Many are calling 2007 the summer of sequels, but let’s get real – Spiderman 3, Shrek the Third, and Pirates 3 will have made their mega-millions by the time the summer actually gets underway. Hollywood jump started the season in early May leaving us scrambling in search of the big blockbusters for the rest of the summer.
So, what’s a moviegoer to do? Look for something else and there’s plenty to choose from starting this weekend through the end of August. African Americans don’t exactly dominate the box office this summer, but we’re delivering some very powerful performances and appearing in almost every major film.
Who can you expect to see? Academy Award nominated actors like Don Cheadle, Queen Latifah, Samuel L. Jackson, Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Cuba Gooding Jr. , some fabulous females – we call them the sistas of summer – like Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson and fantastic looking leading men like Tyrese Gibson and Big Boi from Outkast.
Behind the scenes, up and coming director Tim Story (Barbershop 2) trips the light “Fantastic”, John Singleton, who’s always a crowd pleaser walks the Latin line with “Illegal Tender” and I’m excited to see female director Kasi Lemmons back in the director’s chair. Lemmons is at the helm of one of only two all-black films of the summer, “Talk To Me” featuring Don Cheadle and Taraji P. Henson and “Who’s Your Caddy” featuring Big Boi and Faizon Love.
“Caddy’s” foray into Hollywood is much heralded. It’s the first film project from billionaire and former BET owner Bob Johnson. His “Our Stories” film company is the first African American-owned movie house in Hollywood. Our Stories President and COO Tracey Edmonds made history late last year winning the position as she’s the first African American with green light power in Tinsel Town. A surefire go getter, Edmonds appears to be on a mission to make sure her first feature is a huge hit. She’s scheduled to go on a take no prisoners publicity tour starting this month.
However, the most anticipated return of the year award must go to Chris Tucker and “Rush Hour 3.” First of all, the brotha is pulling down a 25-million dollar paycheck for agreeing to make the movie. Secondly, we haven’t seen him in a while so you better believe fans will start lining up early to see Tucker and Jackie Chan do their thing – one more time. (We’re still waiting to hear if Tucker is down for “Rush Hour 4.”)Let’s not waste any more space, let’s review what’s coming to a theatre near you for the summer.
Oceans 13 – June 8Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and the rest of the gang are back and in Vegas and this time Danny Ocean (Clooney) would only one reason to pull off the most ambitious and riskiest casino heist – to defend one of their own. When ruthless casino owner (Al Pacino) double-crosses one of the original Oceans 11 – Danny and his gang team up once again to see if they can “break the bank” again.
Fantastic Four – The Rise of the Silver Surfer – Release Date June 15thFirst, you should know this film is directed by an African American, (Barbershop 2 Director) Tim Story. Marvel’s first family of superheroes, The Fantastic Four, meet their greatest challenge yet in “Fantastic Four – Rise of the Silver Surfer” as the enigmatic, intergalactic – The Silver Surfer, comes to Earth to prepare it for destruction. (Listen closely, Laurence Fishburne is the voice of the Silver Surfer) As the Silver Surfer races around the globe wreaking havoc, Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben must unravel the mystery of the Silver Surfer and confront the surprising return of their mortal enemy, Mr. Doom, before all hope is lost.Reasons to Watch: Kerry Washington, Andre Braugher and Jessica Alba and director Tim Story.
Evan Almighty – Opens June 22Morgan Freeman returns as God. Joining in the holy mission is comedien Wanda Sykes.Steve Carrell reprises his role as Evan Baxter — the polished, preening newscaster of the first film — who finds himself the next one anointed by God (Morgan Freeman) to accomplish a holy mission. Newly elected to Congress, Evan leaves Buffalo behind and shepherds his family to suburban northern Virginia. Once there, his life gets turned upside-down when God appears and mysteriously commands him to build an ark. But his befuddled wife (Lauren Graham) and kids just can’t decide whether Evan is having an extraordinary mid-life crisis or is truly onto something of Biblical proportions.
“1408” – June 22 Samuel L. Jackson pulls in two powerful performances this summer and “1408” is the first one. Based on the short Stephen King horror story of the same name, 1408 surrounds supernatural writer Mike Enslin, an author of two hit books focusing on supernatural phenomena. As research for his latest book, Enslin is determined to check out the notorious room 1408 in a New York City hotel by personally staying as a guest in the fabled room. With the intention that 1408 is just a myth perpetuated by stories and rumor that Enslin has collected for his past works. However, hotel manager Mr. Olin (Samuel L. Jackson) has strong objections to Enslin’s stay and only warns him of possible danger to come. But Enslin is determined to go through and convinced that the horrific past of 1408 is just mere coincidence and a myth. But what Mike Enslin is about to experience is no myth, as 1408 truly is a room where the guests don’t check out by noon.Reason to Watch: Samuel L. Jackson! This brotha never seems to tire of making movies and I’m glad. His second one of the summer “Resurrecting the Champ” is my favorite. It opens August 24th.
Transformers – July 4thCan Tyrese Gibson become the new Big Willie (July 4th) weekend man? The Watts native is a stunning visual in the new flick Transformers. TO MEIntroduced in 1984, the Transformers brand took the world by storm with its compelling saga of the Autobots versus the Decepticons. The innovative “Robots in Disguise” resulted in a tremendously successful toy line from Hasbro and Takara, comic book series, television program and an animated feature film. More than 20 years later, a new generation has discovered the excitement of the Transformers brand and its legendary characters, including the two leaders of the opposing sides: Optimus Prime and Megatron. Today, the franchise features a popular toy line, an animated series on the Cartoon Network and a chart-topping comic book series from IDW Publishing.Reasons to Watch: Tyrese Gibson and Bernie Mac…
Talk to Me – July 13thThe powerful real-life story of Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene (portrayed by Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle), an outspoken ex-con who talked his way into becoming an iconic radio personality in the 1960s in Washington, D.C. Sparked by both the era’s vibrant soul music and exploding social consciousness, Petey openly courted controversy at a white-owned station. Relying on his producer Dewey Hughes (double Golden Globe Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor) to run interference, Petey’s unprecedented “tell it like it is” on-air style gave voice and spirit to the black community during and exciting and turbulent period in American history. Reasons to Watch – Everyone in the film, Don Cheadle, Taraji P. Henson, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Queen Latifah stars as Motormouth Maybelle in “Hairspray” opening July 20thSixteen years after the release of the original film, New Line Cinema is bringing a feature film adaptation of the Tony award-winning Broadway production “Hairspray” to life. Featuring new and original material based on John Waters’ 1988 cult classic. Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky), a heavy weight teenager with all the right moves, is obsessed with the Corny Collins Show. Every day after school, her and her best friend Penny (Amanda Bynes)run home and watch the show, and drool over the hot Link Larken (Zac Efron) must to Tracy’s mother Edna’s (John Travolta) dismay. After one of the stars of the show leaves, Corny Collins (Jason Marsden) holds auditions to see who is the next person on the Corny Collins show. With all of the help of her friend Seaweed (Elijah Kelly), Tracy makes it on the show and maddening the evil dance queen Amber Von Tussle (Brittany Snow) and her mother Velma (Michelle Pfieffer). Tracy then decides that it’s not fair that the black kids only can dance on the Corny Collins Show once a month, and with the help of Seaweed, Link, Penny, Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifah), her father (Christopher Walken) and Edna, she’s gonna integrate the show…..without denting her ‘do! Reasons to Watch: The Queen and John TravoltaR
“Who’s Your Caddy” — Our Stories Films, July 27th“Who’s Your Caddy” is a hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy about a superstar rap mogul C-Note (Antwan “Big Boi” Patton) who runs into fierce competition when he tries to join a super conservative white country club in the Carolinas. Undeterred, C-Note gets the brilliant idea to buy the land adjacent to the golf club’s 17th hole, which he cleverly leverages. C-Note’s crew wreaks havoc as they bring their larger-than-life style to the country club. His entourage played by comedian Faizon Love (Idlewild) and Finesse Mitchell (Saturday Night Live) make this a down and dirty knee-slapping comedic event. And heads up, I’m told it’s bottoms up for one of our characters.Reasons to Watch – It’s Bob Johnson’s opening salvo into the film business! Will he make us want to see more? Remember: Johnson made it clear – he’s all about comedies. He wants to make you laugh.
Daddy Day Camp – August 10Eddie Murphy took a pass on this one, but this hilarious sequel to the smash hit “Daddy Day Care” finds Dad Charlie Hinton and Phil Ryerson (Cuba Gooding Jr. and Paul Rae) in another kid-harried adventure as they take over running a summer day camp.Armed with no knowledge of the great outdoors, a dilapidated facility and a motley crew of campers, it doesn’t take long for things to get out of control. Up against the threats of foreclosure and declining enrollment, Charlie is forced to call upon his estranged father, Col. Buck Hinton (Richard Gant) to help bring the camp together and teach everyone about teamwork, perservance, and the power of forgiveness. Daddy Day Camp hit theatres August 10th.
Rush Hour 3 – August 10Chris Tucker returns to the big screen after a six-year absence as he reunites with the all-star team of co-star Jackie Chan, director Brett Ratner (“Rush Hour,” “Rush Hour 2,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Hannibal”), and writer Jeff Nathanson (“Rush Hour 2,” “Catch Me If You Can”) to deliver the third installment of the blockbuster “Rush Hour” franchise. Arriving in theaters on August 10, 2007, “Rush Hour 3” sees the beloved action comedy duo of Tucker and Chan reprising their roles as LAPD Detective James Carter and Chinese Chief Inspector Lee respectively. This time around, the two must travel to Paris to battle a wing of the Chinese organized crime family, the Triads.Reason to Watch: Chris Tucker – who knows when he’ll decide to do another movie.
Illegal Tender – August 24th Release DateAcademy nominated filmmaker/director John Singleton (Hustle and Flow and Boyz in the Hood) jumps back into the producer’s chair to tell a gangster story set in the Latino community. After the gang who killed his father comes to settle a score, a teenage boy and his mother turn the table on the killers. Director/Writer Frank Reyes working with Singleton tells the story of one family’s quest for honor and revenge as the hunted become the hunted in the new thriller, Illegal Tender.Reasons to Watch: John Singleton, Rick Gonzalez and Wanda De Jesus,
Resurrecting The Champ – August 24In “Champ,” Samuel L. Jackson plays one-time boxing great Bob Satterfield. When up-and-coming sports writer Erik Kernan (Josh Hartnett) saves a homeless man from a scrape with a group of rowdy college kids, he unwittingly finds himself face to face with no ordinary bum, but Champ. What begins as a story resurrecting a once-great man turns into an incredible journey, and an opportunity for Erik to reexamine his own life, his relationship with his young son and his recently separated wife.Reasons to Watch: Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett, and Teri Hatcher.