The following movies open this week in theaters and online.
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
(in theaters and HBO Max)
During the late 1960s, charismatic leader Fred Hampton (David Kaluuya) serves as the chairman of the Black Panther Party in Chicago.
After getting arrested for stealing cars and posing as an FBI agent, William O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield) is recruited by the FBI to infiltrate the Black Panthers and to report to FBI Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) about the activities of Hampton.
Shaka King directs this stunning recreation of the racial inequities of the time with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) demanding that Panther leaders be captured. Kaluuya gives a powerful performance as young orator Hampton, who exhibits bravery and strength while pursuing justice for Black people.
Rated R 3 and 1/2 Stars
In an acclaimed and remarkable feature, filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung examines the immigrant experience from the point of view of the Korean American Yi family, who move from California to rural Arkansas in order to have a better life. While the father Jacob (Steven Yeun) plans to grow Asian produce to sell at a market in Dallas, Jacob and his wife Monica (Han Ye-ri) begin by making their living at a hatchery.
The Yi children Anne (Noel Kate Cho) and the irresistible David (Alan Kim) adapt to the Arkansas culture better than their parents. Eventually, Monica’s mother Soon-ja (Youn Yu-jung) arrives from Korea. Eccentric Paul (Will Patton) works with Jacob as he attempts to farm.
Although set in America, the language of “Minari” is mainly Korean, with subtitles on the screen. The word ‘minari’ is translated as either Japanese parsley or Chinese celery.
Rated PG-13 3 Stars
Mohamedou Ould Saladhi’s bestselling memoir “Guantanamo Diary” is the basis of “The Mauritanian,” the jaw-dropping true story of Saladhi’s (Tahar Rahim) life as a prisoner who was detained at “Gitmo” in Cuba after 9/11.
Jodie Foster plays American lawyer Nancy Hollander, who along with her assistant, Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley), attempt to defend Saladhi. While Hollander and Duncan have problems trying to get any information from the government, prosecutor Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) also receives mostly redacted pages.
Director Kevin McDonald keeps the viewer guessing about Saladhi, an engineer who studied and lived in Germany for years. Could this prisoner be an instigator of 9/11 or an innocent man? The torture sequences are not for the faint of heart.
Rated R 3 and 1/2 Stars
THE WORLD TO COME
(in theaters and available online March 2)
Mona Fastvold directs this compelling drama based on a short story by Jim Shepard. “The World to Come” is set in the rough frontier country of Upstate New York during 1856. Abigail (Katherine Waterston) and Dyer (Casey Affleck) welcome their neighbors Tallie (Vanessa Kirby) and Finney (Christopher Abbott), who rent a nearby farm.
In this lonely and challenging land, the women become friends, and their friendship becomes something more. The harsh tale contrasts with its beautiful setting.
Rated R 3 Stars
Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews movies, arts and entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.