At the Cinema: Racial justice, feminism and a gonzo western for kids

At the Cinema: Racial justice, feminism and a gonzo western for kids

This month at Camana Bay Cinema comes a period piece about the politics of racial tension in 1960s America titled, "Judas and the Black Messiah."

From director Shaka King, the film tells the story of when long-time criminal William O’Neal is brought into custody and finds himself presented with a choice: either spend more than a decade in prison or take a deal from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and spy on the Black Panther organisation in Chicago. He takes the deal, but in doing so, starts to question the true meaning of justice and the difference between right and wrong. Starring LaKeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya and Martin Sheen, "Judas and the Black Messiah" opens on 12 February.

It took him long enough, but Bob Odenkirk is finally getting a lead role, in the movie "Nobody," which opens on 26 February. Odenkirk is best known for his television roles in "Breaking Bad" and its spin-off, "Better Call Saul," and in supporting roles in films like "Nebraska" and "The Post," but the charismatic actor is long overdue for the coveted lead role. In "Nobody," Odenkirk plays a seemingly uninteresting and underappreciated middle-aged father. However, events in his life trigger feelings from his past and now anyone who stands in his way may meet their maker. Produced by the team that brought you "John Wick," expect to see some intense combat choreography and impressive tracking sequences. 

Two of the best animated features of the 2010s return to the big screen this month. On 13 February, take the kids to see "How to Train Your Dragon." It's a story of a young Viking named Hiccup, consistently disappointing his father with his cowardly attitude, who stumbles upon an injured dragon. Hiccup nurses the dragon back to health and trains it, much like he would train a dog — except this pet can fly and spit fire. Their bond, while fun and adventurous, may be the only thing that saves Hiccup and his tribe. 
Winning the 2012 Oscar for Best Animated Feature, "Rango" is like a western for children that was edited by "gonzo" writer Hunter S. Thompson. Rango is a pet chameleon who finds himself stranded among wild animals in the desert town of Dirt. Seeing this as an opportunity to reinvent himself, Rango creates a sheriff persona that's larger than life, but just might get him killed. Voiced by Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher and Timothy Olyphant, this gonzo western shows on 20 February. 

The phrase “tour de force” can be overused when critiquing  films, but make no mistake, the critically acclaimed "Thelma & Louise" is just that. When two friends go on an impromptu road trip to get away from their normal lives, they soon find themselves in a heap of trouble and on the run from the police. Seminal roles for Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon as the title characters, "Thelma & Louise" became a landmark in feminist film. Join the ride on 9 February.

This article originally appeared in the February 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

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