Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Film Review by Kam Williams

Israeli Couple Grieves Loss of Soldier Son in Poignant, Deliberately-Paced Drama

Michael (Lior Ashkenazi) and Dafna Feldmann (Sarah Adler) live in Tel Aviv with their daughter Alma (Shira Haas). They also have a son, Jonathan (Yonaton Shiray), who is a Staff Sergeant serving at a remote border outpost located somewhere in the Sinai desert.

He's a member of an army unit code-named "Foxtrot" whose job is to thoroughly search the cars of Palestinians coming into Israel. Their assignment is mostly uneventful which is why Jonathan breaks the monotony by drawing cartoons and dancing with his rifle, fantasizing that the gun is an attractive young woman.

Unfortunately, his parents lives are shattered the day members of the Israeli military show up at the door unannounced to regretfully inform them that their son has died in the line of duty. Dafna faints while Michael goes into shock. Luckily, the soldiers assigned to this grim detail are well trained in assisting the grief-stricken relatives of their fallen comrades. 
They quickly sedate Dafna and explain to her husband how they will handle all of the funeral arrangements. That proves quite necessary, since both of the Feldmanns remain detached from reality for the foreseeable future.

That is the poignant premise of Foxtrot, a deliberately-paced drama written and directed by Samuel Maoz (Lebanon), a film featuring a trio of distinctly different acts. The first revolves around Michael and Dafna's aforementioned reaction to receiving news of the tragedy.

The second scenario is set in the desert where we observe Jonathan's unit at work and play. And the final tableau unfolds back at the Feldmanns' home where we now witness a marriage in crisis coming apart at the seams. 
Alternately heartrending, surreal and thought-provoking, Foxtrot is essentially an anxiety-inducing depiction of the loss of a child with a mind-bending twist tossed in for good measure.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, graphic images and brief drug use
Running time: 113 minutes
In Hebrew and German with subtitles
Production Studios: Bord Cadre Films
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

To see a trailer for Foxtrot, visit:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Win Bigly

Book Review by Kam Williams
Win Bigly
Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter
by Scott Adams
Hardcover, $27.00
304 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7352-1971-7

On August 13, 2015, I predicted on my blog that Donald Trump had a 98% chance of winning the presidency based on his persuasion skills... Persuasion is all about the tools and techniques of changing people's minds, with or without facts and reason...
Why did I say Trump had exactly a 98% chance of winning... Trump is the best persuader I have ever seen in action. The wall is a perfect example. Consider how much discipline it took for him to... be willing to endure brutal criticism about how dumb he was to think he could secure the border with a wall...
During the presidential campaign, it seemed that candidate Trump was making one factual error after another. Social media and the mainstream media... called him a liar, a con man, and just plain stupid... [But] Trump often stuck to his claims after the media thoroughly debunked them...
It was mind-boggling. No one was quite sure if the problem was his honesty, his lack of homework, or some sort of brain problem...
I am a trained hypnotist... Based on my background in that field, I recognized his talents early... Trump is what I call a Master Persuader."
-- Excerpted from pages 1-2 and19-23.

How did Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election? All the experts confidently predicted he would lose only to serve up an unconvincing explanations like low Democrat voter turnout in swing states when they were shocked by the outcome. 
But there was never a doubt in the mind of Scott Adams who confidently predicted a Trump landslide soon after he declared himself a candidate. And who is Scott Adams? Not a pollster or a political pundit. No, he's a syndicated cartoonist. 
If the name rings a bell, that's because he's the creator of Dilbert, the popular comic strip revolving around a beleaguered white-collar worker. But Scott is also a hypnotist, and he knew who would win when he observed Trump skillfully employing all the tricks of a master persuader.

Adams argues in Win Bigly that, by design, Donald would sprinkle his speeches with seductive catchphrases like, "Believe me," "It's true," and "Many people are saying..." It didn't matter that he often contradicted himself and outright lied. 
For, according to the author, humans have a design flaw in that we are terribly susceptible to manipulators well-versed in mind-control techniques. And sure enough, Trump did enjoy a lopsided victory, at least in terms of the Electoral College. 
A sobering post mortem on the presidential election suggesting that half the American populace might be under the spell of a modern-day Machiavelli. 

To order a copy of Win Bigly, visit: 


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

DVD Review by Kam Williams

7-Time Oscar Nominee Released on DVD

Twenty years ago, Frances McDormand won an Academy Award for Fargo, a delightful whodunit set in a tiny Minnesota town inhabited by a cornucopia of colorful local yokels. In that Coen Brothers' black comedy, she played a dedicated police chief who was tireless in her efforts to crack a murder case, despite being pregnant. 
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is a similarly-dark mystery set in the Midwest that's also full of folksy characters. But this go-round, McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, the mother of a teenager (Kathryn Newton) whose beaten and raped corpse was found lying in a ditch along a lonely stretch of road. 
It's been seven months since the slaying, and the Ebbing police seem to have lost interest in apprehending the perpetrator. So, in order to light a fire under the department, Mildred rents a trio of billboards near the murder scene on which she asks Chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) in 20-ft.high, block letters why he hasn't yet made an arrest.

Unfortunately, the ploy backfires. Yes, it embarrasses the chief. However, it also generates public sympathy for him, given how everybody in the tight-knit community knows he's been battling pancreatic cancer. 
Undeterred in her quest for justice, Mildred subsequently prevails upon Willoughby's dimwitted deputy (Sam Rockwell) to pick up the ball. But Dixon's a revenge-minded racist who'd rather hassle than help the mom in mourning while arresting African-American citizens for minor infractions of the law. 
Written and directed by Oscar-winner Martin McDonagh (for Six Shooter), Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is a thought-provoking social satire which paints a chilling, yet plausible, portrait of just what it might be like to fight an entrenched patriarchy comfortable with a status quo favoring white males. 
Look for Frances McDormand to land another Oscar next Sunday for a superb performance where she convincingly conveys the profound distress of a grief-stricken mother desperate for answers.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for violence, sexual references, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity
Running time: 116 minutes
Studio: Blueprint Pictures
Distributor: Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Crucify ‘Em: The Making of Three Billboards; and Six Shooter (Short Film).

To see a trailer for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, visit:

To order a copy of the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit: 


Darkest Hour

Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams

Oldman Delivers Oscar-Quality Performance as Churchill in WWII Saga

Curiously, Darkest Hour and Dunkirk basically cover the same ground, namely, Winston Churchill's (Gary Oldman) first month as Prime Minister of Great Britain. When he was sworn in on May 10, 1940, the country was at war with Germany which had already conquered most of Europe and was just starting to invade Belgium, France and the Netherlands. 
Churchill's predecessor, Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) had unsuccessfully employed a diplomatic policy of appeasement which had only served to embolden Hitler. And soon after entering office, Winston found himself facing a daunting task once the Nazis' blitzkrieg had broken through the Maginot Line. 
Suddenly, the Allied forces were in full retreat, including hundreds of thousands of British soldiers. They were being driven to the sea, where they would be sitting ducks for the Luftwaffe.
Now, where Dunkirk focused on the evacuation of the troops by an impromptu flotilla of private citizens, Darkest Hour narrowly focuses on Churchill's leadership and oratory skills. After all, it was no mean feat to convince a woefully-equipped nation that it could successfully ramp up its defenses to take on the ravenous war machine practically on its doorstep. 
Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement), Darkest Hour does a magnificent job of plumbing the depths of Churchill's psyche as well as recreating a number of his inspirational speeches, concluding with his historic "We shall never surrender!" address delivered to Parliament on June 4th. 
Unfortunately, Darkest Hour pales in comparison to the visually-captivating Dunkirk. Too bad the introspective and action-oriented productions weren't spliced together. Nevertheless, Gary Oldman is likely to land the Oscar that has long eluded him for his sterling portrayal of the British Bulldog.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for mature themes
Running time: 125 minutes
Production Studios: Working Title Films / Perfect World Pictures
Distributor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Into Darkest Hour; Gary Oldman Becoming Churchill; and Movies Anywhere (digital app).

To see a trailer for Darkest Hour, visit:

To order a copy of in Blu-ray/DVD format, visit: 


Murder on the Orient Express
Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams

Remake of Agatha Christie's Classic Whodunit Comes to Home Video

First published in 1936, Murder on the Orient Express revolved around the most famous case handled by Inspector Hercule Poirot. Created by Agatha Christie, the Belgian detective appeared in 33 of her novels, as well as a play and over 50 short stories.
This complex crime caper was first brought to the big screen by Sidney Lumet in a fairly faithful adaptation co-starring Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Sir John Gielgud, Albert Finney and Jacqueline Bisset. Bergman won the last of her three Oscars for her sterling performance as Greta Ohlsson, a Swedish nurse.
Murder on the Orient Express 2.0 was directed by five-time, Oscar-nominee Kenneth Branagh who assembled a top-flight cast with an equally-impressive pedigree. His A-List ensemble features Academy Award-winners Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz, along with nominees Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe and Johnny Depp.
Branagh also stars as Poirot, sporting a world-class mustache while playing the super sleuth with perfect aplomb. The visually-captivating costume drama is perhaps more memorable for its breathtaking panoramas than the deliberately-paced mystery which takes its sweet time to be unraveled.
The picture's point of departure is Jerusalem, which is where we find Poirot paying homage at the Wailing Wall before boarding a slow boat to Istanbul. There, he starts soaking in the sights until the vacation is cut short by a telegram summoning him back to London immediately.
With the help of a fellow Belgian who happens to be a train company executive (Tom Bateman), he secures a berth aboard the lavishly-outfitted Orient Express for what he reasonably expected to be an unremarkable three-day trip. However, he shifts into detective mode when an American art dealer (Johnny Depp) dies soon after expressing a fear of being killed.
As Poirot digs deeper and deeper for clues, we gradually see that each of the 13 passengers had a good reason to want the unsavory character dead. Sure, everybody's a suspect, but which one's a murderer?
An Agatha Christie classic whodunit solved the old-fashioned way... by the extraordinary deductive reasoning of the legendary Hercule Poirot!

Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence, ethnic slurs and mature themes
In English and French with subtitles
Running time: 114 minutes
Production Studio: Kinberg Genre / The Mark Gordon Company
Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Agatha Christie: An Intimate Portrait; Let’s Talk About Hercule Poirot; Unusual Suspects (Part One, Two and Three); The Art of Murder; All Aboard: filming Murder on the Orient Express; Music of Murder; deleted scenes (with and without commentary by Kenneth Branagh and Michael Green; director commentary by Kenneth Branagh and Michael Green; theatrical trailers; and a stills gallery.

To see a trailer for Murder on the Orient Express, visit:

To order a copy of Murder on the Orient Express in Blu-ray/DVD format visit: 

The Envelope Please: Your Guide to the Oscars

by Kam Williams

Who Will Win, Who Deserves to Win, Who Was Snubbed

             If you're planning on entering an Oscar pool at the office or online, you might want to check out my pix first. After all, given my immersion in movies, movie biz and movie buzz, this is the one time each year when my otherwise useless font of film trivia knowledge can actually prove profitable to readers. 
            Fair warning, my past performance, including a perfect score in 2014, is no guarantee of future results. That disclaimer out of the way, look for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to win thrice Sunday night, for Best Picture, Lead Actress and Supporting Actor. 
 But Shape of Water's Guillermo del Toro is still the favorite for Best Director, since he won't have to compete with Three Billboards' Martin McDonagh who wasn't even nominated in the category. Despite landing 13 nominations, Shape is likely to take home only a couple of additional trophies. And don't waste a vote on perennial nominee Meryl Streep. Frances McDormand's a shoo-in.
As far as snubs, this year it was less a case of actors being overlooked by Oscar than their being torpedoed by the #MeToo movement. For instance, after winning a Golden Globe for The Disaster Artist, James Franco wasn't even nominated for an Oscar when several devastating sexual abuse allegations were leveled at him.
Similarly, Baby Driver, this critic's favorite film of the year, was only nominated in three technical categories after Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual harassment. Spacey's fall from grace ostensibly affected not only his own prospects this awards season, but also those of his co-stars Ansel Elgort and Jamie Foxx, as well as the picture's writer/director Edgar Wright.
The 90th Academy Awards, set to air on March 4th on ABC, and the show will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Best Picture

Will Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Deserves to Win: Lady Bird
Overlooked: Baby Driver, Wind River

Best Director

Will Win: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)
Deserves to Win: Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
Overlooked: Edgar Wright (Baby Driver), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Best Actor

Will Win: Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)
Deserves to Win: Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name)
Overlooked: James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver)

Best Actress

Will Win: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Deserves to Win: Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
Overlooked: Sally Hawkins (Maudie), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Deserves to Win: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)
Overlooked: Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name), Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me by Your Name)

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Deserves to Win: Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)
Overlooked: Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Elizabeth Olsen (Wind River)

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Deserves to Win: Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
Overlooked: Edgar Wright (Baby Driver), Taylor Sheridan (Wind River)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: James Ivory (Call Me by Your Name)
Deserves to Win: Dee Rees (Mudbound)
Overlooked: Allan Heinberg and Zack Snyder (Wonder Woman)

Predictions for the Balance of the Categories

Animated Feature: Coco
Foreign Language Film: A Fantastic Woman
Documentary Feature: Faces Places
Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049
Costume Design: Phantom Thread
Production Design: The Shape of Water
Film Editing: Dunkirk
Makeup and Hairstyling: Darkest Hour
Original Score: The Shape of Water
Best Song: "Remember Me" (Coco)
Sound Editing: Dunkirk
Sound Mixing: Dunkirk
Visual Effects: War for the Planet of the Apes
Animated Short: Dear Basketball
Documentary Short: Edith + Eddie
Live Action Short: DeKalb Elementary

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for February 27, 2018

This Week’s DVD Releases

by Kam Williams

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri [Nominated for 7 Oscars]

Darkest Hour [Gary Oldman Delivers as Winston Churchill]

Coco [Nominated for Best Animated Feature Oscar]

Murder on the Orient Express [Remake of Agatha Christie's Classic Whodunit]

Quest [A Portrait of a Philly African-American Family]

Rebecka Martinson: Series 1 [Searching for Justice at the Edge of the World]

Copyright Criminals [The Funky Drummer Edition]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider [Angelina Jolie as the Video Game Superhero]]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2 [The Cradle of Life]

Gate II [Return to the Nightmare]

Friday, February 23, 2018

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening March 2, 2018

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun  
by Kam Williams 



Death Wish (R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity) Remake of the Charles Bronson vigilante classic about a mild-mannered doctor (Bruce Willis) who takes the law into his own hands after his wife (Elisabeth Shue) is murdered and his daughter (Camila Morrone) is brutally raped and left comatose by a ruthless gang. With Vincent D'Onofrio, Kimberly Elise and Dean Norris.

Red Sparrow (R for profanity, sexuality, frontal nudity, graphic violence and torture) Espionage thriller revolving around a Russian ballerina (Jennifer Lawrence) recruited by the KGB who ends up falling for the CIA agent (Joel Edgerton) she was supposed to seduce and compromise. Support cast includes Charlotte Rampling, Jeremy Irons and Matthias Schoenaerts.


Foxtrot (R for sexuality, graphic images and brief drug use) Middle East saga, set in Tel Aviv, revolving around a couple (Lior Ashkenazi and Sarah Adler) grieving the loss of a son (Yonaton Shiray) serving in the military. With Dekel Adin, Yehuda Almagor and Gefen Barkai. (In Hebrew with subtitles)

Hondros (Unrated) Reverential biopic chronicling the career of Chris Hondros (1970-2011), an intrepid war photographer who covered conflicts in Iraq, Kosovo, Kashmir, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Israel and Liberia before being killed in Libya during a mortar attack.

Mohawk (Unrated) Revenge thriller, set during the War of 1812, about the pursuit of an Indian woman (Kaniehtiio Horn) and her two lovers (Justin Rain and Eamon Farren) by the survivors of the American camp they burned to the ground. With Noah Segan, Ezra Buzzington and Jon Huber. (In English, Mohawk and French 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)

Souvenir (Unrated) Romance drama about a jaded factory worker (Isabelle Huppert) inspired by a younger colleague (Kevin Azais) to pursue her abandoned dream by entering a national singing contest. With Johan Leysen, Muriel Bersy and Fanny Blanchard. (In French with subtitles)

Submission (Unrated) Adaptation of "Blue Angel," Francine Prose's novel about a best-selling author-turned-English professor (Stanley Tucci) who finds himself attracted to a talented new student (Addison Timlin). Support cast includes Kyra Sedgwick, Janeane Garofalo and Ritchie Coster.

They Remain (Unrated) Suspense thriller revolving around a couple of romantically-linked scientists (William Jackson Harper and Rebecca Henderson) investigating the bizarre behavior of animals on the grounds of an abandoned compound where a cult once committed mass murder.

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall (R for profanity and sexual references) Logan Lerman plays the title character in this whodunit about a writer who disappears without a trace after publishing a best seller. With Elle Fanning, Michelle Monaghan and Nathan Lane.

When They Call You a Terrorist

Book Review by Kam Williams

When They Call You a Terrorist
A Black Lives Matter Memoir
by Patrisse Khan-Cullors with asha bandele
Foreword by Angela Davis
St. Martin's Press
Hardcover, $24.99
272 pages
ISBN: 978-1-250-17108-5

We have joined the rest of the country in protesting in order to get Trayvon Martin's killer charged. We have gone to meetings and held one-on-ones with community members. We have painted murals. We have wept.
We have said publicly that we are a people in mourning. We have demanded they stop killing us. But we have harmed not one single person nor advocated for it. They have no right to be here!”
And yet I was called a terrorist. The members of our movement are called terrorists. We--me, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi--the three women who founded Black Lives Matter, are called terrorists...
We are not terrorists... I am not a terrorist... I am a survivor."
-- Excerpted from pages 8 and 190

Patrisse Khan-Cullors is one of the last people you'd ever expect to be a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. It's not a question of her commitment to the cause but rather the host of personal issues that would have crippled the average person. 
But this 5' 2" lesbian managed to survive a challenging childhood in a drug-infested ghetto where she and her siblings were raised by a single-mom who worked 16 hours a day to keep a roof over their heads. She didn't even meet her crackhead of a father until she was twelve, as he divided his time between rehab and prison. 
One of her brothers not only smoked crack, but was schizophrenic to boot. Consequently, Patrisse became intimately familiar with both the mental health and criminal justice systems. Meanwhile, at school, she was routinely teased and physically attacked for being gay. 
To paraphrase Langston Hughes, life for Patrisse ain't been no crystal stair. Nevertheless, when she learned that Trayvon Martin's killer hadn't been arrested by the police, she was so outraged that she created the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter which soon exploded into a nationwide movement.

Although the African-American community appreciated her efforts, the same couldn't be said for the LAPD which labeled Patrisse a terrorist and fabricated a flimsy excuse to conduct a SWAT team raid of her apartment. All of the above is revisited in riveting fashion in When They Call You a Terrorist, a fascinating combination autobiography and blow-by-blow account of the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. 
A must-read memoir by a beleaguered grassroots organizer with greatness thrust upon her.

To order a copy of When They Call You a Terrorist, visit: 


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Malcolm X: The Lost Tapes

Film Review by Kam Williams

Intriguing Documentary Features Found Footage of Late Civil Rights Icon

Malcolm X (1925-1965) is best remembered as the charismatic spokesperson for the Nation of Islam whose fiery speeches helped the Black Muslims' ranks swell from 6,000 to 75,000 between 1956 and 1961. However, he fell out of favor with the sect's founder, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, soon after making his pilgrimage to Mecca. 
While there, Malcolm prayed alongside Muslims of every hue who treated him like a brother. Consequently, upon returning to the States, he announced that he could no longer ascribe to one of his sect's basic tenets, namely, that white people were a genetically-engineered race of devils created in a lab 6,600 years ago by a rogue scientist called Yakub. 
Since that claptrap was a core belief upon which the Nation of Islam was founded, Malcolm found himself marked for death for his blasphemous change of heart. And less than a year later, he was assassinated by three members of the Fruit of Islam, the paramilitary wing of the Nation of Islam. 
Malcolm X: The Lost Tapes revisits the late icon's abbreviated career. The film features found footage illustrating the late civil rights leader's concern for the welfare of all African-Americans.

For instance, in one snippet, he says: "We're not brutalized because we're Muslims, Baptists or Catholics, but because we're black people living in the United States." Then, attempting to inspire his followers to appreciate their appearance, he asks: "Who taught you to hate the way you look from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet?"

You might be surprised to know that Malcolm attended but did not speak at the historic March on Washington in 1963. Here, he explains why he disagreed with Dr. Martin Luther King's non-violent philosophy. "There is nothing in the Koran that teaches us to suffer peacefully. If someone puts his hands on you, send him to the cemetery!" 
He also attempts to convert black military veterans to his cause by declaring that if they were willing to die overseas fighting to save Europeans from Hitler, they ought to be just as eager to shed blood to liberate their own people. Suggesting that it was silly to wait for segregationist Congressmen to end Jim Crow, Malcolm summarizes with a clarion call for "freedom, justice and equality by any means necessary."

An intriguing contribution to the enduring legacy of a common street pimp-turned-revolutionary Muslim firebrand.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 51 minutes
Production Studio: 1895 Films
Distributor: Smithsonian Channel

Malcolm X: The Lost Tapes is set to premiere on the Smithsonian Channel on Monday February 26th at 8 pm ET/PT, 7 pm CT.

To see a trailer for Malcolm X: The Lost Tapes, visit:

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: