Role Models is funniest when these three are onscreen

Role Models is funniest when these three are onscreen

Reelblack members recently had a chance to check out a sneak preview of David Wain’s new comedy ROLE MODELS starring Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott.  Not expecting much, most viewrs were pleasantly surprised.  Well written and character driven, it moves along because of the charm of its supporting cast.   Jane Lynch ( A Mighty Wind) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin from SuperBad) have some hilarious scenes.  From a Reelblack standpoint, the movie is worth seeing alone for the scene stealing turn of Bobb’e J. Thompson, who you may remember from playing the Young Rooster or as Tracy Morgan’s precocious son in his short-lived NBC sitcom.  He’s not grown an inch–he comes off as an R-Rated Gary Coleman.

The film is rated R.  We would not recommend you encourage younger kids to see the film unless you don’t mind them pretending to be a foul-mouthed midget for 3 or 4 weeks after seeing it.  Role Models opens everywhere on November 7.


In a story from The Hollywood Reporter, it looks like “Samuel L. Jackson is set to star as a bad guy again in Columbia Pictures’ remake of Berry Gordy’s 1985 cult classic The Last Dragon.

The actor “will play Sho’nuff, the Shogun of Harlem, a role played in the original by the late Julius Carry, whose spiel included asking ego-driven questions like ‘Am I the baddest mofo lowdown around this town?’ Each time his gang of thugs answered, ‘Sho ’nuff!’”

Handling screenwriting as well as producing duties “is Dallas Jackson, who heads up the urban family label DJ Classicz with Davis. Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA is co-producing.”

This new version of the film “will be along the same lines of the original, centering on young martial arts student Leroy Green in his quest through the streets of New York to achieve the highest level of martial arts accomplishment, known as the Last Dragon. Those who achieve the high ranking possess the Glow, making them the greatest fighter alive.”

The plan is for “the project, announced by Columbia presidents Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, will take a new look at Last Dragon coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Motown next year.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with Kerry Gordy as he continues his father’s legacy, and we’re confident that he along with John and Dallas are the perfect team to develop the project,” Belgrad offered. “They will capture everything that people love about the original while also bringing a fresh edge to the remake.”

Even though it got poor “reviews, Last Dragon did well at the boxoffice, grossing nearly $26 million. It soon became a cult classic for scenes like Bruce Lee follower Green remaining so loyal to the martial arts star that he eats his popcorn in a movie theater with chopsticks.”


photo by Craig Carpenter

photo by Craig Carpenter

It’s official! Reelblack’s latest short film production, THE 13TH AMENDMENT was recently awarded the Grand Jury Prize for the first ever CNN IREPORT FILM FESTIVAL. IReport is CNN’s user-generated video blog. The 13th Amendment was chosen among hundreds of submissions dealing with this year’s election submitted from around the world. Grand Prize is a trip for two to his 2009 Presidential Inauguration and a hi-def video camera.

CNN’s iReport Film Festival selection Grand Jury Winner
CNN Press Release - For his short film “13th Amendment,” Mike Dennis of Philadelphia, Pa., followed his 90-year-old great-great-grandmother on her trek to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 Pennsylvania primary. The film, depicting the lifelong voter’s first opportunity to cast a vote on behalf of a black man for U.S. president, took the Grand Jury Award at the iReport Film Festival, CNN’s first user-generated short film competition.

In comments about “13th Amendment,” film reviewer Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times said: “In less than five minutes, Mike Dennis tells a complete story with an inspirational message. I was impressed by all the entries, and I’m sure I’ll see many of these names on feature-length films and documentaries in the years to come.”

Following the theme “Campaign 2008,” the iReport Film Festival provided a platform for filmmakers to document this year’s presidential campaign from their personal vantage point, whether they were volunteering for a campaign or had compelling stories about this election they wanted to document creatively. This short film can be found at

I would like to personally thank everyone who viewed and voted for our film, which follows my grandmother’s trek to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 Pennsylvania Primary. It’s been an amazing run. Since debuting at Fancypants Cinema and on Reelblack TV, we’ve been invited to screen in festivals in New York, LA and Charlotte, NC. The film will also screen the week of October 28 on BET-J’s BLACK STORIES (along with Philly filmmaker Bianca White’s short). All the comments are appreciated but there’s so much more work to do. I chose the title The 13th Amendment to remind folks that there wasn’t always a time when all Americans had the right of freedom. One of our greatest privileges is the Right To Vote. Please do it on November 4.

Mike Klein’s article in Philly Inquirer about the win can be viewed here:


The preview for NOTORIOUS: THE BIGGIE SMALLS STORY is burning up the internet.  The authorized biopic directed by George Tillman, Jr. (Barbershop, Men of Honor) looks like it got a lot of it right.  What do yo think?  Notorious opens in theaters on 1.16.2009.

Things To Do If You’re Not A Phillies Fan

First and foremost, Reelblack would
like to congratulate the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies on their accomplishment.
Only two teams get to go to the championship and only one gets to take home
all the marbles. So this e-blast is not intended to take anything away from
folks whose whole plan is to sequester themselves and watch baseball this weekend.
After all, the Phils making the World Series is about as rare as Halley’s comet
or getting the chance to hatch a dinosaur egg in your backyard.

However, there are lots of cool things
happening in town that are worth checking out.



THE ARRIVAL is available in stores, Amazon and ITunes. Get yours today.

Philly’s own husband and wife musical duo KINDRED THE FAMILY SOUL celebrate the release of their third CD, THE ARRIVAL with a special party at MS. TOOTSIES, 1314 South Street in Philadelphia. 9PM - 1 AM. Admission is Free.


Rent A Dolemite DVD

To honor the memory of comedy legend
Rudy Ray Moore, who passed away Monday at the age of 81, you might want to rent
one of his classic films. Mike D’s personal favorite is THE HUMAN TORNADO aka
DOLEMITE II. Another classic is THE AVENGING DISCO GODFATHER, in which the rapping
urban superhero uses karate to rid the Watts ghetto of Angel Dust. “Put
your weight on it!”


See D.L. Hughley Live @

Comedian D.L. Hugley performs at
Helium Comedy Club, 20th and Sansom Street.
Hugley just signed on for his own weekly news/talk show on CNN. Expect
lots of witty observations on the upcoming election from this Original King
Of Comedy. Tickets are $35 and $40. Two shows Friday, Three shows Saturday and
One Show Sunday. Visit
for tix and showtimes.



The Black Candle at the Clef Club.

When: Saturday October 25 at 8PM.

Where: Philadelphia Clef Club website:

Telephone 215-893-9912

738 S. Broad St (S. Broad and Fitzwater Street)

Philadelphia, PA 19146

Cost: $10.00

Filmmaker M.K. Asante Jr. Will speak and DVD’s of the film will be available.

Filmmaker M.K. Asante was featured
on the cover of last week’s Philadelphia
. His World Premiere screening of his new film, THE
on Thursday quickly sold out. A second screening has been added
for this Saturday at the Clef Club proceeds will benefit the Obama For President

for a complete list of screening dates and to order the DVD.


After you’ve purchased Kindred’s
CD, Had your personal Dolemite Film Festival and hung out with D.L., if you
still have some coin left, we urge you to


Reelblack is kicking off
it’s Sixth Season beginning November 1 and we need your continued support.

Membership has increased to $30,
but we feel it’s still the best movie bargain in town. Benefits include discounts
to all our shows at International House, Priority notification of free advance
movie screenings (averaging two a month), and discounts on Reelblack DVDs and

If you’ve previously enjoyed
the benefits of membership, don’t let the good times end. Upcoming screenings

Remember, your membership virtually
pays for itself as soon as you and a guest attend two free movie events. Your
membership dollars are still our primary source of revenue. We need you. Your
support allows us to spread the word about quality African-American film through
our website, TV show and exclusive monthly events. If you love Black film, we
urge you to renew and continue to be a proud supporter of African-American film.

Join now and be entered in
a special drawing to win a MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA poster signed by the entire cast
and director Spike Lee!

Renew before November 1 for
a chance to see a sneak preview of SOUL MEN starring Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie
Mac, Isaac Hayes and John Legend.

Please send a check or money
order payable to REELBLACK INC to:

Reeelblack Inc.

P.O. Box 12302

Philadelphia, PA 19119

or purchase your membership
online by clicking the link below:

Love, Peace and Nappiness,

Mike D.

“Good Movies ’bout Black Folks.”


Reelblack NeedsYour Vote (Last Time,


Thanks to you, our latest
short film, THE 13TH AMENDMENT, is one of twenty semi-finalists in CNN’s IREPORT

CNN is showcasing user-created work
dealing with this year’s Presidential election. THE 13TH AMENDMENT is a 5 minute
short film I did with my grandmother, when she voted for Barack Obama in the
Pennsylvania Primaries. At age 90, this is the first time she’s had a chance
to vote for an African-American for the office of President.

The Grand Prize is a trip for two
to the Presidential Inauguration. It would be fantastic for her to witness what
promises to be a historical event. We need your help (and one minute of your
time) to make this happen.

1. Simply head to
to rank the semi-finalists.

2. Look for the icon for
my film, THE 13TH AMENDMENT. It’s a picture of my grandmother sitting in a chair.
It should be on the bottom row towards the right of center.

3. Drag that icon into the
First position. Then drag the rest of the icons randomly until the ballot is
filled. Then hit the “submit” button at the bottom of the ballot.

You must
“rank” all 20 films in order to submit your vote. Just be sure to
place Nana’s movie in the first position. Unlike before, you don’t need to register
to vote, but you can only vote once.

If you’ve left a comment or rating
already, thank you for all your support thus far. However we still need you
to take a few moments to help us win this audience award. The 13TH AMENDMENT
is a very special project. For me, it’s about the sacrifices that have been
made to ensure that we all “get to the mountaintop.” We’ve been very
fortunate that places like CNN and BET-J have wanted to screen it. With your
support, we can make this film a winner.

Hurry! Voting ends at Midnight
on Wednesday October 22.

Thanks always,

Mike D.

“Good Movies ’bout Black Folks.”


Rudy Ray Moore, The Godfather of Rap, Pioneering Independent Film 
and Recording Auteur, X-rated Comedian, and Creator of
The Cult Phenomenon Dolemite, is Dead at 81.


photo by gongfujazz

photo by gongfujazz

Los Angeles, California–Monday, October 20, 2008Rudy Ray Moore has died. The entertainment maverick died in Ohio of complications from diabetes.  According to a spokesman for his longtime collaborator and distributor, Xenon Pictures, he was in declining health over the last several years, suffering a stroke in 2006, along with chronic diabetes and kidney problems.  Moore remained unstoppable until the end, and was seen just a few months ago in Las Vegas playing poker on his motorized scooter and more recently, calling Xenon and asking for a cab to pick him up when he “busts outta the [retirement home]”.  He is survived by his four siblings, daughter Rusty, and his 98 -year-old mother Lucille

SECRET LIFE OF BEES has solid debut

Writer-Director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s all-star adaptation of the bestselling novel THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES opened with a solid $11 million its first weekend.  Reelblack members who were fortunate to catch a SRO advance preview of the film were unanimous with praise.

Set in North Carolina in 1964, the movie features top-notch acting, direction and photography, however two thoughts come to mind.  I personally think Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly nailed it with his review.  Secret Life Of Bees brings together three powerhouse and one promising actresses (you can tack your pick as to who’s who), and basically lets them play your traditional mammy/magical negro roles.  It makes you wonder if there will ever be a movie out of Hollywood featuring African-Americans that challenges at least some of these conventions.

Secondly, I wonder if the movie would have done better if the studio had held more advance screenings of the film, well in advance of its release.  Oprah had the entire cast on two weeks before the film opened, and there were lots of ads telling people to bring their girlfriend’s girlfriends out on opening weekend, but there was only one advance screening, the night before it debuted in Philadelphia.  As a result over 100 people were turned away.  If there were more screenings, further in advance, these 100 people would have had a chance to validate Oprah’s endorsement.  THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES is quality entertainment.  It’s a classic chickflick that a lot of people will want in their collection.

My fear is the reason this didn’t happen is not because studios don’t have faith in black-themed films.  It’s that every screening invites another opportunity for piracy.  Despite its flaws, BEES is the kind of movie we should demand more of.  However, if these films don’t make money at the boxoffice, there’s no way anybody can justify investing in more quality stories featuring Black leads.   This fall has already delivered some entertaining films in THE LONGSHOTS, THE EXPRESS and LAKEVIEW TERRACE.  SOUL MEN, CADILLAC RECORDS and PUSH promise this Winter will be even better.

I know times are tough, but we got to support these movies when it counts–in theaters, not on bootleg, during the first weekend of release.


Please tune into MyTV 17 at 8pm tonight (10/8/2008) for the Premiere of THE TONY ROCK PROJECT. Promising sketch comedy mixed with man-on-the street material, this promises to deliver some off the wall laughs.  Reelblack TV caught up with Tony Rock on the streets of New York last month.  Click the image above to hear what he had to say.



16 year old Hollywood Filmmaker, Ben Lee Foster, is kicking off his first film festival for the youth. This outstanding young filmmaker, who was recently featured on the Montel Williams Show and now working with BET, came up with a new concept to do a film festival that gives youth under the age of 18 an opportunity to try their hands at making fun and inspiring short movies, PSA’s and music videos.

“Enough Is Enough”!  Youth today, are faced with a lot of movies, music videos and television shows that send negative messages. A change needs to be made. More inspiring projects need to be created and placed in venues to reach youth and help them maker better decisions in life so they can have a more healthier and positive future.


The festival is open to youth, ages 8 to 17, that’s creative and are willing to challenge themselves to send out positive messages through projects. Ben is looking to showcase projects that help resolve peer pressure issues, make life more positive and of course make people laugh. Remember it’s good to laugh, but not to degrade others.


The BLF Film Festival will be held in Wilmington , Delaware in January 2009. All submissions are due by November 30, 2008 . For more information on how to participate in the festival, visit the film site; or email

Ben is also seeking Sponsors to help make this event a great success. 

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