Writer/director Ryan Coogler's debut feature, Fruitvale Station
, is one of those first films that announces that a major talent has hit the scene. It's a humanistic, deeply observed portrait of a 22-year-old African-American named Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a name that might be familiar to some from headlines a few years ago. Grant is an ex-convict trying to do right by his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz) and their beautiful kindergarten-age daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal), as well as his strong-willed mother Wanda (Octavia Spencer).
Coogler begins the film with grainy cell-phone footage of what appear to be cops lording over a group of handcuffe...