Monday, January 16, 2012

Celebrity Personal Trainer, Tony Martinez, Talks Weight Loss Tips & Janet Jackson

January...February. The scene is set in Hollywood for a marathon of televised award shows, red carpet appearances, interviews, and after parties.  It's also the time when looking good from every angle without the help of filtered lighting and "fixing it in post" is necessary. And that's where the talents of celebrity fitness trainer, Tony Martinez, come into play behind the scenes.

He's whipped into shape Britney Spears, Pink, Steve Harvey, the Jonas Brothas, LA's Sheriff SWAT, and of course, Janet Jackson. So I asked Tony to reveal a few of his fitness tips he shares with clients when they have to shed pounds quickly for cameras and flashing lights.  His "trickeration" as he calls it, will not only work for celebs but for anyone seeking to loose a few pounds in a short amount of time.

And yes, we discuss Janet--the woman who puts the "D" in "discipline" and how his philosophy on working out less but more intelligently has been so effective with her.  You'll hear also in our chat why even he likes NutriSystem as a part of his personal fitness lifestyle. So get ready to workout smarter in 2012!

Oh but before you press play below, look at Tony in the including photo above. Can you say DELTOIDS! FELLAS do you want sexy shoulders like that? I looked out for you and asked Tony what exercises work specifically for YOU FELLAS to help you look better on the red carpet and in your tank tops this summer!

Want even more fitness and workout tips, visit Tony's website, and ask him your burning exercise and nutrition questions.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Joyful Noise: Will The Church Say, "Amen?"

Picture it! 2011...Choir practice at a thriving A.M.E. Church (that's African Methodist Episcopal for you non "church" folk). The ensemble is rocking, clapping, singing "in the spirit." Sitting on a pew listening is a young man. Inspired by what he's heard, he surprisingly jumps into the aisle and shouts, "Make a joyful noise up in dis bitch!"

And that described scene is what makes "Joyful Noise," Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton's new church-themed film, a little edgier than most films in this growing category. One other factor that makes it stand out is its great mix of secular and religious music in the genre Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary are now famous for--speaking of which, he's in the film.  But traditional gospel fans don't fret, there's some oldie-but-goodies thrown in too for good measure.

What's interesting throughout the film is the underlying theme of diversity on various levels. There's interracial relationships, the combining of various styles of music from country to gospel to R&B and Hip Hop, and a mix of "good" Christian folk knowingly acting badly including fornicating. Did I say the "F-word"? Yep! Church folk don't clutch the cross so hard, ain't nothing new!  Check the old and new testaments! We all fall short right?

The story centers around the "breaking-the-rules" G.G. Sparrow (Dolly) and traditionalist, Vi Rose Hill (Queen) who are forced to work together to help the choir win the national "Joyful Noise" competition.  If you're thinking "Sister Act 2" keep thinking it! Still, the two work well together on screen to bring the drama, some laughter, and great musical performances.

My only complaint is Dolly's nips-and-tucks, NOT in her well preserved face, but in her choir robe! The altering of her choir robe to accent  her curvy figure constantly reminded me I was watching the award winning country singer Dolly Parton--a woman just as famous for her big breast and itty-bitty waste as she is for her voice. But THAT'S NO DISS TO DOLLY! I'm just saying CHOIR robes are meant to bring attention to your voice not your body. However, her character's other church attire IS BANGING! The tailored suits and hats are FIERCE!

Then there's teenagers, KeKe Palmer and cutie pie Jeremy Jordon.  I knew KeKe, now 18, was a great singer and had grown up, but in my mind she was still a youngster at the spelling bee.  LAWD, to see her kissing a boy and acting grown took an adjustment. But once I made it, I thoroughly enjoyed watching her and Jeremy together. And yeah, I could tell she too was making the adjustment because she appeared to be catching up to Jeremy in their kissing scenes.

But that's no real complaint because Olivia, KeKe's role, is supposed to be less experienced in life and love than Randy (Jordon). Her newness in real on-screen kissing fit the part. It's official Keke Palmer is NOT a kid anymore! Her dramatic mother-daughter scenes with Queen are really strong, proving again KeKe is also growing up and stronger as an actress.

Randy is the redeemable "bad boy." He's musically talented and experienced, but the whole reason he ends up visiting his grandma G.G. isn't really explained. There's mention of being thrown out by his mom, yet he never calls her nor his dad. Considering the attention given to the parent-teen relationship between Vi Rose and Olivia, it seems odd to leave Randy's family background unexplored.

Speaking of Queen. I'm always amazed at how well she plays the mother role in films. She has no kids,  so where does she "pull" from? May be her own mom? Whatever it is, it works. And "Joyful Noise", is one of the best films she's executive produced that showcases how multi-talented she is in front of and behind the camera.

Lastly, undoubtedly the soundtrack and the cast are big selling points, but not big enough to get some of YOU to the theater and not wait for DVD or On-Demand.  UNDERSTAND, films like this NEED support at the box office to show the powers that be there is an audience for them.  JOYFUL NOISE may not be the film for everybody, but if enough of the people that IS for make theater registers go CHA- CHING, you'll see more films like it made.  Amen and Amen!

Listen to and download the GREAT soundtrack!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Red Tails' George Lucas On Getting A Black Movie Made In Hollywood

There's much buzz online about George Lucas' Tuskegee Airman film, "Red Tails." In a recent "Daily Show" interview with Jon Stewart the legendary filmmaker explains why mainstream Hollywood clipped even his wings when it came to backing this film. Surprising? Yes and no!

What may be surprising is that even with with his legendary list of big screen successes including "Stars Wars", "Indiana Jones", etc., Lucas was treated like a black red headed step child when he asked the studios to produce "Red Tails." But what doesn't come as a surprise is why.  Listen to the interview as he explains to Jon the major challenges he faced in getting this great movie to screen. And yes, I've seen it! It hits theaters January 20th, a few days after Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday--talk about a strategic move!

"This is not a movie about victims; this is a movie about heroes," said Lucas. I love that quote! But  let's compare and contrast  two stories told from different heroic perspectives, "The Help" and "Red Tails." Will mainstream audiences--code word for whites--financially support "Red Tails" as they did "The Help?"

Both are historical dramatic films inspired by true events in American history and black culture. Both are produced by mostly whites, yet have blacks in leading roles. Both were directed by first-time film directors. "The Help" mostly appeals to women; "Red Tails," an action war movie, naturally appeals to men but holds much appeal to women.

"The Help" paints a very different portrait of unassuming American heroes embodied by black women, while "Red Tails" is more traditional heroism as a league of black male soldiers save the day. Not to mention, "The Help," which was based on a best-selling novel already had a huge, eager audience awaiting the film version. Back in 1995, we were given the cinematic and memorable "The Tuskegee Airman"   on the small screen. Likewise, many have been anxiously awaiting this big screen version.

But despite "The Help's" success as a novel, the film's imagery irked many black folk, that could not see past some of its familiar "mammy" imagery. Yet despite it's "appearance" mostly black and white women propelled the film into major box office success domestically. Some would argue mostly white women.

Oppositely, "Red Tails" provides historical imagery white audiences--generally speaking--ARE NOT accustomed to seeing on the big screen. That's black men as HEROIC PATRIOTS, AVIATORS no less--men that use their intelligence NOT brute strength nor mystical powers to save others. There's no climactic throwing or passing of pigskin, harmonious singing and smiling, dance scenes, nor overly sexual and violent men. And there's also NO white male leading them to victory. Thus, it holds no appeal to mainstream audiences by Hollywood standards.

So will white audiences break away from tradition and PAY to see "Red Tails" just as they've supported "The Help?" Will producer George Lucas & co-writer John Ridley be the draw? I have my suspicions. But at the end of the day, Hollywood doesn't care about black or white, it cares about green as Lucas said. The most important question is can we make "Red Tails" PROFITABLE!

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