THE PHOTOGRAPH (2020)

Written & Directed By: Stella Meghie 
Cinematography: Mark Schwartzbard 
Editor: Shannon Baker Davis 

Cast: Issa Rae, LaKeith Stanfield, Chante Adams, Y’Lan Noel, Kelvin Harrison jr., Lil Rel Howery, Teyonah Parris, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Rob Morgan, Courtney B. Vance, Chelsea Peretti 

A series of intertwining love stories set in the past and in the present.


The reason I really wanted this film to work. Is that it is rare that you see black romance onscreen. There are films that have it but they only Come around once a decade. As usually on film they just fall in love and get married as part of a bigger story or they are already married and friends to other people in the movie. A supporting character usually having a wife or girlfriend. Or they are the arguing couple or their relationship is more comedic throughout. Never quite deep and never truly showing love and definitely not romance.

 As it makes or seem like the characters are more materialistic, a sexual, sexual only or shallow. It rarely celebrates the beauty of black characters making it seem like they are only as worthy as their looks or body parts.

This leads to a lack of representation again and leaves black people with very few examples of on-screen love. Which might be why at times and at large it seems to be a rarity onscreen and off at times also.

This film at least tries to work against the negative stereotypes and represent and present a love story that doesn’t rely on race heavily but is a black film Romance. With beautiful artistic characters.

So while this film is a romantic drama. what doesn’t precisely work is that it has two love stories that parallel one another and are supposed to complement each other as well as tell their own and nurture one another. The problem is that the one from the past is so much deeper and more felt throughout. 

While the modern romance is similar it doesn’t feel as deep. As it happens faster and doesn’t have any challenges until towards  the end. Leaving it more bland and quite frankly a bit dull. 

There are no hardships for the romance really because as soon as they see one another we know this is meant to be. While the flashbacks to older characters which is the reason they met and came together in the first place. Has so much drama and meaning. It makes the modern one feel a bit empty.

Though at least we get to see the thrill of the chase at the beginning of their courtship. Trying to impress or. Another and be witty. It also lets us see their passion for one another and the reasons they and their romance grows 

The film might have been stronger if rather than treating it as a puzzle and parallel if the older story was told first and then see how it affects the modern in bits. Though it seems it is there to show parallels as well as keep the story motivated as a kind of mystery.

Either way the film definitely has a cultured vibe and mood throughout with a great jazz soundtrack. It’s nice to see a film of black professionals who are upwardly mobile and successful more upper-middle class. 

One only wishes the modern-day Romance was stronger.

If i had to describe this movie with one word soulful.

Grade: C+

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (2018)

if-beale-street-could-talk

Written & Directed By: Barry Jenkins
Based on the Novel By: James Baldwin
Cinematography: James Laxton
Editor: Joi McMillon & Nat Sanders
Music By: Nicholas Britell 


Cast: Stephen James, KiKi Layne, Regina King, Michael Beach, Teyonah Parris, Colman Domingo, Aunjaune Ellis, Diego Luna, Dave Franco, Brian Tyree Henry, Ed Skrein, Emily Rios, Finn Wittrock, Ebony Obsidian 


African-American teen sweethearts Fonny and Tish are ripped apart when Fonny is wrongly arrested for the rape of a Puerto Rican woman because of the machinations of a racist cop. While seeking justice for Fonny, a pregnant Tish relies on her Harlem community, including her sister, mother Sharon and future mother-in-law.

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POINT BLANK (2019)

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Directed By: Joe Lynch
Written By: Adam Green
Based on characters created By: Fred Cavaye
Cinematography: Juan Miguel Azpiroz 

Cast: Frank Grillo, Anthony Mackie, Marcia Gay Harden, Stuart F. Wilson, Christian Cooke, Teyonah Parris, Boris Micgiver, Markice Moore 

An ER nurse and a career criminal are forced into an unlikely partnership in taking down a ring of corrupt cops threatening the lives of both their families.

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CHI-RAQ (2015)

chiraq

Directed By: Spike Lee
Written By: Spike Lee & Kevin Wilmott
Based On The Play “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes
Cinematography By: Matthew Libatique
Editor: Ryan Denmark & Hye Mee Na
Musical Score: Terence Blanchard 


Cast: Teyonah Parris, Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes, Nick Cannon, Angela Bassett, John Cusack, D.B. Sweeney, Jennifer Hudson, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris, Anthony Chisolm, Irma P. Hall, Lala Anthony, Felicia Pearson, Isiah Witlock Jr., Dave Chappelle, Roger Guenveur Smith, David Patrick Kelly , Anya Engel-Adams

After the murder of a child by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata organize against the on-going violence in Chicago’s Southside creating a movement that challenges the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world. This is the first original film is released by Amazon Studios.

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