Nick Cannon Revives Drumline with ‘A New Beat’ as VH1 Exclusive Film – But Does It Bang?

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Drumline
Last night (Oct. 23) in NYC, VH1 brought together a few of the stars of their original film Drumline: A New Beat, which will debut on Monday, October 27 at 9:00pm. A select few journalists, bloggers and tastemakers gathered to preview the movie, and sat in on a Q&A session with Letoya Luckett, Jordan Calloway and lead actress Alexandra Shipp.

I’m sure you’re wondering whether or not you should invest the two hours of your life to watch Drumline: A New Beat, so here are some reasons why I think you SHOULD take it in on Monday:

  • It’s a family friendly movie. There is a bit of content that might not suit the little kids (mild drug and sexual references), but I think it’s good for 13+ if you watch with the family. There are quite a few positive messages in the content, and it’s a feel-good flick with a happy ending.
  • The majority of the cast is fresh faced and talented, lending to a good, mostly believable college vibe. No one wants to see college age young people acting like 30-year-olds. On the flip side, Leonard Roberts and Nick Cannon (who also produced) reprise their roles as Sean Taylor and Devon Miles respectively, and Letoya Luckett and DeRay Davis play their parts without adding that droll “old people” thing that the band directors brought in the first film.
  • Alexandra Shipp is worth checking out as the feisty percussionist Dani Raymond, especially considering she’s the lead in the upcoming Aaliyah biopic, and will also be portraying Ice Cube’s wife Kim in the upcoming NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton (can’t wait!).
  • Jasmine Burke as Tasha. Where has this girl been? Well, she’s had small roles in films like Daddy’s Little Girls, The Secret Life of Bees, Ride Along and TV series like The Vampire Diaries and Army Wives, but hopefully we’ll see more from her soon. She is a bonafide scene stealer, and now she needs some bigger roles! Sidenote: DeRay Davis also steals a couple of scenes here, I’d love to see him in some more serious roles going forward too.
  • Eye candy, ladies. Eye candy.
  • The final A&T performance and drum-off… it’s pretty spectacular.

Now, on the down side, A New Beat didn’t come with as big of a budget as the original, and it shows in the performances. That’s not to say there aren’t some superb moments, but some of the performance footage is a little lackluster compared to the first. It is still decent work, considering the cast admittedly only had two weeks to prepare for their roles, where the original cast had five months. I may be more hypercritical here since I played and marched in competitive field band as a youngster, and I know how much challenging technical work goes into it. So just a little disappointment on my part. Obviously it’s TV and not a theater release, so there had to be some concessions.

As I mentioned above, the cast has good energy and they are likable despite any “that never happens” moments in the script, so get your popcorn ready on Monday and settle in for some fun! Watch the trailer below and go to VH1.com for more info on the movie!

Synopsis from VH1: Drumline: A New Beat will capture the sound and spirit of the first film while welcoming a whole new class to the Atlanta A&T drumline. The new story follows female lead Danielle “Dani” Raymond (Alexandra Shipp), an upper class Brooklyn girl who defies her parents in order to attend Atlanta A&T so she can join – and revitalize – their once-prominent drumline. Dani’s quest to become the first female section leader will be hampered by upperclassmen, including her cousin Tyree (Jeff Pierre), her feelings for fellow bandmate and rival Jayven (Jordan Calloway), and the school’s crosstown competitors. Tasha (Jasmine Burke) and Josh (Scott Shilstone) round out the freshmen drumline and bring their own ambitions onto the field. Sean Taylor (Leonard Roberts) from the original film will return to the franchise as Atlanta A&T’s new band director. Sean is looking to make his mark on his alma mater while dealing with “ghosts” from his past: the dean, Dr. Nia Phillips (LeToya Luckett), his brother, Kevin Taylor (Deray Davis) and original Drumline favorite, Devon Miles (Nick Cannon).

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