Benediction: TIFF 2021 Review

Year: 2021 Runtime: 137 minutes Director/Writer: Terence Davies Actors: Peter Capaldi, Gemma Jones, Jack Lowden, Simon Russell Beale, Jeremy Irvine, Ben Daniels, Geraldine James, Kate Phillips By Joan Amenn “Sneak home and pray you’ll never know, The hell where youth and laughter go.” – “Suicide in the Trenches,” Siegfried Sassoon Terence Davies wrote and directed “Benediction” (2021) not just as a homage to the poet … Continue reading Benediction: TIFF 2021 Review

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 9: Selma

Director Ava DuVernay has, over this last decade, established herself as one of the most important filmmakers in the business, thanks to her incomparable body of work across mediums: from her shocking and vital documentary “13th” on the perpetuation of slavery in the US to the powerful, sensitively constructed series “When They See Us” about the wrongly convicted suspects in the 1989 Central Park Jogger case. 

Of all of her work over the last ten years, “Selma” is DuVernay’s very best. The film describes the events leading up to and including the 1965 marches from Selma, Alabama to the state’s capital, Montgomery, conducted by Martin Luther King (David Oyelowo) and others, as part of a movement to give African American citizens the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.  Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 9: Selma

Review: Harriet

Here it is, 2019, and we’re just getting our very first feature film biopic of civil rights legend Harriet Tubman. It’s just a shame that it isn’t a more inspired one. Cynthia Erivo is more than competent in the lead role, bringing a vibrancy and determination to Tubman’s heroism, but the rest of the film is a drab, paint-by-numbers biopic.

Harriet was born a slave, under the name of Araminta Ross. When the film begins, she and her free husband John (Zackary Momoh) are unsuccessfully arguing the legality of her enslavement with her master. Their failure to negotiate Harriet’s freedom makes them so desperate that they discuss running away together, but circumstances transpire that force her to take the long, arduous journey north alone. Continue reading Review: Harriet

Review: Harriet

Harriet Tubman was an amazing woman. She escaped slavery on her own, went back dozens of times to rescue others, lead a military operation south to reach even more people, and after the war fought for women’s rights. Her life has been begging for a biopic but until now she has only appeared in a cameo role in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”(2012), as the subject of an episode of “Drunk History” (2013-), and on various history shows for kids. “Harriet”(2019) does an excellent job finally brining an extraordinary woman to the big screen. Continue reading Review: Harriet