Dark Waters is a legal thriller directed by Todd Haynes and written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan. It is based on the 2016 article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich, published in The New York Times Magazine. Parts of the story were also reported by Mariah Blake, whose 2015 article, “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia” was a National Magazine Award finalist and Sharon Lerner, whose series “Bad Chemistry” ran in the Intercept. Robert Bilott, the principal character in the film, also wrote a memoir, Exposure, detailing his 20-year legal battle against DuPont. I waited patiently for this movie to be released. I anticipated it would be quite the thriller when it opened. I was right, this is a well put together film.
When a farmer, Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp) shows up at attorney Robert Bilott’s (Mark Ruffalo) company asking for help because 190 of his prize cows have died due to something he’s sure DuPont has done, Robert’s life would never be the same. Robert starts to link a number of unexplained deaths to one of the world’s largest corporations, DuPont. In the process, he risks everything – his future, his wife Sarah Bilott (Anne Hathaway) his children and possibly, his own life to expose the truth about PFOAs, the “forever chemicals.” Robert’s law firm represented chemical companies until the DuPont case landed in their laps. Senior Partner Tom Terp (Tim Robbins) went to all lengths to provide whatever Robert needed to expose DuPont.
Dark Waters is a real eye-opener. If you didn’t know the corruption and lies huge corporations are capable of or how far they’ll go to “retain the money” watch Dark Waters. The discovery of one lawyer’s remarkedly sad find will blow you away. We are all victims of PFOA, a chemical used to make hundreds of products but at certain temperatures and under certain conditions, end up in our bodies. As much as 6 diseases have been linked to PFOAs. DuPont, a beloved and respected corporation and inventors of Tephlon and a hundred other products that use PFOA, has been accused of poisoning the town of Parkersburg in West Virginia as well as the remainder of the world with its PFOAs. I think Dark Waters is a must-see for everyone. I’m sure your dander will rise. The film received positive reviews from critics and has grossed $7 million. Please Check It Out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged anne hathaway, Bill Camp, bill pullman, Dark Waters, Darlene Kiger, DuPont, Harry Deitzler, James Ross, Karla, Louisa Krause, Mare Winningham, mark ruffalo, Parkersburg, PFOA, Phil Donnelly, Robert Bilott, Sarah Bilott, Tim Robbins, Tom Terp, VA, victor garber, Wilbur Tennant, William Jackson Harper
Joker is a psychological thriller directed by Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver. The film is based on DC Comics’ character, the Joker produced by Warner Bros. Pictures. An origin story set in 1981, the film follows Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City. The trailers were vague but issued warnings of a dark movie that earned Joker an ‘R’ rating. While dark, Joker gave an in-depth look into an infamous character we never imagined.
In 1981, party clown Arthur Fleck/Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) lives with his mentally ill mother, Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy), in Gotham City. Penny is always asking Arthur to check the mail for a response to her letters, hoping that Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen), her former employer, who is “rich and kind,” will rescue them from poverty. Gotham is rife with crime and unemployment, leaving segments of the population disenfranchised and impoverished. Arthur has hopes of making it big one day in a comedy club as a stand-up comedian. Arthur doesn’t know his mother is mentally ill or that he’s adopted or that she thinks Thomas Wayne is his father. Additionally, Arthur is suffering from malnutrition and has no friends or any other family. He also suffers from a neurological disorder that causes him to laugh at inappropriate times and depends on a social services program for his medication. Funding cuts close the social services program, leaving Arthur without any meds. While working as a hired clown, a gang of young boys attacks him causing Arthur’s co-worker, Randall (Glenn Fleshler), to lend him a gun. While entertaining at a children’s hospital, the gun falls out of Arthur’s pocket and he is fired. After being questioned by police, Randall lies and says that Arthur bought the gun himself. While on the subway, still in his clown makeup, Arthur was beaten once again, this time, by three drunken Wayne Enterprise businessmen. This is the beginning of the end for Arthur who becomes the Joker. There is a lot more story to come as his transformation becomes final.
Joker is a dark and sad story of the life of Arthur Fleck and how he becomes one of DC Comics’ most popular villains. While I’m not a fan of Batman, origin stories can be a good way to revitalize a story that’s been told over and over, enticing new fans to the franchise. Joaquin Phoenix is a tremendous actor, who has really shown the depth of his acting talent in Joker. Every frame was so believable, I really felt as if I knew Arthur/the Joker. In comparison to the TV series, Gotham, I could now relate to the chaos and living conditions in this story. From the riots to the murders, Gotham’s mayhem is understandable. Joaquin has joined the best of the best-played Jokers: Jack Nicholson – Batman (1989); Cameron Monaghan – Gotham TV series – (2015-2019) and Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (2008). I was shocked to see how thin Joaquin had become, as he lost a whopping 52 pounds to create an authentic character and based his laugh on videos of people suffering from pathological laughter. Joker has grossed $272 million worldwide and set box office records for an October release. I think Joker was brilliantly acted, told a great and haunting story, created excellent cinematography scenes, made Phoenix’s make-up look awesome, and was directed flawlessly. I highly recommend Joker to those who love comic series and those who are not bothered by the warnings of darkness and violence in a movie. Check It Out!
[JOKER is Oscar-Nominated for Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay — Totaling 11 Oscar nominations]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alfred pennyworth, Arkham State Hospital, Arthur Fleck, Bill Camp, Brett Cullen, brian tyree henry, bruce wayne, Bryan Callen, Dante Pereira-Olson, douglas hodge, Frances Conroy, gary, Gene Ufland, Glenn Fleshler, gotham, Hoyt Vaughn, joaquin phoenix, joker, Josh Pais, justin theroux, Leigh Gill, Marc Maron, Murray Franklin, Penny Fleck, Randall, robert de niro, shea whigham, Sophie Dumond, thomas wayne, Zazie Beetz
Vice is a biographical comedy/drama written and directed by Adam McKay. It is the second theatrical film to depict the presidency of George W. Bush, following Oliver Stone’s “W” and the third collaboration between Bale and Adams, following The Fighter and American Hustle. The plot follows Cheney in his pursuit to become the most powerful Vice President in American history. All I can say is, this film is brilliant and well put together and true.
**** SOILERS ****
Vice is narrated by Kurt (Jesse Plemons), a fictitious veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and opens with Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) along with White House officials responding to the September 11 attacks. The film then flashes back to Wyoming, 1963, where Cheney finds work as a lineman but struggles with alcoholism, which led him to drop out of Yale. After a traffic cop stopped Cheney for driving while intoxicated, his wife Lynne Cheney (Amy Adams) convinces him to clean up his life, using powerful verbiage and ultimatums. The film then flashes forward to 1969 when Cheney finds work as a White House intern during the Nixon Administration. Working under Nixon’s economic advisor Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell), Cheney becomes a savvy political operative as he juggles commitments to Lynne and his two daughters Liz (Lily Rabe) and Mary Cheney (Alison Pill). While working at the White House, Cheney overhears Henry Kissinger (Kirk Bovill) discussing the secret bombing of Cambodia with President Richard Nixon (himself on film), which revealed the true power of the executive branch. Rumsfeld’s abrasive attitude leads to a suddal detachment between the two men from Nixon that worked in their favor; after Nixon’s resignation, Cheney rises to the position of White House Chief of Staff under President Gerald Ford (Bill Camp) while Rumsfeld becomes Secretary of Defense.
After Ford is voted out of office, Cheney runs to be representative for Wyoming. After giving an awkward and uncharismatic campaign speech, Cheney suffers his first heart attack. While he recovers, Lynne campaigns on her husband’s behalf, helping him to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. During the Reagan Administration, Cheney supports a raft of conservative, pro-business policies favoring the fossil fuel industries. Cheney next serves as Secretary of Defense under President George H. W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) during the Gulf War. Outside of politics, Cheney and Lynne come to terms with their younger daughter Mary coming out as gay. Though Cheney develops ambitions to run for president, he decides to retire from public life to spare Mary from media scrutiny.
During the presidency of Bill Clinton, Cheney becomes the CEO of Halliburton while his wife Lynne raises golden retrievers and writes books. A false epilogue claims that Cheney lived the rest of his life healthy and happy in the private sector and the credits roll, only for the film to continue. Cheney is invited to become running mate to George W. Bush during the 2000 United States presidential election. Recognizing that the younger Bush is more interested in pleasing his father than attaining power for himself, Cheney agrees on the condition that Bush delegates “mundane” executive responsibilities like energy and foreign policy to him. As Vice President, Cheney works with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, legal counsel David Addington (Don McManus) and Chief of Staff Scooter Libby (Justin Kirk) to exercise control of key foreign policy and defense decisions throughout Washington.
I especially enjoyed Vice because I am sort of a political junky. I th0ught Vice was well thought out and outlined Cheney’s agenda as close to the truth as possible. For those who are not that political, Vice was easy to understand and delivered it’s message for all to process. 44 year old Christian Bale had to gain 40 pounds for the role of Cheney and was barely recognizable. I’ve provided a picture of the transformation from Bale to Cheney — now that’s dedication. I think Vice is worth seeing, you will learn a lot of not so good historical events such as the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq, caused by Cheney. There is also a monologue at the end of the film you wouldn’t want to miss. Vice will probably be nominated for an Oscar. Check it Out!
[Vice is Oscar nominated for BEST: Picture, Supporting Actress, Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, Original Screenplay, Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Film Editing]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged adam barley, aidan gail, alex macnicoll, alfred molina, alison pill, amy adams, antonin scalia, Bill Camp, cailee spaeny, christian bale, colin powell, colyse harger, condoleezza rice, david addinton, dick cheney, don mcmanus, donald rumsfeld, eddie marsan, edna vincent, fay materson, frank luntz, george tenet, george w bush, gerald ford, henry kissinger, jesse plemons, jillian armenante, joan, joseph beck, justin kirk, karen hughes, karl rove, kirk bovill, kurt, lily rabe, lisa Gay Hamilton, liz cheney, lynne cheney, mary cheney, matthew jacobs, naomi watts, paul perri, paul wolfowitz, sam rockwell, scooter libby, shea whigham, stefania lavie owens, stephen adly guirgis, steve carell, trent lott, tyler perry, vice, violet hicks, wayne vincent
Molly’s Game is a crime drama written and directed by Aaron Sorkin (in his directorial debut), based on the memoir, Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker by Molly Bloom. This film is based on a true story and is truly captivating.
Her first accident didn’t stop her but after her Olympic dreams are shattered by a second accident during a qualifying run, world-class skier Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) has to rethink her future and skiing isn’t in it. Not feeling like she wants to go straight into law school as originally planned, she instead heads to Las Vegas and finds herself assisting in the production of a high-end underground poker game. Discovering she’s got a knack for this sort of operation, she moves the action to New York and goes into business for herself. Eventually, a young Molly Bloom ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game in Los Angeles and New York City, for nearly a decade, before being arrested by the FBI. Her players included Hollywood celebrities, athletes, business titans and the Russian mob. With the help of her straight-laced defense attorney, Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) Molly faced stiff federal charges all while keeping the integrity her clients.
After Molly’s skiing career ended, her father Larry Bloom (Kevin Costner) maintained a distance from his daughter allowing her to find her own way.
I thoroughly enjoyed Molly’s Game. The acting was brilliant and I found the movie entertaining, charming and enjoyable. At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, Molley’s Game received two nominations, Best Screenplay and Best Actress – Drama for Chastain. Sorkin also earned nominations for his script at the Writers Guild of America and BAFTA Awards. Check it out — I think you’ll enjoy it!
[Molly’s Game received an Oscar nomination for Adapted Screenplay]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged Bill Camp, bobby, brian d'arcy james, charlene bloom, charlie jaffey, Chris O'Dowd, Claire Rankin, cole, diego, doublas downey, Graham Greene, harlan eustice, harrison wellstone, Idris Elba, j c mackenzie, jeremy strong, jessica chastain, Joe Keery, jon bass, judge foxman, Kevin costner, larry bloom, madison mckinley, matthew d matteo, Michael Cera, molly bloom, natalie krill, piper howell, shelby, shelly habib, victor serfaty, winston