‘One Night in Miami’ has strong contenders for Oscar nods

Rick's Reviews

“One Night in Miami” should generate several Oscar nominations. (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios).

Two films that are extremely timely top this week’s list of new entertainment options.

“One Night in Miami” Grade 4 stars: The film looks at the night in 1964 with four of the biggest names in sports, music, and activism come together to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. It is inspired by actual events.

Cassius Clay, who would eventually be called Muhammad Ali, (Eli Goree), defeats heavy weight champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall. He’s joined by Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) to celebrate the victory.

The men do not get the party they anticipated but end up in a long night of discussions about race, politics, creativity, religion and their places in the world.

“One Night in Miami” is based on the stage production by Kemp Powers who wrote the script for the film. Powers delivers a powerful examination of issues with great balance. It is a dialogue that resonates with great importance in these troubled times.

Director Regina King keeps the intimacy of the story but gives the characters room to live and breathe. She is a leading contender to pick up an Oscar for directing for this superb effort.

The film is available on Amazon Prime Video starting Jan. 15.

“The Marksman” Grade 1 1/2 stars: Jim Hanson (Liam Neeson) is a grumpy Arizona rancher looking for a way to save his home. That mission is sidetracked when he must save an 11-year-old migrant (Jacob Perez) fleeing with his mother (Teresa Ruiz) from drug cartel assassins.

Neeson has forged out a good niche for himself as an aging action hero. That formula has slowly faded since “Taken” and now the action part becomes almost an afterthought. You can’t call a movie “The Marksman” and have only two scenes where that skill is shown.

There are too many scenes of Hanson and the boy on the run being chased by members of the drug cartel who are better equipped to find them than all of the law enforcement agencies in America.

 “The Marksman” opens in selected theaters Jan. 15 and will be available through digital platforms soon.

New on DVD and Blu-ray as of Jan. 12

“Ammonite”: Passionate and all-consuming love affair changes the lives of two 19th century women.  Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan star.

“Lupin III: The First”: Lupin III and his underworld companions race to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Bresson Diary.

“NOVA: Touching the Asteroid”: NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx attempts to reach out and grab a piece of an asteroid named Bennu and bring it back to Earth. 

“Legacies: The Complete Second Season”: Students at the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young & Gifted come face-to-face with an assortment of monsters and mythological creatures.

“Manifest: The Complete Second Season”: Passengers on a plane that vanished for five years look into the overarching mystery and ultimate purpose that is their destiny.

“Epicentro”: Documentary that looks at post-colonial Cuba and the popular image of the country and its people through the myth-building of cinema.

“Beautiful Darling”: Look at the short but influential life of transgender pioneer Candy Darling, a major part of Andy Warhol’s entourage.

“American Dream”: Two men face a deadly threat when they take on the Russian mob.

“Once Upon a River”: Native American teenager Margo (Kenadi DelaCerna) sets out in search of her estranged mother. 

 “Goodbye, Butterfly”: Performance driven psychological thriller from filmmaker Tyler Wayne.

Available through digital platforms

“News of the World”: Tom Hanks stars in the post-Civil War tale of a journey by a man and the young girl he is taking home to her family.

“Skyfire”: Chaos erupts when a once dormant volcano starts to rumble near a theme park. Available through Video on Demand.

“Come Play”:  Young boy who struggles to connect with others befriends a strange and sinister non-human. Will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Jan. 26.

“Synchronic”: Two best friends Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) uncover a mystery behind a new drug that challenges what is real. It will be on Blu-ray and DVD on Jan. 26.

“Batman: Soul of the Dragon”: Bond between Bruce Wayne and his master sensei is threatened. Being released on DVD and Blu-ray Jan. 26.

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