Concrete Cowboy (2020)

Concrete Cowboy
Director: Ricky Staub
Writer: Ricky Staub, Dan Walser
Based on: G. Neri‘s novel Ghetto Cowboy
Cast: Idris Elba, Caleb McLaughlin, Lorraine Toussaint, Jharrel Jerome, Ivannah-Mercedes, Jamil Prattis, Method Man, Byron Bowers, Liz Priestley, Michael Ta’Bon, Devenie Young
Seen on: 16.7.2021

Plot:
After one more time getting into trouble, Cole’s (Caleb McLaughlin) mother has had enough and just drops him off with his father Harp (Idris Elba) in Philadelphia. Harp is part of tight-knit community of city cowboys who are keeping their horses in the middle of the town, a thorn in the side of city development, and he has little space for Cole. He literally shares his home with a horse instead. Nevertheless, Cole tries to find a space – if not with the cowboys, then with his old friend Smush (Jharrel Jerome) who has turned to dealing.

Concrete Cowboy is set in a fascinating environment, but I didn’t connect with the story as much as I would have liked. It almost wished, despite the excellent performances, that this was a documentary.

The film poster showing a collage of Cole (Caleb McLaughlin) on a horse, and his father Harp (Idris Elba) wearing a cowboy hat. They are surrounded by flowers, an appartment building and a car.
Continue reading

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Director: André Øvredal
Writer: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman
Based on: Alvin Schwartzbook series
Cast: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn, Lorraine Toussaint
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2019
1-gif-review

Plot:
It’s Halloween 1968 and Stella (Zoe Margaret Colletti), Chuck (Austin Zajur) and Auggie (Gabriel Rush) are up to some mischief – more or less enthusiastically. One thing leads to another and the three find themselves on the run together with Ramon (Michael Garza). They end up in the Bellows Mansion that is said to be haunted. There they find a notebook with handwritten stories. Stella – an avid reader and writer herself – takes an interest in the stories. But she quickly realizes that the stories seem to be written just for them. And they start to become real.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark doesn’t have a lot of new things to offer, but it is sweet and charming and just works.

the film poster showing the drawing of a long-haired ghoul with various figures behind it. Below it is a house with four kids in front of it. The house and the kids are standing in an opened book.
Continue reading

Selma (2014)

Selma
Director: Ava DuVernay
Writer: Paul Webb
Cast: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson, Giovanni Ribisi, André Holland, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Colman Domingo, Omar J. Dorsey, Tessa Thompson, Common, Lorraine Toussaint, Dylan Baker, Corey ReynoldsWendell Pierce, Tim Roth, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Martin Sheen
Seen on: 24.02.2015

Plot:
Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) may have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize, but the fight for racial equality is far from over, which is proven again when a bombing of a predominantly black church kills four girls and injures others or when a woman in Selma, Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey), is denied to registrate for voting, only the latest of many attempts of hers to do so. King makes voting legislation his next big topic, coming to Selma to start his campaign of civil resistance that is supposed to culminate in a march from Selma to Montgomery. But before things get that far, a lot of stuff has to happen first.

Of all the biopics I’ve recently seen, Selma was by far my favorite. The story is amazing, wonderfully told and the cast was absolutely mind-blowing.

selma Continue reading

Middle of Nowhere (2012)

Middle of Nowhere
Director: Ava DuVernay
Writer: Ava DuVernay
Cast: Emayatzy Corinealdi, Omari Hardwick, Edwina Findley, Sharon Lawrence, Lorraine Toussaint, David Oyelowo
Part of: Framing Reality

Plot:
Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) has devoted her life to her husband Derek (Omari Hardwick). She gave up medical school to be able to be near him and only counts the days until he gets out. But after four years of imprisonment, Derek is a changed man and he might still have another four years of incarceration to go. When his parole hearing is coming up, putting Ruby under further financial strain to hire a lawyer, things get even tenser. That’s when Ruby meets bus driver Brian (David Oyelowo) with whom she connects. Now Ruby has to start making decisions for her own life and not the lives of others.

Middle of Nowhere is a calm, slow film that doesn’t tell a grand story of world-shaking events but rather shows the everyday difficulties Ruby and women in her position face which is a very important thing to do and to see. It’s beautifully done, touching, excellent film.

middle_of_nowhere Continue reading