At the movies this week

At the movies this week

FILM: PATRIOTS DAY

CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Michelle Monaghan

DIRECTOR: Peter Berg

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Peter Berg, ‘Patriots Day’ is an account of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the everyday heroes who inspired the world in the extraordinary hours that followed.

In the aftermath of an unspeakable act of terror, Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) joins courageous survivors, first responders and investigators in a race against the clock to hunt down the bombers before they strike again.

Weaving together the stories of Special Agent Richard Deslauriers (Kevin Bacon), Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K. Simmons) and nurse Carol Saunders (Michelle Monaghan) this visceral and unflinching chronicle captures the suspense of the alleged most sophisticated manhunt in law enforcement history and the strength of the people of Boston.

FILM: MONSTER TRUCKS

CAST: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Amy Ryan

DIRECTOR: Chris Wedge

Lucas Till in Monster Trucks

Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp (Lucas Till), a high school senior, starts restoring an old pickup truck from bits and pieces of old cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp finds that he may not actually need that V-8 he had lined up – his monster friend, Creech (short for “creature”) will power the truck.

 

FILM: BIRTH OF A NATION

CAST: NATE PARKER , ARMIE HAMMER , MARK BOONE JR. , COLMAN DOMINGO , AUNJANUE ELLIS

DIRECTOR: NATE PARKER

A scene from Birth of a Nation

Set against the American South thirty years prior to the outbreak of the Civil War and based on a true story, ‘The Birth Of A Nation’ follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher whose financially strained owner Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer) accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself, his wife Cherry (Aja Naomi King), and fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

The Turner slave rebellion stands as one of the most influential acts of resistance against slavery in all American history, yet remarkably, the story has never been recounted in a contemporary screen drama.  Contentious to some and inspirational to many, until now, the life and impact of Nat Turner has largely been confined to folktales, novels, documentaries and a few paragraphs here and there in history books.

‘The Birth Of A Nation’ attempts to put a fiery and focused new lens to Turner’s story – taking on the incendiary notions of retaliation and how the institution of slavery continues to afflict and inform present times. The film promises a fresh perspective on what led to his insurrection against slave owners in 1831, and a comprehensive and human portrait of the man behind the rebellion – a man driven by faith and a confidence that God is on the side of the oppressed.

Writer, director and actor Nate Parker takes on a distinctly vast ambition for a first-time filmmaker, presenting a more take-charge slave narrative than audiences are used to seeing. Amidst sweeping action and romance he presents a man driven equally by love, spirituality, fury and hope to free his people from the legacy of bondage in America. In the process, he attempts to restore a figure long relegated as a historical footnote and shows him as the heroic trailblazer he was.

It is no accident that Parker has boldly reclaimed the title of D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film, which, while pioneering modern film techniques, somehow portrayed the Ku Klux Klan as a force for good – a graphic reminder of how racial imagery smoldered in the early days of Hollywood. Parker offers his film as the birth of something new, an alternate take on the birth of the United States of America – the unsung story of those who have pressed the country forward in their yearning to be free and equal.

While a number of revered films have explored the contours of slavery, from ‘12 Years A Slave To Glory’, ‘Amistad’ and ‘Lincoln’, Parker’s motivation is to renew the past and to seek illumination from it, rather than turn the same blind eye that kept people in the dark for so long. “Nat Turner became a leader against incredible odds. So often when we see slavery in popular culture, it is through stories of suffering and endurance. But Nat Turner’s is a more incendiary narrative; he was a slave but also a true rebel against injustice. His story demands to be told honestly; it is timely and speaks to the aspiration of finding racial peace in this country,” says Parker.

 

 

Tagged with