Movie Review: The movie Boys State, the movie Palm Springs, and the movie Judas and the Black Messiah
Zachary Hess Award Nominations Cont.
Boys State is a cinema verité documentary following the pretend Governor’s race at the 2018 Texas Boys State. Boys State and Girls State events are month-long mock government experiments. In Boys State, the American Legion assembles a thousand 17-year-old boys to build a representative government from the ground up. The documentary follows a few boys' experiences through this turbulent month. Directors Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine sifted through thousands of hours of footage to present a perfect microcosm of American politics. This is a documentary for anyone at all interested in politics. Currently, the only way to watch Boys State is through Apple’s streaming service APPLETV+. The service comes free for many who purchased an iPhone in the past year, but Apple provides a free trial for those who are wary about the new streaming service. While you are on the platform check out one of the best-animated feature contenders Wolfwalkers.
Very few films remind me of quarantine life like the Lonely Island produced sleeper hit comedy starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. Samberg’s Nyles is stuck in a Groundhog Day scenario at a wedding with Milioti’s Sarah. The two spend the run-time trying to figure out life when every day is the same. The movie takes some fun twists and turns that make for a great time. In a year that brought on a lot of monotony and repetitious days, Palm Springs brought some catharsis and joy. The Max Barbakow directed comedy made history at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival for breaking the record for the most a film had been purchased for out of the prestigious festival. HULU through their indie distributor NEON picked up the film for $17.5 million dollars and 69 cents. This beat the previous record by 69 cents. Find Palm Springs on Hulu.
Judas and the Black Messiah
This powerful biopic released at the 2021 Sundance film festival is a late-stage contender in the 2020 awards race. Judas and the Black Messiah is an acting tour de force. Get Out actor Daniel Kaluuya is enigmatic in this nontraditional biopic about the FBI’s COINTELPRO investigation into the Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton. Rising star Lakeith Standfield is the perfect lead playing an FBI informant/activist who acts as the audience's eyes in this remarkable crime thriller, romance, historical drama. Shaka King directs a revolutionary film that succeeds on every single front. Judas and the Black Messiah is built upon the ideas and tenants of the Black Power movement. A heavily researched and complex representation of those principles. Judas and the Black Messiah should be an instant front runner in the 2020 Oscar race. The film is available on HBO Max until March 15th, 2021. The film will continue playing in theaters where theaters are open after that date.
Honorable Mentions: The Small Axe Anthology, Da 5 Bloods, Emma, Mank, Wolfwalkers, One Night in Miami, Time, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Promising Young Woman, and Malcolm & Marie.
Popular Movies that I did not see before writing this list: Shiva Baby, Kajillionair, First Cow, Nomadland, Another Round, News of the World, The United States vs Billie Holiday, The Nest, Martin Eden.
Additional Note: Zachary Hess plans on writing another discussion series once the official Oscar Nominations have been released. So check back in for more great reviews in a couple months.
Editor: Zachary Hess