Movie Reviews 

Richard Jewell

by Alan Rapp on December 13, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Richard Jewell
  • IMDb: link

Richard Jewell movie reviewDirector Clint Eastwood‘s latest film examines Richard Jewell and the rise and fall of the security guard in the media from the hero who discovered a bomb during the 1996 Summer Olympics at Centennial Park to the FBI’s prime suspect in the bombing. An indictment on both media and the tendency of local and federal agencies to decide on a narrative and attempt to fit the facts to it rather than the other way around, the film focuses on how the lack of any evidence didn’t prevent either the FBI or the media at large from determining Jewell was guilty (despite the fact he was never charged with a crime).

Paul Walter Hauser is the stand-out as the naive Jewell who, even while being accused by the FBI, can’t help but try and help due to his hero worship of the police. Sam Rockwell and Kathy Bates are strong as the few supporters believing in Jewell’s innocence while the other side of the investigation features far more one-note characters with Jon Hamm is stuck in a cliched cop role as the man leading the investigation, and other actors as forgettable nameless support, and Olivia Wilde is a slutty reporter whose need to break the story costs Jewell everything.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Queen & Slim

by Alan Rapp on December 10, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Queen & Slim
  • IMDb: link

Queen & Slim movie reviewWriter/director Melina Matsoukas’ Queen & Slim examines how one night can change your life. Driving Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) home after their unsuccessful first date, Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) is pulled over by a racist cop looking for any excuse to escalate the situation. Two gunshots later, the pair are on the run relatively oblivious to how their story will spread across the country.

The film is built on the backs of Kaluuya and Turner-Smith whose unusual first date leads the to unexpected destinations including a family reunion, a city-wide protest in their honor, and a drive towards freedom. Slim’s even demanor is a nice match for Queen’s more fiery moments, and it’s where the pair come together that Queen & Slim ultimately succeeds.

Matsoukas provides a stylish racially-charged tale of fugitives on the run that does begin to drag on during its final half-hour. While the decisions the pair make after killing a cop in self-defense are questionable at best, the script focuses on their perspectives, and life experience, to make the best choices they can given other equally bad alternatives.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

  • Title: Joker
  • IMDb: link

Joker movie reviewAlthough it has been phenomenally successful at the box office, writer/director Todd Phillips‘ film focused on the origins of the most famous Bat-villain has divided critics. Forgetting for a moment that attempting to rationalize and explain one of the most inexplicable characters ever created is a terrible, terrible idea doomed to failure, Phillips’ choices over the course of Joker leave much to be desired.

Stealing its plot from two different Martin Scorsese films (Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy) and adding a layer of DC Comics on top which acts more of a fuck you to fans than celebration of the character (purposely making claims that fly in the face of 80 years of comic writing), Phillips offers a script to explain the creation of the Joker. The movie isn’t a descent into madness, our lead character is already far gone by the time we meet him. Instead, Joker examines how a shitbag like our protagonist became the most famous villain in Gotham. And, in one of the film’s most troubling aspects, excuse that behavior by re-purposing the blame of the Joker’s actions on society itself. The Joker doesn’t kill people, society kills people.

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Dark Waters

by Alan Rapp on December 5, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Dark Waters
  • IMDb: link

Dark Waters movie reviewDark Waters is an interesting story that isn’t always told in an interesting way. Based on real events, Mark Ruffalo stars as corporate lawyer Robert Bilott who gets roped into taking on the kind of client his firm usually argues against when a farmer shows up in his offices with a story to tell how his land is being poisoned by the small town’s main employer, DuPont. Much like the court case itself, the film drags on as any movement in events happens at a glacial pace over decades (eventually the movie begins to increase the rapidness of its fast-forwards to alleviate some of the on-screen stagnation).

The script by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Mario Correa showcases how a big corporation flaunts its wealth and privilege, while ignoring any responsibility, even when solid proof of their wrongdoing is exposed. The other aspect to the film, not as well explored, is how the case changes Bilott’s life, both professionally and at home, when he decides to take on a case that eventually becomes more of a crusade he feels obligated to see through. The film’s set-up reminded me of 1998’s A Civil Action (among other films) which explores many of the same themes.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Never Surrender

by Alan Rapp on November 26, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary
  • IMDb: link

Never Surrender movie reviewFor one night only the documentary looking back at Galaxy Quest played as part of Fathom Events. Just in time for the film’s 20th anniversary, Screen Junkies puts together a solid documentary with interviews from director Dean Parisot, screenwriter Robert Gordon, editor Don Zimmerman, producer Mark Johnson, fans (including a pair of notable Star Trek: The Next Generation stars), and the cast (Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell, Justin Long, and others) of the 1999 film that examines the troubled history of bringing the film to screen and its enduring legacy as the best Star Trek movie ever made.

Both spoofing and honoring the original Star Trek, with a mix of humor, drama, and sci-fi, it’s not surprising to learn that the studio didn’t know quite what to make of Galaxy Quest. Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary is a loving look at the under-performing box office release that has found a rabid fan base over the years. There are some nice tidbits here, including Harold Ramis signing as the original director for the film, stories from the set, and the studio’s original choice for Jason Nesmith.

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }