How is August over? Did August even happen? Let’s focus less energy on things that make our respective brains hurt and get into this week’s roundup of trailers...
Mr. Soul! (Virtual Theaters; Release Date: Aug. 28)
First Impressions: Directed by Melissa Haizlip, Mr. Soul! celebrates the legacy of her uncle Ellis Haizlip, who was America’s first Black nighttime talk show host during the civil rights movement/Black Power movement from 1968 to 1973. As an openly gay Black man, Ellis’ very existence was political, especially during that time. This film will be a great way for me to learn about him and his impact—I’m in!
Coastal Elites (HBO; Release Date: Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET)
First Impressions: We have more COVID content! The tagline for this film is literally “the new normal is anything but” (just like “unprecedented,” I’m so tired of using the phrase “new normal”). Known as social distancing satire, Coastal Elites is yet another one of Issa Rae’s projects. She co-stars in the upcoming project that is a self-exploration of how this lockdown shit affects human connection. This is giving me epic actor monologue vignettes and I’m feelin’ it.
Daughters Of (BlackStar Film Festival; Release Date: Aug. 23)
First Impressions: Per the press release, Daughters Of is described as “a multifaceted-initiative to examine the immediate and critical importance of self-care and healing for Black women through the lens of their matrilineal traditions.” Not only was I raised by a Black woman, I currently work under the leadership of Black women. Go Black matriarchy! I’m looking forward to watching this; in fact, I’d especially love to watch with my mama. This gon’ make me cry, ain’t it? Additional info, including screening schedule is located at the BlackStar Film Festival website.
Space Jam: A New Legacy (Theaters ; Release Date: 2021)
First Impressions: So...this is actually happening. K.
Cuties (Netflix; Release Date: Sept. 9)
First Impressions: I actually reviewed this film out of Sundance and was excited that it finally got a release date so that everyone else could see it, too! Then, the actual promo rollout happened...which, resulted in a quite a bit of controversy for Netflix and the streaming platform apologized. Regardless of that very unfortunate flub (that I hope doesn’t do irreparable damage to the film’s director Maïmouna Doucouré), I am really looking forward to seeing what Black Muslim girls and women think of the film. Though, I wholly related to and connected with certain aspects of this film, it would be good to get this specific perspective, which is out of my range.
Enslaved (Epix; Release Date: Sept. 14 at 10 p.m. ET)
First Impressions: Featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Enslaved is a six-part documentary series set to give us a never-before-seen look at the transatlantic slave trade. The series will follow Jackson’s personal journey across the world from U.S. to Gabon. “The ocean holds stories that haven’t been told,” Jackson muses in the trailer. Yes, indeed, it does.
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Farewell Play (BET+; Release Date: Aug. 27)
First Impressions: After hearing of the Set It Off play tour, I always wanted to go to one of these chitlin circuit plays and review it as part of my job. They look so ridiculous, but at the same time, there’s a clear unmatched energy that you can only ingest by being a part of the just-as-ridiculous audience. Move the hell over Hamilton, Madea’s Farewell is coming to your streaming screens. Just when you thought Madea was gone for good...ha! Actually, I’m sure no one really thought that, despite Tyler Perry’s insistence.
Black Love (OWN: Season 4 Release Date: Sept. 5)
First Impressions: This week’s trailer roundup has its fair share of controversy because Black Love received some too, when it released its first teaser for the 4th season, causing viewers to call out the network and producers for excluding dark-skinned women (One of the producers, Tommy Oliver did publicly address the controversy). There’s a new trailer featuring an additional couple, though I expect the colorism convo to continue in addition to a real and raw conversation on what it means when we glorify the stories of Black women having to go through hell in order to “earn” love. If this is the vehicle to launch those important conversations, so be it!
Death on the Nile (Theaters; Release Date: Oct. 23)
First Impressions: Ooh a mystery thriller! And this cast looks stacked! I mean, as a general rule, I’m tired of white folks dominating stories set in African countries, but I digress. I spy Letitia Wright and Sophie Okonedo! And it looks pretty! And intriguing!
On the Rocks (Apple TV+; Release Date: October)
First Impressions: So, this is directed by Sophia Coppola and stars Bill Murray and I was prepared to groan at yet another extra-white Lost in Translation-esque film but then I saw Rashida Jones (assuming she’s specifically portraying a biracial character and not doing the androgynous white-presenting character) and Marlon Wayans in the cast. Marlon Wayans! I’m especially interested and intrigued to see what he’ll bring here. This film is giving me quirky indie. Yep.
Gangs of London (AMC+; U.S. Release Date: Oct. 1)
First Impressions: This series isn’t new to the world, but it may be new the U.S. as it’s making its American debut in October. The British action-drama series first premiered this past spring and it’s coming on across the pond for American audiences. Among the Black-ass stars are Sopé Dìrísù (Humans), Lucian Msamati (His Dark Materials, Black Earth Rising, Kiri), Pippa Bennett-Warner (MatherFatherSon, Harlots, Sick Note) and oh-my-God, Paapa Essiedu (Press, Kiri, I May Destroy You)! I have to check this out.
Time (Amazon Prime Video; Release Date: Oct. 23)
First Impressions: I was hoping to catch this at Sundance, but my schedule absolutely did not permit. But, I’m in luck because Amazon Studios acquired this little gem. The press release describes this film as, “Fox Rich is a fighter. The entrepreneur, abolitionist and mother of six boys has spent the last two decades campaigning for the release of her husband, Rob G. Rich, who is serving a 60-year sentence for a robbery they both committed in the early 90s in a moment of desperation.” This doc is a story of resilience and radical love and I am here for it.
That’s all for this week! ‘Til next Friday!
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