Following-up on her Oscar-winning work in If Beale Street Could Talk, Regina King makes her Feature directorial debut at TIFF ‘ 20 with ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI, which though set in the past, still asks very timely questions facing the world today.
The Film is set one night in February 1964 uniting real-life friends and icons Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) as they celebrate the former’s win in the boxing ring, crowning him Heavyweight Champion of the World. What ensues is hard-hitting dialogue which digs deep into some of the issues facing their community and where they stand in the big picture as important figures.
Based on Kemp Powers‘ Play of the same name, King is working with some tremendous talent with this Ensemble and with these great minds within the confines of a swanky hotel room, discussions get intense, heated and at once humorous. Clay is about to be renamed Muhammad Ali and is about the announce to the world that he has converting to Islam, but not without some hesitation. Brown after a successful career in Football, is about to accept a role in a Western film which would lead to a successful acting career with high-paying roles. Cooke navigates his world as a Pop Star, but is longing to sing about something more meaningful. Malcolm X as a prominent figure of the Civil Rights movement and Spokesman for the Nation of Islam, is about to get assassinated.
The Film poses some thought-provoking discussion within the Black community about how the world is perceived differently between those who are light-skinned versus dark-skinned; what it means for a Black Entertainer to be paid well when it comes at the cost of their dignity and their community; or what it means to be revered publicly, but not to be welcome into someone’s home because of the colour of one’s skin.
One poignant scene in particular has Ben-Adir‘s Malcolm X in a chilling plea to his brothers that still resonates to this day amidst the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. He states that there is no more room for standing on the fence anymore with black people dying on the streets every day. “Either you stand on this side with us or that side against us”, he says. Another moment in the Film talks to White Privilege and how a black person is expected to feel indebted to a white person who wasn’t horrible to them. This falls in-line with the current thought that it isn’t enough to be “nice” and that what is required is that we be actively be Anti-Racist.
King succeeds largely in this superb first Feature, giving us a tightly-written and directed Film which while set almost 60 years ago today, has some uncannily-relevant messaging that needs to be revisited today.
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI screens TIFF ’20 as follows:
Fri, Sep 11 Visa Skyline Drive-In at CityView
Sun, Sep 13
Online at Bell Digital Cinema
Streaming in Canada. Available from:
Prison Warden, Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard), starts slipping away from her husband after several years of carrying-out executions at a maximum security prison.
Clemency is a fresh and emotional take on the Prison Drama. It is a character study primarily of two people: the warden and death-row inmate Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge). Writer-Director Chinonye Chukwu has created an absorbing and heartbreaking feature that subtly poses ethical questions while following characters who are trying to find redemption. Both Actors, Woodard and Hodge, translate the internal torments of their characters into visual struggles. Woodard is a force-of-nature as Williams. From the opening scene until the last, you watch more of her slowly slip away the further her profession takes her. And Hodge is a scene-stealer who leaves a lasting impression.
Clemency screens at Sundance on Jan 27 at 6PM at Library PC, Jan 29 at 12:15PM at Eccles PC, Jan 31 at 12PM at Temple PC, Feb 1 at 6:30PM at Rose Wagner SLC, and Feb 2 at 8:30AM at Egyptian PC.
Paramount Pictures Canada x Mr. Will want to give Readers a chance to win Advance Passes to a screening of WHAT MEN WANT. The screening takes place in Toronto on Monday, February 4, 2019.
Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is a successful sports agent who’s constantly boxed out by her male colleagues. When Ali is passed up for a well deserved promotion, she questions what else she needs to do to succeed in a man’s world… until she gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts! With her newfound power, Ali looks to outsmart her colleagues as she races to sign the next basketball superstar, but the lengths she has to go to will put her relationship with her best friends and a potential new love interest (Aldis Hodge) to the test. WHAT MEN WANT is the latest comedy from director Adam Shankman (HAIRSPRAY) and producers Will Packer and James Lopez (GIRLS TRIP), co-starring Tracy Morgan, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Josh Brener, Tamala Jones, Phoebe Robinson, Max Greenfield, Jason Jones, Brian Bosworth, Chris Witaske and Erykah Badu.