Thursday, May 31, 2012
Posted by Kam at 9:40 AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Posted by Kam at 5:51 PM
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Posted by Kam at 5:23 PM
Monday, May 28, 2012
Kam Williams: Hi, Nyambi, thanks for the interview.
Nyambi Nyambi: No doubt. Let’s have fun.
KW: What interested you in Mike & Molly?
NN: What interested me in Mike & Molly was the hilarious script and the idea of playing a West African character that was the smartest guy in the room…and I was broke.
KW: Tell me a little about the show?
NN: Mike & Molly is a show about two people in love and the work it takes to keep it that way.
KW: What would you say is the show’s message?
NN: The message of the show is that love is out there and, if you want the baggage it comes with, it’s yours.
KW: How would you describe your character, Samuel?
NN: Samuel is a dry-humored, highly-educated immigrant from Senegal, who speaks five languages, studies English Literature at The University of Illinois and is a waiter at Abe’s Hot Beef. Nothing gets past him. He's family.
KW: How did you prepare to play a Senegalese waiter?
NN: I ate in a lot of diners and spent some time in Senegal.
NN: Hello, Marilyn. Mark Roberts, the creator of our show, and the writers have done an incredible job of creating and writing for these amazing actors.
KW: Marilyn is also wondering how has a series about two overweight people managed to become a hit in our weight-conscious society where most TV and movie stars are thin?
NN: The truth reigns supreme and the love that all of these characters share is what people ultimately connect to. They see themselves in these characters or in their dilemmas. Plus, the hearts of Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy are deeply genuine and infectious. It begins with their genius together.
KW: Finally, Marilyn asks: What are the similarities and differences between you and your character, Samuel?
NN: We both have a dry sense of humor and an appreciation for classic literature. Samuel is Senegalese and my family is Nigerian. I hope to one day speak five languages like Samuel. Right now, I know English, a lot of French, a little bit of Efik and a few words in Wolof.
KW: Were you surprised when Melissa McCarthy was nominated for an Oscar for Bridesmaids?
NN: [Cast member] Reno Wilson called it immediately after we saw the premiere of Bridesmaids and [cast member] Katy Mixon had a dream about it not too long after that. So, when it came time for the nominations, I wasn’t surprised. She was that good! Melissa McCarthy is a character acting genius.
KW: How did you develop an interest in acting while playing Division I basketball in college?
NN: I have always had an interest in acting for as long as I can remember. I just never called it acting. It was celebrating the nuance of the people I met. So I constantly was entertaining my family and friends with some character they knew – an uncle, an aunt, a cousin, a family friend or a character from a television show or film. When I was a college senior, I was a Business major and uncertain about my future. The dream was always professional basketball, which was fading with each dribble, and I just did not feel Wall Street or any other desk job was in the cards for me. I was at a loss. So I decided to do what I do when I want to be happy and that is play a character. There was a Martin Luther King gala at Bucknell University, so I offered to recite a speech I used to compete with in high school for the forensics club, the art of speechmaking forensics not CSI forensics. I sensed doubt in the coordinator of the event about my skills, because those who knew me from afar knew me as a quiet shy type. To have fun and prove the coordinator wrong, I decided to memorize the speech, study his cadence, his suits, his walk, the speeches behind the speech, his inspirations and never once did I call any of that acting or what an actor does. So, the night I performed the speech, something new was happening within me that was electrifying. For ten minutes I actually thought I was Martin Luther King and afterwards, Professor Glyne Griffiths who, along with me, I’m sure, wondered what I was going to do with my life, with joy, put a name to the very thing I loved to do, “Nyambi, you’re an actor.” And I haven’t looked back since.
KW: Why did you decide to get a Master’s in theater, and how did you come to pick NYU over the Yale Drama School?
NN: I got my Master’s in Acting from NYU because I wanted to explore the great roles in the great plays and be given the arena to fail triumphantly. My father so eloquently stated, “Well, in Nigeria we know Yale.” Choosing NYU was a heart decision. I wanted that playground of New York to draw characters from.
KW: I see that you’re a junior. Is Nyambi Nyambi both you and your dad’s real name? Did you ever wish you had two names?
NN: Yes, my father and I share the same name. Our names mean a lot in my family. I love my name because of the level of confusion it brings to people’s faces. I wonder sometimes what life would be like if my name were Clint or Wally.
KW: You watched a movie a day last year. What were a few of your favorites? What was the worst one you saw?
NN: A few of my favorites were Diner, Midnight in Paris, Citizen Kane, Unforgiven and Sounder. The worst, but still entertaining, was The Terror of Tiny Town.
KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
NN: You are a superhero. What is your one super power and why?
KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
NN: I am always afraid, which I have decided to be a good thing, because I’m in the face of the very thing I need to conquer. And when I conquer that fear, it is the most awesome feeling.
KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?
NN: Today. Something gets me everyday.
KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
NN: Australian licorice.
KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
NN: Richard Pryor’s autobiography, “Pryor Convictions.”
NN: Isaac Hayes’ “Walk On By” from the Hot Buttered Soul album.
NN: Rice with stew.
KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?
NN: Any art form from the soul excites me.
KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?
NN: Right now, John Varvatos.
KW: Dante Lee, author of "Black Business Secrets,” asks: What was the best business decision you ever made, and what was the worst?
NN: Best business decision I ever made was becoming an actor. Worst business decision I ever made was the belief that ignorance was bliss.
KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
NN: Joy and promise…and a stain on the right corner of the glass.
KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
NN: For more wishes.
KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
NN: Running through a courtyard in Oklahoma being chased by a dog that eventually bites the back of my right leg.
KW: The Kerry Washington question: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
NN: I would be a hyena disguised as a lion.
KW: The Pastor Alex Kendrick question: When do you feel the most content?
NN: When I am travelling.
KW: The Toure question: Who is the person who led you to become the person you are today?
NN: My parents and sisters as a unit led me to become the person I am today. All love.
KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
NN: The audacity to fail gloriously again and again.
KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
NN: Joy. Find it. Seek it, and hold on to it. It will get you through the pain.
KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?
NN: He celebrated life and all of its flaws.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Nyambi, best of luck with the show.
NN: Thank you for having me, Kam.
Posted by Kam at 11:55 PM
Changing the Game
Film Review by Kam Williams
Ambitious Ghetto Orphan Tested in All Ways in Sobering Coming-of-Age Saga
Darrell Barnes (Sean Riggs) was dealt a horrible hand as a baby, having been abandoned by his mother after his father was shot dead on the rough streets of North Philly. At least he was lucky enough to be taken in by his paternal grandmother (Irma P. Hall), a Bible-quoting Christian who did her best to insulate the boy from the host of evils permeating their crime-infested neighborhood.
Heeding her admonition to trust in the Lord, Darrell stuck to the straight and narrow as a child. He did his best to keep out of trouble, excelling in school, where he cut a sharp contrast to his best friend, Dre (Dennis L.A. White), a clueless victim of social promotion allowed to slip through the academic cracks at an early age.
So, it’s no surprise that juvenile delinquent Dre would eventually drop out to become a drug kingpin, and rationalize operating such a reprehensible enterprise by liberally quoting misanthropic lines from Machiavelli like, “Kill enemies before they kill you.” Meanwhile, Darrell did good and Grandma Barnes proud by gaining admission to the prestigious Wharton Business School.
In most coming-of-age sagas, the empathetic underdog’s making his way out of the ghetto would herald a proverbial “happily ever after” ending. But in the more nuanced and multilayered world of Changing the Game, entre to the Ivy League merely signals the start of a new set of challenges to be faced by this naive inner-city refugee.
After graduating, as warned by his wise, rapidly-expiring grandma, Darrell finds himself still tempted by the Devil and having to negotiate his way through a different gauntlet of wickedness. With both Jesus and Machiavelli’s teachings competing for control of his mind, he goes into business with a corrupt classmate (Brandon Ruckdashel) against his better judgment.
The tension builds as Darrell lets greed get the better of him to a point of no return where it’s gonna take a miracle for the ambitious brother to escape with his soul intact. Touching on a litany of timely themes, this modern morality play of Shakespearean proportions packs an emotional punch while sending a sobering message about what really matters most.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence, ethnic slurs, drug use and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 103 minutes
Distributor: Barnholtz Entertainment
Posted by Kam at 11:20 AM
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Posted by Kam at 5:55 PM
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Posted by Kam at 3:19 PM
Posted by Kam at 10:06 AM
Thursday, May 24, 2012
DVD Review by Kam Williams
DVD Features “Crash”-Like Crime Drama
Carley (Brittany Snow) is a sheltered college senior who’s torn between roaming around the country after getting her degree and going to law school primarily to please her parents. She’s caught up in an animated conversation about the future with her best friend, Lena (Christian Serratos), who is concerned about a boyfriend and about making a smooth transition from campus to the real world.
As the carefree coeds drive around Los Angeles, they’re blissfully unaware that their world is on the verge of suddenly colliding with that of a couple of teens from the other side of the tracks. One, Dre (Evan Ross), is fast approaching a milestone of his own, having just ordered a cap-and-gown for his impending high school graduation. He hopes to be one of the few kids from his block to overcome the odds and actually make it out of the ghetto.
Sadly, the same can’t be said about Kevin (Jonathan Michael Trautmann), a dropout desperate to be embraced by the local gang. To prove himself worthy, he impulsively decides to carjack Carley and Lena’s car at gunpoint.
Dre reluctantly joins Kevin in this felonious endeavor, more to talk some sense into his young cousin than as an accomplice, only to have grand theft auto escalate to kidnapping and attempted murder when the kid shoots a resistant Lena in the head. With all four subsequently cooped-up together in the car, what ensues is a harrowing ordeal marked by mutual misunderstandings borne of a culture clash.
Like a claustrophobic variation of the Oscar-winning Best Picture Crash, 96 Minutes is a serendipitous slice-of-life tale unfolding in L.A. over the course of one very eventful evening. The compelling crime drama marks the impressive writing and directorial debut of Aimee Lagos, who exhibits quite a knack for both character-development and for generating edge of your seat urgency.
Listen, whenever vapid Valley girls cross paths with wanton boys ‘n the hood, you know something’s gotta give. And when the dust settles, it ain’t going to look pretty.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for violence and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 95 minutes
Distributor: Arc Entertainment
Posted by Kam at 5:48 PM
Posted by Kam at 3:57 PM
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Posted by Kam at 8:10 PM