Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

She’s a literary icon whose accolades include a 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. For the African American reader who has been glued to her books since 1970, starting with her poignant debut novel The Bluest Eye, this doc is an opportunity to see how the pieces of Morrison’s life have made her whole.  For those who […]

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

You can like the message even if the messenger isn’t perfect. The migration of well-to-do millennials, empty nesters and others into cities and the exit of working-class people and/or people of color is a social phenomenon: Brooklyn, Raleigh, Philly, Chicago, Nashville, Denver… Still, the poster child for cities in radical transition has got to be […]

Rocketman

Young pianist/songwriter Reginald Dwight (Targon Egerton) gets some good advice from a very wise soul singer (Jason Pennycooke, Mister Lonely): “Kill the person you were born to be, to become the person you want to be.” If that couldn’t goad the very staid Dwight into creating his new flamboyant Elton John persona, nothing could.  The music […]

Aladdin

Billed as a “live-action adaption of an animated classic,” the carpet gets pulled out from under this weak and formulaic production early on.  The basic story is about a poor young man who gets involved with a royal family, encounters a magic lamp and meets a genie. Purportedly, the origins of the fable come from One […]

Halston (***)

Many know Halston as a superstar designer, a member of the in crowd and a fixture at Studio 54 back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. For those who want to know less about the image and more about the man, this doc reveals plenty.  Yes, fashionistas will cling to every word, want to […]

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Should the glorification of gun violence, as depicted in this action/thriller, become a thing of the past? Is that notion worth a discussion? Think on it. John Wick is back. In Chapter 3 of this ultra-violent franchise, this assassin digs deeper and deeper into an underworld of hit men and women who are greedy for conquests […]

Black Films and Artists Thrive at 2019 Tribeca Film Festival

The 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival featured films, docs, shorts, TV, tech seminars and immersive experiences. It was a 21stcentury gathering place for filmmakers, artists and fans.   Black films, directors, actors and artists shared the glory and attention with other contemporaries who were proud to have TFF as an international venue. As the festival inches towards […]

Non-Fiction

The sneaky, narcissistic and shallow characters who inhabit Olivier Assayas’ backstabbing ode to the rapidly changing publishing industry are unappealing. It’s hard to relate to them even within the context of a slightly humorous script and efficient direction.  Avid readers are switching from hardcover books and paperbacks to Kindles and iPads. That change in the […]

The Intruder

This formulaic suspense/thriller with its toxic mix of obsession, anger and fear covers no new ground. What could happen that you haven’t seen before? Not much. Not anything.  Scott Russell (Michael Ealy, Sleeper Cell and Barbershop) is an ultra-successful marketing executive. How rich is he? He can afford to buy his wife Annie (Meagan Good, Think Like a […]

Avengers: Endgame

First, let’s get this out of the way. Avengers: Endgame is fascinating from beginning to end. However, it is not a wall-to-wall action film. The writers (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) and directors (Anthony and Joe Russo) take the time to set up and explore the characters’ emotional state, develop their arcs, interlock their backstories, add […]