Premature

Release Date:  1/26/19; Sundance Film Festival
Genre:  Drama/Romance
Rating:  NR
Director:  Rashaad Ernesto Green
Studio(s):   Relic Pictures
Running Time:  86 mins.
Cast:  Zora Howard, Joshua Boone, Michelle Wilson, Alexis Marie Wint, Imani Lewis, Tashiana Washington.

Story:  Ayanna is making the most out of her last summer in Harlem before heading to college. She’s bold, confident, and not really looking for love—until she meets the slightly older Isaiah. After one of those rare first dates that lasts for hours, she knows there’s something different about him. Ayanna has found herself at an intimidating crossroads: one foot is still under her mother’s roof, while the other is primed to step out on her own with Isaiah.  Rashaad Ernesto Green captures youthful, uninhibited conviction through Ayanna’s world in flux: transitional outbursts at home with her mother, deep and sensuous encounters of intimacy with Isaiah, and moments of unfiltered honesty with her girlfriends. Co-writer and breakout-lead Zora Howard brings complexity to Ayanna, a young woman balancing vulnerability and self-sufficiency. The result is an outspoken portrait of a young woman in transition, anchored by the relationships that shape us, the friendships that bolster and push us, and the love that has the power to change everything.  Source:  Sundance.org.

Mope

Release Date:  1/27/19; Sundance Film Festival
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Director:  Lucas Heyne
Studio(s):   Parkside Pictures, Saxton Cinema, Uncooperative Pictures
Running Time:  105 mins.

Cast:  Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Kelly Sry, Brian Huskey, Max Adler, David Arquette, Tonya Cornelisse.

Story:   In the multibillion-dollar world of pornography, the term mope refers to a low-level, wannabe porn actor who perhaps isn’t quite well endowed or otherwise attractive enough to achieve the success granted to “bigger”-name porn stars. Within the seedy underbelly of the industry, mopes are the lowest of the low, hanging around sets and taking on menial jobs with aspirations of being called upon to participate in a colossal gang-bang scene that could (but most likely won’t) lead to their big break.  Stephen Clancy Hill and Herbert Wong, respectively known by their porn alter egos Steve Driver and Tom Dong, were two such mopes—real-life best friends attempting to live the impossible porno dream, but the blurred line between reality and delusion ultimately sent them both tumbling down a path of destruction.  Source:  Sundance.org.

Three’s Complicated

Release Date:  1/13/19; TV One
Genre:  Comedy
Rating:  NR
Director:  Shari L. Carpenter
Studio(s):   Swirl Films; TV One
Running Time:  Unknown
Cast:  Shanola Hampton (Deja), Tyler Lepley (Sonny), Kyanna Simone Simpson (Eleni), Charles Malik Whitfield (Craig)

Story:  Three’s Complicated chronicles the complicated love story of 42-year-old divorcee Deja (Hampton) who after a bad day and one too many drinks has a whirlwind weekend fling with a man ten years her junior, Woodson (Lepley). That wouldn’t be so bad, until she suspects she might be pregnant and discovers that her weekend lover may be her daughter’s (Simpson) new beau.  Source:  TV One.

Trailer:

Love & Drugs

Release Date:  1/22/19; DVD (2018)
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Director:  Demarcus Bailey & Vernon Snoop Robinson
Studio(s):   Maverick Entertainment
Running Time:  91 mins.
Cast:  Cory Espie, Santosha Faulkner, Kenny Gardner, Carl Brown.
Story:   Marc was just a young guy in love, but when the love of his life humiliated him he turned to a life of crime to earn respect. That was until the day she came back into his life. Now will she love the man that he became, or does he have to change who he is. Marc has the ultimate choice: Love or Drugs.  Source:  Maverick Entertainment.

Trailer:

Clemency

Release Date:  12/27/19; In Theaters (Original Release: 1/27/19 Sundance Film Festival)
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Director:  Chinonye Chukwu
Studio(s):   ACE Pictures Entertainment, Big Indie Pictures
Running Time:  113 mins.

Cast:  Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, Richard Schiff, Wendell Pierce, Richard Gunn, Danielle Brooks.

Story:   How do you salvage your marriage when you are struggling to salvage your soul, your sense of self, and your sense of right and wrong? Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) is a prison warden who, over the years, has been drifting away from her husband while dutifully carrying out executions in a maximum security prison. When she strikes up a unique bond with death-row inmate Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge), a layer of emotional skin is peeled back, forcing Bernadine to confront the complex—and often contradictory—relationship between good intentions, unrequited desires, and what it means to be sanctioned to kill.  Source:  Sundance.org.