The Black Emperor of Broadway – Movie Review

TL;DR – A look at a revolutionary figure in Broadway’s past and the layers of oppression he had to go through to get where he did.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Warning – Extensive use of blackface

The Black Emperor of Broadway. Image Credit: Vision Films.

Review

If there is one large blind spot in my art history, it is Broadway. I didn’t come from a musical theatre background, so any introduction to this world is welcome. Today we look at a film that explores this through the life of Charles Sidney Gilpin one of its first Black stars. I should say that before we dive in as a bit of a warning that this is a film very much set in the 1920s and the language and depictions used in the movie are consistent with that time which may be difficult for some viewers.

So to set the scene, Charles Sidney Gilpin (Shaun Parkes) is working in a blackface minstrel show that goes around entertaining white people at parties. He hates the work and tries to get a job a legitimate actor which is difficult in a time when few roles are written for black men, and white people in blackface perform most of them. That chance finally comes when noted play write Eugene O’Neill (John Hensley) writes his newest play The Emperor Jones about a leader of Haiti and he wants Charles for the role.

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Movie Review – The King of Staten Island

TL;DR – This is a deeply messy, often dysfunctional film, however despite this, or because of this, it sucks you into its world and makes you care for every single character.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The King of Staten Island. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

Today we review a film that fits in an odd space. It is both a fictional film in many respects but also semi-autobiographical. The leading cast member Pete Davidson is quite famous in the US for Saturday Night Live, but we don’t really get that here in Australia. All of this led to me walking into that cinema not knowing what to expect, and if I had expected anything, it would not have been what we got.

So to set the scene, Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson) is a high school drop out that spends all day smoking weed with his friends and tattooing them … well not great .. Obama … He suffers from several medical problems, as well as the weight of pain that comes from his father, who died saving people from a fire when Scott was just a kid. His world starts to fall apart after his sister Claire (Maude Apatow) moves away for college and his mother Margie (Marisa Tomei) finally begins to move on with her life.

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TV Review – Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Lights Out and Season Seven

TL;DR – A fun episode from start to finish and a great way to finish the season

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Lights Out and Season Seven

It is the end of a season, but thankfully not the end of the series, so what does the show have in store for us. Well, a good season finally has to close a season, but also be a good episode in its own right, while also getting it ready to propel it into the future. Tonight we get an episode that I think does all of that and more.  

So to set the scene, it is the end of the day and the whole team is getting ready for a nice break, even longer for Santiago (Melissa Fumero) as this is the last day before she goes to on maternity leave. Everything is great right up until the moment the power goes out, not just in the precinct but in all of Brooklyn. There is a moment of quiet and then the whole city explodes in chaos and Holt (Andre Braugher) and Terry (Terry Crews) just so happened to be in an elevator, so Amy is in charge, but why does she need sweat pants? Now we will be looking at the episode as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.         

 

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TV Review – Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Dillman

TL;DR – A fun episode from start to finish that played off each of the cast’s strengths.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Dillman. Image Credit: NBC.

Review

As the seventh season from Brooklyn Nine-Nine draws to a close in a couple of episodes, it has been really good to see them swing for the fences each episode. This week we get an episode that is quite small in scope but it pays off years of character developments.

So to set the scene, Jake (Andy Samberg) is in Holt’s (Andre Braugher) office because now he is captain again he is on a selection committee for a new city-wide task force called STOASRCEIUEO, which no shocker, Holt helped name. Everything was going fine, okay, Jake did his application in the form of a rap, so everything was not going fine. But things got worse when the precinct exploded. It seems that someone tried to prank Jake with a glitter bomb and it backfired. But who in the precinct could have done it? Well, there is one detective that Holt trusts to solve the case, Dillman (J.K. Simmons). Now we will be looking at the episode as a whole so you better believe that there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Movie Review – Late Night

TL;DR – It has strong characters, a great story, and some of the best laughs so far this year while still having substance behind it.   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Late Night. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Review

Well, 2019 has not been the best year for comedy, with very few films getting that double goal of being both funny but also having some substance to it. However, when I walked into Late Night I was more than a little optimistic about its prospects. That is because the writer and star Mindy Kaling is an amazing comedian and Emma Thompson is always bringing her A-game. Well, as I walked out it was nice to realise that I was able to get at least something right this year.

So to set the scene, Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is the first-ever female host of a late-night talk show and has been a mainstay of the late-night world for decades. She has won multiple Emmys and awards but the show has stagnated over the last couple of years and her new boss Caroline Morton (Amy Ryan) is looking to shake things up with a replacement host. Meanwhile, Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) works at a chemical plant and uses the plant’s connections to interview for a job she has always wanted as a writer at a late-night comedy show. Her interview went poorly, but Katherine now needs to shake things up and well this might be it.

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TV Review – When They See Us

TL;DR – This is a series that I think is important for everyone to see because what we do has consequences and those consequences can be ruined lives.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

When They See Us. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

When I loaded up this limited series, I kind of had an idea of what to expect. I had heard about the Central Park Five before and I thought I had a rough framework as to what happened and of course, having the blowhard-in-chief double down on it helped bring it all back into focus. However, while I understood what happened, it was an intellectual knowledge and not an emotional one. While I walked in here with what I thought was understanding, I now know I had no idea, none what so ever.

So to set the scene, one evening in April in New York City a group of young people of mostly African-American decent came together to have a bit of a raucous in Central Park. Soon the police arrived and brought a bunch of them in disturbing the peace after roughing more than a few of them in the process. However, later that night in the north section of the park woman was found clinging to life after being raped and assaulted. It is at this point that detective Linda Fairstein (Felicity Huffman) draws the connection between the two incidents. Soon Kevin Richardson (Asante Blackk), Antron McCray (Caleel Harris), Yusef Salaam (Ethan Herisse), Raymond Santana (Marquis Rodriguez), and Korey Wise (Jharrel Jerome) are dragged in front of the police, with no adults present. Soon the police would have their confessions, for assault and rape, confessions that looked dubious even under the most cursory inspection.

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Movie Review – Someone Great

TL;DR – While it is not anything new, the film focuses on women supporting women and that helps elevate it.    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Someone Great. Image Credit: Netflix

Review – There is nothing quite like the pain of something lost, time might heal all wounds but it also makes the deepest cuts. This is especially true when the thing that is lost is a romantic relationship. What do you do when nine years of your life disappears overnight, how do you process that pain. Well, today we look at a film that explores all of that.   

So to set the scene, we open with Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) alone sitting in the subway obviously in a state of distress. She had finally gotten the job of her dreams after years of hard work, but it involves moving from New York to San Francisco and her partner of nine years Nate (Lakeith Stanfield) decided that he was not prepared to even try a long distance relationship. Everything is changing in her life but there is still one constant and that is her best friends Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise) still have her back. So as a way of helping to cope and to celebrate her new life and commiserate her moving away the three decide to go to Neon Classic a concert from their youths and have one last crazy adventure.   

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Movie Review – Stuck

TL;DR – When it gets to the emotional core of music Stuck has some real emotional weight, but it has issues getting between those moments.       

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Stuck. Image Credit: MJW Films.

Review

There are many things that can make a bad day and I can tell you that being stuck in a train carriage with a bunch of strangers for an indeterminate amount of time would be very high on that list. With this in mind, I was captivated with the idea of setting a musical in that setting and where you could go with the pressures and opportunity of keeping everyone in that one space. What we get in the final film is a story with two halves, however, unfortunately, they don’t quite work together.

So to set the scene, it is a day in New York and disconnected strangers are running around in their day trying to get from one place to another. You have Lloyd (Giancarlo Esposito) a homeless gentleman who is getting ready for the day in the actual train carriage. Alica (Arden Cho) a dancer trying to get home and avoid her stalker Ramon (Omar Chaparro), Caleb (Gerard Canonico) who is running between his many jobs, then Eve (Ashanti) and Sue (Amy Madigan) who are just trying to get home on a difficult day. Fate is a precarious thing at times, and this day as they board the train everything grinds to a halt as a police incident closes the train lines trapping the train in-between stations, and as the carriages are locked there is the realisation that they are trapped and the only thing you can do is sing.

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TV Review – Daredevil: Resurrection

TL;DR – This is a more quiet character driven episode than pilot episodes of the past, but all that means is that the actors get a platform to shine.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

 

Daredevil. Image Credit: ABC Studios/Netflix

 

Review

Well, we are back to where it all started, the very first entry into the Marvel world on Netflix was the first season of Daredevil all the way back in 2015. For many people, me included, that the first season is still the high water mark for the Netflix project, so there is both a hope and a trepidation when you start that first episode. Also, it felt like just last week we got a new Iron Fist, and I am wondering is it all getting a bit too much. Well, today we explore if Daredevil Season Three can be the touchstone that it was.

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Map-It: Chef’s Table

TL;DR – With Volume 5 just released and Volume 6 just around the corner we take a moment to map out all of Chef’s Table

 

Chef's Table. Image Credit: Netflix

 

Map-It –

 

If you have been reading my reviews for a long time then you will undoubtedly know that I have a deep love for David Gelb’s striking food documentary series Chef’s Table on Netflix. It is a world full of beautiful food, fascinating stories, and a deep exploration into a world that I don’t really get to visit. Well today the fifth volume (six if you add in France which we do) has dropped and I wanted to take a moment to combine my love of both food and cartography and thus chart out every restaurant visited throughout the series so far (and even into the next volume since the names of the chefs have already been announced). With the maps, if a chef had more than one location featured, we picked the central place explored in the episode.

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