Wednesday, March 22, 2017
“In America, In America,
I poured my sweat in America
This land is my land, it’s America
I broke my back for America
All the money I make, all these chances I take
Just paying my rent, in America
Won’t just stand around and watch it go down”
[Lyrical excerpt from “In America,” written by John Legend and Dave Tozer]
Los Angeles, March 22, 2017 - Academy Award®, Golden Globe® winner and ten-time Grammy Award® winning visionary John Legend has released “In America,” a new, original song featured in WGN America’s hit TV series “Underground,” produced by Sony Pictures Television. Written by John Legend and Dave Tozer, and produced by Tozer, “In America” was heard exclusively in the March 8 season two premiere of the critically acclaimed Underground Railroad drama for which Legend also serves as an executive producer. The song will be available for sale and stream, beginning today. Underground airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on WGN America.
Legend said, “In America was born around the same time I was working on my most recent album Darkness and Light. It’s a song I was writing while thinking about the duality of America, where it's known to be this place of freedom, equality and where anyone can make it. The song points out the tension between the promise of America, the ideals of America, and sometimes us not living up to those ideals in practice. In America was perfect song for ‘Underground,’ a series I’m incredibly proud to be a part of, and one that does a beautiful job of portraying a challenging time in our nation’s history while reminding us that change is possible.”
In addition to serving as executive producer, alongside his producing partners Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius at Get Lifted Film Co., Legend will also make a guest-starring appearance as renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the episode airing Wednesday, April 5. “Underground” follows an unremitting struggle for freedom within a divided America on the brink of civil war. Set in the aftermath of the Macon 7’s daring attempt to stage the greatest escape in history, this group of American heroes continues on their harrowing journey to freedom, with legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman blazing the trail.
The celebrated “Underground” cast includes: Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“Friday Night Lights,” The Great Debaters), Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures), Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”), Alano Miller (Loving, “Atlanta”), Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Amirah Vann (“Girls,” And So It Goes) and Marc Blucas (“Blue Bloods”). Additional guest stars this season include Aisha Hinds(“Under the Dome,” Star Trek Into Darkness) in the pioneering role of Harriet Tubman, along with Bokeem Woodbine (“Fargo”), Jasika Nicole (“Fringe,” “Scandal”), DeWanda Wise (“Shots Fired”), Michael Trotter (“Rosewood”), Jesse Luken (“Justified,” 42) and Sadie Stratton (“Code Black,” “Boy Meets World”).
The season two premiere of “Underground," trended worldwide and nationally on Twitter and was the #1 most social drama series across broadcast and cable on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. The series was recently honored with a number of recognitions including four NAACP Image Awards nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Amirah Vann) and Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series (Anthony Hemingway). Additionally, the African American Film Critics Association named “Underground” as Best TV Show (Cable/New Media) and the second highest show overall for 2016, and honored Director Anthony Hemmingway with their 2017 Horizon Award. Theseries also won several awards at the inaugural Cynopsis TV Awards including Best New Drama Series, Best Series Writing (Drama) and Best Showrunner.
“Underground” is created and written by Misha Green ("Sons of Anarchy," "Heroes") and Joe Pokaski ("Heroes," "Daredevil"), who serve as Executive Producers alongside Emmy Award® winning executive producer/director Anthony Hemingway (“The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story," “The Wire”); Academy Award-winning writer Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, I Am Legend) of Weed Road Pictures; Tory Tunnell (King Arthur, Holy Rollers) and Joby Harold (King Arthur, Edge of Tomorrow) of Safehouse Pictures; John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted Film Co (Southside with You, La La Land).; and Mark Taylor (“MadTV”). Season two of the gripping original drama was shot in Savannah, Georgia.
Friday, March 17, 2017
Los Angeles, CA — Michael Colyar, comedian, syndicated radio talk show host, actor, motivational speaker and humanitarian presents Michael Colyar’s Momma, a dramatic one-man stage production opening the weekends of Friday, April 7- 9 and April 14-16 at the ACME Comedy Theater, 135 N. La Brea Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90036.
Michael Colyar’s Momma, a 100 city nationwide tour presented by The Rayloc Group and a bunch of folks with money, kicks off in Los Angeles. The one-man stage production that chronicles the life of comedian Michael Colyar and highlights the importance of the love and support of his mother, as he travels through a life of highs and lows. From his days of making people laugh on Venice Beach to winning Star Search to numerous televisions shows and comedy gigs to his long term drug addiction to his successful spiritual recovery and all of the pain and laughter in between, Michael brings you a glimpse of his life and the awesome influence, his mother had on it. Michael’s life has taken him on a journey that he is now sharing with the world. This is not a comedy show, but a dramatic look at his life with laughter from his fans. For tickets: www.brownpaperticket.com/event/2581400 or group tickets contact Lisa Tucker at (818) 259.1025 ~ email@example.com
Link to Michael Colyar Sizzle Reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbZR9Yfj5lY
About Michael Colyar
Known as ‘The King of Venice Beach’ from his humble beginnings, Michael went on to winning Star Search $100,000 Grand Prize Comedy Championship. His informative and highly entertaining brand of comedy opened the doors to hosting BET Live From LA to features in films including; House Party III, Norbit, The Last Laugh, The Princess & The Frog and “Martin” TV Show. His recent syndicated talk show on AURN’s “The Afternoon Rush” aired in 25 major markets that replaced the late Doug Banks Show, set the stage for his one-man show Michael Colyar’s Momma. For more information visit his website and social media:
Saturday, March 11, 2017
King Kong and a Skullcrawler in “Kong: Skull Island.”
Warner Bros. Pictures
By Darlene Donloe
This is not your mother’s King Kong!
Kong: Skull Island is a behemoth movie in more ways than one. Everything is BIG!
The action! The adventure! The fantasy! The science fiction! The cinematography! And, of course, the ape!
The film, which takes place in 1973 and was primarily shot in Vietnam, takes fans to an island never seen before - for the latest adventure in the franchise. The result is a non-stop, violent, sometimes comical, loud, action-packed crazy ride!
This is solid, spectacularly visual fun!
Kong Skull Island is light years away from the 1933 classic King Kong, which starred Fay Wray. That film took place in New York City with the Empire State Building as an iconic backdrop.
Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston
This time around humans (the military, some scientists, a guide and photographer) have invaded the fabled Kong’s home on an island far away from civilization. They are on his turf – uninvited – to do research - and he’s not happy about it.
Kong’s home is all at once beautiful, yet deadly. There are some enormous, dangerous creatures lurking that are equally unhappy about the humans' presence.
The team of explorers must tread lightly and literally watch their own and each other’s back because there is danger lurking behind every corner.
What ensues is nothing short of mayhem. The chances of the team surviving the island decreases by the minute.
While others are touting how the film is similar to Apocalypse Now – and it is – I kept thinking of how similar it was to the Jurassic Park franchise.
Although the reimagining of the story is a bit murky, the action scenes and enormous spiders and lizards, keep the film elevated. The question becomes – why are all the creatures on this island HUMONGOUS?!!!
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson is a big, bad, no-nonsense military man bent on killing Kong for having killed some of his men. John C. Riley, who plays a long forgotten, but charming WW1 veteran, nearly steals the movie with his sincere, yet comical repartee. He’s been living on the island for 25 years – so he knows the terrain intimately. The rest of the cast moves the film forward.
But, lets talk about the real star of the movie – KONG! Kudos to Industrial Light & Magic for the incredible effects. While Kong is massive and scary and violent, he also has a gentle, protective side. He makes a real connection with Brie Larson’s character, who is the photographer. There is a mutual admiration society between the two that is crucial to the film's ending.
While Kong: Skull Island is epic, it doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s high-energy romp that may call for a large popcorn with plenty of butter. Sit back and enjoy!
Be sure to stay until the end of the credits. There is a nice surprise.
Kong: Skull Island is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Tian Jing and John Goodman.
Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language); Running time: 2h
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Kong: Skull Island gets an O (oh, yeah).
Thursday, March 2, 2017
(l-r) Malcolm Barrett, Abigail Spencer and Matt Lanter in Timeless
Malcolm Barrett has been honing his craft as an actor for several decades, but his star began to rise high in the sky when he took on the roll of, Rufus, a scientist on the NBC time-travel, action, adventure, one-hour drama, Timeless, which airs on Mondays.
The well-rounded, award-winning native New Yorker who is also proficient in poetry, improvisation and stand up comedy, has appeared in several theatrical productions, films (King of the Jungle, Swimfan, and The Rhythm of the Saints) and on several television shows (Law & Order, The Sopranos, As the World Turns and The Beat), but none have given him the exposure he’s receiving on his latest endeavor.
The premise for Timeless goes something like this: When a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, planning to use it to change past events to destroy America in the present, the only hope is a team of unexpected heroes composed of a scientist, a soldier and a history professor. The trio must use the stolen machine's prototype to journey back in time to critical events, being careful not to affect history themselves, while working to stay one step ahead of the villain who would unravel the timeline and understand the mystery driving his mission before it's too late.
The show, NBC’s #1-rated Monday drama, recently received a full season order.
“‘Timeless’ is a phenomenal new show that takes the audience emotionally to a completely different place and time each week,” said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment. “We’re thrilled to be ordering additional episodes so that we can run the final six hours of the season in a row with no pre-emptions after the new year. Our hats are off to Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan for producing one of the most ambitious new shows anywhere on television.”
Timeless, which stars Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Barrett, Goran Višnjic, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit, averaged a 2.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 10.7 million viewers overall in live + 7, making it the top-rated Monday drama last season in 18-49.
Timeless was undefeated in its Monday 10-11 p.m. (ET) slot among the ABC, CBS and NBC dramas in “live plus same day” ratings through its first four weeks on the schedule.
I recently caught up with Barrett (MB) at an NBC cocktail hour, held at Estrella restaurant in Hollywood, to talk about the show and his career.
The intimate and sophisticated restaurant was the perfect laidback setting for a brief, casual conversation.
DD: What did you expect when you got to Hollywood and what did you get?
MB: I feel like I was always prepared for Hollywood. I feel like it was all that I thought it would be. I knew that as a young, smart black man, I was an outsider. I don't see that character a lot or as much as when I was growing up watching television. It’s few and far between to see an intelligent black man who is multi-layered and very aware of the black experience, who is somewhat “woke” as they say, but also being the hero and not just a tangential character.
DD: Sounds like you knew how to play the game when you got to Hollywood.
MB: I knew in order to get to where I am right now – I’d need to be clear about where the lines were drawn. I wasn’t surprised by Hollywood. It was everything I thought it would be. It was just as white, small, but also had the same amount of people pushing back and resisting and the same amount of colors in my real life.
DD: Are you encouraged or discouraged by your industry?
MB: I’m encouraged by every piece of positivity I see. I can’t use where we are as my only gauge. I have to use what the possibilities are. There are a lot of things discouraging, but when I see individuals creating good work and seeing it being celebrated in mainstream – that’s always encouraging.
DD: Do you have a favorite episode?
MB: Yes, the 80s episode is our funniest and our saddest. We go back in time to the future to stop the killer of Wyatt’s (Matt Lanter) wife. It was kind of a visual joke because you have the wardrobe, lots of colors, the hair. There was a comment about the A Team, which I do actually watch. I get to do inside jokes for the fans. The episode was also about how clueless Rufus is with this white chick from the 80s, who by the way is named Becky, which is like another inside joke. We are smooth like that.
DD: Has there been a time on your show when you’ve told the writers a black man wouldn’t say that? Do you have any input at all?
MB: They give us leeway. They listen. This is one of the most collaborative writing rooms I’ve ever been a part of - in terms of dialogue. There is dialogue that I will give notes about. They are open to notes on dialogue and character. All of us have done it.
DD: Anything specific?
MB: On the civil rights episode there was a line about “our history sucks.” Yeah, you want to save history, but our history sucks. I don’t remember how we phrased it on that day. I was careful. I didn’t want to be in the position like – “yeah, you want to save history, because, like, “great shit is going on for white folks.” But I also don’t want to put black history in a box – like it’s all negative, or that we haven’t accomplished anything.
DD: Your character is smart and thoughtful. He’s pivotal to the show.
MB: Because we’re traversing new territory, we’re all learning together. The good thing is that everyone is listening and thoughtful about where we’re going. We share a similar goal. The only reason I’m allowed to be thoughtful on this show is because the writers came to me with a premise of understanding the ups and downs of a black man going through history, but two, seeing what my personal take was.
Timeless is a production of Sony Pictures Television, Davis Entertainment, MiddKid Productions and Kripke Enterprises.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
By Darlene Donloe
Octavia Spencer looked like a goddess on Oscar night. This week she is actually playing God in the new faith-based film, The Shack, out in theaters Friday, March 3.
Whatever your belief symptom, this three-hanky drama will leave you emotionally drained.
The story is about a family that suffers an unimaginable tragedy and how they come to terms with that horrific incident.
The father, Mack, played by Sam Worthington, loses his way and his faith after the tragedy. He begins to question his lifelong and innermost beliefs. While in the midst of his grief, he receives a mysterious letter in his mailbox that urges to him to come to an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness.
What Mack finds there is incredible and life-changing. Living in the shack are three strangers, including a woman named Papa (Octavia Spencer).
Papa and her two co-horts try to lead Mack back to his faith. She wants him to understand that in the midst of this tragedy, she never left him. The trio tries to show him the truth by transforming his anger and grief.
The Shack is about redemption, love and forgiveness. It’s about how a family and in particular, this father, finds his way back after falling into a deep depression.
The Shack is based on William Paul Young’s New York Times best-selling novel by the same name. It takes us along a father’s transformative and uplifting spiritual journey that will show him the ultimate truth about love, loss, and understanding.
Originally published in 2007, The Shack follows a man (Worthington) whose youngest daughter is abducted during a family vacation. Evidence found in an abandoned shack leads authorities to believe she was murdered. Four years later, the man receives a note, apparently from God (Spencer), inviting him back to the shack. Against his better judgment, he accepts an invitation that will change his life forever.
This is a touching drama with solid performances by the entire cast. Watching this film just may change one’s beliefs.
Definitely visit The Shack.
The Shack, directed by Stuart Hazeldine, stars Octavia Spencer, Sam Worthington, Tim McGraw, Avraham Aviv Alush, Radha Mitchell, Alice Braga, Sumire, Amelie Eve, Megan Charpentier, Gage Munroe with Graham Greene. The screenplay is by John Fusco, Andrew Lanham and Destin Cretton. Based on the book by William Paul Young, in collaboration with Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings. The film is produced by Gil Netter and Brad Cummings. Summit Entertainment presents a Gil Netter/ Windblown Media production.
Running time: 132 min. Rated: PG-13 For thematic material including some violence.
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), The Shack gets an E (excellent).