“Selma,” “Annie,” and “Top Five” provide great holiday options at the movies

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David Oyelowo, (center) portrays Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  in his tortured, relentless fight for equal rights under the American constitution. King’s non-violent civil rights movement promoted marches, sit-ins and acts of civil disobedience, strategies that have resurfaced in today’s society to publicize the scourge of white police officers killing unarmed Black men and boys with impunity only to escape punishment from grand juries which refuse to indict them for their crimes.

By Carmen Glover

Three diverse movies offer a treat for movie patrons this Christmas season: “Selma,” “Annie” and “Top Five,” which each tackle a different subject that is ripe for debate. “Selma” opened on Christmas Day in limited release and will open nationwide on January 9, 2015.

Oprah Winfrey appears in "Selma" which she produced; David Oyelowo stars as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ava DuVernay, co- writer and director of the film, which has received four award nominations so far.

Oprah Winfrey appears in “Selma” which she produced; David Oyelowo stars as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ava DuVernay, co- writer and director of the film, which has received four award nominations so far.

The movie is directed by Ava DuVernay, who co-writes the movie with Paul Webb. “Selma is produced by Oprah Winfrey and stars David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Carmen Ejogo as his wife Coretta and features other seasoned actors such as Tim Roth and Lorraine Toussaint.

Selma cast wear "I Can't Breathe" t-shirts to the movie's premiere. Those were the words uttered 11 times by African-American father, husband and grandfather Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York on July 17 when he was choked to death by NYPD detective Daniel Panteleo, whom the grand jury failed to indict, resulting in ongoing protests for justice.

Selma cast wear “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts to the movie’s premiere. Those were the words uttered 11 times by African-American father, husband and grandfather Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York on July 17 when he was choked to death by NYPD detective Daniel Pantaleo, whom the grand jury failed to indict, resulting in ongoing protests for justice.

“Selma” is the first big screen film that tells the story of the non-violent civil rights leader. “Selma” delves into the civil rights movement King spearheaded that featured marches and protests in the quest for voting rights, equality under the law and the right to live in dignity and be treated with respect. True to form, the King estate, run by his children, refused to grant use of his speeches for the film. Nevertheless, the creative forces behind the film produced a stellar, timely and riveting film, which was nominated for several industry awards so far.

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Academy-Award winner Jamie Foxx embraces an ebullient Quevenzhane Wallis, who has transformed the role of “Annie” to one that is relatable to  a broader racial group.

“Annie,” which was released in theaters a week ago, stars Quevenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx in a modern retelling of a musical classic that has always been a hit with families that have small children. “Annie” tells the tale of children in the foster care system, their interactions with those who are charged with their care and their quest for survival. Wallis, who burst on the movie scene in “Beast of the Southern Wild,” which earned her an Oscar nomination, shares great chemistry with Foxx and the duo combine to expand “Annie’s” scope from one which emphasized a mostly white cast to one where African-Americans take the lead roles and deliver convincingly.

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Chris Rock, seen with Rosario Dawson in a scene from “Top Five” which Rock wrote and directed. The movie is filled with appearances by comedians that span a wide spectrum.

“Top Five” tells the story of Andre Allen (Chris Rock), a comedian who is busy promoting his first serious film while simultaneously coordinating his upcoming wedding to his reality star fiancée, portrayed  by Gabrielle Union. Rosario Dawson plays a hard-nosed reporter who hangs out with Rock in an attempt to get information for a more personal, real-life article for her newspaper.

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 06:  Leslie Jones attends the premiere of "Top Five" at the Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 6, 2014 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Ernesto Di Stefano Photography/WireImage)

TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 06: Leslie Jones attends the premiere of “Top Five” at the Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 6, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Ernesto Di Stefano Photography/WireImage)

Throughout the film, a bevy of comedians such as Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler and scene stealer Leslie Jones discuss their top five hip hop artists, with hilarious results that include insults hurled all around, episodes of poor judgment and payback that is bound to keep patrons talking and laughing for days.–OnPointPress.net. 

Comedian Tracy Morgan sues Walmart, recuperates at home

Tracy Morgan waved to journalists as he left his New Jersey home on 7/14/2014.

Tracy Morgan waved to journalists and flashed a peace sign as he left his New Jersey home on 7/14/2014.

By Carmen Glover

Looking weak but apparently in good spirits, comedian and actor Tracy Morgan used a walker for balance as he left his home in New Jersey yesterday in a van driven by an unidentified male. Waving to journalists who were gathered to wish him well and get an update on his condition, Morgan flashed a peace sign and said:

“I’m Ok. I love you. Thank you very much.”

The crumpled remains of the Mercedes-Benz limousine bus in which Tracy Morgan and his friends were driving when they were rear-ended. Comedian James McNair was killed.

The crumpled remains of the Mercedes-Benz limousine bus in which Tracy Morgan and his friends were driving when they were rear-ended. Comedian James McNair was killed.

Morgan, who has appeared on “30 Rock” and Saturday Night Live, was released from the hospital last week, one month after he was critically injured on June 7, on the New Jersey Turnpike when his limousine bus was rear-ended by a Walmart truck. The truck’s driver, Kevin Roper, is alleged to have been driving for 24 hours without sleeping, which is believed to have contributed to the accident.

Walmart truck driver appears somber as he leaves court.

Walmart truck driver Kevin Roper appears somber as he leaves court.

Roper was charged and appeared in court regarding the accident. Morgan’s friend and mentor, comedian James McNair was killed in the accident, while fellow comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr. and Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea, were critically injured. Comedian Harris Stanton was treated and released shortly after the accident. Morgan sustained a broken leg, nose, as well as injures to his ribs and head. He underwent surgery during his hospitalization and has undergone therapy. He will continue recovering at home.

Ardie Fuqua Sr. talks about his son, during recent prayer vigil.

Ardie Fuqua Sr. talks about his son, during recent prayer vigil. Ardie Fuqua Jr. was critically injured during the June 7 accident that killed comedian James McNair.

Meanwhile, a prayer vigil was held for Fuqua last week in Jersey City by his family. According  News 12, Fuqua’s mother, Mrs. Doris Fuqua said that her son was receiving three hours of physical therapy daily and is being treated for brain trauma. Ms. Fuqua said:

“We would just like to thank everyone for all of their prayers. Our son is improving. He’s improving a lot.”

Comedian James McNair, seen in happier times with Tracy Morgan, died inn the accident.

Comedian James McNair, seen in happier times with Tracy Morgan, died in the accident.

Morgan announced last week that he is suing Walmart for negligence because the company “knew or should have known that Mr. Roper was awake for 24 hours before the accident.” Walmart, in a statement expressed being “deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved in the accident,” According to the statement, Walmart is “cooperating with the investigation.”–OnPointPress.net.

Tracy Morgan leaves hospital, No word on Ardie Fuqua, assistant

Tracy Morgan is reportedly doing much better after car crash.

Tracy Morgan was released from the hospital on June 20, and transferred to a rehabilitation facility, where he is expected to undergo weeks of extensive physical therapy in order to fully recover from the injuries he sustained in the June 7 car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.

By Carmen Glover

On Friday, June 20, one week after his luxury tour bus was rear-ended on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing his friend James McNair, “30 Rock Star” Tracy Morgan was released from Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and transferred to an undisclosed rehabilitation center to continue with his recovery.

Morgan was critically injured in the accident which occurred on June 7 at 1:00 a.m., when the comedian’s bus was hit by Walmart truck driver Kevin Roper. According to information released by the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), Roper had been speeding, going 20 miles over the posted speed limit, despite notices urging caution due to lane closures. Roper was believed to be exhausted after reportedly driving for up to 24 hours without sleep.

Comedian Ardie Fuqua remains in critical condition in NJ hospital.

Comedian Ardie Fuqua remains in critical condition in NJ hospital but no information has been provided about the status of his progress, or whether he has improved in any way.

Morgan’s spokesman indicated that the rehabilitation period was underway and is expected to take some time.

“Tracy has been transferred to an undisclosed rehab center, where he is expected to remain for the next few weeks. While he is continuing to show signs of improvement, he still has a long way to go,” said Lewis Kay, Morgan’s spokesman.

No information was provided on the progress of Morgan’s assistant and his fellow comedian Ardie Fuqua, who were also hospitalized in critical condition after the accident.  The public is urged to keep praying for the recovery of Fuqua and Morgan’s assistant so that they may improve and leave the hospital as well. -OnPointPress.net.

Car crash kills comedian James McNair, puts Tracy Morgan in ICU

james tracy

James McNair died on Saturday morning in a car crash while Tracy Morgan remains in ICU.

By Carmen Glover

Comedian James McNair, 63, was killed in a horrific multi-vehicle crash on the New Jersey Turnpike at 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The crash left fellow comedians Tracy Morgan, Ardie Fuqua and Morgan’s assistant in the Intensive Care Unit at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. Comedian Harris Stanton was not critically hurt, but Morgan sustained head injuries, according to ABC News. New Jersey State Police stated that the accident occurred when the driver of a Walmart tractor trailer rammed into the back of the bus which was carrying the comedians and their entourage from Dover Downs, Delaware, where they performed on Friday night.

wreckage

The crumpled wreckage is all that remains of the tour bus that was carrying Tracy Morgan and his entourage.

McNair died on the scene, while the other passengers on the tour bus were transported to the hospital for care. A statement released by Morgan’s publicist Lewis Kay said that he was receiving “excellent care,” while McNair’s grieving son, Jamel McNair, said his father “would give others the shirt off his back,” while talking about McNair.

Images from the early morning multi-vehicle crash that left comedian Tracy Morgan and other members of his tour bus in hospitalized in critical condition with one dead.

Images from the early morning multi-vehicle crash that left comedian Tracy Morgan and other members of his tour bus in hospitalized in critical condition with one dead.

Walmart President and CEO Bill Simon expressed condolences to the families of the injured and deceased.

“This is a tragedy and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved,” he said, adding that they are “cooperating” with the investigation. Meanwhile, the driver of the truck that caused the accident, 35-year-old  Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, GA, was  charged with multiple counts of vehicular infractions including one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto, according to a news release issued by Middlesex County officials. Roper’s bail is $50,000. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) dispatched a team over the weekend to assist with the investigation.

McNair was Morgan’s writing partner and friend, who also performed routines and he is being mourned in the entertainment community while Morgan’s family remains by his side in the hospital. Twitter came alive on Saturday as fans, relatives and celebrities poured out their hearts and offered prayers for Morgan and all the families affected by the deadly accident. Morgan enjoyed a long career on Saturday Night Live (SNL) and 30 Rock. He has spoken often about the struggles he endured rising from the projects in New York City before achieving success as a comedian and actor.–OnPointPress.net.