Blindspotting
Lifelong Friendship Tested by Police Shooting in Bay Area Buddy Dramedy

  Collin (Daveed Diggs) and Miles (Rafael Casal), who are black and white, respectively, have been best friends since they were kids. Now in their twenties, they both still live in the rough Oakland ‘hood where they grew up, although they’ve been watching it gentrify in recent years.

  The changing demographics have made it hard for the two to get along with their new yuppie neighbors. After all, Collin is a convicted felon on probation, while Miles has ghetto written all over him, from the grill in his mouth to the tattoos all over his body.

  When Collin was paroled, Miles got him a dead-end job with the moving company where he works. So, by day, they get to share the cab of a truck. 

  After hours, immature Miles reluctantly goes home to his baby-mama (Jasmine Cephas Jones) and young son (Ziggy Baitinger), though he’d really rather roam the streets with his gun. By contrast, Collin has a strict curfew and needs to keep his nose clean, given that he’s finishing up his sentence at a local halfway house.

  The plot thickens one fateful evening as Collin sits in his car at a stoplight. He becomes the sole witness when a white police officer (Ethan Embry) shoots an unarmed black man in the back. 

  Collin just drives away from the scene as ordered by the police, but the incident continues to haunt him for days. And when he tries to talk about it with Miles, racial tensions surprisingly surface which test their tight relationship.

  Thus unfolds Blindspotting, an in your face buddy dramedy co-written by co-stars Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal who reportedly worked on the timely script for over a decade. The movie marks the impressive directorial debut of Carlos Lopez Estrada, who is previously known for shooting music videos for bands like Reptar, Passion Pit and Goo Goo Dolls.

  Blindspotting‘s searing exploration of hot-button issues as race, class and police brutality in such confrontational fashion makes for a thought-provoking experience guaranteed to affect you long after leaving the theater.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexual references, drug use, brutal violence, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity
Running time: 95 minutes
Production Studios: Summit Entertainment / Codeblack Films / Foley Walkers Studio / Snoot Entertainment
Distributor: Lionsgate Entertainment

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies
Inspired Adaptation of the Animated TV Series Arrives on the Big Screen

  Created by DC Comics back in 1964 to serve as sidekicks to members of the legendary Justice League, the Teen Titans are a talented team of superheroes in its own right. The motley crew underwent numerous personnel changes over the years before finally settling down as the five young crime-fighters appearing in the popular Cartoon Network TV series since 2003.

  Led by Batman’s Boy Wonder, Robin (Scott Menville), the intrepid quintet also includes shape-shifting Beast Boy (Greg Cipes), telekinetic Raven (Tara Strong), strong and speedy Starfire (Hynden Walch) and the humanoid Cyborg (Khary Payton). Co-directed by Aaron Horvath and Peter Rida Michail, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is an inspired, big screen adaptation designed for both loyal fans and folks totally unfamiliar with the kiddie franchise.

  The animated adventure revolves around the Titans’ desire to star in their own summer blockbuster, like other characters in the DC Universe. Trouble is they’re not being taken seriously by Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell), Hollywood’s hottest director. 

  She’ll only consider shooting the film if all of the members of the Justice League are suddenly unavailable to save the planet from a diabolical supervillain. As luck would have it, that’s just what transpires when they fall under the spell of mind-controlling Slade (Will Arnett), the proverbial madman bent on world domination. 

  Not to worry. The Teen Titans come to the rescue, and what ensues is a dizzying mix of slapstick humor, madcap action and musical numbers. Along the way, discerning adults are also apt to notice some clever allusions as well as the distinctive voicework of Jimmy Kimmel as Batman, Nicolas Cage as Superman, and James Corden as Balloon Man.

  An irreverent spoof of the superhero genre that’s certain to delight the whole family!

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG for action and rude humor
Running time: 88 minutes
Production Studios: Warner Brothers Animation / DC Entertainment
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

 

OPENING THIS WEEK
Kam’s Kapsules
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening July 27, 2018

WIDE RELEASES

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (PG-13 for violence, intense action and brief profanity) Sixth installment of the espionage series finds CIA Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and company in a race against time to prevent a global catastrophe after failing to apprehend a maniacal madman (Sean Harris). With Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Angela Bassett, Alec Baldwin, Henry Cavill and Michelle Monaghan. (In English and French with subtitles)

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (PG for action and rude humor) Adaptation of the animated TV series pits the team of superheroes against a power-hungry villain (Will Arnett) hatching a diabolical plan to control the minds of Batman (Jimmy Kimmel), Superman (Nicolas Cage), Wonder Woman (Halsey) and other members of the Justice League. Voice cast includes Kristen Bell, Tara Strong and Khary Payton.

 

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN

14 Cameras (Unrated) Vacation from hell horror flick about a family of four that unwittingly rents a summer home from a creepy landlord (Neville Archambault) who secretly live streams their most intimate moments over the dark web. Co-starring Kodi Saint Angelo, Jacob Browne, Amber Midthunder, Tait Fletcher and Lora Martinez Cunningham.

The Captain (Unrated) World War II drama about a Nazi soldier (Max Hubacher) who deserts and proceeds to impersonate an officer when he finds an abandoned Captain’s uniform. Cast includes Milan Peschel, Frederick Lau and Waldemar Kobus. (In German with subtitles.)

Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings (Unrated) Mark Chao reprises his role as the title character in the third installment of the action franchise, set during the Tang Dynasty, which finds the intrepid gumshoe defending himself against a formidable foe (Carina Lau) while simultaneously fighting a crime wave. With Kenny Lin, Shaofeng Feng and Sichun Ma. (In Mandarin with subtitles.)

Hot Summer Nights (R for drug use, pervasive profanity, sexual references and graphic violence) Coming-of-age saga, set in 1991, about an awkward teen’s (Timothee Chalamet) struggle to make friends while spending the summer on Cape Cod with his Aunt (Rebecca Koon). Cast includes William Fitchner, Thomas Jane and Maika Monroe.

Killer Bees (Unrated) Hoop dreams documentary chronicling Bridgehampton High’s defense of its basketball title as well as the struggle of the tiny African-American community to survive in the Hamptons, an exclusive resort area increasingly dominated by the rich and famous.

Puzzle (R for profanity) Midlife-crisis drama revolving around a jaded housewife (Kelly Macdonald) who gets a new lease on life when she develops a passion for solving jigsaw puzzles. With Irrfan Khan, David Denman and Myrna Cabello.

Scarred Hearts (Unrated) Adaptation of Max Blecher’s 1939 novel of the same name about a young man with tuberculosis (Lucian Teodor Rus) who falls in love with a fellow patient (Ivana Mladenovic) at the sanitarium. Cast includes Gabriel Spahiu, Dana Marineci and Serban Pavlu. (In Romanian and German with subtitles.)

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (Unrated) revealing biopic about Scotty Bowers, a bi-sexual Tinseltown pimp who claimed in his tell-all memoir, Full Service, to have personally provided stud service over six decades to such stars as Spencer Tracy, Vivien Leigh, Rock Hudson, Vincent Price, Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant, Kate Hepburn, James Dean, Mae West and Errol Flynn, to name a few.

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