points out, “When a gay man has way too much fashion sense for one gender, he’s a drag queen.”

The film was mostly panned by critics for being a safe version of it’s Australian predecessor Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, but still proved far ahead of it’s time. Even with the LGBT rights movement in full swing, it’s hard to picture more than a handful of A-list actors, as all three leads of To Wong Foo were at the time of it’s release, risking their macho images to play a drag queen.

While neither Snipes, Leguizamo or Swayze were recognized by the Academy Awards (John Leguizamo and the late Patrick Swayze received Golden Globe nods) for their commitment to the challenging roles, the film did receive a GLAAD Award nomination for Outstanding Film.

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