Cast:Tessa Thompson as Irene Redfield, Ruth Negga as Clare Kendry, André Holland as Brian Redfield, Alexander Skarsgård as John, Bill Camp as Hugh.
Story: Two African-American women who can “pass” as white choose to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1929 New York in an exploration of racial and gender identity, performance, obsession and repression. Based on the novella by Nella Larsen. Source(s): Sundance.org; Wikipedia; IMDB. Photo Source: Justjared.com.
Release Date:10/23/20; Hulu (Original Release: 1/23/20 – Sundance Film Festival) Genre: Comedy/Horror Rating: NR Director: Justin Simien Studio(s):Sight Unseen Pictures Running Time: 115 mins.
Cast: Elle Lorraine, Vanessa Williams, Jay Pharoah, Lena Waithe, Blair Underwood, Laverne Cox
Story: Los Angeles, 1989. Anna Bludso (Elle Lorraine) is a scarred survivor of a scalp burn from a mild relaxer perm. She also has the smarts and ambition to be the next on-air star at Culture, a music video TV show. After years of struggling to be seen for her ideas and hard work, Anna fears the worst when her dreadlocked boss is replaced by Zora (Vanessa Williams), an ex-supermodel with a silver tongue. Zora warns Anna that her nappy look has got to go, so Anna bites the bullet and gets a weave. Turns out, her flowing new hair is the key to success—but it arrived with a mind of its own, and it bites back! Source: Sundance.org.
Release Date: 10/4/20 Series Premiere; Showtime (Limited) Genre:Drama Rating:NR Director(s):Albert Hughes, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Michael Nankin Studio(s):Blumhouse Television, Showtime Networks
Cast: Joshua Caleb Johnson (Onion), Ethan Hawke (John Brown), Daveed Diggs (Frederick Douglass), Orlando Jones (The Rail Man), Wyatt Russell (U.S. Army Officer J. E. B. Stuart), McKinley Belcher III (Broadnax), Rafael Casal (Cook), Hubert Point-Du Jour (Bob), David Morse (Dutch Henry Sherman), Wyatt Russell (Jeb Stuart)
Story: Filmmaker Albert Hughes is joining as executive producer and will make his television directorial debut helming multiple episodes of the new Showtime limited series The Good Lord Bird from Blumhouse Television, based on the National Book Award-winning novel The Good Lord Bird by bestselling author James McBride. The Good Lord Bird is told from the point of view of Onion (Joshua Johnson-Lionel), a fictional enslaved boy, who is part of John Brown’s (Hawke) motley crew of abolitionist soldiers during the time of Bleeding Kansas, eventually participating in the famous 1859 raid on the Army depot at Harpers Ferry. Brown’s raid failed to initiate the slave revolt he intended, but was the instigating event that started the Civil War. The eight-part limited event series will premiere on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 10 PM ET/PT. Source(s): Deadline; IMDB; Vital Thrills; Wikipedia; Themoviedb.org.
Release Date: 1/22/21; In Theaters (Original Release – 1/27/20; Sundance Film Festival) Genre: Drama/Fantasy Rating: R Director: Edson Oda Studio(s): Mandalay Pictures, Sony Pictures Running Time: 124 mins.
Cast: Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Bill Skarsgård, Tony Hale, David Rysdahl.
Story: What if being born is not the beginning but the goal? In a house distant from the reality we know, a reclusive man named Will interviews prospective candidates—personifications of human souls—for the privilege he once had: to be born. Five contenders emerge. During the course of nine days, Will tests each of them, but he can choose only one. The victor will be rewarded with a coveted opportunity to become a newborn in the real world, while the others will cease to exist—nine days is everything they’ll ever experience.
Will is an arbiter who judges souls before they inhabit bodies in the living. He lives in an isolated house in the middle of a desert scape, interviewing candidate souls for the opportunity to be born; if they are not selected, Will gives them a parting memory before their existence is erased. His only company is Kyo, a soul who did not disappear, and has since assisted in Will’s interviews. Will spends his days watching and taking notes on a multitude of television screens, each displaying the life of a different individual that Will has previously selected. His favorite is Amanda, a 28-year-old violin prodigy. However, on her way to a large concierto, Amanda drives too fast on the highway and crashes into an overpass, killing her.
As Will grapples with Amanda’s death, candidates begin arriving to interview for the vacancy Amanda left behind – a process that will take nine days. He asks the candidates simple questions about life and has them take notes on what they like or dislike about the lives of others who were chosen. Will is particularly intrigued by Emma, who displays heightened empathy and curiosity despite showing little interest in the selection process. Over the course of the nine days, most of the candidates are dismissed for various reasons, such as self-consciousness and lack of respect for suffering. Will does his best to recreate life events for the failed candidates, such as walking on the beach or bike-riding through a city, before the candidates disappear forever.
Kyo invites another nearby interviewer to meet with Will, as she had previously selected Amanda’s cousin for birth. She shows Will a tape shortly after Amanda’s death, which reveals that Amanda left behind a suicide note before her crash. Kyo attempts to help Will get over her death, but Will continues to watch tapes from her life, unable to understand why she did it. Will later explains to Emma that in his previous life he once gave a theater performance that made him feel alive, but never pursued his passion after that. He reacts angrily when another candidate, Alex, points out Will’s hypocrisy for judging people’s lives when he never did anything meaningful with his own life.
The candidates are narrowed down to two: Emma and Kane. While Emma is carefree and sees the best in people, Kane is more pessimistic, recognizing the evil in the world and showing resolve to fight back against it. Despite Kyo recommending that Will picks Emma, he chooses Kane to be born. Emma declines a last experience and opts to walk across the desert until she disappears. Will later finds a note from Emma where she thanks him and explains she wrote happy memories she had during the interview process; Will finds them written all over the house. Feeling regret, he runs across the desert after Emma and passionately recites selections from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, then thanks her. Source(s): Sundance; Wikipedia; People.com.