Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “The Nest,” Jude Law’s story of avarice and privilege, the mind-bending Janelle Monáe drama “Antebellum,” Susan Sarandon’s end of life story “Blackbird” and the documentary “The Way I See It.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the twisty-turny Janelle Monáe drama “Antebellum,” “The Nest,” Jude Law’s story of greed, the documentary “The Way I See It” and Susan Sarandon’s end of life story “Blackbird.”
As Chief Official White House Photographer for two US Presidents, Pete Souza had an up-close-and-personal look at the hallways of power and the men who walked them. “The Way I See It,” a new documentary now on VOD, captures a detailed behind-the-scenes profile of power and the responsibility that comes along with the office.
Souza’s photography career began in the 1970s at local news outlets before he made the leap to working for major outlets like the Chicago Sun-Times, National Geographic Magazine and Life Magazine. In June 1983 he became the official White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan, capturing intimate portraits of the President and wife Nancy in and out of the Oval Office for the next six years.
A stint as photojournalist for the Chicago Tribune Washington, D.C., bureau followed and in 2001 he was in the first wave of journalists to cover the war in Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul.
In 2004 Souza covered Barack Obama’s first year as U.S. senator and then, after the 2008 election, he began a project “to create the best photographic archive of a president that had ever been done.” In his second stint as official White House photographer he spent thousands of hours alongside President Obama and family, creating an archive of revealing, personal photographs that form the backbone of the first half of “The Way I See It.”
Using archival footage, hundreds of Souza’s pictures, talking head interviews with people like former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and snippets of Souza at a live speaking engagement, director and producer Dawn Porter follows the photographer’s career in the White House and beyond. These reveal Soouza to be an engaging character, laughing at his own jokes and welling up when he speaks of Obama’s tender treatment of the parents of the Sandy Hook victims.
In civilian life Souza has become an unlikely social media star, earning the nickname King of Shade for the snarky captions he uses to reply to Trump tweets. It’s made the formally apolitical photographer a social star and inspired a book called “Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents” that collects juxtaposes Souza’s Obama pictures against what he sees as the abuses of power and negative policies of the current administration.
“The Way I See It” is Souza’s story but the larger picture it paints is one of the importance of photography. If a picture is worth a thousand words this movie speaks volumes. Souza’s photos capture the hope and empathy that characterized the Obama years in stark contrast to the anxiety that surrounds the current election season. The photos tell the tale, for now and posterity.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund talk about the weekend’s big releases, the scared-of-the-dark thrills of “Don’t Breathe,” the walking-and-talking of “Southside with You,” the noirish grit of “Manhattan Night” and Natalie Portman’s directorial debut “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”
Richard sits in with Todd van der Hayden to have a look at “Don’t Breathe,” a new edge-of-your-seat home invasion flick, the romantic “Southside with You,” the noirish “Manhattan Night” and Natalie Portman’s directorial debut “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”
In “Southside with You” director Richard Tanne spends 80 leisurely minutes recreating the first date of Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson. It’s a quiet, romantic movie made up of the hopes and dreams of two young people who will one day be the most powerful couple in the world.
Set in Chicago in 1989, where the couple met when she was his advisor at a law firm, when the film begins she likes him but doesn’t like him. In fact she tries to set him up with one of her friends. Michelle, an ambitious second year associate at a tony law firm, doesn’t want to be known as the junior who “swooped down and dated the first cute black guy who walked through the door.” He gets her out on the pretence of inviting her to a community meeting at a church. Before the meeting they get to know one another on an informal date. “It’s not a date until you say it is,” he says to her. “I’m more inclined to describe this as a hostage situation,” she replies, fending off his charm offensive.
They walk through Southside Chicago, getting to know one another. Barack recites poetry and talks about Jimmy ‘Dyn-O-mite’ Walker’s artistic aspirations. At the community center he delivers a fiery speech about the importance of unity as Michelle repeatedly tells the church ladies she’s not Obama’s wife or girlfriend. Later they talk family history—her dad has MS, his dad went to Harvard, got kicked out and later died in a drunk driving accident—and bond over the love of Stevie Wonder. An encounter after a screening of “Do the Right Thing” almost ends their relationship before it has a chance to begin, but his persistence, charisma and some ice cream win her over.
“Southside with You” is a visit with people we already think we know but get to know a little bit better. It’s a conflict free slice of life, an easygoing stroll through the early moments of a relationship. The most obvious cinematic comparison would be Before Sunrise, the Richard Linklater film that observed the walking-and-talking first meeting of two fictional characters played by Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. The two films are connected, but “Southside with You” ups the ante by portraying two very famous people as the leads.
Fortunately Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers, as Michelle and Barack respectively, don’t try and impersonate their famous counterparts. Instead the actors wisely choose to simply catch the essence and subtle mannerisms of the future president and first lady. A tribute to the performances is that we look at the characters as people and not caricatures of famous people. I suspect “Southside with You” would be just as effective if Michelle and Barack were Jane and Jim or any other couple. It’s a comfortable, intelligent look at the first sparks between two interesting people.