Andre Benjamin Brings A Musical Legend To Life In ‘Jimi: All Is By My Side’

_rbdave73dj1_hires214Arriving in theaters today, JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE is a really terrific missed opportunity. Not exactly a traditional ‘show biz biopic’, the film focuses on just a year in the life of JIMI HENDRIX, one of the most flamboyant and influential musical stars of the swingin’ sixties. It was the year that catapulted him from unknown back-up session guy to being one of the most talked about stars of the London music scene. Unfortunately, because of the epic shortsightedness of the Hendrix estate, music rights to his most important works couldn’t be secured and, for fans, that’s a real speed-bump.

Directed and written by JOHN RIDLEY, the film stars ANDRE BENJAMIN (aka ANDRE 3000 of OutKast fame) in a career defining performance. BENJAMIN doesn’t just ‘play’ the part of JIMI HENDRIX, he owns it. He becomes HENDRIX.

During a recent press conference to promote the film, BENJAMIN talked about playing this well documents musical giant and admitted it was a lot to take on. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)

JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE opens in theaters today.

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Posted by Bob Healy

On ABC This Season, It’s Not Thursday Night…It’s ‘ShondaLand’

_rbdave73dj1_hires213In what might possibly be an unprecedented move, ABC has turned over the entirety of its Thursday night programming to producer/writer SHONDA RHIMES.

Returning tonight for its 11th season, GREY’S ANATOMY kicks off the evening with the continuing exploits of the denizens of Seattle Grace Hospital. This long-running nighttime soap has proven year-after-year to be one of prime-time’s most popular and shows no sign of slowing up now.

Following that, SCANDAL returns to kick off season four. Expect more plot twists than ever as KERRY WASHINGTON steps back into the role of the most conflicted D.C. employee ever (and that’s saying a LOT).

Capping off the night is RHIMES’ latest entry in the strong woman sweepsteaks, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. Academy Award-nominee VIOLA DAVIS stars as a tough attorney/law professor whose class carries the same name as this show. As provocative and edgy as you’ll find on network television, MURDER looks very promising.

One would think that producing an entire night of network programming would be a heady (if not outright daunting) prospect but, at a recent press conference to promote the shows, RHIMES seemed to take it all in stride. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)

The SHONDALAND ‘threeplay’ airs tonight on ABC.

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Posted by Bob Healy

Unlikely Allies Team Up Against Social Injustice In ‘Pride’

_rbdave73dj1_hires212Opening in theaters this weekend, PRIDE is set in 1984 and tells the true story of how a group of London based gay and lesbian activists joined together to financially aid striking mine workers in a small Welsh town. Under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s iron thumb, the miners were being starved out and losing their houses until they put aside their prejudices and accepted help from their new unlikely ally.

Directed by Tony Award winner MATTHEW WARCHUS, the large cast of unknowns is joined by more familiar faces BILL NIGHY, DOMINIC WEST, PADDY CONSIDINE and IMELDA STAUNTON.

A truly heartwarming story of acceptance and compassion, the film is also hugely funny. It was the humor that was largely responsible for attracting the cast and, during a recent press conference in Toronto, BILL NIGHY went into detail about taking the role. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)


PRIDE opens in theaters 9/26

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Posted by Bob Healy

‘Black-ish’ Continues Long Tradition of Playing Race And Class For Laughs

_rbdave73dj1_hires211Premiering tonight on ABC, BLACK-ISH is an amusing sitcom focused on three generations of a wealthy African-American family living in an upscale neighborhood and the concerns of the patriarch that his kids might be losing touch with their cultural heritage. More about ‘culture’ than ‘race’, the series feels like something fresh but, for better or worse, original storylines and concepts can’t keep it from being reminiscent of such classics as THE COSBY SHOW, FRESH PRINCE and THE JEFFERSONS.

Written by KENYA BARRIS (who is also one of the producers), the cast includes ANTHONY ANDERSON, TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, YARA SHAHIDI, MARCUS SCRIBNER, MILES BROWN, MARSAI MARTIN and LAURENCE FISHBURNE.

At a press conference to promote the series, writer KENYA BARRIS explained what BLACK-ISH hopes to convey to the audience. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)

BLACK-ISH debuts tonight on ABC.

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Posted by Bob Healy

A Popular Crime Franchise Stays True To Form With ‘NCIS: New Orleans’

_rbdave73dj1_hires29Probably one of the most successful and popular procedural franchises in TV history, NCIS is branching out to include the Big Easy in its gritty storytelling. Premiering tonight on CBS, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS takes full advantage of all that Louisiana locations have to offer and is a fine addition to the NCIS stable.

Executive Produced by MARK HARMON (who will be making occasional crossover appearances), the new cast features SCOTT BAKULA, LUCAS BLACK, ZOE McLELLAN, ROB KERKOVICH and C.C.H. POUNDER.

Always an actor of considerable charm, SCOTT BAKULA is following up his work in MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE and LOOKING by relocating his family to NOLA and totally committing to the new show. During a press conference to promote the series, he talked about taking on the role.(CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)

NCIS: NEW ORLEANS premieres tonight on CBS.

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Posted by Bob Healy