Directed by: Barry Jenkins
Written by: Barry Jenkins, based on the story by Tarell Alvin McCraney
Starring: Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monaé, Naomie Harris, André Holland
Summary: Told in three parts, Moonlight follows Chiron as he endures the growing pains of growing up gay in the Miami inner city.
Moonlight is a film full of painful and sometimes uncomfortable honesty, but it is beautifully told. When I walked out of the theater after seeing Moonlight the first time I realized, I’ve never seen this story told on screen before. (more…)
Directed by: Theodore Melfi
Written by: Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons
Summary: Three black women lead a team of mathematicians in the 1960s making significant contributions to the space program and contributing to the success of groundbreaking space missions.
How has this story not been told before? and if it has, how has it not gotten more attention? Hidden Figures tells a really interesting story about a pocket of NASA history that I had no idea existed. This is the kind of fun fact that sends me on a Wikipedia spiral where I start by searching for the story of the black mathematicians at NASA and three hours later wind up reading something about Jeffrey Dahmer.
This story is really cool. But this movie is really not. (more…)
Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan
Written by: Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
Summary: After the death of his brother, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is given parental rights over his 16 year old nephew and returns to his hometown where he is confronted with a troubling past.
“Don’t you think we got screwed by that movie!?” That was what the woman a few seats over from me said when the final credits of Manchester by the Sea began to roll.
This is not going to be a movie for everyone. It’s dark and existentially sad in a way that will stick with you. (more…)
Directed by: Denzel Washington
Written by: August Wilson, based upon his play of the same name
Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo
Summary: Through the eyes of Troy Maxson we see a black working mans’ desires, disappointments and ultimate self-destruction in 1950’s Pittsburgh. He laments for the life he felt he was cheated out of and watches as his family erodes due to the choices he made.
Fences was the first movie of 2016 I got excited about. Mid-summer I always pour through lists of the most anticipated movies of the fall and winter months and Fences was on just about every one of those lists – and with good reason – it’s a film with a very compelling story and some unforgettable performances.
Directed by: Garth Davis
Written by: Luke Davies, adapted from the book “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley
Starring: Sunny Pawar, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Dev Patel, Rooney Mara
Summary: A young boy is separated from his brother and ends up thousands of miles outside of his impoverished home town in India. After being entered into the foster system, Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple. 20 years later, he seeks out his birthplace and the mother he left behind so many years ago.
I must have a soft spot for little kids with bright, innocent eyes because much like last year’s Room, I wept through most of this movie. It’s not that the story is devastating, it’s just incredibly touching. Despite some pretty apparent flaws in the film, Lion packs an emotional punch and tells a remarkable story. (more…)