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JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (2021) – My rating: 8.5/10

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CAROL's WORLDS

Judas and the Black Messiah is a biographical drama that focuses on the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, “BPP”.  The film is directed and produced by Shaka King, who wrote the screenplay with Will Berson. Along with Keith and Kenny Lucas, the four based the story on how the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the BPP was deceieved by an undercover member. I was curious about who the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the BPP was, so I watched the movie — I thought the film was well done.

In the late 1960s, 17-year-old petty criminal William “Bill” O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield), is arrested in Chicago after attempting to hijack a car while posing as a federal officer. Later, Bill is approached by FBI Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Robert Longstreet), who offers to have O’Neal’s charges dropped if he actually works as an undercover FBI agent for…

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MALCOLM & MARIE (2021) – My rating: 9/10

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Malcolm & Marie is a romantic drama written, produced, and directed by Sam Levinson. Kid Cudi also serves as an executive producer on the film. Malcolm & Marie explores a writer-director and his girlfriend, whose relationship is tested on the night of his latest movie premiere. Filmed in Black and White, I wasn’t sure Malcolm & Marie would interest me but low and behold, it was fabulous!

Film writer-director Malcolm Elliott (John David Washington) returns home from his movie premiere with his girlfriend Marie Jones (Zendaya). Malcolm eagerly anticipates the critical reviews of his film following the emotional audience response from the premiere screening. When he notices Marie looking displeased, he urges her to tell him what is bothering her. Initially reluctant to start a fight in the middle of the night, she tells him that she is upset that she wasn’t thanked or acknowledged in his speech…

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PALMER (2021) – My rating: 8/10

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Palmer is a drama directed by Fisher Stevens and written by Cheryl Guerriero. The film focuses on a former college football star who is now an ex-convict. I was unsure of the plot but found Palmer to be heartfelt and well written.

Eddie Palmer (Justin Timberlake) is a former high school football star who just got out of prison after 12 years. He lives with his grandmother Vivian (June Squibb), who on occasion takes care of a fervent young boy named Sam (Ryder Allen). As a child, Sam has profound issues with gender and appearance.  There are times when Palmer has to step in on Sam’s behalf to handle the bullies.

Palmer eventually begins working at the local school as a janitor, and after Vivian passes away, is forced to become Sam’s temporary guardian because Sam’s mother Shelly (Juno Temple) constantly disappears from his life for weeks and even…

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THE LITTLE THINGS (2021) – My rating: 7.2/10

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The Little Things is a neo-noir crime thriller written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and produced by Hancock and Mark Johnson. The Little Things was released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures. I had hoped for more substance in this film, which was just ok.

The Little Things opens in the year 1990, with a young girl driving on the highway, stalked by someone in a pick-up truck. In a panic, she pulls over at a gas station, the driver exits his vehicle and follows her. She knocks on the windows and doors but the gas station is closed causing her to run on foot through the desert. Ending up on another road, she is able to solicit a passing truck driver and escape.

The Little Things then switches to what appears to be sometime in the near future. In Bakersfield, CA, deputy sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon…

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POLAR (2019) – My rating: 8.5/10

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Polar is a neo-noir action thriller based on the 2012 webcomic of the same name and is directed by Jonas Åkerlund.  The film revolves around an aging assassin on the verge of retirement, who becomes targeted by his employer. I discovered Polar while looking for another movie.  It’s turned out to be an excellent find.

Somewhere in Chile, a former assassin who was employed by Damocles (a firm of assassins) is eliminated by the company’s special hit team:  Sindy, (Ruby O. Fee) who serves as a decoy, Facundo (Anthony Grant) the company sniper, and the assault team; Alexei (Josh Cruddas), Karl (Robert Maillet), and Hilde (Fei Ren).  Duncan Vizla, known as The Black Kaiser (Mads Mikkelsen), is a Damocles employee nearing mandatory retirement on his fiftieth birthday. By making sizeable contributions into his company retirement fund, he is owed over $8M, due the day of retirement…

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RESISTANCE (2020) – My rating: 8/10

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Resistance is a biographical drama written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz and is inspired by the life of Marcel Marceau. The film was very informative and well scripted and well-acted.

The film opens in 1938, just before the start of World War II, in Munich, Nazi Germany. The Nazi Brown Shirts invade the home of a young Jewish girl, Elsbeth (Bella Ramsey), and kills her parents. Resistance continues in Strasbourg, France, near the German border, where Marcel Marceau (Jesse Eisenberg)works unfulfilled in his father’s butcher shop. Marcel’s passion was for the arts,  especially mime and painting. During 1939, when Nazi power consolidates and World War II approaches, Marceau performs a cabaret impression of Charlie Chaplin, using the narrow mustache also favored by Adolf Hitler. Visual similarities between Chaplin and Hitler frequent the film. Marceau’s passion for theatre grows stronger after he discovers his father Charles Mangel…

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SYLVIE’S LOVE (2020) – My rating: 7.5/10

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Sylvie’s Love is a drama written, directed, and produced by Eugene Ashe. A sweet story of a young girl living in Harlem, finding herself and falling in love but promised to another by a conceided and overbearing mother. I really liked Sylvie’s Love but find many loose ends. Sylvie’s Love opens uptown in New York City, better known as Harlem. The year is 1962 when jazz is still popping.  There is a chance encounter outside of town Hall between two people who obviously know each other.  She calls his name, he turns towards her and a big smile lights up his face. The film then turns back time, 5 years earlier when life was less complicated, and reveals how Sylvie and Robert originally met and fell in love.

Sylvie Parker (Tessa Thompson) works at her father’s Mr. Jay (Lance Riddick) music store while Robert Halloway (Nnamdi Asomugha) is a saxophone player…

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PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (2020) – My rating: 6.5/10

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Promising Young Woman is a black comedy thriller written, produced, and directed by Emerald Fennell in her feature directorial debut. Margot Robbie serves as a producer through her LuckyChap Entertainment banner. The film tells the story of a woman who seeks to avenge her best friend who was a victim of rape. I only came across this movie looking for something else.  While I thought the movie was decent, it featured an ending I loathe.

Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas (Carey Mulligan) at the age of 30, lives with her parents, Stanley and Susan Thomas (Clancy Brown and Jennifer Collidge), respectively, and works at a local coffee shop with her friend Gail (Laverne Cox). Several years ago, Cassie dropped out of medical school to take care of her best friend, Nina Fisher who also dropped out because she was raped by a classmate.  The school and the legal system totally failed…

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NEWS OF THE WORLD (2020) – My rating: 7.5/10

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News of the World is a Western drama, co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass. The movie is based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles. The film follows a Civil War veteran who must return a young girl who was stolen by Native Americans as an infant to her last remaining family, over 400 miles away. The trailers were quite interesting and so was the movie.

In 1870, retired Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) a former member of the Confederate Infantry now makes a living traveling from town to town keeping folks informed of the latest news as they gather to listen as he reads from local newspapers for 10¢ a person. One day while traveling to the next town, Captain Kidd spots an overturned wagon.  Upon investigation, he encounters a lynched Black man and a wild, young white, 10-year-old girl.  Suspecting the two were…

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The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

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This week, we’re sharing stories from Caitlin L. Chandler, Kelan Lyons, Daniel Loedel, John Colapinto, and Shay Castle.

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

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