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“THE UNITED STATES Vs BILLIE HOLIDAY” (HULU)

Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan, 1915-1959) as viewed through the lens of director Lee Daniels is flawed, but impressively watchable;  Andra Day’s soaring interpretation of “Lady Day”, nascent jazz singer whose iconic gift and influence have resonated through the ages; Day mimics to perfection Holiday’s inimitable voice, style, and egregious drug addiction; astoundingly, she captures Holiday’s fearlessness, fortitude, in an era of segregation, where society was defined by color and the government held ... Read More »

SOUND OF METAL (AMAZON PRIME)

Not being a fan of heavy metal, I initially skipped director Darius Marder’s study of an absence of sound, not a choice, a lifestyle; two respected cinephiles pleaded the worthiness of Marder’s scrutiny of profound hearing loss and its effect on musician, “Ruben” (Riz Ahmed) and his altered state. Growing up in a cacophonous household, I have always craved quiet, ... Read More »

THE WORLD TO COME (IN THEATRES), I CARE A LOT (NETFLIX)

THE WORLD TO COME (in theatres)       Two contemporary films about same sex relationships that beg comparisons. Notably, the grander of the two is “The World to Come” directed by Mona Fastvold starring Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby; two finely- tuned, intelligent women in boorish marriages, narrowly earning a livelihood in 1856; farmland unrelenting in its ruthlessness; even ... Read More »

NOMADLAND (HULU & THEATRES)

Profoundly sad, agonizing to watch; director Chloe Zhao (“The Rider”) and actor Frances McDormand take viewers on an educated, unveiling journey; a journey, countless travel; those whose jobs, towns have vanished, consumed by advanced technology or outdated worthiness; “Fern” (McDormand at her peak of poetic dramatis) is “houseless”, not “homeless” as she, with the utmost dignity, in her battered van, ... Read More »

THE MAURITANIAN (IN THEATRES)

Admittedly, I had not heard of, nor read the book, “Guantanamo Diary” by Mohamedou Ould Salahi;  a portrait of endurance despite horrific odds; he was imprisoned for fourteen years, on the flimsy pretext of an affiliation with Osama Bin Laden, at Guantanamo Bay; he was never charged; Salhi is blazingly, percipiently depicted by French actor Tahar Rahim (“The Prophet”); maintaining ... Read More »

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (HBOMAX) & IN THEATRES

Director Shaka King’s docudrama unveils, without sensationalism, the rise of the Black Panther Movement and its leader, Fred Hampton (1948-1969); Daniel Kaluuya is superb in capturing Hampton’s passion, dedication and vision in championing, recognizing that black lives do matter and deserve respect; poetically inspirational, with oratorical might Kaluuya gifts Hampton the lionization he earned and, especially in retrospect, deserves. Chicago, ... Read More »

MALCOLM & MARIE (NETFLIX)

A portrait of ugliness unseen since “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (which was remarkable). Sam Levinson (Barry’s son) pits actors John David Washington and Zendaya (aka Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor) in a late night vivisection of souls and psyches, a mastication of meanness, cruelty ripped from the depths of heartlessness; one critic stated “after twenty minutes” exit, the bludgeoning, ... Read More »

THE SINNER, SEASON 3 (NETFLIX)

Abashedly, I did not invest in the first two seasons; no apparent reason; the virtual milieu is bloated with multitudes of culprits, “sinners” and their motives, perpetually titillating my curiosity; the third season’s lure was the actor Matt Bomer. Like actors Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston, Thierry Godard, Ben Whishaw, Bomer is not dancing at the pinnacle of one’s roster of ... Read More »

DARA FROM JASENOVAC (SERBIAN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES) IN THEATERS

Jasenovac: the Auschwitz of the Balkans, as seen through the eyes of Serbian, ten-year-old “Dara”; director Predrag Antonijevic concentrates on the entrepreneurial system of slaughter perpetrated on the Serbs by Ustasas (Croation Revolutionary Movement) mimicking Nazi’s “Final Solution”; ingrained xenophobia practiced without impunity on men, women and their progeny; games of execution visited upon inmates and children, witnessed by Dara, ... Read More »

THE LITTLE THINGS (HBO MAX)

A trio of Academy Award Winners give it their optimum to generate suspense in director John Lee Hancock’s “The Little Things”: Denzel Washington, always captivating, depicts Deputy Sheriff “Joe Deacon” haunted by an aged blunder; Rami Malek, Detective “Jim Baxter”, too slight for the role, and the weakest character,  doomed from the onset to topple from the marketable pedestal the ... Read More »

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