The Many Saints of Newark

This prequel film to the storied HBO cable series The Sopranos generated a lot of publicity with the novelty casting of the late lead actor James Gandolfini’s son Michael as the teen Tony Soprano. Now, fans are primed to watch the young impressionable Tony come of age. Is it worth it? Eschewing normal screenplay structure, where a […]

Old Henry

“You have no idea the hell storm you’re about to let loose.” No one would. This roughhewn “Micro Western” strips everything down to the basics. Down to the roots. Then it explodes. In the late 1880s, Henry (Time Blake Nelson, O Brother Where Art Thou), a widower, lives just outside of Nashville on a farm in […]

Noteworthy Films at the 2021 Toronto International Film Fest

The films featured at TIFF represented all genres from all kinds of places. Works by veterans and new filmmakers added dimension to the fest. These were in the mix.  Ali & Ava (***) With a certain sense of whimsy and an exceptional ability to tell a unique love story, writer-director Clio Barnard gives two lost souls a new chance […]

Black Actors in Noteworthy Films at 2021 Toronto International Film Fest

TIFF featured a dazzling array of films. Many had black actors cast in pivotal roles in unique stories from around the world. Their performances will resonate with movie fans in theaters and on streaming services.  7 Prisoners (*1/2) Brazilian American writer/director Alexandre Moratto examines the depravity and perils of human trafficking, and his intentions outweigh his success as a storyteller, […]

Perceptive Reflections of Black Life at 2021 Toronto International Film Fest

After a year of COVID, TIFF returned as a hybrid festival with in-person screenings in Toronto and digital screenings around the world. A fine selection of African Diaspora films, films with black actors in their cast and general-release films brought the magic of TIFF alive again. Attica (***1/2) The 1971 Attica Prison Riots, the country’s longest and deadliest prison rebellion, […]

Cry Macho

When exposition and backstory weigh down an opening scene it’s tough for a film to get off the ground. That’s the burden screenwriter Nick Schenk (Gran Torino) and novelist N. Richard Nash’s dated, over-written script gives this road trip movie. Dead weight. In 1979, Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood), an older, washed-up ex-rodeo cowboy, is sent to Mexico to retrieve a 13-year-old […]

Music Lovers Reunite at Capital Jazz Fest 2021

After a 24-month COVID hibernation, the Capital Jazz Fest reconvened as a special edition at Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods in Columbia, Maryland. Normally an annual June event, which was canceled in 2020, the fest took place on September 4th and 5th—with a few modifications. Entry required proof of a COVID vaccination, or a negative test taken […]

Mogul Mowgli

“I’m built to prove myself,” chants Zed (Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal), a rebellious British/Pakistani rapper. Brazenly, he’s sharing a new, defiant perspective on the South Asian experience in the Western world.  Culture clash powers this feature film debut by documentary director Bassam Tariq. It’s a reckoning for the central character and anyone who has drifted into […]

Discover Atlanta’s Emerging Black Cuisine and City Sights

Explore Atlanta, Georgia, arguably the capital of the New South, and you’ll be embraced by a multicultural city, led by a black mayor and blessed with forward-thinking electorates who made Fulton County the most pivotal voting bloc in the country. These erudite Atlanteans are forging a new world, creating a vibrant food scene, supporting the […]

Never Gonna Snow Again

He’s a man about town. A lanky masseur in a tony neighborhood in Warsaw’s metro area. A Ukrainian immigrant. A foreigner. Not overly handsome, but magnetic. That’s the main character in this bedroom community slow-burning farce about a man whose sensitive hands rub Polish people the right way.  The concept and script were created by director […]