By Bill Vaughan
“Farewell Amor,” the debut feature from Tanzanian American writer-director Ekwa Msangi that was the breakout hit of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, is being released in theaters and on demand Dec. 11 via IFC Films.
The touching story follows Angolan immigrant Walter (portrayed by Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, who is best known as Ronnie from Showtime’s “The Chi”) as he is joined after 17 years in the U.S. by his wife (Zainab Jah) and teen daughter (breakout actress Jayme Lawson, who will next be seen in “The Batman”).
Now absolute strangers sharing a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, they struggle to overcome the emotional distance between them. Walter is trying to let go of a previous relationship while his wife Esther struggles with a new country, culture and a husband who seems distant.
Their daughter Sylvia is a dancer just like her father, and while she also finds her new life difficult, she bravely starts to explore the city and show herself through dance in this universal immigrant story that also features Marcus Scribner (“black-ish”) and marks a return to the big screen by Joie Lee (“She’s Gotta Have It,” “Mo’ Betta Blues”).
Says Msangi of her film, “The non-war, non-starvation, non-tragedy stories of African heritage people have rarely been told. This particular time in history feels like one where there is an audience that is curious, that is willing to listen, that is willing to challenge their assumptions, and most importantly, is willing to follow the lead of an African female filmmaker in the telling of that story.”
MORE MOVIES: Just in time for the 30th anniversary of “The Godfather: Part III,” director/screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola has re-edited the final film in his epic Godfather trilogy.
This new version entitled “Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone,” achieves the pair’s original vision for the finale which has been meticulously restored with a new beginning and ending for the Blu-ray and Digital release now available from Paramount Home Entertainment.
“The Godfather: Part III” was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director and stars Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, George Hamilton, Diane Keaton and Eli Wallach.
The further adventures of the martial artist who famously tutored Bruce Lee will be on display in the prequel “Ip Man: Kung Fu Master,” available Dec. 11 from Magnolia Pictures.
The action drama harks back to Ip’s early days before the Communist Revolution in 1949. He was then a police captain who was framed for the murder of a ruthless but honorable mobster and targeted for vengeance by his dangerous daughter. Forced to quit the force, Ip also has to contend with the arrival of the Japanese army in Guangzhou.
This marks the third time Dennis To has played the role after 2010’s “Ip Man: The Legend Is Born” and 2018’s “Kung Fu League.”
CLIPPETTES: In lieu of their annual tour, Dave Koz & Friends 2020: The Greatest Hits of Christmas will be beamed into homes as a one-night only virtual concert event. Get your tickets at goldstar.com for the Dec. 12 show with smooth jazz stars Jonathan Butler, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Peter White, David Benoit and vocalist Rebecca Jade …
Also, it’s a ladies night for the ages as vocalists Ashanti and Keyshia Cole face off in the latest livestreamed edition of Verzuz to be held at 5 p.m. It follows the last battle on the IG spot between rappers Jeezy and Gucci Mane …
“Love On A Two Way Street,” Don B. Welch’s stage play with the all-star cast of Vanessa Williams, Dorian Wilson, Erica Ash, Darius McCrary, Tony Rock and Kelly Price, will be presented as a live pay-per-view event Dec. 12 and 13. Visit abffplay.com for tickets …
Experience the ultimate Latin Jazz party with a concert led by legendary Cuban trumpeter and 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree “Arturo Sandoval Live from The Broad Stage.” It is available on demand through Dec. 13 for $10 and free to Broad Stage Members via thebroadstage.org …
Aloe Blacc, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Train and more are banding for a Dec. 16 noon fundraiser for City of Hope. The public can watch and donate at live.bandsintown.com …
Later that day, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture presents celebrated poet Nikki Giovanni, whose new book of prose “Make Me Rain” was just released, on Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. Info and tickets are at Eventbrite.com.
TC ON TV: Dec. 11 – “Safety” (Disney+): Reginald Hudlin (“Marshall,” “House Party”) is director of this drama inspired by the empowering story of former Clemson University football safety Ray McElrathbey. “Giving Voice” (Netflix): Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and more discuss the legacy of playwright August Wilson in this award-winning documentary about the monologue competition named in his honor. “Canvas” (Netflix): After a heartbreaking loss, a grandfather struggling to reclaim his passion for painting finds the inspiration to create again in this animated short from the creator of “Coco.” “The Prom” (Netflix): Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of the hit Broadway musical boasts an all-star cast of Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Nicole Kidman, James Corden and Keegan-Michael Key. “Small Axe” (Amazon): The fourth film in Steve McQueen’s series looking at life in London’s West End during the 80s is about novelist “Alex Wheatle,” who was sentenced to a term of imprisonment after the Brixton uprising.
Dec. 12 – “Stellar Awards Tribute To The Holidays” (Up): Hosted by Jekalyn Carr with performances by Brian Courtney Wilson, Janice Gaines, James Fortune, VaShawn Mitchell and many more. “The Christmas Lottery” (BET): Reginald VelJohnson (“Family Matters”) stars in this original drama about a father who requested his three estranged daughters to come home for Christmas for a big announcement … he has won a $10-million-dollar lottery! To get their share, the sisters must repair their broken relationship.
Dec. 13 – “The Trumpet Awards” (Bounce): The 29th annual ceremony will honor Naomi Campbell, Yara Shahidi, Stacey Abrams and Tommie Smith with performances from Busta Rhymes, Anthony Hamilton, Terrace Martin and Bell Biv Devoe. “A Sugar & Spice Holiday” (Lifetime): The network’s first holiday movie centered on an Asian-American cast (Jacky Lai, Tony Giroux and Tzi Ma) is here. “With Drawn Arms” (Bounce): The critically acclaimed documentary, produced by Jesse Williams and John Legend, explores the impact and the legacy of American track star Tommie Smith’s then-shocking symbol of protest against social injustice while receiving a gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics. “Desus & Mero” (Showtime): Former President Barack Obama appears in this special episode to promote his new memoir “A Promised Land.” YouTube, Sho.com and Showtime.com will post the session for free viewings the following day.
Dec. 14 – “iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2020” (CW): The Weeknd, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Shawn Mendes, Harry Styles, Sam Smith and more are featured in this concert event.
Dec. 15 – “Play On: Celebrating The Power of Music To Make Change” (CBS): The one-hour special, hosted by Kevin Bacon and Eve, will cross multiple genres with artists including Andra Day, Sheryl Crow, Jon Batiste, Bon Jovi, LL Cool J, Pedrito Martinez, Ringo Starr, Yola, Ziggy Marley, and more to benefit the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and WhyHunger. “Cooking Up Christmas” (OWN): Lamman Rucker is executive producer and star of this family-centric story with his “Greenleaf” cast mates Jan Harper and LaParee Young, along with Meagan Holder (“Pitch”) and Lindsey Amani Blackwell (“David Makes Man”).
Dec. 16 – “Holiday Heartbreak” (BET): Funnyman Michael Colyer portrays a father whose womanizing past is haunting his daughter in this new film with LisaRaye McCoy, AJ Johnson and DeWayne “Kountry Wayne” Colley.
Dec. 17 – “The Stand” (CBSAA): Stephen King‘s apocalyptic vision of a world decimated by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil is presented as a nine-episode limited event series starring Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgård, James Marsden, Jovan Adepo and Amber Heard. “The Available Wife” (UMC): Clifton Powell and Roger Guenveur Smith are featured in this original movie about a successful music CEO (KJ Smith) whose life is about to crumble in front of her.
TASTY QUIP: “[The Breonna Taylor protest] changed me because I didn’t know what I had in me. I always knew that my grandfather [Hosea Williams] was a civil rights leader. I knew that I had a lot of him in me, a lot of his drive, a lot of his outspokenness, his encouragement to other people and to fight … but I didn’t know that it would activate the way it did.” – PORSHA WILLIAMS (“Real Housewives of Atlanta”) to “Watch What Happens Live” on being arrested in Louisville.
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at email@example.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.