Black Actors in Noteworthy Films at 2021 Toronto International Film Fest

TIFF featured a dazzling array of films. Many had black actors cast in pivotal roles in unique stories from around the world. Their performances will resonate with movie fans in theaters and on streaming services.  7 Prisoners (*1/2) Brazilian American writer/director Alexandre Moratto examines the depravity and perils of human trafficking, and his intentions outweigh his success as a storyteller, […]

Perceptive Reflections of Black Life at 2021 Toronto International Film Fest

After a year of COVID, TIFF returned as a hybrid festival with in-person screenings in Toronto and digital screenings around the world. A fine selection of African Diaspora films, films with black actors in their cast and general-release films brought the magic of TIFF alive again. Attica (***1/2) The 1971 Attica Prison Riots, the country’s longest and deadliest prison rebellion, […]

Cry Macho

When exposition and backstory weigh down an opening scene it’s tough for a film to get off the ground. That’s the burden screenwriter Nick Schenk (Gran Torino) and novelist N. Richard Nash’s dated, over-written script gives this road trip movie. Dead weight. In 1979, Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood), an older, washed-up ex-rodeo cowboy, is sent to Mexico to retrieve a 13-year-old […]

Mogul Mowgli

“I’m built to prove myself,” chants Zed (Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal), a rebellious British/Pakistani rapper. Brazenly, he’s sharing a new, defiant perspective on the South Asian experience in the Western world.  Culture clash powers this feature film debut by documentary director Bassam Tariq. It’s a reckoning for the central character and anyone who has drifted into […]

Never Gonna Snow Again

He’s a man about town. A lanky masseur in a tony neighborhood in Warsaw’s metro area. A Ukrainian immigrant. A foreigner. Not overly handsome, but magnetic. That’s the main character in this bedroom community slow-burning farce about a man whose sensitive hands rub Polish people the right way.  The concept and script were created by director […]

Respect

“They want to hear you sing,” says Rev. C.L. Franklin (Forest Whitaker) to his 10-year-old daughter Aretha (Skye Dakota Turner). And she did. Eventually singing herself into 25 Grammys, a posthumously awarded Pulitzer Prize Special Citation and the history books. How Franklin became the Queen of Soul and loved by millions is the subject of this fairly detailed and […]

Ailey

Gifted artists create a spirit so strong it lives on long after they’re gone. That’s the case with legendary choreographer/dancer Alvin Ailey. It’s like he never left. Never passed on.  Documentary director Jamila Wignot records the history, evolution and continuation of Ailey’s work during the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 60th anniversary year. Choreographer Rennie […]

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

Snake Eyes is a welcomed opportunity to see a cast of talented Asian actors dazzle. Even in an action franchise film built around a Hasbro toy doll, they excel. The film is an extension of a franchise started in 2009 with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, when an elite military unit of special operatives (aka G.I. […]