2013: The Best And Worst In Black Movies [GALLERY] was originally published on theurbandaily.com
1. “The Butler”
Director: Lee Daniels Cast: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Yaya Alafia Grade: B A touching family drama set against the living history of the Civil Rights movement. Initially dismissed as just another domestic movie, screenwriter Danny Strong avoids making Cecil Gaines a static character, but rather a man who learns to evolve with the […]
2. “12 Years A Slave”
Director: Steve McQueen Cast: : Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’O, Michael Fassbender, Adepero Oduye, Brad Pitt GRADE: A+ Part cinematic revelation, part searing indictment on the atrocities of the slave trade in America, Steve McQueen paints a perfect portrait of the ugliest chapter in our nation’s history.
3. “After Earth”
Director: M. Night Shyamalan Cast: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Zoe Kravitz Grade: C The project that forever be remembered as Will Smith’s box office Achille’s heel. While most critics mercilessly savaged the futuristic saga, there was actually touching commentary about the growing pains of adolescence and grief.
4. “The Call”
Director: Brad Anderson Cast: Halle Berry, Morris Chestnut, Abigail Breslin Movie Gross: $51 million Grade: C What starts off as a chilling and heart-pounding thriller, becomes a victim of head scratching plot holes. Abigail Breslin proves why she’s one of the best younger actresses in Hollywood.
5. “The Happy Sad”
Director: Rodney Evans Cast: Cameron Scoggins, Charlie Barnett, Leroy McClain, Sorel Carradine Grade: B Based on Ken Urban’s stage play, Rodney Evans serves up a refreshingly honest look at modern day relationships and sexual fluidity. Cameron Scoggins and Charlie Barnett are the heart and soul of this multi-racial ensemble.
Director: Tina Chism Gordon Cast: Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson, David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson Grade: C While it was fun to see Kerry Washington in a more light-hearted role, there was a decided lack of chemistry between Washington and Craig Robinson.
7. “Go For Sisters”
Director: John Sayles Cast: Yolonda Ross, LisaGay Hamilton, Edward James Olmos Grade: B- A powerful story of two former high school BFF’s whose lives take very different paths. LisaGay Hamilton is fantastic as a mother racked with guilt and worry over her wayward son. Ross is a revelation as a former drug addict dodging the […]
Director: Sheldon Candis Cast: Common, Michael Rainey Jr., Danny Glover, Dennis Haysbert Grade: B What does it mean to be a man? Director Sheldon Candis effectively explores the fallacies of violence and hyper-masculinity through the eyes of 11 year old Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.) as he spends the day with ex-con uncle, Vincent (Common).
9. “Mandela Long Walk To Freedom”
Director: Justin Chadwick Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Terry Pheto Grade: B A superior project to Jennifer Hudson’s “Winnie”, “Long Walk To Freedom” is a fitting tribute to one of history’s most iconic freedom fighters.
10. “Mother of George”
Director: Andrew Dosunmu Cast: Danai Gurira, Isaach de Bankole, Yaya Alafia, Anthony Okungbowa Grade: B Gurira turns in a quiet but powerful performance as a newly wed Nigerian bride under pressure to pressure from her family to conceive. Yaya Alafia balances the equation as a young woman navigating the divide between her traditional African roots […]
11. “Blue Caprice”
Director: Alexandre Moors Cast: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond Grade: B Based on the horrifying Beltway sniper attacks of 2002, Isaiah Washington both mesmerizes and terrifies as an unbalanced ex-Army vet who descends into madness. Tequan Richmond’s unspoken need for love and a father figure makes his fall from grace that much more heartbreaking to watch.
12. “Fruitvale Station”
Director: Ryan Coogler Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz Grade: B+ Michael B. Jordan carries the movie from start to finish with an emotional authenticity most actors would kill for. Jordan jumps from loving father and boyfriend to angry and menacing ex-thug so fluidly, making his character perfectly imperfect.
13. “Best Man Holiday”
Director: Malcolm D. Lee Cast: Nia Long, Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Monica Calhoun, Melissa DeSousa Grade: B Lee reunites this dysfunctional group of college friends for a surprisingly mature and poignant look at love, marriage, and friendship in the 21st century.
14. “Baggage Claim”
Director: David E. Talbert Cast: Paula Patton, Taye Diggs, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Luke, Jill Scott Grade: C A formulaic, paint-by-the-numbers romantic comedy, the two saving graces of this project are the chocolicious man candy and Jill Scott as a sexually assertive flight attendant.
Director: Brian Helgeland Cast: Chad Boseman, Nicole Beharie, Harrison Ford Grade: B Stepping into the role of the iconic Brooklyn Dodger, Chadwick Boseman gives a very human and compelling performance. Nicole Beharie brings light and grace to her role as Robinson’s wife, Rachel.
Director: Darrell Roodt Cast: Jennifer Hudson, Terrence Howard Grade: C Yes, she has an Oscar, A Golden Globe and a SAG award under her belt, but Hudson isn”t seasoned enough of an actress to portray someone as iconic as Winnie Mandela.
17. “Big Words”
Director: Neil Drumming Cast: Yaya Alafia, Dorian Missick, Gbenga Abbinagbe Grade: B- A nostalgic love letter to the good ole days of hip-hop and dreams deferred. While “Big Words” could have benefited greatly from seeing the characters in their glory days, the movie effectively captures the struggle of letting go and moving forward.