Day: December 19, 2012

A Scripted Drama Series About The Birth Of Hip-Hop In Development At Starz

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At first glance, I thought this was another documentary on the history through present-day hip-hop, but thankfully it’s not. According to Deadline, it’s apparently going to be a scripted drama series, which will chart “the birth of hip-hop from the violence of gang life in 1970s Bronx.” It’ll be penned by Patrick Macmanus (co-writing the CW’s Sleepy Hollow) for the Starz network.  To be titled Turf, no other info is available on this project yet, like how broad the narrative will stretch, or whether it’ll take more of a micro view, focusing on very specific people, and following their stories. Also, I can’t really comment on Macmanus, as I’m not familiar with the man’s work. Unless there’s another Patrick Macmanus who isn’t listed on IMDB, the Macmanus that is listed has a resume that show’s he’s primarily an actor, with parts on TV series like CSI and JAG, but nothing consistent. Deadline says he was on the writing staff for 2 other Starz series: Marco Polo and Noir.

Stay tuned…

So who’s going to play DJ Kool Herc?

HBO Is Adapting Lydia Diamond’s Broadway Play ‘Stick Fly’ For The Screen (Alicia Keys Producing)

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Interesting…

An screen adaptation of Lydia R. Diamond’s play Stick Fly has been ordered by HBO. You’ll recall that a recent Broadway run of the play was produced by Alicia Keys and Reuben Cannon, with Kenny Leon directing, and a cast that included Ruben Santiago-HudsonDulé HillMekhi PhiferTracie Thoms, and Condola Rashad, who was nominated for a Tony Award (Best Featured Actress) for her performance.  As I recall, the play was met with mixed reviews, opening on December 08, 2011, and closing on February 26, 2012. Stick Fly chronicles the a weekend of secrets, prejudice, hypocrisy and adultery that are exposed during a well-to-do African American family’s weekend stay at their home in Martha’s Vineyard. And now the family dramedy is headed to the small screen, in what will be an hour-long drama, adapted by the playwright (Lydia Diamond), with Alicia Keys and Nelle Nugent executive producing along with HBO. Word is that HBO has only committed to a script, so a lot of work still has to be done before we see this fully realized on our TV screens.

No word on whether the stage cast will follow Diamond, Keys and the play to the screen.

Stay tuned…

Watch 1st Promo For New VH1 Series ‘Black Ink Crew’ (On Black-Owned Harlem Tattoo Shop)

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In August, the network revealed its new season lineup of shows, introducing a slate of original programs that reflect the interests of what it called its “adultster” audience – “adults who are balancing new responsibilities with their desires to stay current with what’s happening in music and pop culture.

Amongst the new titles announced was the greenlight of a new series titled Black Ink Crew, which centers on a successful Harlem tattoo shop staffed by a tight crew of employees, who boast hip hop stars, athletes and celebrities as clients.

It’s a reality TV series obviously; here’s the breakdown:

Enter the world of the “Black Ink Crew” and meet the girls and guys that run this black-owned and operated tattoo shop on 113th and Lennox, right in the heart of NYC’s Harlem. The employees are a tight, but totally dysfunctional “family.” For many of them, this shop is the key to turning their lives around, and for some of them, it’s their first legitimate job off the streets. Black Ink is more than just a tattoo shop to the people who work there. The shop is also a magnet for hip-hop stars and athletes, but the real flavor comes from the quite colorful characters that walk into the shop on a daily basis. Inside the doors of Black Ink, you never know what you are going to get. From the sexy new girl on the block, Dutchess, to the party animal of the group, Puma, the characters are crazy, sexy and, most of all, loveable. This hour-long docu-series follows the lives of Ceasar, Dutchess, Alex, Sassy, Puma, and O’Sh!t, as they work, live, party, and hang out in Harlem. “Black Ink Crew” explores the friendships, crushes, rivalries and craziness that comes when a group of friends become family. 

Black Ink Crew is executive produced by Dan Cesareo, Doug DePriest and Ken Martinez for Big Fish Entertainment.

Announced a weeks ago, VH1 has set the new series’ premiere date for Monday, January 7th at 9 PM ET/PT, and ahead of that, the show’s first trailer has been release, link shown below:

http://www.vh1.com/video/misc/866562/black-ink-crew-promo.jhtml

Movie Review: ‘Jack Reacher’ Is The Rare Franchise-Starter That Makes You Hungry For More

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Much of the hoopla surrounding “Jack Reacher,” the first adaptation of the insanely popular series of Lee Child-penned thrillers, has had to do with the casting of the diminutive Tom Cruise in the title role. As described in the novels, Reacher is, physically speaking, a brute – close-cropped blonde hair, nearly seven-feet tall, well over 200 pounds. In one of the novels he literally crushes a dude’s skull with his bare hands. By comparison, Tom Cruise could fit snugly into a standard-sized teacup, is slimmer than an iPhone 5, and has muddy brown hair. But one of the more miraculous things about “Jack Reacher,” an altogether entertaining and completely surprising pulp romp, is how Cruise embodies the Reacher character in the way he moves, the way he glances, and the way he talks (or doesn’t talk). It doesn’t matter that Tom Cruise is the tiny, snuggly version of Jack Reacher. He is still, very much, Jack Reacher. The film opens, somewhat uncomfortably given recent events, with a sniper attack on a random group of people in Pittsburgh. (The discomfort levels skyrocket when there is a shot of him lining up a small child in his crosshairs.) After an unstable former military sniper is brought in and charged with the crimes, he makes one request: bring in Jack Reacher. Reacher is a former military policeman who now lives as a drifter, almost entirely off the grid – his sole possessions are his ATM card, a travel-sized toothbrush, and the clothes on his back. By the time Reacher makes it to Pittsburgh, the sniper has already been brutalized by fellow inmates and lies in a coma. Although Reacher can’t question the sniper, he is convinced of his guilt (Reacher brought him in for killing some military contractors overseas years earlier), but sticks around anyway, compelled by his true north-moral compass. The sniper’s public defender, Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike, somewhat underwhelming), wants to hire Reacher to help with the case – she understands that he is a crack investigator and wants to know what he turns up, even if it implicitly involves her father, the DA (Richard Jenkins). Reacher, too, comes under fire from the case’s lead investigator, Emerson (David Oyelowo), who doesn’t like this drifter interfering with his case, even if he is “working” for the younger Rodin.

“Jack Reacher”‘s plot is fairly inconsequential, with an overtly complicated conspiracy that involves a “Chinatown“-style land grab and a villain known as The Zec (played, amazingly, by Werner Herzog), who, as a Siberian prisoner, was forced to chew off all but two of his fingers, to stop the onset of frostbite. Ick. The movie does have a wonderful sense of mood and a fairly luxurious pace, which for once doesn’t hinder the forward momentum of its pulpy dime-store-novel plot but instead gives it some much-needed room to establish atmosphere and character. Along the way there are some truly incredible action movie beats, including a car chase that is filmed in long, unbroken cuts that make it seem like Tom Cruise is actually piloting his vintage muscle car through the rain-slicked streets of Pittsburgh (because he was), but “Jack Reacher” is much more of a thriller than a brawny action piece. As written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the screenwriter who made a splash with Bryan Singer‘s “The Usual Suspects” and previously wrote and directed the down-and-dirty crime movie “The Way of the Gun,” “Jack Reacher” (both the character and the movie) is a throwback – to a time when heroes didn’t dress up in sparkly tights and fly through the air. McQuarrie both wrote and directed the film economically; there aren’t any grand speeches or mouthfuls of exposition, and there are a number of lengthy sequences that are edited together wordlessly, putting an emphasis on the actual images (stark, well-composed) that seems positively out of place amongst the ADD, shaky cam style that reigns supreme amongst today’s action filmmakers. A lot of times, “Jack Reacher” feels like an early John McTiernan film, with its silky camerawork (look at those lens flares!) and a lead who is vulnerable and human, which might be its biggest distinction in the age of the cinematic superhero. CONTINUE READING

GUEST EDITOR BILL BELLAMY TALKS “MR. BOX OFFICE,” TOUR INSPIRED BY TEDDY PENDERGRASS AND STAYING RELEVANT

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Comedian Bill Bellamy has capitalized off time spent in this industry by knowing how to make power moves. In the past, he’s performed on Def Comedy Jam, was the voice of Nickelodeon’s “Cousin Skeeter”, has been a host on MTV and starred in films such as Love JonesHow To Be a Player and The Brothers. After 20-plus years in the game, he still has a stash of tricks up his sleeve. Lately, he’s produced material to cater to all audiences, so there’s plenty of him to go around. Sitcom junkies can tune into his new syndicated TV show “Mr. Box Office,” which hit small screens in September. Bellamy plays Marcus Jackson, a member of Hollywood’s elite who slipped up and is condemned to do community service teaching at a rough high school. Over time, Marcus learns to look beyond his bubble of fame to discover how real people deal with tough situations, becoming a better him in the process. Bellamy drew from his own experiences to further connect with the character.

“He never really had to do anything that had any substance. Before I had kids, I didn’t have any real, down to earth ground-age,” he says while reminiscing on carefree days spent in the company of Janet and Jackson, Whitney Houston, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Tupac. “Now in my real life, I have a family and I have more purpose. I utilize that in the show. [It’s] cool to be making the money and to have all the stuff that we can dream of, but it’s also good to be a good person and be about something, too.” READ MORE

LEBRON JAMES THROWS UP AN INSANE STAT LINE; BROOKLYN BLOWS A CHANCE TO STEAL A WIN

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Sometimes we wish the NBA was more like the NFL. In football, you must bring your best effort or you’ll be left looking like Mark Sanchez on Monday Night Football, getting your skills compared to Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite. But in basketball, the best teams can drift through games, and then turn up the intensity when they absolutely have to. It happened in Miami last night during the Heat’s 103-92 win over Minnesota. Midway through the third, the Wolves had led most of the way before LeBron (22 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, four blocks… the fifth time in the last 15 years he’s put up those numbers. No one else has done it.) had passes on two consecutive possessions that almost had us spitting out our dinner. First, he threw a backdoor lob to Chris Bosh, who finished with a reverse. Then, James caught a pass on the break and in one motion without coming down out of the air, flicked it forward with a bounce pass to Dwyane Wade (24 points) for a layup. Miami rolled the rest of the way … Kevin Love (18 boards) outrebounded Miami by himself in the first quarter. For a while, he was hitting the glass so aggressively we thought he might challenge the 30-rebound mark, helping to make up for the fact that no one notices he’s shooting 36 percent this year … Toronto ran away from the Cavs in the second half of their 113-99 win. Jose Calderon (23 points, six dimes) was obviously reading DimeMag.com yesterday. After we called him out for basically not being a starting-caliber guard, the Spaniard went out and outplayed Kyrie Irving (23 points, seven assists) for long portions of the game … Speaking of the site, Dion Waiters told us yesterday in his new Rookie Journal that before he got hurt, he hadn’t been attacking the rim like he wanted to. Last night, he had a finish that made whoever originally made the Wade/Waiters comparison look like a genius … Behind 21 a piece from Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer, as well as Joakim Noah‘s second-career triple-double (11 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists), the Bulls destroyed Boston, 100-89. Nate Robinson was a beast off the bench with five treys and 18 points, and after he drained a triple from somewhere outside of the arena in the fourth quarter, Stacey King said Nate has the “nerves of a cat burglar.” READ MORE

Robert Griffin III Sets a New Record for the Most NFL Jerseys Sold in a Year

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Everyone wants a Robert Griffin III jersey right now. No, really, everyone. RG3 just set a new record for the most NFL jerseys sold in one year. And, technically, the NFL’s “year” runs from April 1 to March 31, so the Redskins QB still has more than three months to sell even more jerseys—which he’ll no doubt do if the ‘Skins make the playoffs this season. To be fair to all of the NFL players out there, the league has only been keeping track of jersey sales for about six years now. But, still, it’s an impressive feat for a rookie. And, something tells us it won’t be the last record he breaks during his career. Stay tuned.

RELATED: The Man of Next Year in Sports is Robert Griffin III

[via ESPN]