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Superhero film 'Fast Color' takes 'Black Girl Magic' literally

Matt Shiverdecker Special to the American-Statesman
Three generations of women — from left, Bo (Lorraine Toussaint), Lila (Saniyya Sidney) and Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) — have supernatural abilities in Julia Hart's "Fast Color." [Contributed by Jacob Yakob, Codeblack Films]

Here is an interesting new release available now from cable and digital providers as well as a title that has recently become available for streaming.

Video on Demand

"Fast Color": The second film from Julia Hart ("Miss Stevens) begins in a not-so-distant future under extreme drought conditions. We learn that it hasn’t rained in eight years and that crops have essentially stopped growing. Public places have posters on display that say “Report Water Wasters,” and when our lead character Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) stops at a roadside motel, it costs almost as much to rent her room as it does to buy a half-gallon of water from the front desk. She is on the run, but we don’t really know why until she begins to have severe convulsions and ultimately causes a minor earthquake. Her mysterious powers have government scientists trying to locate her for further study. But she has a mission to get back to her family and avoid capture. When she finally makes it to her mother, Bo (the always remarkable Lorraine Toussaint), she isn’t exactly a sight for sore eyes. Bo has been taking care of Ruth’s young daughter Lila (Saniyya Sidney) for her entire life because of Ruth’s drug problems. It’s a cautious reintegration, but one that becomes paramount upon learning that Lila has her own special abilities and hates being isolated because of them. Supernatural elements elevate what is already an intriguing drama and help create a captivating world that features some really mesmerizing special effects work, especially for an independent film. Hart co-wrote the screenplay with her husband, Jordan Horowitz, and it beautifully takes the notion of "Black Girl Magic" literally. This is a thoughtful and compassionate sci-fi redemption story, and hopefully it will find the audience it deserves through this home-video release. (Cable and digital VOD, 4K Ultra HD available)

Also on streaming services

"The Old Man & the Gun": Texas filmmaker David Lowery wrote and directed this endearing and handsomely shot true-life caper based on the life of Forrest Tucker. The legendary Robert Redford (in what was likely his last role before retiring from acting) stars as the career criminal who infamously escaped San Quentin State Prison in 1979 when he was 70. As the film begins, Tucker has been on the run for two years and has just robbed another bank. He evades police by assisting a woman named Jewel (Sissy Spacek) whose car has broken down on the side of the road. An engaging game of cat and mouse continues on between Tucker and the authorities, even as he romances Jewel and becomes hunted by the FBI. The film features a strong supporting cast that includes Elisabeth Moss, Tika Sumpter, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover and Tom Waits. (HBO Now)