Spike Lee is known for speaking to his audience without hitting them over the head.
His new movie, BlacKkKlansman, was released yesterday. In the 1970’s Ron Stallworth (John David Washington, son of respected actor Denzel Washington) is not only a new recruit in the Colorado Springs police department, but he is also the first police officers of color on the squad. While browsing through a local newspaper, he stops on an ad for the KKK and calls them, pretending to be white. Surprisingly, he receives a call back. Ron goes undercover with the help of Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), a fellow cop who is Jewish. Flip plays Ron in person while Ron plays a white version of himself over the phone. They even go so far as to make contact with David Duke (Topher Grace). While this is happening, Ron is seeing Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier), who is a local activist in the civil rights movement.
Will Ron and Flip be exposed or will they be able to stop the KKK in their tracks?
Based on a book by the real life Ron Stallworth, this movie blew me out of the water. The movie was funny, uncomfortable and forced the audience to really think about how we view race in America. Though it is set in the 1970’s, it speaks to the audience in 2018. While I won’t give the ending away, I will say that you could hear a pin drop as the final moments of the film played. It was that powerful.
I’ve seen quite a few movies this year. BlacKkKlansman is one of the best films of 2018. If I were a betting woman, I would say that this movie will do very well come award season.
I absolutely recommend this movie.
BlacKkKlansman is presently in theaters.
September 11th, 2001 is a day that forever changed the world. Before 9/11, the idea of a terrorist attack within the borders of the United States seemed more fiction than fact.
That is the premise of the 1998 film, The Siege. When the leader of a Islamic religious sect is abducted by the US military, the response is a series of terrorist attacks on New York City. Anthony Hubbard (Denzel Washington) is the head of the FBI’s Counter-Terrorism Task Force in New York. Working with Elise Kraft (Annette Bening), a CIA operative, they must work together to find the terrorists who are attacking the citizens of New York. While Elise and Anthony work on finding the terrorists before they wreak more havoc and take more lives, General Devereaux (Bruce Willis) takes control of the city and declares martial law.
What strikes me about this film is life has imitated art, especially in the last 15 years. While this film is obviously a work of fiction, some of the elements in the film have become part of our every day lives. It also reminds me of how innocent we all were in the pre-9/11 years.
I recommend it.
For many New Yorkers, riding the subways is an innocuous, normal part of life. But what happens when someone sees these passengers in a different light?
In the 1974 film The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, four men board the Pelham 1:23 train at different stations. They seems to be ordinary New Yorkers, simply using the train as a means of transportation. But they are not ordinary and they quickly reveal their plans to the passengers. Taking control of the train from the conductors, they stop the train in between stations. The lucky passengers and conductors in all but the first car are freed. The passengers and the conductor in the first car are not so lucky.
The demand is simple: they want one million dollars for each passenger and the conductor. The instructions must be followed to the letter and must be accomplished within one hour, otherwise, the passengers and the conductor will be killed, one by one. Lt. Zach Garber (Walter Matthau) is the liaison between the hijackers and the authorities. He maybe the only one who can figure out who the men are and save the lives of the hostages.
Anyone who has ridden a NYC subway train knows how cramped and closed in the car can feel. While this movie could have been the standard thriller/hijacker, the fact that it takes place within a NYC subway car adds to the already heightened tension.
In 2009, the film was re-made with Denzel Washington taking over the role of Lt. Garber.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Sometimes it takes one person to change history.
Colonel Robert Gould Shaw is remembered as being a hero for the North in The Civil War. He is also remembered for leading the first all black regiment.
In 1989, his story was brought to big screen in the movie Glory. Pvt Trip, one of the soldiers under his command, was played by Denzel Washington. The men in the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry not fought on the battlefield for freedom, they also fought against the racism and prejudice from their fellow citizens.
What makes this movie stand out from the plethora of Civil War era movies is how timely it still feels. Prejudice and racism still exist in this country. Colonel Shaw and his men fought and died for the same freedoms that we are still fighting and dying for today. This movie and the true story that inspired it remind the audience that there are people like Colonel Shaw in the world, willing to step up and do what is right, even if that means going against convention.
I recommend it.
William Shakespeare’s works are immortal. They have outlived his lifetime and will continue to outlive our lifetimes.
Much Ado About Nothing is one of his greatest comedies. Last year, Joss Whedon released his version of Much Ado about Nothing.
In 1993, actor/director Kenneth Branagh released his take on the classic comedy. His Benedict is opposite his then wife, Emma Thompson as Beatrice. Robert Sean Leonard and Kate Beckinsale are Claudio and Hero. Secretly planning on bringing the lovers together is Don Pedro (Denzel Washington), Leonato (the late Richard Briers) and Antonio (Brian Blessed). Conspiring to keep the lovers apart is Don John (Keanu Reeves).
This is how Shakespeare should be done, every time. The cast is spot on and the movie is perfect. I still think that Hero should have not been so quick to take Claudio back, but that is the play overall and that is another topic for another post.
I recommend this movie.