Fruitvale Station (2013)

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The story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008. (IMDb)
Not a huge fan of cell-phone graphics and I suppose in retrospect there might be a couple moments here too on-the-nose, but damn if this isn’t ultimately utterly beautiful and devastating in its execution. Naturalistic dialogue, excellent acting, and gorgeous handheld cinematography subtly portray Black beauty and heart poking their way through the cracks of white concrete (see the b-day dinner) only to be crushed mercilessly by the boot of racist law enforcement in a gut-wrenching final act.
9/10 (Amazing)

 

Black Panther (2018)

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T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake. (IMDb)
The people, sets, and costumes of the fascinating Wakanda are a fantastic breath of fresh air, and the supporting characters especially (Nakia, Okoye, Shuri) all beg for further fleshing out. As an action film it worked better with Serkis’ simpler villain (see the awesome South Korea sequence) than Jordan’s more complex one, as the good vs. evil nuances he introduced deserved a slower drama instead of a sudden civil war and typical superhero climax (though the epilogue was of course touching).
7/10 (Good)