Video of the Day- “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B” Official Lifetime Movie Trailer

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I have NOTHING against the production of this movie. I remember the day when Aaliyah died and it was truly a day of mourning. I eventually said “LET’S DO THIS!” when Lifetime announced that they would produce a movie about Aaliyah, even when my first instinct was to exclaim that I wished the movie could be seen on the big screen instead. I also was upset when Zendaya dropped out of this movie because I think that her being cast for the role was perfect and would have elevated her career to another level. Now, having viewed the official trailer for “Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B”, the only gripe that I have about this film, thus far, is that I wish Zendaya continued on with this project until post-production. *sigh*

 

What do you think about the casting of actress Alexandra Shipp, as Aaliyah, after having watched this? Would you have preferred Zendaya, think that we should lay our final verdicts on the gauntlet after the movie airs, or have your own dream lead actress for the role in mind?

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Aaliyah Biopic Drama Just Keeps On Coming

I haven’t written about the Lifetime Aaliyah movie until now because I had to take some time to digest the news before diving in. Aaliyah remains in my mind as an R&B princess whose death still feels like a dream. I admired her for her voice, fierce fashion sense, chill demeanor, and dance moves. “Rock the Boat”? “One in A Million?” “Are You That Somebody?” “If Your Girl Only Knew?” CLASSIC JAMS! I also maintain that her star was just becoming brighter, especially in films. It was exciting watching her perform on stage and in music videos and on screen.

Hearing about the news of a Lifetime biopic based on Aaliyah left me thinking about how I wish it could be released on the big screen. Look, I LOVE Lifetime. It’s the only network smart enough to capitalize on V.C. Andrews'”Flowers in the Attic” literary series while remaining loyal to an audience that can’t get enough of original movies based around difficult topics such as eating disorders, bullying, and infidelity.  I’m a Lifetime girl for life (no pun intended).

So while my gripe about Lifetime’s decision to produce a movie based on Aaliyah’s short, yet impressive life had nothing to do with Zendaya being cast as the lead role, now she has officially dropped out of the movie. A part of me is sad because I would have loved to see how Zendaya would have portrayed the late megastar. But the other side of me thinks that Zendaya made a very educated decision. With the Aaliyah fan outrage and family members who would rather see Aaliyah’s story in movie theaters around the world, there is just too much drama when it seems clear that Zendaya just wants to do right by Aaliyah’s legacy and image. Zendaya might not have wanted to attach herself to a project that is meeting a boatload of animosity in its pre-production stages.

For now, production is on hold, so either a new star will be born/reborn if the role is recast OR Aaliyah’s life on the small screen will never be realized. I, for one, am staying tuned.

 

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“Divergent” Is About Lot of Things, Especially Crossfit

(WARNING: IF YOU HAVE YET TO SEE THE MOVIE BUT YOU’VE READ THE BOOK, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER IN READING THIS. THIS IS YOUR SPOILER ALERT WARNING!) 

 

I’m a tad behind on my “Divergent” review, but that’s only because I found myself in a few privileged predicaments, as I like to call them. Nonetheless, I’m so glad that I was able to contribute my dollars to the opening weekend of the movie because it was well worth watching to see Four and Tris rendered on the big screen. Even before the movie premiered, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant” were given the greenlight to be produced as films also and with good reason- this trilogy has a HUGE fanbase. I’m not sure if it’s on the level as “The Hunger Games”, but this will be the only time I will compare the two anyway. Divergent resonates with audiences today, especially young adult and adult readers, because it’s an interesting look into human personality, psychology, the idea of ‘groupthink’ and the choices that we make as humans when given the opportunity to show our true selves. What would you do if you were asked to choose what side of yourself you identify with most, knowing that you would have to live with others you have known since birth, or taking advantage of moving in with strangers whose principles you’ve felt more of a kinship with from afar ? Are you Amity(peaceful)? Candor(honest)? Erudite(intelligent)? Abnegation (selfless)? Dauntless(brave)? Factionless? Or Divergent, a blend of several ideologies?

Veronica Roth’s book made me think of those quizzes I used to ponder over in teen magazines. The ones that are based on your personality, due to how you would answer the questions compiled just for you and every other teenage girl in the universe. I always had a hard time picking just one or two answers, because I easily saw myself as an A and B, or A and C, etc. I could be both kind and smart, the girl who planned ahead and the girl who likes to be spontaneous. I’m both Carrie and Charlotte, with a dash of Samantha and a sprinkle of Miranda. Do I really have to be just one type of person? If I were a part of Roth’s post-apocalyptic world, I would be Divergent, hands down, because I know who I am. But what if I were born into a family dedicated to serving honesty or intelligence? Would I be so certain that I could be both or would I stay in the same lone faction until the day I died? It’s harder to tell knowing that information.

Having read the book before seeing the film, I went to the movie theater with some expectations. I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to be 100% sold on Shailene Woodley playing Tris (I was… 200%). I wanted to see if Eric would be appear just as terrifying on brought to visual life as much as he was through Roth’s imagination and my own (he sure was!). I wanted to revel in Peter and his motley gang hell-bent on making Tris suffer (more on this later…). Overall, I was very pleased and cannot wait for “Insurgent” to be released. But here are some key differences between the book and the movie that I wish could have been rectified:

 

THINGS THAT MADE ME GO HMMM:

– Christina, Eric, and the chasm: In the book, this scene feels excruciatingly long. Also, from what I recall, there is water and lots of it. I didn’t feel like Christina’s life was really in danger in this part of the movie. In the book? I was holding my breath.

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-Peter’s gang:  For the sake of the film’s length, I knew, like with many book-to-movie adaptations, that some characters and events would be sacrificed. I just wish that Drew and Molly’s weren’t. Just like Peter in Roth’s novel, Drew and Molly were abhorrent characters. In the movie, Drew was not present and Molly was, but aside from having to fight Tris, Molly ends up thinking that Tris is cool after she stands up to Eric during the now famous knife throwing incident. I wanted to see Peter, Drew, and Molly go all out and make Tris cry for at least one moment.

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-The physical struggle of Marcus and Andrew as they head to the Dauntless compound: I wanted to see these two huffing and puffing, trying to keep up with Tris on the way to Dauntless headquarters, as it’s imagined in the novel, but there is no way that Tony Goldwyn is unfit and Ray Stevenson looks buff, so there went that idea.

 

 

THINGS I TRULY LOVED ABOUT THE MOVIE:

-Tori: Tori, played by Maggie Q, is dope. Maggie Q is dope. The casting for this character is sublime.

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-Casting: In fact, the casting for “Divergent” is A+. I know of some folks out there who were not too keen on Miles Teller as Peter, but I honestly don’t know who else could have played this character better. I thought that Peter would have been meaner in the movie, because he is an absolute terror in the book, but Miles injected his own take of Peter, which fit in perfectly with his surroundings and the imaginary circumstances made real. Anything more might have been on the hokey side.  I’ve also read about how some people were upset about Shailene being cast as Tris, due to physical reasons, but seriously, she kills it in this part. She bring the right amount of strength and gravity to Tris and carries the whole film through and then some. It is amazing to watch. Plus she has major chemistry with Theo James (Four).

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-Tony Goldwyn and Ashley Judd as Tris and Caleb’s parents: This is another nod to casting. They exuded selflessness to a T, just as they were supposed to. Plus, they both have a warmth to them that was lovely to see, especially when interacting with their children. When they had the chance to hug Caleb and Tris, it was moving and touching and made me smile.

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-Seeing the “fearscapes” realized: They weren’t cheesy and added another element to how I envisioned Tris and Four’s nightmares since reading about them.

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-Diversity: This is one of the most diverse casts (including the extras!) in a young adult movie I’ve ever seen thus far. I was very impressed.

-Kate Winslet as Jeanine: Call it “against type” casting, but I loved seeing Kate Winslet as a Big Bad. She was calculating, smart, and a villain whose ideas made sense. A scary thought for a scary character.

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-The tattoos: !!!!!!

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The questions that “Divergent” raises are very important and relevant. They are questions that young adults begin to think about as they try to navigate between school, parents, friends, teachers, and enemies. Then there’s the idea of the factionless, the castoffs of society who were either once  who do the jobs that no one else would do, not just because they don’t want to, but because being factionless means to not belong, just the same as being divergent. Would you rather belong with people who are just like you, or be different, risking your life or your pride in the meantime? Like Four, I would want to have the qualities of all five factions- to be kind, selfless, intelligent, honest, peaceful, and brave. Wouldn’t we all?

“Divergent” dives into these themes and more head first and if they don’t make sense to you, I urge you to read Veronica Roth’s book. Unlike other book to movie adaptations I’ve seen, this one left me wanting more. Bring on “Insurgent”!

 

p.s. Watching “Divergent” made CrossFit appear less intimidating. My fear of heights and roaming around in the phobias that reside in my psyche is a much, much worse proposition.

Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling To Star On New ABC Family Comedy

Unfortunately they won’t be reprising their Beverly Hills, 90210 roles as Kelly Taylor and Donna Martin, but Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling will be back together again on ABC Family in the new comedy series, Mystery Girls. The comedy set to air later this year “follows two former detective TV show starlets brought back together by a real-life mystery.” According to its synopsis, Garth will appear to play the logical one, while Spelling will be over-the-top. Look, ABC Family is on a roll, with hit shows like Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters, Switched at Birth, Twisted, and Melissa and Joey and it sounds like Mystery Girls could follow in all of their successful footsteps. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling on a show together? Shannon Doherty and/or Luke Perry need to make a guest star appearance.

 

What Might Have Been: Thespians Who Were Nearly Cast In Your Favorite TV Shows

Years ago I found out how close Katie Holmes came to being cast as Buffy in the TV version of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (and I still always try to envision her singing in the magical “Once More, with Feeling” episode). But the rest of these what-might-have-been casting decisions leave me breathless! Imagine Isaiah Washington as McDreamy in “Grey’s Anatomy”, Ryan Reynolds as “Xander” on “Buffy”, Sandra Bernhard as “Miranda” on “Sex and the City”, Whitney Houston (R.I.P.) as “Sondra” on “The Cosby Show”, or Ashlee Simpson as “Elena” on “The Vampire Diaries”!!!! E! Entertainment’s “TV Scoop” list of “Amazing TV Roles That Almost Went To Other Actors” just goes to show you how vital the right cast and casting outcomes are to a production.

Dana Delany was first offered the role of "Carrie Bradshaw", but turned it down (HBO|ABC)

Dana Delany was first offered the role of “Carrie Bradshaw”, but turned it down (HBO|ABC)

Spotlight On…E! Television’s “The Drama Queen”

I took one of Marki Costello‘s infamous hosting bootcamps in New York and was inspired, yet also a wee bit intimidated. This women is FIERCE and has a BIG personality. It’s no wonder that she has her own, new reality show on E! It’s not only a show for entertainment, but if you’re an aspiring talent, you best listen up to Costello’s wise advice. For instance, don’t show up to an open call, or any talent call, with a wallet-sized photo that looks like it was produced a decade ago. Always, ALWAYS arm yourself with a professional-looking headshot and attached resume! Also, never show up to a talent manager or agent’s office unannounced and then cry/beg/plead to be signed. You don’t want to be negatively labeled in Hollywood as you’re just starting your career. Marki KNOWS what she is talking about- I’ve witnessed her magic up close and personal kids!

Based on last night’s premiere, I have no doubt that Ms. Costello’s is going to gain more fans and that her expertise will continue to be in high demand. Plus, I love Paisley, co-sign on Kirby being picked as new CMEG talent, am intrigued by Sloane Brown, and want to see more of Tamara Jaber. That woman’s candor is refreshing.

This Is Really Happening…

I remember reading about Spencer Matthews and Stephanie Pratt’s (“The Hills”) new (now defunct) relationship a few months back but for some reason never thought that she would be featured on “Made in Chelsea”. Tonight, however, marks Miss Pratt’s UK television debut on a UK television show. Stephanie is further down on my list of Hills alum that I thought would jump from a US to a British reality show, but judging from the clip below, she is doing her thing:

Should I be surprised that some of the Chelsea cast members (*ahem* LUCY WATSON) are none too happy about the new American addition to the program? I must say that this new season just became spicier. Gotta love the Pratts!