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story.lead_photo.caption Poster for Black Panther

Black Panther,

directed by Ryan Coogler

(PG-13, 2 hours, 14 minutes)

Wildly popular, ambitious, thought-provoking, and groundbreaking in its plotting and casting, Black Panther concerns T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a powerful and charismatic superhero who gains strength through the use of a mysterious herb, who's intent on avenging the death of his father in their threatened native Wakanda, a technologically advanced country in Africa. But there's more at risk than he thinks.

As our Piers Marchant said in his February review: "Marvel has made more than a dozen films thus far in the process of building its MCU (Marvel Comics Universe), but realizing that the public will need different, more mature and fulfilling material to whet their appetite, the studio has not just sat back and regurgitated what worked before. The world is a constantly evolving place, as the films seem to acknowledge, and to not address that cold reality is to treat the films as mere comic-book fodder than what they have come to be: the narrative epoch of our time."

Black Panther may not be the year's best film, but it's certainly going to be one of the most important. With Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis.

The Other Side of Hope (not rated, 1 hour, 40 minutes) This is a quiet, bittersweet and deadpan comedy-drama concerning of two men in search of new lives: Displaced Syrian Khaled (Sherwan Haji), who lands in Helsinki as a stowaway, and middle-aged salesman Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen), who leaves behind his wife and job and buys a conspicuously unprofitable seafood restaurant. After Khaled is denied asylum, he decides not to return to Aleppo, and the paths of the two men cross fortuitously. Absurdity, a trademark of Finnish writer/director Aki Kaurismaki, comes into play, as does plenty of empathy. With Ville Virtanen, Tommi Korpela, Kati Outinen. Subtitled.

Samson (PG-13, 1 hour, 50 minutes) There are lots of films named Samson. This dull, plodding, low-budget version isn't one of the best. Like the others, it's based on the biblical legend of a tough guy chosen by God to deliver Israel from an oppressive Philistine prince, an assignment that doesn't turn out well for him at first. Then he appeals to a higher authority. Check out Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 Samson and Delilah. With Jackson Rathbone, Caitlin Leahy, Billy Zane, Taylor James, Rutger Hauer, Lindsay Wagner; directed by Bruce Macdonald and Gabriel Sabloff.

Submergence (not rated, 1 hour, 52 minutes) Too ambitious for its own good, this incoherent and ambiguous drama concerns a romance that starts on a Normandy beach and grows complicated when upon separating, the man, a British undercover agent, is held captive by jihadists in Somalia and the woman, a bio-mathematician, readies to plunge into the depths of an ocean in a small submersible. With James McAvoy, Alicia Vikander; directed by Wim Wenders.

The Forgiven (R, 1 hour, 55 minutes) A dialogue-laden political drama that can't quite get its many parts on the same page, The Forgiven concerns the end of South Africa's brutal system of apartheid when Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Forest Whitaker) is appointed to head a nationwide investigation. That's when he's summoned to a maximum-security prison by a notorious murderer seeking clemency (Eric Bana). A battle in search of justice ensues. With Jeff Gum, Terry Norton; directed by Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields).

Bent (R, 1 hour, 36 minutes) A mediocre mess that wastes the abilities of its decent cast, Bent disinterestedly follows a shamed former cop, now a private investigator, as he connects a murder case to a government conspiracy involving rogue agents from a top spy agency. With Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings), Andy Garcia, Sofia Vergara, Vincent Spano, Grace Byers (Empire); written and directed by Bobby Moresco.

MovieStyle on 05/18/2018

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