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May, 2018

‘Echos from the Plantation’ chronicles Indians in Guyana

Movies: “Echos from the Plantation,” a docudrama that chronicles 180 years of East Indians in Guyana, and draws parallel between Indian and African indentured workers who braved inhumane conditions at the hands of slave masters, received rave reviews at its first screening in Brooklyn. Comment

Independent & Foreign

Independent & Foreign

Movies: Carter & June (Unrated) Michael Raymond-James and Samaire Armstrong play the title characters in this mob comedy as ex-lovers who reunite to pull a bank heist which goes horribly wrong. With Timothy Omundson, Paul Rae and James Landry Hebert. Comment
Movies: The New York African Film Festival returns on May 16 and is celebrating its 25th anniversary starting with screenings at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. The festival will feature the leading and notable African filmmakers instrumental in introducing a wave of classic movies into the African film industry. Comment

Independent & Foreign

Movies: Always at the Carlyle (PG-13 for suggestive content, partial nudity and drug references) Reverential retrospective about the iconic, NYC hotel which has served as the favorite haunt of several generations of Jet Setters. Featuring commentary by George Clooney, Woody Allen and Anthony Bourdain. Comment
Movies: A couple of months after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. In accordance with this directive, over 100,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry were herded up and taken to internment camps for the duration of World War II. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 102 Not Out (PG for mature themes) Bollywood comedy based on a play of the same name about a 102-year-old geezer’s (Amitabh Bachchan) attempt to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest man alive with the help of his 75 year-old son (Rishi Kapoor). Featuring Jimit Trivedi and Mukesh Hariawala. (In Hindi with subtitles) Comment

April, 2018

Halle Berry as mom during Rodney King riots

Movies: On March 3, 1991, five LAPD officers were caught on camera beating an unarmed black man who had led them on a high-speed chase instead of pulling over as directed. That driver, Rodney King suffered a broken ankle, a broken cheekbone, and numerous skull fractures and chipped teeth in the assault by billy clubs. Comment

Cartoon recounts ‘true’ story of canine war hero

Movies: Ads for Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero bill the film as “The Incredible True Story of America’s Top Underdog.” Yet, the movie itself features this contrary disclaimer, albeit at the end and in small print: “Although based on historical events, all characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons is purely coincidental.” Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Backstabbing for Beginners (R for violence and pervasive profanity) Political thriller, based on Michael Soussan’s memoir of the same name, about a United Nations employee (Theo James) who uncovers corruption involving his boss (Ben Kingsley) in Iraq’s Food-for-Oil program. Featuring Jacqueline Bisset, Rachel Wilson and Brian Markinson. Comment

Native-American woman’s fight for justice

Movies: “They made us many promises... more than I can remember, but they never kept but one. They promised to take our land... and they took it.” That observation was made by Chief Red Cloud (1822-1909) towards the end of his life, after he’d witnessed the white man break treaty after treaty made with Native American tribes. Comment
Movies: “Beirut” Excellent (4 stars) Rated R for profanity, violence and a nude image In English and Arabic with subtitles Running time: 109 minutes Production Studios: Radar Pictures / ShivHans Pictures / Kasbah - Film Tanger Distributor: Bleecker Street Media By Kam Williams In 1972, Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm) was a career U.S. diplomat delighted to be serving his country overseas in Lebanon. In fact, he and his wife Nadia (Leila Bekhti) were so comfortable living in the Middle East that they had decided to adopt Karim (Idir Chender), a 13 year-old Palestinian refugee. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 10x10 (Unrated) Suspense thriller about a young businesswoman (Kelly Reilly) who is kidnapped and locked in a soundproof, concrete cell by a creepy identity thief (Luke Evans) Supporting cast includes Noel Clarke, Jason Maza and Olivia Chenery. Comment

Docudrama revisits Kennedy cover-up of tragic car accident

Movies: On July 18, 1969, Senator Ted Kennedy (Jason Clarke) hosted a reunion in a rented cottage on Chappaquiddick, a tiny island just 150 yards off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. The gathering was in honor of the Boiler Room Girls, a half-dozen women who had worked on his late brother Bobby’s aborted presidential campaign the previous year. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: ACORN and the Firestorm (Unrated) Investigative post-mortem deconstructing how the country’s largest, anti-poverty organization was defunded after the airing of an embarrassing, hidden-camera video shot by a couple of right-wing activists posing as a pimp and prostitute seeking advice about tax evasion and child smuggling. Comment

March, 2018

Movies: The biggest takeaway from “Midnight Sun” is that Patrick Schwarzenegger has a bright future as an actor. Fair warning: he’s not a buff bodybuilder like his father, Arnold, so don’t look for him to play he-man roles any time soon. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: All I Wish (Unrated) Romantic comedy about a fledgling fashion designer’s (Sharon Stone) desperate search for a soulmate until she finally meets Mr. Right (Tony Goldwyn) on her 46th birthday. Featuring Famke Janssen, Ellen Bursrtyn and Erica Ash. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: A Bag of Marbles (Unrated) Adaptation of Joseph Joffo’s World War II memoir, set in 1941, about a couple of Jewish brothers’ (Dorian Le Clech and Batyste Fleurial) attempt to survive during the Nazi occupation of Paris. With Kev Adams, Patrick Bruel and Elsa Zylberstein. (In French, German, Yiddish and Russian with subtitles) Comment
Movies: Times have certainly changed when you find celebrated dramatic actresses opting to play action heroes in blockbuster movies. For instance, Jennifer Lawrence had already been nominated for an Academy Award (for Winter’s Bone) when she agreed to star as Katniss Everdeen in the adaptation of The Hunger Games trilogy. And she’s since been nominated for three more Oscars, winning for Silver Linings Playbook. Comment

Children’s classic brought to the big screen

Movies: Madeleine L’Engle finished writing “A Wrinkle in Time” in 1960, but the escapist fantasy was rejected by over two dozen publishers before it finally captured the imagination of John Farrar, co-founder of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. In 1963, the groundbreaking, illustrated novel won the Newbery Medal for being the best children’s book of the year. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Augie (Unrated) Inspirational biopic about fitness guru Augie Nieto who has been campaigning to find a cure for ALS since being diagnosed with the disease at the age of 47. Comments (1)

First female Caribbean animated superhero sci-fi bows

Movies: Now that the entire world has embraced “The Black Panther,” perhaps the introduction of the first, female, Caribbean, superhero might seem more bankable. Comment
Movies: The Shape of Water was the big winner at the 90th Academy Awards, netting four Oscars, including Best Picture. Mexican directors have now won four of the past five years, with Guillermo del Toro joining his compadres Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman and The Revenant) and Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) in the elite fraternity. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: The Forgiven (Unrated) Truth and reconciliation drama, set in South Africa after the fall of the Apartheid regime, revolving around Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s (Forest Whitaker) meeting with a confessed murderer (Eric Bana) seeking redemption. Cast includes Jeff Gum, Terry Norton and Rob Gough. Comment

February, 2018

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Foxtrot (R for sexuality, graphic images and brief drug use) Middle East saga, set in Tel Aviv, revolving around a couple (Lior Ashkenazi and Sarah Adler) grieving the loss of a son (Yonaton Shiray) serving in the military. With Dekel Adin, Yehuda Almagor and Gefen Barkai. (In Hebrew with subtitles) Comment
Movies: Malcolm X (1925-1965) is best remembered as the charismatic spokesperson for the Nation of Islam whose fiery speeches helped the Black Muslims’ ranks swell from 6,000 to 75,000 between 1956 and 1961. However, he fell out of favor with the sect’s founder, Elijah Muhammad, soon after making his pilgrimage to Mecca. Comment
Movies: By now everyone knows the film “Black Panther” is not a documentary about a 1960s, California, Black revolutionary political party/group that scared America straight wearing all-black outfits, toting weapons and fearlessly proclaiming “power to the people.” Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Curvature (Unrated) Sci-fi thriller about a scientist (Lyndsy Fonseca) who travels back in time after a mysterious phone call in order to stop herself from committing a murder. With Linda Hamilton, Glenn Morshower and Noah Bean. Comment

Boseman rises to the occasion as Marvel Superhero

Movies: Chadwick Boseman has already made quite a career out of portraying a variety of prominent African-Americans, from football star Floyd Little (The Express), to baseball great Jackie Robinson (42), to Godfather of Soul James Brown (Get on Up) to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (Marshall). The versatile actor’s efforts have been appreciated by the NAACP which has seen fit to nominate him for five Image Awards. Comment
Movies: Besides granting a record number of pardons to non-violent felons convicted of drug offenses, Barack Obama didn’t accomplish very much during his last days in office. That’s not unusual for a lame duck president, particularly when the opposing party is in control of both houses of Congress. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Aiyaary (Unrated) East Indian action thriller about an army colonel (Manoj Bajpayee) who has 36 hours to rein in his once-promising protege gone rogue (Sidharth Malhotra). With Rakul Preet Singh, Pooja Chopra and Adil Hussain. (In Hindi with subtitles) Comment

‘Black Panther,’ Caribbean ‘Brown Girl Begins’ at BAM

Movies: Black History Month arrived with a calendar laden with a plethora of films aimed at empowering a race and gender-conscious audience long awaiting the New Year and particularly the 28 days devoted to Black achievement. Comment
Movies: The “Shape of Water” is the early favorite in this year’s Oscar sweepstakes. The sci-fi fantasy about love across species lines was nominated for the most Academy Awards, 13, including in a half-dozen major categories: Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Lead Actress (Sally Hawkins), Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer) and Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins). Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Basmati Blues (Unrated) Musical comedy about a brilliant scientist (Brie Larson) who invents a genetically-modified strain of rice with the help of her father (Scott Bakula) only to have it ruin the Indian farmers they’d hoped to help. With Donald Sutherland, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Tyne Daly. Comment

January, 2018

Movies: “Where’s Daddy?” Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Braven (R for violence, sexual references and pervasive profanity) Action thriller about a logger (Jason Momoa) and father (Stephen Lang) forced to fight for their lives when their family’s cabin in the woods is seized by drug smugglers. With Jill Wagner, Garret Dillahunt and Brendan Fletcher. Comment
Movies: The 10th season of the series “AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange” premiered this month on Martin Luther King day. This season is being hosted by actor Nicholas L. Ashe and the series is showing two documentary films by Caribbean filmmakers. One is “Between 2 Shores,” by Guadeloupean filmmaker Mariette Monpierre, and the other film is “Fatal Assistance” by Oscar-nominated Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck. They will show on Jan. 29 and Feb. 12 respectively. Comment

2018 Oscar Nominations

2018 Oscar Nominations

Movies: “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro’s surreal, cross-species love story landed the most Academy Award nominations (13), including for Best Director, Picture and Original screenplay, as well as trio of acting categories. “Dunkirk” (8) was next, followed by “Three Billboards” (7), “Darkest Hour” (6) and “Phantom Thread” (6). Comment

Reverential biopic of South African singer, activist

Movies: Zenzile Miriam Makeba had the misfortune of being born black in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1932, which relegated her to second-class citizenship. In fact, she spent the first six months of her life behind bars with her mother, a sangoma (witch doctor), sent to prison days just after her birth. Comment

Biopic on disgraced olympic skater fails to impress

Movies: On Jan. 6, 1994, while waiting to compete in the U.S. Figure Skating Championship competition, top-ranked Nancy Kerrigan’s (Caitlin Carver) knee was smashed by a billy club-wielding hit man named Shane Stant (Ricky Russert). After the cowardly attack in the halls of Detroit’s Cobo arena, the assailant quickly escaped with the help of a waiting getaway car driven by Derrick Smith (Anthony Reynolds). Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Delirium (R for violence and disturbing images) Harrowing horror flick about a just-discharged mental patient (Topher Grace) who inherits a haunted house from his recently-deceased parents (Robin Thomas and Daisy McCrackin). With Patricia Clarkson, Genesis Rodriguez and Callan Mulvey. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game (R for profanity and sexuality) Baby-daddy comedy about a couple of childless retirees’ (Martin Landau and Paul Sorvino) competition to convince a nurse (Maria Dizzia) that he’s her long-lost father. With Pamela Dubin, Alexander Cook and Kayla Harrity. Comment

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