Black Nativity

By Dwight Brown NNPA Film Critic “When a mother bestows a name on her child, it reveals her hopes.” Black Nativity, a celebrated “gospel song-play” by acclaimed poet/novelist/playwright Langston Hughes, was first staged in the 1950s with Alvin Ailey and Carmen De Lavallade. Director/writer Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) adapts that piece into a modern, urban […]

The Best Man Holiday (***)

By Dwight Brown NNPA Film Critic Running into old friends often brings up mixed feelings. Fond recollections. Unfinished business. Bad memories. Petty rivalries. Insecurities. Unrequited love. That’s the range of emotions and dynamics in this follow-up film to the 1999 romantic comedy The Best Man. Fourteen years later this gaggle of educated, bourgeoisie friends still […]

An American Promise Shines at the 2013 New York Film Festival

By Dwight Brown NNPA Film Critic As the New York Film Festival kicked off its 51st year, African heritage films were few and far between, but exceptional. 12 Years A Slave stole the spotlight as it leads the Oscar race for Best Picture. The thought-provoking documentaryAmerican Promise is the modern-day bookend to a movie like […]


By Dwight Brown NNPA Film Critic In a banner year for filmmaking, black films, filmmakers, screenwriters and actors thrived. You can enjoy their movies, and those of other people who showcased their talent in 2013, by hitting the theaters this holiday season or seeing films on DVD or VOD. 12 Years a Slave (****) – […]

Lee Daniel’s The Butler (****)

By Dwight Brown NNPA Film Critic It’s about time. Finally a major-release film about the African American struggle for equality, told from a black man’s perspective. Why has it taken Hollywood (aka the film industry) so long to do the right thing? Eugene Allen served eight presidents, Truman to Reagan, over 36 years in various […]

Fruitvale Station (***1/2)

By Dwight Brown NNPA Film Critic If you don’t live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you might only know the rudiments of this tragic event and subsequent upheaval: Black man, in handcuffs, shot in back by white police officer in Bay Area Rapid Transit train station. Protests. Riots. Unrest. This thoughtful, methodical and contemporary […]

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (**1/2)

By Dwight Brown NNPA Film Critic Kevin Hart is a diminutive comedian (5’2″) who carries a very big audience (60,000 fans during two sold out Madison Square Garden performances). Tiny in stature with a mouth the size of the Grand Canyon, he’s ready to conquer the world. And he does, somewhat, in 75 minutes of […]

Twenty Feet From Stardom (****)

By Dwight Brown NNPA Film Critic They can sing a joyful noise. In pitch-perfect harmony. Never missing a beat. Yet they rarely take center stage. Why? Background singers, are the unsung heroes of music. Without them, lead singers sound hollow. Now their voices are heard, in an enlightening documentary that is as illuminating as it […]


By Dwight Brown NNPA Film Critic Jackie Robinson’s life is lesson in courage. It’s a sobering but inspiring reminder of the barbaric cruelty of racism and those who rallied against it. This revealing film tracks his ascension from the Negro Leagues to Major League Baseball. And though you think you may know his story, you […]

The Call (***)

By Dwight Brown NNPA Film Critic “911. What’s your emergency?” Call center operators, they’re the unsung heroes. Everyday they answer the pleas of frantic people in distress. But even they weren’t prepared for this call… We don’t call 911 often, but when we do, we expect the person at the other end of the line […]