Archive for "Halle Berry"

This Day in Film: “B.A.P.S.”

Published by Michael Arceneaux on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

(Photo: New Line Cinema)

On this day in 1997, Halle Berry wanted to make audiences laugh again.

Berry, who would go on to win the 2001 Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance inMonster’s Ball, teamed up with actress Natalie Desselle-Reid for the movie B.A.P.S.

The Robert Townsend–directed film featured Berry and Desselle-Reid in the roles of “Nisi” and “Mickey,” two waitresses in Decatur, Georgia, with big dreams of opening the world’s first joint hair salon and soul food restaurant.

Though the film has since become a staple of basic cable and pop-culture folklore, at the time it was widely panned. Noted film critic Roger Ebert gave the film the equally rare and colossally bad rating of zero stars.

In his review, Ebert wrote: “B.A.P.S. is jaw-droppingly bad, a movie so misconceived I wonder why anyone involved wanted to make it.”

His peers seemed to agree, as the film only noted a paltry 13 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

1997 theater-goers were inclined to agree as well. B.A.P.S. was budgeted for $10,000,000 yet only grossed a little more than $7.3 million at the box office.

If nothing else, at least the movie boasted a cameo from Rudy Ray Moore.

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Movie Review: “The Call”

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: Emergency Films)

Summary: Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) is a veteran 911 dispatcher.  After hearing a brutal murder, she becomes emotionally involved with a teenager who is kidnapped and is determined to save the girl.

Review: The Call is not a cinematic masterpiece, but formulaic thrillers never are — the most important, after years of indie flicks and flops, Halle returned to number one at the box office, proving the Oscar winner still can deliver a crowd pleaser.

Directed by Brad Anderson, the film maintains suspense, keeps the viewer excited and includes clever plot twists that are interesting enough for the genre. The Call is a movie you want to see in theaters with an animated audience who comment on everything from Halle’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight” Whitney Houston wig to Abigail Breslin’s fighting-for-her-life character to Morris Chestnut still maintaining his sexy at 44. No, The Call won’t be a film we’ll remember five years or even a year from now, but the popcorn flick isn’t meant to rock the souls of viewers, it’s meant to entertain.

Clearly not set out to bring strong performances, but Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin and Morris Chestnut were surprisingly realistic, which helped redeem the flick that could’ve easily got lost down cheese-ball lane. These are character you are routing for and up until the weak ending, The Call keeps you on the thrill ride.

Due to an abduance of clichés, the last 15 minutes nearly ruin the film: walking in dark basements, thinking the villain is dead when he isn’t it and the overzealous hero.  It appeared the writer and director weren’t sure what to do with the characters so they sloppily tied the plot together with a girl-power message. Nonetheless, the ride of The Call is so worth it.

The Call is on DVD June 25.

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Movie Review: “Cloud Atlas”

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

(Photo: Warner Bros Pictures)

Summary: Interconnecting stories and characters that cross race, gender, time and even film genres prove we live by our “crime and every kindness.”

Review:  The three creators (Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski) of Cloud Atlas clearly know the film based on the best-selling novel is not for everyone. If you were annoyed by Inception, rolled your eyes at Avatar and thought all of the Matrix sequels sucked — Cloud Atlas is your enemy.  Audiences will equally love and hate the mind-bending flick.

As simple as possible, here are breakdowns of the stories: an escaped slave, doctor and lawyer at sea in 1849, an inspiring composer in 1936 Scotland, a nosy reporter in 1973 San Francisco, ballsy senior citizens in a nursing home, a revolt against a corrupt government with an unlikely hero in 2144 Neo Seoul, post-apocalyptic tribes people in the 2300s — yes, a heap to digest. In between, there are wondrous special effects, commentary on race and class and one-line morality zingers (“Love could outlive death,” “Our lives are not our own,” “You ever think the universe was against you?”). Cloud Atlas is a complex mishmash of The Matrix meets Apocalypto meets Amistad — with a touch of Inception and Oprah’s Lifeclass.

Cloud Atlas is also the return of Halle Berry in a big budget film. With Tom Hanks by her side, Berry proves why she is still relevant after over 20 years in the industry. Berry is a star who owns her talent.  Other notables were veteran Keith David and David Gyasi, who played an escaped slave and is definitely someone to watch.

One downfall of the many stories: characters are left unfinished.  You will definitely ask, “What happened to … ?”  But the most powerful and developed plot was 2144 Neo Seoul, a creepy tale of corruption, greed and disregard for human life.  In the end, love is the message, but love does not conquer all.

Outside of Cloud Atlas‘ laborious storyline, the heart of the story is that we are all connected. Not a groundbreaking concept, but the manner in which the film crisscrosses race, gender, class, religion and sexual orientation makes (most of) the 164-minute running time fascinating to watch. Never have I seen so much diversity in a big budget film.  Moreover, the varied stories didn’t feel like tokens; there was a bright authenticity in each character.  Regardless of whether Cloud Atlas always got it right for the nearly three hours it was on screen, the intention was to tell a transcendental story of unity — spiritual and physical. Many times audiences watch films and do not feel represented on the big screen. Everyone is genuinely represented in Cloud Atlas.

That said, Cloud Atlas needed severe editing.  Only a Broadway show should be nearly three hours long — and even the Great White Way has an intermission!

Cloud Atlas is in theaters Friday, October 26.

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David Otunga Joins Halle Berry For “The Hive”

Published by Ronke Reeves on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 11:07 am.

(Photo: Daniel Tanner/WENN.com)

Singer, actress and mom Jennifer Hudson turned into a  publicist for her fiancée David Otunga by announcing his first film role via Twitter.

“Big congratulations to my finance @David Otunga in his 1st movie role with Halle Berry in The Hive,” she tweeted.

Starring Halle Berry and, directed by Brad Anderson, The Hive is about a 911 operator (Berry) who tries to save an abducted girl. The film stars Abigail Breslin and will be produced and co-financed by WWE Studios and Troika Pictures.

That makes sense, since Otunga is a lawyer turned professional wrestler. He began his showbiz career as “Punk” on VH1’s reality series I Love New York 2.

Principal photography for The Hive is scheduled to begin this week and the film is due in theaters in 2013.

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Movie Review: “New Year’s Eve”

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, December 9, 2011 at 12:00 am.

(Photo: New Line Cinema)

Summary: A band of pseudo-New Yorkers are scurrying around Manhattan on December 31, 2011. Love, death, teen drama, family, pregnancy and any other sitcom-type hoopla are stuffed into the Garry Marshall film. Characters include: A nurse (Halle Berry), dying cancer patient (Robert De Niro), New York police officer (Ludacris), lonely teen who wants a boyfriend (Abigail Breslin), New Year’s scrooge (Ashton Kutcher), background singer (Lea Michele), soldier (Common) and the list goes on.

Review: I thought 2010’s Valentine’s Day was bad, but New Year’s Eve managed to sink the all-star comedy ensemble bar even lower. Yeah, it’s fun to play spot the A-lister, but attempting to connect the dots of a messy and hokey storyline is quickly exhausting. Directed by the legendary Garry Marshall, New Year’s Eve drags on with its flavorless gumbo of plots that bizarrely merges after school special laughs and Lifetime movie drama.

The story is dopey and the moral lessons are useless, but I doubt any moviegoer who would actually pay to see New Year’s Eve is expecting a good movie. Furthermore, I’m convinced the actors know the Marshall film is a dud, but it is seasonal entertainment and the actors involved can make a nice check for only a few days of work.

One of the most annoying aspects of New Year’s Eve — and there are many to choose from — is the waste of good actors. For example, one scene includes Hilary Swank, Robert De Niro and Halle Berry — three Oscar winners and some of the most respected actors in Hollywood. When would any of us get all three of them in a film? But their talent wasn’t utilized. Couldn’t their one scene have just a tad of soul?

The worst sin of New Year’s Eve is the insulating presentation of New Year’s Eve in the Big Apple. Hopefully, no one thinks New Year’s Eve in New York City is this boring, clichéd and common. A true New Year’s Eve in New York? You wouldn’t even remember it on January 1.  There is one great piece to the movie — the end credits, which included hilarious bloopers that got the most laughs.

New Year’s Eve is in theaters today.

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This Day in Film: “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”

Published by Michael Arceneaux on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 8:48 am.

(Photo: HBO)

For a while many wondered if a film about the life of the iconic and pioneering actress Dorothy Dandridge would ever be made. Certainly multiple high profile entertainers made the effort through the years. Model-actress Jayne Kennedy, television star Jasmine Guy, model-actress-singer Vanessa Williams, along with pop megastars Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston, all expressed interest in portraying the first Black woman to receive an Academy award nomination for Best Actress.

Ultimately, it was film star Halle Berry who achieved this feat by way of a made for TV biographical drama she dubbed a labor of love. Filmed over a span of a few weeks in early 1998, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge depicted the life of the now legendary starlet – examining her humbling beginnings as a roadhouse circuit performer in the South and going on to become one of the biggest actresses of her time.

Promoted with the tag line, “Right woman. Right place. Wrong time.” the HBO movie also shed light on her personal life, which was filled with much tragedy and heartache. Dandridge died of an overdose of pills in 1965, at the age of 41.

For her efforts, producer and starring actress Halle Berry won an Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award.

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Top Oscar Snubs: Denzel, Spike, Halle, and More

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, February 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm.

Last year’s Academy Awards was something to look forward to. However, 2011 is just another predictable awards show that is flavorless for a variety of reasons. From the New York Times to right here at BET.com, there have been rants on the lack of diversity at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. Out of the 24 categories, not one African-American was nominated.

This year it is less about Black folks being overlooked and more about Black dramatic films not getting the green light in Hollywood. That said, below are some of the most disastrous Oscar snubs.

10. Denzel Washington in Philadelphia (1993)

Although Denzel Washington had already won a best supporting actor Oscar for Glory, the fact that he didn’t get a best supporting act nod for his portrayal of a homophobic lawyer in Philadelphia was unexplainable. The film received five Oscar nominations (won two), but none for Washington.

9. Halle Berry in Things We Lost in the Fire (2007)

Halle already won her Oscar in 2002 for Monster’s Ball, but 2007’s Things We Lost in the Fire was arguably the strongest performance of her career. She and her co-star Benicio Del Toro were completely ignored during the 2008 Academy Awards. Although the film was a box office failure, it was a critical success, which is usually the formula for most Oscar-winning movies.

8. Samuel L. Jackson in Jungle Fever (1991)

In the late ’80s to early ’90s, the unspoken rule in Hollywood was, if you were in a Spike Lee movie, no matter how brilliant you were, it was rare you would be recognized by the Academy Awards. Samuel L. Jackson’s performance as Wesley Snipes’ crackhead brother was unforgettable, but he was snubbed. The hardest-working man in Hollywood has only received one Oscar nomination, for Pulp Fiction in 1995.

7. Sidney Poitier in In the Heat of the Night (1967)

I guess after giving Sidney Poitier an Academy Award in 1964 (the first Black person to win for a leading role) for Lilies of the Field, they passed on even nominating him for In the Heat of the Night in 1967. His performance went down in history when he hollered ‘They call me Mr. Tibbs!” and smacked a racist white sheriff.

6. Angela Bassett in Malcolm X (1992)

Angela Bassett’s portrayal of the late Dr. Betty Shabazz was impassioned and poignant. Even though Denzel Washington received a best actor nod and there was a Best Costume Design nod, the passing of Bassett was the Academy Awards’ biggest error. Right next to ignoring Spike Lee for best director.

5. “Hopeless” by Dionne Farris for Love Jones (1997)

It’s not only actors and directors who get ignored for the Oscars—musicians do too. Dionne Farris‘ “Hopeless” was a big R&B hit and definitely deserved a nod for best original song from a movie, which was, of course, 1997’s Love Jones. Even though there was a buzz that the song was a contender, it got nothing.

4. City of God (2002)

The graphic film about the violent favelas in Brazil received three Oscar nods, but what left many people amazed was that it was ignored for Best Foreign Film. Roger Ebert, one of the most respected film critics in the world, said he was “mad” at the snub.

3. Set It Off (1996)

If Set It Off starred Demi Moore, Gena Davis, Hilary Swank, and Nicole Kidman, the movie would’ve received Oscar nominations across the board—think Thelma & Lousie. Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise all gave incredibly strong performances with a well-written script and good direction by F. Gary Gray. It was no shocker this movie wasn’t received well by the big wigs at the Academy.

2. Do the Right Thing (1989)

It was a national controversy when the Oscars blatantly ignored Spike Lee’s mega successful Do the Right Thing for Best Director and Best Film. The film received two nominations, one for Italian-American Danny Aiello in the Best Supporting Actor category and a nod for Best Screenplay. The legendary Kim Basinger, who was the Angelina Jolie of her time, famously said, “The best film of the year is not even nominated, and it’s Do the Right Thing.”

1. Eve’s Bayou (1997)

Ignoring Eve’s Bayou, which Roger Ebert said was the best film of 1997, was probably the biggest mistake the Oscars ever made when it comes to African-American film. The movie was flawless, with Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitefield, and Debbie Morgan. Ebert famously said, “If it is not nominated for Academy awards, then the Academy is not paying attention.” Well, they surely didn’t.

***

FYI – Oscar snubs are not just a Black thing. Latino actors have been unacknowledged for years (not one nomination for John Leguizamo!), and poor Leonardo Dicaprio, Annette Benning (who will more than likely lose this Sunday to Natalie Portman for Black Swan), and Glenn Close have all suffered legendary Oscar snubs and losses.

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Halle Berry Returns to “New Year’s Eve” Film

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 10:00 am.

Due to a vicious custody battle that spread all over the tabloids and the Web, Oscar-winner Halle Berry bailed out of the film New Year’s Eve and Katherine Heigl replaced her. Now The Hollywood Reporter says that Berry is back on the project: “Berry was freed up this week when a judge in Los Angeles ruled in her favor, making it possible for her to travel with her daughter to New York, where Garry Marshall is shooting New Year’s Eve.”

However, Berry isn’t getting the role she originally had. Heigl is keeping her place and Berry will play a smaller role as a nurse.

In the vein of  2010’s lackluster Valentine’s Day, the Garry Marshall flick is padded with interconnecting plots and a massive all-star cast. Just to name a few: Ice Cube, Robert De Niro, Glee’s Lea Michele, Sex and the City’s Sarah Jessica Parker, and Sofia Vergara.

SOURCE

Photo Credit: STS/WENN.com

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Aretha Responds To Halle: “She Shouldn’t Underestimate Her Own Talent.” Cast Your Vote!

Published by Clay Cane on Monday, January 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm.

Earlier in the month Aretha Franklin told Wendy Williams that Oscar-winner Halle Berry would play her in the long awaited biopic on the Queen of Soul’s life. Halle as Aretha? Most people gave it the side-eye – we all love Halle but she just didn’t seem right as Ms. Franklin. Halle agreed! On the red carpet for the Golden Globes she said, “Someone should tell Aretha that I can’t do her justice!” Also adding that she can’t sing.

Well, Aretha responded to Wendy Williams today with an official statement:

“I would have liked Halle Berry to portray the older Aretha in the upcoming biopic of my life based on my memoir Aretha: From These Roots, she was my first, but not my only choice. Everything is subject to negotiation and she shouldn’t underestimate her own talent. There are a number of other leading ladies out there that can definitely handle the role. I never expected Halle Berry to sing, she’s an actress, not a singer. Many actors have portrayed vocalists by lip-syncing to the artist’s original recordings.”

I also thought Halle saying that she couldn’t sing was odd reasoning — most biopics don’t have the actor singing. But, it looks like that was Halle’s nice way of saying she didn’t want the role. Good choice. As much as Halle is Aretha’s first choice it would be miscasting. Plus, Halle still has her dream role of playing Angela Davis!

Do you think Halle should push herself and play Aretha Franklin?  Cast your vote below.

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Is Anne Hathaway Catwoman? Maybe Batgirl…

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm.

Anne Hathaway is a ridiculously talented actress — if you haven’t seen Rachel Getting Married, rent it immediately. However, the selection of the 2011 Oscar co-host as one of the most iconic female figures in comic books, Catwoman, is a miscast for many Batman fans. Nonetheless, I’m happy it’s not Angelina Jolie.  Zahara’s mama is colonizing everyone’s roles!

Warner Bros. announced that Hathaway will play Catwoman aka Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises, a follow up to 2008’s The Dark Knight.  Hathaway knows how to reinvent herself for a role but this would require a complete overhaul that seems unattainable.  Catwoman?  No.  I see her more as Batgirl!  The clip below is proof.

Anne might surprise us and we all know Halle Berry wasn’t going to reprise her role.  I’d rather see Eva Mendes or Zoe Saldana, but my #1 one pick would be Lucy Liu.

You can’t mention Catwoman without the one who paved the way (shout out to Julie Newmar – the original!), the legendary and late-great Eartha Kitt.  Check out the clip below of Eartha as Catwoman.

Do you see Anne Hathaway as Catwoman?

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