Wondering what to watch? The beginning of Black History Month in the US has also been marked on the other side of the Atlantic with the release of various collections and newer features about the black diaspora in one way or another.
Perhaps the most popular example is Ryan Coogler’s sequel to Marvel Studio’s Black Panther, which is tragically missing its lead actor Chadwick Boseman after his battle with cancer. With Coogler returning to direct, Wakanda Forever seeks to come to terms with this loss as well as explore new lands as its cast of characters refocus after the loss of T’Challa, and the violent introduction of Namor and his underwater kingdom of Talokan .
Read more: Everything new on Netflix in February
Meanwhile, Prime Video has the tragic and angry Judas and the Black Messiah, a film about the Black Panthers, specifically the work of Fred Hampton, head of the Chicago chapter of the organization – and his assassination at the hands of the FBI, through the informant work of LaKeith Stanfield.
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) | Disney+ (Pick of the Week)
Sadness takes the sequel to Black Panther beyond what we see on screen. In addition to the pain of the event, the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman left many questions and obstacles regarding its production.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever doesn’t clear all those hurdles and even addresses some of the issues of the first film, but while not all of it is well-judged, at the same time there’s a real, honest feeling relating to it. feeling that many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films simply do not.
Read more: The Best Wakanda Cameos Ever and Easter Eggs
The film effectively begins with a eulogy for T’Challa, the story’s reason for his death, something uncomfortably close to the true circumstances of Boseman’s death. As difficult as it may be to find, it is competently presented, an all-African tableau of song and dance.
Watch a trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
In different hands the film would have been a complete mess but thanks to the groundwork laid by returning writer and director Ryan Coogler in the first film, the supporting cast can be just about up to the task. fill the void left by Boseman. Angela Bassett — recently nominated for an Oscar — is probably the greatest expression of it, bringing the gravity of her family’s tragedies over and over again. Letitia Wright, on the other hand, feels a little overwhelmed.
But the movie does too. Much more than the last Wakanda Deo is saddled with the tiresome baggage of building the MCU franchise, worse than ever in its messy Phase 4. Momentum to tell has stopped has come again and again by setting a table. In the conflict with the Mesoamerican-inspired Atlantis, led by the vengeful Namor, there is a thrill to see a conflict carried by real historical scars, but of course it is tempered in a way similar to the mission of Killmonger in the first film, to promote assimilation in instead. .
It’s a pretty mixed bag as a whole but, really, it could be a lot worse, and it even gets some cathartic release.
Also on Disney+: Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration (2022), Date Movie (2006)
Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) | Video Prime
Director and co-writer Shaka King obviously had to compromise in making Judas and the Black Messiah, which is darkly ironic given that the subject refused to encourage compromise in the Black Panthers’ fight against racism. and fascism.
Read more: Everything new on Prime Video in February
Daniel Kaluuya plays Fred Hampton, but the film observes him from afar through the eyes of FBI informant William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), in a kind of twist on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It’s hard not to want a simpler biography of Fred Hampton’s work in creating the Rainbow Coalition and the work of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers to end gang violence and performing mutual aid in the community.
At least the film goes some way to making clear the FBI’s orchestration of Hampton’s assassination as well as its (somewhat successful) attempts to demonize the Black Panthers, although it’s not something that couldn’t be discovered through a documentary like The Assassination of Fred Hampton or Short Film Agnes Varda black Panthers.
Still, it’s an effective and emotional drama, bolstered by strong supporting performances from Dominique Fishback as Hampton’s partner Akua Njeri (then going by Deborah Johnson) as well as Kaluuya as Hampton himself, displaying some infectious charisma that never fails to impress. but with an infuriating tragedy. story.
Also on Prime: The Aviator (2004), Cam Body (2020)
Phantom Thread (2018) | BBC iPlayer
Paul Thomas Anderson’s hilarious period piece (and maybe, romantic comedy?) Phantom Thread has taken up residence as part of a New Year’s Eve movie in niche film circles. It’s because of its seductive beauty, wintery and ornate aesthetic, and because one of the most emotional moments in the film takes place at a New Year’s party.
Beyond that, though, it’s one of Anderson’s best, with gorgeous photography from the man himself as well as a stunning score from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, held together by captivating performances from Daniel Day Lewis, Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville, each of them in their affection. each other with some hilarious sarcasm.
Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock, a very special and trying man. Krieps plays his new flame Alma, who learns the hard way how to navigate his idiosyncrasies, pettiness and childish behavior – and ultimately learns to fight it forcefully.
Despite appearances it’s a very funny film, like many of Anderson’s films, it’s a comedy disguised as a blockbuster picture, and it’s highly watchable as a result. Perfect Sunday afternoon viewing.
Also on iPlayer: Defiance (2008), Vice (2018)