This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of the divisions that define society. It's an engaging film, sharply written and directed by actor Nate Parker to pull the audience into the world of a black preacher whose conscience simply can't take the injustice any longer. Some of the themes feel a little pushy, but the film has real power.
It opens in 1809 Virginia, where the soft-spoken Nat (Parker) works as a slave for benevolent owner Sam (Armie Hammer). The two grew up together, so Sam is familiar with Nat's intelligence and passion, and also with the fact that Sam's mother (Penelope Ann Miller) encouraged Nat to read and study the Bible. In fact, Nat is such a great preacher that Sam loans him to fellow slave owners to convey the Old Testament "slaves obey your owners" message. But Nat realises that he can't continue with this after his wife Cherry (Aja Naomi King) is brutally attacked by the cruel slave tracker Cobb (Jackie Earle Haley). And once Nat decides he can no longer support the immorality and injustice of the system, he has little choice but to lead a slave revolt.
Parker's script recounts Nat's life story with telling details, contrasting his engaging courtship with Cherry with the series of insults they suffer at every turn. Living amid such systemic degradation, exploitation and violence simply gnaws away at Nat, and Parker underplays him beautifully, letting the charisma surge quietly under the surface. Hammer is solid as Sam, although his innate compassion leaves Haley to play the villain of the piece. As always, Haley is great at this, igniting loathing from the audience with his first appearance. All of the surrounding characters are played with a lovely sense of realism, adding hints of texture to each scene but never too much personality.
Continue reading: The Birth Of A Nation Review
Penelope Ann Miller and her daughter Eloisa May Huggins at the LA Premiere of 'The Birth of a Nation' held at Cinerama Dome, Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 21st September 2016
Nat Turner was a former slave who on witnessing the scope of slavery across America chose to head a liberation movement in the form of a slave rebellion that resulted in a violent retaliation from the white supremacists in Virginia, 1831. This periodic drama film introduces the audience to the world in which Black people were enslaved in - inhumanly treated at the peril of the white race. The chilling shot of a young white child playing a game with a lynching rope around another black girls neck represents this serious period of history in a thought provoking scene.
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'Saving Lincoln' is an Abraham Lincoln biopic documenting his presidency from 1861 to his assassination 1865; in particular, his close relationship with bodyguard and friend US Marshal Ward Hill Lamon who saved his life in numerous assassination attempts. Lamon was a former lawyer from the South who enjoyed playing the banjo, drinking whiskey and wrestling; he was the perfect partner and confident for Lincoln, being large enough and with good enough gun skills to act as his security as well as an avid joke-teller and a supporter of Lincoln's anti-slavery views. Lamon did everything he could to protect the president during his four years in office, successfully foiling an assassination plot which was to take place in Maryland after his first election, tightening security after a bullet hit the president's hat while he was out riding and often sleeping outside his bedroom.
This highly accurate biopic was shot using CineCollage; a technique where Civil War backdrops from the Library of Congress are used in conjunction with the filming. It has been directed by Salvador Litvak ('When Do We Eat?') who also co-wrote the movie with his previous writing partner Nina Davidovich. 'Saving Lincoln' will hit cinemas on February 15th 2013.
Director: Salvador Litvak
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After being confined to a mental asylum for 17 years, Grace B Jones gets released following years of abuse and torment at the hands of mental health nurses. She goes to live with her brother Landy Bretthorse, his wife Bea and two young girls in Boonville, Missouri despite Bea's concerns about her instability particularly around the children. Although Grace seems a nice, friendly person and treats the girls kindly, she has regularly bouts of hysteria which first come about after a boat accident during the calamitous 1951 flood. Is there enough of Grace left to save? Or will the household conclude that sometimes a broken woman is beyond repair?
'Saving Grace B Jones' is based on a true story surrounding first time feature film director Connie Stevens' childhood in the fifties when she was sent away from her home in Brooklyn to Missouri to live with family friends after witnessing a brutal murder. She was to find, that summer, that that terrible crime was not the thing that would have the biggest effect on her the rest of her life. This shocking drama has been co-written by Jeffry Elison in his screenwriting debut and first premiered in 2009 at the Philadelphia Film Festival/Cinefest. It is now available to see in theaters everywhere now.
Director: Connie Stevens
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In 1927, George (Dujardin) is Hollywood's top star, swashbuckling through adventure blockbusters with his faithful sidekick dog Uggy. At one of his premieres he meets Peppy (Bejo), a mystery girl who gets her own shot at stardom as a dancing extra in one of George's films. His grumpy wife (Miller) isn't happy about this. And there's more trouble when the studio boss (Goodman) decides to switch to talkies. So George walks out to make his own silent film, while Peppy becomes a sound-movie star. But she doesn't forget that he gave her a break.
Continue reading: The Artist Review
When Bryce and his family move to a new neighbourhood, his next door neighbour is a girl of the same age called Juli is infatuated with him from the first moment her eyes spotted him. From that moment on, she knows Bryce is the boy for her; the only problem is Bryce isn't convinced that she's the girl for him.
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Putting aside the absurdity of the scenario that a writer would abandon his craft based on a single rejection for his first major work, Chapter Zero ultimately reveals itself as a pleasant enough -- though ultimately trivial -- little comedy.
Continue reading: Chapter Zero Review
Lisa Picard is a struggling New York actress who has had her 15 minutes and just doesn't realize it yet. She starred in a rather carnal breakfast-in-bed commercial for Wheat Chex that made her notorious and got her fired from her steady job playing "Sally Starfish" in a production that tours elementary schools.
"If the director's cut could be seen, this would be a non-issue," she grouses in "Lisa Picard Is Famous" -- an inept documentary by an under-prepared filmmaker who has decided this starlet is on the verge of being discovered and he's determined to capture the moment when it happens.
In actuality, "Lisa Picard Is Famous" is a mock documentary by actor-director Griffin Dunne ("Practical Magic," "Addicted to Love") -- and a whimsically sardonic concept that just doesn't quite congeal because the movie is more uncomfortable than it is funny.
Continue reading: Lisa Picard Is Famous Review
This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of...
Nat Turner was a former slave who on witnessing the scope of slavery across America...
'Saving Lincoln' is an Abraham Lincoln biopic documenting his presidency from 1861 to his assassination...
After being confined to a mental asylum for 17 years, Grace B Jones gets released...
George Valentin is a silent movie star in 1920's Hollywood. His latest film, A Russian...
Made as a 1920s-style silent movie, this hugely enjoyable film is already a classic. And...
When Bryce and his family move to a new neighbourhood, his next door neighbour is...