“Just Mercy” is a courtroom procedural drama adapted from the 2015 New York Times Bestseller of the same name. Written by Bryan Stevenson the original book was a memoir that told the story of his experience as an attorney focused on working to appeal death row convictions. Beginning in 1989, Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) is a new Harvard grad but instead of launching his career at a cushy law firm he chooses a different path. Heading south to Alabama, Stevenson establishes the Equal Justice Initiative and hangs out a shingle as a lawyer open to working on death row cases pro bono.
“Queen & Slim” is a drama written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas. The film tells the story of a young Black man and woman out on their first date in Cleveland, Ohio. When the date doesn’t exactly turn out to be a love connection, the two prepare to go their own way. On the drive home what should be a routine traffic stop goes wrong and the couple find themselves on the run after shooting a police officer in self-defense.
“Moonlight” is a great study in the facade of machismo and hyper-masculinity. It explores the development and suppression of Black boys’ and men’s identities and sexuality. On a basic level, it’s a coming of age story about a gay Black male. Yet, because it’s about that it’s also about so much more.
Django Unchained is a movie set two years before the Civil War that tells the story of a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx). Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), seeks out Django’s help with identifying and hunting down a group of wanted criminals. In exchange, Schultz promises Django his freedom and the opportunity to save his wife from bondage.
Bessie is an HBO film starring Queen Latifah in an excellent portrayal of 1920’s blues legend Bessie Smith. The movie covers Bessie’s rise, fall, and comeback during the 1920’s — 1930’s with brief peeks back into her childhood. The movie is quite good due to the great performances and cinematography but the story itself is a bit lacking. It isn’t perfect but it’s still enjoyable and worth seeing. I recommend Bessie if you’re into music, a fan of any of the actors, or you’re just looking for a good movie to watch.