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Out in Theaters: ‘BLACK PANTHER’

Heavy hangs the crown in Black Panther, a Marvel movie whose real-life cultural and societal implications overshadow its storytelling prowess. The import and impact of Black Panther as a chapter in film history cannot be overstated. Although this isn’t Hollywood’s first attempt to turn a historically black superhero into the main event, headlining their own tentpole film – consider Wesley Snipes run as the vampire-hunter Blade, Halle Berry’s turn as Catwoman, Will Smith’s alcoholic anti-hero Hancock or even Shaquille O’Neal’s turn as Steel – this feels like a first in part because of how much effort has been poured into its making and, more importantly, how readily it embraces its fundamental blackness, from its colorful African settings to its tribally-influenced makeup, hairstyle, and costumes to its predominately black cast and crew, a verifiable assemblage of talent that’ll turn even the most skeptical of heads. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘CREED’

The Rocky series has a long and storied history that I will cautiously admit that I’m not too familiar with. I know Dolph Lundgren played a Russian adversary at the height of the Gorbachev-era Cold War. Sylvester Stallone’s wolf-like howl for Adrian after his first heavy-weight fight is as burned into my eardrums as Marlon Brando’s wailing “Stella!!!” in the sleepy French Quarter streets. The poster-worthy shot of Rocky’s fists pumped victorious above his head atop the Philadelphia Museum of Arts stairs (today known as the “Rocky Steps”) is as iconic to me as Sgt. Elias’ Hail Mary death throes in Platoon. I know the name Apollo Creed and have a vague recollection of his relative importance within the Rocky franchise but I couldn’t tell you much aside from the fact that he was played by Carl Weathers at the height of his beefiness and that he died in the ring. That is to say, I know the iconography of Rocky, but very little else. Read More