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This week in urban entertainment: Pep, Fantasia, Spike, Tyler Perry and Denzel


Photo: Warner Bros.

Sandra “Pepa” Denton, Fantasia, Spike Lee and Tyler Perry all make appearances this week in urban entertainment, but Denzel Washington’s “The Book of Eli” looks to make the biggest splash.

Denzel works with the Hughes Brothers on “The Book of Eli”

Collaborating for the first time with directors Allen and Albert Hughes, Denzel Washington throws his hat in the Mad Max/Blade/I Am Legend ring, making his way through a post-apocalyptic, war-ravaged landscape – toting a bible – in his new movie opening this Friday (1/15/10).

The Book of Eli” is the first Hughes film in almost nine years, and it has an interesting premise that’s typically shied away from when studios write checks for big budget action flicks. It’s the unique Hollywood project with spiritual themes and a Christian man as hero.

Also starring Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis and Jennifer Beals, “The Book of Eli” is the story of Washington’s Eli, who possesses the one last bible in America and is seeking out anyone worth receiving it. Enter Oldman as the bad guy who wants what Eli has for various reasons, mostly evil of course. All the while, Eli kicks butts and takes names, slicing-and-dicing thugs to the white meat.

According to Reuters, Warner Bros. is expecting above-average box office, but by most accounts, the beauty of the cinematography and production design – not to mention Washington’s scruffy Eli – are all reasons to catch “The Book of Eli.”

Photo: VH1

VH1’s Celebreality with Pepa and Fantasia

At first mention, VH1’s two new reality shows starring Sandra “Pepa” Denton (of 80s Salt-n-Pepa fame) and American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, might seem underwhelming. Tune in anyway (at least for the first few episodes).

Premiering Monday, January 11th at 10p/9c on VH1, Fantasia For Real provides a glimpse into the singer’s trials and tribulations as she 1) Records a new album, 2) Studies for her GED, 3) Fights rumors of diva behavior, bankruptcy and foreclosure (and most recently, man-stealing, according to urban blog Mediatakeout), and 4) Single-handedly supports a family of six (hers). She’s trying to straighten out her life and revive her career. Should be interesting.

Pep, on the other hand, is simply trying to revive her love life – with the help of three girlfriends, ala Sex and the City. Journalist Jacque Reid (Miranda), Joumana Kidd (Charlotte), ex-wife of NBA star Jason Kidd, and voiceover actress Kittie Troy (Samantha), join Pepa (Carrie Bradshaw, of course) for brunch every week to dish on their dating escapades. Let’s Talk About Pep premieres right after Fantasia For Real.

New on DVD

Tyler Perry’s “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” releases Tuesday, January 12, on DVD, as does Spike Lee’s more obscure “Passing Strange.”

“I Can Do Bad All By Myself” stars Oscar-nominee Taraji P. Henson as a hard-living nightclub singer tasked with taking in her niece and nephews, but it’s her fine-as-wine new tenant (Adam Rodriguez) who steals her heart and thaws her chilly exterior. Yes, Madea shows up, too.

“Passing Strange” premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and is Spike Lee’s cinematic take on the one-of-a-kind musical that netted a young black musician named Stew a Tony award for the tale of his soul-searching journey to Europe and the 80s music scene of Amsterdam and West Berlin. A different kind of project for Spike, but has received mostly positive reviews.


  • jwilliams 5 years ago

    "Slicing and dicing thugs to the white meat"--love it!

  • mimi 5 years ago

    Cannot WAIT to see Denzel in this movie! Supposedly, he does all his own ass-whupping.

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