The Playlist

Review: Personality & Buoyant Child Performances Sustain Flawed 'The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete'

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • October 22, 2013 8:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment
“The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” opens with a compression of plight so packed it might set a record. When we first meet Mister (Skylan Brooks), a 14-year-old boy living with his drug-addled mother (Jennifer Hudson) in a squalid apartment, he's flunked out of eight grade, been denied groceries on his mom's welfare card, and had to confront her desperate prostitution done in order to pay for their next meal. These events unfold back-to-back with a convincing depiction of their clichéd truths; but what “Notorious” director George Tillman Jr. and screenwriter Michael Starrbury paint as compelling context for their ensuing tale of two ambitious kids — stranded in New York over a scorching summer — reads instead as a meandering emotional barrage of hardship, however deepened by a pair of lively performances at its core.

Watch: New Trailer & Pics For Long Shelved Biopic 'Winnie Mandela' Starring Jennifer Hudson & Terrence Howard

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 6, 2013 5:03 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Premiering at TIFF way back in 2011 to largely negative reviews, and failing to find a distributor until this past spring, the signs aren't so good for "Winnie Mandela" (formerly known as "Winnie"), the biopic of the wife of the famed South Africa freedom fighter. But perhaps it serves as a curious second half to a double bill for anyone checking out the Idris Elba and Naomi Watts starring "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" this fall.

Watch: Teaser Trailer For 'Black Nativity' Starring Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Forest Whitaker & More

  • By Edward Davis
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  • July 1, 2013 3:41 PM
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  • 0 Comments
 BLACK NATIVITY, Mary J. Blige
With films generally aimed at the smart indie crowd - "Trance," "Stoker," "The Way Way Back," "The East" are just a few released in 2013 -- it's easy to box in Fox Searchlight as mini major film studio aimed 20-something white college kids with disposable income but the studio is actually branching out this year. The romantic comedy "Baggage Claim" starring Paula Patton will be the first African-American-aimed release of the year for the studio in September and arriving two months later will be the musical drama, "Black Nativity."

Aretha Franklin Says Taylor Hackford Is Directing Her Biopic; Wants Denzel Washington To Play Her Dad

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • October 9, 2012 12:39 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Unsurprisingly, an Aretha Franklin biopic is not exactly a new idea – it’s one that’s been tossed around for many years now yet has failed to get off the ground. As far back as 2008, Aretha herself was speaking out about the project, at the time expressing reservations about a non-chronological approach to telling her life story. Well flash forward four years and again it’s Aretha banging the drum about the biopic, and if she’s to be believed then it sounds like it’s a lot closer to becoming a reality than ever before.

Anthony Mackie, Jeffrey Wright, Jordin Sparks & Jennifer Husdon To Discover 'The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 23, 2012 5:22 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It's been seven years since Anthony Mackie and Jeffrey Wright rubbed elbows in "The Manchurian Candidate" remake, and any reason to bring these fave actors of ours back together is something we'll pay attention to. And lo and behold, an indie film has started shooting today pairing them up, along with a couple of rising singers-turned-actresses.

Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett & Jennifer Hudson To Star In Big Screen Adaptation Of Langston Hughes' 'Black Nativity'

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • July 5, 2012 9:07 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Christmas movies, don’t you just love ‘em? Last year we got the child-friendly “Arthur Christmas” and the not so child-friendly “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” but it looks like we should expect to see something very earnest at one of the next few Christmases. Fox Searchlight are prepping “Black Nativity,” a film based on Langston Hughes’ gospel musical, which first played on Broadway back in 1961. According to Variety, the story follows “a young black teen from Baltimore who is sent by his single mother to Harlem to spend Christmas with the grandparents he’s never met. Through his grandfather’s Christmas Eve sermon and a stylized, dream-sequence retelling of the classic Nativity story, he learns the importance of faith and family.”

Garret Hedlund, Amy Adams, Richard Jenkins & Terrence Howard Lead Ace Cast Of Comedy-Drama 'Lullaby'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 19, 2012 12:45 PM
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  • 3 Comments
The jury's still out on the potency of Garret Hedlund's star power. The actor proved reasonably charismatic in his earliest roles in "Troy," "Four Brothers" and the big-screen "Friday Night Lights," but made some questionable choices after that -- see, or rather don't, "Death Sentence" and "Eragon." Since then, the actor was picked out to lead tentpole "Tron: Legacy," but the film was rotten, and Hedlund was pretty bad in it, so he's not quite turned into the leading man that many picked him out as.

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