Hey y’all, I missed you last week since I had some moving business to tend to (New apartment yay! New apartment, stress! Both!). So, even though this week is All Election Everything, we’re not short on trailers. Let’s get to it...
First Impressions: The Life Ahead follows “an aging Holocaust survivor [who] forges a bond with a young immigrant from Senegal who recently robbed her.” This one looks like a tearjerker, though I am hoping it isn’t reduced to traditional white savior tropes. The film stars Sophia Loren and Ibrahima Gueye.
First Impressions: Following Scotch Whisky icon Johnnie Walker, The Man Who Walked Around the World explores the 200-year history of the world’s largest Scotch Whisky brand (including the iconic Striding Man icon that you’ve probably seen in many films, music videos and more). Yes, I’m including this because the doc features Wu-Tang Clan’s Cappadonna. Also, it really makes me want some whiskey.
The Shop: Uninterrupted (HBO; Special Barack Obama Episode Now Streaming for non-HBO Subscribers Through Nov. 28)
First Impressions: Imagine being able to sit in during a barbershop shit-talking session with the first Black president of the United States. LeBron James and Maverick Carter sat down with the 44th president in a special virtual barbershop and you can now watch it on HBO’s website, HBO Max and HBO’s / HBO Max’s respective YouTube channels even without a subscription through Nov. 28.
The Slutcracker (PPV; Release Date: Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26)
First Impressions: Of course, I have to start with the fact that this play-on-words is fabulous. Boasting a very diverse cast of dancers, The Slutcracker is a feminist retelling of the legendary Tchaikovsky’s 1890s ballet and is altered to “chronicle Clara’s sexual empowerment.” Due to the pandemic, the performance is shifting to virtual and viewers can expect to be dazzled by “ballet dancers, burlesque performers, hula hoopers, belly dancers, and so many others with interests in flamenco, hip hop, pole, acting, and myriad dance forms.”
First Impressions: Too soon, too soon!! Songbird will explore a too-close-to-home world where COVID-19 has mutated and the residents are on their fourth year of lockdown. Basically, everyone has monitors that track infections. If you’re deemed to be infected, you must remain quarantined in your home or you’ll be shot on sight for attempting to spread it. Yikes. Craig Robinson co-stars in this calamity.
Southside Magnolia (Now Streaming on SouthsideMagnolia.com)
First Impressions: Presented by DoorDash and directed by Rodney Lucas, Southside Magnolia “showcases the resilience of local Black businesses, the spirit of Black entrepreneurship, and the unwavering commitment of the Chicago community to support their neighborhood.” Speaking of resilience, Victor and Dana Cooksey’s Krazy Hog BBQ (it’s Black-owned, y’all!) had to shut down for nine months due to COVID-19 and recently reopened at the end of October. Chicago native Chance The Rapper provided the film’s score.
First Impressions: Trial 4 is an eight-episode docuseries following Sean Ellis, who served 22 years in prison after being found guilty of killing Boston Police Detective John Mulligan in 1993. The series is very relevant as it tackles police corruption, systemic racism and criminal justice reform.
She Never Died (Tubi; Release Date: Nov. 15)
First Impressions: Shout-out to Black women leading horror films. More of that energy, please. Starring Oluniké Adeliyi (American Gods), She Never Died follows a socially detached loner named Lacey who has been cursed with immortality and must face her inner demons.
First Impressions: This one is sure to be both somehow gut-wrenching and beautiful. Based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book of the same name, HBO’s upcoming special boasts a heavyweight cast: Coates, Mahershala Ali, Angela Bassett, Angela Davis, Alicia Garza, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Jharrel Jerome, Mimi Jones, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Ledisi, Janet Mock, Jason Moran, Joe Morton, Wendell Pierce, Phylicia Rashad, Greg Alverez Reid, Mj Rodriguez, Kendrick Sampson, Yara Shahidi, Nate Smith, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Courtney B. Vance, Olivia Washington, Pauletta Washington, Susan Kelechi Watson, Michelle Wilson, and Oprah Winfrey.
First Impressions: Afro-Latinx representation matters. Ian Lara represents the east coast (and Dominicanos) in a NY vs. LA comedy showdown with Chris Estrada. “I’m Latino, I promise,” Lara jokes in the trailer.
First Impressions: Directed by and starring George Clooney, Midnight Sky is giving me Interstellar vibes but like, way more depressing and lonely, if that’s possible. Make way for more post-apocalyptic content! The film also stars David Oyelowo and Tiffany Boone.
First Impressions: A 2020 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) pick, Downstream to Kinshasa follows the victims of the Six-Day War in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who have been fighting for recognition and compensation. The film, directed by Dieudo Hamadi recently won the Golden Dove, which is the main award at German documentary and animated film festival DOK Leipzig, as well as the Prize of the Interreligious Jury.
First Impressions: I am a personal fan of the LEGO film series because they’re the lighthearted (yet snarky) joy we especially need right now. Plus, Billy Dee Williams lends his voice for his iconic role of Lando Calrissian!
Girls Matter (2020 Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival; Release Date: Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m. ET)
First Impressions: This film follows Allison James, the founder of Girls; Live, Love, Laugh who is striving to change the lives of underprivileged girls in Newark, N.J. after she overcame domestic violence, child sexual abuse and homelessness. Social justice journalist and award-winning producer Lisa Durden directs Girls Matter to highlight the power of giving these typically undervalued girls a voice and the confidence to use it.
First Impressions: This series follows independent country singer Coffey Anderson and his hip-hop dancer wife Criscilla as they navigate raising their family with a “country vs. city” conflict as well as Criscilla’s journey through chemotherapy.
A Cops and Robbers Story (DOC NYC; Release Date: Nov. 11)
First Impressions: This documentary, which is making its world premiere at DOC NYC (held virtually this year), follows Corey Pegues and his journey from “drug-dealing gang member to celebrated police officer.” This dichotomy is certainly relevant to explore as we have ongoing conversations surrounding police reform, defunding and abolishment.
In you case you missed it, we featured Bridgerton earlier this week since Shonda Rhimes’ first show with Netflix is a pretty damn big deal. ‘Til next week!
Correction: 11/10/2020, 10:51 a.m. ET: An earlier version of this article incorrectly noted the mission of the Girls; Live, Love, Laugh foundation for the Girls Matter documentary. We have since corrected it above.