The short original Netflix documentary “A Love Song For Latasha”. In its twenty minute running time, what you get is a powerful, heart breaking look at the young girl, who at fifteen years old, had her life cut tragically short. While it would have been easy to focus entirely on the circumstances surrounding her untimely death, what we got with this short film was an insight into the young girl herself.
In Unhinged, struggling single mom Rachel (Caren Pistorius) just can't catch a break. Her ex seems to have the better divorce lawyer, she's always running late, her career is slipping, and her day is only about to get worse. When she takes a detour to try to get her son (Gabriel Bateman) to school on time, she has a little road rage altercation with a disgruntled driver (Russell Crowe). Little does she know, this man has nothing left to lose, and he decides to stalk her, leaving a trail of destruction in his path.
Despite being sidelined by COVID-19, Booze, Broads, and Blackjack has raked in the awards from film events on both sides of the US. It's a mob thriller film that presents the skill and on-screen power of veteran actor Vincent Pastore of The Sopranos fame. The film also shows that what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.
If you’re as obsessed with true crime stories as I am, you know the frightening concept of regular people suddenly turning homicidal. In some cases, we could have seen it coming. A past riddled with indications of sadism. Earlier indications of mental health issues. But occasionally, people just break bad. Their friends and families are baffled. They would tell the authorities that he seemed like such a gentle soul, he didn’t seem like the type of person who could have done something so terrible.
The courtroom drama has been a big piece of interesting cinema for so long purely because it has the ability to show us the loopholes and problems with the judicial system in a way a crime documentary about innocence would. The only difference is that we don't get these side notes teaching us about the legal system, instead we get a very clever storyline told through numerous different voices. We are not swayed to believe either way until someone is completely exonerated and so, it is very much like watching a crime and courtroom play out the long legal process. The reason why we find this interesting is because we are not only fascinated by the dark and criminal side of human nature but, somewhere deep down, we are the only ones who actually know how this case is going to turn out. Musical scores, especially character themes and scene setters can give us hints and clues and, with the want for closure, we can normally guess the ending before it happens. The reason we watch it therefore, is to see what we don't see in real life: the madness of the courtroom.
John Grisham is probably best known for his dramas of law and order in the world of literature. Films like “The Rainmaker” were based on his novels and his newest novel “Camino Island” is just as good as the others, I can assure you. As an incredible writer of fiction, there was one time when Grisham took a dip into the world of nonfiction, much like Truman Capote and others, he chose to cover the topic of true crime. The focus of his book being false confessions, coaxed interviews and wrongful imprisonment. The problems with the judicial system are probably Grisham’s forte in exploration but this took him far beyond anything he could imagine. He not only discovered a law enforcement team that were wrongfully imprisoning the ones they had coaxed to confess to crimes they didn’t commit, but he also discovered a law enforcement team that were corrupt as to ask for half of whatever the prisoner who had actually committed the crime was getting: whether it be drugs, money etc. In this incredible limited series, John Grisham not only explores what is wrong with the law enforcement in small towns, but also what people would do when given far too much power in a situation where they would have no requirement to give it up against their will.
I am pretty sure that anyone who hears the term ‘Unabomber’ has this weird chill that goes down them. You don’t really know why you have a certain chill but it’s there. It’s not really because of the man himself but more about the strangeness surrounding his situation - especially the odd three years he spent under the influence of a psychologist at Harvard University, apparently subjected to CIA style mind-altering torture techniques. Though the man himself maintains it did not change him, is it really that or is that just what he believes? This documentary investigates the years between 1978 and 1995 in which a Mathematics PhD killed three people and injured more than twenty by sending homemade bombs in the post to key locations, concentrating on the urgency for his capture and how ultimately - he was found. It is an incredible look into the life of a man who, since his capture, was shrouded in so much mystery that you practically could not learn anything about him apart from his stubbornly academic manifesto. In this documentary we also get to see his brother, his sister-in-law, a woman who interviewed him after he sent for her by name. We get to see that from the very start of his life there is a sense of withdrawal because of his vast intellect. This intellect that becomes used and abused by the wrong people for the wrong reasons.
Classic Crime, Film Noir and even Crime-Comedy are always the best genres to watch if you're looking to study plot in the Golden Age of Cinema. Why is that? The plot lines are normally one or more of the following:
I realized years ago when I saw Milton Berle in a serious dramatic role -- I think in The Oscar in the 1960s -- that, contrary to what you might think, comedians can make excellent dramatic actors. Robin Williams confirmed this decades later, with a vengeance, in Insomnia.
The wife and I just saw Motherless Brooklyn on HBO. It's billed as an Edward Norton movie -- he also starred in it -- based on the Jonathan Lethem novel. I didn't read the novel (I was busy writing the sequel to The Silk Code when Lethem's novel was first published in 1999). But it's just as well. As readers of my reviews in Vocal may know, I like reviewing movies and TV series on their own terms, not on how they compare with the novels or short stories on which they may have been based. I will say that my wife mentioned that she saw that the Norton movie departed from the Lethem novel in many major ways.
After growing tired of hectic life in the city, Emma Kirk (Helena Mattsson) moves back to her small hometown of Paso Roblar with her teenage daughter Beatrice (Emma Fuhrmann) to revitalize her grandfather's winery and reconnect with Beatrice in the wake of her divorce. As the Kirks get settled into town, things initially seem to be going well for them. Emma reconnects with her old boyfriend Luke (Daniel Hall) as she works on the winery's grand re-opening, Beatrice captures the eye of popular soccer player Bryan Hayes (Matthew Erick White).
This case truly is a tragedy of errors.