Plot: In 1987, Walter McMillian, called Johnny D. (Jamie Foxx), is arrested for the murder of a young, white woman. Despite his protestations of innocence, he is sentenced to death. In 1989, young Harvard graduate Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) opens the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama, determined to help prisoners on death row who are often black and have often had only insufficient legal representation. He meets Johnny D. and, convinced of his innocence, takes up the fight to prove it.
Just Mercy is definitely an emotional film and one with an important political point to make, but it does feel a little like it’s trying too hard to stay too clean.
Plot: It’s New Year’s Eve and Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) has a full day ahead of him. He lives with his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz) and their daughter and he hasn’t been exactly honest with her, but he wants to do better. He also wants to try and find a new job before she finds out that he lost his old one. And it’s his mom’s (Octavia Spencer) birthday to boot. But by the end of the day, all of his plans will come to a screeching halt and Oscar will be dead, shot by the police.
Given that Fruitvale Station is based on a true story, I was aware that this film wouldn’t be exactly easy. Even though I was braced for that, it still hit me hard. It’s just really, really good.
Plot: After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has to return to Wakanda to claim the throne. Returning means reuniting with his friends and family. But the transition of power is a delicate time. And there is more than one threat to Wakanda and T’Challa’s rule.
I didn’t hear a single bad word about Black Panther before I saw it, so my expectations were pretty high. And I’m happy to say that they were absolutely more than fulfilled. Black Panther is a visually, narratively and politically strong film that’s also simply entertaining.
Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) is settled with a big legacy: he is Apollo Creed’s son. He calls himself Donnie and uses his mother’s surname, just to make sure that he isn’t carrying on his father’s legacy but building his own as a boxer, much to the dismay of his foster mother and Apollo’s widow, Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad), who would rather not see him box at all. But Donnie makes his own plans: he gives up his job in finance, moves to Philadelphia and seeks out Rocky Balboa (Sylverster Stallone) to ask him whether he’d be willing to train him.
I have to admit that I have not seen any of the Rocky films, so I really have no point of reference for the background of this film. But it isn’t actually necessary. Creed was an engaging sports/boxing film that even brings something new to the table.
Reed (Miles Teller) has been working on a teleporting device ever since he was a kid. With the help of his friend Ben (Jamie Bell), he has even some success to show for it. But nobody takes his attempts seriously – until Dr. Storm (Reg E. Cathey) comes to his science fair to recruit Reed for his secret interplanetary travel project. Also working on that project: Storm’s daughter Sue (Kate Mara), his son Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) who otherwise would only engage in high risk behavior, and finally the volatile but brilliant Victor (Toby Kebbell). Within a short amount of time, the four of them manage to establish a connection to a planet and in a clandestine nightly operation, the guys invite Ben along and the four of them give it a go. But from that trip, Victor doesn’t return at all, and Reed, Ben, Johnny and even Sue who got them back, end up changed beyond belief.
I had heard bad things about Fantastic Four before seeing it, as did probably everybody else on the planet. So my expectations were low, but I decided to give it a chance anyway, thinking that maybe there was some mob mentality going on and maybe the film isn’t quite as bad as hyped. But I should have believed all those negative reviews. And I should have brought alcohol. Because Fantastic Four is an astoundingly bad film.
Andrew (Dane DeHaan) comes from a difficult family situation, with an abusive father (Michael Kelly) and a dying mother, and his only real social contact is his cousin Matt (Alex Russell). But other than that, he seems to be a rather normal teenager. That is, until he, Matt and Matt’s friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan) stumble upon a mysterious thing in a hole in the ground. Shortly afterwards, they discover that they develop telekinetic powers. And since teenagers are, well, teenagers, things soon get out of hand.
Found footage movies can go so wrong so quickly and I usually don’t like them a whole lot. Fortunately, Chronicle doesn’t fall into that category. Tough the ending gets a little out of hand, it is a really cool film.