Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Protest Movement 1965

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Protest Movement 1965

Article excerpt

'Selma' *** 1/2

The timing -- sadly and providentially -- could not be better for "Selma," a movie that was rolled out last year as racial tensions and protests were spiking in this country.

In capturing the events in Selma, Ala., in March 1965, director Ava DuVernay humanizes and dramatizes a period in which many African- Americans were denied the right to register to vote, and they, or their supporters, were beaten, tear-gassed or killed.

The movie focuses on Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey), who became famous for being at the wrong end of the sheriff's billy club, as captured in a widely used wire service photo. Early in the movie, she tries to register to vote and is ordered to recite the preamble to the Constitution, which she does. She then is asked about the number of county judges in Alabama and, in the challenge that sends her away disenfranchised but not defeated, to name them.

That is the backdrop for attempts by the Rev. Martin Luther King (David Oyelowo) to persuade LBJ (Tom Wilkinson, his Texas accent slightly off target) to end the systematic intimidation and fear keeping voters off the rolls.

"Selma" introduces the principals of the time, including Coretta Scott King (Carmen Ejogo); Gov. George Wallace (Tim Roth); civil rights attorney Fred Gray (Cuba Gooding Jr.); nonviolent activist James Bevel (Common); presidential adviser Lee C. White (Giovanni Ribisi); lawyer John Doar (Alessandro Nivola); and Amelia Boynton (Lorraine Toussaint), who was beaten unconscious on Bloody Sunday, the name given to March 7, 1965, and the first of three marches.

Wrangling over dramatic liberties and what others have characterized as a problem with tone take nothing away from the historic heart of the story and the ultimate power of watching the color-saturated film footage fade into archival black-and-white images. The movie reminds us that the civil rights pioneer was just 39 years old when he was assassinated in 1968, and the news reminds us that his call for nonviolent resistance is still (dolefully) being invoked nearly five decades later.

Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language. Extras include commentary, deleted and extended scenes, featurettes, and a music video of the Oscar-winning "Glory" featuring John Legend and Common.

-- Post-Gazette

'Fifty Shades of Grey' * 1/2

The adaptation of the E.L. James novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" turned out to be the porn date movie of the year.

The first of a trilogy stars Dakota Johnson (daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) as Anastasia Steele. She's an English literature major and college senior who is pressed into service by her flu-stricken roommate to interview Seattle billionaire bachelor Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) for a campus newspaper story. …

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