Black Films & Artists Matter at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival

TIFF has always been a haven for black films and artists. And now, in this year of BLM, it has stepped up its game showing a particular reverence for African diaspora films. In 2020, film festivals are finding creative ways to present movies to a vast audience as safely as possible. TIFF took a holistic approach. […]

Sibyl

If an audience can relate to a protagonist and her plight, they’re hooked. If a character is fascinating in some way—even diabolical—viewers will pay attention. Relatable? Fanciful? No. Sibyl is puzzling. That’s it. Sibyl (Virginie Efira) is bored with her life as a psychotherapist. As her patients lie on a couch revealing their deepest fears, checkered pasts and testy problems, their doc is M.I.A. Physically she’s in the room. Mentally she’s focused on herself. Surprising her husband and leaving her […]

Tenet

Warner Bros delayed the release of Tenet during the pandemic until it could open it  in theaters. It was a wise decision. The film belongs on a big screen. In fact, for maximum effect, viewers should consider experiencing  the movie in an IMAX theater. Director/writer Christopher Nolan is nearly unequaled when it comes to giving audiences unimaginable, spellbinding visuals: The Dark Knight, Inception, […]

The 2020 American Black Film Festival – Going Virtual

In the age of COVID, film festival directors are finding creative ways to screen movies for audiences without gathering large groups at indoor venues. Hence the 2020 ABFF Online Edition. For those who tuned in, the array of films for the 24th festival by black artists was vast. These movies will do the film festival circuit […]

The 24th

Audiences can learn so much from historical events that are inspiring and sometimes just profound. When filmmakers choose the latter and decide to recreate a tragedy, it’s a risky endeavor. One that doesn’t always reward its audience.  The third Battalion of the all-black Twenty-fourth United States Infantry Regiment consists of 156 soldiers and is stationed in Houston in 1917 during WWI. The troops are often harassed […]

Project Power

Move over Molly. You’ve got competition! Folks in New Orleans are downing potent capsules dubbed Power that can give them superpowers. What’s the catch? The energy rush only lasts for minutes and it’s very unpredictable. Who in the world could think up such a novel premise? Point your finger at screenwriter Mattson Tomlin (upcoming The Batman). […]

Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn

Decades ago, long before BLM protestors marched and chanted “George Floyd—I can’t breathe,” demonstrators shouted “Yusuf. Yusuf. Yusuf. No justice, no peace.” Racially motivated crimes that ignite outrage have a long history. One of the most heinous felonies provides a back story to today’s struggles. On August 23, 1989, Yusuf Hawkins, a 16-year-old Brooklynite from East New York, traveled to the unfamiliar Brooklyn neighborhood of Bensonhurst with friends contemplating the purchase of used 1982 Pontiac. Unbeknownst to him the largely Italian/American community was hostile to Blacks. Some […]

Out Stealing Horses

When the title of a film is more vibrant than anything you’ll see on the screen, it’s an issue. The source material for this meandering and overly sentimental coming-of-age drama is the bestselling novel of the same name by Norwegian author Per Petterson. The focus is on a 67-year-old man named Trond (Stellan Skarsgård, Chernobyl) who relocates to rural Norway, a trip that […]