REVIEW: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Daniel Kaluuya (center) as ‘Fred Hampton’ in JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH — Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Directed by Shaka King — Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King.

Next week, Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah may have become the winner of one or multiple Oscars at the 93rd Academy Awards, which, in theory, was supposed to honor the best films of 2020, in spite of the fact that this film was released in 2021. This is the result of a change to this Oscar season’s eligibility period due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, and this now means that select films released in early 2021 may also qualify to compete against 2020 films at the Oscars.

In general, this was a rule change that I am very much against as I absolutely do think that there are enough good films from 2020 that the Academy should honor, instead of adopting some odd eligibility window for the sake of giving more time to studios to release films that absolutely could’ve competed at the 94th Academy Awards instead. Regardless, I actually highly recommend Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, and, if it had been released in 2020, it probably would be one of my favorite films of that year.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)”

REVIEW: The Wandering Earth (2019)

Chinese Theatrical Release Poster – China Film Group Corporation

The following is a review of The Wandering Earth — Directed by Frant Gwo. Available on Netflix now.

This 2019 release is a two-hour long blockbuster film that has made close to $700 million globally at the box office. There are no superheroes in the film, it isn’t based on Marvel or DC, and it doesn’t belong to a vastly popular science-fiction or fantasy franchise. On top of that, this isn’t an English-language film. In fact, it wasn’t released widely in theaters in Europe or North America.

This is The Wandering Earth, a relentless Chinese blockbuster film that proves that glorious spectacle created outside of North America can rival the best Hollywood has to offer in disaster film — at least when it comes to incredible and unfathomably spectacular action. I’ve got plenty of issues with The Wandering Earth, but the one thing that really impressed me was the science-fiction visuals because, normally, you don’t get these astoundingly well-designed visuals without the direct influence of a major American studio. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Wandering Earth (2019)”