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The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)

The four elements: earth, air, water, and fire. Of these, I call your attention to two: air and fire. Though it is your privilege to live in the air, you will die by fire.

— Major Sherman Joy

The Tuskegee Airmen was a made for television movie for HBO back in 1995. I never heard of the movie back then, but the film was nominated for many Emmy awards. I wanted to learn more about the historic 332nd fighter squadron when I traveled through Tuskegee, Alabama on the Greyhound.

In 1942, a young pilot trainee, Hannibal “Iowa” Lee Jr. (Laurence Fishburne) has been drafted into a special government program to let Negroes fly Army fighter planes for the US. He meets others on the train to Tuskegee, Alabama like the cocky Billy “Train” Roberts (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and a licensed pilot Walter Peoples III (Allen Payne).

Upon arriving at the base, they are greeted by their commanding officer, Colonel Noel Rogers (Daniel Hugh Kelly), Major Sherman Joy (Christopher McDonald) and their liaison officer (Courtney B. Vance).

They are in for a rude awakening when Major Joy thinks that Negroes are not capable enough to fly a fighter jet. He wants to make them fail by any means necessary. It seems to be what is going on as 1/3 of the cadets were gone when they were halfway through the training. One particular cadet’s death rattles the spirits of Leroy Cappy (Malcolm-Jamal Warner).

Not to be deterred from the ultimate goal of graduating, the cadets exceed all expectations to be the the very first Negro pilots to serve in World War II. Their time to celebrate may be short-lived as Senator Conyers (John Lithgow) wants tp dismantle the program, because of unfounded evidence to their ability ti fly the planes.

I am glad that I watched this movie. I learned a part of history that is not taught in schools. We hear the name “Tuskegee Airmen”, but we never get the chance to see what they have done, what they accomplish. I thought the performances were stupendous across the board. I have to give a special mention to Laurence Fishburne who was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy and Andre Braugher who was nominated for his convincing role of Benjamin O. Davis in the Supporting Actor Category.

Judgment: It takes you on the journey of these men without boring you with facts and figures.

Rating: 8/10

Nothing But the Truth (2009)

Who was your source?
— Patton Dubois

It is a tragic story about the fate of Nothing But the Truth. It played in couple of theaters in New York and LA at the end of last year before the producing company, Yari Film Group went bankrupt. Thus, sent the film in limbo. It’s in limited release now, and we’ll go to DVD soon. Kate Beckinsale and Vera Farmiga were nominated from their performances in the movie at the Critics Choice Awards.

The story centers around Rachel Armstrong (Beckinsale), a reporter for a local Washington, D.C. newspaper, exposing a CIA operative Erica Van Doren (Farmiga) to the world in her column after there was an assassination attempt on the president’s life.

The story is published to wide response to the media and the government who detains Rachel if she doesn’t reveal her source that leaked secret intelligence to her. Patton Dubois (Matt Dillon) gives Rachel chance after chance to reveal her source, which she denies disclosing.

She is thrown in jail for contempt of court until she reveals her source. Her unwillingness to disclose her tears a wedge between her husband, Ray (David Schwimmer) and her young son, Timmy (Preston Bailey).

A couple of attorneys, Avril Aaronson (Noah Wyle) and Alan Burnside (Alan Alda) try to get Rachel out of jail.

When I saw the trailer for this movie, I was intrigued that it would be a solid thriller. The first part of the movie was intense, I loved it. When an irrevocable action takes place in the middle of the movie, I was taken out. I did not have sympathy for Rachel and her plight. She deserved every action that was dealt to her. The ending was so stupid. It didn’t make sense. I was shaking my head, pissed at this movie.

The performance were fine. Kate was fine. Vera was good in this movie. Noah Wyle was atrocious. Why was he in the movie?

My judgment: Watch the first hour of this movie and leave. You will thank me for it.

My rating: **

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