10 varied films by and about African-Americans (and one directed by a Brit) are coming out between August…actually, make that July and December, a N.Y. Times story is reporting. And many of them are angled at quality-seekers who wouldn’t watch a Tyler Perry flick with a knife at their backs. Michael Cieply has posted a laundry-list story [URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/ 06/02/movies/coming-soon-a-breakout-for-black-filmmakers.html?hp] that calls this slate a significant turn in the road, but he doesn’t indicate which are the pick of the litter and which are the black sheep.
From Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station.
It’s the kind of laundry-list story I can’t stand, Lawrence…the kind that just lies there. But I have to acknowledge, of course, this being a Cieply story, that it’s accurate and well-sourced and that things do seem to be blooming and upticking for black filmmakers. A rennaisance of sorts. The mining of richer, broader material.
Ryan Coogler‘s Fruitvale Station, which I finally saw in Cannes and greatly admired, is the likeliest award-magnet of the 10. A Best Picture nomination wouldn’t surprise anyone.
I’m betting right now that Lee Daniels‘ The Butler (Weinstein Co., 8.16) is going to be a problem; ditto Leslie Small and Tim Story‘s Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (Lionsgate, 7.3), which I instantly hated when I saw that first “the audience loves me!” trailer. I also suspect on some level that Steve McQueen‘s Twelve Years A Slave, basically a “slavery was very bad” drama, is going be a bit of a slog to sit through. An honorable slog, I mean. Great reviews, nominations, the whole shot. But it’s going to feel like a duty.
I don’t know about Mother of George but the Sundance words I heard were “decent,” “curious” and “a little downish.” Neil Drumming‘s Big Words, which is being released by an indie Afro-centric releasing company founded by Middle of Nowhere director Ana DuVernay, is “about the members of a once-hot hip-hop group confronting midlife,” Cieply writes.
I don’t know from Kasi Lemmons‘ Black Nativity but the IMDB synopsis — “a young teen living with his grandparents falls asleep at church during a Christmastime mass, where he dreams of a black nativity” — gives me pause. Jacob Latimore, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson and Forrest Whitaker costar.