Clemency

Release Date:  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.

Burning Sands

burning-sands-stillRelease Date:  1/24/17 (Sundance Film Festival); 3/10/17 (Netflix)
Genre:   Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  105 mins.
Director:   Gerard McMurray
Studio:   Mandalay Pictures
Cast:  Trevor Jackson (Zurich), Alfre Woodard (Professor Hughes), Steve Harris (Dean Richardson), Tosin Cole (Frank), DeRon Horton (Square), Trevante Rhodes (Fernander), Serayah (Angel), Imani Hakim (Rochon).

Story:   In his freshman year of college, it seems Zurich has everything going for him; he has the respect of his teachers and university administration, the love and devotion of a wonderful girlfriend, and he’s been selected for admission to a prestigious Black fraternity on campus. But as Zurich embarks on the Hell Week of pledging his fraternity, the harsh trials of entry into brotherhood begin to test the limits of his self-worth. As the intensifying abuse begins to become untenable, Zurich struggles to honor the fraternity’s code of silence, and the scaffolding of his life outside the frat begins to dismantle.  Burning Sands constructs a deeply complex cross section of the fabled fraternity hazing culture and the vicious power of the desire for acceptance.  Source:  Sundance.org.

Trailer:

Knucklehead

KnuckleheadRelease Date 2015
Genre:  Drama/Family
Rating:  Unknown
Running Time:  83 mins
Studio:  Hayden 5 Media
Director:  Ben Bowman
Cast:  Alfre Woodard (Sheila), Gbenga Akinnagbe (Langston) Amari Cheatom (Julian), Nikiya Mathis (Teeny Miles), Carla Duren (Cassie), Justin Myrick (Arthur), Lauren Hudges (Molly), Manuel Herrera (Javier), David Lavine (Dr. Maddox), DeWanda Wise (Charlotte).

Story:  When his brother disappears, mentally disabled Langston Bellows is left without a protector in Brooklyn’s housing projects. Now under the control of his abusive mother Langston must take his future into his own hands. He sets out to find the one doctor he believes can cure him, a celebrity magazine columnist who touts questionable prescription drug cocktails. If Langston can become “mentally excellent”, it will mean moving into an apartment of his own with his girlfriend, who may herself be a creation of his wishful thinking. Landing in the unscrupulous world of pharmaceutical marketing, the search for his mysterious doctor and hero leads to some unwanted discoveries. Langston strives for independence from his prior life; from his mother, from his neighborhood and from his fractured mind – while all around him people are not who they seem. Source: IMDB; Shadow and Act, knuckleheadfilm.com.

Trailer: