|Table of Reviews|
Till – Review
Till – Budget of $20 million – 2 hours and 10 minutes
In Chicago, Illinois, Mamie walks into a department store with new shoes to find her son, Emmett, looking at wallets. When a cop directs her to the basement to look at shoes, she straightens her back, looks him in the eye, and questions if he told the other patrons that information. He steps aside, and Emmett pleads to get the wallet with a woman’s picture inside. Mamie agrees to buy Emmett the wallet for his vacation to Money, Mississippi. Before he goes, Mamie warns Emmett that the rules in Mississippi are different than in Chicago. He must be on his best behavior, not anger white people, and remain small.
As Emmett boards the train with his Uncle Preacher and his cousins, Mamie worries because this two-week vacation is the longest they have ever been apart. During Emmett’s break, Mamie does everything possible with her friends and fiancé, Gene, to keep her busy. In Money, Emmett plays around while his cousins work the cotton fields. They stop at a local store to hang out and get some refreshments. Emmett goes inside, buys two pieces of gum, gives the cashier, Carolyn, the money, and compliments her. He tells her she looks like a movie star and shows Carolyn the model’s picture in his wallet. While his cousins pull him out of the store, Emmett turns and whistles at Carolyn. Emmett’s cousins see Carolyn run for her gun, so they get into their cars and drive away. A few days later, Emmett feels safe, but his cousins still worry. That night, two men come into Preacher’s home and threaten him at gunpoint to hand over Emmett. Uncle Preacher and his wife, Lizzie, offer to punish Emmett, but the men won’t hear it. They load Emmett onto the flatbed and have Carolyn confirm Emmett’s identity. As several men hold Emmett down, they take him away.
In Chicago, Mamie gets a call from Uncle Preacher saying that Emmett is missing. For days, friends and family come to Mamie’s home to pray and help with incoming calls from the media. Then, a friend comes in because a reporter called her with the news. Police found Emmett’s body in a river, and he is dead. Mamie collapses to the ground with grief. Later, Rayfield comes to her home with word from the NAACP. They want to help Mamie use Emmett’s murder to alarm the country about the lynchings in the south. However, Mamie only has one concern: Bringing Emmett’s body back to Chicago. After fighting with Mississippi, Mamie meets Emmett’s body at the same train station she waved goodbye to him. She falls apart.
Mamie and Gene meet the mortician, and Mamie demands to see Emmett’s remains. She tells Gene and the mortician to leave them alone. Mamie looks over her son’s battered body from head to toe. She tells Gene to find Emmett’s Christmas suit because it was his favorite and demands the mortician put it on Emmett for viewing. The mortician suggests making Emmett look better, but Mamie tells the mortician that Emmett is perfect. She goes outside to the awaiting media and makes a call to action. She grabs a reporter from Jet magazine so he can take a picture with her, Gene, and Emmett’s remains. Mamie decides to have a public viewing of Emmett, so everyone will know what happened and light a fire under Mississippi to charge the men responsible. This act is the first step of Mamie becoming a civil rights activist and sharing a mother’s pain for future generations.
This movie isn’t just about Emmett’s injustice. It’s about the pain, scrutiny, and humiliation Mamie suffered while bravely sitting and testifying during Emmett’s murder trial. The defense slandered her for being an engaged widow, attempted to disparage Emmett’s memory, and claimed Emmett’s death was a hoax. The prosecutors wouldn’t make eye contact with her or the members of the NAACP. It mirrors what happens to victims of crime in the 21st century. The director made a bold choice not to show Emmett’s murder. However, viewers get a full devastating view of the aftermath. It is a heartwrenching stab to the soul. But it’s what Mamie would want because this is her story. The set and costume choices were exquisite. Everything, from hair to clothes to eyewear, was spot on for the period and backed up by photographs. Listen carefully to the news reports in the background. They report on the lynching of Reverend George Washington Lee and his verdict. It helps viewers understand the ongoing evil throughout the US. When Emmett is on the train, the conductor segregates the train when they enter the south. While Emmett is in Mississippi, you see that Mamie has a nagging feeling that clinches around her. That feeling only a parent knows. This movie will move you to tears and shock you as Mamie gets assistance from T. R. M. Howard, Medgar Evers, and Myrlie Evers and ushers in the Emmett Till Antilynching Act.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars
Medgar, take me to Money – Mamie
Don’t you two get married before I get back – Emmett
The Menu – Review
The Menu – Budget of $30 million – 1 hour and 46 minutes
Tyler can’t contain his excitement for the Hawthorne culinary experience, and he doesn’t want anything to spoil it. He sees Margot smoking and tells her to stop because it ruins the palette. Margot doesn’t understand the excitement, but she puts out the cigarette anyway. Tyler tells her that the chef creates a one-of-a-kind menu on a remote island for his guest. Each guest pays over $12,000 to attend. Margot can’t believe the exorbitant cost but boards the boat with the rest of the guests. While they board, Margot and Tyler recognize some of the guests. Tyler recalls famed food critic Lillian Bloom and her editor, Ted, and Margot identifies Richard and his wife, Anne. They enjoy a small culinary delight onboard and sail to the private island.
The hostess, Elsa, greets the 12 guests by name, but she calls Margot Ms. Westervelt, and Tyler corrects Elsa. Elsa is shocked that Tyler brought someone else, but Elsa gives Margot Ms. Westervelt’s spot. Elsa shows them around the island, where the staff live and work with a regimented schedule. The employees have grown, raised, and farmed all the food they will eat from the island. They have everything and use every cooking technique.
After their amuse-bouche, Chef Julian enters and welcomes everyone. He explains that he doesn’t want them to eat the food. He wants them to taste, savor, and relish the food. Merely eating the food is an insult to him. After a memorable bread course, Margot doesn’t feel right about the meal and wants to talk to Julian. Tyler shuts her up because he is paying. Upset, Margot runs to the ladies’ room to smoke a cigarette. Julian enters and asks Margot about herself because he wants to know if she is on their side or the others’. He assures her that her decision will secure her fate. Margot rolls her eyes at the pretentious chef and rejoins Tyler. She thinks the chef is another elitist, but he is a man on the edge with a dangerous obsession with his dying passion. But tonight, Julian will make everything right.
As the story plays out, the editors wrote the meal on the screen for your viewing pleasure. For the connoisseur, everything looks delicious. For the layman, the food and the customers are snooty. With each course, Julian unveils how each customer and staff member impacted his life. In one dish, he reveals his mistake. This dark comedy will bring a devilish laugh from the depths of the darkest part of your soul. Viewers will see Julian as a Jigsaw character until he reveals his scheme (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). Some deserve to be there, others are unfortunate by-products, and others made a choice. After each careful reveal, you will laugh. So have your comedy appetites ready and come into the theater with a dark frame of mind. It will go down easier that way.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
Then my palette will die happy – Margot
Nature is timeless. Enjoy – Chef Julian
You will get less of what you desire and more than you deserve – Elsa
I want him to like me – Tyler
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