Paul McGuire Grimes of Paul’s Trip to the Movies has some recommendations to check out at home.
JUST MERCY (2019)
Just Mercy takes us back to Monroe County Alabama in 1987. Michael B. Jordan plays Bryan Stevenson a recent Harvard Law graduate who partners with Brie Larson’s character to provide legal services for death row inmates. One of his new clients is Walter McMillian, played by Jamie Foxx, who was wrongfully sentenced for the murder of an 18 year old woman.
Acclaimed director Ava DuVernay (Selma) has made a timely documentary centered on the 13th Amendment to our constitution. The amendment was put in place to abolish slavery but has a powerful clause stating, “except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” DuVernay looks at the criminal justice system going back to the Nixon administration up to where it’s at in the current state of affairs leading up to Trump’s presidency. It follows the period where presidents locked in on the “war on drugs” as a way of easily locking up criminals and keeping them there as long as possible. It just so happens that it was most prevalent in the black community. She dives into what went wrong with various reforms like mandatory minimums, Clinton’s three strikes bill, and others. It’s a holistic approach in showcasing the systemic racism at hand toward African-American communities and how it becomes a ripple effect for everyone involved.
THE HIGH NOTE (2020)
A feel good movie with a great cast and good music? That’s what you get with The High Note starring Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross. Johnson plays Maggie, a budding music producer who spends the majority of her day as the personal assistant to Grace Davis, played by Tracee Ellis Ross. Grace is an 11-time Grammy winner but hasn’t had a new album in a decade. Her team is deciding what’s the next best step for her career: Vegas residency, a live album, or new material. Maggie would love to be Grace’s new producer but first takes on a young, up and comer David Cliff, played by Kelvin Harrison Jr.