Category Archives: Movie Review

Chappaquiddick: A Movie Review

Chappaquiddick_(film)

I am so glad that I didn’t listen to the one of the film critics who gave the new movie Chappaquiddick a “D.”  As in most cases in life, we have to experience things for ourselves and then make a judgment call.  So, I followed my first mind and went on to see this movie.

Most of the people in the audience looked like they were baby boomers like me and were probably there to revisit their feelings about this indelible incident.  The year of 1969 was a highly sensitive time in our country after several assassinations of political figures and it was at the height of an unpopular war.  So, to my recollection, emotions were already running at an all-time high on so many levels and fronts.

When this story involving Ted Kennedy emerged, many did not know what to think.  This new movie, Chappaquiddick, reopens old wounds and yet it is done tastefully and handled with an air of sensitivity.  He was, after all, the youngest of the famous brothers and people wanted to hear what he had to say and give him a fair shake.

The highly polished and believable cast includes Jason Clark as Ted Kennedy; Ed Helms as Cousin Joe Gargan and Bruce Dern as Patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy.  We are allowed to take a walk back down memory lane hoping to get greater insight into one of the bigger political mysteries. We will never fully know what happened on that unfortunate night in July of 1969 so we can only speculate.  We certainly should thank Director John Curran and writers Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan for doing a fine job of recreating a grave and dark time in our history.

What we do know is, for whatever reason, Ted Kennedy’s life was spared. He went on to live a full life – something that fate did not afford his tragic brothers.  Obviously, his mission was not complete in July of 1969 and he went on to become one of the longest serving US senators in American history. He was able to push through many legislative bills.

We are all flawed in some way and though it is easy to pass judgment, it is difficult to continually stay the course and forge ahead.  As someone in the movie said, “Only history will decide.” I personally think that he proved his father to be wrong.  He survived the hurt, the shame and the embarrassment as he went on to accomplish many great things!

Lynn M.                                                              April 7, 2018

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A Gift for Black History Month!

black panther

Black Panther is a movie that captures the times of today.  Though it encompasses much, its powerful message circles around what happens to families when they break apart due to deeply buried truths.  Warring relatives both vie for power and rightful positions as this tale unfolds.  It is based on a Marvel Comics series written by a variety of writers.

T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has been newly installed as King of Wakanda after his father’s death and after successfully battling  a neighboring contender. He rules and protects his kingdom as his father did while remaining quite oblivious to the woes of the outside world.

That is until an angry and long, lost cousin Erik (Michael B. Jordan) shows up on the African land to take the throne.  He is filled with hate and rage because his father had been executed by the T’Challa’s father, though they were brothers.  He is stronger than T’Challa and takes the throne for a while after they fight a ferocious battle.  He plans on destroying many factions of the world to get revenge for his many years of suffering because of the world’s injustices.

There is so much to this star-studded cast and the best thing to do is just go and see it. Here are a few major actors:  Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong’o and Sterling K. Brown along with some great, new talent.  The acting is top-notched; the costumes are unforgettable and it is extremely high-tech.  What a fun experience!

When it ended, I turned around and everybody was basically still in their seats. No one wanted it to end. So I also lingered and sure enough, after the credits rolled there were two or three more sneak peaks and additions to the script.  One woman said, “I am going to see it again.”  As I think about it, I will too.  What a gift!

Lynn M.                                                                              February 18, 2018

The Darkest Hour

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Reading Clementine Churchill by Sonia Purnell a couple of years ago sparked an interest in seeing the new movie called Darkest Hour.  Purnell gave a well-researched and intimate look at this loving couple though it focused on Clementine’s role in her famous husband’s life.  It further proved that there is usually a woman behind every great man.  The book offered details of their daily lives so when I viewed the movie, I quietly agreed that Kristin Scott Thomas captured Clemmie’s essence.

But more importantly, this movie showed the inner tickings of Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) as he wrestled with his new responsibility as Prime Ministet at the height of the German invasions under Hitler.  Churchill’s war cabinet wanted to negotiate with Germany in the face of terror, fear and the loss of many young soldiers.

Most of the movie pinpoints a few days in the month of May when he painstakingly weighed his options.  Will he lead the country into eternal servitude to a greater power?  Will he buckle under the pressure because few believe in him or his rationale?

Clemmie soothes and reassures him and tells him that he has what it takes. King George VI (Ben Mendelsohn) finally lets Churchill know that he has his full support though other key members of Parliament doubt his judgment.  And then, he decides to ask the people.  There is a memorable scene of Churchill getting on the subway and actually talking with the everyday working people.  Though shocked to see him,  he opens up a conversation and they all vow that they should never surrender.

He writes a speech with the help of his dutiful typist Elizabeth Layton (Lily James) and the movie ends with him giving a major speech.  The rest, they say, is history.

I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Winston Churchill.  “If you are going through hell, keep going.”  He kept going and I think that Gary Oldman could possibly be taking home a little gold statue called Oscar!

Lynn M.                                                         January 27, 2018

An Unbeatable Combination!

The post

When I entered the theatre to see the premiere showing of The Post, it was almost filled to capacity.  I had to sit closer to the screen than I like, but I knew that I was in for a real treat.  With Steven Spielberg at the helm and Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as the lead actors, I knew that this was an unbeatable combination; yet I was unsure of the exact story line.

This movie takes place in 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War.  Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) has to decide whether to publish parts of the Pentagon Papers  which revealed  classified information about past presidential involvement.  Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) is  the executive editor and they have to see if they want to face a possible legal battle with the courts.  Their competitor, The New York Times, has already faced a court injunction for a similar story and The Post has to carefully weigh its options.

Katharine Graham has been left in charge of the paper after her husband’s demise and many on the Board are afraid that they could possibly face jail time. So much is at stake for all of the staff workers along with their families and The Post’s investors. What will she decide to do?

The actual production of the news story has started.  Writers have written copies on antiquated typewriters; copy editors have edited the text for errors; blueprints have been drawn and the intricate task of setting type by the lithographers has taken place.

But then, Mrs. Graham gets a knock on the door after they discover that one of their sources may have also colluded with The New York Times.  Many are sorely afraid of the consequences and they try to change her mind and halt the publication of the story.  Yet, with a short span of hesitation, she reminds them that she is the boss and says it is a go.

The huge newspaper presses are fired up and they roll.  A few key players grab a savored copy while it is hot off of the press with the smell of fresh ink.  Everybody involved had to work to the beat of a ticking clock to meet that deadline.

Then workers are seen bundling the papers, tying them in stacks and loading them onto trucks which will put them into newspaper boxes. Young paperboys will be getting up in the wee hours of the morning to pitch those copies onto the lawns of subscribers.

The Washington Post shared what they had discovered, won in the courts and went on to become a respected and well-known paper that still exists today.  It was a nostalgic look at a marked time in our history that led to even greater ground-breaking reporting!  This is a must-see movie for the baby boomers and those coming behind who want to witness journalism at its best!

Lynn M.                                                                                      January 6, 2018

For the Love of Money!

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Roman J. Israel Esq., Denzel Washington, is a savant of sorts who is also a civil rights lawyer that seems lost in the era of the 60’s and 70’s.  He still wears a large Afro hairdo, listens to LP records of former artists like Gil Scott Heron and has posters of revolutionaries like Angela Davis on the wall of his apartment.

For a moment, we are not sure if the movie is set in the late 60’s as we watch him eat peanut and butter jelly sandwiches until we are awakened to the real time zone.  We say, “Wait.  He has a cell phone.”  There are definitely some discrepancies.

Roman’s law partner suffers a heart attack, and when we meet his replacement, George Pierce (Colin Farrell) who is dressed as sharp as a tack, we know that Roman Israel is in fact stuck in a time capsule.  He still keeps all of his notes on index cards and has been comfortable being the backbone of the firm who works in isolation until everything changes.

Roman is forced to move into the fashionable offices of the new law firm and he soon realizes that he does not fit into the current scene.  But more importantly, he discovers that his former partner had been taking kickbacks and his faith in the purity of any operation is called into play.

He continually works diligently for his clients until the inevitable happens.  He finds that there is a chance for him to collect $100,000 of reward money if he shares the whereabouts of a shooter in a robbery and murder.  He has the information of the fugitive’s whereabouts and makes good on getting a conviction but at severe costs.

Roman gets a brief taste of the good life as he buys some new suits and enjoys a few special outings before his guilt overtakes him and he begins to spiral into paranoia.  The jailed shooter threatens his life and others in the firm discover what he has done.  His descent down his temporary mountain of living the high life begins and his wholesome conscience gets the best of him.

This movie is quite different in myriad ways.  It would make a great conversation piece at holiday dinner tables and parties because it can be discussed from so many points of view.  Go see Roman J. Israel, Esq. and see how things turn out for him.  Of course, Denzel Washington is superb and Colin Farrell is great as they portray these highly believable characters!

Lynn M.                                                                                     November 25, 2017