Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies to watch this weekend including the inspired-by-true-events drama “One Night In Miami” (Amazon Prime Video), the Netflix action flick “Outside the Wire” (Netflix) and the young adult drama “Words On Bathroom Walls” (EST, VOD, DVD, Blu-ray).
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 inspired-by-true-events drama “One Night In Miami” (Amazon Prime Video), the Netflix action flick “Outside the Wire” (Netflix) and the young adult drama “Words On Bathroom Walls” (EST, VOD, DVD, Blu-ray).
We’ll never know exactly what was said between Cassius Clay, Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X, soul singer Sam Cooke, and football superstar Jim Brown behind closed doors in a Miami hotel room on February 25, 1964, but a new film by Oscar winner Regina King in her directorial debut, offers up a fascinating what-if scenario.
Going into the boxing ring on that night against heavy weight champion Sonny Liston, Cassius Clay (Halifax-born Eli Goree), who had not yet officially changed his name to Muhammad Ali, was a 7-to-1 underdog. When the fight was over Clay was the youngest boxer to ever grab a title from a reigning heavyweight champion.
Helping him celebrate the landmark win are his three closest friends, mentor Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), hit maker Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and athlete Brown (Aldis Hodge). Convened at their Miami hotel on the warm February night, the foursome, all at turning points in their lives, share their thoughts, get heated, debate about how to end segregation, all with an eye toward the future.
That two of them would be murdered within the next year adds poignancy to an already charged conversation.
Cooke and Brown mull over career choices. A discussion of Cooke’s slick but conventional pop songs led to the writing and recording of “A Change Is Gonna Come,” one of the greatest anthems of the Civil Rights Movement. Brown, already a superstar on the football field, comes under fire for appearing in a movie Western called “Rio Conchos,” as a minor character, killed off early in the action.
Clay is celebratory, but plotting his next moves, both professionally and personally as he decides when to announce his conversion to Islam and his name change to Muhammad Ali.
The firestarter is X, the public figure under surveillance by the FBI, who encourages his friends to take a more militant stand, to use their celebrity and standing in a more meaningful way. He is the discontent, an activist who predicts hard times ahead.
“One Night in Miami” began life as a stage play by “Star Trek: Discovery” staff writer Kemp Powers, who also penned the movie’s script. As such, there’s a theatrical feel to King’s staging of the scenes, most of which take place in the hotel room. She has opened up the play, adding new locations and a series of vignettes at the beginning of the film, but this isn’t about action, it’s about the verbal fireworks of Powers’ script and authoritative performances.
It’s a snapshot of the cultural importance of this quartet; a history lesson made even more potent in the era of Black Lives Matter. “Power,” says Clay, “is a world where it’s safe to be ourselves.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Get Out,” the most original horror film to come down the road in some time, the melodramatic romance “A United Kingdom,” the zombie flick “The Girl with All the Gifts,” and the documentaries “I Am Not Your Negro” and “Dying Laughing. They also do some Oscar predictions!
Nominated this year for an Oscar as Best Documentary Feature, Raoul Peck’s “I Am Not Your Negro” draws from an unfinished book by novelist, essayist, playwright, and poet James Baldwin. Deeply personal, “Remember This House” was meant to be a remembrance of his friends and civil-rights titans Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, using Baldwin’s own words and a smattering of archival footage, the film isn’t a biography of the man but a biography of a lifetime of experiences, experiences that reverberate today.
As timely in 2017 as when the words were written in 1979, it’s a portrait of race relations in America, a place Baldwin calls, “a complex country that insists on being very narrow-minded.” To hammer home this point Peck uses archival footage from Baldwin’s lifetime as well as ripped-from-the-headlines images of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Black Lives Matter and Michael Brown.
With no talking heads Peck relies on news footage, movie clips and archival talk show tape, intercutting them with the fluidity of jazz. Posters and graphics punctuate the narration, subliminally driving home Baldwin’s points. More striking than the visuals is the arresting eloquence of Baldwin’s words. When he makes—and Jackson verbalizes—statements like, “To look around America today is to make prophets and angels weep,” it is impossible to not to be moved by both the beauty of the language and the underlying message.
Baldwin lived at a tumultuous time but as his words remind us, “History is not the past it is the present. We are our history.”
Richard interviewed legendary filmmaker Spike Lee in a no-holds-barred on stage interview at Canadian Music Week. They discussed everything from watching movies on the big screen–“It kills me today that young people see Malcolm X on this (holds up his Blackberry) for the first time. We worked too long. Look, I know Blackberry is a Canadian company. We couldn’t see the future. Now if you’re on a plane, alright, but to see Malcolm X, Do The Right Thing, and not just my films, to see Apocalypse Now the first time, the first time you see 2001 on this? As a filmmaker, I know I might sound like a dinosaur, but that pains me.”–to race in America–“This whole stuff is not new. This thing’s happened forever — back to lynchings. So please do not believe that this is a phenomenon that all of the sudden is sweeping America. Now it’s just being caught. Everybody now, with a camera, is a photojournalist. Here’s the thing though, even with the footage, those cops in New York City got off with the stranglehold of Eric Garner.”
Richard hosted a keynote interview with Spike Lee at Canadian Music Week. Lee was fascinating. They talked about creativity–“Creativity is one of the greatest gifts you can get.”–movies and he even created a new term for people who live in Toronto… Toroncanians. “As long as you’re living you have to work on your craft.” Amen.
On Saturday May 9, 2015 rom 2:10 pm – 2:55 pm at Osgoode Ballroom East at The Sheraton Centre Hotel Richard will host a keynote interview with legendary director Spike Lee.
On Saturday May 9, 2015, Canadian Music Week is proud to present a special Keynote Interview with Spike Lee, as part of the event’s conference programming. As one of America’s most vital, vibrant, and challenging filmmakers, over his four-decade long career he has made an indelible mark on the independent film scene with his provocative, experimental, and socially active films. Known as “Spike Lee Joints”, he has directed, produced, written, and acted in over 50 films, along with creating his own production company 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks.
Expounding upon Spike Lee’s expansive and storied career, the Keynote Interview will give attendees a rare inside look into the filmmaker’s accomplishments, creative process, and more. The interview will take place from 2:10 pm – 2:55 pm at the Sheraton Centre Hotel.
In conjunction with Spike Lee’s participation in this year’s conference, a special engagement of his masterpiece Do The Right Thing will screen at The Royal Cinema, followed by a Q&A with Lee on Sunday May 10th.