Monday, January 29, 2024

That Grown Black Love in ‘Cherish The Day’ Season Two


Cherish the Day promo poster. 

While the first Cherish the Day anthology focused on Gently James and Evan Fisher’s five-year relationship span, the second season focuses on a few months of a couple’s blossoming reunion. The moment former high school sweethearts locked eyes in a New Orleans hardware store, sparks flew between vegetarian chef Sunday St. James and plumber Ellis Moran. It was the first time they had seen each other in some twenty odd years. Apparently, Ellis messed up a good thing. 

Long ago, Ellis cheated on Sunday. Many years later, Ellis’s wife Anastasia cheated on him with Danny, her tour manager. Karma ate Ellis hard, but he’s ready to make amends. He’s an older, much matured man no longer wanting to play little boy games. Ellis and Sunday are both too grown. 

With that, time has to be intentional. 

Ellis must prove himself worthy of Sunday’s heart.

Joy Bryant (who should be in a million features) glows as vegan chef Sunday St. James. DP: Michael Dallatorre.

The divine (and criminally underused) Henry Simmons is a solid choice for independent plumber Ellis Moran. DP: Michael Dallatorre.

Although on the brink of divorcing Anastasia (played by the amazing Terri J. Vaughan) and raising two young daughters Everly and Bree, tall, brown, and handsome Ellis makes it real clear that there is room aplenty for Sunday, a gorgeous, statuesque beauty sporting sleek box braids and tailored chef jackets. Ellis stares at Sunday as though trapped in a hot desert and only she has the power to replenish his thirst. Even without physical touching, their alluring chemistry melts the screen— all in the twinkling eyes and luminous smiles. He believes they can start off as friends again. Yet, with chemistry that fire, a camaraderie would be difficult to sustain. There is so much history in the way their body language conveys longing and desire, especially after an intimate dance at the club. 

And history always repeats. 

Ellis watches his woman depart the airport, entranced. DP: Michael Dallatorre.

Sunday glides to her man in slow motion, captivated. DP: Michael Dallatorre.

Sunday does have a full plate. She’s a big deal chef, coming up with incredible recipes and managing the busiest vegan spot in Atlanta. In addition to that, her father, former judge Mandeville St. James constantly forgets minor to major things and has violent outbursts that may be hinting dementia or Alzheimer’s. This puts stress on Sunday who balances between two cities, focusing on her restaurant, tending to her father’s care, and maintaining a healthy, reignited romance with Ellis. Plus Sunday can impress sweet Bree, but stubborn Everly isn’t too receptive with her father’s girlfriend.

Brown skin love is becoming a rarity onscreen these days so it’s a blessing to see an honest depiction with Sunday and Ellis. DP: Michael Dallatorre.

Yet, Sunday and Ellis authentically come together, as lovers, as friends, as partners. Their scenes exhibit warm tenderness, pure joy, and all-consuming passion— often more smoldering than any contemporary romance novel in the bookstores and libraries. They exude timeless romance and sex appeal. Frequently, whether Sunday stepped out in a gorgeous number or Ellis entered a room dressed to impress, they rarely wandered to anyone else. That’s the epitome of grown up commitment— a sophisticated looking pair who do struggle to put themselves first. Anastasia and Hosea (Sunday’s ex special friend) may interfere for different reasons. At the end of the day, Ellis and Sunday want only each other. Their best moments include lunch on the grass, introductions to each other’s family and friends, cooking together, and shooting hoops outside ala Gina Prince-Blythewood’s Criterion Collection hit Love & Basketball.

The most important part, however, is that Ellis is supportive of Sunday, not forcing her to sacrifice her restauranteur dreams and be the makeshift mother to his daughters. 

Sunday and Ellis at Anastasia and Danny’s wedding. DP: Michael Dallatorre.

Their multifaceted, soul-stirring love story was better than the movies— the lighting, the acting, the music, all excellent. DP: Michael Dallatorre.

The up and downs of their relationship are understandable too. Anastasia needed lessons in boundaries, Everly seemed more angry at Sunday than Anastasia who cheated on her father, and Sunday’s obvious shame of Ellis’s profession made a number on his pride. Let’s face it— a woman on the brink of triumphant success is not going to be proudly boasting that her man is a plumber. People are conditioned to think that means toilets are his main priority as opposed to not considering that includes pipes, sinks, and etc. He’s adept at reconstruction, turning homes into goldmines. The ending superbly highlights his underrated handyman strengths, something that would have even impressed Overton Wakefield Jones. 

When Everly extended an olive branch to Sunday at Danny and Anastasia’s wedding, it showed a new, profound step in their relationship, that Everly could be open and vulnerable to a woman who shares several commonalities with her. Their conversation explores the heartbreak most girls and women go through and the strength in numbers philosophy in order to overcome it. Everly becomes what Sunday was at her age, crying over a boy. Sunday doesn’t spill the fact that Ellis did the same, instead consoling her future stepdaughter with delicacy and grace, promising her that she would not mirror Anastasia or Ellis’s behaviors. 

Yet, the painful cycle of cheating closes on Sunday and Ellis who ultimately decide to forgive the past and look forward to their life together. 

Mrs. Luma Lee Langston (Cicely Tyson) at top, DP: Eduardo Enrique Mayen and former Judge Mandeville James (Richard Roundtree) on the bottom, DP: Michael Dallatorre. Rest in power to both of these great heavyweights.

Cherish the Day performs double duty activism, utilizing an all-female directing crew as in Queen Sugar including Angel Kristi Williams (Really Love) and Tchaiko Omawale (Solace). Casting classic, nostalgic actors gives them flowers, that though in prime they still have good work to accomplish for new audiences. The first season featured the late Oscar honored Cicely Tyson in fine form as the sassy Mrs. Luma Lee Langston. In the second season, Shaft’s Richard Roundtree plays former judge Mandeville, a widowed father to Sunday who happens to be suffering from the ailments of old age. If there happens to be more anthologies, might we suggest Margaret Avery, Garrett Morris, Jo Marie Payton, Charlayne Woodard, Carl Lumbly, or Danny Glover. 

Furthermore, Michael Dallatorre’s cinematography aligns with the thoughtful music selection, another key example hailing off Queen Sugar’s independent vibes. Sade’s brilliant song sets the theme as each episode focuses on a single day. 

Illustration by Jasper Yu.

Illustration by Jasper Yu.

Overall, Sunday and Ellis’s incredible coupledom wouldn’t be complete without the charisma Joy Bryant and Henry Simmons brought to the table. They were beautiful and authentic, just believably present in a Black contemporary love story sans the typical struggle. 

So, Cherish the Day season two comes highly recommended and well worth the two dollars per episode. 

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Emmys, Oscars, & Other Wins/Snubs

Quinta Brunson made Emmy history, winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy series for playing Janine Teagues— a character she created. This is her second Emmy after winning for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, 2022. 

Eight years ago, I penned Sixty-Seven Years of White Women in the Lead. This essay reflected on the Emmys historical preference of rewarding the same actresses over and over again in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category, leaving Black and other women of color nominees as their presenters. At the time, Isabel Sanford and America Ferrera were the only nonwhite winners. 

Legendary actress Marla Gibbs and Quinta Brunson present Niecy Nash with her first Emmy win. 

Yet, the seventy-fifth Primetime Emmy awards (held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and helmed by Black producers) promoted real change. Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson finally won the coveted prize— forty-two years after Sanford, seventeen years after Ferrera. Other feats included Ayo Edebiri, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for The Bear (who will be competing as lead next ceremony) and Niecy Nash, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Although former favorite actor Steven Yeun (and Ali Wong) also made history as the first Asians to win in their respective categories for the Beef miniseries, their terrible joint statement on the David Choe controversy has left little favor. 

Three women of color acting nominees— America Ferrera, Danielle Brooks, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph.

Unfortunately, it might take the Oscars another hundred years to catch up to what the Emmys did. There were only two Black women nominated for the ninety-sixth annual ceremony, both in the same category for Best Supporting Actress. Black/biracial women filmmakers were not supported despite wins at Sundance Film Festival and the Gotham Awards (the best awards voters after the Independent Spirit Awards).

“It can be very disheartening and draining because it’s like we’re not even given a shot,” A. V. Rockwell said of the film (via Vanity Fair), which has failed to generate buzz in recent months despite winning Sundance’s prestigious Grand Jury Prize. “Even with all the love that’s out there, I think people are kind of set in only certain movies, or only certain filmmakers, getting a chance to be a part of certain conversations.”

Yet, instead of solidarity for the true snubs: unrecognized filmmakers A. V. Rockwell, Ava DuVernay, Savannah Leaf or actors Fantasia Barrino, Teyana Taylor, Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, Will Catlett, or even Vivian Oparah (who scored a surprising BAFTA nomination for a romantic comedy when we know how they feel about the genre)— white women are collectively whining about Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie. As Barbie producers Gerwig and Robbie are nominated, Gerwig receiving an additional one for Best Screenplay with her husband Noah Baumbach. The only women of color filmmaker Oscar nominee writer/director Celine Song has one nomination for Past Lives

Whereas 2022 gave us strong performances in Danielle Deadwyler, Janelle Monae, Michelle Yeoh, Viola Davis, Tang Wei, Lashana Lynch, Angela Bassett, Stephanie Hsu— only three made it to the Oscars, one won. The Andrea Riseborough backlash (and nominating other mediocre actresses) as well as the problematic criticism from anonymous voters ruined its integrity. Meanwhile, the whole 2023 awards season has become tainted by the Barbie versus Oppenheimer film rivalry, poisoning the eighty percent of white voters who more than likely are going to give Ken— Best Original Song. This kind of media frenzy ensured that people of color films would become lost in the vacuum. They do not even support women of color to direct their characters, that’s how apparent these sexist nominations are. 

Ava DuVernay expressed sentiments that mirrored Gina Prince-Blythewood’s remarks

“[It’s] unfortunate because we (Black people) watch films from all over the world that have nothing to do with me, and we watch it because we don’t have to be centered, we are used to that because we are so often not centered. I don’t want this to be misconstrued—I’m just saying certain people need a certain kind of invitation, and those of us who are perhaps used to not being centered don’t need that invitation or else we wouldn’t be watching anything.”

To the foolish protesters centering two white women who actually have Oscar nominations for their white feminism film (just not in ALL the categories)— y’all are, once again, banding together for the wrong thing. Until we see certain actresses on the streets handing out “for your consideration” fliers like Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor did, Hollywood remains disrespecting Black women. 

Thus, 2024 promises an ongoing continuation of #OscarsSoWhite. 

Monday, January 1, 2024

Best Feature Length & Short Films of 2023

Best Films of 2023 Letterboxd.

Although some of my favorite films were out before 2023, their accessibility wasn’t available at the time. Several, I saw in New York City (Saint Omer and Cette Maison), London (Return To Seoul and Pretty Red Dress), or even on a flight (The Unknown Country which Lily Gladstone received a much deserved Gotham Award for). Often, I believe there are sad reasons for that— mainly money, distribution, and lack of genuine support. Still, I was happy to see eight of my twenty chosen on the big screen and the rest on streaming platforms. Women and people of color filmmakers truly crafted heart moving gems, most lingering in my mind long after the credits rolled. That’s such a profound responsibility— making a cinematic art intended to emotionally rattle or stir the individual. 

Year after year, we witness their intense labor behind the scenes (last summer’s writers and actors strike revealed a shockingly appalling perspective on just how bad it was), then shifting release dates whether in a theater or not, and lists/awards/honors that continues celebrating the same over-celebrated individuals. Yet, the most important thing to a creator is having their work SEEN— the hardest task in Hollywood, which cruelly enough continues to either delete films/series off streaming service, limit distribution, or keep works forever vaulted. 

Thus, with these twenty— an intriguing mix of 2023 narrative, short film, and documentary releases— you see an engaging collective expressing effective honesty, jarring intimacy, and beautiful storytelling. 

Best Films of 2023

1.) “Saint Omer” directed by Alice Diop and written by Diop, Marie N’diaye, and Amrita David

2.) “A Thousand And One” directed and written by A. V. Rockwell

3.) “Earth Mama” directed and written by Savanah Leaf

4.) “Cette Maison” directed and written by Miriam Charles 

5.) “Rye Lane” directed by Raine Allen-Miller and written by Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia 

6.) “Our Father, The Devil” directed and written by Ellie Foumbi 

7.) “Aloners” directed, written, and edited by Hong Sung-eun

8.) “Past Lives” directed and written by Celine Song 

9.)  “Return To Seoul” directed and written by Davy Chou

10.) “The Boy and the Heron” directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki

11.)  “Conversations With Ruth de Souza” directed by Juliana Vicente

12.) “Space Race” directed by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and Lisa Cortés and written by Mark Monroe

13.) “Gaps” directed and written by Jenn Shaw

14.) “The Blue Caftan” directed by Maryam Touzani and written by Touzani and Nabil Ayouch

15.) “Pretty Red Dress” directed and written by Dionne Edwards

16.) “Polite Society” directed and written by Nida Manzoor

17.) “Hawa” directed by Maïmouna Doucouré and written by Doucouré, Alain-Michel Blanc, Zangro, and David Elkaim

18.) “Mirasol” directed and written by Annalise Lockhart

19.) “ Sèt Lam” directed and written by Vincent Fontano

20.) “The Unknown Country” directed and written by Morissa Maltz

Sunday, December 31, 2023

December 2023 Film Watches

Maggie Cheung in Olivier Assayas’s 1996 French-American film Irma Vep

During this final month of 2023, I was fully committed to watching films by voices unfamiliar to me in addition to holiday classics, reserving the usual Harry Potter and Home Alone marathons for January. Yet, surprisingly a few new Christmas films weren’t half bad.
Again, Issa Rae’s Hoorae YouTube channel was an ample resource and starting point to my journey, the discovery of Bethiael Alemayoh aka B. B. Araya being a favorite. Definitely plan to write a story on her work. Currently, she debuted a new short film, Dressed at SXSW. The premise is a “former bride-to-be attempts to sell her wedding dress.”
I fell in love with great world cinema such as Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s This Is Not A Burial, This Is A Resurrection, Olivier Assayas’s Irma Vep, Maryam Touzani‘s The Blue Caftan and Adam respectively, and Leyla Bouvid’s A Tale of Love and Desire. Plus, I revisited old Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, weeks after seeing his newest beautiful work, The Boy and The Heron, a must see.
Coincidentally, I ended my film list with Adamma Ebo’s Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul— a short version of the film I watched back in January.

December Film Watches

1.) “The Golden Chain” (2016) Adebukola Bodunrin and Ezra Claytan Daniels #*+ 9/10

2.) “Sweet Ruin” (2008) Elisabeth Subrin #* 7/10

3.) “T” (2019) Keisha Rae Witherspoon #*+ 8.5/10

4.) “The Blackening” (2023) Tim Story #^ 7/10

5.) “Christmas With A Kiss” (2023) Roger M. Bobb #^ 6.5/10

6.) “Secret Sunshine” (2010) Lee Chang-dong #^ 6.8/10

7.) “Tony Takitani” (2000) Jun Ichikawa #^ 6.8/10

8.) “Vertigo” (1958) Alfred Hitchcock # 7/10

9.) “An Unknown Country” (2022) Morrisa Maltz #* 9/10

10.) “Real Women Have Curves” (2002) Patricia Cardoso *^ 10/10

11.) “Earth Mama” (2022) Savannah Leaf #*^ 9.5/10

12.) “Broadcast Signal Intrusion” (2021) Jacob Gentry # 4/10

13.) “The Blue Caftan” (2022) Maryam Touzani #*^ 9/10

14.) “Dress For Success” (2023) Erskine Forde #^ 8/10

15.) “Adam” (2019) Maryam Touzani #*^ 9.5/10

16.) ”A Tale of Love and Desire” (2021) Leyla Bouzid #*^ 9.5/10

17.) “The Boy and the Heron” (2023) Hayao Miyazaki #^ 9.5/10

18.) ”Christmas Belles” (2019) Terri J. Vaughan #*+ 4.7/10

19.) “Christmas Deja Vu” (2021) Christel Gibson #*+ 5.5/10

20.) ”You Hurt My Feelings” (2023) Nicole Holofcener #* 5/10

21.) “This is not a Burial, it’s a Resurrection” (2019) Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese #^ 10/10

22.) ”Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997) Roger Spottiswoode # 5.4/10

23.) “Hot Girl Winter” (2023) Patricia Cuffie-Jones #*+ 6.8/10

24.) “The Chef’s Wife” (2014) Anne Le Ny #* 6/10

25.) “Boxing Day” (2021) Aml Ameen ^ 7.7/10

26.) ”A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) Bill Melendez 8/10

27.) “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” (1964) Larry Roemer and Kizo Nagashima 7/10

28.) “Garfield Christmas Special” (1987) Phil Roman and George Singer 7.7/10

29.) “Entre Nous” (1983) Diane Furys #* 8.5/10

30.) “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001) Sharon Maguire * 6.5/10

31.) “My One Christmas Wish” (2019) James Head # 7.5/10

32.) “Clockwatchers” (1997) Jill Sprecher #* 6.7/10

33.) “The Baker’s Wife” (1938) Marcel Pagnol # 0/10

34.) “Down in the Delta” (1998) Maya Angelou *+ 9.5/10

35.) “Irma Vep” (1996) Olivier Assayas # 9/10

36.) “Ovals: I Don’t Want To Love Myself” (2016) Daquan Saxton #^ 7.8/10

37.) “Gentle Boy” (2023) Caleb Grandoit #^ 9/10

38.) “Solely” (2013) Anna Nersesyan #* 9.5/10

39.) “Dating App” (2019) Maya Table #*+ 9/10

40.) “Beta” (2016) B. B. Araya #*+ 10/10

41.) “Detour” (2018) Daniel Norris Webb # 4/10

42.) “bad news” (2020) Bethiael Alemoyah #*+ 10/10

43.) “yirga” (2019) Bethiael Alemoyah #*+ 10/10

44.) “Spirited Away” (2009) Hayao Miyazaki ^ 10/10

45.) “Good Morning” Yasujirō Ozu #^ 10/10

46.) “Poetry” (2010) Lee Chang-dong #^ 8.9/10

47.) “Happy New Year’s Eve, Charlie Brown” (1986) Bill Melendez 5.6/10

48.) “Hair Love” (2019) Matthew Cherry and Bruce W. Smith #^ 8/10

49.) “Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul” (2019) Adamma Ebo #*+ 7.7/10

# first time watch

*woman filmmaker

*+Black woman filmmaker

^nonwhite filmmaker

Other notes: list of 49 films, 40 first time watches, 30 films directed/written by nonwhite filmmakers, and 24 films made by women.

Yearly total: 358 films, seven short of my goal of watching 365; 304 first time watches, 260 films directed/written by nonwhite filmmakers, and 172 films made and/or co-made by women.

Friday, December 29, 2023

November 2023 Film Watches


Starring Rutina Wesley and LeBaron Foster Thornton, Cierra Glaude’s powerful short film Last Looks was written by Nicholas Ashe, Wesley’s Queen Sugar co-star.

As the sky darkens early in November, my lazier habits come out to play. Although I did not see a single film in the theaters, I checked out several DVDs from my local library aka the last of our human renting experience. 

However, looking back, this wasn’t my favorite film listings of the year, considering the shamefully bad choices made here, primarily a lack of women filmmakers. Not my proudest month despite some great women starring vehicles (Wayne Wang’s dim sum: a little bit of heart remains a treat). Also found a few rare pieces starring one of my favorite actresses Emayatzy Corinealdi. 

November Film Watches

1.) “Kids” (2013) A. V. Rockwell #*+ 8.5/10

2.) “The Dreamer” (2012) A. V. Rockwell #*+ 9/10

3.) “B. L. B.” (2014) A. V. Rockwell #*+ 9/10

4.) “The Kingsman Secret Service” (2017) Matthew Vaughan # 6.5/10

5.) “The Menu” Mark Mylod # 8/10

6.) “Last Looks” (2017) Cierra Glaude #*^ 10/10

7.) “I Knew Her Well” (1965) Antonio Pietrangeli # 10/10

8.) “dim sum: a little bit of heart” (1985) Wayne Wang ^ 10/10

9.) “Floating Weeds” (1959) Yasujirō Ozu #^ 10/10

10.) “Howling” (2012) Yoo Ha #^ 3/10

11.) “Drive My Car” (2021) Ryusuke Hamaguchi #^ 9/10

12.) “Parasite” (2019) Bong Joon-ho ^ 10/10

13.) “Teacher in the Box” (2014) Tanuj Chopra #^ 10/10

14.) “Clap Clap” (2009) Tanuj Chopra #^ 7/10

15.) “Akira’s Hip Hop Shop” (2007) Joseph Doughrity #^ 8/10

16.) “Cordially Invited” (2007) Nicholas Stoller # 5/10

17.) “Addicted” (2014) Bille Woodruff #^ 2/10

18.) “The Silent Treatment” (2012) Martine Jean #*+ 10/10

19.) “Crimson Peak” (2015) Guillermo del Toro # 5.5/10

20.) “A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” (1985) Jack Sholder 2/10

21.) “Love, Beats, Rhymes” (2017) RZA #^ 7.7/10

22.) “My Salinger Year” (2020) Philippe Falardeau # 6/10

23.) “M3GAN” (2023) Gerard Johnstone # 6/10

24.) “Simple Passion” (2020) Danielle Arbid #* 4/10

25.) “Last Christmas” (2019) Paul Feig # 4/10

26.) “Wise Blood” (1979) John Huston # 2/10

# first time watch

*woman filmmaker

*+Black woman filmmaker
*^ nonwhite woman filmmaker

^nonwhite filmmaker

Other notes: list of 26 films: 23 first time watches, 15 films directed/written by nonwhite filmmakers, and 6 films made and/or co-made by women.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

October 2023 Film Watches


Kerry Washington as Niecy in Lift. DP: David Phillips.

We’re at my favorite month of the year— birthday times, cozy sweaters, and nothing but warm beverages and scary films, well, sometimes. I started off watching a hip hop classic before it left the Criterion Channel, ending it the same way with A. V. Rockwell’s dearly departing gritty New York City short films. Good things come and go and it’s best to get it in while you can. I also free trialed MUBI again, but only had time for three films. Two contained absolutely horrendous depictions of young women preyed by older men (James Ivory’s Quartet and Alberto Lattuada’s Stay As You Are) while the other— Kit Zauhar’s actual people— almost had a place on my top films of 2023 list. Overall, I enjoyed most of the short films seen on the HOORAE channel, especially Steven Caple Jr.’s A Different Tree, Winter Dunn’s Junebug, and B. B. Araya’s We Are series. Excellent stuff.  

October Film Watches

1.) “Beat Street” (1984) Stan Lathan #^ 7/10

2.) “Krush Grove” (1985) Michael Schultz #^ 6.8/10

3.) “Knock At The Cabin” (2023) M. Night Shyamalan #^ 2/10

4.) “Stella With The Weight Of The World On Her Shoulders” (2015) Christopher Cole # 8/10 

5.) “How To Win” (2016) Rhasaan Nichols #^ 5/10

6.) “The Canterville Ghost” (1996) Sid Macartney # 6.8/10 

7.) “Lift” (2001) Demane Davis and Khari Streeter #*+ 8/10

8.) “We Are— Sisters” (2017) B. B. Araya #*+ 9.5/10 

9.) “The Halloween Tree” (1993) Mario Piluso 8/10

10.) “actual people” (2023) Kit Zauhar #*^ 9/10

11.) “Junebug” (2020) Winter Dunn #*+ 10/10

12.) “We Are— Friends” (2017) B.B. Araya #*+ 8.5/10 

13.) “Quartet” (1981) James Ivory # 1/10

14.) “Stay As You Are” (1978) Alberto Lattuada # 0.5/10

15.) “Room Tone” (2018) Morgan Cooper #^ 8/10

16.) “Sunshine Cleaning” (2008) Christine Jeffs #* 6.8/10

17.) “Our Father, The Devil” (2021) Ellie Foumbi #*+ 8.5/10

18.) “Lavender” (2017) Ed Gass-Donnelly # 4/10

19.) “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (1989) Hayao Miyazaki ^ 10/10

20.) “Ladylike” (2014) Tiffany Johnson #*+ 10/10

21.) “If Beale Street Could Talk” (2019) Barry Jenkins ^ 10/10

22.) “Medicine For Melancholy” (2008) Barry Jenkins #^ 7/10

23.) “The Resort” (2015) Shadae Lamar Smith #^ 8/10

24.) “Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) Henry Selick 8/10

25.) “dawn.” (2016) Ya’ke Smith #^ 10/10

26.) “The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” (1949) Clyde Geronimi and Jack Kinney 6/10

27.) “Hocus Pocus” (1993) Kenny Ortega 7/10

28.) “Simply Irresistible” (1999) Mark Torlov 6/10

29.) “Too Much Cendi (Skit)” (2013) A. V. Rockwell #*+ 9/10

30.) “Indigo’s Smile (Interlude)” (2014) A. V. Rockwell #*+ 10/10

31.) “Trey (Interlude)” (2012) A. V. Rockwell #*+ 9.5/10

32.) “Heist” (2012) A. V. Rockwell #*+ 8.5/10

33.) “El Train” (2014) A. V. Rockwell #*+ 10/10

34.) “A City Of Children” (2014) A. V. Rockwell #*+ 8/10

35.) “G. F. C.” (2013) A. V. Rockwell #*+ 8/10

36.) “A Different Tree” (2013) Steven Caple Jr. #^ 10/10

# first time watch

*woman filmmaker

*+Black woman filmmaker

*^ nonwhite woman filmmaker

^nonwhite filmmaker

Other notes: list of 35 films: 29 first time watches, 25 films directed/written by nonwhite filmmakers, and 16 films made and/or co-made by women.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

September 2023 Film Watches


Patrice (Maxine Turenne) and Laura’s (Laura Guzman) friendship face the ultimate adolescent test in Stefani Saintouge’s Seventh Grade. DP: Brian Diggs.

Autumn meant comfort cinema over hot soups, hot chocolate, and hot tea. It started off with Park Chan-wook’s shocking Oldboy rerelease at the movie theater. I had never seen the twenty-year-old film before, let alone read the comic book, but was well aware of the cult status. Naturally, I saw it twice. Afterwards, I settled in for a few classic Hayao Miyazaki animations in anticipation for The Boy and the Heron coming out later this year and some beautiful short films on Issa Rae’s HOORAE YouTube channel (still highly recommend). I was glad to end with Billy Wilder’s The Apartment on its last day on the Criterion Channel. Funnily enough, however, it is available on Hoopla Digital.

September Film Watches 2023

1.) “Oldboy” (2006) Park Chan-wook #^ 9.5/10

2.) “Fat Girl” (2001) Catherine Breillat #* 3/10

3.) “Cocaine Bear” (2023) Elizabeth Banks #* 2/10

4.) “Dolores Clairbourne” (1995) Taylor Hackford # 9/10

5.) “Batman: Under The Red Hood” Brandon Vietti # 5/10

6.) “See How They Run” (2022) Tom George # 4/10

7.) “The Cat Returns” Hiroyuki Morita #^ (2002) 7/10

8.) “Ghost” (1990) Jerry Zucker 9/10

9.) “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988) Hayao Miyazaki #^ 7.5/10

10.) “Porco Rosso” (1992) Hayao Miyazaki #^ 6.5/10

11.) “The Kingsman Secret Service” (2015) Matthew Vaughan # 7.5/10

12.) “The World of Arietty” (2010) Hiromasa Yonebayashi #^ 7/10

13.) “Good Kisser” (2019) Wendy Jo Carlton #* 2/10

14.) “Year Of The Rat” (2022) Ricky Qi #^ 9/10

15.) “Love At Fifty” (2022) Tan Wei Ting #*^ 9/10

16.) “Seventh Grade” (2014) Stefani Saintonge #*+ 10/10

17.) “Dream” (2015) Nijla Mu’min #*+ 8/10

18.) “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004) Hayao Miyazaki ^ 10/10

19.) “Home Away” (2013) Hannah Yohannes #*+ 10/10

20.) “The Big Chop” (2016) Derek Dow #^ 7.5/10

21.) “Joy” (2015) Solomon Onita Jr. #^ 10/10

22.) “Inamorata” (2017) A-lan Holt *+ 10/10

23.) “Party Girl” (1995) Daisy von Scherler Mayer #* 7/10

24.) “Vow Of Silence” (2014) Be Steadwell #*^ 9/10

25) “Boyz In The Hood” (1991) John Singleton #^ 8/10

26.) “Poetic Justice” (1993) John Singleton ^ 7.7/10

27.) “Liz And The Blue Bird” (2018) Naoko Yamada #*^ 10/10

28.) “A Backyard In Baldwin Hills” (2021) Dennis Williams III #^ 6/10

29.) “The Apartment” (1960) Billy Wilder # 9.5/10

# first time watch 

*woman filmmaker 

*+Black woman filmmaker 

*^ nonwhite woman filmmaker 

^nonwhite filmmaker 

Other notes: list of 29 films: 25 first time watches, 19 films directed/written by nonwhite filmmakers, and 11 films made by women.