#TheImmortalLifeOfHenriettaLacks Review: Believe me when I tell you, this is NO "TV movie". This film is as theatrical as you can get as far as filmmaking and DAMN SURE as far as performance. SYNOPSIS: In 1951, cancerous cells from Henrietta Lacks lead to breakthroughs that change the face of medicine forever. Aided by writer Rebecca Skloot (Rose Byrne), Deborah Lacks (Oprah Winfrey) embark on a quest to learn about the mother she never knew. As I tweeted "It is GLORIOUS to see this many actors or color over 50! Such legends🎭🎭🎭" Actors like LESLIE UGGAMS, REG E. CATHEY, JOHN BEASLEY and ADRIANE LENOX turn in marvelous performances. You never and I mean NEVER get to see that many actors of color of that age range in scenes together. Not to be left out, the performance by ROSE BYRNE was great too! The performance of this film though begins and ends with #OprahWinfrey. Truthfully I had not expected SUCH a nuanced and emotional performance from Oprah. Oprah really dug deep for this performance and SHINES. She exhibits the complexity of this woman who's not all the way healthy, not all the way together, but still wants to know about her mother at the urging of an outsider (Byrne) who she's not entirely comfortable with. This journey the two women go on is emotional, involved and incorporates #HenriettaLacks herself (played beautifully by RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY). The story is all tied together superbly by #WriterDirector GEORGE C. WOLFE which should come as no surprise because he also directed the excellent #LackawannaBlues (2005). 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' is more than the journey of a daughter to find her mother, it’s also a celebration of legacy, of life and what it means to be family. A wonderful film.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
I reviewed the film on Instagram and you can read it below. All of my recent reviews are on Instagram at hashtag #DanksReview
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
By Kyle Buchanan, Vulture
April 18, 2017
Louis D’Esposito, the co-president of Marvel Studios, grinned as a group of journalists sat down in a Disney screening room Monday night. “The first thing you’ll be seeing,” he told us, “is Lupita taking out some bad guys.”
The executives at Marvel Studios are known for playing their cards close to the vest, but every so often, when you know you’re sitting on a winning hand, you can’t help but show off. That’s why the studio summoned reporters to the Disney lot in Burbank to tease several of the movies coming from Marvel’s wildly successful cinematic universe, including Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Captain Marvel. Aside from a full screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, by far the biggest sneak peek the studio offered was an extensive look at Black Panther, which wraps filming in Atlanta tomorrow and is due out February 16, 2018.
As we watched dailies of Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o ably somersaulting through a Black Panther action sequence, D’Esposito beamed. While the fight choreography was straight out of the Marvel playbook — you could imagine Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow going through many of the same motions — as Nyong’o flung herself into the scene with steely commitment on her face and a vivid green shroud wrapped around her body, the footage carried with it an undeniable X factor. That’s exactly the sweet spot the studio hopes to hit with Black Panther: The film has to be familiar enough to fit into Marvel’s ever-expanding cinematic universe while also offering enough spark to jump-start its own singular franchise. A tricky task, but to judge from some of the stunning things that D’Esposito and his colleagues showed off last night, it looks like Marvel is on the right track.
Directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station), Black Panther picks up the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) after his well-received introduction in Captain America: Civil War. As he comes to grips with the death of his father, the former king of their African nation Wakanda, T’Challa must return home and succeed him. Despite the presence of several strong allies in T’Challa’s corner — including Angela Bassett as his mother, Queen Ramonda, and an all-female group of elite bodyguards known as the Dora Milaje — he soon finds that it’s not easy to be a head of state and a superhero at the same time, especially when the nation is threatened by several villains including the dangerous Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
Coogler was wooed for months by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige before he accepted the Black Panther directing gig; in part, I’ve heard, because Coogler wanted to be sure he could put his own personal stamp on the film. Many of the Marvel movies are shot, composed, and edited by the same in-house people, but Coogler wanted to bring over several of his own trusted collaborators, including co-writer Joe Robert Cole, composer Ludwig Göransson, and cinematographer Rachel Morrison. (Indeed, with Black Panther, Morrison becomes the first woman to shoot a film in the Marvel cinematic universe.)
That unique sensibility appears to have paid off. Black Panther doesn’t look like any of the other Marvel movies, and it shouldn’t if it wants to pay proper tribute to the impact of the first black superhero in mainstream American comics. Let’s start with the costumes by Oscar nominee Ruth E. Carter, making her Marvel Studios debut. Whether T’Challa is spending his downtime in a dashiki or the Dora Milaje are marching in warrior suits of rich brown and gold, Carter has found a remarkable way to merge centuries of African culture with the particulars of superhero pop. I died and came back to life when I saw the first footage of Angela Bassett as Ramonda, the actress resplendent in a shimmering honey robe with an enormous headpiece that would send every Sunday church lady home to start over. Let’s be honest: If Angela Bassett is your mother, you’re beginning the superhero sweepstakes on third base, but T’Challa will still have his work cut out for him to earn any attention next to Bassett’s queen at her most fierce.
Then there’s the fictional setting of Wakanda, which trades the prosaic metropolitan cities of most Marvel movies for something exciting and new. T’Challa’s wealthy nation strikes a balance between high-tech futurism and verdant nature, suggesting an African grassland where technology can enhance what the earth gives us instead of plundering it. We saw dailies and concept art of an African tech castle with a driveway filled by sleek airships, a glowing Vibranium waterfall, a futuristic Wakanda Design Center where T’Challa goes to visit his sister Shuri, and a shot so striking — T’Challa, deep in the forest, regarding an old tree draped with a dozen panthers — that it’s been painted as a mural in one of the studio’s most highly trafficked hallways.
Still, the most exciting thing about the way Black Panther looks is who it presents as powerful. At a time where too many superhero movies are led by blandly handsome white men named Chris, Black Panther celebrates a cast made up almost exclusively of dark-skinned black actors, most of whom rarely get to headline a live-action movie of this size despite their more-than-evident talent. If the movie succeeds on the worldwide scale of most Marvel entries, it will refute the notion espoused by many Hollywood executives that black films “don’t travel”; more importantly, if it’s a creative breakthrough that launches a new mythology and coaxes underrepresented audiences to dream bigger, it could become a black Star Wars.
Also, the characters fight giant rhino-mechs, Lupita wears cannon blasters on her hands, and I’m pretty sure I caught Danai Gurira’s character flirting with another member of the Dora Milaje. If this is what the future of superhero movies looks like, deal me in.
See all of our posts about Black Panther by clicking the pic below
Thursday, April 13, 2017
#CharlieMurphy dead at 57 after battle with leukemia https://t.co/C9fXoCYCN5 pic.twitter.com/i490KGkIXR— Blavity (@Blavity) April 13, 2017
Below I posted audio of several of those appearances UNCENSORED so suffice it to say, Explicit Language, NSFWYeah CHARLIE MURPHY was funny in a lot of things, but his appearances @sternshow were hilarious!😂🤣😂 #RIP 🌹 pic.twitter.com/kHcXKYjaOz— Dankwa Brooks (@DankwaBrooks) April 12, 2017
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Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
by Hoai-Tran Bui, /Film
March 20th, 2017
As if we couldn’t be more excited for Black Panther, we’ve been reminded that Daniel Kaluuya is part of its star-studded cast. And the Get Out star already has high praise for the newest Marvel Studios film, comparing it to a certain beloved HBO series.
In an interview with GQ, Kaluuya excitedly gushed about the epic scope of the Ryan Coogler-helmed film, comparing it to the current pinnacle of mythic storytelling, Game of Thrones.
“This is an African blockbuster, bruv. This is like Game of Thrones. This is crazy. And Ryan Coogler is just, man dem. He’s like us! He’s a normal dude, in a Golden State hat and a Tupac T-shirt directing the whole set. It’s the most beautiful thing to see.”Kaluuya doesn’t elaborate further on how Black Panther is like the HBO fantasy series, but considering the sprawling, lush concept art we’ve seen, and the unquestionably talented cast – including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Forrest Whitaker, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis – we wouldn’t doubt his words.
Coogler, in addition to directing, is behind the screenplay as well, so Black Panther is sure to be firmly his vision. It’s assuring to know that he has such sway behind it, as his last films, Creed and Fruitvale Station, were critically acclaimed movies that gave unique perspectives on the black experience – something that Black Panther, Marvel’s first solo black superhero movie, has a lot of investment in. Neither Creed nor Fruitvale Station were made on quite the scale that Black Panther promises to be, but they were both electric movies that cemented Coogler’s rising star.
Black Panther will be set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, nearly exclusively in the advanced African nation of Wakanda, where T’Challa (Boseman) is meant to take his place as king. We got a glimpse of Wakanda at the tail end of Civil War, but didn’t see much beyond the sleek medical building in which Bucky Barnes gets housed, and the towering panther statues that mark the isolated nation. But many forget that Wakanda was first teased in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when Ultron, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver accosted Serkis’ villainous Ulysses Klaw for vibranium (the metal that makes up T’Challa’s suit and Captain America’s shield) to create Ultron’s new body.
How Will Black Panther Be Like Game of Thrones?
So back to Kaluuya’s remarks: Game of Thrones implies swords and sandals right? Political intrigue and backstabbing? Or at least some mythological creatures? Kaluuya may be referring to the grand scale of the movie – an “African blockbuster” he calls it – and that’s probably more along the lines of what Black Panther will be. As far as I know, Wakandans don’t use swords – they’re supposedly more technologically advanced than many Western nations – though they may use some form of advanced weaponry. As for the political intrigue and backstabbing, that’s something we’re likely to see considering our main character T’Challa is a king at the beginning of his rule – though let’s hope the intrigue doesn’t amount to some of Game of Thrones’ more problematic, sexually-charged incidences.
Either way, it’s exciting for a blockbuster superhero movie to be helmed by an African-American director and a majority-black cast, which is the aspect that Kaluuya seems to be exalting in the GQ interview. As Kaluuya says, “It’s the most beautiful thing to see.”
Black Panther is set to hit theaters February 16, 2018.
See all of our posts about Black Panther by clicking the pic below