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Entries in Actors (93)


If Not Now, When? Actress Meagan Good Takes a Seat in the Director's Chair

HBO's documentary on The Apollo Theater, a New York City landmark that helped launch the careers of many musical and comedic stars, are among the highly anticipated films that I have no doubt will enjoy sold-out shows when audiences pack AMC Empire 25 in Times Square for the 23rd Annual Urbanworld Film Festival this year. That's why out of the 78 films to choose from, I'm hoping that moviegoers also make it a point to show up in support of the latest work from actress Meagan Good whose directorial debut If Not Now, When? is screening in Urbanworld's U.S. Narrative Features category.

If Not Now, When? directed by Meagan Good and Tamara Bass is showing Saturday Sep 21 at the 23rd Annual Urbanworld Film Festival

Written and Co-Directed by Tamara Bass, If Not Now, When? is an indie drama about four women who were friends since high school and saw their bonds deteriorate over the years following disagreements, love and fights. After nearly 15 years of not speaking, two of these women are forced back together with the others when one of them suffers a crisis. The four women soon discover that they also need each other, and that sisterhood, to make it through what is currently happening in their individual lives.

Speaking of sisterhood, a lot of women are leading the pack in Urbanworld's main lineup. Whether Harriet, Kasi Lemmons' biopic about abolitionist Harriet Tubman, will buck the trend of this mainstream fixation with slavery (and the heavily skewed retelling of that era that brings a certain level of detachment from and denial of systemic issues impacting African Americans and race relations in America today) by offering audiences a whole new take on the story, remains to be seen.

My guess is Black and Blue (to be released in October), an action thriller starring Naomi Harris (MoonlightSpectre) about a rookie cop who is on the run after inadvertently capturing a murder by corrupt cops on her body cam, will be one of the best on Urbanworld's schedule. However, I'm rooting for If Not Now, When? because as an indie film, it is at risk of getting lost in the shuffle of audience attention as people rush to grab a seat for the tentpole titles. I've done it myself before.

But If Not Now, When? is not just any indie film. It's directed by an actress who is taking control of not only her career options but also the kind of stories that she wants to be a part of today's cinematic landscape. I can get behind that because it seems like a positive story and I think we can all relate to the habit of losing touch with people in our lives and only catching up with them at a funeral or some kind of tragic event. Plus, while I've always liked a lot of the movies Meagan Good played in, it often seemed as if she either didn't pursue or wasn't given opportunities to pursue material that stretched a bit further out of her chill zone. 


In addition to playing a lot of cool, cute, "homegirl" characters, Meagan has been acting for a long time (her career spans 30 years) and aside from large box office hits like Minority Report and Think Like a Man, the bulk of work I've seen her do consists of supporting roles in urban dramas and comedies. Many unremarkable. The kind of movies that you watch to enjoy a weeknight at home while reheating yesterdays take-out dinner of cheesesteaks and wings.

With If Not Now, When? I'm not suggesting that her filmography has to be all peaches and rainbows either. I had high hopes for Meagan when the prime time drama Deception debuted on NBC a few years ago. I watched that show -- in which Meagan Good played a detective who goes undercover with the FBI to investigate the murder of an heiress -- every week, discussing each episode with family members who did the same, before NBC canceled it after one season. It was refreshing to see her in a leading role and spreading her wings with material that brought audiences (what seemed to be) a bit more substance.

It is exciting to see Meagan stepping into the driver's seat and creating pathways to be in a lead role where she can best utilize her talents, regardless of which side of the camera she's on.

What is your favorite film starring Meagan Good, to date?

How well do you think the film industry is doing in terms of its on-screen portrayal of bonds between women?


Reese’s Outlook on the Oscars 

Vinyl hijackers known as the Popcorn Snobs are catching up on their theme, ‘The Taking of April A-Z,’ as they run this blog for the next 12 (or so) days.

It’s Reese here and I’m back to discuss the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars. These coveted honors, given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, come with prestige but prestige doesn't pay the bills. The golden trophies would look (and probably feel) much better if they were accompanied by some type of useful bonus such as a monetary prize or guaranteed job on an upcoming movie.

Financial rewards obviously may not be a big deal for certain Oscar winners who happen to also be top industry players; able to negotiate million-dollar contracts for their work. Still, cash can come in handy and make a significant difference in the lives of the men and women who win Academy Awards for their contributions to craft departments such as grips, makeup artists, gaffers, sound technicians, musicians, editors and set designers. There are times when even some A-list talent, including two-time Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank, can benefit greatly from monetary prizes.

Swank’s first Academy Award for Actress in a Leading Role came from her performance in the romantic drama Boys Don’t Cry (1999). She later found herself in a tough spot when her health insurance card was declined while trying to fill a prescription. The insurance company informed Swank that she didn’t meet a $5,000 minimum in annual earnings to qualify for health coverage.

At a day rate of $75 for her role in Boys Don’t Cry, the actress had made just $3,000 total, from working on this movie. “I had an Academy Award, and no health insurance…the life of an actor,” laughs Hilary Swank in a 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace.

This is a prime example of how great the Oscars would be if they came with cash prizes. While this may seem expensive, there are ways the Academy could share the wealth among all the many difference awards given out each year. Film studios could designate a percentage of profits to a general pot that gets divided up among all categories at the Oscars. It would also be neat if philanthropists and estate planners gave funds to be designated as prize money for select Academy Awards. The bottom line is this…. Oscars should pony up the dough! 

Why do YOU agree or disagree with Reese's outlook regarding adding financial bonuses to Oscar winnings? 


Viktor the Vampire: What Bill Nighy said about Filming Underworld

Starring in a movie as the toughest Vampire elder around sounds like lots of fun. That’s if you can bear the strenuous process of getting into character. Actor Bill Nighy, who plays Viktor in the Underworld series, told BBC that the makeup department spent six hours doing “medieval, terrible things” to make him look like he’s been sleeping for centuries. After contact lenses were added and fangs fitted, nobody on the set would eat lunch with Nighy. Later at Comic-Con, this genre film lover doubted whether he would’ve ever taken the Viktor role if he knew about the prosthetics involved.

V is for Viktor


Given the physical demands of some movie roles, do YOU consider acting to be a sport?

*If you are visiting from the A-to-Z Challenge, my blog post for Letter W will be posted later today.