Tag Archives: Marc Evan Jackson

BOMBSHELL (2019) – My rating: 8.5/10

Bombshell is a biographical drama directed by Jay Roach and written by Charles Randolph. The film tells the story of Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment affairs during his reign at Fox News and the cover-up that eventually forced him to step down.

A tenacious Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) is the head of Fox News, the primary televised source of conservative politics. He runs the corporation with an iron fist that includes fear and determination. Roger is seen as an icon and only answers to Rupert Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell), who is CEO of the Fox network. The stories of Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman), and Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie), who are three political anchorwomen employed at Fox are revealed in Bombshell.

Megyn Kelly is one of the most popular anchors/commentators at Fox and is preparing to co-moderate the 2016 Republican debate. On the day of the debate, Megyn becomes sick and throws up, but nevertheless questions Donald Trump on negative comments he made about women. In retaliation, Trump sends out several tweets hurting her reputation.  As a result, Megyn is further ridiculed by reporters and others. One reporter sneaks into Meg and Doug’s home in order to take pictures of their daughter causing her husband, Douglas Brunt (Mark Duplass) to kick him out by force. When Megyn returns to work, Fox hires a security detail to protect her but refuses to go after Trump. Roger, who is a fan of Megyn, becomes paranoid with protecting her and thinks that someone poisoned her the day of the debate.

Meanwhile, Gretchen Carlson is the co-anchor of the popular program “Fox and Friends”, but is taken off and demoted to a less popular show and position. Often Gretchen faces sexist comments by others, on and off the air. Gretchen decides to escalate her situation by hiring legal representation. The lawyers mention that Gretchen should not engage with these newfound enemies then tells her the story of Rudi Bakhtiar who was fired for coming out against her employer who she accused of sexual harassment. The lawyers explain their plan to file a harassment suit against Roger Ailes personally and inform Gretchen that she will need to have other women come out and tell their story.

Kayla Pospisil is the newest hire at Fox, a young conservative from a religious background. She starts off working for Gretchen but is soon offered a position to work for “The O’Reilly Factor”. Gretchen asks Kayla to stay with her and warns her to be careful, but she refuses and questions why she shouldn’t take the job. On her first day, Bill O’Reilly (Kevin Dorff) yells at her and she is consoled by a coworker, Jess Carr (Kate McKinnon). Jess becomes a good friend while Kayla’s situation becomes pretty ugly at Fox.

I thought Bombshell was well laid out, conveying to the audience how one of the biggest sex preditors was caught with his pecker in the mouth of babes.  I think the movie was well-acted and the make-up was phenomenal.  It seems Trump got away with a lot more than just the Iranian crisis.  I’m glad women are coming out and stopping these preditors.  The film received generally favorable reviews, with critics praising the performances of the cast, particularly (Theron, Kidman, Robbie and Lithgow) however they criticized the screenplay and inaccuracies in the storytelling. The film received two nominations at the 77th Golden Globe Awards for Theron and Robbie, four at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards for Theron, Robbie and Kidman, as well as Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and three at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards. I really liked Bombshell, Check It Out!

 

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (2018) – My rating: 9/10

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a biographical film directed by Marielle Heller.  The screenplay is by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, based on Lee Israel’s 2008 memoir of the same name. Can You Ever Forgive Me? tells the true story of a writer who has fallen on hard times and turns to illegal methods of making ends meet.   This movie has flown way under the radar, as it appears to have been looked on as the book Lee Israel wrote in the movie.  I’m so glad I got to see Can You Ever Forgive Me? it’s truly a block buster in it’s own right.

**** SOME SPOILERS ****

Following the critical and commercial failure of her biography of Estée Lauder, author Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) is struggling with financial troubles, writer’s block and alcoholism. Because her agent Marjorie (Jane Curtain), is unable to secure Lee with an advance for a new biography, she is forced to find another way to make money.  Lee lugs a ton of heavy books to a pawn shop for books but can only get $2.00 and some nasty attitude for all her effort.  Further, her beloved cat is sick and needs medication.  Lee decides to sell a personal letter she received from Katharine Hepburn to Anna (Dolly Wells), a local book dealer in order to cover her expenses.

While at the library conducting research about Fanny Brice, for a novel she’s planning to write, Lee happens upon an actual letter from Ms. Brice folded in the book. She swipes the letter and offers to sell it to Anna, who can’t give much due to the letter’s lack of interesting content. That’s when Lee begins to forge and sell letters by deceased writers, playwrights and actors, by embellishing them with juicy,  intimate details that command a higher price. Anna, who is a fan of Lee’s writing as an author, attempts to initiate a relationship with her. Lee being very private and unfriendly most of the time, rejects the relationship with Anna.

When one of Lee’s letters written by Noël Coward raises suspicion for its unguarded discussion of his sexuality, she is blacklisted by her buyers. Unable to sell the forgeries herself, she has her new best friend, Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant) sell the letters for her. While Lee was away attempting to enhance her forgery business, she trusted Jack to take care of her apartment and her cat. Upon her return, she ends their relationship after finding her apartment trashed and her cat dead.  Later Jack and Lee are served with a court summons by the FBI for forgery.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is based on a true story and presents a nice change and a nice rest from all the action movies.  There are times when you think Lee is going to do something predictable, then surprised when she does something totally opposite.  Although I’ve told much of the story, I’ve also left out much of the story.  Melissa McCarthy has given a fantastic performance if not her best performance.  She is completely believable and convincing as the writer, Lee Israel.  Richard E. Grant was absolutely brilliant as Jack Hock, a friendly gay man with a secret.  I  was thoroughly entertained and learned a thing or two about the world of authentic letter buying.  For me, this movie is what going to the movies is all about.  Excellent story — Brilliant acting — Check It Out!

[Can You Ever Forgive Me? is Oscar nominated for Best:  Actress, Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay]