“Black Panther” Pounces On To The Big Screen

By Chris Narloch

The big news at the movies this week – in case you have been living in a cave and haven’t heard – is the release of “Black Panther,” which I review below.

If you don’t want to fight the first-week crowds at that film, there are several other new titles on the big screen.

Black Panther
For once, the amount of hype surrounding a film’s release is actually warranted. “Black Panther” hits the superhero movie bulls-eye, even for a jaded film critic like me, who has grown weary of the glut of comic book-inspired movies on the big screen.

With “Wonder Woman” and now “Black Panther” DC and Marvel have one classic comic book film apiece, and the two movies stand head and shoulders above the other superhero films that have gone before.

It all starts with a good screenplay, and Ryan Coogler (who first studied film at Sac State) has co-written a very smart script with Jack Kirby and Joe Robert Cole that gives new life to the original source material while adding unmistakable references to America’s current political and racial dynamic that take the film to a whole other level.

Handsome Chadwick Boseman grounds the title character in decency, which is his trademark as an actor, and the equally hunky Michael B. Jordan also lights up the screen with a fiery performance as Black Panther’s nemesis.

All that beautiful black beefcake is complemented by an extended (and talented) female supporting cast that includes Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Angela Bassett, whose characters are just as fierce as -- and often fight alongside -- the male warriors in the movie.

“Black Panther” is action-packed, lovely to look at, and unusually intelligent for a superhero movie. Beyond that, I will let you discover the wonderful world of Wakanda for yourself.

Early Man
The fine folks at Aardman Animation who brought you “Creature Comforts” and “Wallace & Gromit” are back with another hilarious stop-motion movie for kids of all ages, including adults who are still kids at heart.

Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston provide the voice work for two of the lead characters in this funny film, which follows Dug (Redmayne), a plucky caveman tasked with uniting his people to defeat Lord Nooth (Hiddleston), who wants to take over their land and turn it into a giant mine.

“Early Man” features witty one-liners and sight gags galore, and the droll British humor that Aardman is famous for is again in abundance. Don’t miss it.

Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool
I don’t know why Annette Bening wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for her superb performance in this late arrival from last year, but at least Sacramento finally has the opportunity to enjoy her work and the film itself, which is a terrific tearjerker.

Bening plays Gloria Grahame, an American movie star from the ‘40s and ‘50s who found love with a younger man before the end of her life, while living in England during the 1970s.

Their romance is entirely believable since the very handsome Jamie Bell, who was the original Billy Elliott in the 2000 film of the same name, plays the younger man. “Film Stars…” opened at Sacramento’s Tower Theatre on Feb. 16.

Fifty Shades Freed
“Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last.” I have co-opted the immortal words of Martin Luther King, Jr. because they perfectly encapsulate how this critic and many others feel about never having to sit through another “Fifty Shades” film.

“Fifty Shades Freed” is the third -- and blessedly the last – movie adapted from E.L. James’ dreadful series of mommy-porn “masterpieces,” which first introduced the world to Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, two of the most vapid characters in all of recorded fiction since the beginning of time.

Christian and Anastasia get married in this one, and she wears white for the ceremony instead of black bondage gear, which might have actually been funny – something this movie aspires to be, but only achieves occasionally and in unintentional places.

Go see it if you must, but don’t fool yourself that “Fifty Shades Freed” is anything but a faux-kinky Cinderella story for people who would probably need to use their S&M safe word if their designer shoes were too tight.

Join Our Mailing List
For Email Marketing you can trust

Read Outword Online

Free live stats and visitor counter for Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, Magento and Prestashop