Here is my list of the best Black Films of 2017
Part character study, part legal thriller and part morality tale about means manifesting their own ends, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” winds up being just as eccentric and unpredictable as its doggedly honorable, and far from perfect, leading man
Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a dramatic thriller set in the underbelly of the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system. Denzel Washington stars as a driven, idealistic defense attorney whose life is upended when a turbulent series of events challenge the activism that has defined his career. Colin Farrell costars as the ambitious, monied lawyer who recruits Roman to his firm.
In some cases you might think, ‘I’ve seen this all before.’ Yes. You have. But not with a leading lady like Jessica Williams. She’s something else entirely.
An aspiring NYC playwright (Jessica Williams) gets over a painful breakup by bonding with a man who was also recently dumped (Chris O’Dowd). LaKeith Stanfield and Noël Wells co-star. Written and directed by James C. Strouse.
The two men’s relationship, and others in the film, might have been explored in greater depth, but Ruskin rightly keeps his focus on the judicial system as it fails Warner again and again.
In the spring of 1980, a teenager is gunned down in the streets of Flatbush, Brooklyn. The police pressure a child witness to identify a suspect. As a result, Colin Warner, an 18-year-old kid from nearby Crown Heights, is wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Colin’s childhood friend Carl ‘KC’ King devotes his life to fighting for Colin’s freedom. He works on appeals, takes loans for lawyer fees and becomes a legal courier to learn the court system. This incredible true story is adapted from the acclaimed This American Life segment by writer/director Matt Ruskin, with Lakeith Stanfield playing Colin Warner and Nnamdi Asomugha as Carl King.
Boseman has hhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfvzEXhhWNkeadlined biopics before as James Brown and Jackie Robinson, and here, he imbues the young Marshall with a quiet confidence and a dogged devotion to truth and justice.
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, and James Cromwell. Director Reginald Hudlin’s Marshall, is based on an early trial in the career of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. It follows the young lawyer (Chadwick Boseman) to conservative Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) charged with sexual assault and attempted murder of his white socialite employer (Kate Hudson). Muzzled by a segregationist court, Marshall partners with a courageous young Jewish lawyer, Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad). Together they mount the defense in an environment of racism and Anti-Semitism. The high profile case and the partnership with Friedman served as a template for Marshall’s creation of the NAACP legal defense fund.
Bold and brutal in shocking spurts, the indie horror drama from writer-director O’Shea is a startling debut that leaves a fresh mark on the genre while celebrating its forbears.
The Transfiguration follows troubled teen Milo who hides behind his fascination with vampire lore. When he meets the equally alienated Sophie, the two form a bond that begins to challenge Milo’s dark obsession, blurring his fantasy into reality. A chilling portrait of violence, The Transfiguration is an atmospheric thriller set against the grit of New York City.
5. Girls Trip
There is no raunchier, more raucous, filthy and truly crass movie out this summer than Girls Trip – and I loved every minute of it.
When four lifelong friends-Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish-travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.
Elevating Netflix’s theatrical game, Mudbound is a powerful and absorbing film, one that does a splendid job of preserving its literary voice while painting a densely layered portrait of two families in World War II-era Mississippi.
Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees’ Mudbound is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta. Mudbound follows the McAllan family, newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis and unprepared for the harsh demands of farming. Despite the grandiose dreams of Henry, his wife Laura struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture. Meanwhile, Hap and Florence Jackson – sharecroppers who have worked the land for generations – struggle bravely to build a small dream of their own despite the rigidly enforced social barriers they face. The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie McAllan and Ronsel Jackson, forge a fast but uneasy friendship that challenges the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South in which they live.
1. Get Out
Did I leave out your favorite? let me know
A. J . Harper @harperworx writes about race and pop culture. In Concert, the latest novel in his Tales of Urban Horror Series will be released May 2018