The Ultimate 2013 Black Fall Movie Preview

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The Ultimate 2013 Black Fall Movie Preview
By Wilson Morales

August 28, 2013

With Lee Daniels’ The Butler currently doing well in theaters, having been #1 for two straight weeks and taking in a gross of $52M thus far, it only states that 2013 is indeed a special year.

Coming up is abundance of films being released in the fall. In years past, we usually can count on a handful of films to be in theaters, including a Tyler Perry film;  but from Sept. to Dec., there will be over 10 ten films that will have black talent in predominant roles, lead and supporting.

From biopics (Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme) to ensemble films (Best Man Holiday, Black Nativity, 12 Years A Slave), there are plenty of black talent getting exposure this year. Forest Whitaker, Isaiah Washington and Jennifer Hudson each have more than one film in theaters this fall.

Not all of these films will play throughout the country, so you will have to check your local listings to see if the film of interest is near you. In the meantime, here’s a look of what’s ahead.

September 6

Riddick

Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: David Twohy
Screenwriter: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Jordi Molla, Matt Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Bokeem Woodbine, Dave Bautista, Conrad Pla, Raoul Trujillo, Nolan Funk, Keri Hilson
The latest chapter of the groundbreaking saga that began with 2000′s hit sci-fi film “Pitch Black” and 2004′s “The Chronicles of Riddick” reunites writer/director David Twohy (“A Perfect Getaway,” “The Fugitive”) and star Vin Diesel (the “Fast and Furious” franchise, “XXX”). Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy.

The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty.

The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy.

American Milkshake

Director: David Andalman, Mariko Munro
Screenwriter: David Andalman, Mariko Munro
Producers: Mariko Munro, David Andalman
Executive Producers: Vinay Singh and Jason Sosnoff
Cast: Tyler Ross, Shareeka Epps, Georgia Ford, Eshan Bay, Leo Fitzpatrick, Danny Burstein

Synopsis: In mid-90’s America, bookish high-school student Jolie Johnson knows the only way to get in with the gangsta crowd is to make the varsity basketball team. Making the team not only means approval from the inner-city crew of Maple Avenue, but also gets him a step closer to being the one thing he is not – black.

Snake and Mongoo$e

Distributor: Rocky Mountain Pictures
Director: Wayne Holloway
Screenwriters:Wayne Holloway, Alan Paradise
Cast: Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy) as “the Snake” and Richard Blake (Dragonball:Evolution) as “the Mongoose”, Noah Wyle, Tim Blake Nelson, Ian Ziering, Fred Dryer, John Heard, Ashley Hinshaw, Leonardo Nam, Kim Shaw and Julie Mond.

The film tells the story of the groundbreaking accomplishments of drivers Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen in the world of drag racing. While being fierce competitors on the track, the pair were close friends who managed to revolutionize entertainment sports marketing when they attracted Mattel’s Hot Wheels Division as a sponsor.

The film highlights the formative, dangerous glory years of drag racing during the 1960s and 70s. Prudhomme, a seven-time NHRA U.S. Nationals winner and four-time NHRA World Champion, and McEwen, an NHRA U.S. Nationals winner who’s also held many prestigious titles in other national events, raced each other at speeds in excess of 200 mph for over 30 years.

Distributed nationally through Rocky Mountain Pictures, Snake and Mongoo$e will open nationally theaters on September 6 on the heels of the National Hot Rod Association’s US Nationals in Indianapolis, where special events will be held surrounding the film and the cars featured. The film will debut in cities coinciding with the areas where the NHRA holds its national events and heritage/nostalgia races.

Things Never Said

Director: Charles Murray
Producers: Omar Albertto and Brian Lewis
Screenwriter: Charles Murray
Cast: Shanola Hampton, Omari Hardwick, Elimu Nelson, Tamala Jones, Dorian Missick, Tom Wright, Denise Vasi and Michael Beach

KALINDRA STEPNEY (Kal, Shanola Hampton) is an aspiring poetess, but inside she’s an artist who’s lost. Haunted by dreams deferred and a dangerous marriage, this Los Angelean yearns to perform on New York’s most acclaimed spoken word stage.

Wounded by a miscarriage and saddled with RONNIE (Elimu Nelson), an angry husband, Kal desperately seeks an outlet for her struggling artistic voice. Adding to her distress is best friend and compatriot DAPHNE (Tamala Jones), who also grapples with relationship issues. Kal’s inner turmoil is escalated by the surprise and uncertainty of new love found in CURTIS JACKSON (Omari Hardwick), a talented spoken word artist with a scarred past. Through their forbidden love, Kal helps Curtis heal a damaged relationship with his estranged young daughter. In turn, Curtis inspires Kal to dig deeper, discover her voice, and ultimately reclaim her sense of self-worth.

Winnie Mandela

Director: Darrell James Roodt
Producer: Andre Pieterse
Screenwriters: Darrell James Roodt, Andre Pieterse, based on Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob’s book ‘Winnie Mandela: A Life’
Cast: Jennifer Hudson, Terrence Howard, Elias Koteas, Wendy Crewson

Directed by Darrell James Roodt,“Winnie Mandela” explores the personal and political life of the wife of renowned activist and revered former South African President, Nelson Mandela. The film tells the compelling story of one woman’s journey as she fights for the freedom of the man she loves and for the freedom of her people during the Apartheid era. Winnie Mandela depicts the struggle to keep the Mandela dream alive amidst her husband’s life imprisonment, her own time in solitary confinement, and her battle to overcome controversies that followed her through the years.

Winnie Mandela made 70 appearances on American network television, merited 20 stories in the New York Times, and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Known as South Africa’s brave and selfless “Mother of the Nation,” she became one of the most famous women in the world..

September 13

Blue Caprice

Distributor: Sundance Selects
Director: Alexandre Moors
Screenwriter: R.F.I. Porto
Starring: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Joey Lauren Adams, Tim Blake Nelson, Leo Fitzpatrick, Cassandra Freeman

The film is a haunting psychological thriller about an abandoned boy (Richmond) lured to America into the shadows of a dangerous father figure (Washington). Inspired by true events, the film investigates the notorious and horrific Beltway sniper attacks from the point of view of the two killers, whose distorted father-son relationship facilitated their long and bloody journey across America.

Blue Caprice is based on the story of the real-life Beltway sniper attacks of 2002, orchestrated by John Allen Muhammad, and Lee Boyd Malvo.

Four

Distributor: AMC Theaters and 306 Releasing
Director: Joshua Sanchez
Producers: Christine Giorgio & Wendell Pierce
Executive Producers: Neil LaBute & Allen Frame
Screenwriter: Joshua Sanchez
Cinematographer: Gregg Conde
Editor: David Gutnik
Cast: Wendell Pierce, Emory Cohen, Aja Naomi King, E.J. Bonilla, Yolanda Ross, Liam Benzvi, Kathryn Meisle

Synopsis: The film is based on the play by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie-winning playwright Christopher Shinn

In a nameless, suburban American town, the smell of barbeque fills the air as Fourth of July celebrations move from a hot summer day into night. Joe, a man who works hard and travels a lot, leaves his family behind for the holiday, citing a business trip. Abigayle, his precocious daughter, is left to tend to her ill mother and manage the house on her own, yet again. Seeking just enough attention to get her through another night of her lonely responsibilities, she turns to Dexter, a former high school basketball star whose best days are behind him. And while Abigayle is out with Dexter, Joe is quietly spending time around town with June, a young man he met online who’s struggling to accept himself. And for just this night, the small world that these four live in will become even smaller, though the freedom they experience has never been so dangerous, fleeting and honest.

Wendell Pierce stars as Joe; Aja Naomi King is his daughter Abigayle; Emory Cohen is June, the teenage white boy; E.J. Bonilla plays Dexter; and Yolonda Ross plays Wendell’s wife.

Mother of George

Distributor: Oscilloscope Laboratories
Director: Andrew Dosunmu
Screenwriter: Darci Picoult
Starring: Danai Gurira, Isaach De Bankole, Yaya DaCosta Alafia, Tony Okungbowa, Bukky Ajayi, Angelique Kidjo
Genre: Drama

Synopsis: After the joyous wedding between Adenike (Gurira) and Ayodele (De Bankolé), a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn, marital complications arise out of their inability to conceive a child. The problem devastates their family and defies cultural expectations, leading Adenike to make a shocking decision that could either save her family or destroy it.

With opulent cinematography by the award-winning Bradford Young, Mother of George is a singular cinematic accomplishment that elevates this illustration of the complicated challenges of African immigrant life to a place of beauty and reverence.

September 18

Newlyweeds

Distributor: Phase 4 Films
Director: Shaka King
Screenwriter: Shaka King
Starring: Amari Cheatom, Trae Harris, Tone Tank

Lyle (Amari Cheatom) and Nina (Trae Harris) are in love—with each other and with getting high, but not necessarily in that order. Wafting through aimless days in New York smoking weed whenever possible, Lyle makes his living repossessing rented furniture from the destitute before heading home to be with his girl. Though caught in a loop of self-medication, Nina yearns for more. When mistakes in judgment escalate out of control, the happy couple find the life they have built is quickly evaporating, and the hole they have dug for themselves is growing beyond repair.

Director Shaka King’s feature debut provokes a thoughtful meditation on the habits that hinder modern relationships, navigating through the perilous and comedic with a natural ease and restraint. Craftily luring the stoner-comedy into a meaningful examination of dependency in all its forms, King confronts a community that refuses to grow up and asks the audience what it really means to be an adult.

Shaka King is a 33-year-old Brooklynite (Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy) and a Vassar graduate, with an MFA in filmmaking from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. NEWLYWEEDS was his thesis project and premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

September 20

Battle Of The Year

Distributor: Screen Gems
Director: Benson Lee
Screenwriter: Brin Hill, Chris Parker
Starring: Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso, Josh Peck, Caity Lotz, Chris Brown
Genre: Drama, Musical
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for language and some rude behavior)

Synopsis: Battle of the Year is an international dance crew tournament that attracts all the best teams from around the world, but the Americans haven’t won in fifteen years. Los Angeles Hip Hop mogul Dante (Alonso) wants to put the country that started the Sport back on top. He enlists his hard-luck friend Blake (Holloway), who was a championship basketball coach, to coach his team. Armed with the theory that the right coach can make any team champions, they assemble a Dream Team of all the best dancers across the country. With only three months until Battle of the Year, Blake has to use every tactic he knows to get twelve talented individuals to come together as a team if they’re going to bring the Trophy back to America where it started.

The Colony

Distributor: RLJ Entertainment
Director: Jeff Renfroe
Screenwriter: Jeff Renfroe, Patrick Tarr, Pascal Trottier, Svet Rouskov
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Zegers, Bill Paxton
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Synopsis: Set during the next ice age, an outpost of colonists struggle to survive below the world’s frozen surface. Short on supplies, and plagued by illness and internal conflict, the colonists suspect the worst when they mysteriously lose contact with their only other known settlement, Colony 5. When Colony 7′s leader Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) decides to lead an expedition to discover what happened, he is challenged by Mason (Bill Paxton), his former comrade-in-arms, who has his own ideas of what is best for the colonists. Briggs takes two volunteers on the mission, the young Graydon, and Sam (Kevin Zegers), a strong-willed mechanic who seizes the opportunity to confront the icy wasteland that orphaned him.

When they reach their destination, the team discover a threat much worse than nature and must battle to save themselves and protect their fellow colonists in what might be humanity’s last stand. A riveting, intense story of survival, humanity, and desperation, “The Colony” is a rich addition to the post-apocalyptic action genre.

Prisoners

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Screenwriter: Aaron Guzikowski
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Terrance Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano
Genre: Thriller
MPAA Rating: R (for disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout)

Synopsis: Keller Dover is facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His 6-year-old daughter and her young friend are missing, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki arrests its driver, but a lack of evidence forces the only suspect’s release. Knowing his child’s life is at stake, the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. The desperate father will do whatever it takes to find the girls, but in doing so, may lose himself, begging the question: When do you cross the line between seeking justice and becoming a vigilante?

September 27

Baggage Claim

Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: David E. Talbert
Screenwriter: David E. Talbert
Starring: Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Taye Diggs, Jill Scott, Boris Kodjoe, Tremaine Neverson, Adam Brody, Jenifer Lewis, Ned Beatty, Lauren London, Tia Mowry, La La Anthony, Christina Milian, Affion Crockett, Terrence J, Rickey Smiley, Thomas Miles, Djimon Hounsou
Genre: Comedy, Romance

Synopsis: The film is based on Talbert’s best-selling debut novel about a flight attendant with thirty days and thirty thousand miles to find a husband.

With her mother having just tied the knot for a record-breaking fourth time and her baby sister, Sheree, rushing to jump the broom, five-time maid of honor Montana Moore is dangerously close to becoming not only the oldest, but the only woman in her entire family never to be married.

Having convinced herself that there’s no way in heaven or hell she’s showing up at her sister’s Christmas Eve engagement party without a prospect of her own, Montana concocts her wildest and most romantically ridiculous plan yet: a thirty-day, thirty-thousand-mile trek in search of a husband.

Will it be Damon Diesel, a young hip-hop producer whose motto is “Making the green scream and the dolla holla!”? Or will she win over the Reverend Curtis P. Merewether, pastor and founder of Greater House of Deliverance, Tabernacle of Praise, Worship, and Miracles? Of course Langston Jefferson Battle III, superattorney turned city councilman, needs a wife now that his sights are set on the United States Congress. Or perhaps her lifelong mate is Quinton Jamison, a multimillionaire textile guru twenty years her senior. Only time — or the lack of it — will tell.

Muscle Shoals

Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier
Screenwriter: Not Available
Starring: Aretha Franklin, Bono, Greg Allman, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge
Genre: Documentary

Synopsis: Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the “Singing River,” as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals has helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, Hall brought black and white together in Alabama’s cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations. He is responsible for creating the “Muscle Shoals sound” and The Swampers, the house band at FAME that eventually left to start their own successful studio, known as Muscle Shoals Sound. Greg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals’ magnetism, mystery and why it remains influential today.

October 4

My Last Day Without You

Release Date: October 4th in Seattle, WA, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, GA
Distributor: Cicala Filmworks via AMC Independent
Director: Stefan Schaefer
Producer: Diane Crespo, Stefan Schaefer and Christoph Silber
Screenwriter: Stefan Schaefer, Christoph Silber
Cast: Ken Duken, Nicole Beharie, Marlene Forte, Laith Nakli, Robert Clohessy, and Reg E. Cathey.

Synopsis: On a one-day business trip to New York, a German business executive (Ken Duken) falls in love with a singer-songwriter (Nicole Beharie) who exposes him to her Brooklyn world and emotions he has never experienced before.

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