Beautiful Black Folks At The Movies - Plus “Rosemary’s Baby” At The Crest

by Chris Narloch

So many of the movies released this Christmas were so bad that I decided to spotlight several fine films featuring African-American actors, two of them films released at Thanksgiving (“Creed ll” and “The Green Book”) that are still playing at one or two area theaters.

Additionally, I also review “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which is helmed by Barry Jenkins (the great African-American director of “Moonlight”) and features a superb, mostly black cast. “If Beale Street Could Talk” opened at Sacramento’s Tower Theatre on Christmas Day.

Finally, I don’t recall many black faces in “Rosemary’s Baby,” but I wouldn’t be doing my job as a movie critic if I didn’t let you know that Roman Polanski’s classic horror film from 1968 -- about a woman who discovers that her soon-to-be-born baby is actually the child of the Devil – is returning to the big screen at Sacramento’s Crest Theatre this Friday evening, Dec. 28, for one night only.

The Green Book

This movie is based on a true story about a friendship that developed between Dr. Don Shirley, a world-class, African-American pianist (Mahershala Ali) and a tough-talking, white bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) who became his driver during a concert tour through the Deep South in 1962.

Reminiscent of “Driving Miss Daisy” (in reverse), “The Green Book” is the kind of feel-good family film that they don’t make much anymore. A road movie buddy flick that is both funny and poignant, the film also has a surprise gay angle, and the car the two men hit the road in is a beauty.

“The Green Book” is still playing at Century Arden in Sacramento and at the Palladio Cinemas in Folsom. See it on the big screen while you still can.

Creed II

To be honest, the latest film in the “Rocky” franchise is not as successful as either the original “Rocky” (or even the original “Creed” movie), but the luscious Michael B. Jordan is there on the big screen to be gazed upon, and his chemistry with costars Sylvester Stallone and with Tessa Thompson, who plays his love interest, is undeniable.

The script is not as solid this time out, and Steven Caple Jr. is no Ryan Coogler (the Sac State graduate who directed the first “Creed”). Still, there is enough entertainment value left to justify a trip out to the theater, especially to see Jordan’s sexy shirtless scenes.

“Creed II” is still playing on one local screen, at Sacramento’s Regal Natomas Marketplace.

If Beale Street Could Talk

If you’ve already seen those two films, I urge you to check out the latest movie by Barry Jenkins, who adapted a ‘straight’ love story by the famed gay writer James Baldwin as the director’s follow up to his Best Picture Oscar winner, “Moonlight.”

In early 1970s Harlem, daughter and wife-to-be Tish (Kiki Layne) vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt (Stephan James), who goes by the nickname Fonny.

Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together, but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.

Keep an eye out for the great Regina King, who is receiving Oscar buzz for her terrific performance here as Tish’s mother.

In Sacramento, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is playing exclusively at the Tower Theatre on Broadway. Go to https://www.readingcinemasus.com/tower.

Rosemary’s Baby

A young couple moves in to an apartment in New York City only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and odd occurrences. After the wife (Mia Farrow) becomes pregnant, her sanity starts to slip. Is her pre-partum paranoia normal, or is something more sinister going on?

The late, great Ruth Gordon won a well-deserved Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in the movie, and the legendary indie film director John Cassavetes plays Farrow’s husband.

Don’t miss “Rosemary’s Baby” this Friday, Dec. 28, at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit https://www.crestsacramento.com

 

 

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