Friday, February 16, 2018

Black Panther

Film Review by Kam Williams


Chadwick Boseman Rises to the Occasion as African King/Marvel Superhero


Chadwick Boseman has already made quite a career out of portraying a variety of prominent African-Americans, from football star Floyd Little (The Express), to baseball great Jackie Robinson (42), to Godfather of Soul James Brown (Get on Up) to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (Marshall). The versatile actor's efforts have been appreciated by the NAACP which has seen fit to nominate him for five Image Awards. 
 
Although Black Panther is a fictional character, the role is ostensibly of no less significance than the historical figures Chadwick has played in the past. That's because black kids have rarely had a superhero that looks like them to root for, even in Africa, where the Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan, was white, too.

Consequently, advance ticket sales for this Afrocentric origins tale have been through the roof, and I'm happy to report that audiences will not be disappointed. For, the film not only features a dignified protagonist and a socially-relevant plotline, but it's also a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. 
 
The picture was directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed) who made the most of his $200 million budget, between visually-captivating special effects and an A-list cast which includes Academy Award-winners Forest Whitaker (for The Last King of Scotland) and Lupita Nyong'o (for 12 Years a Slave), Oscar-nominee Angela Bassett (for What's Love Got to Do with It), as well as Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya and Sterling K. Brown. 
 
At the point of departure, we learn that in ancient times the five tribes of Africa went to war over vibranium, a meteorite which imbues its holder with superhuman powers. Fast-forward to the present and we find T'Challa (Boseman) being summoned home to the fictional nation of Wakanda to assume the reins of power in the wake of the passing of his father, King T'Chaka (John Kani). 
 
Complicating matters is the fact that a number of other warriors covet the throne and that a South African arms smuggler (Andy Serkis) is trying to get his hands on some vibranium. Not to worry. T'Challa has a capable CIA agent (Martin Freeman) and a trio of loyal females on his side in his 16 year-old sister (Letitia Wright), his ex-girlfriend (Nyong'o) and a two-fisted bodyguard (Danai Gurira). 
 
What ensues is an edge of the seat roller coaster ride every bit as entertaining as any Spider-Man, Wonder Woman or other superhero adventure. Simply 'Marvel'-ous!


Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for pervasive violent action sequences and a rude gesture
Running time: 134 minutes
Production Studios: Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


To see a trailer for Black Panther, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxWvtMOGAhw




Thursday, February 15, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for February 20, 2018

 by Kam Williams



This Week’s DVD Releases

The Florida Project [The Sunshine State's Seamy Underbelly]

The Vanishing Black Male [Hisani DuBose's Award-Winning Documentary]

Steve McQueen: American Icon [The Untold True Story of a Hollywood Legend]

Tell Them We Are Rising [The Story of HBCUs]
 

The Star [A Tale of Faith and Friendship]

The Nine Lives of Marion Barry [Mesmerizing Political Biopic]

Resolution Song [Inspirational, Faith-Based Drama]

Broad City: Season 4 [With Over an Hour of Special Features]

Same Kind of Different as Me [Based on the NY Times Best Seller]

Daddy's Home 2 [More Daddies, More Mayhem]

Samson

 
Samson
Film Review by Kam Williams




Biblical Epic Recounts Exploits of Hebrew He-man Handpicked by God


Samson is a popular Biblical figure perhaps best known for being blessed with super-human strength as long as his hair was long. However, regular Sunday school attendees know that there's a lot more to know about the Hebrew he-man introduced in the Book of Judges. 
 
First of all, the arc of his life, mirrored that of Jesus Christ in many ways. For instance, both were the product of a miraculous birth announced by angels. Jesus' mom was a virgin, Samson's was barren. Each was betrayed by a confidante, Judas and Delilah, paid in silver coins. Each ultimately fulfilled a prophecy by delivering their people, the Israelites. And so forth.
Co-directed by Bruce Macdonald and Gabriel Sabloff, Samson is an epic biopic which fleshes out the one-dimensional warrior into a vulnerable soul with a full range of emotions. The picture stars Taylor James in the title role, and Caitlin Leahy as Delilah. 
 
The film unfolds in Gaza in 1170 BC which is where we find the Jews enslaved by the Philistines. But as Samson matured from a boy into a man, it was hard to ignore his threatening combination of ambition and combat skills. So, to show the upstart who's boss, the sadistic King Balek (Billy Zane) arranges a duel with Bolcom (Dylan Williams), a seemingly-invincible behemoth from Egypt. 
 
At first, Samson falters during the fight, prompting a gloating Philistine to ask, "Where's your Hebrew champion now?" a query ostensibly inspired by the Edward G. Robinson's classic line "Where's your Moses now?" uttered in The Ten Commandments. Not to worry. Samson picks himself up off the ground and disposes of the imposing opponent in due time.

Rather than recount what ensues, suffice to say that the story faithfully follows the parable's plotline . That ought to resonate with evangelicals who see the scriptures as history and thus prefer a literal interpretation of the Bible. So don't be surprised to see Samson slay a lion with his bare hands or suddenly lose all his power when shorn of his locks. 
 
An old school religious epic harking back to Cecil B. Demille, replete with mob scenes and breathtaking panoramas.


Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence, including battle sequences
Running time: 109 minutes
Production Studios: Boomtown Films / Pure Flix Productions`
Distributor: Pure Flix Entertainment


To see a trailer for Samson, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSolF3QBVBY



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening February 23, 2018

 
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
by Kam Williams


OPENING THIS WEEK

BIG BUDGET FILMS

Annihilation (R for violence, profanity, sexuality and bloody images) Sci-fi thriller based on Jeff VanderMeer's best seller of the same name about a biologist (Natalie Portman) who volunteers to lead a secret mission into the same environmental disaster area where her husband (Oscar Issac) has disappeared. With Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Every Day (PG-13 for profanity, underage drinking, suggestive material and mature themes) Adaptation of David Levithan's NY Times best seller about a 16 year-old girl (Angourie Rice) who falls in love with a ghost that inhabits a different body every day. Supporting cast includes Debby Ryan, Maria Bello and Justice Smith.

Game Night (R for profanity, sexuality and violence) Crime comedy revolving around a couple (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams) that invites some friends to play a murder mystery, only to have the party turn into a real-life whodunit when the husband's brother (Kyle Chandler) gets kidnapped by what were supposed to be fake thugs. With Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Harris, Camille Chen and Kylie Bunbury. .


INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Curvature (Unrated) Sci-fi thriller about a scientist (Lyndsy Fonseca) who travels back in time after a mysterious phone call in order to stop herself from committing a murder. With Linda Hamilton, Glenn Morshower and Noah Bean.

Half Magic (R for frontal nudity, profanity, graphic sexuality and drug use) Heather Graham wrote, directed and stars in this battle-of-the-sexes comedy revolving around three BFFs' (Graham, Angela Kinsey and Stephanie Beatriz) dating and work woes. With Molly Shannon, Johnny Knoxville and Thomas Lennon.

Hannah (Unrated) Charlotte Rampling plays the title character in this intimate portrait of a housekeeper drifting between denial and reality in the wake of her husband's (Andre Wilms) being sent up the river. Featuring Stephanie Van Vyve, Simon Bisschop and Jessica Fanhan. (In French and English with subtitles)

Hichki (Unrated) Bollywood coming-of-age drama about a young woman (Rani Mukerji) with Tourette syndrome who turns her weakness into a strength en route to landing a teaching position at an elite prep school. With Supriya Pilgaonkar and Ivan Rodrigues. (In Hindi with subtitles)

Mute (Unrated) Futuristic sci-fi, set in Berlin in the 2050s, chronicling a mute bartender's (Alexander Skarsgard) desperate search for his missing girlfriend with the help of a couple of U.S. Army surgeons (Paul Ruddd and Justin Theroux) on a mission of their own. Support cast includes Seyneb Saleh, Robert Sheehan and Noel Clarke.

Survivors Guide to Prison (Unrated) Incarceration documentary with practical tips for felons preparing for a stint behind bars. Featuring commentary by Danny Trejo, RZA, Ice-T, Susan Sarandon, Russell Simmons, Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip.

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (Unrated) Justice delayed documentary investigating the events surrounding the 1946 killing of a black man in an Alabama convenience store by the owner, the director's great-grandfather, a Ku Klux Klansman.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Final Year


Film Review by Kam Williams



Fly on the Wall Documentary Chronicles the Last Days Inside the Obama White House


Besides granting a record number of pardons to non-violent felons convicted of drug offenses, Barack Obama didn't accomplish very much during his last days in office. That's not unusual for a lame duck president, particularly when the opposing party is in control of both houses of Congress. 
 
Remember how the Republicans refused to allow Obama to fill Justice Antonin Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court, even though he still had another 11 months to go in his second term? Well, that was par for the course in 2016, a year marked by GOP obstruction of the White House agenda at every turn, including its only override of a presidential veto. Consequently, all the Obama administration's highlights, from saving the economy, to passing the Affordable Care Act, to the gay marriage initiative, came prior to 2016. 
 
That didn't discourage director Greg Barker from making "The Final Year." After all, he had been afforded unusual access at that time to President Obama and such confidantes as Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. 
 
The film focuses mostly on foreign policy issues, although not much of consequence or of interest was captured while the camera was on. to be honest, what I found most memorable was learning that you can hear rats scurrying around in the White House ceiling in the middle of the night. And that the place has roaches, too! Who knew? 
 
Overall, an unremarkable "fly on the wall," or should I say, "roach on the wall" documentary strictly for political junkies and Obama fans who might miss the man.


Good (2 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 89 minutes
Production Studio: Motto Pictures / Passion Pictures / Prettybird`
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures


To see a trailer for The Final Year, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnaHHOMErVk

Top Ten DVD List for February 13, 2018

by Kam Williams
 

This Week’s DVD Releases

The Gospel Collection [First Ever, Unedited, Word-for-Word Film Adaptation]

Wonder [A Heartwarming Tale of Kindness and Friendship]

The Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection [6-DVD Gift Set]

Roman J. Israel, Esq. [Featuring Oscar-Nominee Denzel Washington]

Benji [The Original Classic]

Paradise [A Haunting Look at the Holocaust]

The Gospel of Matthew [First Ever, Unedited, Word-for-Word Film Adaptation]

#ArtOffLine [An Examination of Art in the Internet Age]

Brotherhood of Blades II [The Infernal Battlefield]

Line 41 [A Powerful, Personal Holocaust Documentary]


Honorable Mention

The Deuce Season One [The Rise of NYC's Porn Industry in the 70s]

The Sinner: Season One [Based on Petra Hammesfahr's Crime Novel]

Flames [A Real Romance Filmed over 5 Years]

Blaze and the Monster Machines [Heroes of Axle City]

We're Going on a Bear Hunt [Based on the Best-Selling Children's Book]

Hey Arnold! [The Jungle Movie]

Nova: Extreme Animal Weapons [Nature's Defense Mechanisms]

A French Village [Season 7]

American Experience [The Bombing of Wall St.]

Garfield [Nine Lives]

Nature [Arctic Wolf Pack]


PBS Kids [Ocean Adventures]


Dinosaur Train [Big Pond Adventures]



Saturday, February 10, 2018

Roman J. Israel, Esq.



DVD Review by Kam Williams


DVD Features Denzel Washington's Latest Oscar-Nominated Performance

Roman J. Israel (Denzel Washington) is a high-functioning savant on the autism spectrum who has been practicing law in L.A. for the past 36 years. The brilliant attorney has spent most of his career under the radar, writing legal briefs in a rear office for indigent criminal defendants, while his partner, William Henry Jackson, served as the face of the firm, whether cultivating clients or arguing their cases in the courtroom.

This unorthodox arrangement worked well for Roman who, besides his disorder, is a longtime political activist dedicated to a progressive agenda, namely, to assist downtrodden individuals unfairly ensnared in the net of the prison-industrial complex. And because of that commitment, he's been willing to work for far less pay than colleagues of his caliber. Consequently, the highly-principled lawyer has had to scrape by on a modest salary, living in the same dive for decades, where he subsisted on a steady diet of peanut butter sandwiches and jazz classics played on an old-fashioned turntable. 
 
Everything changes the day William Jackson suffers a heart attack and the two-person firm is forced to dissolve. Roman first applies for a position with a public interest non-profit that shares his values. But when the empathetic director (Carmen Ejogo) explains that she doesn't have the money to hire an attorney, he resigns himself to joining a corporate firm where he's soon teamed with a young associate (Colin Farrell) interested only in maximizing profits.

This leaves Roman sitting on the horns of an ethical dilemma. Should he abandon his morals to keep a roof over his head? That is the question at the center of Roman J. Israel, Esq., a compelling character portrait written and directed by Oscar-nominee Dan Gilroy (for Nightcrawler). 
 
The legendary Denzel Washington is quite convincing as well as moving, here, as a beleaguered soul afflicted with Asperberger's syndrome. And the Academy does have a history of rewarding thespians playing impaired characters, including Eddie Redmayne (2014) for wheelchair-bound Stephen Hawking (ALS); Colin Firth (2010) for stuttering King George VI; Geoffrey Rush (1996) for mentally-ill David Helfgott; Tom Hanks (1994) for dimwitted Forest Gump; Tom Hanks (1993) for AIDS patient Andrew Beckett; Daniel Day-Lewis (1989) for cerebral palsy victim Christy Brown; and Dustin Hoffman (1988) for mathematics savant Rain Man.

Win, lose or draw, Denzel deserves accolades aplenty for his powerful, Oscar-nominated performance.


Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence and profanity
Running time: 129 minutes
Production Studio: Bron Creative / Cross Creek Pictures / Escape Artists / FZ /Macro
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: 8 deleted scenes; Denzel Washington: Becoming Roman; The Making of Roman J. Israel, Esq.; and Colin Farrell: Discovering George.



To see a trailer for Roman J. Israel, Esq., visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CItEtnp3nPY

 
To order a copy of Roman J. Israel, Esq. on DVD, visit:



Basmati Blues


Film Review by Kam Williams



Cross-Cultural Love Triangle at Heart of Bollywood-Style Musical 
 

Dr. Linda Watt (Brie Larson) is a scientist doing research for Mogil, a leading agri-chemical company based in New York. The young doctor is so thrilled about genetically engineering a strain of Basmati rice that yields 22% more grains per acre that she spontaneously breaks into song on Fifth Avenue, right in front of the iconic Flatiron building. 
 
Mogil's CEO (Donald Sutherland) is just as excited by her groundbreaking discovery, but all he sees are dollar signs. He decides to launch the new product over in India, where about a billion and a half people eat rice every day. 
 
But first, the farmers have to be talked into switching to Rice 9 from the reliable strain they've used for generations. So, he sends Linda over to the subcontinent to market her invention herself.

Trouble is, she's a nerd who's far more comfortable working long hours in a lab than addressing big crowds. Worse, she has no idea that the small print in the "Rice 9" contract will force the signers to buy their seeds from Mogil year after year forever. The question is whether Dr. Watt will wise up to the fact that she's being used to by her greedy boss to ruin millions of farmers financially. 
 
Besides business, Linda finds time for a little romance during her stay. First, sparks fly with William (Saahil Sehgal), the local yokel serving as her tour guide. Then, she develops a little chemistry with Rajit (Utkarsh Ambudkar), a rebellious college student suspicious of Mogil's intentions. 
 
Thus unfolds Basmati Blues, a musical dramedy reminiscent of La La Land. Unfortunately, this relatively-amateurish production fails to measure up in terms of plot, acting, cinematography or soundtrack. The movie marks the ambitious directorial debut of Dan Baron, previously best known for writing the screenplay for a kiddie comedy, See Spot Run. 
 
Baron ostensibly bit off more than he could chew here, frustrating his A-list ensemble by rarely allowing them to play to their strengths. For instance, why make the audience suffer through Donald Sutherland's woefully-strained warbling? Equally miscast are six-time Emmy-winner Tyne Daly and Golden Globe-winner Scott Bakula.

A shaky, Bollywood-style musical worth a watch only to see Oscar-winner Brie Larson give it her all.



Good (2 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 106 minutes
Production Studios: Red Baron Films / Considered Entertainment / Zas Film AG
Distributor: Shout! Studios


To see a trailer for Basmati Blues, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI-QLWNlTas

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening February 16, 2018


Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun 
by Kam Williams


OPENING THIS WEEK

BIG BUDGET FILMS

Black Panther (PG-13 for pervasive violent action sequences and a rude gesture) Chadwick Boseman handles the title role in this Marvel Comics origins tale which finds the superhero serving as king of an African country before teaming with a CIA agent (Martin Freeman) and a female, special forces unit to avert world war. With Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o and Andy Serkis.

Early Man (PG for action and rude humor) Stop-motion animated adventure, set during the Bronze Age, revolving around a caveman (Eddie Redmayne) who rallies his tribe to win back their idyllic valley homeland from an evil warlord (Tom Hiddleston). Voice cast includes Nick Park, Maisie Williams and Timothy Spall.

Samson (PG-13 for violence, including battle sequences) Faith-based drama recounting the Biblical tale about a heroic, Hebrew he-man (Taylor James) called upon by God to free Israel from the Philistines. With Billy Zane, Rutger Hauer, Jackson Rathbone and the "Bionic Woman" Lindsay Wagner.



INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Aiyaary (Unrated) East Indian action thriller about an army colonel (Manoj Bajpayee) who has 36 hours to rein in his once-promising protege gone rogue (Sidharth Malhotra). With Rakul Preet Singh, Pooja Chopra and Adil Hussain. (In Hindi with subtitles)

Double Lover (Unrated) Adaptation of "Lives of the Twins," Joyce Carol Oates' best seller revolving around a vulnerable young woman (Marine Vath) who falls in love with a shrink (Jeremie Renier) with a split personality. Featuring Jacqueline Bisset, Myriam Boyer and Dominique Reymond. (In French with subtitles)

Irreplaceable You (Unrated) Bittersweet drama, set in NYC, about a terminally-ill bride-to-be's (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) attempt to find another mate for her fiance (Michiel Huisman) before she passes away. With Kate McKinnon, Jacki Weaver, Steve Coogan and Christopher Walken.

Loveless (R for profanity, graphic sexuality, frontal nudity and a disturbing image) Dysfunctional family drama, set in Moscow, about a cohabitating couple (Maryana Spivak and Aleksey Rosin) going through a bitter divorce who set aside their differences to search for their son (Matvey Novikov) when he suddenly disappears. Supporting cast includes Marina Vasileva, Andris Keiss and Aleksey Fateev. (In Russian with subtitles)

Oh Lucy! (Unrated) Poignant character portrait of a lonely cleaning lady (Shinobu Terajima) who travels from Tokyo to Southern California to search for the English teacher (Josh Hartnett) she has a crush on. Featuring Kaho Mnami, Koji Yakusho and Megan Mullally. (In English and Japanese with subtitles)

The Party (R for profanity and drug use) Dark comedy, set in London, about a British politician (Kristin Scott Thomas) who invites her friends over to celebrate her appointment to the cabinet, only to have the evening ruined when her husband (Timothy Spall) and others share some dramatic news of their own. With Emily Mortimer, Cillian Murphy and Patricia Clarkson.

Poop Talk (Unrated) Humor-driven documentary taking an uncensored look at feces. Featuring commentary by comedians Adam Carolla, Rob Cordrry and Bobby Lee.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Rel Dowdell

The “Where's Daddy?” Interview
with Kam Williams


Renaissance Brother!

Rel Dowdell is a screenwriter, film director and producer, as well as an English/screenwriting professor. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he received his B.A. in English magna cum laude from Fisk University and an M.A. in Film and Screenwriting with highest distinction from Boston University. 
 
Rel's first feature film, Train Ride, garnered widespread critical acclaim. Produced with independent financing, the movie was acquired by Sony Pictures in 2005 and enjoyed tremendous financial success. In addition, the film featured the final performance of the late Esther "Florida" Rolle.

Rel's second feature, Changing the Game, is a drama that was shot in Philadelphia over the course of a summer. The film stars Sean Riggs, Irma P. Hall, Dennis L.A. White and Mari White, with special appearances by Sticky Fingaz and Tony Todd. The picture was cited by FilmFresh.com as one of the top three African-American films of 2012.

Here, Rel discusses his third full-length feature, a documentary examining the Child Support System entitled Where's Daddy?



Kam Williams: Hi Rel, thanks for the interview.
Rel Dowdell: Always an honor, Kam. This was an interview
I was really looking forward to doing.

KW: I loved Where's Daddy? What interested you in the subject of child support?
RD: I was simply tired of seeing how negatively African-American fathers were depicted in the media. Shows like "The Maury Povich Show" truly cast a disparaging light on African-American fathers who always look completely dysfunctional in relationships with African-American women. And, in addition, they look like they are always embracing the aspect of not being a responsible father, like it's the last thing on their minds. They look scared to death to be a father and running from fatherhood. Moreover, they have hatred for the child because the child was with a woman they no longer have an affinity for. Those are very damaging and malignant images in society today. One should never embellish stereotypes that are crippling. Therefore, I wanted this film to show that there are a myriad of African-American fathers out there who really want to be active and loving fathers to their children, but have been faced with some arduous circumstances, some seen, and some unforeseen, that have hindered them from doing so. I wanted to give African-American fathers a voice that they previously did not have, to share their most personal stories about the pitfalls they have faced with the child support system and their failed relationships.

KW: This was your first documentary. Did you have any trepidations about tackling a new genre?
RD: A little. I realize now that it's vital for filmmakers to embark on doing a feature-length documentary. It really makes one go into places and chasms of creativity that one previously would never have the chance to with doing strictly feature films. There's a certain nobility in working with subjects who are giving you their innermost feelings with no script. It's cathartic, not just for the subjects, but also the filmmaker. I thought your comment in your review comparing me to Michael Moore was insightful, for the African-American community has never really had that type of filmmaker tackle some of the most important and affecting
issues in our community. It's long overdue.

KW: How do you go about presenting a balanced view of the child support issue when you might be tempted to slant the film towards one side or the other?
RD: You have to go into dealing with each subject in a non-accusatory fashion. Don't make each subject feel like it's an interrogation. One of my subjects was a father who had eight children with seven different women. One may feel that father should be demonized. However, it was important to let that particular father tell why he made the decisions he made over and over, and see if he learned anything from them. His answers, I think, will surprise the audience. I also asked an African-American mother why she filed for child support. Her answer, I think, will also surprise, as well as enlighten.

KW: Who is your intended audience?
RD: Everyone. We all came from parents. Some of us have great and loving relationships with our parents, and some, unfortunately, do not. Some people never knew who their father was, and that's tragic. Our parents, or lack thereof, have a profound effect on our lives and the person we end up becoming. The child support system has a lot of problems with it that people do not want to discuss. It's taboo to millions of people. That's what makes this film so important. It's not dealing with an "also ran" topic. It's not dealing with a topic that's only relevant for a short period of time. It's dealing with one that's lasting and paramount to all communities, for it affects all communities. However, it affects African-American fathers, and subsequently, their families, often in vastly more negative fashions. One father says he was about to take his children fishing one morning, and the sheriffs came and shackled him in handcuffs and foot shackles like a slave. Imagine how that indelible image will affect his children long-term.

KW: What message do you want people to take away from Where's Daddy?
RD: That the child support system does not truly assist who it's supposed to, which are the children. It often creates irreparable resentment and hatred between fathers and mothers. Men have died from it. Men have become emasculated from it. Men feel like they have no self-worth from it. Children become broken mentally and emotionally from it. Often, mothers even hate their sons from it because of the estranged relationship with the father. This begins another cycle of dysfunction and emasculation. It is important to remember that first things learned are hardest to forget. Traditions pass from one generation to the next. The system needs to be changed. I hope people embrace the message. There's something in it for everyone.

KW: Was there a meaningful spiritual component to your childhood?
RD: Most definitely. I hope that comes across in the film. One major spiritual component that I've always embraced is to welcome the opportunity to be a messenger or an emissary. It is a blessing.

KW: Who loved you unconditionally during your formative years?
RD: Thank God, I had a great family support system. I had both parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins who all had significant impacts on my life that I will always be thankful for.

KW: What was your very first job?
RD: Working maintenance at a bank. Putting in light fixtures and sweeping the streets out front.

KW: The Toure question: Who is the person who most inspired you to become the person you are today?
RD: I would probably say my mother, for she took me to a lot of movies when I was a child. I was greatly influenced by those experiences. There's nothing like having the cinematic experience on a consistent basis when you're growing up. I became fascinated and captivated by it.

KW: Rudy Lewis asks: Who’s at the top of your hero list?
RD: Anyone who's not afraid to stand up for themselves and rise against adverse circumstances.

KW: Let's say you’re throwing your dream dinner party—who’s invited… and what would you serve?
RD: I Some luminaries like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Dr. King, Fannie Lou Hamer, the Dalai Lama, Sidney Poitier, Hattie McDaniel... And tell Sanaa Lathan she's invited, too! I would serve a culmination of everything. Exquisite foods from all cultures. That would be awesome.

KW: The Jamie Foxx question: If you only had 24 hours to live, how would you spend the time?
RD: With family.

KW: What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
RD: Realizing that, sadly, many have an inherent fear and dislike of African-American men for no reason. This can even pertain within the African-American race in how we deal with one another. As an African-American man with principles and pride, I realized that at an early age, and I am always on alert for it.

KW: The DulĂ© Hill question. Do you think that the success you’ve achieved in your career is because of you, because of a higher power, or because of a mixture of both?
RD: Definitely both. The higher power makes you who who are, but it's up to you to embrace it.

KW: The Flex Alexander question: How do you get through the tough times?
RD: Prayer.

KW: The Dana Perino question: What keeps you up at night?
RD: Racism and discrimination against African-American men. It's an epidemic that needs to be addressed and rectified with the closest of attention by those who understand it and can really make a difference.

KW: The Pastor Alex Kendrick question: When do you feel the most content?
RD: During those moments of solitude and reflection when I know I've completed a task successfully.

KW: Finally, Samuel L. Jackson asks: What’s in your wallet?
RD Not money! I lose money too much when it's in there. I've learned to just keep cards in my wallet. They can be replaced, but money can not.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Rel, and best of luck with the film.
RD: Thanks a million, Kam! It's always a privilege to converse with one of the world's preeminent and most socially-aware critics.


To see a trailer for Where's Daddy? visit: https://vimeo.com/251094520

To purchase a copy of Where's Daddy? visit