Coming soon to Netflix after much praise out of Sundance earlier this year, is PASSING, from Actor/Director Rebecca Hall. The Film stars Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson.
Adapted from the celebrated 1929 novel of the same name by Nella Larsen, PASSING tells the story of two Black women, Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Academy Award nominee Ruth Negga), who can “pass” as white but choose to live on opposite sides of the color line during the height of the Harlem Renaissance in late 1920s New York. After a chance encounter reunites the former childhood friends one summer afternoon, Irene reluctantly allows Clare into her home, where she ingratiates herself to Irene’s husband (André Holland) and family, and soon her larger social circle as well. As their lives become more deeply intertwined, Irene finds her once-steady existence upended by Clare, and PASSING becomes a riveting examination of obsession, repression and the lies people tell themselves and others to protect their carefully constructed realities.
Irene (Tessa Thompson) is an upper-class 1920s woman who lives in Harlem with her husband, Brian (André Holland), and their two sons. One day, while out at the Grand Tearoom in New York City’s Drayton Hotel, she runs into an old high school acquaintance, Clare (Ruth Negga). She finds out that Clare has been passing as white. Her ability to pass is proven as Irene learns she’s married to a white man (Alexander Skarsgård) and have children of their own. However, when Clare decides to ignite a friendship with Irene, both their lives become threatened.
Nella Larsen’s ground-breaking Novella is brought eloquently to the screen by Rebecca Hall. She unpacks central themes of race, identity, community, repression and constructed realities all while making her Feature directorial debut a technical marvel. She shoots this quiet, Psychological Drama with the filmmaking aesthetics of the time in which the story is set. Passing is shot in Black and White, has a 4:3 Aspect Ratio, and the music mimics an era past.
Her decision to shoot in Black and White strips all colour out of this film about race. What’s left is a beautiful composition of gray frames that perfectly reflect the gray-areas of race the Film explores. Hall’s cinematographic decisions go further in her choice of Aspect Ratio. Not only does a 4:3 image create a nostalgic look of old Hollywood glamour, it also forces us to really look at the faces of the characters. This is an integral part of Passing because Thompson and Negga’s impactful performances become the focus, with scenes framed tightly around their faces. This aids in helping us see Irene and Clare’s hidden desires and restrained longing.
Furthermore, the Sound Design thrusts us into the inner turmoil these characters are facing. In addition to taking us back to 1929, the Film’s Costume Design by Marci Rodgers, help us visualize the stark contrasts between both women. Irene is constrained, she wears modest clothing and a hat that covers much of her face. While Clare is beguiling, she wears outfits that swing as she walks and a hat that’s lifted-up showing herself completely. This is compelling because Clare is the one who’s passing, yet Irene appears to be hiding.
These two characters were captivating and nuanced when Larsen wrote them in the ’20s. Thankfully, Hall has kept them richly complex, enabling Thompson and Negga to be mesmerizing in their roles. It’s rare, even today, for female friendships to be examined in Film with such intricacy. Yet, this is what’s at the heart of Passing. The two women are each missing something the other has. Passing analyzes how you can equally admire and envy a friend for something you are missing. This is a story about the duality of human beings, expressed articulately through its two leads.
Thompson gives an unbelievably expressive performance as the quiet Irene, and Negga is a magnetic presence as Clare. She shows the life Irene has conformed to and her desire to break-free of those boxes. This is where cunning Clare fills the voids in Irene. Clare longs finally to be with her community again. And this is where Irene fills the voids in Clare. Thompson and Negga have a strong, layered chemistry. The Film plays with the ambiguity of the feelings between these women. It appears that there’s something simmering beneath the surface of this friendship, but it isn’t quite known exactly what. Additionally, these Actors nail one of the most integral parts of telling a story that takes place in 1929, the diction and way of speaking. No detail is spared.
Passing is a quiet film that manages to say so much. It has a Psychological Thriller that becomes more apparent as time progresses. Hall crafts something that’s rich in technicality and highlighted by its superb performances. Its intricate Screenplay is brought to life by a Director who has a clear vision and knows how perfectly to execute it. A remarkable debut as Director by Hall.
Passing screens at Sundance:
Live Premiere: January 30 at 6 PM (EST)
On-Demand (available for 24 hours): February 1 at 10 AM (EST)
The Film follows an epic 1950s romance between Television Producer, Sylvie (Tessa Thompson) and Saxophone Player, Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha) whose bond is as strong as their love of Jazz.
There have been many 50s-era Romances before, but none have had those starring an African-American Cast. Sylvie’s Love does have a conventional story but done through a different perspective which gives it a fresh feel. The chemistry between Thompson and Asomugha is tangible and makes us root for their love. The Film’s Set-Design and Cinematography are beautiful which elevate the enchanting love story that unfolds before our eyes.
Sylvie’s Love screens at Sundance on Mon, Jan. 27th at 12:15 PM at Eccles, Tues, Jan. 28th at 9:15 PM at Redstone Cinema 7, Thurs, Jan. 30th at 8:30 PM at The MARC, Fri, jan. 31st at 3 PM at Library Centre, and Sat, Feb. 1st at 3:15 PM at Grand.
Following great success at Sundance earlier this year, Director Boots Riley brought his debut Feature SORRY TO BOTHER YOU to Toronto for a Canadian Premiere tonight.
Centering on a young man named Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) who is struggling to make ends meet. Decidedly, he takes on a Telemarketer job as a last ditch attempt before eviction from his uncle’s garage. Taking on a new persona or what he calls his “white voice”, Cassius finds himself excelling and climbing the corporate ranks much to the disagreement of his artist girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) and friends at work who are plotting to bring on a union into the workplace. Things get increasingly complicated when he uncovers are horrific secret undertaking which one of his company’s biggest clients is plotting under influencial power player Steve Lift (Armie Hammer).
Despite it being Father’s Day, Sorry to Bother You brought-out a packed house at CineplexYonge & Dundas to see the buzzed Film first and hear Riley speak. Some of you may know the former Rapper from his work as Frontman of Hip-Hop act The Coup. Despite having filmmaking aspirations, Riley dropped-out Film School to pursue music only now to come full circle, better late than never. He also once worked as a Telemarketer too like the Film’s flawed hero, Cassius.
Riley tells the audience about the characters in this quirky, out-there journey of self-discovery, shot over 28 days at 61 locations, exploring at what costs one is willing to go against what they believe in truly. “I wrote things from a human place, writing every single character as if they were me. They all represent conflict going on in my head”. “I had to trust my views of the world and let them come out.”.
The Film’s breakout star is Lakeith Stanfield who plays Cassius. Riley tells us about his casting choice. “His manager was really persistent”, he says, met with laughter by the audience. “When I cast him, there had only been one episode of Atlanta and I only knew him from Short Term 12.”. “I went and met with him he had a full beard. I realized he was a much older soul than his years would let on. He also had the right element of crazy.”.
One key scene however was cut from the Film, reveals Riley. “There was a full frontal (non-sexual) nudity scene and I needed him to be the most vulnerable he can be. It was a deal breaker and he cut me off and said ‘I’ve been waiitng for a role like this!’.”. He adds, “I was able to cut it out. He (Stanfield) achieved what few great actors can achieve, this vulnerability – letting him experiece the feelings, never worrying what he looks like.”.
See the Trailer:
See some Snaps. Hover cursor left and right to navigate.
Los Angeles got lit last night as the World Premiere of BLACK PANTHER took place. The starpower was incredible with several A-List names came out to show support for what is looking to be a smash hit for Marvel/Disney. Initial reviews coming-out are incredible and we’re super-excited for this Film. Names like Jon Voigt, Elizabeth Banks, Usher, Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence, Kendrick Lamar, Donald Glover and several more attended the night.
See some Pics of the Cast and notable guests:
If you’re in Quebec City or Southern Ontario, don’t forget to check-out the BLACK PANTHER EXPERIENCE as it tours these regions and experience AR Technology and connect Black Panther to Avengers: Infinity War!
• Winter Fest, Blue Mountain Village – January 27 & 28
• Carnaval De Quebec – February 2-4
• Winterlude Festival – February 9-11
• Cineplex Cinemas Queensway and VIP – February 13
• CN Tower – February 17 & 18
• Cineplex Cinemas Scarborough – February 20
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada release BLACK PANTHERFriday, February 16, 2018.
(Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada)
We are excited how great this is gonna be. Introducing a brand-new Trailer for ANNIHILATION!
Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling SouthernReach Trilogy, Annihilation stars Natalie Portman,Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac. It was written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later).
See the Trailer:
Paramount Pictures Canada release ANNIHILATIONFriday, February 23, 2018.
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada + Mr. Will want to give Readers to see the gripping latest installment of the ROCKY franchise, CREED! These are Run-of-Engagement Passes so you can see them on your schedule as long as it is in Canadian theatres in your city or town!
From Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema comes award-winning filmmaker Ryan Coogler’s “Creed.” The film reunites Coogler with his “Fruitvale Station” star Michael B. Jordan as the son of Apollo Creed, and explores a new chapter in the “Rocky” story, starring Academy Award nominee Sylvester Stallone in his iconic role.
Adonis Johnson (Jordan) never knew his famous father, world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood, so Adonis heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed’s legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa.
Once in the City of Brotherly Love, Adonis tracks Rocky (Stallone) down and asks him to be his trainer. Despite his insistence that he is out of the fight game for good, Rocky sees in Adonis the strength and determination he had known in Apollo—the fierce rival who became his closest friend. Agreeing to take him on, Rocky trains the young fighter, even as the former champ is battling an opponent more deadly than any he faced in the ring.
With Rocky in his corner, it isn’t long before Adonis gets his own shot at the title…but can he develop not only the drive but also the heart of a true fighter, in time to get into the ring?
See the Trailer:
To enter to win, simply click “like” on this Post at Mr. Will on Facebook. Indicate which city you are from also, kindly! You can click “share” from there for an extra chance or Tweet the below:
http://www.mrwillwong.com/creed @MRWILLW wants us to #win Run-of-Engagement Passes to see #CREEDMovie! Out 11/25.
The Cast of CREED were in-town recently. Our snaps: