Black Mother

Think of this non-fiction film as a meditation and it makes perfect sense. Try and squeeze it into a standard documentary frame and it just doesn’t conform.  At the helm is Khalik Allah, whose most commercial endeavor was his work as a cinematographer and second unit director for Beyonce’s famed Lemonade video (2016). His first documentary Field […]

Captain Marvel

It’s hard to launch an action hero franchise based on a comic book character when you can’t deliver dazzling special effects, innovative super powers, imaginative action scenes, uncanny makeup, vibrant costumes or a consistently affecting storyline. Those essential elements are missing in this feeble origin tale about a superhero who deserves better. Far off in […]

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral

Madea’s loyal fans have two choices. They can say goodbye to their eccentric Aunty by attending her touring play or wish her adieu at a movie theater. Judging by what’s on screen in this anemic family comedy, the live performance is a better bet. It’s more thoughtful and a hell of a lot funnier. Before […]

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Farewell – Play Tour

He has his fans. He has his detractors. Yet for 25 years, Tyler Perry has entertained audiences with Madea, his doppelganger, in theaters and on screens. For reason’s only known to him, Perry has decided to hang up Madea’s heavy-duty bra, hausfrau flowered dresses and blue-rinse white powdered wigs. He’s giving her the boot the […]

Styx

A humanitarian crisis and a crisis of conscience converge in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a life-or-death situation that tests the mettle and moral compass of an intelligent doctor—and the viewers, too.  In a very thoughtful character study and sociological allegory, writer/director Wolfgang Fischer sets up a crucial event encountered by seemingly very capable […]

Alita: Battle Angel

As a self-contained film, this sci-fi/anime/action/thriller is fascinating but not perfect. Viewed as a set-up for a future franchise, it makes more sense. Studied as the next advancement in 3D anime, it’s groundbreaking. And, a teenage Latina lead is unique and could bring a host of young movie goers into the theater to see what’s […]

What Women Want

It’s about time Taraji P. Henson, after a string of B-movies (Proud Mary, Acrimony), rocked a bonafide comedy. On talk shows her innate sense of humor is evident. On the big screen (Hidden Figures, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and small one (Empire) she’s built a solid, award-winning rep in drama. Now she’s digging […]

Arctic

English singer/writer David Gray released a very evocative song in 2014 called “Birds of the High Arctic.” The verse is about a lost lover and the poignant refrain says: “They’re calling. Like the birds of the high Arctic. This darling. For the light in your eyes sparked it. Two sheets to the wind.” In just a […]

Woman at War

She’s a rebel with a cause. An anarchist with a plan. Hard to believe when you look at Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir), a fiftysomething schoolish-looking choral conductor, that she’s subversive beyond your wildest imagination.  Icelandic actor/writer/producer/director Benedikt Erlingsson has a wicked sense of humor, a great feel for the sublime and a real love for the biosphere. […]