Ejogo’s Largo!

 

 

Photo via Newscom

Carmen Ejogo

The “It Comes at Night” Interview

with Kam Williams

Ejogo’s Largo!

Carmen Ejogo has established a distinguished career in both feature films and television. She is best known thus far for her leading role of civil rights activist ‘Coretta Scott King’ opposite David Oyelowo in Ava DuVernay’s universally acclaimed SELMA as well as being singled out for her ‘mind-blowing’ lead role as Sister in SPARKLE alongside Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks. Carmen was most recently seen playing the key role of Seraphina Picquery, President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America in J.K.Rowling’s FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM alongside an all-star cast including Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Jon Voigt and Samantha Morton.

Released on the 19th of May, Carmen plays a key role in Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated prequel ALIEN: COVENANT with Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterston. The story follows on from 2012’s Oscar-nominated PROMETHEUS as the crew of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the synthetic David, survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.

Carmen is currently filming the second series of Starz’ acclaimed drama “The Girlfriend Experience” from executive producers Steven Soderbergh and Philip Fleishman. In one of two parallel storylines, she will play the role of Bria Jones who, after discovering disturbing information about a regular client, is forced to relocate to a remote location in New Mexico. Unable to shake her desire for risky relationships and the finer things in life, Bria navigates her new penniless and surreal existence by forming eerily intimate transactional relationships. While Bria’s ghosts from the past continue to haunt, her new connections with men redefine the meaning of the Girlfriend Experience.

Earlier last year Carmen won plaudits for her lead role opposite Ethan Hawke in the lauded independent feature BORN TO BE BLUE, depicting jazz legend Chet Baker’s musical comeback in the late ’60s. She made her U.S. film debut opposite Eddie Murphy playing Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Tate in the 1997 comedy METRO. She then went on to star in films such as Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, What’s the Worst that Could Happen? opposite Martin Lawrence, Neil Jordan’s The Brave One opposite Terrence Howard and Jodie Foster, Gavin O’Connor’s PRIDE AND Glory opposite Ed Norton, and in Sam Mendes’ 2009 indie hit Away We Go opposite Maya Rudolph.

Carmen Ejogo, It Comes at Night, Interview, Coretta Scott King, SELMA, SPARKLE, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, ALIEN: COVENANT

Carmen Ejogo in Born to Be Blue (2015)

On television, Carmen garnered the attention of television critics and audiences alike for her portrayal of Sally Hemmings, the title character in the 2000 CBS miniseries Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal. She played the role of Coretta Scott King in HBO’s critically acclaimed film for television BOYCOTT, opposite Jeffrey Wright and Terrence Howard. Her role earned her a 2001 Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a TV film or miniseries. She also starred in HBO’s Emmy nominated Lackwanna Blues where her role as Alean earned her a second Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a TV film or miniseries. Ejogo also starred as FBI agent ‘Becca Sunjata’ in the ABC television series “Zero Hour” opposite Anthony Edwards.

Kam Williams: Hi Carmen, thanks for the interview. I really appreciate this opportunity to speak with you.

Carmen Ejogo: No problem, Kam.

KW: You’re really enjoying a renaissance in recent years, after taking a break to raise the kids. You were in Selma, Fantastic Beasts, Alien: Covenant and now this film.

CE: Yeah, I feel very fortunate to be able to have the kind of career that I want. It’s not always so easy with children.

KW: What interested you in It Comes at Night?

CE: Coming into it, we knew we were going to be working with a visionary director in Trey Edward Shults, having seen his first film, Krisha. It was so striking and original that you just knew that any movie he made was going to have a unique stamp on it. So, it wasn’t that difficult a decision to be a part of this film, although it was still a very ambitious, high-risk experiment in many ways. But that pushing of boundaries was part of the project’s appeal, quite frankly.

KW: How did you manage to produce a masterpiece on a modest budget?   

CE: It wasn’t about money, really. It’s more about a strong script, excellent ideas, and a great application of those ideas. Trey exhibited resourcefulness at its best as a director, and we all became one unit with the same intention. Sometimes, with the right attitude, you can actually be inspired by the absence of a budget.

KW: Your co-star, Joel Edgerton, was brilliant as your husband in this film, as he was in Loving.   

CE: Yes, he’s phenomenal in this. Like so many people, I’m just discovering him in real time. He’s quite a gift and an immense talent: writer, director, actor. He’s quite a special human being in many ways.

KW: Riley Keough is also in this film. Had you worked with her before?

CE: No, although she was at the helm of the first season of The Girlfriend Experience, and I’m going to be taking on the role for the second season. We talked about the show on set, but I hadn’t yet signed on. I had much trepidation until Riley and I had some conversations about it. So, she’s part of the reason why I ended up going for it.

KW: What message do you think people will take away from It Comes at Night?

Carmen Ejogo, It Comes at Night, Interview, Coretta Scott King, SELMA, SPARKLE, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, ALIEN: COVENANT

Carmen Ejogo in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

CE: I think Trey’s intention was to leave it enough open to interpretation so that multiple messages might be taken from it. But there was no agenda or particular intention other than the film’s being an examination of human nature at its best and worst, and of what the family unit can descend into when survival and tribal mentality kick in. Personally, I feel the film is deeply relevant to what’s happening culturally at this point in time in terms of people fearing anyone from the outside, and choosing to isolate.

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: You often manage to end up in very interesting movies. How do you recognize a great script?

CE: That’s such a good question, Patricia. I’ve often wondered about that myself. At the end of the day, I really go with my personal taste and with what’s on the page in terms of character. But beyond that, there’s a complexity about the scripts I tend to respond to. I’ve not lost my curiosity about how the world functions. And a script that can embody that and thematically explore bigger questions in a way which seems fresh is likely to get my attention. Frankly, I also have an eye for what will appeal to an audience, as opposed to a self-indulgent exercise that isn’t taking the audience into account.

KW: How did you prepare for the role of Sarah?

CE: I definitely tried to fill her back story, which I don’t do for every role. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel necessary. But with this one, I felt it was important to have a sense of Sarah’s relationship with her husband because where you meet her is a place of such deterioration and lack of communication. I needed to understand how they’d arrived at that point. I also felt it was worth exploring Sarah’s relationships with her father and son. And because Trey wanted the picture to have a sense of timelessness, I felt quite excited by the idea of Sarah’s aesthetic being the subject of a Dorothea Lange, Depression Era portrait. Traditionally, you didn’t see people of color in this kind of movie I was watching while growing up. So, there was something very interesting to me about the idea of a mashup, a reinterpretation of the genre.   

KW: Given that you sing, would you be interested in doing a musical on Broadway or on screen? If so, would you like to do a revival or an original like La La Land.

CE: [Giggles] All of the above. Yeah. Music is so much a part of my being. I haven’t gotten to explore it much in recent years.

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What was the last song you listened to?

CE: “When I Grow Up” by Fever Ray.

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00IMZ87BE/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

 

KW: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?

CE: Far more makeup on the red carpet, and I’m a little shabbier at home.

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

CE: I’m genuinely into so many aesthetics… Comme Des Garcons… Issey Miyake… And I’m also quite fond of designers like Mayle. But I get most excited by emerging, barely-established, avant garde designers.

KW: The Anthony Mackie question: Is there anything that you promised yourself you’d do if you became famous, that you still haven’t done yet?

CE: [Laughs] No, the fame thing has never influenced what I do or don’t think

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?   

CE: [LOL] The Cyclops in Sinbad.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Carmen, and best of luck with the film.

CE: Thank you, Kam.

Source:  Baret News

Oyez! Oyez! Oyelowo!

 

David Oyelowo 

The “A United Kingdom” Interview

with Kam Williams

Oyez! Oyez! Oyelowo!

David Oyelowo is a multiple Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actor and producer who has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents.

Later this year he’ll be seen in the third film in the Cloverfield horror franchise, and as the lead in the as-yet untitled Nash Edgerton film, co-starring Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Thandie Newton and Amanda Seyfried.

David Oyelowo,   The “A United Kingdom” Interview,  with Kam Williams, Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, Selma, Nigerian, what's in your wallet

David gained international acclaim in 2014 starring as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s Selma. For his performance, Oyelowo earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

Most recently, he starred opposite Lupita Nyong’o in Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, earning a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. And his additional film credits include Interstellar, A Most Violent Year, Captive, The Butler, Lincoln, Middle of Nowhere, Jack Reacher, The Paperboy, Red Tails, The Help and The Last King of Scotland.

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On the small screen, David starred in the HBO film, Nightingale, earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. He has collaborated with HBO on several other occasions, including a starring role in Kenneth Branagh’s 2006 production of “As You Like It,” in which he played ‘Orlando’ opposite Bryce Dallas Howard; and as the lead in the mini-series, “Five Days,” for which he won a Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television.

In 2008, he starred in the critically-acclaimed adaptation of the Alexander McCall Smith novel, “The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency,” which was directed by the late Anthony Minghella. He appeared in ABC-TV’s 2008 Golden Globe-nominated production of “A Raisin in the Sun,” too, alongside Sanaa Lathan, Sean Combs and Phylicia Rashad.

 

A classically-trained actor, David recently appeared opposite Daniel Craig as the title character in the New York Theatre Workshop Off-Broadway production of Othello. He got his start on stage in 1999 with The Royal Shakespeare Company. He garnered national recognition for his performance as King Henry VI in the RSC’s 2001 production, when he was cast as the first black actor to play an English king in a major production of Shakespeare. The performance won David the 2001 Ian Charleson Award, which is presented in recognition of the best classical stage performances in Britain by actors under the age of 30.

Here, he talks about his latest outing opposite Rosamund Pike as an African king who falls for a British commoner in A United Kingdom. 

Kam Williams: Hi David, thanks for another interview. I really enjoyed the film.

David Oyelowo: Thanks.

KW: What interested you in A United Kingdom?

DO: The fact that it was a story I felt I should know, but I didn’t know. And as I dug deeper, I appreciated the enduring love that Seretse and Ruth had for each other was a wonderful story.

KW: After I watched the film, I went home and looked up their story as well as the history of Botswana, since I’d known nothing about either.

DO: One of the amazing things about this experience for me has been the Google trail. There’s so much to learn about them and African history.

KW: I appreciate Amma Asante making a movie like this because when I grew up, the only movies about Africa I saw were Tarzan movies. So, I grew up rooting for Tarzan and thinking all Africans were cannibals. It reminds me of how a Native American friend says he grew up identifying with the cowboys and hating Indians because of how he’d been brainwashed by Westerns.

David Oyelowo,   The “A United Kingdom” Interview,  with Kam Williams, Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, Selma, Nigerian, what's in your wallet

DO: That underscores the significance of someone like Amma getting a story like this made.   

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: Did you speak to Ruth and Seretse descendants in preparation for the role??

DO: Yes, and we even shot on location in Botswana.

KW: Patricia observes that, unlike many other actors, you have managed to avoid being typecast. She asks: what is your secret?

DO: Becoming typecast is something that can happen very easily, if you are not paying attention. Look, the fact of the matter is that Seretse and Dr. Martin Luther King [in Selma] makes it twice in a row now that I’ve played historical, political figures. I’ve got to be mindful of that going forward, despite how much i admire both of these men. You’ve got change it up to have a long career. so, I won’t be playing that sort of role in the near future.

KW: Since she’s French-Canadian, she’s also wondering whether the movie will be translated into other languages and if it will be showcased at Cannes 

DO: It won’t be showcased at Cannes, because it’s already been released. But, yes, it will be distributed internationally, in Canada, France, Botswana, Italy, Germany and many other countries.

KW: How was it working opposite Rosamund Pike? How do you explain the great chemistry the two of you generated on screen?

DO: I had been working on the film for a long time, and it was important to find an actress who shared my passion for the project. When I sent Rosamund pictures of Seretse and Ruth, she had such an emotional and visceral reaction to them, it really gave me a lot of confidence that we would be bringing everything we could to the work. And I think that passion for the project led to the chemistry you see onscreen.

KW: This year, the Academy nominated seven actors of color for Oscars after not nominating any the previous two years. But that must be little consolation to you, since your terrific performance in Selma as Dr. King was snubbed.   

DO: Well, thank you, but films are for life. Even with what happened with Selma, everywhere I go, people have seen that film. And at the end of the day, that’s why you do it. with the passage of time, no one really remembers who was nominated or who won, it’s the film that has to stand on its own two legs. i’m very proud to say that I feel we achieved that with Selma.

KW: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?

DO: [LOL] Well, I’m a lot sillier at home. I have four kids and a very rowdy house.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook for the kids?

DO: Being of Nigerian descent, I like to make fried plantains. It was a staple of mine growing up, and it’s a big favorite in our house.

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?   

DO: [Laughs again] A favorite movie monster? Gosh… I have to say I was very intoxicated by King Kong growing up. I had one of those rubber King Kong dolls with stretchy arms, and I would play with it for hours.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?

DO: I always think it’s a bad idea remaking classics. I’m of the mind that it’s best to leave them alone unless you have a very, very fresh point-of-view which is almost never the case. 

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you at this point in your career? I see you have an untitled project with Nash Edgerton coming up.

DO: Yeah, that’s an action-comedy, which is a very different speed for me. I really loved doing that film. Speaking of avoiding being typecast, I really want to try my hand at some different genres. Action is something I love to watch, and I’ve had fun whenever it’s come my way. Rasamund and I met doing an action-thriller [Jack Reacher]. I really enjoyed that experience, and would love to do something like that again. Comedy is something else I enjoy watching, and would love to do. So, the idea is to just keep mixing it up.   

KW: You also have God Particle coming up with Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris O’Dowd. What’s that about?

DO: It’s a sci-fi that J.J. Abrams is producing and a wonderful, young director named Julius Onah is directing. As i’m sure you know, because it’s a J.J. Abrams project, if I reveal any more, I’ll be shot in the kneecaps. [Chuckles]

KW: Super 8 is my favorite J.J. Abrams movie. Have you seen it?

DO: Yes, he’s a very special filmmaker. And we’ve really pushed the envelope with God Particle which is coming out in October.

KW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done with your kids?

DO: Taking them skiing. They thought they’d mastered it before they really had, so they started doing all these crazy jumps and things. They were incredibly good at it, and everything turned out fine, but it got a little hairy there for a second.

KW: When do you feel the most content? 

DO: When I’m at home with my wife and kids, slumped on the couch, watching a movie or laughing together.

KW: Let’s say you’re throwing your dream dinner party—who’s invited?

DO: I’d love to have Sidney Poitier, Daniel Day Lewis, Denzel Washington and Sean Penn over.

KW: The Anthony Anderson question: If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?

DO: I would probably choose time-traveling, so I could go back and change some of the fashion choices I’ve made.

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 13 year-old self? 

DO: When I was younger I couldn’t wait to be older. I would say, “Slow down!”

KW: Bernadette also asks: What is your favorite charity?

DO: The GEANCO Foundation which provides scholarships for Nigerian girls who have been victims of Boko Haram.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

DO: As someone who helped people.

KW: Finally, Samuel L. Jackson asks: What’s in your wallet?

DO: [LOL] Less money than people think.

KW: Thanks again for the time, David, and best of luck with A United Kingdom.

DO: Thank you very much, Kam.

Source:  GIG News

DuVernay Documentary Indicts Criminal Justice System as Vestige of Slavery

 

13th,  Film Review, Kam Williams, Ava DuVernay, Criminal Justice System, 13th Amendment, documentary, Selma13th

Film Review by Kam Williams

DuVernay Documentary Indicts Criminal Justice System as Vestige of Slavery

A year ago, many felt that Ava DuVernay was snubbed when she wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for directing Selma. Furthermore, none of the picture’s cast or crew members were nominated, despite the fact that it had been very well received by audiences and critics alike. But Selma apparently wasn’t being singled out, as African-Americans were entirely overlooked by the Academy for the second year in a row.

Since then, the Academy has taken steps to make the Oscars more inclusive, starting with inviting more minorities to join its ranks. That bodes well for Ava in terms of her latest offering, 13th, a searing indictment of the criminal justice system as a shameful vestige of chattel slavery.

The documentary’s title was inspired by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which  ended the institution of slavery “except as a punishment for a crime.” The movie’s basic thesis is that, after the Civil War, racists seized on that loophole to keep the black masses in chains.

The film features interviews with an array of luminaries, including Angela Davis, Senator Cory Booker, Dr. Henry Louis Gates and attorney Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”         

Inter alia, 13th blames D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915) for resurrecting the Ku Klux Klan by demonizing black males. It goes on to point out that over 300 Klansmen were elected delegates to the 1924 Democratic National Convention.

13th,  Film Review, Kam Williams, Ava DuVernay, Criminal Justice System, 13th Amendment, documentary, Selma

Though an arch-conservative, Newt Gingrich adopts a sympathetic posture regarding the plight of African-Americans, observing that “Virtually no one who is white understands the challenge of being black in America.” And former Green Czar Van Jones, who served in the Obama administration, asks a very thought-provoking question, namely, “Why is the black community so weak in defending itself?”

Part of the answer is revealed in the profit-maximizing agenda of the Corrections Corporation of America, a company which has successfully lobbied to expand and privatize the prison industry. The upshot is that today there are millions of blacks behind bars, a sad reflection of the reality that a defendant is way better off in the courts being rich and guilty than poor and innocent.

The incendiary expose’ closes with Jones asserting that the Black Lives Matter movement “is not a stoppable phenomenon” because it’s fundamentally about reshaping the country’s understanding of human dignity. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how things shake out, given the ascension of Donald Trump, who has taken the position that “All lives matter” while declaring himself the law-and-order president-elect. 

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated 

Running time: 100 minutes

Distributor: Netflix

Source:  Baret News

Oscar-Winning Civil Rights Saga Arrives on DVD

 

Selma

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Oscar-Winning Civil Rights Saga Arrives on DVD

 

I was born in the early Fifties, which means the Civil Rights Movement unfolded over the course of my formative years. And like the average black kid growing up in that tumultuous era, I can distinctly recall
Selma,  DVD Review by Kam Williamshaving a very visceral reaction to the nightly news coverage, since I had such a personal stake in the outcome of the events.

One of the most consequential flashpoints in memory was when a trio of voting rights marches were staged in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Launched by locals with the help of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the first demonstration came to be known as Bloody Sunday because of the way the police viciously attacked the 500+ participants with teargas and billy clubs, all at the direction of a racist Sheriff named Jim Clark (Stan Houston).

Fallout from the shocking media coverage garnered the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) who agreed to get involved. And after an aborted second attempt to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the controversy blossomed into a nationwide cause célèbre with 25,000 people willing to risk their life and limb descending upon tiny Selma, including cultural icons like Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone, Joan Baez, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter, Paul and Mary.

Three times proved a charm as the third march went off without a hitch, although participant Viola Selma,  DVD Review by Kam WilliamsLiuzzo (Tara Ochs), a mother of five from Detroit, was murdered by a quartet of cowardly Ku Klux Klansmen just a few hours later. A couple of other martyrs also made the ultimate sacrifice in Selma, Jimmie Lee Jackson (Keith Stanfield) and Reverend James Reeb (Jeremy Strong). Fortunately, none of them died in vain because, in August, President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signed historic voting rights legislation into law.

All of the above has been evocatively reenacted in Selma, a gut-wrenching civil rights saga directed by Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere). Although the movie was this critic’s pick as the Best Picture of 2014, it was pretty much snubbed by the Academy Awards, only winning the Oscar for Best Song, “Glory.”

Nevertheless, don’t miss this overdue tribute to a revered icon and some unsung heroes who played a critical role at a seminal moment in the courageous African-American struggle for freedom and equality.

 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, and brief profanity

Running time: 128 minutes

Distributor: Paramount Home Media Distribution

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: The Road to Selma; Recreating Selma; “Glory” music video; historical newsreels; photo gallery; deleted and extended scenes; National Voting Rights Museum and Institute; Selma Student Tickets: Donor Appreciation; Commentary by director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo; and Commentary by director Ava DuVernay, director of photography Bradford Young and editor Spencer Averick.

 

 

To order a copy of Selma on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00S1MYWBW/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 

Source:  Baret News Wire

Timely Civil Rights Saga Revisits Historic Martin Luther King March

 

 

Selma

Film Review by Kam Williams

Timely Civil Rights Saga Revisits Historic Martin Luther King March

 

I was born in the early Fifties, which means the Civil Rights Movement unfolded over the course of my formative years. And like the average black kid growing up in that tumultuous era, I can distinctly recall having a very visceral reaction to the nightly news coverage, since I had such a personal stake in the outcome of the events.

126889_galOne of the most consequential flashpoints in memory was when a trio of voting rights marches were staged in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Launched by locals with the help of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the first demonstration came to be known as Bloody Sunday because of the way the police viciously attacked the 500+ participants with teargas and billy clubs, all at the direction of a racist Sheriff named Jim Clark (Stan Houston).

Fallout from the shocking media coverage garnered the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) who agreed to get involved. And after an aborted second attempt to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the controversy blossomed into a nationwide cause célèbre with 25,000 people willing to risk their life and limb descending upon tiny Selma, including cultural icons like Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone, Joan Baez, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter, Paul and Mary.

Three times proved a charm as the third march went off without a hitch, although participant Viola Liuzzo (Tara Ochs), a mother of five from Detroit, was murdered by a quartet of cowardly Ku Klux Klansmen just a few hours later. A couple of other martyrs also made the ultimate sacrifice in Selma, Jimmie Lee Jackson (Keith Stanfield) and Reverend James Reeb (Jeremy Strong). Fortunately, none of them died in vain because, in August, President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signed historic voting rights legislation into law.

All of the above has been evocatively reenacted in Selma, a gut-wrenching civil rights saga directed126899_gal
by Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere). The picture’s release has proven to be oh so timely, given the resurgence of political activism all across the U.S. in the wake of the failure of grand juries to indict the police officers for the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Believe it or not, this moving biopic is the first, full-length feature ever made revolving around Dr. Martin Luther King. That oversight is only apt to further enhance the film’s stock value when it goes wide in theaters right before Dr. King’s birthday and the eagerly-anticipated awards season.

An overdue tribute to a revered icon and to some unsung foot soldiers who played a critical role at a seminal moment in the courageous African-American struggle for freedom and equality.

 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, and brief profanity

Running time: 127 minutes

Distributor: Paramount Pictures