Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Iron Man: Robert Downey Jr. Is The Man!


If that clip doesn't convince you to see Iron Man this Friday, nothing will! Amazing special effects, explosions, and a wealthy, playboy leading man that parties like a rock star...what more can you ask for in a movie about a superhero without supernatural powers?

Truly, you can't help but like Robert Downey, Jr. as super rich weapons manufacturer, Tony Starks. He's funny, irreverent, boyishly charming, and genius--characteristics that serve him well with the ladies, but not so with Afghanistan terrorist. While visiting the country to show off his new toy of mass destruction, he is gravely injured and kidnapped by his customers. When he realizes his own weapons were used against him, Stark decides to "get out the business".

But before he can change professions, he must first keep himself alive. Shrapnel metal threatens Stark's heart and his captives threaten to kill him if he doesn't make them his new Jericho missile. So with the help of fellow inmate, Dr. Yinsen (Shaun Toub), who created a protective device for his heart, Stark designs a plan and a full armored suit complete with guns and fire blowers to help him escape.

Once back on American soil, his new mission in life is clear--rid the world of the ubiquitous weapons Stark Industries created in enemy possession. But not everyone on his team is down with his new "save the world" direction, including his chief executive, Obadiah (Beau Bridges) and Air Force buddy, Jim (Terrance Howard). Not even his ever faithful assistant, Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) understands his new change of heart. So Stark, like most heroes, must walk or in this case, fly alone to do what he feels is right.

But Stark is not totally alone. In his lab, a team of robotic "friends" and assistants help him create the metallic lean, mean fighting machine Iron Man fans have come to love. And with their artificial intelligence combined with his super intelligence, Tony Stark sets out to right the world's wrongs. Am I telling you anything you already didn't know? I didn't think so.

Click the widget below to see more scenes from the film. And be sure to head to the theaters early, real early this Friday for Iron Man's opening night.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

GLAAD Media Awards Red Carpet

I'm so GLAAD I had the opportunity to not only cover the red carpet of the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, but also to attend the show. In doing so I wanted to share some insight into organization's People of Color Media Program (POC) and it's relevance to the community. I felt too that it was important to give those nominees and attendees of color the press they deserve, but rarely get by media outlets in their own racial communities.

Video 1: National President shares why the event is important and why the POC exists.


Video 2: Hear from some nominees and attendees why the POC program is important to them and humorous "marriage" announcements.


Video 3: Honoree, Janet Jackson, talks about her first introduction to the gay lifestyle and why she is receiving the Vanguard Award.


On a personal note, I got every interview I wanted but one with Ms. Jackson. But this time, I actually got the attention of her publicists, begged for an interview, and they surprisingly brought her over to me and the journalist standing next to me to do a joint interview. Unfortunately, in the second I took to look in the viewfinder to frame my shot, I lost the interview to him. And before I could ask any question at all she was whisked away. But that's life on the red carpet. Windows of opportunity to talk to A-listers can often close as soon as they open.

Unlike most of the award shows I've attended, this one was devoid of several musical performances or host wardrobe changes. Instead it was a night of touching speeches and often humorous personal stories from a range of gay and straight people including Cindy Crawford, Sharon Stone, Gary Marshall, and Ellen Degeneres. There was also too plenty of fundraising with silent auctions and pledge donations. Overall it felt less like a televised award presentation and more like a large family reunion. Visit GLAAD.org to get more information. And check your local listings for Bravo's broadcast of the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards later this year.

Personal thanks to GLAAD's Cindi Creager, Nick Adams, BWR-PR, and 3rd Rail Enterprises

Friday, April 25, 2008

Baby Mama Comedy: No Drama!

"Never put all your eggs in one basket" never rang truer than in Universal Studio's new gestational comedy, Baby Mama. Starring Saturday Night Live's alumni Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the film tells the story of baby-craving Kate Holbrook, an organic grocery chain executive. At 37, she's at the top of her career game but in the area of motherhood she feels decidedly at the bottom.

Single with no baby daddies on the horizon, Kate visits a sperm bank and tries to impregnate herself without success. The problem: a T-shaped uterus that's literally taking a "time out" according to her doctor. Undeterred, Kate decides to hire a surrogate through Chaffee Bicknell's (Sigourney Weaver) surrogacy center. Enter the baby mama drama!

Portrayed by Amy Poehler (Blades of Glory), Angie Ostrowiski is hired to give birth to Kate's bundle of joy. But when Angie leaves her common-law husband , Carl (Dax Shepard), and moves in with Kate, the two women realize they are far opposites of each other. And its those opposites that produce the funniest scenes of the film.

From Kate getting all up in Angie's "bidness" to Angie taking care of her "bidness" in Kate's bathroom sink, these two women hilariously disagree on everything. Yet, slowly but surely they find a common ground and discover their ying and yang relationship might last beyond nine months. Helping the duo with their balancing act is Oscar (The 40 year old Virgin's Romany Malco), the doorman. He befriends Angie and gives her some insight into Kate's life.

No stranger either to giving birth to comedy on stage and screen is Steve Martin. In Baby Mama he's Barry, Kate's "hippie" boss and founder of Round Earth Organic Market. When he announces that he wants her to open a new store, Kate once again feels the internal tug-of-war between career and motherhood. But in her quest to meet the new job demands, she actually finds a potential love interest that might knock her up the old fashion way.

On a scale of one to five with five representing "a must see", I give Baby Mama four and half EPTs--early pregnancy tests. But while enjoying the film, I couldn't help but realize that if Tina and Amy were replaced by African-American women this film titled, Baby Mama, would have been treated totally differently. Regardless, the movie is in theaters now and I would suggest seeing it with friends, especially those with biological clocks that chime every hour.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bravo! to GLAAD Media Awards

The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tyra Banks Show, CNN, My Name is Earl, and Janet Jackson--what could they all possibly have in common? Besides being popular names and faces on television, they're all--with the exception of Ms. Jackson--"glad" media award nominees. That's actually G-L-A-A-D, the acronym for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Saturday, April 26th, Bravo will tape the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles at the Kodak Theater then broadcast it later this year. And why is this broadcast so news worthy? Because, this will be the first telecast of the event on a fully distributed national cable network.

"The GLAAD Media Awards have grown to be GLAAD’s most visible media program. This partnership is a tremendous opportunity for a national audience to learn about and celebrate the extraordinary nominees and honorees that exemplify the spirit of inclusion which we seek,” says National President, Neil G. Giuliano.

In that spirit of inclusion GLAAD created the People of Color Media Program in 2003 to ensure fair and inclusive representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transexual (LGBT) people of color and events in the media. And within that program exists the Communities of African Descent (COAD) and other nationalities. That is also what all the names mentioned earlier have in common--they're all COAD Media Award nominees. Visit HERE to see a complete list.

Of the COAD participants, multiple Grammy winner and Oscar nominated Janet Jackson will be honored with the prestigious Vanguard Award this year. The award is given to those who have used their work to increase the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. Celebrity Janet fan and talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres will present her the award. Former COAD Media Award Recipients include Patti Labelle, Rev. Cecil Williams, Jennifer Beals, Paris Barclay, Whoopi Goldberg, and RuPaul.

Watch the video to see all the nominees of the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards airing this Saturday on Bravo.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Ed Hardy Fashion Experience






Thursday, April 17, 2008

Alicia Keys: Conspiracy Theorist?

Multiple Grammy Award winning singer and actress, Alicia Keys, has been getting hit pretty hard in the press lately thanks to a recent Blender Magazine article and rapper, 50 Cent's, two cents worth on her comments.

Associated Press reported that Keys is quoted in the Blender May issue as saying "Gangster rap was a ploy to get black people to kill each other" and that she dons a gold AK 47 pendant around her neck to symbolize "strength, power, and killing 'em dead"--a throwback to some sort of militant Black Panther thinking.

But Keys says her comments have been misrepresented. Here's her statement taken from MSNBC.com:
“My comments about ‘gangsta rap’ were in no way trying to suggest that the government is responsible for creating this genre of rap music,” Keys said in a statement issued by J Records. “The point that I was trying to make was that the term was oversloganized by some of the media causing reactions that were not always positive. Many of the ‘gangsta rap’ lyrics articulate the problems of the artists’ experiences and I think all of us, including our leaders, could be doing more to address these problems including drugs, gang violence, crime, and other related social issues.”
And what about the "kill 'em dead" comment?
“as an acronym for Alicia Keys and a metaphor for wowing people with my music and performances, ‘killing ’em dead’ on stage. The reference was in no way meant to have a literal, political or negative connotation.”

Here's my little theory: Although Blender is standing by its article, I'm willing to bet the writer saw a chance to paint a different picture of the Keys we've come know publicly and ran with it. Controversy sells! Which is why now "Fiddy" Cent's anti-Alicia Keys comments are popping up all over the internet and in the press. I'm not reprinting them, but they can be found on AOL News HERE.

So when some reporters can not find controversy, many get creative. Notice how the lines between entertainment and journalism have thinned considerably over the years, just like those separating love and hate in a bad relationship. It's no wonder press rooms are devoid of celebrities eager to talk after major industry events.

So if Alicia Keys is such an angry militant and conspiracy theorist as Blender portrays her, why would Dove soap and MTV continue trusting her as the face of their new marketing campaign?

Fresh Takes
, a new microseries featuring Keys is running on MTV as part of an ad campaign for Dove. In the series, three close friends--all in their 20s--take a bite out of the Big Apple and in the process discover more about themselves than big city living. It's not quite Sex in the City, but it's still good chick flick viewing. And midway in the series, Award-winning actress, Lynn Whitfield, makes an appearance as Key's lively mother.

To view all the episodes and to get more info on the series click HERE to visit Dove's site. MTV.com is also streaming Fresh Takes so just click the title to see the series and all the network's exclusive extras.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Humor Mill Magazine

We've all heard that a good reporter never reveals his sources. Whatever! My days of of hard news are over and now all I want to do is report the good news. And to help me do just that is the digital magazine called, The Humor Mill. I like this mag so much I thought I'd do a blog about it. Wanna see it? Well here it go!

Keeping readers abreast of what's new in comedy and entertainment, this online publication is very aesthetically pleasing and most importantly, informative. Applause to publisher, Frank Holder, and the writers! All you Hooked On Phonics and damn-near blind readers, there are even special tools for you too. Thanks to the mags digital format, you can zoom in or out to make pages easier to read and even turn the pages with just a click. And for those you of that only want to see the pretty celebrity pictures, there's plenty of them too.

Click HERE to read this issue

Featured in this current issue is the ubiquitous voice of God--veteran thespian, Keith David. From commercials to feature films, to documentaries and promo reels, David's distinctive voice is used in show biz more than most realize. Also in this issue, catch up with the Wayans brothers, David Allen Grier, Tyrese, and Soul Food's, the series, Vanessa Williams.

BREAKING NEWS: The Humor Mill is also reporting that Spike Lee is still in town shooting a doc about the life of famed LA Laker, Kobe Bryant. Expect it on ESPN or ABC sometime next year.

Check out the covers of some previous issues, then visit The Humor Mill's website to sign up for a free subscription. Just click the title. Happy viewing!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Street Kings: To Protect And Serve Who?

Up to his eyeballs in police corruption a veteran LAPD detective finds himself asking, "What happened to just locking up bad people?," in Fox Searchlight Pictures' new gripping cop drama, Street Kings. But does the answer hide in the heart of a city notorious for police brutality and unsolved murders of Hip Hop legends?--and yes, I'm talking Los Angeles--most likely.

As part of a special unit, Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves, Matrix) and his partner Terrance Washington (Terry Crews, Everybody Hates Chris) get involved in several questionable activities. When Washington turns "snitch" and is murdered, all eyes look toward Ludlow as the prime suspect. So Ludlow strikes out on his own with the help of young Officer Diskant (Chris Evans, The Nanny Diaries) to discover who really killed his partner and why. But what he discovers is a convoluted web of lies and cover-ups so deep that soon he realizes no one can be trusted.

Seemingly trying to save Ludlow from himself is his superior officer, Captain Wander (Forest Whitaker, The Great Debators). An ambitious man, his sights are set on the mayor's office and then possibly world domination judging his tactics. He keeps a tight reign on his special unit, especially star cop Ludlow, so who's keeping a careful eye on all of them? Internal Affairs. IA is set to blow the whistle on the whole crooked situation thanks to pushy Captain Biggs (Hugh Laury, House). But with no concrete evidence all he can really do is blow smoke.

Training Day movie fans will undoubtedly see some comparisons in Street Kings. It's directed by Day writer, David Ayer. What you may find surprising are the convincing performances of usually funny man, Cedric the Entertainer, as a reluctant police informant and Pirates of Caribbean's, Naomie Harris, as Washington's bitter widow.

And to no surprise, adding to the notion that Hip Hop and crime make great music together, rappers-slash-actors, Common and The Game, both tear pages from their lyric books to portray criminals they sometimes rap about. However, don't let that statement lower your expectations. Game and Common are very good in their individual portrayals and add to the great mix of familiar and not so familiar talents in Street Kings.

The film opens nationwide TOMORROW. Until then see this behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the film and listen to interviews with the cast.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Lamman Rucker Talks With Essence.com

Just look what or better yet who I stumbled upon in my internet travels today. The talented thespian, Lamman Rucker, star of Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? and Meet the Browns. "WOW!," is all I can say about this picture!

In an interview with Essence.com the Hollywood hunk talks about getting roles for his acting chops not his chiseled pecs and shoulders pictured left, well defined six pack, gorgeous bright smile surrounded by his yummy chocolate complexion, slightly dimpled chin or ...I'm sorry I digressed. Back to the article!

With writer Kenya Byrd, the D.C. native also shares a personal story about losing his little brother "to the streets" in '92, alleged romances with Jill Scott and Toccara, his take on Hip Hop and it's depiction of black women, and his newest project, Ball Don't Lie. Here's an excerpt:

Essence.com: Tell me about Ball Don’t Lie.

I play Trey and I’m on the street basketball team. The film is based on a book by Matt de La Pena and is about this young White kid who is placed in foster care after his mother tragically dies. He is an orphan and poor, which drives home the point that at-risk youth don’t just exist in the Black community. At the end of the day, it’s more a matter of economics than race. In the end, basketball becomes his saving grace when he discovers the recreation center in the hood, where some serious street ball is played by much older and more experienced players. So not only must this young guy adapt to an older generation but to their athletic prowess.

To read the rest of the interview visit Essence.com or just click HERE. Be sure to check out his baby pics too while there!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Spike Lee: New Film Yet Old Challenges

Arguably one of the most prolific and thought provoking directors in cinematic history--black or white--Spike Lee has made an indelible impact to the world of filmmaking as a whole. From breaking new talent before the camera to inspiring and training the next generation of creatives behind the lens, Lee is a visionary on a mission to get films made by any means necessary.

Recently at Los Angeles' Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Chrysler LLC, honored the multi-talented director, producer, writer, and actor with its 6th Annual Behind the Lens Award for his employment of African Americans in key roles behind the camera. Yet despite numerous awards--including Academy Award nominations, a critically acclaimed body of work, and a recent box office success with Inside Man, it's still a challenge for Lee to get films produced in Hollywood. In an intimate press conference before the Chrysler event, he explains why.


So what can we look forward to in his new war epic Miracle at St. Anna?


During red carpet arrivals of the 6th Annual Behind the Lens event, I joined an interview in progress with Micheal Ealy and EURweb.com's, Lee Bailey. In it Ealy talks about his pivotal role in Miracle at St. Anna and what he hopes audiences will take from it.


But Miracle at St. Anna is not all that Spike Lee has too look forward to this year. Thanks to his vision and fundraising efforts, young minds at historically black colleges and universities in Atlanta will now be able to major in sports journalism.


Each one, teach one. Thank you Spike!

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