Tag Archive: barry jenkins


 

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Barry Jenkins’ trailer dropped this week, and I’m about to hop back onto HBO for Issa, and pretty high odds I’ll have some thoughts on Spike’s new movie next Sunday, and Tessa is…Tessa…

So this is as good of a video to start the week as any.

Enjoy!

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For the oldheads among us, the double victory run of the studio system acknowledging that a) there’s an audience for ‘Atlanta’, ‘Insecure’, and ‘Get Out’, and b) not only that, but it’s quality storytelling, continues with the Netflix version of Justin Simien’s ‘Dear White People.’  And I know I’m not the first to say this, but I agree it’s an improvement over the film.  Taking full advantage of the platform, a line of dialogue in the film that serves as backstory is nearly always fleshed out into a half hour episode that gives the audience more empathy for ‘why’ even characters you may not gravitate toward, do the things that they do.

Was the film geek in me biased from episode one with the ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ visual tributes?  Sure, but nods like this are subtle in each episode.  (Quick setup for the completely uninitiated: like the film, the story is set off when a blackface party is thrown by one of the fraternities on a predominantly white campus).  Justin directed a few of the episodes, I noted Tina Mabry’s name in the credits, but if you have to pick one episode, yes, the now Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins ‘Episode V’ is the strongest.

Ten not quite half hours.  I honestly wasn’t planning on getting through the whole season in one weekend, but sometimes the story keeps you that engaged.

Check it out.

‘Moonlight’

 

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Wow.  Where to begin?

Homosexuality. Drug Abuse.  Having a stronger bond with friends than blood.  Barry Jenkins’ ‘Moonlight’ touches on so many heavy topics; one of the many beautiful things about this film is that it doesn’t beat you over the head with any of its subject matter.

Set in Miami over three acts, this is the story of Chiron (played by a different actor in each act), a quiet, emotionally guarded young man trying to find his place in the world.  Internally and externally, it’s clear he’s ‘different’ from a very early age.  How the people around Chiron react to him shapes the story.  The local drug dealer who takes an interest in him (Mahershala Ali, continuing to shine with every opportunity he gets).  Chiron’s mother, who has her own issues to deal with (Naomie Harris, who would have the Oscar locked up if Viola was slotted in the Lead category).

And Chiron’s childhood buddy Kevin (also played by three different actors for each act).  Their relationship is the centerpiece of the film, so let me touch on it without spoiling it (if that’s possible).  Is it a homosexual relationship.  By definition, yes.  But what pulled me (and apparently so many others) in was that, truly, it’s a great portrait of ‘intimacy’ regardless of sexual orientation.  If you’re lucky you’ll have a handful of people in life you’ll feel completely comfortable being yourself with.  There’s a monologue near the end that Chiron gives that’s so well done…you just have to see it.

So yep, loved it.  Hope it keeps getting as much recognition as possible from now through February.