All Articles Tagged "Chris Rock"

Chris Rock’s “Top Five”: Boxed In Versus Breaking Out At The Box Office

December 19th, 2014 - By Candace Smith
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PNP/WENN.com

PNP/WENN.com

Chris Rock’s latest movie, Top Five, opened last weekend in 979 theaters, amassing $7.2 million dollars. It did not best Christian Bale’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, which was the number one film, pulling in $24.5 million for the same weekend. But Top Five emerged as the number four movie in America, a significant feat for Rock, who is the movie’s director, writer, as well as leading man. These numbers indicate the comedian’s potential to be a Woody Allen-esque figure, of sorts, for African-American moviegoers, following in the footsteps of other African-American silver screen savants like Robert Townsend and Spike Lee.

In the past decade there have been few intelligent, forward-thinking comedies starring, directed, and/or written by an African-American male or female. This year we were treated to Justin Simien’s Dear White People, which has been nominated for NAACP Image and Film Independent Spirit awards, among others.

It often appears that “thinking man” comedies are created by the Jason Reitmans and Julie Delpys of the world, whereas African-Americans are treated to movies like Soul Plane and Norbit. There is nothing wrong with slapstick comedy or the Tyler Perry Madea movies that have made him a millionaire. Still, the contemporary mammie, coon, and buck roles that African Americans have sought to diminish in the filmmaking landscape throughout history carry on and present themselves today. Perry’s last Madea movie, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, grossed a total of $52,543,354 at the box office. With numbers like that, Hollywood would be less concerned about the praise of critics, especially with A Madea Christmas being the latest installment of a mile long string of Madea flicks produced over the years.

Chris Rock is well aware of how Hollywood works and how the divide between White and Black Hollywood translates and constructs box office hits and misses. “It’s a White industry. Just as the NBA is a Black industry. I’m not even saying it’s a bad thing. It just is,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.  African Americans in Hollywood, no matter what position, are at the mercy of stereotyping and racial groupthink, which affects the types of films they are expected to consume and generate.

To further illustrate this point, look toward the existing Sony hacking scandal, the gift that just keeps on giving. Even the racial biases of renowned producer Scott Rudin and chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Amy Pascal, were revealed in a spread of email messages between the two “discussing” Obama’s movie preferences. “Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” wrote Pascal. “12 YEARS”, replied Rudin. “Or the butler. Or think like a man?” Pascal asked. “Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”, Rudin then stated. (For the record, Obama’s favorite movie of 2014 is “Boyhood”, starring Ethan Hawke.) The reception for Chris Rock’s Top Five at this year’s Toronto Film Festival and the studio bidding war to acquire the film proves that a comedy of this ilk is wanted and that a good story knows no color lines.

Top Five won’t be able to eradicate the ghettoization of black films within the Hollywood movie system, and we are not trying to imply that it can. Instead, we can infer that Rock’s newest movie is another small step in the direction of presenting Black males who are funny without wearing a dress or being overtly hammy. Critics talk, but money talks louder. Smart businesspeople, such as Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst for BoxOffice.com, know that a movie’s success should not be solely evaluated by its opening weekend numbers.

“You can’t judge a movie like ‘Exodus’ or ‘Top Five’ based on their opening weekends. There’s a lot of time between Christmas and New Year’s for a film to pop, and compared to last year, there aren’t as many adult-skewing titles,” he said. A film like Top Five, which is being hailed as one of Chris Rock’s finest in years, is not in a bad position opening at number four, having being up against present blockbusters and animated movies like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1n and Exodus: Gods and Kings. (It cost $10 million to make and was bought by Paramount Pictures for $12.5 million.)

What remains to be seen is its global appeal, cumulative sum totals of ticket sales over the holiday season and beyond, and future studio support for intelligent comedies led by African-American talent.

However, let us keep in mind that Chris Rock has gained the respect of many industry tastemakers and gatekeepers with Top Five and this can only inspire him and other comedians like him to keep keepin’ on. On the whole, African-American filmmakers should be mindful that a balance of great storytelling and Hollywood industry acumen is fundamental. Like Rock and his film Top Five, showing film industry power executives that breaking out of the creativity box is a risk worth taking to the box office.

Chris Rock Reveals The One Person He’ll Never Joke About

December 5th, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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For a lot of comedians, nothing is off limits, but while promoting his upcoming film, “Top Five,” which hits theaters today, Chris Rock revealead there is one person he won’t come for in his stand up routines and we have to say that choice is a very smart move on his part. See who the lucky individual is in the video above as Chris also talks about growing as a comedian and not caring about people who aren’t true fans being offended by his jokes.

“We Lost Robin, We Lost Joan, And We Kind Of Lost Cosby”: Chris Rock Talks Bill Cosby, Obama, And His Daughters Preferring Kevin Hart

December 2nd, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

In the new issue of The New Yorker (which he covers), Chris Rock talks in depth about the struggle to be as funny as he wants to be in a politically correct-obsessed culture, fatherhood, the suicide of Robin Williams (and the dark sides of comedians), the ups and downs of Obama’s presidency, and of course, the accusations against Bill Cosby. There are quite a few great quotes as the Top Five (movie out on Friday, and it’s hilarious!) star has always been deep and hilarious at the same time, but these are the tidbits that stuck out to us the most:

Criticism Over His Jokes About Not Wanting To Visit The One World Trade Center After 9/11 And Political Correctness:

Oh, it’s back stronger than ever. I don’t pay that much attention to it. I mean, you don’t want to piss off the people that are paying you, obviously, but otherwise I’ve just been really good at ignoring it. Honestly, it’s not that people were offended by what I said. They get offended by how much fun I appear to be having while saying it. You could literally take everything I said on Saturday night and say it on Meet the Press, and it would be a general debate, and it would go away. But half of it’s because they think they can hurt comedians.

Which
Comedian Gave Him A Hard Time When He First Came Out:

I mean, maybe Cosby early on, but he turned pretty quick. Other than that, nobody.

His Thoughts On The Allegations Against Bill Cosby:

I don’t know what to say. What do you say? I hope it’s not true. That’s all you can say. I really do. I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it’s not true. It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin, we lost Joan, and we kind of lost Cosby.

What He Thought About Robin Williams’ Suicide:

Comedians kill themselves. Talk to 100 comedians this week, everybody knows somebody who killed themselves. I mean, we always say ignorance is bliss. Well, if so, what’s the opposite? Some form of misery. Being a comedian, 80 percent of the job is just you notice sh*t, which is a trait of schizophrenics too. You notice things people don’t notice.

You try to give yourself other things to focus on. I always say, my children saved me from my miserable self.

His Thoughts On President Obama’s Legacy:

I’m trying to figure out the right analogy. Everybody wanted Michael Jordan, right? We got Shaq. That’s not a disappointment. You know what I mean? We got Charles Barkley. It’s still a Hall of Fame career. The president should be graded on jobs and peace, and the other stuff is debatable. Do more people have jobs, and is there more peace? I guess there’s a little more peace. Not as much peace as we’d like, but I mean, that’s kind of the gig. I don’t recall anybody leaving on an up. It’s just that kind of job. I mean, the liberals that are against him feel let down because he’s not Bush. And the thing about George Bush is that the kid revolutionized the presidency. How? He was the first president who only served the people who voted for him. He literally operated like a cable network. You know what I mean?

He’s the first cable-television president, and the thing liberals don’t like about Obama is that he’s a network guy. He’s kind of Les Moonves. He’s trying to get everybody. And I think he’s figured out, and maybe a little late, that there’s some people he’s never going to get.

There’s an advantage that Bush had that Obama doesn’t have. People thinking you’re dumb is an advantage. Obama started as a genius. It’s like, What? I’ve got to keep doing that? That’s hard to do! So it’s not that Obama’s disappointing. It’s just his best album might have been his first album.

If There Has Been Much Change In Race Relations:

There’s always going to be people that don’t know that the war’s over. I’m more optimistic than you, but maybe it’s because I live the way I do. I just have a great life, so it’s easier for me to say things are great. But not even me. My brothers drive trucks and stock shelves. They live in a much better world than my father did. My mother tells stories of growing up in Andrews, South Carolina, and the black people had to go to the vet to get their teeth pulled out. And you still had to go to the back door, because if the white people knew the vet had used his instruments on black people, they wouldn’t take their pets to the vet. This is not some person I read about. This is my mother.

If His Daughters Find Him Funny:

Sometimes. My daughter Lola was like, “Kevin Hart’s funnier than you.”

Be sure to read Rock’s full interview with The New Yorker here and share your thoughts, and be sure to check out the new movie, Top Five, written and directed by Rock, out on Friday.

“We Don’t Mess With You Anymore” Tyler James Williams Says Some Black Folks Shunned Him For Playing A Gay Character

November 20th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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 Tyler James Williams Says Some Black Folks Shunned Him For Playing A Gay Character

Source: Huff Post Live

Chris Rock recently spoke about the unique pressure of being a Black entertainer. Pressures that White actors don’t have to deal with. He said that Denzel has a responsibility to his people that actors like Tom Cruise don’t. He said that no says to Tom Cruise, “Stay White. Don’t forget your whiteness.”

But I don’t have to tell you that Chris Rock is right. That is exactly what goes on in the Black community. The notion of selling out or “making us look bad,” for better or worse is a very real one. Actor Tyler James Williams, who just so happened to play a young Chris Rock in the hit series “Everybody Hates Chris,” found that out recently when he took on the role of Lionel in the smash indie film Dear White People. 

In case you haven’t seen the movie, Lionel is gay. And not only gay but also incredibly socially awkward. Which makes it hard for him to fit in with both the Black and White kids on campus.

It plays out in a very interesting way on screen and I strongly encourage you to see the movie if you haven’t done so already.

But after the credits rolled and the screen went black, some Black audience members were left feeling betrayed.

Tyler spoke about this recently in a Huff Post Live interview. 

“There’s this interesting thing in the Black community of staying real, never going away or forgetting where you come from and always representing the Black community well. Which is frustrating in a lot of ways and stressful as well. Because so many different parts– like any community of the Black community have different opinions. So it’s hard to please everybody and stay Black and proud. So especially with this, I got a good amount of backlash from a lot of the Black community, who are homophobic. And especially the “Everybody Hates Chris” audience, saying ‘we don’t mess with you anymore.’ ‘How dare you do this.’ ‘Why did you turn on us?’ 

And I was recently talk to Ali Leroi, who is the co-creator of “Everybody Hates Chris,” and he was saying what’s interesting with that is that for so long, there was so little portrayals of the average Black American that the average Black American male associated himself with whoever was on tv. So in this way, there’s still this mentality of ‘Okay, you’re a Black male on tv, I am you. Wait you’re gay? I’m not gay! No, no no. Never mind. We’re not the same thing. Forget you, we shun you now. That was very interesting like wow, we still have a ways to go.” 

Tyler ain’t never lied. And I find it incredibly poetic that a movie that was meant to educate White people about their ignorances and prejudices ended up exposing a huge prejudice and problem in the Black community as well. Funny how life works out.

You can watch this segment in the video below and Tyler’s entire interview on the next page.

Chris Rock & Prince Appear on “Saturday Night Live”

November 2nd, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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If you missed, Saturday Night Live last night, you missed an epic performance. The legendary singer Prince, performed for 8 uninterrupted minutes on last night’s episode. The performance featured new music and a killer guitar solo by the crooner. The last time Prince performed for 8 minutes straight, was during Super Bowl XLI halftime show in 2007. Prince’s performance will definitely go down in SNL history.

In addition to a performance by Prince, Chris Rock also hosted last night’s episode. Rock appeared in a number of skits including a funny skit with an entire black cast.

Kendrick Lamar and Woody Harrelson are set to perform and guest host when Saturday Night Live returns November 15th. In the meantime, check out the performance by Prince and some of Chris Rock’s skits.

 

[Watch] Gabrielle Union Is An Attention-Seeking Reality Star In Chris Rock’s ‘Top Five’

October 17th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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A trailer has finally been released for Chris Rock’s new film Top Five, which tells the story of wildly successful comedian and movie star Andre Allen (Chris Rock), whose run-in with journalist Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) causes him to reexamine his life and career. Gabrielle Union plays rocks superficial reality TV star fiancée, Erica Long, who’s never around without a gang of reality TV cameramen.

The all-star cast also includes Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Cedric The Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, and Jay Pharoah. According to Deadline, the film triggered a pretty competitive bidding war last month at the Toronto Film Festival. Paramount Pictures eventually won for a whopping $12.5 million.

Top Five was both written and directed by Chris. Interestingly, Jay Z and Kanye West are credited as co-producers for the project. Judging by the trailer, it’s going to be pretty funny. The comedy is slated to hit theaters in December.

Watch the trailer below. Is this something you’d be interested in checking out?

New Chris Rock Film Prompts Bidding War At Toronto Film Fest

September 10th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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"Chris Rock pf"

WENN

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the closely-watched film festivals that take place during the course of the year. And at this year’s event, Chris Rock’s new comedy, Top Five, seems to be burning it up.

Rock wrote, directed, and starred in the new flick, about a comedian, Andre Allen, at life’s crossroads. The main character is a recovering alcoholic who is attempting to be taken seriously with a movie centered around the Haitian slave rebellion. At the same time, he is getting ready for his wedding to a reality TV star (Gabrielle Union), which will be televised. Talk about contrast.

Top Five entered the festival sans a distributor; but it has a power list of producers–mega producer Scott Rudin, media exec Barry Diller along with Jay Z, and Kanye West. It was such a hit at the festival, there was a bidding war with Paramount coming out the victor for the rights to the movie, paying in the $12.5 million range. There will also be $20 million spent on marketing. This will make it one of the largest acquisitions ever at TIFF.

Because of the buzz, Vulture has made a top five list of things you should know about Rock’s latest.

–“The movie’s title refers to a debate about the all-time greatest hip-hop artists; Andre’s list is Rock’s in a slightly different order: Jay Z, Nas, Scarface, Rakim, Biggie, and LL Cool J, because everyone always asks for six,” reports the site.

–Tracy Morgan, still in a wheelchair following a serious car accident, is in it. So prepare for some heartrending and possible tearing up.

–Rock offers in the credits “the greatest slam from a fake film critic ever: ‘I wouldn’t see it if it was playing in my glasses.'”

–Hmm. There are some feather-related sex scenes.

–And even more curious. “You will never think of tampons the same way again,” says Vulture.

–“Because everyone always gives six! You will hear a very plausible theory on where Tupac is, but only if you’re willing to watch every Tyler Perry movie when you leave the theater in order to follow up on it,” concludes Vulture.

Sounds like it might be pretty funny!

*This story has been updated to reflect that the deal has closed.

Hotness Or Hot Mess: Who’s The Finest Comedian Around?

September 2nd, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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Monday is here which means it’s time for another episode of Hotness or Hot Mess. Today’s potential #ManCrushMonday is going out to one of these funnymen — Mike Epps, Dave Chappelle, Katt Williams, Chris Rock, or Lil Duval — but that all depends on whether the ladies in the video above deem them hotness or a hot mess. Check out the video and weigh in in the comments section.

Does Size Matter? How 14 Comics Stack Up At The Box Office

June 27th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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WENN

WENN

Forget what you heard. Big things can come in small packages — just ask many of the funny people dominating movie theaters with their hilarious films. The folks at Entertainment Weekly hinted inside their June 27 issue at an interesting correlation between a comic’s height and their success at the box office. Do “height-challenged” actors in comedies have more success? Let’s take a look at comics, their height, and how much success they have seen at the box office*. We, of course, use the word comic loosely as it defines one who provokes laughter, or is humorous.

*Estimated box office power is based on average of top three films with starring roles — not including animated features.

 

Girls Like Ball Too! 15 Of The Best Football Movies Ever

January 29th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner and in honor of the biggest game of the year, here are some of our favorite football movies.

"Any Given Sunday pf"

Any Given Sunday

Famed director Oliver Stone decided to enlist an all-star cast to focus on the game of football for the film Any Given Sunday. Al Pacino plays coach Tony D’Amato who’s in charge of motivating an embattled team with the new owner (Cameron Diaz) breathing down his neck. With their star quarterback out, he has no choice but to turn to the nervous third-string quarterback Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx). The cast included James Wood, Dennis Quaid and LL Cool J along with legendary NFL Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor.