By Amanda Gilmore
First Lady Trinitie Childs (Regina Hall) and her husband Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown) are planning to reopen their Southern Baptist megachurch Wander To Greater Paths. The church was forced to close temporarily after they were disgraced after a scandal broke involving Lee-Curtis. They’re riding their hopes on a big comeback, but will their congregation return?
In their Feature debut, the Ebo Twins (Writer/Director Adamma Ebo, Producer Adanne Ebo) bring us a Dramedy that’s partially shot like a faux Documentary. Using changes in aspect ratio, audiences can identify what is and isn’t Mockumentary footage. In the first-half, this blending of on and off-camera makes the Film watch like a biting satire on for-profit religious organizations. We witness the over-the-top luxurious, extravagant world in which the couple live. Their walk-in closet is loaded with Prada and they have drive the flashiest cars.
This unique style of Filmmaking allows our talented leads some space to deliver some “divine” performances. The Comedy here comes in witnessing how drastic the couple’s on and off-camera personas are. One moment they’re preaching the gospel, one moment they’re alone shouting Gangsta Rap. Hall and Brown are great at capturing their characters’ desperation and desire for an image overhaul. Hall is “almighty” as a woman trying to save face and reclaim the spot on the stage she once stood on. Brown has never-ending endurance as an exuberant Pastor and is just delusional.
The second-half pivots, placing its focus on the sexual misconduct scandal surrounding Lee-Curtis. In doing so, the Film becomes more of a dramatic character study of our two leads. Brown continues to excel at exposing Lee-Childs’ narcissism and hypocrisy. However, he never seems to learn from his actions and we were hoping we’d get a bit of growth. The story also sets-up a competition between the Childs and an emerging younger couple, but doesn’t quite deliver the tension and rivalry we were hoping for. It is Trinitie who is given the real character arch and Hall nails it making us feel for this woman trapped in a marriage out of obligation.
Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul screens virtually at Sundance:
Premiere: Jan. 23 at 1:45PM EST
Second Screening: Jan. 25 at 10AM EST (available for 24hrs)
By Mr. Will Wong
On July 7, 2017, former Lance Corporal Bryan Brown-Easley (John Boyega) was shot to death after barricading himself inside a bank where he held two bank workers hostage, pretending to carry a bomb. After an honourable discharge from the Marines, he had been struggling to get by and after a payment of $892.34 he was due from the Department of Veteran Affairs was withheld after it was used to pay off a garnishment from a past college loan, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He wasn’t looking to take the bank’s money, he was looking for the money has was due and was willing to risk his life to make a statement.
Directed and written by Abi Damaris Corbin, 892 is a riveting recounting of the events leading to Brown-Easley‘s death, that day almost five years ago. Corbin gives us a sympathetic look at the PTSD, Schizophrenia and Paranoia our fallen hero was going through, resulting in his demise. We also get a sense of what Brown-Easley meant to others around him. We meet his ex-wife, the young daughter he left behind, a bank worker (Nicole Beharie) at his mercy, and an empathetic Chief in Eli Bernard (the late Michael Kenneth Williams in his final role) who also was a former veteran, trying to talk him off the ledge. The Film is tight, suspenseful but most importantly a tragic education about a broken system.
Boyega is unbelievable in this career-defining performance. He is driven, terrifying and at once raw and vulnerable, particularly in scenes with Brown-Easley‘s daughter, Kiah (London Covington) re-align us with a sense of his moral compass. This is sublime work we won’t soon stop talking about and comparisons to a younger Denzel Washington are unavoidable. We cannot wait for the world to witness this.
892 screens at Sundance as follows:
JANUARY 21, 2022 1:30 PM ET
JANUARY 23, 2022 10:00 AM ET
BLACK MIRROR‘s fifth season is about to stream and the Anthology series is more star-studded than ever. Featured this season are Anthony Mackie, Miley Cyrus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Topher Grace, Damson Idris, Andrew Scott, Nicole Beharie, Pom Klementieff, Angourie Rice, Madison Davenport and Ludi Lin.
Black Mirror is an anthology series that taps into our collective unease with the modern world, with each stand-alone episode a sharp, suspenseful tale exploring themes of contemporary techno-paranoia leading to an unforgettable – and sometimes unsettling – conclusion. Without questioning it, technology has transformed all aspects of our lives; in every home; on every desk; in every palm – a plasma screen; a monitor; a Smartphone – a Black Mirror reflecting our 21st Century existence back at us. The series is created and written by Charlie Brooker, and executive produced by Brooker and Annabel Jones.
See the Trailer:
BLACK MIRROR streams on Netflix Wednesday, June 5, 2019.
netflix.com/blackmirror for more.
(Photo/video credit: Netflix)
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