By Aswad Walker, Houston Defender, Word in Black
Here’s my list of the top 10 upcoming Black movies to look out for this year. And by Black, I mean, they are either starring Blackfolk and/or were written and directed by a sister or brother. Let me know if I left anytime off. Spoiler Alert: I left off “House Party.” It just doesn’t look like it’s gonna be any good to me. Hope I’m wrong.
The Drop: Described as a clever cringe comedy, a seemingly happy married couple confronts a test of their marriage when one of them drops a baby while at a destination wedding at a tropical island. It stars Jermaine Fowler (“Coming 2 America,” “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “Sorry to Bother You”). It also stars “A Black Lady’s Sketch Show” creator Robin Thede. I’m thinking this is gonna be good.
Chevalier: This looks like one of those made-for-the Awards movies. It’s about a real-life Black musical genius. Okay, I know that doesn’t tell you a whole lot, because there are billions of Black musical geniuses. But this story focuses on Bologne, the “illegitimate” son of an enslaved African and a French plantation owner/enslaver. Bologne rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette and her court. And again, this flick is inspired by the incredible true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
The Marvels: I’m a comic book geek, and I’m still trippin’ on the facts that Marvel was able to tell a gargantuan story over the course of 25 films (that’s never, ever been done before), and even more impressive to me, 2) they brought those thousands of comic books I read in my youth to life on the big screen. And if you’re a Generation Xers like me, you know it was doubtful if comics could ever make the transition to quality movies and/or TV series. Go check out some of those 1970s and early 80s attempts at superhero movies and shows—Spider-Man, Captain America, the Avengers, etc. With the exception of the Hulk, starring Bill Bixby, all the others were lacking to say the least. But these days, its another reality altogether. And “The Marvels” brings together multiple movies and TV series characters together. One of those coming to the party is Teyonah Parris who is also starring in the upcoming “They Cloned Tyrone.” Another, is Lashana Lynch from “The Woman King,” “Captain Marvel,” “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” and the last James Bond movie “No Time to Die.”
Little Mermaid: A live-action remake of the Disney animated classic, and starring Halle Bailey and Daveed Diggs, this movies tells the story of… Wait. Y’all already know the story. I’m just excited to see how this movie is gonna excite young Black children, especially little Black girls, who so rarely get to see themselves as the main focus of major movies (I know y’all remember those clips of little Black girls’ spirits lighting up when they viewed the trailer when it first came out). And with all the energy folk who believe in the myth of white supremacy put into crying white tears over the fact that Ariel is now a sister, we need to make sure Halle and crew have a huge box office smash on their hands.
You People: Yo, it’s starring an all-star cast headlined by Eddie Murphy. So, of course, I’m giving it a chance.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse: With Shameik Moore starring as Miles Morales (aka “Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man) in this follow-up to the Academy Award-winning animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” this highly anticipated sequel brings with it the voice talents of Issa Rae, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry and Lauren Vélez. After reuniting with Gwen Stacy, Miles Morales is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. But when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spiders and must redefine what it means to be a hero so he can save the people he loves most.
Creed III: The Creed saga continues, starring Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashaad and “Lovecraft Country’s” Jonathan Majors. ‘Nuff said.
Shirley: This movie had me at “Shirley,” as in the focus of this biopic film about America’s first Black congresswoman and first soul sister to run for President of the United States, Shirley Chisholm. This movie really had me, for real, for real, when I heard the incomparable Regina King will be playing this iconic and history-making Black woman. And on another topic, I sure hope they create another season of “Watchmen.”
Mars One: This Brazilian-made film looks like it’s going to grab all the awards and all the hearts too. It’s about the Martins family, optimistic dreamers, who are quietly leading their lives in the margins of a major Brazilian city following the disappointing inauguration of a far-right extremist president. A lower-middle-class Black family, they feel the strain of their new reality as the political dust settles. Tércia, the mother, reinterprets her world after an unexpected encounter leaves her wondering if she’s cursed. Her husband, Wellington, puts all of his hopes into the soccer career of their son, Deivinho, who reluctantly follows his father’s ambitions despite secretly aspiring to study astrophysics and colonize Mars. Meanwhile, their older daughter, Eunice, falls in love with a free-spirited young woman and ponders whether it’s time to leave home. This movie doesn’t look to have same the non-stop action that the iconic and all-time great movie “City of God” (also from Brazil), but it will certainly posses just as much heart, if not more.
They Cloned Tyrone: An unlikely trio (stars John Boyega, Jamie Foxx and Teyonah Parris) investigates a series of eerie events, alerting them to a nefarious conspiracy lurking directly beneath their hood. You already know this is gonna be an instant classic.
Luther: The Fallen Sun: If you know me, you already know “Luther” is one of my all-time favorite TV series. Idris Elba doesn’t just play the role of DCI John Luther, he literally becomes the no-nonsense, flawed, line-crossing British detective (like Charlie Murphy said about Rick James, Luther is a habitual line-crosser). And if you haven’t seen the iconic series, do yourself a favor and stop everything to check it out RIGHT NOW! But be warned; I don’t know if there has ever been a series with so many “villains” whose crimes will make your skin crawl. And then, there’s Alice (if you know, you know). But what none of us Luther fans knew was when, if ever, all that talk about a Luther movie would ever come to pass. But yo, it’s goin’ down this March. And according to the actor playing the movie’s bad guy (Andy Serkis, “Ulysses Klaw in “Black Panther”), this is the most “skin-crawling-est” monster Luther has ever faced. And believe me; that’s saying something.
The Outlaw Johnny Black: Full disclosure, this movie could be incredibly funny or incredibly bad. I appreciate the fact that this Black-led film pays homage to those classic Spaghetti Westerns from back in the day and those Rudy Ray Moore flicks combined, which could end up being either genius or junk. This movie also gives shout-outs to countless other classic westerns, including Buck and the Preacher. I can’t wait to find out where this movie lands.
Master: This animated feature will follow Olivia, a young Black woman endowed with superpowers, as she leads her family to what she sees as a better life — only to realize that the life she’s trying to leave behind is the one she should be fighting for. The project is in development, with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Peter Ramsey onboard as executive producer.