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Friday, July 29, 2016

BAD MOMS Illuminates the Plight of the Young, White, Privileged, Suburban Mom

I know when I think of young struggling mothers in America, I think of the ones living in Suburbia in their multi-floor houses and two-car garages, grappling with the demands of bake sales and full-time jobs. Don't you?

Okay so, no. Despite its need to constantly remind you of how hard it is for young white suburban moms desperate to live up to patriarchal standards of handling all domestic responsibilities, including having and raising the children, cleaning the house, and in some cases, making all the money, the only thing BAD MOMS manages to say is that they also know how to have a really great time when they allow themselves to.

And for what it's worth, it's also entertaining to watch them let loose for a change, down all the cereal in the grocery store aisle, skip parent-teacher meetings, and have sex on a weeknight--like groupies for the band, Twister Sister. Kathryn Hahn, who plays Carla, the devil-may-care single mom of the trio consisting of Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell, is particularly hilarious. Her roughhouse antics are a perfect fit for Bell's cardigan-wearing, stay-at-home mom of four (Kiki) and Kunis's working mom of two (Amy) trying to balance it all as her relationship with her slacker husband (David Walton) crumbles before her eyes. On top of their maternal duties, Amy's new lifestyle has come under the intense scrutiny of the school mom gang led by Christina Applegate (along with her sidekicks played by Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo).

I suppose real-life white suburban moms would consider this escapist entertainment. And that's fine. But I think, while it's fun at times, it's mostly empty, forgettable, and emphasizes a white male perspective of unruly moms that is still pretty safe and predictable. The fact that BAD MOMS is written and directed by two white men (Jon Lucas and Scott Moore) further emphasizes the point of view, which glosses over far more interesting and less normative narratives of hyper stressed moms--like the one who confiscates her son's weed and smokes it herself, the "mom" who attends parent-teacher meetings despite not being a mother, and the mom who would rather have sex with her female nanny than her husband. Coincidentally, those more interesting moms are marginalized as cameo appearances in one only scene in the film. I would have much rather seen those stories represented in our leading trio of women. The film would have been a lot less basic than it ultimately is.

Instead, BAD MOMS is exactly what you expect it to be. While it provides a vehicle for Kunis to finally play a mom onscreen, it has no substance; it doesn't say anything. And it has ample opportunity to do so (the characters are even already in the movie!). But, you know, the hunky Jay Hernandez is in it. So, that's something.

Rating: C (** out of *****)

BAD MOMS is now playing.

Monday, July 25, 2016

BLAIR WITCH Trailer: Why Are We Back In These Ominous Woods Looking For Invisible Ghosts?

Judging by the new trailer for BLAIR WITCH, I can only assume that Hollywood has run through all the found footage narratives they could possibly think of, so now they are revisiting the first successful one--unfortunately for me and so many others who've been bullied into silence because the film has been so appallingly immortalized. (I'll start a support group for all of us soon).

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project became one of the most top-grossing independent films of all time, and it clear just won't die. A group of millenials have found themselves in the middle of the woods again with a big, bad--and apparently still invisible after all these years--villain. more in the synopsis:

A group of college students venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of James' sister who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch. At first the group is hopeful, especially when a pair of locals offer to act as guides through the dark and winding woods, but as the endless night wears on, the group is visited by a menacing presence. Slowly, they begin to realize the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined.

I still don't know what "the legend' is, but whatev. Check out the trailer:

BLAIR WITCH hits theaters September 16. Will you watch?

Friday, July 22, 2016

On Representation, Female Badassery, and Complex Aliens in STAR TREK BEYOND

I keep having to remind myself that I can't have it all. Just because a film features a boss chick played by 64-year-old Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog), an openly gay and married Asian officer of the U.S.SJohn Cho), and a alien chick (Algerian actress Sofia Boutella), who kicked serious male ass on screen, apparently doesn't mean that its only black female lead (Zoe Saldana) would have more ass kicking duties as well. But, like, can we not make her the damsel in distress though, especially when we all know she can throw a good right hook (or three) when provoked?

I'm nitpicking here, because I actually thoroughly enjoyed STAR TREK BEYOND. It's fun, it's action-packed, and has a seriously awesome cast that knows how to deliver a good joke in the middle of an apocalyptic crisis (shout out to Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto, whose one-line zingers as Dr. McCoy and Commander Spock provided unexpected levity even in the midst of dire circumstances). And while Liutenant Uhura (Zoe Saldana) is supposed to be the pragmatic and loyal one of the group, I was just really hoping to see Saldana a la Colombiana--kicking ass and taking names.

Instead, that job belonged to Jaylah, a new alien warrior to the franchise, who not only ended up saving the entire crew, but proved to be a good deejay on the low (slight spoiler, so I won't say anything beyond that). So often in sci-fi films, the alien is the villain, ready to blow up everything for no reason at all. But Jaylah shows up on the scene, right after the U.S.S. Enterprise takes a nose dive, scattering its crew, and she presents herself as threatening yet compassionate, ready to snap a neck if the situation calls for it, while harboring a tragic past. She's exactly the kind of three-dimensional female character that we deserve. And Boutella owns every minute of it.

Krall, played by Idris Elba, is also really interesting to watch. Though Paramount had released countless clips from the film ahead of its release, I had no idea who Elba was playing until the last 20 minutes of the film--which actually gave me a better appreciation of the actor. Too often I feel like his celebrity gets in the way of his acting, and is sometimes the only thing redeeming a performance (yeah, I said it), but this was a nice balance of intrigue and complexity. Thank you, director Justin Lin, for bringing this out of him. Ladies, now I get it. Finally.

All that said, STAR TREK BEYOND is a thrill ride: a fun popcorn movie that highlights the value of  teamwork and a good playlist (priceless core values in life). As mentioned in an earlier post, Paramount is already working on the sequel. My dream plot? Jaylah and Uhura team up for some major badassery. You're welcome, Paramount. 

Rating: B+ (**** out of *****)

STAR TREK BEYOND is now playing.

Check out a clip from the film--a scene between McCoy and Spock:

And here's a Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) featurette:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

How Will the Opening Film for the New York Film Festival Influence How We Handle the Issue of Mass Incarceration?

If you've been following this blog, you know that I have what you might call a complicated relationship with filmmaker Ava Duvernay's work. I love her for what she stands to her legions of fans on social media--diversity, inclusion, film activism. It's so important, so topical, and so necessary. But when it comes to her films, I tend to have lukewarm to cold feelings about them.

Regardless, Duvernay has made black film a trending topic on social media, an urgent demand for representation on film, and will hopefully continue to bring attention to the wide canon of black films from a variety of great black filmmakers--both women and men--still struggling just to be seen. But something she hasn't been able to accomplish--though not a mandate as a filmmaker-- is getting more moviegoers (particularly non-black audiences) to care enough about the issues she explores in her films enough to want to do something about them. This represents where we are as a society--sympathetic yet complacent, enraged yet crippled by helplessness, or simply too terrified to react. 

I thought of this after receiving the press release from Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York announcing that Duvernay's new film, THE 13TH, will open the New York Film Festival (September 30 – October 16)--their first documentary opener ever. The film features interviews with prominent civil rights figures like Angela Davis, Senator Cory Booker, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and examines the criminalization of African Americans in the United States--provoked by a pattern of fear and division. 

“It is a true honor for me and my collaborators to premiere The 13th as the opening night selection of the New York Film Festival,” said DuVernay. “This film was made as an answer to my own questions about how and why we have become the most incarcerated nation in the world, how and why we regard some of our citizens as innately criminal, and how and why good people allow this injustice to happen generation after generation."
THE 13TH will be distributed by Netflix, who has proven that they are a force to be reckoned with in the Hollywood game--marked by their 54 Emmy nominations and consistent ability to spark conversation inspired by their original content. But with the network's universality and the prestige that comes with opening the New York Film Festival, will the film serve as a catalyst to a much needed national conversation about the state of mass incarceration among black people in the U.S. that affects actual change?

Again, this is not really the responsibility of the filmmaker to move us into action when it comes to this issue. For what it's worth, Duvernay has done everything she can to present these issues in a way that would motivate us--and our government--to want to do something about it. But meanwhile, more African-American lives are seized unjustly and ending too soon.

Are we finally ready to recognize the issue of mass incarceration of African Americans as not simply a "black issue" but a national crisis? 

THE 13TH will debut on Netflix and open in limited release on October 7.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Race, Gender, and the Law: Assessing Some of the Strongest TV Performances From Women This Year

Imma let you finish, but the limited series and television movie categories of the Primetime Emmy nominations have the most fascinating groups of performances out of the entire list. Seriously, you can fight me on this if you want. And this is in a year of some truly amazing nominees, like Aziz Ansari (Master of None) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish).

Sterling K. Brown and Courtney B. Vance absolutely SLAYED their roles on the must-see TV event, The People v. O.J. Simpson, and Bokeem Woodbine and Jesse Plemons helped make the second season of Fargo even more bloody and bats**t than the first, but we need to seriously bow down to Sarah Paulson The People v. O.J. Simpson, Jean Smart (Fargo), Kirsten Dunst (Fargo), Regina King (American Crime), Felicity Huffman (American Crime), Lili Taylor (American Crime), and Kerry Washington (Confirmation)?  These women portrayed some of the most flawed, complex, and compelling characters on the small screen--in any format of any year.

It is Paulson and Washington's portrayals, however, of two of the most divisive American women in history, Marcia Clarke and Anita Hill, that have stayed in my mind. I find it interesting that both characters are renowned female legal professionals who learned that even with their strict attention to the law and factual evidence on their side, they were still two women up against two powerful men. They were ridiculed in the media and defamed by their peers for simply not remaining silent and complacent.

While both Washington and Paulson's characters dealt with race and gender politics, The People v. O.J. Simpson dissected each volatile layer of the the post-Rodney King era in which it is set--adding more layers to Paulson's performance. Though Confirmation focuses more on Hill's brave expression of the truth right at a pivotal moment in then judge Clarence Thomas's career, it waits until the end of the film--in postscript--to discuss its significance to the women rights movement that followed. If a movie is good, you shouldn't have to explain its relevance; it should speak for itself. That's the trouble with the movie as a whole; it talks about itself so much and doesn't allow its characters to breathe on their own.

Despite the shortcomings of the film, Washington's performance is eerily spot-on to how I remember Hill's court statement, looking right in the eyes of her all-male prosecutors--determined to state the embarrassing and wildly inappropriate series of events that occurred in the office of her then superior but also acutely aware of the potentially damaging repercussions. Washington portrays Hill as smart, sensitive yet strong, and very self-aware of the mistakes that she has made while recognizing that she used her best judgment at the time. It's at times hard to watch a woman so revered have to recount a poor decision she made ten years prior--and be persecuted for it.

Meanwhile, Paulson's Clarke is not so quick to admit her mistakes. Resilient in court, yet vulnerable when no one can witness it, Paulson's depiction is equal parts adamant when it comes to the law--yet virtually naive about the role race plays in an obviously racially charged case. Despite all her legal acclaim, her shortsightedness--clouded by white privilege--ends up only allowing her to see the law devoid of politics (a rookie mistake). As a result, she crumbles under what she herself once described as "an open and shut case."

Both Paulson and Washington's performances present a prevalent dichotomy in our society: strong, single, independent, intelligent women whose authority and pragmatic approach are reduced to meaningless quibble when standing in the same courtroom as men. More than twenty years later, not much has changed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Trailer Watch: Ellen Page, Allison Janney, and Uzo Aduba Star in Netflix's TALLULAH

Already, I really want to see this.

Let's get this over with: Ellen Page + Allison Janney + Allison better = AMAZEBALLS. While the upcoming Netflix film, TALLULAH, about two women whose lives are at a dramatic crossroads, looks a little Lifetime-movie-of-the-week(ish), I'm going to assume that this badass cast will elevate it through the stratosphere.

Writer Sian Heder (Orange Is The New Black) directs her first film, reuniting with Emmy Award winner Aduba.

Watch the trailer:

TALLULAH also stars Tammy Blanchard, Zachary Quinto, John Benjamin Hickey and premieres July 29 on Netflix. 

Our Boyfriend of the Moment, Chris Hemsworth, is Returning to the U.S.S. Enterprise

I love how the new Star Trek movies will seriously do anything to get me to see them--despite my severe indifference. Most recently, it was the badass alien chick, Jaylah, from STAR TREK BEYOND (in theaters this Friday):

And for the franchise's next trick, it's our boyfriend Chris Hemsworth aka Thor aka the hot dude from the new Ghostbusters movie. Well done, Paramount. Brava.

According to a press release issued on Monday from Paramount Pictures, Hemsworth is returning to the Star Trek universe to reprise his role as George Kirk, father of Captain Kirk (played by Chris Pine) in the already planned sequel--which has yet to be scheduled (but you can rest assured that it's a sure bet). This is all the information we have right now:

In the next installment of the epic space adventure, Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk will cross paths with a man he never had a chance to meet, but whose legacy has haunted him since the day he was born: his father.

They had me at Chris Hemsworth. 

Monday, July 18, 2016


You may remember a few months ago when SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR made my list of most anticipated films at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. Long story short, with the countless other screenings and events happening, I never got a chance to watch it at the festival--which is why I'm psyched to hear that it's been picked up for distribution by Investigation Discovery and FilmRise.

The documentary chronicles the case of the San Antonio Four, four Latina women who were wrongfully accused, convicted, and incarcerated for gang raping two girls in Texas back in 1994. A highly politicized case, largely due to how conservative Texas is and the fact that all four women are lesbians of color, the San Antonio Four continue to fight for justice in the face of adversity. The film reportedly follows their journey, more than 20 years after they were first sentenced, and the enraging sequence of events leading up to and following it. More below from the press release:

SOUTHWEST OF SALEM begins its journey inside a Texas prison, over a decade after Ramirez, Rivera, Mayhugh and Vasquez were put behind bars. Documentarian Deborah S. Esquenazi weaves together emotional interviews with the women (labeled the San Antonio Four) and their families with actual news footage and home videos, equally showcasing the injustice of the situation and the families that were torn apart as a result. Unique to the San Antonio Four case, none of the four women ever took a plea bargain or even considered it, despite serving their time in separate prisons. While the state offered deferred adjudication, requiring no time in prison but probation for ten years, the women turned down the offer, maintaining their innocence and faith in truth and justice. Deborah S. Esquenazi also follows the work of attorneys from the Innocence Project of Texas, who played a pivotal role in securing an on-camera recantation by one of the victims, now 25 years old—and their ultimate release from prison in 2013. Today, the San Antonio Four continue their fight for exoneration in tandem with the Innocence Project, and their case is currently up for review with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. A hearing date has not yet been set.

I'm keeping an eye on this so I don't miss it again. SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR is slated to begin its release schedule in the U.S. September 14.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

It's All Fun and Tricks Until Madea Comes After You With a Shotgun

If there was a Halloween (er, Hellurween) version of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tyler Perry's famous Madea character would be it. In BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (actual title), the brassy matriarch is threatening to ruin Christmas for killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls, and zombies everywhere, by chasing them down with a shotgun--like any good Christian woman would do.

And as if she didn't have her hands full enough with that, Madea has also been charged with keeping an intensely watchful eye on some unruly neighborhood teens. Watch the new trailer:

I...don't hate it. But it looks basic, like most Tyler Perry movies, so who knows how this will go. 

BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN hits theaters October 21. Will you be watching?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

THE INFILTRATOR Proves That Not Every Good Story Deserves a Movie

For what it's worth, THE INFILTRATOR is a fine movie. It moves fast, the acting is solid, and the good guys win in the end. Neat, huh.

I know what you're thinking, What's the problem? Nothing, if you like watching the 100th iteration of the same movie, but with different actors. Here's the thing: if I can close my eyes and picture Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, or any number of actors who've played characters who've shed their blues to become one with the criminal they're pursuing, you're doing something wrong. As I wrote in a previous post, I was concerned that this would wind up being just another Pablo Escobar chase film based on actual events--and it is. It unfolds exactly the way you expect it to--complete with murder, dangerous liaisons, and unplanned events--which leaves it up to the performances to sustain the audience.

And again, for what it's worth, the performances are all solid. Cranston, who plays real-life federal agent Robert Mazur, who embarks on an undercover operation back in the 1980s to take down one of the most intricate drug cartels and money laundering schemes in U.S. history, is expectedly spot-on in the role--no doubt drawing from his 5-season run as an innocuous chemistry teacher-turned-treacherous meth boss in Breaking Bad. Diane Kruger as Mazur's makeshift "wife," who ultimately helps him keep his cover, is solid as well.  Though, it's John Leguizamo as his savvy, perennially hyped-up partner, Emir Abreu, whose performance steals the show. It's part comedic, part suspenseful, and intensely smart--what you want to see in a movie like this that is otherwise monotonous.

I find it interesting, however, that for the second time this summer we are faced with yet another movie inspired by a true story, from Mazur's own same titled book, that doesn't captivate on the big screen. The first one was Free State of Jones, which I reviewed earlier, and now it's THE INFILTRATOR. Which brings us back to a hard cold fact that Hollywood has not come to terms with: not every good story deserves a movie. It would be easy to say that maybe if Brad Furman's direction or Ellen Sue Brown's screenplay were better, the movie would be great. But I just don't think that's true. The direction and the writing are fine. It just doesn't deserve to be a film, at least not a narrative feature (maybe a documentary could be good?). We've seen this plot before, so it just doesn't have the same zing that it would have, say, before the other 100 undercover films that have preceded it over the last two decades or so.

THE INFILTRATOR is what I like to call a decent Saturday laundry film, something that you can put on, walk away from it and let it run on it's own for about 10 minutes, return to it and not be lost at all. It's a comfort watch. Take from that what you will.

Rating: C+

Watch a new clip from the film here:

THE INFILTRATOR is now playing. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Watching the LOVING Trailer at the Height of Black Lives Matter

It seems like in America, there's always a fight--a fight to get a raise, a fight to get married, a fight to find a decent apartment, a fight for your life. It's never simple, and when it's the color of your skin that's threatening your survival it seems even more dire. It's no secret that black and white relations right now in this country are reminiscent of the 1960s--volatile, hateful, and terrifying.

Which makes watching the new trailer for LOVING, the upcoming narrative feature that follows the 1967 landmark Supreme Court case of an interracial couple fighting for their right to marry, so powerful to watch at a time like this. As countless black people are protesting for their right to live in a white society that doesn't want them, we're reminded of two people in love--one white man and one black woman--who fought for their love for each other to be recognized in a court of law.

Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton, two non-American actors (Ethopian and Australian, to be exact), aim to portray the tenderness of Mildred and Richard Loving's relationship in the midst of its potentially groundbreaking impact on this country.

Watch the trailer:

I am so ready to see this. LOVING will open in theaters in select cities on November 4, and will expand across the country later in November.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Even With His New Muse, Woody Allen's Hopeless Romanticism Comes Up Empty In CAFÉ SOCIETY

Truthfully, Woody Allen's muse was always just Woody Allen himself: awkward, loquacious, neurotic, hopelessly romantic, white, male, and Jewish. So of course that makes Jesse Eisenberg a perfect stand-in. The actor has rejoined the Allen universe four years after To Rome With Love for his latest role as an aspiring Hollywood hobnob hidden in a sea of established socialites in the 1930s-set CAFÉ SOCIETY.

And, in true Allen form, he's bumbling around and has no idea how to navigate this world--but still manages to have all kinds of opinions about it. Bobby (Eisenberg) comes from what I can only presume is Allen's version of a "typical" Jewish family: loud, rambunctious, deeply religious, and extremely protective of one another. Oh, and he's got a gangster in the family (played by Corey Stoll). Really, this could have been the entirety of the film because every time Allen switched back to the family's Bronx shenanigans from the central plot in Los Angeles, you almost forget what movie you're watching. Then the two merge when Bobby abandons Tinseltown to open his own high society when he opens a lounge club in his native New York.

The truth is, neither storyline is particularly compelling to watch. The awkward young Jewish man desperate to be accepted by a bunch of people who ultimately don't matter to him has been done before--and by Allen himself. Yet that is a dominant theme here, and no matter how lovely the acting is (Eisenberg and Stoll are joined by the always awesome Parker Posey, Sari Lennick, Steve Carrell, and Blake Lively), and how gorgeous the cinematography (an Allen signature), the material still isn't strong enough. I keep willing myself to believe that Allen is trying to tell a more poignant narrative here, but I just don't think that's genuine.

But hey, there is something to be said about Allen's romanticism of love. As we continue to immerse ourselves in the culture of flawed characters and relationships onscreen, it is comforting to see that Allen has circumvented the trend for a more nostalgic romance of two ships passing in the night, bad timing getting in the way every time. In this case, it's Bobby and Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), the secretary of his Hollywood agent uncle (Carrell). The two instantly fall for each other, but in true Allen form, it's, well, complicated; she's dating someone else while he's busy trying to find himself--even after he becomes successful.

It's just not fresh. And despite its best intentions, it's hard to fall for CAFÉ SOCIETY--especially when it never reaches a resolution. The characters don't evolve, the story doesn't mature, and it all just makes you wonder why.

It's uneven, it's empty, and it's redundant. But for what it's worth, CAFÉ SOCIETY does have heart. Too bad it doesn't know what to do with it.

Rating: C- (**1/2 out of *****)

CAFÉ SOCIETY is in theaters Friday.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Anna Kendrick is the Latest Victim of the Romantic Comedy Trap


How did this happen? Oh I know, because she is young, perky, has an Oscar nomination (Up in the Air), a dedicated social media audience, and white. I guess it sounds like a good enough formula as ever to elect Anna Kendrick the new romcom princess. Just note: it didn't work out so much Katherine Heigl, who is still crawling her way back into pop culture's good graces (good luck with that).

Show of hands: how many of you watched Mr. Right and how many of you plan to see Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates? Be honest; I won't judge you (not harshly, at least). I'm just saying, as beloved as Kendrick seems to be, Hollywood doesn't seem to be basking in her glory since she keeps finding herself in B-looking comedies that look to recreate a John Hughes appeal, but end up...not having much of an audience. She's a decent actress (though the only film I really liked her in was Paranorman, and she was a cartoon so...), but she she needs to redirect her career stat before it gets too late.

Which brings me to the trailer for her new film, TABLE 19 (she's cranking them out like a machine), which also stars Craig Robinson, June Squibb, and Lisa Kudrow. Check it out:

Again, some trailers are just badly edited, so maybe this is a great movie that will be a cute date movie or girls night out. But as of right now, I am very, very lukewarm on this. Anyone else?

TABLE 19 is slated to hit theaters January 20.

Woody Allen Is Already Working on a New Film

Say what you will about Woody Allen (and you'd likely be right, either way), but he's one of the most prolific directors of this generation. Literally, days after I attended a press screening for his soon-to-be-released new comedy, Café Society (for which I'll share a review next week), he's just announced the cast of his next untitled film.

According to the scantily detailed press release, which also doesn't include plot details, issued Thursday, here's who've signed on so far:

James Belushi (“The Whole Truth,” “Twin Peaks”), Juno Temple (“Black Mass,” “Vinyl”), Justin Timberlake (“The Social Network,” “Inside Llewyn Davis”), and Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs,” “The Reader”)

Allen has always had an affinity toward a diverse cast (in gender and age, however NOT race), and this looks to be no exception. This is definitely an interesting group of actors to put together....

AND, Allen is in post-production on his first-ever television show -- an as yet  untitled 6-episode series he wrote and directed for Amazon Prime Video starring himself, Miley Cyrus, and Elaine May. It will premiere later this year.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Daniel Radcliffe Officially Sheds Harry Potter Image, Plays Undercover White Supremacist

I can't say I was much of a Potterhead, but from what I saw of the Harry Potter movies, the magical young title character wouldn't recognize the man he's become in his new movie IMPERIUM, in which star Daniel Radcliffe plays a FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate a white supremacist group.

Needless to say, in the age of #BlackLifeMatters and Donald Trump (yes, I now have to put those two together as one is threatening to f**k the other one up), this film will likely enrage think-piecers everywhere. At its best, it will get everyone talking about it. So, PR win.


Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe), a young, idealistic FBI agent, goes undercover to take down a radical right-wing terrorist group. The bright up-and-coming analyst must confront the challenge of sticking to a new identity while maintaining his real principles as he navigates the dangerous underworld of white supremacy. Inspired by real events, IMPERIUM stars Daniel Radcliffe, Toni Collette, Tracy Letts, with Nestor Carbonell, Burn Gorman and Sam Trammell and will be released by Lionsgate Premiere in theaters and on demand August 19.

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