Blindspotting

Release Date:  7/20/18 – Limited/In Theaters
Genre:  Comedy
Rating:  NR
Director:  Carlos López Estrada
Studio(s):   Foley Walkers Studio, Snoot Entertainment
Running Time:  95 mins.

Cast:  Daveed Diggs (Collin), Rafael Casal (Miles), Janina Gavankar (Val), Jasmine Cephas Jones (Ashley), Tisha Campbell-Martin (Mama Liz), Utkarsh Ambudkar (Rin), Kevin Carroll (James), Nyambi Nyambi (Yorkie).

Story:   Daveed Diggs plays Collin, who is trying to make it through his final days of probation for an infamous arrest he can’t wait to put behind him. Always by his side is his fast-talking childhood bestie, Miles (Rafael Casal), who has a knack for finding trouble. They grew up together in the notoriously rough Oakland, a.k.a. “The Town,” which has become the new trendy place to live in the rapidly gentrifying Bay Area.  When Collin’s chance for a fresh start is interrupted by a life-changing missed curfew, his friendship with Miles is forced out of its comfortable buddy-comedy existence, and the Bay boys are set on a spiraling collision course with each other.  Photo Source/Source(s):  Deadline.

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Monster

Release Date:  1/22/18; Sundance Film Festival

Genre:  Drama

Rating:  NR

Director:   Anthony Mandler

Studio(s):  Bron Studios, Inc.

Running time:  112 min.

Cast:  Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson, Rakim Mayers, Jennifer Ehle, Tim Blake Nelson

Story:   Steve Harmon, a bright, sensitive 17-year-old, stands trial for acting as a lookout during the lethal armed robbery of a Harlem bodega. Before his arrest, he was an honors student and aspiring filmmaker taking street-level snapshots and on-the-fly footage of neighborhood life. Now, Steve is seen as just another young black criminal, assumed guilty and labeled a monster. But Steve and his lawyer declare his innocence and attempt to defy the odds in a bid to win his freedom.  Source:  Sundance.org; Photo Source:  IMDB.

Monsters and Men

Release Date:   1/19/18; Sundance Film Festival
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Director:  Reinaldo Marcus Green
Studio(s):  Department of Motion Pictures
Running time:  95 mins.
Cast:  John David Washington, Anthony Ramos, Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chanté Adams, Nicole Beharie, Rob Morgan.

Story:  One night, in front of a bodega in Brooklyn’s Bed–Stuy neighborhood, Manny Ortega witnesses a white police officer wrongfully gun down a neighborhood street hustler, and Manny films the incident on his phone. Now he’s faced with a dilemma: release the video and bring unwanted exposure to himself and his family, or keep the video private and be complicit in the injustice?  Source:  Sundance.org.

Sorry To Bother You

Release Date:  2018
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Director:  Boots Riley
Studio(s):  Significant Productions
Running time:  105 mins.

Cast:   Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, Jermaine Fowler, Armie Hammer, Omari Hardwick.

Story  Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield), a 30-something black telemarketer with self-esteem issues, discovers a magical selling power living inside of him.  Suddenly he’s rising up the ranks to the elite team of his company, which sells heinous products and services. The upswing in Cassius’s career raises serious red flags with his brilliant girlfriend, Detroit (Tessa Thompson), a sign-twirling gallery artist who is secretly a part of a Banksy-style collective called Left Eye.  But the unimaginable hits the fan when Cassius meets the company’s cocaine-snorting, orgy-hosting, obnoxious, and relentlessly optimistic CEO, Steve Lift (Armie Hammer).  Source:  Sundance.org.  Photo Source:  IMDB.

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Come Sunday

a/k/a Heretic

Release Date:  1/21/18; Sundance Film Festival
Genre:  Drama
Rating:   NR
Director:  Joshua Marston
Studio(s):  Netflix
Running time:  106 mins.
Cast:  Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, Condola Rashad, Jason Segel, Lakeith Stanfield,
Martin Sheen.

Story:   Every Sunday, Bishop Carlton Pearson—evangelical megastar, brilliant orator, and television host with millions of followers—preaches the fundamentalist gospel to six thousand supplicants at his Higher Dimensions Church.  He’s the pride and joy of his spiritual father, Oral Roberts, and the toast of Tulsa.  One day, rattled by an uncle’s suicide and distraught by reports of the Rwandan Genocide, Pearson receives an epiphany.  Suddenly it’s crystal clear—God loves all humankind; everyone is already saved, whether Christian or not; and there is no hell.  But these ideas are heretical, violating sacrosanct doctrines.

The next Sunday, when Pearson unveils this theology of inclusion to his flock, shock waves sweep the enormous hall.  Church leaders and members begin to defect in droves, and his empire topples. Based on the true story of a controversial and courageous man of God, Come Sunday elegantly and respectfully captures the authentic texture and tone of Pearson’s devout world, never resorting to hyperbole.  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.

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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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