Directed by Ryan Coogler — Screenplay by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole.
How do you follow up on one of the most popular superhero films of the last decade, when the incredibly magnetic actor portraying the titular iconic character is no longer with us? Such was the seemingly impossible task for Ryan Coogler when he sat in the director’s chair for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. As I sat down to watch the film, this was the big question that was on my mind. Chadwick Boseman, the charismatic actor who passed away in 2020 due to a private battle with colon cancer, was such an amazing screen presence, and he was the focus of that first film, and you definitely miss him in the sequel. However, it must be said that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever actually does work quite well in spite of the big missing link. One of the reasons why it works is because the presence of a gaping hole at the center of it is an intrinsic part of the plot in more ways than one.
Disney’s Marvel Studios — the masterminds and architects of the global cinematic sensation, the Marvel Cinematic Universe — now also spends a lot of time on TV/Streaming shows due to the arrival of the streaming service Disney+, which Disney knows can thrive on several shows aimed at the Marvel and Star Wars fandoms. In the first year with MCU content straight-to-Disney+, Disney and Marvel Studios gave us four live-action series and one premier animated show. In this article, I’ll take a look at each of the ‘first-year’ shows in bite-sized reviews.
It’s finally time to reveal what films, shows, songs, performances, and games were my absolute favorites of the year 2020. Look, I know what you’re thinking, we’re already in July of 2021. But, to be perfectly honest with you, the last twelve-to-sixteen months or so have for obvious reasons made everything a bit unclear to me. Let’s just say, it was a weird year, as was also evident by the fact that AMPAS decided to push the eligibility window for their recent awards ceremony (which both honored 2020 films and select films from early 2021). I’m not doing that, though. I still have my strict year-end deadline, but, unlike the last seven I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards, I’m announcing both the nominees and winners of each and every category in this very post. So strap in, folks, and let’s talk about the best and most memorable culture of 2020.
In honor of Thomas Vinterberg’s extremely moving acceptance speech last night, allow me to open with a reference to arguably his most famous film. There is a moment in Thomas Vinterberg’s Cannes Awards-winning Dogme-film Festen (international title: The Celebration), where the main character Christian (played by Ulrich Thomsen) asks his father, whose birthday is being celebrated, what speech he would like Christian to read for him — the green speech or the yellow speech? His father chooses the ‘green’ speech, and, as a result, the events of the unforgettable film take place. Sometimes a single decision can change everything. And, in the case of the 93rd Academy Awards’ ceremony, a decision was made that ultimately destroyed an otherwise decent ceremony.
In the memorable words of Billy Crystal: “It’s a wonderful night for Oscar. Oscar, Oscar. Who will win?” After a prolonged awards season, it’s finally time for the main course, the 93rd Academy Awards. This year, due to the limited studio output in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, AMPAS extended the eligibility window to include films from the first months of 2021, which is why a film such as Judas and the Black Messiah is nominated already this year.
It’s that time of the year again (though a little bit later than usual)! The Academy Awards nominations will be revealed in a couple of days on March 15th, 2021. As always, there will be surprises, there will be upsets, and there will probably be a snub or two. Only time will tell how wrong or right awards analysts and precursors will be. This year, the BAFTAs tried out a new method that has shaken up the awards precursor traditions and that means there are numerous categories that are up for grabs at the Oscars. Continue reading “93rd Academy Awards: Final Oscar Nomination Predictions”→
Directed by George C. Wolfe — Screenplay by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
Based on the August Wilson play of the same name, George C. Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom primarily takes place in a recording studio in Chicago back in the 1920s. Here Ma Rainey (played by Viola Davis), lovingly dubbed the ‘Mother of the Blues,’ is planning to record several songs with her band. Rainey arrives fashionably late and is ready and able to throw her weight around, whereas the ambitious, animated, and flirty Levee (played by Chadwick Boseman), a young and talented trumpeter, is preparing his next move towards stardom while practicing with the rest of the band. While Rainey battles with both her manager and a producer for the purpose of having some control of her own career, Levee’s ambitious attitude doesn’t sit right with Ma or his bandmates (played by Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, and Michael Potts). Continue reading “REVIEW: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)”→
The following article is a tribute to Chadwick Boseman.
On the 28th of August 2020, Chadwick Boseman’s family announced that Boseman had passed away as a result of complications related to colon cancer, which he had been diagnosed with in 2016. Since I woke up to that announcement the following day, I have been trying to figure out a way to pay tribute to an actor, who I, and many others, had become a huge fan of in the previous decade. In this article, I have tried to put into words how gifted he was and how special he was. At the end of August 2020, we said goodbye to a king whose strength was greater than any of us ever imagined. Continue reading “Wakanda Forever”→
The following is a review of Da 5 Bloods — A Spike Lee Joint.
Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods is a war film about the lasting effects of the Vietnam War on four African-American war veterans — Eddie (played by Norm Lewis), Otis (played by Clarke Peters), Melvin (played by Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), and Paul (played by Delroy Lindo) — collectively known as the ‘Bloods.’ Now, decades after the war has ended, the Bloods have returned to Vietnam to retrieve what they left behind in the jungle. They claim to only be back to retrieve the body of their squad leader, Stormin’ Norman (played by Chadwick Boseman), but they also want to find the precious gold bars that they had to leave behind when they were young men. Continue reading “REVIEW: Da 5 Bloods (2020)”→
The following is a review of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther — Directed by Ryan Coogler.
We’ve seen plenty of superhero films before. We’ve seen superhero films with social commentary before. We’ve had people of color as the leads of comic book films before — you need only look at the forgotten Blade-trilogy, which definitely deserves a rewatch, to figure that out. Continue reading “REVIEW: Black Panther (2018)”→