Jessabelle, 2014 – ★★★

My review of Jessabelle, 2014 – ★★★ http://bit.ly/2Sdt7PD

Half the time I had no idea what was going on. It was far fetched. Still, Sarah Snook is nice to look at so I let it live with a 6/10.

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Midnight Cowboy

I almost feel like if I don’t give this film 5 stars, bad movie karma will visit me. It is mentioned in so many reviews I read as well as in interviews with directors and actors. It was released with an “X” rating which is laughable by our standards today. I think you see one female breast in about three short, clothed sex scenes. It later received an R rating.

This film is old, it came out the same year I was born.

Oldies are often goodies though and “Midnight Cowboy,” while gritty, is a drama treat with award winning actors that make the story come alive.

I love movies that show us the naked city. From the playbills stapled and frayed on side streets to the honking of taxicabs. People are trying to survive and we get to travel with the camera, taking it all in. Of course, we can pause at any time or come back to revisit another time. People in the real city can’t. Maybe that’s why we like watching what they will do, often out of desperation.

Just seeing John Voight and Dustin Hoffman in their prime is very entertaining.

These guys were showing us acting like university drama instructors here in their mid twenties. John Voight has always struck me as one dimensional and stupid. That actually works for his character here. Hoffman is a con man, a sick one at that. We get a slice on 1969 in this very well made and incredibly acted film. I recommend it.

Title: Midnight Cowboy
Number of times I’ve seen it: 1
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: R
Year: 1969
Director: John Schlesinger, (“Marathon Man”)
Top Billed Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles

Brief Synopsis: Man moves to the big city and makes an unlikely friend.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Title: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Genre: Documentary, Crime, Drama
MPAA Rating: R
Year: 2008
Director: Kurt Kuenne
Top Billed Cast: N/A
Brief Synopsis: The disappearance of a 28 year old man reveals dark truths. The documentary maker made this for his son and complications arose.
My Word to the Wise: Fans of Dateline and 48 Hours will likely enjoy this film. It’s a gripping true story told in news footage and interviews. It will likely infuriate as well as entertain. It is a masterful telling of a story with an ending you’d never expect. As a documentary it was too long for me. They do a lot of filler scenes that repeat content. For that it lost a couple stars.

Island Zero, 2018 – ★★

My review of Island Zero, 2018 – ★★ http://bit.ly/2X94pTX

Sometimes a low budget boosts the scares in a horror movie. The director is forced to work with what she/he has. In this case the acting and dialog is pretty awful. The humble use of blood and gore is accentuated as fake as a result. If the characters spent more time together embracing the material, it might have fared better. As it is, the lines seem forced and there isn’t much to grab on to here.

Having said that, this is a horror film we have been given in 2018. Since it was a scant year for our genre, this one is worth watching. There are a few moments that thrill and chill so you won’t be completely let down.

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Nurse Jackie

Title: Nurse Jackie
Genre: TV Sitcom, Hospital, Drama, Dark Comedy, 30 minute episodes
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Year: 2009-2015 7 Seasons
Produced by: Showtime.
Top Billed Cast: Edie Falco, known for “The Sopranos,” and array of big star regulars/guest stars.
Brief Synopsis: A nurse who juggles her family and pain-killers. Not a good combo but makes for a laugh here and there. Not realistic on all levels, hallucinogenic, trippy, strange when its not.
My Word to the Wise: It’s anyone’s guess how we “should” portray functional drug addicts working in an ER unit. I have no judgment for that reason. But I kept asking myself this question: should it be so funny in between the darkness?

The rest of this review may contain spoilers.

I just finished binge watching all the “Nurse Jackie” episodes. She reminds me of a trainer I had at Pizza Hut years ago who was bitter my education brought me in to the company above her. She was addicted to cigarettes and happy hour. Some addicts feel they work so hard we shouldn’t ever question them, What a crock of shit. Nurse Jackie embodies this type of what I call “Tweaker” thinking.

This is a good show in many ways because it dares to look at functional addiction with no sugar coating in the end.

I didn’t like every aspect of it though, which is likely in a show that runs this long, there have to be some experiments made to see what the audience bites on. If a character gets under your skin it’s for one of two reasons: 1) They remind you of a true life character or 2) it’s a terrible script with back and forth implausibility. I’d say both are true at different points.

If you like ER shows and/or you liked “Breaking Bad” you’ll enjoy the hybrid. There’s a bit more dark humor in “Nurse Jackie.” A spoonful of humor helps the medicine go down I suppose. But is this medicine? How else can a show present such dark subject matter?

The Hunt, 2012 – ★★★★★ (contains spoilers)

My review of The Hunt, 2012 – ★★★★★ (contains spoilers) http://bit.ly/2TPWGs9

This review may contain spoilers.

The Salem Witch trials show us how the mob mentality can mindlessly harm a victim. The Hunt shows us what the mob mentality does to a good man when accused of sexual abuse. Even after the very child admits it didn’t happen, the stigma and prejudice remains. Are there some wrongs to reputation that can’t be righted?

The mind of a child is a wonderful thing but who can know it or analyze it. Some of us told fibs when we were kids and sometimes they had consequences. Sometimes kids say things for attention that amplify elements of the truth to make a new lie. This is usually innocuous as part of the process of growing up. Sometimes however, the innocent lies of a child can kill.

In The Hunt, Lucas played by Mads Mikkelsen, is a kindergarten teacher. This is somewhat out of the ordinary, in this country anyway, because usually men aren’t teaching this age. He appears to be likeable and the kids feel comfortable around him. One day, however, that changes. Klara, played by Annika Wedderkopp, kisses Lucas on the lips.

He scolds her and says that is only for mommy and daddy. For all intents and purposes, he does everything right but that can’t stop the tsunami of trouble that comes his way. Klara shares that Lucas did lewd things to her, revealing his genitals. The movie consists of Lucas being accused and never being forgiven by the town. It’s all presented in heartbreaking realism. At one point, Lucas cannot even buy food at the local grocery store because the manager has banned him. This is after Lucas has been exonerated by the police investigation.

Lucas is having a lot of trouble in this film. Before the sexual accusations occur he is an a match with his ex-wife to get partial custody of his son who is an older teen. Lucas’ son is the most reasonable person in the whole town. He screams at the people who are trying his dad in the streets without having all the facts. He even spts in the face of Klara in the presence of her parents. The bottom line is that he loves his dad and believes in him in spite of the virtual sentencing the town has forced upon him. hunt_There is some forgiveness but throughout the film and in the last scene especially, on a hunt, we are led to believe that Lucas will never be safe as long as rumors remain. This film lost a star with me because it didn’t develop the relationships at work and with friends enough. It seemed illogical they would respond this way.

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The Hunt, 2012 – ★★★★★ (contains spoilers)

My review of The Hunt, 2012 – ★★★★★ (contains spoilers) http://bit.ly/2TPWGs9

This review may contain spoilers.

The Salem Witch trials show us how the mob mentality can mindlessly harm a victim. The Hunt shows us what the mob mentality does to a good man when accused of sexual abuse. Even after the very child admits it didn’t happen, the stigma and prejudice remains. Are there some wrongs to reputation that can’t be righted?

The mind of a child is a wonderful thing but who can know it or analyze it. Some of us told fibs when we were kids and sometimes they had consequences. Sometimes kids say things for attention that amplify elements of the truth to make a new lie. This is usually innocuous as part of the process of growing up. Sometimes however, the innocent lies of a child can kill.

In The Hunt, Lucas played by Mads Mikkelsen, is a kindergarten teacher. This is somewhat out of the ordinary, in this country anyway, because usually men aren’t teaching this age. He appears to be likeable and the kids feel comfortable around him. One day, however, that changes. Klara, played by Annika Wedderkopp, kisses Lucas on the lips.

He scolds her and says that is only for mommy and daddy. For all intents and purposes, he does everything right but that can’t stop the tsunami of trouble that comes his way. Klara shares that Lucas did lewd things to her, revealing his genitals. The movie consists of Lucas being accused and never being forgiven by the town. It’s all presented in heartbreaking realism. At one point, Lucas cannot even buy food at the local grocery store because the manager has banned him. This is after Lucas has been exonerated by the police investigation.

Lucas is having a lot of trouble in this film. Before the sexual accusations occur he is an a match with his ex-wife to get partial custody of his son who is an older teen. Lucas’ son is the most reasonable person in the whole town. He screams at the people who are trying his dad in the streets without having all the facts. He even spts in the face of Klara in the presence of her parents. The bottom line is that he loves his dad and believes in him in spite of the virtual sentencing the town has forced upon him. hunt_There is some forgiveness but throughout the film and in the last scene especially, on a hunt, we are led to believe that Lucas will never be safe as long as rumors remain. This film lost a star with me because it didn’t develop the relationships at work and with friends enough. It seemed illogical they would respond this way.

Follow me on Letterboxd http://bit.ly/2BDfNyj

Midnight Cowboy, 1969 – ★★½ (contains spoilers)

My review of Midnight Cowboy, 1969 – ★★½ (contains spoilers) http://bit.ly/2BoJ93x

This review may contain spoilers.

I almost feel like if I don’t give this film 5 stars, bad movie karma will visit me. It is mentioned in so many reviews I read as well as in interviews with directors and actors. It was released with an “X” rating which is laughable by our standards today. I think you see one female breast in about three short, clothed sex scenes. It later received an R rating.

This film is old, it came out the same year I was born.

Oldies are often goodies though and “Midnight Cowboy,” while gritty, is a drama treat with award winning actors that make the story come alive.

I love movies that show us the naked city. From the playbills stapled and frayed on side streets to the honking of taxicabs. People are trying to survive and we get to travel with the camera, taking it all in. Of course, we can pause at any time or come back to revisit another time. People in the real city can’t. Maybe that’s why we like watching what they will do, often out of desperation.

Just seeing John Voight and Dustin Hoffman in their prime is very entertaining.

These guys were showing us acting like university drama instructors here in their mid twenties. John Voight has always struck me as one dimensional and stupid. That actually works for his character here. Hoffman is a con man, a sick one at that. We get a slice of 1969 in this very well made and incredibly acted film. I recommend it but it’s not “all that”

Brief Synopsis: Man moves to the big city and makes an unlikely friend.

Follow me on Letterboxd http://bit.ly/2THdKQX