Black troops accounted for 32% of the American military force in Vietnam, but only 11% of the country’s population at the time. Spike Lee has dedicated his career to identifying socio-political issues, venerating and participating in film history, and restoring Black history. In Da 5 Bloods, Lee sets his sights on the Black soldier’s rightful place in the war film genre. Generations of Hollywood whitewashing and historical erasure have minimized Black military history. Lee’s uneven, affecting film, which debuted on Netflix in June, engages Donald Trump and war’s long-term impact on its participants.
Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey is the latest release in a series of amusing but empty comic book adaptations from the DC Extended Universe. The film, formerly known as Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), relies on the charisma of its title character to make good on its promise of light-hearted, homicidal fun. There’s only so much star Margot Robbie can do.
The third, and supposedly final, entry in the How to Train Your Dragon series, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was released in February 2019. Although series writer-director Dean DeBlois returned for the final third of the trilogy, the finale lacks the heart and charm of its predecessors. Apparently, cat-like dragons and their cute Viking owners are a gimmick that only has the staying power of two movies.
Based on a 1998 Esquire article by journalist Tom Junod, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is the second film about television entertainer Fred Rogers released in the last two years. With a cast that includes The Americans star Matthew Rhys, the reliably great Chris Cooper, and American icon Tom Hanks, the film is less than the sum of its parts.
Jojo Rabbit, an adaptation of Christine Leunens’s book, Caging Skies, is the newest work from writer-director Taika Waititi. A toothless satire that struggles to spit venom at its totalitarian state subject, Jojo Rabbit is the first miss for Waititi.
Six years after the finale of Breaking Bad aired on AMC, series creator Vince Gilligan returned to one of the franchise’s lead characters with a feature-length film, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, to firmly conclude this portion of the Breaking Bad story. (This shouldn’t be confused with lead character Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), however, whose story is continued in AMC’s Better Call Saul.) Gilligan’s successfully returned to his signature story with Saul Goodman, but couldn’t generate the same results with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).
Director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman return to the It franchise to invite us back to Derry, Maine. That damned clown is at it again. Only, this time, like a car ride to a new place, it (no pun intended) isn’t as scary or interesting on the second go around.
Based on a memoir titled Black Klansman by retired police officer Ron Stallworth, BlacKkKlansman, the a 2018 film from auteur director Spike Lee, will leave you feeling comforted, impassioned, and enraged, by both our country and its characters. Above all else, though, BlacKkKlansman may leave you frustrated by Lee’s unconventional methods and murky politics.