Archive for "Alicia Keys"

Movie Review: “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete”

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 12:00 am.

(Photo: State Street Pictures)

Summary: After being abandoned by his heroin-addicted mother, 14-year-old Mister and his 9-year-old friend Pete endure the projects of Brooklyn on their own. Race and class intersect in this story of despair and survival.

Review: In many ways, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete is a classic tale. With the title almost sounding Shakespearean, it’s a story of childhood friends navigating the residuals of adult mistakes, forcing them to grow up at a rapid pace. Set in the projects of Brooklyn, screenwriter Michael Starrbury crafted a nuanced story with the highest of highs, the deepest of lows and enough complexities to provoke thought. For many viewers, the film might feel consistently macabre because there is no Hollywood ending.  Nonetheless, there is a bold joy in the George Tillman Jr.-directed film, which can be credited to Mister and Pete, played wonderfully by Skylan Brooks and Ethan Dizon. Their childlike innocence but adult sensitivities gave the flick an undeniable heart.

Jennifer Hudson stars as Mister’s drug-addicted mother Gloria. Next to Effie White in Dreamgirls, the performance is her best to date. There are also appearances from an unrecognizable Jeffrey Wright, Anthony Mackie and Jordin Sparks — all adding their high-profile chops to the indie flick. That said, the film is not perfect. In many scenes the storyline gets lost in its own poetry. But the direction of George Tillman Jr. and the writing of Michael Starrbury make for a solid cinematic team. In addition, the thoughtful score from Alicia Keys accentuates the  kids quirky and admirable ways to survive.  Mister and Pete see a light, no matter how dim, knowing there is something on the other side of their dire circumstances, which is a reality that resonates with many youths.

Side note: A variety of critics have sounded off on the film, but it’s important to note the version being released today is edited, shorter and includes a different ending than what was seen at Sundance.

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete is on DVD now.

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Where Is the Lena Horne Biopic?

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, February 24, 2012 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: CBS/Landov)

The iconic Lena Horne was honored at last year’s Academy Awards by Oscar winner Halle Berry. As we all know, Lena Horne passed away in May of 2010. Horne’s popularity is still strong. Stormy Weather, the biography written by James Gavin, was a bestseller on Amazon.com, receiving good reviews and praise from Oprah’s gal pal Gayle King.

But where is that biopic? Legendary columnist Liz Smith, stated on Variety.com:

There is, of course, word whizzing about for a movie. In late 2007, Oprah announced her plan to star Alicia Keys as Lena in a biopic. But we haven’t heard anything on that front since.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1917. At 17 years old she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade and would go on to join several other orchestras and bands. Lena received immense pressure from management and industry insiders (Black and white) to “pass” for white or Hispanic. Horne aggressively refused, and when she finally came to Hollywood she even refused to play a maid.

Lena Horne was considered to play the lead role in 1951’s Showboat, but Ava Gardner was chosen because interracial relationships were banned in films. However, according to Wikipedia, “MGM executives required Gardner to practice her singing using recordings of Horne performing the songs, which offended both actresses.” Ain’t that something?

This is a biopic that we need and I can’t understand why no one is on it, considering biopics are often successful and sometimes Oscar-worthy.

First, Janet Jackson was set to play Lena Horne but allegedly was booted from the project after the infamous “wardrobe malfunction.” The biopic was set to be a made for TV movie on ABC.

Then, as Smith mentioned, Alicia Keys was to play Horne, but all talks of that have vanished.

I want to see the film made but I would love to see an actor tackle the role instead of a singer. Paula Patton, Jurnee Smollett, or even Nicole Ari Parker would be good choices.

Who would you like to see in a Lena Horne biopic?

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40th NAACP Image Award Nominations

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 12:30 am.

While “The 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards” is this Sunday, the NAACP announced their 40th Annual Image Award nominations yesterday.  Nominees include Will Smith, Don Cheadle, and Derek Luke.  Also, the five main cast members from “The Secret Life of Bees” all received nominations.  According to NAACP.org:

“The ABC network leads with a total of 24 nominations, followed by CBS with 14, and The CW and NBC both with 10. HBO has 9, with FOX coming in with 7. Television shows ‘Tyler Perry’s House of Payne’ received 6 nominations, followed by ‘Ugly Betty’ with 5 and ‘Everybody Hates Chris’, ‘The Game’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ each with 4.

Columbia Records leads the Recording category with 8 nominations, including 5 for Beyoncé. J Records and Arista both followed with 6 nominations apiece, and Island Def Jam has 4.

In the Motion Picture category, Fox Searchlight received 11 nominations. Sony Music Films/Parkwood Pictures follows with 7 nominations, and Columbia Pictures, Lionsgate and Sony Pictures Classics each have 3.”

The 40th NAACP Image Awards will be hosted by Tyler Perry and Oscar-winner Halle Berry on Thursday, February 12th.  Click here for the complete list of nomiees.

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Alicia Keys to Play Lena Horne

Published by on Friday, December 14, 2007 at 5:28 pm.

Alicia Keys has been cast to play legendary singer Lena Horne in an upcoming biopic produced by Oprah Winfrey, according the singer’s website, AliciaKeys.net. The film will likely evolve around Horne’s rise to fame after singing the hit song, “Stormy Weather” in 1943. Filming is expected to start next year.

What do y’all think? She definitely resembles the legendary singer. Think she can pull it off?

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