Cinephile and telephile.
King Richard checks all of the boxes for a sports biopic about Venus and Serena Williams, two of the best tennis players in the world. But Reinaldo Marcus Green's assured direction and a pair of strong, committed performances from Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis—both of whom are at their energetic best—distinguishes it from others in the genre. It's no secret that the Oscars has a history of snubbing black actors, films and directors (as pointed out by Smith's own wife). But it would be nice for once to see history not repeat itself. And besides, I'm still pissed about Chadwick.
Oh, to be a young, virile twink who is the object of every man's desire and is partial to gender-neutral clothing. At first, I thought Sequin in a Blue Room would genuinely reflect the opinions and preferences of the dating apps it seeks to imitate. But after a decidedly unexpected tonal shift in the second act, my expectations were happily exceeded as the film transforms into a highly-stylized but emotionally charged psychosexual thriller about coming into one's own.
Quantum of Solace is the worst film in the Craig era for all the reasons you’ve probably heard about by now. But for me, it’s the inexplicable decision to cast Olga Kurylenko as Bolivian intelligence agent Camille Montes, which has her donning brown face and a stereotypical accent. Although I'm not really surprised, considering Robert Downey Jr.’s decision to wear blackface in Tropic Thunder that same year was both critically and commercially acclaimed. Still, it was shocking to see and took me completely out of the story.
Death comes for us when we least expect it, but for some, it can’t come soon enough. After her son dies in a mining accident, Mantoa gives up on life and starts planning her own funeral. What follows is a haunting hymn on historical trauma and unresolved grief. The veneration of the dead is beautifully realized in Jeremiah Mosese's emotionally devastating film and the late Mary Twala’s final, heartbreaking performance.