When They See Us

a/k/a Central Park Five

Release Date:  5/31/19; Limited Series – Netflix
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Director:  Ava DuVernay
Studio(s):   Forward Movement, Harpo Films, Participant Media, Tribeca Productions, Netflix.
Cast:  Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, Justin Cunningham, Freddy Miyares, Jharrel Jerome, Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Chris Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Omar J. Dorsey, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, William Sadler, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury.

Story:  Four-part limited series about the Central Park Five, a group of teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — who 30 years ago were wrongly convicted of rape.  The series will span 25 years, highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.

Ava DuVernay, who created and directed the film, said in a statement, “In 1989, five black and brown teen boys were wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit and branded The Central Park Five, a moniker that has followed them since that time.  In 2019, our series gives the five men a platform to finally raise their voices and tell their full stories.  In doing so, Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef also tell the story of many young people of color unjustly ensnared in the criminal justice system.  Sources:  TV Line; Coming Soon.

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Just Mercy

Release Date:  1/17/2020; In Theaters
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  PG-13
Director:  Destin Daniel Cretton
Studio(s):   Netter Productions, Warner Bros.
Running Time:  Unknown
Cast:  Michael B. Jordan as Bryan Stevenson; Jamie Foxx as Walter McMillian; Brie Larson as Eva Ansley; O’Shea Jackson, Jr. as Anthony Ray Hinton; Tim Blake Nelson as Ralph Myers; Rob Morgan as Herbert Richardson.

Story:   A powerful and thought-provoking true story, Just Mercy follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan might have had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds and the system stacked against them.  Source:  Rotten Tomatoes.

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Flint

Release Date:   10/28/17; Lifetime
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  TV-14
Director:  Bruce Beresford
Studio(s):  Sony Pictures Television; Lifetime Television

Cast:  Queen Latifah (Iza Banks), Jill Scott (Nayyirah Shariff), Betsy Brandt (LeeAnne Walters), Rob Morrow (Professor Edwards), Marin Ireland (Melissa Mays), Lyndie Greenwood (Adina Banks).

Story:  Inspired by the Time Magazine cover story, “The Toxic Tap,” by Josh Sanburn, Flint is the gripping retelling of a crisis that shook a nation and shines a light on the whistleblowers who exposed the biggest environmental scandal of our generation. LeeAnne Walters (Betsy Brandt), Melissa Mays (Marin Ireland) and Nayyirah Shariff (Jill Scott) join forces after discovering that the drinking water in Flint, Michigan is contaminated, resulting in a slew of devastating medical problems for their families. When their claims go unheeded, they band together to expose the wrongdoings committed by their reckless, bean-counting government officials whose carelessness caused irrevocable harm to the lives of its residents.  Source:  Lifetime.  Image:  Women and Hollywood.

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Detroit

Release Date:  8/4/17; In Theaters
Genre:  Drama/Based on Actual Events
Rating:  Unknown
Running Time:  Unknown
Director:  Kathryn Bigelow
Studio:  Annapurna Pictures, First Light Production, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Cast:  John Boyega, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, Ben O’Toole, Hannah Murray, Anthony Mackie, Jacob Latimore, Algee Smith, Joseph David-Jones, Kaitlyn Dever, Jason Mitchell, John Krasinski, Jeremy Strong, and Laz Alonso.

Story:  Profiles the story of the infamous Detroit riot of 1967.  The film features an ensemble cast of characters to tell the story of why so many citizens decided to rise up, and how the riot expanded so quickly to become so massive that the President had to send in federal troops to get things under control.  Source:  Firstshowing.net.

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Crown Heights

a/k/a Darker Than Blue

Release Date:  (2017)
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  94 mins.
Director:  Matt Ruskin
Studio(s):   Iam21 Entertainment, Washington Square Films, Black Maple Films.

Cast:  Keith Stanfield (Colin Warner), Nnamdi Asomugha (Carl King), Natalie Paul (Antoinette), Bill Camp (William Robedee), Nestor Carbonell (Bruce Regenstreich).

Story:  On April 10, 1980, a shot rang out on the streets of Crown Heights, igniting a decades-long quest for justice in this harrowing true story. Colin Warner is arrested and tried for a crime he did not commit, a victim of a deeply broken system that refuses to listen. Quick to throw him away, the court wrongfully convicts him. But as Colin loses hope to reclaim an innocence that has been cast aside, his best friend, Carl King, devotes his life to restoring Colin’s freedom, doggedly pursuing every lead for years.  Source:  Sundance.org.

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Confirmation

Confirmation stillRelease Date:  4/16/16; HBO
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time:   Unknown
Studio(s):  ABC Signature Studios, Groundswell Productions, HBO Films.
Director:  Rick Famuyiwa
Cast:  Kerry Washington (Anita Hill), Wendell Pierce (Clarence Thomas), Erika Christensen (Shirley Wiegand), Zoe Lister-Jones (Carolyn Hart), Greg Kinnear (Joe Biden), Grace Gummer (Ricki Seidman), Jeffrey Wright (Charles Ogletree), Eric Stonestreet (Ken Duberstei), Kimberly Elise (Sonia Jarvis), Jennifer Hudson (Angela Wright), Alison Wright (Virginia Thomas).

Story:  Confirmation, the HBO original movie details the 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings.  Kerry Washington portrays law professor Anita Hill, who accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.  With Wendell Pierce as Judge Thomas and Greg Kinnear as Democratic Senator Joe Biden, who presided over the hearings as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Jeffrey Wright plays Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, Professor Hill’s lead attorney during the hearings.

Also Kimberly Elise plays Sonia Jarvis, a civil rights attorney on Anita Hill’s legal team. Jennifer Hudson portrays Angela Wright, another Thomas accuser.  Erika Christensen plays Shirley Wiegand, Hill’s close friend and Alison Wright portrays Ginni Thomas, Thomas’ wife.  Source:  Shadow and Act.

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Woodlawn

WoodlawnRelease Date 10/16/15 (In Theaters)
Genre:  Drama/Based on Actual Events
Rating:  PG
Running Time:  Unknown
Studios:  Crescent City Pictures, Red Sky Studios.
Directors:  Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin.

Cast:  Nic Bishop (Tandy Gerelds), Sean Astin (Hank), Caleb Castille (Tony Nathan), C. Thomas Howell (Shorty White), Jon Voight (Paul Bryant), Sherri Shepherd (Momma Nathan).

Story:  A gifted high school football player must learn to boldly embrace his talent and his faith as he battles racial tensions on and off the field in WOODLAWN, a moving and inspirational new film based on the true story of how love and unity overcame hate and division in early 1970s Birmingham, Ala.

Tony Nathan lands in a powder keg of anger and violence when he joins fellow African-American students at Woodlawn High School after its government-mandated desegregation in 1973. The Woodlawn Colonels football team is a microcosm of the problems at the school and in the city, which erupts in cross burnings and riots, and Coach Tandy Gerelds is at a loss to solve these unprecedented challenges with his disciplinarian ways.

It’s only when Hank, an outsider who has been radically affected by the message of hope and love he experienced at a Christian revival meeting, convinces Coach Gerelds to let him speak to the team that something truly remarkable begins to happen. More than 40 players, nearly the entire team, black and white, give their lives over to the “better way” Hank tells them is possible through following Jesus, and the change is so profound in them it affects their coach, their school and their community in ways no one could have imagined. Source: woodlawnmovie.com, official site.

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