Monica Medina’s Blog TheGritsnCheeseDish![TM]

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“Trekky” Tyler Perry can’t talk about it!

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Tyler Perry will be starring in the new Star Trek movie hitting theaters spring of 2009. Rumor has it he has to stay tight lipped about the film. It will be the first film that Tyler will star in that he has not directed or written.

Right now Tyler is directing and filming his new movie “The Family That Preys” starring Oscar winner Kathy Bates, Alfre Woodard and Sanaa Lathan.

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March 16, 2008 Posted by | American Film, Black Film, thegritsncheesedish | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Cover”-The Must See Film of The Year: Trailer & Film Review Below

By Monica Peters Medinacover-promo.jpg

“COVER”

“One of the best and powerful films I’ve seen in the past two years..Right up there with The Great Debaters”..Monica Medina

Hey everyone,

“Cover” the murder mystery thriller directed by legend, icon and actor Bill Duke is nothing short of phenomenal. The film starring Aunjanue Ellis, Raz Adoti, Leon, Louis Gossett Jr., Vivica A. Fox, Roger Guenevere Smith and Paula Jai Parker leaves audiences in shock-literally. Director Bill Duke’s gift for story telling truly speaks to why he is one of the greatest legends, icons and directors of our generation. “Cover” takes many twists and turns that keeps movie goers engaged. The story line touches deeply on the AIDS and downlow epidemics in the African-American community. The shining gem of this film is that the storyline is in no way shape or form predictable. Everytime you think you know what’s going to happen next, you really don’t. The events are realistic, believable and gives the movie goer deep insight into a secretive world and culture. Although “Cover” is a murder mystery thriller with a serious message, it also has it’s fair share of humor and extreme characters to lighten up the mood.

This film is a must see but it is truly an excellent movie on all levels from the storyline to the fine cast of actors. This is one of the best films I’ve seen in the past two years.

If you are still not convinced why you should see Bill Duke’s murder mystery thriller “Cover”: AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN CONSIST OF 73% OF ALL THE AIDS CASES IN THE US. IN WASHINGTON DC ALONE, ONE IN EVERY SEVEN AFRICAN AMERICAN MALES ARE INFECTED WITH THE HIV VIRUS. *Interview with Bill Duke and actor Raz Adoti on GritsnCheese.com now.

March 7, 2008 Posted by | American Film, Black Film, GritsnCheese, thegritsncheesedish | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PRESS RELEASE, GritsnCheese.com: Filmmaker Marco Williams, Virginia Deberry & Donna Grant, Willie Brown

GritsnCheese.com, host Monica Peters (aka Monica Medina), brings exclusive interviews for the month of February talking with filmmaker Marco Williams, authors Donna Grant and Virginia Deberry, and the controversial former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown.

GNC Press Release

Banished by MarcoWilliams: This month, Monica talks with filmmaker Marco Williams. Marco discusses his groundbreaking film “Banished” airing nationwide on PBS Independent Lens Series. “Banished” tells the story of American ethnic cleansings of African American communities in the United States. Many of these communities are still Caucasian to this day. Banished goes back to visit the White communities where Blacks were forced out. With land and livelihood stolen, how are these communities dealing with their violent racial past? Do they feel responsible for future generations of Blacks who were plunged into poverty? Listen here.

Girlfriends are forever: Monica talks with authors Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant about their new book “Gotta Keep on Tryin” the highly anticipated sequel to their novel “Tryin to Sleep in the Bed You Made.” In real life, Virginia and Donna have a unique friendship and bond that Peters dubs as the “Oprah and Gayle” of the literary world. Listen here.

Slick Willie: Former San Francisco mayor, Willie “Da Mayor” Brown talks with Monica about his legacy of being one of the most controversial but most respected politicians of our time . Not a man to mince his words, he also gives fashion advice to Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. Although his term as the mayor of San Francisco is behind him, he is still highly sought after for political advice from many leaders including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Brown talks with Monica Peters about his life and his new book “Basic Brown. My Life and Our Times.” Listen here.

Monica Peters Photo

Thank you for reading GritsnCheese.com
 
   

February 19, 2008 Posted by | American Film, Black Film, books, GritsnCheese, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Routing for Ruby!..Takes Home Sag Award. Will She Take the Oscar?

Actress, legend and icon Ruby Dee won the SAG Award for Best a Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Denzel Washington’s mother in American Gangster. She is also nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role! Ruby says that her late husband, actor Ossie Davis is “working on things up there.” Go Ruby!

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January 28, 2008 Posted by | American Film, Black Film, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Queen Takes Home SAG Award Too!

Queen Latifah took home the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for her role as Ana Wallace, an AIDS activist who is HIV positive, in HBO’s “Life Support.” All hail the queen.

*Legend, icon and actress Ruby Dee takes home SAG Award too. See post below.

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Photo: HBO.com

January 27, 2008 Posted by | American Film, Black Film | , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM REVIEW: Is “First Sunday” Worth The Money?

first-sunday.jpgBy Monica Medina

When I hosted David E. Talbert’s advance screening last week, David urged the audience to support good Black films. Black filmmakers today are at odds as to what constitutes “good black film.”  For the record, I think David E. Talbert is a talented filmmaker.  I’m not the one to try to take food out of someones mouth. Plus it seems like these are the only types of films that are keeping our legendary and underrated Black actresses employed. So, I’ll tread lightly. The premise of the film is about two friends Durell played by Ice Cube and Lee John played by Tracy Morgan who are up dire straights and plan to rob a church. The underlying story line is about Ice Cube’s character robbing the church so he can avoid having his son and his “baby mother” played by Regina Hall from being forced to move down South. But the blaring stereotypes at times override the positive message that the filmmaker is trying to convey. Simply put, “First Sunday” is not a great or bad movie. It is just “ok”, although I did laugh throughout the movie. Tracy Morgan’s character “Lee John” who was abandoned as a child is the saving grace of the film. I can say that Tracy’s character actually has some depth which may result in some more film offers for him. I admire the filmmaker David E. Talbert’s zest to make films that integrate inspirational messages. However, I don’t understand the need for stereotypical images. What I’ve learned from this movie is that what is funny depends upon the audience group. If you are a fan of inspirational plays you may think this film is funny. For others, First Sunday may be viewed as nothing more than predictable humor that pokes fun and magnifies stereotypes about the Black Church and Black people. One particular scene that some may find funny but many may find offensive is when Kat Williams tells an overweight church-member in the midst of the church hold up, “Not to worry because he [Ice Cube’s character] doesn’t have that many bullets.” No, I’m not a big woman, but it is commonplace in inspirational films and plays to make a big darkskinned women the brunt of the jokes. If a white filmmaker were to do that we would be outraged. I’ll stop right there. However, I believe that director, filmmaker and playwright David E. Talbert is talented and has an even brighter future ahead of him.  I laughed throughout the movie, but often times felt bad about doing so.

Is “First Sunday” worth the money? I would say if you are going out to the movies, go see “The Great Debaters.” Then go see “First Sunday” if those types of films tickle your fancy.

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Black Film, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“First Sunday” Screening Ends in Prayer. Director Urges to Support Good Black Film

By Monica Medina

Photo: Monica Medina & Director David E. Talbert Photo credit: M. Dennis

david-talbet-monica-photo.jpgHi family,
I had the opportunity to go back to my hometown to host the advance screening of “First Sunday” and introduce the film’s director David E. Talbert who was in attendance. David chose to debut First Sunday which stars Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan in Philadelphia first . Philadelphians were literally the first moviegoers in the country to see the movie, a privilege usually afforded to Los Angeles and New York. On a brisk cold Wednesday evening a sea of moviegoers huddled in the theater lobby. As the theater filled to capacity, many movie goers were shut out. It was clear that Mr. Talbert has a strong & devout core fan base. Some moviegoers sat on the floor while others were willing to stand. He urges the crowd to support good Black films. At the end of the autographing and Q&A session, a group of supporters formed a circle around David as he sat in the chair and prayed for his personal well being and the success of all his endeavors. That was truly a cool moment. It is obvious that this man puts God first in everything that he does.

So what did I think about the film First Sunday?…..Check back here on thegritsncheesedish! (www.thegritsncheesedish.wordpress.com). Nothing like a cliffhanger on a beautiful afternoon.

Monica Medina

January 2, 2008 Posted by | Black Film, thegritsncheesedish | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Obsession Continues: Great Debaters Gets The Golden Globe Nod, But Debuts at #6 on Christmas Day

By Monica Medina

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Hello everyone,

The obsession continues with “The Great Debaters.” The film has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Picture, Drama (Golden Globes nominations usually translate into Oscar nominations). However it placed #6 at the box office. The goal is that we want to make it the #1 movie in America. On Christmas Day “The Great Debaters” only raked in $3, 604,000. Those of you who did not support the film have no right to complain why Hollywood does not make positive African-American films that reflect our history and stories. It seems as if African-American films do not have excessive violence, constant degradation, or if it is non-entertainment related–we will not support it. We made Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married” #1 (great movie by the way) as well as American Gangster. Why did we not show the same support for “The Great Debaters”? Trust me, Hollywood is watching these numbers to determine if they should continue to produce quality African American films or stereotypical African American films. Based on the box office sales of “The Great Debaters” the latter may be true.

There may be a solution to this. …….To be continued….Monica Medina
*Thanks to our reader Fred H. for the scoop!

December 29, 2007 Posted by | Black Film, Denzel Washington, monica medina, The Great Debaters, thegritsncheesedish | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Merry Christmas: Let’s Make The Great Debaters the #1 Movie in America

 Merry Christmas and seasons greetings. Let’s make “The Great Debaters” the #1 movie in America. See GRITSNCHEESEDISH’s FILM REVIEW: “The Great Debaters: Movie Review, Give Up That Oscar!” from the advanced screening. “The Great Debaters in theaters nationwide Christmas day. God Bless.

Monica Medina

December 25, 2007 Posted by | Black Film, Denzel Washington, monica medina, The Great Debaters, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Great Debaters: Movie Review, Give Up That Oscar!

By Monica Medina

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I know it’s been a whole week (ok, more like a week and a half) since I’ve updated this page. I’ve been under intense writing deadlines. So, I attended the advance screening of The Great Debaters. This film is off the meter. This is a must see film. No, I’m not just saying this because Denzel Washington is starring in the movie. Those who know me know that I am one of the toughest film critics out there. No one gets the pass from me so to speak.

The Great Debaters was thoroughly entertaining and intriguing from beginning to end. It’s one of those films that you do not want to make a popcorn dash or take a bathroom break because it leaves you at the edge of your seat and every scene is a powerful scene. The film is also hilarious.

The film, based on a true story, centers around the first African American debate team started by Professor Mel Tolson, who also was arrested in the film for his involvement in organizing Black and White farmers in “Jim Crow” South. (Kids if you don’t know what “Jim Crow” was please start googling or hit the library). Trust me during the Jim Crow South, a Black man organizing Black and White farmers was MAJOR.

What also makes the film spectacular is the love, family and relationship drama. The classic scene being “the smack felt around the world” delivered by Jurnee Smollet’s character Samantha. Samantha is in love with the debate team captain, Henry Lowe, who conveniently starts cheating and flaunting it-despite just having a passionate love making session in the afternoon with Samantha a few days earlier. (Henry Lowe also hits the bottle often. Drinking is his way of dealing with conflicts and the racist South). The hurt and betrayal by her lover and debate team captain causes Samantha to quit the team. The complex relationship between Forest Whitaker’s character, James Farmer Sr., his son played by Denzel Whitaker and Mr. Tolson is also one that keeps moviegoers intrigued. Actress Kimberly Elise plays Forest Whitakers wife .

The Great Debaters is educational on all levels with much intrigue, drama, scandal and comedy that keep moviegoers thrilled on all levels. By the way, the acting is superb in the film. If Hollywood would give an Oscar to a film based on Mel Tolson’s life, that would be historic on all levels. This film is worthy of the Oscar nod for the great script, direction and superior performances by this talented cast. It is sometimes hard to make historical films entertaining for all types of moviegoers. The Great Debaters has the right formula which surpasses all moviegoer’s expectations. Support “The Great Debaters and do not bootleg or buy a bootleg copy.
To the Academy: Give up that Oscar! See The Great Debaters film trailer below.

NOTE: Don’t forget to head over to GritsnCheese.com to check out our interviews with Maxine Ballard, sister of Florence Ballard, the original members of the Supremes (the film Dreamgirls was based on her life), Barbara Becnel, executor of estate for Stanley “Tookie” Williams and hip hop legend KRS-1.

December 19, 2007 Posted by | Black Film, monica medina, The Great Debaters | , , , , , | Leave a comment