BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Festivals preview gems for upcoming movie season

By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

Film festival season is in effect and offers optimism for moviegoers who have been missing as of late from the theaters.  

Tasty Clips was able to screen some of this year’s Sundance Film Festival where documentaries were king. The best of these was Angela Patton and Natalie Rae’s “Daughters,” a tear-jerking look at a successful Washington, D.C. program uniting incarcerated fathers with their rarely seen little girls for a dance that won the Audience Award. Netflix jumped to pick up the rights for streaming later this year.  

Also impressive were Dawn Porter’s “Luther: Never Too Much” about soulful legend Luther Vandross; the Pan-African primer “Soundtrack to a Coup D’état” with a heavy dose of Louis Armstrong, Max Roach, Thelonious Monk, Abbey Lincoln, Malcolm X and more; “Frida,” a vivid telling of the life of iconic artist Frida Kahlo through her own words; “Power,” showing how slave catchers evolved into today’s police force; and “Love Machina” and Eternal You,” two docs exploring movements using artificial intelligence to immortalize life after death. 

Our faves among the narratives included “Thelma,” featuring the last performance of Richard Roundtree; shorts by Malia Ann (Obama) and Nzingha Stewart; and a trio of New Jersey filmed features: Chiwetel Ejiofor’s “Rob Peace” with Mary J. Blige, “Exhibiting Forgiveness” starring Andre Holland, Andra Day, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor and John Earl Jelks, and “Ponyboi” with award worthy turns from trans actor River Gallo and Dylan O’Brien. 

Locally, the Pan African Film Festival is in full swing at Cinemark-Baldwin Hills with our best bets including Roger Bobb’s remake of “Sense & Sensibility” (Feb. 9) starring Deborah Ayorinde (“Them”); Andscape’s documentary “Sacred Soil: The Piney Woods School Story” (Feb. 10); a sneak peak of “Bob Marley: One Love” (Feb. 12); and the premiere of the Chicago-set drama “We Grown Now” (Feb. 13) with Jurnee Smollett, S. Epatha Merkerson and Lil Rel Howery.

The 39th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival welcomes honorees Danielle Brooks, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, America Ferrera, Lily Gladstone, Greta Lee, Charles Melton and Andrew Scott to the Arlington Theater red carpet on Feb. 10. For a complete schedule of events, visit 

TICKET WATCH: Seats for the 2024 Hollywood Bowl Summer Season are now available at the box office,, and via phone at 323-850-2000. Highlights include concerts featuring Chaka Khan, Gary Clark Jr., George Benson, India.Arie, Patti LaBelle, Toto, Trombone Shorty, the first-ever Roots Picnic West Coast, Juneteenth with T-Pain, the Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival, a star-studded tribute to Sammy Davis Jr., fireworks spectaculars with Harry Connick Jr. and Boyz II Men, and a “Head Hunters” reunion with Herbie Hancock, Harvey Mason, Bennie Maupin, Bill Summers and Marcus Miller filling in for the late Paul Jackson. 

EVERYBODY REJOICE: After a nationwide sold-out tour on its way to Broadway, “The Wiz opens Feb. 13 for a run through March 3 at The Pantages. The fresh revamp with rewrites courtesy of TV’s Amber Ruffin introduces 24-year-old Nichelle Lewis as Dorothy and a talented cast of newcomers including vocal powerhouse Melody A. Betts in the dual role of Aunt Em/Evillene, along with the fabulous Deborah Cox as Glinda. Ease on down the road to this crowd pleaser that will have you on your feet at its end. 

CLIPPETTES: The Blind Boys of Alabama & Bobby Rush are at the Cerritos Center on Feb. 9 as Black Pumas rock The Wiltern, Martha Redbone’s Roots Project comes to The Nimoy; and jazz is represented by Bernie Maupin at The Ebell, the Kenny Barron Trio at The Soka, the Blue Note Quintet at Irvine Barclay Theatre, and the Pan African Peoples Arkestra at World Stage

Also, two-night stands begin for Pete Escovedo & Family at Catalina Jazz Club; guitarists Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson & Steve Vai at The Orpheum  

Andrew Cumming’s “Out of Darkness,” a totally engrossing stone age thriller that has aptly scored 92% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, has arrived at the Alamo DTLA, Harkins in Cerritos and other area theaters. The sub-titled immersive nail-biter in the vein of Hulu’s Predator prequel “Prey” features Chuku Modu (“The Good Doctor”), Kit Young (“Shadow and Bone), and scene-stealing newcomer Safia Oakley-Green. Highly recommended for a good fright

The family of the late singer-songwriter Bill Withers will attend the Grammy Museum Feb. 10, at 10:30 a.m. for a signing of the recently released children’s book “Grandma’s Hands” based on one of his most beloved songs  

Later, Dilla Day LA has Slum Village, J. Rocc and J Dilla’s mom, Ma Dukes at 930 Mateo St.; while spoken word artists J.Ivy, Ursula Rucker, Get Lit and Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets fame convene at The Nimoy; Say She She performs at The Regent; Anané + Louie Vega spin at Don Quixote; Reggie Watts is at Dynasty Typewriter; and the Long Beach Arena hosts Brenton Wood, Joe Bataan, Barbara Mason, The Bar-Kays and more  

Nia Long has been cast as matriarch Katherine Jackson in Antoine Fuqua’s Michael Jackson biopic “Michael.” Oscar nominee Colman Domingo (“Rustin”) is taking on the role of her husband Joe Jackson …

On Feb. 12, The Grammy Museum presents a special evening featuring exclusive clips from A&E’s forthcoming documentary “James Brown: Say It Loud” followed by a conversation with director Deborah Riley Draper, producer Jimmy Jam, and a first listen to a never-before-released Brown song before its release  

Also, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas bring Mardi Gras Mambo to The Mint

Valentine’s Day is represented by Dru Hill & Ginuwine at the Saban, Gabriel Iglesias at The Forum, and Wailing Souls at The Venice West  

Marc Anthony performs Feb. 15 at Toyota Arena, while Dominique Fils-Aimé is at Theatre Raymond Kabbaz, and a two-night presentation of singer-songwriter India Carney Riding the Rollercoaster: An Artist’s Life in Los Angeles kicks off at The Nimoy  

TASTY QUIP: “I don’t think that will happen. You know, Tommy Ford was a great piece to our puzzle, and he’s not here no more. So, we leave it in the past and keep moving on.” – MARTIN LAWRENCE to “Extra” shutting down rumors of his sitcom “Martin” returning

TC ON TV: Feb. 9 – “Good Times 50 Still Golden” (TV1): A three-day marathon celebrating the sitcom’s jubilee with observations from cast members Jimmie “JJ” Walker, Bern Nadette Stanis and Ralph Carter. “Suncoast” (Hulu): Nico Parker (the daughter of Thandiwe Newton who previously was featured in “The Last of Us” and “Dumbo”) won an award for breakthrough performance at Sundance for this. Laura Chinn’s emotionally charged semi-autobiographical coming of age dramedy also features Laura Linney and Woody Harrelson. “Skeletons In The Closet” (Shudder): Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Clifton Powell star in this horror flick. “Gospel Live! Presented by Henry Louis Gates Jr.” (PBS): A musical celebration with Erica Campbell and John Legend honoring the legacy and influence of the genre. 

Feb. 10 – “Abducted Off The Street: The Carlesha Gaither Story” (Lifetime): Kenya Moore (“Real Housewives of Atlanta”) and Riele Downs (“Bel Air”) topline this movie chronicling the abduction of a Philadelphia nurse’s aide at the hands of a homicidal predator. “The Super Bowl Soulful Celebration 25th Anniversary” (CBS): Earth, Wind & Fire, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary and Robin Thicke. 

Feb. 11 – “Super Bowl LVII” (CBS/Nick): Along with the game and ads, entertainment will come via DJ Tiësto, Andra Day, Post Malone, Reba McEntire and halftime performer Usher. 

Feb. 12 – “Celebrity IOU” (HGTV): “Sterling K. Brown’s Family Affair” “The Neighborhood” (CBS): Skye Townsend (“Black Lady Sketch Show”) joins the cast. “Gospel” (PBS): A four-hour docuseries over two nights that explores the rich history of Black spirituality through sermon and song. “Lil Jon Wants To Do What?” (HGTV): More outrageous renovations from the musician and producer who is also releasing an album of meditative music this week.  

Feb. 13 – “My Bloody Galentine” (Tubi): A revenge drama that warns against dumping women before Valentine’s Day. “The View” (ABC): Billy Dee Williams Tamron Hall” (Syn): Lashana Lynch “Finding Your Roots” (PBS): Danielle Brooks, Dionne Warwick. “Name That Tune” (ABC): Vivica A. Fox, Michelle Williams 

Feb. 14 – “A Soweto Love Story” (Netflix): Follows romance blossoming in the heart of the famous Johannesburg borough. “Players” (Netflix): Gina Rodriquez, Tom Ellis and Damon Wayans Jr. star in this sports comedy. “Celebrity Squares” (VH1): “HBCU Edition” “Nine Lives Of …” (Vice): “Tiger Woods 

Feb. 15 – “The Vince Staples Show” (Netflix): The rapper-actor navigates the challenges and surprises of everyday life in his hometown of The Beach. With Vanessa Bell Calloway. “Far North” (AMC+/Sundance Now): Based on New Zealand’s largest meth bust, this drug smuggling dramedy stars Temuera Morrison (“Aquaman”). “Bold & Bougie” (WE/AllBlk): A reality series following dynamic personalities Malaysia Pargo, Tameka Foster, Gocha Hawkins, Princess Banton-Lofters and Crystal Smith. 

END QUOTE: “I can’t think of anything worse, really, than to try to live up to someone else’s expectations of what you should be. You don’t make art by consensus.” – TRACY CHAPMAN 

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, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.