Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Pauline Chan about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including the programming at the 9th Annual Black Film Festival, the new drama “Judas and the Black Messiah” and the quirky rom com “All About Who You Know” on Crave.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the drama “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Theatres), the psychological thriller “St. Maud” (digital and on-demand) and Robin Wright’s directorial debut “Land” (in theatres).
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 drama “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Theatres), the psychological thriller “St. Maud” (digital and on-demand) and Robin Wright’s directorial debut “Land” (in theatres).
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 drama “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Theatres), the psychological thriller “St. Maud” (digital and on-demand), Robin Wright’s directorial debut “Land” (in theatres), the cheesy action flick “Skyfire” (VOD) and the dark comedy “Breaking News In Yuba County” (VOD).
The most surprising thing about “Judas and the Black Messiah,” now playing in select theatres, is that it took 51 years to bring Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton’s story to the screen.
In 1969 the charismatic Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) was shot in his bed during a state-sanctioned predawn raid conducted by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Chicago Police Department and the FBI. Director Shaka King vividly details how and why he met his premature end.
The story begins when career criminal William O’Neal’s (Lakeith Stanfield) plan to impersonate an FBI agent in order to brazenly steal a car goes awry. He winds up beaten, in the hands of Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons), an actual agent who offers him a deal. Either do one-and-a-half years for stealing the car and another five for impersonating an officer or go undercover and infiltrate the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers. He chooses freedom in exchange for supplying details on the comings-and goings of deputy chairman Hampton and his girlfriend, revolutionary Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback). Rising to the trusted position of security captain O’Neal is torn between loyalty to Hampton’s revolutionary ideas and self-interest, i.e., the deal he made to stay out of prison. “Imagine what they would do if they found out their security captain was a rat,” says Mitchell.
As the title suggests “Judas and the Black Messiah” is a story of epic betrayal. King carefully fits the puzzle pieces together to create a complex picture of its characters.
Stanfield, who has been handing in strong performances in films like “Selma,” “Get Out” and “Sorry to Bother You” hits a career high here. His take on O’Neal portrays the conflict of a man who took a dangerous and deadly road to salvation, only to discover he was in way over his head. There’s a complexity to Stanfield’s work as he breathes life into his conflicted character. In real life, years after the events portrayed in the film, O’Neal said of his legacy, “I think I’ll let history speak for me.” History may judge him, call him a Judas, but Stanfield doesn’t. Instead, he helps us understand O’Neal’s bad decisions.
Kaluuya unfolds Hampton as much more than a title. History records him as the assassinated Chairman of the Black Panthers, but “Judas and the Black Messiah” remembers him as a captivating speaker who rallied people for his cause as he established free breakfast programs and negotiated a détente between rival gangs. Kaluuya’s work jumps off the screen, with show stopping speeches and emotional scenes he brings Hampton off the pages of the history books with a well-rounded, fiery performance.
The vivid performances, including Fishback who brings depth to a supporting character, reel you in. King takes the time to let us get to know Hampton and O’Neal, which makes the deadly dance they engage in, leading up to the violent climax, all the more emotionally shocking.
Set more than fifty years ago “Judas and the Black Messiah” feels timely. Many of the issues at play in the story are still hot button topics today. The work Hampton began continues because, as he once said, “you can kill the revolutionary but not the revolution.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at whodunnit “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig, the papal buddy picture “The Two Popes” and the timely drama “Queen & Slim.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig and a cast of n’ere do wells, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp,” the odd couple picture “The Two Popes,” the corporate legal drama “Dark Waters,” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the who dunnit “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp,” the buddy picture “The Two Popes” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim.”
We first meet the title characters, Angela “Queen” Johnson (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Ernest “Slim” Hinds (Daniel Kaluuya) as they are strangers, passing time on a first, awkward date at a Cincinnati diner. “So what’s gonna happen tonight?” asks Slim. “I thought we could hang out and get to know one another.” Then fate intervenes, Tinder may have brought them together but circumstance binds them together forever when Slim gets pulled over for “failure to execute a turn signal and swerving a little bit.”
The situation quickly spirals out of control.
Slim presses the aggressive cop to hurry it up while Queen, an attorney, questions the officer’s motives in searching the car. As the police officer’s dashcam rolls, there are harsh words, a skirmish, a misfire and soon the cop lies dead.
“You are a Black man who shot a cop and took his gun,” she says.
“But I’m not a criminal,” he replies.
“You are now. If you turn yourself in you will never see your family again. We have to move forward.”
Panicked, they flee, heading for New Orleans home of Queen’s shady Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine). By the time they make it out of state a video of the accidental shooting has gone viral and their photos are splashed all over the papers.
The press paints them as “lovers”—even though they have just met—on cross country crime spree but public opinion is mixed. An African-American mechanic (Gralen Bryant Banks) they meet on the journey says, “You gave them a reason to kill us,” while his young son (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) sees them as folk heroes who stood up to authority. “If you don’t make it,” he says, “that’s OK. You’ll be immortal.”
They plan on making a run to freedom in Cuba. First, they have to avoid the police as they weave and wind their way to Florida’s coast.
Written by Lena Waithe and showcasing the style of director Melina Matsoukas in her feature debut, “Queen & Slim” takes a story with echoes of “Thelma and Louise” or “Bonnie and Clyde” and updates it, presenting the couple on the run tale from an African-American perspective. Angela is a lawyer whose first-hand view of the abuses of the justice system has made her a realist. It is her experience that self-defense will never fly solely based on the colour of their skin and it is her who sets the action in motion. The story of police brutality swaps the frequent narrative, presenting the story of two people who refuse to be oppressed by standing up to authority. There will be no spoilers here but know that “Queen & Slim” isn’t a manifesto, it’s a personal story about how quickly lives, ripe with possibility and promise, can be changed forever.
With terrific performances “Queen & Slim” transcends the outlaws-on-the-lam genre. Instead it is a timely humanistic drama that combines resilience with despair.