Archive for the ‘African-American’ Category

Mudbound

November 24, 2017

Director Dee Rees’ (Bessie, Pariah) Netflix original film, Mudbound explores the dark and violent side of race relations in post-WWII America. Based on Hillary Jordan’s novel, Mudbound tells the story of two young men, one African-American and one Caucasian who return from Europe after fighting in WWII only to be suppressed and constricted in the small mindedness of Alabama during the late 1940’s. Incredible ensemble cast featuring Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Mary J. Blige, Jonathan Banks, Rob Morgan, Jason Clarke, and Carey Mulligan. Mudbound certainly is not an easy film to watch. But it’s essential. There is a tenderness between the two returning soldiers as they share PTSD and liquor that’s rarely seen between two straight male characters in American film. That tenderness only makes them more vulnerable to the hatred of the locals who don’t understand what these heroes need in order to live the rest of their lives healthy and happy. Mudbound assaults you with prejudice and racial violence. It also reminds you that people who leave and return for any reason, usually come back more evolved and enlightened. So there is hope for humanity subtle and deep. Director Rees created a classic work with Pariah. Mudbound feels like she’s on her way to a long and intelligent career. 4 out of 5.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2017

November 23, 2017

I certainly have many things to be thankful for this year – great friends, an amazing family, a supportive and loving non-partner/partner (my bex, Dennis), a fantastic job in a career that helps the disenfranchised and people at risk, wonderful co-workers, a healthy body that responds to exercise, doctors and medical staff who keep me humming after all these post AIDS crisis years, and a brand-new 7 year-old puppy girl who will come live with us on Saturday.

But this year has not been without struggle. Now more than ever it’s important I keep myself glass half full. There is so much to do if we are to make this country and our world a reflection of decency, kindness, love and inclusion.

Today is U.S. Thanksgiving. Many of you will be home with family and friends. I wish you a calm, happy, foodie day. And afterwards, if you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving movie, consider What’s Cooking. It’s very American and very ethnic. Which is very American. Now more than ever.

Read Reel Charlie’s review of the perfect Thanksgiving film: What’s Cooking.
What’s Cooking is currently streaming on Amazon with a Tribeca Shortlist subscription. Or rent it digitally for $3 from Amazon, Apple, or Vudu. Or get the DVD from Netflix or your library.

Honeydripper

November 12, 2017

Now that I’ve presented three of my favorite John Sayles’ films in a series for the library, I wanted to discover some of his films I’ve yet to watch. First up: Honeydripper. The action of Sayles’ 2007 creation takes place in 1950 Alabama centered on a fledgling blues club for African-Americans. All the familiar Sayles’ ingredients are present: a large, interconnected ensemble cast, social issues, and attention to script detail. Honeydripper also includes a story firmly rooted in the past. And a kick-ass musical score. This is an easy film to watch laced with everyday people trying to figure out how to survive and find some happiness along the way. 4 out of 5 for Honeydripper.

Sunshine State Screening at the Library: Saturday, 11/11/2017

November 5, 2017

Our final John Sayles film, Sunshine State screens at Fairfield Public Library this Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm. Join us for our American Independent Film Director series final event. Click on the image below to register.

Lone Star

November 4, 2017

A classic independent film comes to Fairfield Public Library. Click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s updated review of Lone Star.

Get Out (Blu-ray)

October 30, 2017

Jordan Peele’s created a pretty remarkable, smart, sly, genre-busting film in Get Out. Peele follows the best horror film formula – others might call it a worn out trope, (think Halloween, Rosemary’s Baby) mashing it up with an infusion  on race in America. Get Out ends up being funny, scary, and a thinking person’s film. But honestly, you can sit back, grab some popcorn and laugh and scream and think about the heavier topics the next day. Get Out serves as conversation starter for how we continue to view race relations between blacks and whites. Get Out also serves as deliciously good entertainment. Hat tip to my niece Lauren for telling me to watch this way back in February when it hit the theaters. Better late than never. Turns out this is a perfect film for Halloween weekend. 4 out of 5 for Get Out.

John Sayles’ Lone Star Screening at Library

October 26, 2017

Our second screening of the American Independent Film Series featuring John Sayles’ Lone Star (1996) happens on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm in the Rotary Room of Fairfield Public Library. Join us as we discuss and view this perfect film from John Sayles’ canon. So excited to revisit this classic American film, perhaps even more topical today 21 years after its release.

Register at the library’s website.

The Fosters: Season 5

October 19, 2017

The Fosters keeps getting better. Hard to believe the kids are so grown up after only five years. Stef and Lena continue to navigate parenting with a home full of teenagers. Each child has their own life, friends, loves, hopes, dreams. Side stories with the legal parents, birth parents, foster parents. It can seem like a lot, but it’s life and love and creators Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg do such a great job. I look forward to a new season each year. 4 out of 5 for this heartwarming family drama from Free Form.

The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson

October 15, 2017

David France’s (How to Survive a Plague) sophomore documentary effort, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson creates an essential conversation. Unfortunately the film meanders in unknown directions. Too bad because the focus of trans people of color, disenfranchised and destitute warrants examination and solutions. How do marginalized people travel in the world? How do we help others out of poverty, homelessness, and a myriad of other issues which keep them stuck in a bad place? How do we empower people while honoring their individuality? France covers all of that. But the focus on the film vacillates between an amateur sleuth story of Johnson’s friend Patricia trying desperately to uncover the truth of her friend’s death, a modern story of a trans woman’s murder, and the chaotic world of Marsha’s friend, Sylvia Rivera. Not sure how a film that features a person’s name can become so convoluted during editing. Watching it proved frustrating knowing that a better focused film would have brought the viewer into a world which desperately needs our respect and support. 3 out of 5 for the film.

Find out more about transgender issues and how you can help:
National Center for Transgender Equality 
Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami – Official Trailer

September 16, 2017

From Trafalgar Releasing,

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami takes the viewer on an intimate and electrifying journey that moves between four cinematic layers – performance, family, artist and gypsy – to explore the fascinating world of this pop cultural phenomenon. Here we see her behind the mask as a daughter, mother, sister and grandmother, alongside taking to the stage for a specially commissioned performance, with legendary hits including Pull Up to the Bumper and Slave to the Rhythm showcased in full. Larger than life, bordering on cartoon, wild, scary and androgynous – Grace Jones plays all these parts.

Watch the trailer on YouTube.


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