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Worst: "Black and White"
It's not a good sign when the best performance in your movie belongs to the actress playing the minor role of an LA County family court judge, but that's probably the least of director and screenwriter Mike Binder's problems with "Black and White." His new drama simply wants too much. It wants to make a statement on modern day race relations but even its progressive characters come across as cliches, which makes it feels more dated than it should. Kevin Costner, a grandfather trying to hold on to custody of his grandchild, has one very good scene on the witness stand, but is awkwardly playing an alcoholic for a good chunk of the flick (not his best moments). Octavia Spencer, the girl's other grandmother who wants her to live with her father's side of the family, shamelessly pulls out her camera mugging antics from "The Help" (she was so good in "Snowpiercer," not so much here). You might be willing to swallow all of this until the silly climactic scene in the third act. Overall, it's just another example of TIFF inviting a film looking for distribution with recognizable red carpet names (it's a Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer gala premiere!) instead of choosing it on the basis of its actual merits.
- Gregory Ellwood