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Posts Tagged ‘Kemp Powers’

One Night in Miami…

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… is a very good straight-to-Amazon-Prime movie in that odd genre of “What if we got to see a bunch of familiar cultural and historical figures spend a night hanging out together?” In other words, it’s based on a play, in this case written by SOUL co-director Kemp Powers, who also wrote the screenplay for first-time-feature director Regina King. Of course we’ve known King as an actress since 227 and BOYZ N THE HOOD, and then she played Huey and Riley and got an Oscar for IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK and was a Watchman, but she’s also been directing TV since 2013. Her million dollar quartet here is made up of important Black Americans of the ‘60s who really were friends, but it’s a fictional story about them getting together at a hotel after Cassius Clay (Eli Goree, “PO No. 3,” GODZILLA)’s surprise victory over Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964.

In town for the fight are Clay’s spiritual advisor Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir, KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD, THE COMMUTER), the singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr., RED TAILS) and NFL great Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge, DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE), there to do color commentary. After the fight they meet up at Malcolm’s humble hotel room, guarded by two Fruit of Islam, the very serious Kareem X (Lance Reddick, JOHN WICK) and young Brother Jamaal (Christian Magby), who does a really funny double take and star struck grin when he realizes the guy he’s letting into the room is Sam Cooke. (read the rest of this shit…)

Soul

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

SOUL is one of the best and most ambitious movies Pixar has made, and they had to release it straight to Disney+ (great job, Covid). It comes from MONSTERS, INC. director Pete Docter, co-directing and co-writing with Kemp Powers, the writer of ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI (both the play and the upcoming movie), and it’s another one of Docter’s hard-to-explain emotional high concept fantasies like UP and INSIDE OUT, but this time squarely centered in Black culture.

The protagonist, Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx, and I honestly never thought of him as Jamie Foxx), is a New York City middle school music teacher. Not a bad one, but not currently seeming to motivate kids like he’s Mr. Holland or somebody. He’s finally been offered a full time job at the school, which impresses his mom (Phylicia Rashad, CREED) but sparks feelings of failure that his occasional gigs as a jazz pianist haven’t led anywhere and he might have to settle in doing this less exciting work. (read the rest of this shit…)