Tag Archives: benito martinez

QUEEN & SLIM (2019) – My rating: 8.5/10

Queen & Slim is a romantic drama directed by Melina Matsoukas (in her feature directorial debut) and written by Lena Waithe, from a story by James Frey and Waithe. The plot follows two African-Americans who must go on the run after killing a police officer in self-defense during a traffic stop gone wrong. Queen & Slim is an interesting story that I wish I could say is fiction but sadly, the story reflects the turn life has taken for people of color!

A criminal defense attorney, Angela “Queen” Johnson (Jodie Turner-Smith), has dinner with her date, Ernest “Slim” Hines (Daniel Kaluuya), in an Ohio diner. On his way to dropping Queen off at home, his presumably erratic driving attracts the attention of police officer Reed (Sturgill Simpson). He pulls the two over and orders Slim to step out of the car. The officer obviously agitated, drew his gun on Slim. Queen gets out of the car, identifies herself as an attorney and demands to know why he was arresting Slim.  When Queen tried to record the incident on her phone, the officer shoots her, luckily only grazing her leg. Seeing Queen shot, Slim tackles the officer but he got the best of Slim, beating him senselessly. Slim grabs the officer’s gun, during the struggle, the gun goes off killing the cop in self-defense. Queen convinces Slim that they either have to go on the run or spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Queen & Slim was a sad and tragic movie that unfortunately represents similar scenarios and attitudes taking place in today’s society.  Racial profiling is a serious problem that plaques the police force as well as regular people on the streets.  By nature, there isn’t a way to effectively keep cops or civilians from doing it. If a certain race of people consistently fits the shoe, they are going to be suspected of wearing the shoe without question.  Cops, however, should be better than that.  They have had enough training that should help them make better decisions. I could go on and on about this but I won’t get into the struggles of races.  The sad part, is innocent people suffer because of bad decisions.  Queen & Slim is supposed to show the human side of the accused and oppressed so people can emphasize. I don’t think the goal was achieved.  It’s like saying, “did you know Blacks are Human?” I give Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe an “E” for effort and a Thanks for trying. The film shows the struggles Queen & Slim encounter as they run for their lives.  Queen & Slim received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for the performances, chemistry between Kaluuya and Turner-Smith, direction, emotional weight, and messages, though some criticized the script. The movie has grossed $30,584,870 million worldwide. Check It Out!


AMERICAN CRIME – My rating: 7/10

AmericanCrimeAmerican Crime is focused on a crime committed against a married couple in their home.  The husband was killed and the wife beaten and possibly raped.  As she lies in a coma, an arrest is made.  This story gets pretty complicated as we learn more and more about the victims and those accused of the crime as well as the parents of the couple.  Felicity Huffman plays Barb Hanlon and is easy to dislike as she plays a prejudged parent with a cold heart and a vengeful agenda.  American Crime is racially and politically charged with a lot of truth and a lot of falsehoods.  Each episode does not stand on its own.  You have to follow the story in order to know what’s going on.   There are several families that make up this drama, the surviving victim and her parents Eve Carin (Penelope Ann Miller) and Tom Carin (W. Earl Brown),  the estranged parents of the dead victim, Barb Hanlon (Felicity Huffman) and Russ Skokie (Timothy Hutton), the Hispanic, single male parent/father Alonzo Gutiérrez (Benito Martinez), one of the accused and Alonzo’s son, Tony Gutiérrez (Johnny Oritz) and his daughter, Jennifer Gutiérrez (Gleendylis Inoa), Aliyah Shadeed (Regina King) the sister to another of the accused, Carter Nix (Elvis Nolasco) plus his Caucasian girlfriend, Aubry Taylor (Caitlin Gerard) and lastly, the actual guilty person who is also the witness and accuser, Hector Tontz (Richard Cabral).  The series looks like it will get better and better.  American Crime is a look into the justice system through the eyes of the victims as well as the guilty and accused.  Let’s see where this one goes.  So far it’s off to a somewhat, slow start.