The Birth of a Nation

  Finally a filmmaker unearths one of the biggest secrets in American history: slave revolts. It’s a lesson rarely mentioned in history books, though it’s common knowledge to anyone who has taken a black history course. Kudos to actor-turned-director Nate Parker for shepherding this ambitious project from the kernel of an idea to the completion […]

Denial

  There are points in time when free speech, facts, passion and history collide. It happened in real life to Deborah Esther Lipstadt, an American historian and lecturer who holds a Ph.D. in Jewish History. Her personal and professional challenge stems from an entanglement in a British libel trial involving the history of the Holocaust […]

The Magnificent Seven

  In the original 1960s The Magnificent Seven, seven gunfighters assembled to help a Mexican peasant village fight off villains. That’s the basic premise. This 2016 version is an update that blends old classic Westerns with a new Western genre. What’s on view in this kick-ass cowboy movie are solid production elements, alpha male acting, […]

Black Films and Artists Triumph at 2016 Toronto International Film Festival

  For 41 years the Toronto International Film Festival has attracted the world’s best films and built and audience. At the 2016 festival, 480,000 film lovers filled seats, screened movies and experienced the festivities.   Credit TIFF’s Artistic Director Cameron Bailey and his discerning team for assembling a high quality and culturally diverse program that […]

Southside With You

  “Thought he was just another smooth talking brother?” says an inquisitive Chicago mom. She’s repeating the words her daughter used to describe a colleague she’s meeting for a first date. Never have eight words been so inaccurate. That “he,” is a twentysomething Barack Obama. The daughter is Michelle LaVaughn Robinson. As this very romantic […]

Hands of Stone

  “Every boxer is someone’s hero.” It’s a saying that’s been hard to attach to Roberto Durán. Most people assume that he is just an infamous Panamanian boxer who walked out on a match against Sugar Ray Leonard, uttering the words, “No Mas (no more).” There’s more to him than that controversial moment. This very […]

Hell or High Water

“I been poor my whole life. It’s like a disease.” And with that thought in mind, two brothers, Toby (Chris Pine, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk) a divorced dad and Tanner Howard (Ben Foster, Lone Survivor) an ex-con, go on a bank-robbing spree in rural, arid West Texas where folk love guns, beer and their land […]

Suicide Squad

Deadpool may have raised the bar far too high for the comic-book-turned-film genre. It was fresh, innovative, irreverent, demented, unpredictable, visually alluring, well acted, written, directed and produced. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice flew in its shadow. And now the much-hyped Suicide Squad falls short too.   The task of bringing this DC Entertainment […]

Jason Bourne

  There’s something missing in actor Matt Damon and director/writer Paul Greengrass’ return to the Bourne action/spy/thriller franchise. It’s hard to put your finger on it. But the brutal fight scenes, painstakingly coordinated cloak-and-dagger sequences and elaborate car chases aren’t as intriguing as those in The Bourne Supremacy or The Bourne Ultimatum.   On paper […]