Tag Archives: malcolm x

Selma Review II

Written by: Christine Eccelston-Craig


Directed by the outstanding Ava DuVernay, Selma is a sensational movie focussing on Dr Martin Luther Kings struggle in the fight for equality during the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. Filmmaker DuVernays’ main objectives in telling the story of the 1965 Civil Rights marches in Selma, Alabama is to remind the audience of a time where black people were degraded, abused and simply miss-treated based on the colour of their skin. The movie focuses on the brutal violence that black people had to endure, not to mention how many had to die in order to pave the way for future generations. While many people are aware of the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s Ms DuVernay does an exceptional job as she brings to light more detailed events to ensure our knowledge of this epic movement is not clouded.

“What happens when a man stands up and says enough is enough?”

When Reverend King (played by British actor David Oyelowo), his wife Coretta Scott King (Carmen Ejogo, another British actor) and the members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) bring their activist campaign for full racial equality to the heart of the Old South in the days where there were strict segregation laws, Martin Luther King’s efforts are anything but subtle as he preaches words of Gandhi and Jesus, his non-violent approach to an equal society quite often leaves him with blood on his hands. But King was a real trooper because despite the many deaths of blacks in the south, he kept on striving! His attorney Fred (Cuba Gooding Jr), Reverend Hosea Williams (Wendell Pierce), Reverend Ralph Abernathy (Ruben Santiago- Hudsen) and their followers knew they would be faced with violent opposing campaigning thugs and perhaps might even be killed, but with the guidance of Dr King and the never ending faith in one another they persevere and continue their righteous fight for an equal and fair society.
Selma_Film_OyelowoOyelowo (Last King of Scotland, Rise of The Planet of the Apes) did an awesome job becoming Dr King and I’m not just talking about the fact that there was a slightly shocking resemblance between the two. His mannerisms and his authoritative voice filled with inspiring words really captured the heart of who Dr King was and why he had so many followers. We all know Martin Luther King was undeniably an amazing orator, so Oyelowo had a tough job incorporating that on screen, but he managed to capture it so well, as an audience you feel like you’re actually living in this harsh era, suffering under the deprivation of your Civil and Human Rights. But the light to guide you to peace and harmony is the astounding Dr King. (Yes, I got all of that just from watching David Oyelowo).

“We built the path as we came; rock by rock”

We cannot forget the film’s producer Oprah Winfrey as she plays a very believable resident of Selma, Annie Lee Cooper. I feel like this role was almost instinctive to her as she played a similar role in The Colour Purple as Sofia. Now, many of the other African- American actors tend to fall into the background whilst fading into the crowd, with the exception of Jimmy Lee Jackson (Keith Stanfield), Malcom X (Nigel Thatch) and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson (Ledisi Young). Director DuVernay frequently shines her light on the righteous activists, but in a large-scale movie like this one the unjustly persecuted are never quite as interesting as the lowdown scoundrels they face. I mean, who doesn’t love a character that really brings the rage out of you? Much like Alabama Governor George Wallace (Tim Roth) who is a monster! His constant efforts to maintain segregation in his state along with his condescending sarcastic tone is seriously frustrating! However, actor Tim Roth did a pretty good job agitating the audience through his role as George Wallace. So, in a way, I guess it’s well done to him.

“You got one big issue I got 101!”

The appearance of Lyndon B. Johnson (again, played by British actor Tom Wilkinson), gives a certain political dimension. He almost puts the line between the political realism and the fight to make the idealistic view of equality a reality. He often speaks about how he has several issues to deal with as a president, so the passing of more Civil Rights legislation is a minor issue and can be put off for a couple years. In simpler terms, he was an idiot. But without going too much into the history itself let’s get back to this movie. I want to quickly note that as the movie rolls on you can literally notice how many American characters are actually played by British actors (Oyelowo, Ejogo, Roth and Wilkinson). In addition, the entire lighting for this film was quite dark, not misty or foggy, just dark, as if it were representing the intensity of the struggle, or they were just trying to make it look a little more old fashioned. Either way, the lighting gave you a sense of sorrow and even despair. Your emotions are guaranteed to run high once you watch this movie, tears of sadness, anger and happiness, all rolled up into one. You must not miss out on this movie. As I conclude this review I’d like to leave you with this…


“Those that have gone before us say no more, we’ve come too far to turn back now!”
We can still make a change!



Marlon Palmer

Thanks Christine we feel proud to have our young people embrace important moments in history and espouse their thoughts and feelings to the wider community – it is for all black people to know and appreciate what has gone before so people of an African descent today can be afforded the opportunities they now have!





Still The Greatest: ALI



Written by: Graeme Woods



Muhammad Ali – Sure is still the Greatest!

At the age of 72 and looking frail from the onset of Parkinson’s disease Muhammad Ali proved he could still command an audience when he attended the recent Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards service. Ali was guest of honour at the Awards held in Louisville Kentucky; also in attendance were actress Susan Sarandon and hip-hop artist Common. The award ceremony, now in its second year,S.Sarandon celebrates the greatness of people from around the world who are making differences in their communities and beyond.

Sarandon was honoured with a Global Citizenship Award for her work with UNICEF, while six young people from across the globe where also recognised for their efforts. At the event Ali was reunited with NFL great Jim Brown almost 50 years after the pair became involved in heated debates over Ali’s decision not to fight in the Vietnam War.Elderly-Muhammad_Ali


Ali’s conflict with the Supreme Court over his refusal to accept the draft formed the basis of last year’s HBO movie MUHAMMAD ALI’S GREATEST FIGHT.

Ali was drafted at the height of his boxing career, his claim to conscientious objector status led to a controversial legal battle that rattled the US judicial system up to the highest court in the land. The film uses archival footage of Ali and starred Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella, Benjamin Walker and Ed Begley Jr. Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, directed by BAFTA winning, Stephen Frears is currently available to buy on DVD.

The cinematic fascination with this sporting legend doesn’t stop there however; released this year from Focus Features comes I AM ALI. An intimate look at the man behind the legend, the film features interviews with family members and Ali’s daughters for the first time ever, giving an intriguing insight into his life outside the boxing ring.AliFrazier

Unfolding the story of Cassius Clay from birth to his boxing beginnings in Louisville, Kentucky, to gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics; from beating Henry Cooper at Wembley to beating Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship of the world; from changing his religion and his name to entering exile following his refusal to fight in Vietnam. It is the story of his great 1970s fights, the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ against George Foreman in Zaire and the ‘Thriller in Manila’ against Joe Frazier. And his final bout, at 39, a defeat by Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas.

Ali a father of nine–two sons and seven daughters–tried to cherish every moment spent with his children.

Muhammad-Ali“My father gave me some audio tapes that he made when we were young in the seventies,” said his daughter Hana. “He [recorded] us talking, going to school, playing, talking on the phone with my sister, and various things.” All of these personal audio journals will be paired with interviews from people within Ali’s close circle, to give the documentary a unique view from the inside.

Director Claire Lewis has assembled her film using these audio journals, along with home movies and interviews with the people who know Ali best – his brother, one of his ex-wives, his business manager, his trainer, his son and daughters. Those who have watched and loved him both inside and outside the ring, more importantly the film also uses the voice of Ali himself from audio interviews.

The film; which runs for 1 hour, 51 mins, will be released in cinema’s in the US on October 10th with a UK Release to follow on 28th November 2014

For more information visit the official site: www.focusfeatures.com/i_am_ali


Away from Focus Features’ big screen release of I AM ALI – Indie film maker Kartemquin Films have produced THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI which turns the spotlight away from the boxing ring and instead focuses on, perhaps, Ali’s toughest bout; his decision to join a controversial religious group, his battle to overturn a five year prison sentence for refusing US military service and his struggle with Parkinson’s. The film looks at his relationship with the Louisville Sponsoring Group, the Nation of Islam, and his Muslim faith.


Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

The majority of interviewees in Trials have never been featured before and yet they are central to his life story and the global impact he has made.

The film delves deeply into a time when a sporting legend chose faith and conscience over fame and fortune. The outcry and fury he faced from an American public enraged by his opposition to Vietnam and their unwillingness to accept his conversion to Islam.

Interviews shot exclusively for the film include his brother, Rahman, his bride Khalilah Camacho-Ali, New York Times writer, Robert Lipsyte and Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. The film shows the hidden history of Muhammad Ali and provides audiences with a chance to discover his spiritual journey and his humanitarian work around the world.

Laila Ali & Father

Laila Ali & Father

The film is directed by Bill Siegel (The Weather Underground) and executive produced by Justine Nagan and Gordon Quinn for Kartemquin Films, Kat White (KatLei Productions), and Leon Gast (When We Were Kings).

The film was released in the US in 2013 and is available on DVD/VOD it received a UK Première in September 2014 at the British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) in London.