John McCain: For Whom The Bell Tolls

What’s this? ANOTHER political documentary?

Well first of all, complainy McComplainy Pants, most documentaries are inherently political. Secondly, yes, yes it is. First I had RBG (which is the shit), then I had The Final Year, which was disappointing.

Given them, I still cannot tell you why I decided to go out of my way to watch a documentary about John McCain. Dude didn’t even become President. And he is a Republican, which makes him a bad guy, right (#NotAllRepublicans)?

But I gave it a shot, because it was also on HBO, and HBO has generally impressed me with its documentaries. I was also so disappointed with The Final Year that I figured it couldn’t be worse. Especially with a more focused topic and a longer run time to tell the story.

Seems like the timing is also important, since (as of the time of this writing), McCain is still alive despite working with a pretty intense form of Cancer that is very likely to kill him. Now we can at least get his point of view on events as he reflects on his career, while he still has a chance. John McCain: For Whom The Bell Tolls will be interesting, if anything.

John McCain
It is just 100 minutes of him staring at you from the screen, only blinking seven times.

General knowledge has told me a few things about McCain before this viewing, and some I experienced. Besides the cancer, I knew he was a prisoner of war during Vietnam for quite some time. I knew he was from Arizona. I knew he lost the presidential election in 2008 by a shit ton to Barack Obama, and is the reason we all know who Sarah Palin is right now. And I know he is nicknamed a Maverick, and had partially helped stop bad health care bills from coming through recently. Not all of them, but some of them.

I didn’t know a lot more. The documentary goes into his families history of military service, and of course a big portion on the war. Details from his wife at the time, his kids, and of course himself. We also see his post war efforts when returning home, when he meets John Kerry, how he got into politics, and many of the major things he worked on before running for president.

Even better is an acknowledgement that Palin was a terrible choice as a VP nominee, and is one of the reasons he definitely lost the election. I like that they highlighted how he tried to run a clean campaign and not bad mouth Obama while running.

Unfortunately, after the election it basically fast forwards to this last year. His cancer problems, his confusing statements on senate meetings, and the health care notes. It makes him seem like a great guy, but it nicely points out that he was basically a huge dick while Obama was in office. Sure, occasionally he would say something we could agree with, but he still mostly just voted along political lines and didn’t feel like a Maverick unless he could get something out of it.

It is still a well crafted documentary about an interesting man. I am happy we get interviews with so many people, political and otherwise, who knew him, and of course the man himself.

3 out of 4.

The Misandrists

I admit, I was really intrigued when I heard about the film The Misandrists.

Of course the title drew me in, it is a type of film that could go a lot of ways. What story does it want to tell? It is a heavily propagandized documentary? Is it full of lies?

Well, I immediately read the plot description and found myself now more confused than ever. It really made me read it a few times just to make sure I was understanding it correctly. It was clearly going to be some sort of satire film, and how good or bad that goes really depends on who is in charge of it.

Well, The Misandrists is directed (and written) by someone named Bruce La Bruce, a man (a bad sign), but a notably gay man. Could still be a bad sign. His film work, that I also have never seen, apparently have lots of frequent gay male sex in them, partly for shock, and partly for the story. And he is potentially exploitative when it comes to these tales.

Oh okay, fine. Based on the description, and his history, maybe this is the perfect man for a movie like this?

Woman
“Perfect man? No such thing!” – These misandrists, probably.

Set in Germany, at some time period before cell phones I assume, sits a small secluded large building. This building is not a school, but a training ground for the Female Liberation Army. This group made entirely of women want to grow strong, powerful, and weaponized and eventually band together to take down the patriarchy in Germany.

It is run by a few “sisters” (you know, like nuns), and Big Mother (Susanne Sachße). The younger girls there are taking classes like a normal school, on Herstory and physical education and math, while also exploring themselves sexually to be free radical women. Most of them came from troubled backgrounds or abuse, and had to leave home at early ages for one reason or another.

While out with her girlfriend, Isolde (Kita Updike) finds a man who is hurt and on the run from authority. She wants to bring him back to their home, to hide in the basement and get better. She doesn’t like men, but can appreciate someone who is anti-authority, which he clearly is. Despite pleading, they do bring him back to hide and heal while still going about their normal duties.

This is a pretty big secret to hide, especially with some of the type of ladies that are in the home. But it turns out that is just the start of the secrets between this small group of ladies.

Also starring Viva Ruiz, Kembra Pfahler, Caprice Crawford, Grete Gehrke, Victoire Laly, Olivia Kundisch, Lina Bembe, and Til Schindler.

Man
The guy looks like he starred in War Horse.

Wow.

I really can’t get into too much detail down here, (partially because I do not want to), but also because there is just so much to talk about that I would just ramble and sound incoherent.

I definitely left this film not enjoying it in the slightest. It does feel like a vehicle to just create some softcore pornography. There is plenty of sex scenes in it, and maybe the longest pillow fight I have seen in a movie. Once the secrets start unraveling, it goes from dull to just really bad. The ending is extremely strange and jarring, without a lot of sensical resolution.

And yes. There is a nice fun scene of a penis being cut open. I assume it was surgery to turn the genitals into a vagina, it really wasn’t specifically clear, but it definitely was REAL. The camera change to a surgical video, and it was gross and so god damn unnecessary.

My stomach hurts just typing this out and remembering it.

The plot is bad, the graphic-ness is disturbing, and this film will only appeal to extremely small niche group of folks. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be able to scrub this movie out of my memory anytime soon, as it will likely appear in my worst of the year list.

0 out of 4.

The 15:17 To Paris

I will admit, when I first saw that this movie was coming out, I knew it had to be one of the early favorites for worst movie of 2018. A movie about a real event, starring some of the real people? What could go wrong?!

The 15:17 To Paris looked like utter shit, and as you can already see, yes, it was utter shit.

At this point, I assume Clint Eastwood is only alive because of directing. He is known for doing things quickly and under budget, despite issues, and it is really showing. Look at recent movies: American Sniper, Trouble With The Curve, Sully, Jersey Boys. He has some real event movies, and they aren’t spectacular. He had a known amazing musical and he botched it. And The Trouble With the Curve? Well, you probably forgot it existed.

The only real worthy note about some of his recent movies has been the acting in it. But it is clear that it is probably more so the good actors continuing to act good, and not Eastwood bringing it out of them. So now we have him directing people who have NO training at acting and really watch it blow up in his face.

Group
Maybe not the best choice of words in a movie about a terrorist attack.

In 2015, on a train from Amsterdam to Paris, a terrorist attack occurred. A guy came out of the bathroom with guns ready to fire, and tons of ammunition. Immediately, he struggled against people waiting to use the bathroom, but once shots were fired, people began to run and much panic ran throughout the train.

But three Americans in a cart over decided that running was not in their blood. Spencer Stone (Spencer Stone), Anthony Sadler (Anthony Sadler), and Alek Skarlatos (Alek Skarlatos) in various amounts fought back against the attacker, including rushing at him despite being fired against.

The three and another were able to get rid of his weapons and subdue him, and keep him down, until they stopped at the next station where authorities and doctors were able to take over. They were international heroes, helping prevent a much greater tragedy.

But how did they get to that point and why are they even friends? Lets have a movie about that.

Also starring Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, and the young versions of our heroes played by William Jennings, Bryce Gheisar, and Paul-Mikél Williams.

Run
Bullrush is not the feat it used to be.

Many years ago, Act of Valor came out and I completely hated it. It was a big PR stunt, with actual seals instead of actors. By bringing in authenticity to the craft, they lost having a competent movie. But at least with Act of Valor there was a story. At least there was an attempt to be entertaining and to fill some people with wonder. After all, if it is propaganda, there needs to be a hook.

For The 15:17 to Paris, it seems like it is actually not a movie, but an experiment, to see how much bullshit a person can take before they stop watching a movie. Unfortunately, I can take a huge bag of it, so I saw the whole thing, but I can’t imagine why. This 94 minute movie should have been about 14 minutes long.

We get to have plot of the young versions causing problems in school, becoming friends, and of course, their moms arguing against pills for ADD. Okay. Cool. Go strong with your anti-science doctrine in the first few minutes.

After that we have our characters played by themselves, but pretending to be high school students trying to figure out future careers. Then of course doing these jobs and goign through training and doing things in Afghanistan. Just a whole lot of pointlessness, until we get to the ending. You know, when they are finally ready to go backpacking and train riding throughout Europe!

And guess what. We now get to see the three pretend to relive these moments. You know, being in Italy, Germany, and other places, pretending to be tourists who have been there for the first time, just doing normal things. It is so incredibly uncomfortable and pointless.

None of these things matter at all for the actual train ride. There aren’t clever points where “Oh, we saw them talk to that Californian girl and get Gelato with her because she taught them to disarm a weapon!” Nope. Just because they did it in real life, I guess.

Good news. These guys are heroes. Bad news, everything and everyone about this movie. Goddamn it Clint Eastwood.

0 out of 4.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

To get things started, I never saw an episode of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood until I was 27 years old. And now, since then, I have seen about 1 and a half episodes. There are no Fred Rogers nostalgia bones in my body, because I just watched different things. My parents didn’t put it in front of me, and that is that.

I have seen a shit ton of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, because I have kids, and it is relatively swell. I think it raises good points and has easy enough songs to help relate to real life.

Now, I knew about Mr. Rogers growing up of course. I probably made fun of the concept of him, because I was a little shit. Late on in life, I’ve realized how incredibly awesome of a person and a man he was and how much difficulty even someone like him faced on getting his simple message of positivity out there. And really, that is just stuff I learned from memes.

I was really excited for a fully detailed account on his life and his struggles. And so despite the lack of nostalgia, I went in excited to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, knowing that I could learn a lot about both a man, and how I should personally be a man.

WYBMN
That’s one small gesture for a man, and one giant leap for mankind.

This documentary gives us the whole Rogers story. How he first got involved with TV in the 60’s, his first show, and how things evolved from there. We had archive footage for him to tackle all of the biggest events, from the Robert Kennedy assassination to 9/11. Whatever happened, Rogers was there.

He didn’t dumb things down. Sure he talked simply. He talked slowly. He talked like someone who was willing to listen. But he still talked about hard topics that kids would hear and need help fully comprehending, instead of bottling things inside.

It is incredible the journey this man went through, and what he did for human rights. I definitely cried at least three times during this documentary, so I cannot imagine what someone will do who lived and grew up with Mr. Rogers. You will be bawling your eyes out from start to finish.

We also gain a lot of insight on the show from former crew members, actors, and guests, including Yo-Yo Ma, and of course his wife, Joanne.

Next year we have a bio film coming out as well, with Tom Hanks in the lead called You Are My Friend. I am sure it will be excellent and probably focus on just a small part of his life. But good or bad, I will be content knowing that this documentary exists and is a truly worthy piece of art for a worthy human being.

4 out of 4.

First Reformed

Now that I have met Ethan Hawke in real life, he is of course my favorite actor. Because the only other real celebrities I have met (at the time of writing this) have been Rob Reiner (director mostly), Justin Long, and Sean Astin. Astin comes close, but what has he done for me lately? Oh yeah, Moms’ Night Out.

Back to Hawke. Sure at some point his directed movie Blaze comes out, but he hasn’t had a very well acted film for a bit. So any thing where he returns to his form is going to be great.

I missed the first screening of First Reformed because it was in the middle of the day, which didn’t feel like a problem. But everyone else mentioned how great this film was, meaning I needed to give it a shot and hope to be wowed.

Purple
Having a purple sky is pretty wow-derful.

The First Reformed church is the oldest still standing religious structure that is still in use. In the year 2017 it is going to celebrate its 250th year of use! A pretty significant number. It is of course a rather small church, one main room, a balcony area for the organ.

It doesn’t have too many members at this point, being in a small community, by Father Toller (Ethan Hawke) still has his weekly session. He keeps the place clean, he gives tours when necessary, and he tries to be an active part of his community. When the community doesn’t need him, he goes on a drive to the local Mega Church to help out over there.

One day, Mary (Amanda Seyfried), a younger member asks to speak with him. It turns out she is pregnant, and her husband, Michael (Philip Ettinger), is having doubts on the baby. He recently was also arrested from being at an environmental protest and has been mopey lately.

Basically, Michael thinks it is completely irresponsible to bring a child into this world, knowing how bad it is and bad it will get without any notable changes over the last decade. Could he be a good person and let that happen? Toller begins to meet with the family and talk to them, giving him a bit more purpose in his life.

And once events begin unraveling that Toller is not well equipped to handle. He is having a crisis of conscious and of faith, while being put in the spotlight for just those things.

Also starring Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill, and Michael Gaston.

Distraught
Really, it is the feng shui that is causing all of these issues.

Strangely enough, this film is not in wide screen. It is presented in a square format. I am sure someone could explain why for good reasons, and I cannot be that eloquent at this point. I will just note that it is notable and it does add something to the film.

Hawke is absolutely amazing in this role, and a lot more subtle about it than most of his other acting performances. It is definitely relatable to his work in the Before Trilogy, but less romantic and more depressing.

The story itself is quite slow, and yet still full of shocks and surprises. Maybe a third to halfway through the film will the viewer realize the potential conclusion of the film, adding a bit of nervousness to the proceedings. The ending is quite a spectacle and definitely controversial. I can hardly believe it, and yet at the same time, it really just makes sense.

First Reformed offers us our first real look at a Best Acting nominee this year which means awards season is definitely upon us.

3 out of 4.

Hotel Artemis

Hotel Artemis started advertising not that long ago and then went really hard at it. I avoided watching any trailers, but it did have a ton of posters, character spotlights, and general social media campaign.

I definitely thought and just assumed it was the same hotel in John Wick: Chapter 2, because again, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to it.

I also went in expecting a shoot out, broken rules, high famous people death count, and so on.

Really, the only reason I was interested in the movie was due to the people acting in it.

Blooming
Including this formerly elusive fucker who is trying to be in everything the last year.

Hotel Artemis is less a hotel and more a hospital. It is in a penthouse of a large building in Los Angeles and it is a secret organization for criminals. After all, every hospital out there is for the good guys and regular guys, so why not a place for criminals. You cannot just be bad and get in, you have to join their club and pay your membership dues.

Basically, as long as there is an empty room and you are a member, you will have a place to go and get patched up without alerting the authorities. And this film starts with Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) and his brother (Brian Tyree Henry) hurt after a robbery gone wrong making it over to the facilities. It is the future and LA is having big riot problems over clean water, so everyone is on edge.

Thankfully, they get patched up by the Nurse (Jodie Foster) just swell, and just have to wait for a new liver to be created for his brother. They find out that the current patrons of the hotel are not all there by coincidence, and that greater and more deadly stakes are afoot at this place they thought was safe.

Also starring Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Charlie Day, Jeff Goldbloom, Jenny Slate, Kenneth Choi, and Zachary Quinto.

Big Dog Little Dog
Finally, some hired help who can punch and sew.

Hotel Artemis is a film that has some cool and interesting ideas, but never really reaches its goals.

The plot is a bit shit. We have good reasons for future riots, those are believable, but the backstory for the Nurse takes too long to play out despite being one of our major points. The plot line with Boutella was average, and Brown’s was more fleshed out, but still didn’t feel really worth it. Tons of hype around Goldbloom, but in the end it also lacked a huge amount of oomph in the trunk.

It also didn’t have as much action as promised. Sure, we do get a few creative deaths and really well choreographed and decorated rooms, but the action itself is weak. Near the end it looked like there would be two different hallway scenes. One of them was interesting despite the many camera cuts, the other fell completely flat and denied the viewers of a great brawl aspect.

And yet, there are still elements to praise. For example, Foster was completely into this character. She had the quirks, the voice, everything felt unique. Foster transformed herself for this role and really, I couldn’t tell Foster was behind it at all. Probably her best role in over a decade.

Almost all the actors seemed to be acting in ways that were very uncommon for them. Brown doesn’t really play shooting criminal badasses, Day is generally spastic, but this time he was wormy and theoretically “cool” with a different voice, Quinto played a character who was definitely slow witted, and Slate wasn’t completely annoying.

The cast of characters is the reason to watch this movie, but it will unfortunately leave you just watching it once. Too many plot points that don’t go too many places will leave the story forgettable and the idea a wonderful dream.

2 out of 4.

Hereditary

Another year, another A24 movie hailed as a masterpiece of horror. And yet, there is doubt.

Sometimes A24 overhypes their films. Understandable. And sometimes they advertise things a bit different and piss off a lot of people. Some people have not forgiven them over this. Other people think these highly acclaimed horror films are shit.

But here is something I think most people can agree with. 2017 was a strong year for Horror films. Probably the best in quite some time for the genre. And for Hereditary? Well, it is sure as hell my favorite horror film in at least the last decade.

Doll
As sure as hell that hell is often talked about in horror movies.

The Graham family has had some troubling times. And it all seems to funnel around Annie Graham (Toni Collette). Her mother just died. But like, they weren’t close at all. She was living her last days in their home, but that doesn’t really change their past relationship.

Annie is an artist, in that she designs small dollhouse like arrangements and has a show coming up this summer. She is extremely crafty and can make a lot of things. Her husband (Gabriel Byrne) is trying to keep her life as stress free as possible, but it is hard when there is so much angst in the household.

Angst? Heck yes angst. They have two kids. The oldest, the boy (Alex Wolff) doesn’t get along with the mom and vice versa. They have had an interesting past. The younger, the girl (Milly Shapiro), has an unfortunate look and aura to her. She was the only one close to the deceased. And she has a lot of issues on her own, dark drawings, antisocial, you name it.

But it turns out their family has a lot of secrets. Some that Annie is aware of, and some that are going to come crashing down on them whether she wants them to or not.

Also starring Ann Dowd and Mallory Bechtel.

Girl
“Unfortunate looking” is the nice way to talk about it.

Let’s just compare real quick. Get Out. It Comes At Night. It Follows. Stoker. The Babadook. The Witch.

All fine horror films, or thriller films depending on how you want to argue them. And yes, I think Hereditary beats the list, including The Witch, which is my favorite from that list.

It is so hard to describe the feelings that Hereditary brings up. Given the family nature of the film, my mind went several places I thought it might go, and it didn’t really touch them. It went down a relatively unique path that seemed natural, and plenty shocking. It is definitely a slow movie, until it decides to fully embrace the “regular” parts of the genre.

Because by all means, the end is full on horror movie. We don’t have jump scares to get us to that point. We have unsettling events. Some shocking moments of course, but nothing is cheap, it is all earned.

And acting wise, I will talk about Wolff first. This is probably the best he has ever done in a movie. He was seemingly typecasted in my eyes and this movie will hopefully get him out of those teenage romance dramas. But Collette? Holy fuck, Toni Collette. I have definitely never come close to watching all of her movies, but I can’t imagine her ever better. And she has been in a lot of bad things lately.

Bold statement – Collette deserves acting nominations by the end of the year. She helped carry this movie and elevate it to an amazing status. I cannot see this film not being in the top five by the end of the year.

4 out of 4.

I Kill Giants

I haven’t met a giant in my life yet, but I would be sad if I had to meet it then immediately kill it. They seem rare, and I can’t imagine they are all inherently evil.

But I Kill Giants is a film that definitely has a specific message and propoganda attached to it. Who kills these giants? An elf? A regular human? Is it maybe a collective “I” which doesn’t really makes sense as a type it?

Needless to say, I better see a damn giant in this movie. Or if not a living breathing angry giant, at least a dead one.

Spy
Yes, be on the look out for those Zombie Giants. They are the worst.

Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) is not considered to be one of the cool girls at school. She is incredibly nerdy, including being a fan of dungeons and dragons. Besides believing these dragon forces to be real, she also is quite certain that giants are real.

Not just above average people or Sasquatches. But large forces of nature meant to cause harm. Most people don’t open their eyes enough to embrace these threats, and just blame them on tornadoes, earthquakes, or various storms. But they are there. And there are worse giants! There are titans, even bigger and meaner, and yes like the ones from Greek Mythology.

Barbara spends most of her time in her town, setting traps and bait out to track giant movement. She has saved her town a few times and given up grades and a social life to do so. But a new girl in town, Sophia (Sydney Wade), from Great Britain befriends her and helps her on her quest, despite all of the doubt.

While this goes on, a new guidance counselor at the school (Zoe Saldana) is set out to make sure she can actually help Barbara instead of just discarding her as crazy.

Also starring Imogen Poots, Rory Jackson, and Jennifer Ehle.

Hammer
With a weapon like that, who’s crazy now?!

I Kill Giants is the type of film that feels like when it was written, it was extremely creative and original and a lot of people would have loved its ambition. But then A Monster Calls happened. It happened at the end of 2016, and it is extremely similar. It deal with grief, and large fantasy creatures to help deal with that grief. It involves kids, and parents, and bad things.

I feel bad for I Kill Giants, because I think I would have liked it more if I didn’t already love A Monster Calls. I am not saying there isn’t room in this very specific genre for more films. It is just it wasn’t different enough for me to love it as much as A Monster Calls.

We have a different gendered main character, who does an amazing job (You go Wolfe!). Some different fantasy lore, but overall, the motives behind the fantasy are almost exactly the same.

In other good notes, Poots does a great job as older sister trying to hold everything together, despite limited screen time, and this is possibly the best Saldana has ever acted.

In the end, if you liked A Monster Calls, you will probably like this one as well. If you haven’t seen it, then just think of this as a girl version of A Monster Calls and make a decision to watch at least one of them before you died old and cranky.

3 out of 4.

The Final Year

I first heard about the documentary The Final Year sometime last year. Politics are getting crazier every day, and the Obama administration feels like forever ago.

From what I understood, it would be looking into the year 2016, not from a year of worrying about primaries and nominations, but specifically on Obama and his goals in that last year. What drove him forward, what was he hoping to accomplish, what did he actually accomplish, and why? His desires to not just be a lame duck and coast his final year.

And it would have behind the scenes access! It would be very fly on the wall candid feeling!

These are mostly assumptions I made in my head it turns out.

It was technically about Obama, sure. But really, it was about the Obama administration foreign policy team, dealing with the world, and what the world was doing to them.

TFY
Oh good, a photo of the four main people, with the most focus on those who had less screen time.

John Kerry was the Secretary of State in the second half of the Obama administration, and he was dealing with foreign policy. We also have Samantha Power and Ben Rhodes. Power was the Ambassador to the United Nations for four years, while was the Deputy National Security Adviser.

Clearly all three of these individuals were in positions to deal with a lot when it came to foreign policy. We get a lot of access to these three during the final year, both from interviews for the documentary, their own scandals, and videos of them doing their normal jobs and responsibilities. Kerry has less screen time than Rhodes/Power but still is definitely a lot more involved than Obama.

And well, I think this one fails to become a great documentary for feeling all over the place. What connects it is just one year and events happening to and from three people. And lets just be clear, this is not an opinion. They are less interesting than Obama. A lot of people are going to go into this expecting a lot of Obama, and they are going to be disappointed.

It also feels a bit sadder overall, knowing that basically everything they set to accomplish and did is being dismantled and finished. It is a dark look at politics in that regard. But still not dark enough to really fully care.

At this point, I wish this documentary came out a whole year earlier, right away, so that we can get the impact fresh in our minds. At this point, it just feels too late.

1 out of 4.

Crown Heights

If I fail at a goal, I definitely don’t make it very vocal and let everyone know. Unless it comes to movie watching. I have introductions for a reason, after all.

Just like I want to watch all the Oscar nominees before the Oscars air, I hope to watch the Spirit awards as well, for indie films. And one of the films nominated was Crown Heights, which I clearly failed to do before that March date.

It was only nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but the real issue is that I had access to it and could have done it by the date, I just forgot about it while I was chasing other bigger films to watch. I’m sorry! But look, I made some amends.

Early
Some amends are better than no amends at all, right?

In the 1970s, Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield) was living in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn. He was young, he was free, he was trying to make his impact on the world. Unfortunately when he was 18 (and young and free) he found himself behind bars. He was being charged with the murder of a 16 year old kid, one he did not knew, and claimed his innocence.

He wasn’t given a bail until they found out the details of the case, and then he was charged with murder. He didn’t have money, so he was given a public defender. They also actually found a different guy, who did kill him, and charged them together in the same trial with the same defendants.

And guess what. They both were sentenced to jail at the same time for the murder, despite arguments about Warner never being involved.

Unfortunately for Warner, he would spend then ext 21 years of his life in jail for a murder he did not commit. He could not get parole, as he refused to say he was sorry for a crime he didn’t do. With changing politicians, it became harder and harder to hold on to hope. But thankfully, Warner had a friend in KC (Nnamdi Asomugha) who never gave up for him, and made it his personal life goal to eventually free his friend.

Also starring Marsha Stephanie Blake, Adriane Lenox, and Luke Forbes.

Late
Once he gets free, he better get all of the amends.

Crown Heights is of course a true story of a really fucked up situation. It is more fucked up when you realize that this probably happens a decent amount of time. There are estimated to be over 100,000 people currently in prison for crimes they are not guilty of, which is a scary and frightening thought. You can live your whole life swell, never doing anything wrong, and then get arrested and go to jail for a long time if you don’t have a good defense.

And despite the law saying everyone gets a lawyer, it is not going to be great, because that lawyer probably has dozens of current clients and is focusing on plea deals over trial things.

The true story is an amazing tale of perseverance and standing up to injustices. But for whatever reason, in this iteration, it just doesn’t translate well onto the screen. Stanfield and Asomugha act great as our two leads. They have the appropriate amount of passion and really delve into those roles. It just feels like a drag to get through the story.

I did like how it interlaced the time with the change of the political landscape. Politicians arguing to be tougher on crime, longer sentences, three strikes and all that, creating more hurdles for our hero to get through before he can find himself a free man.

2 out of 4.

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