5. Da 5 Bloods (dir. Spike Lee)
The most wonderful part of the second half of Lee’s career is his heavy push into genre material without losing any of the bite of his social commentary. Moving from the Police Procedural (Blackkklansman) to the War Film in Da 5 Bloods. Epic in scope, themes, and length the film is a beautiful amalgamation of not just the War Film but Adventure, Treasure Hunting, and PTSD Psychological Dram. Lee’s most important achievement with his latest? Giving Delroy Lindo the stage he’s rightfully deserved for decades and has never been afforded. The results are a haunting and powerful performance that brims with anger and sadness.
4. One Night in Miami (dir. Regina King)
I cannot say much about King’s feature debut which premieres in a few weeks BUT what I can say is that it’s on this list for a reason. I cannot wait to share my full thoughts on this passionately told tale of a night that finds legends Cassius Clay (right before he became Muhammad Ali), Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke “celebrating” Clay’s win against Sonny Liston.
3. The Painter and the Thief (dir. Benjamin Reee)
What begins as a crime thriller documentary evolves into more. The ways that The Painter and the Thief surprises could only be brought to life in a non-fiction film. The story of artist Barbora Kysilkova and criminal Karl Bertil-Nordland are more complex than the stereotypes of the title. To say more would be to rob this wonderful film of its emotional power. The greatest of documentaries show us life at its most unpredictably complex. Life paints in shades of happiness, sadness, laughter, fear, and so much more. The power of the non-fiction format is in its ability to show life or a subject in those complex shades. Allowing an audience to connect with the life or subject. In a time where we strive to connect with anyone or anything, The Painter and the Thief gives us the hope that this is possible.