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
I thought the first “Now You See Me” was clever and it was but the sequel has more substance and is even more entertaining. It’s just as clever plus they explain how most of the tricks are done, which is nice to know. The same crew is back with the exception of Isla Fisher who played Henley Reeves, the only female member of the Four Horsemen. Isla was replaced by Lizzy Caplan as Lula May, the new Illusionist. The rest of the crew consists of Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney, Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel Atlas and Dave Franco as Jack Wilder. Also back is their handler, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley, an ex-magician who, for thirty years, has made money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians’ tricks. Thaddeus was arrested by Dylan in the original movie and appears as an inmate in the sequel. Mark seeks revenge as he blames Thaddeus for the death of his father, Lionel Shrike, who was also a magician. The sequel starts out one year after the team goes into hiding from the FBI. Upon further instructions from the Eye, who is the secret society of magicians they’ve been recruited by, their new mission is to expose corrupt businessman Owen Case (Ben Lamb), whose new software secretly steals data on its users for Case’s benefit. This assignment starts the Four Horsemen’s new adventures and makes for a pretty good sequel. Once again, Michael Cain does an excellent job as Arthur Tressler, the businessman who the Horsemen bankrupted in the original film. I enjoyed the movie and found it to be entertaining. I thought it was clever and well though out. I understand another sequel is in the works, slated to open in 2017. I takes a lot to come up with the tricks and plots that can hold your attention as the “Now You See Me” series has. Kudos to the writers.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged ben lamb, dave franco, dylan rhodes, fbi agent, handler, henley reeves, illusionist, isla fisher, j daniel atlas, jack wilder, jesse eisenberg, lizzy caplan, lula may, mark ruffalo, merritt mckinney, morgan freeman, now you see me 2, owen case, thaddeus bradley, the four horsemen, woody harrelson
I am rating Spotlight 8.5 because of the message it sends and because of the impact this story has had on society. Many people don’t want to accept the findings of this true story but the proof is there. When you have put your faith in a belief all your life only to learn that the messengers are corrupt, damaged or the opposite of what you believed they were, it’s damn hard to admit you’ve bought into a possible fraud or maybe that your whole world is possibly bogus because perhaps, you’ve chosen incorrectly. Chances are, you feel abandoned without any help from authorities to tell you want went wrong or how to fix the problem. Spotlight is the biographical story of pedophile priest in the Catholic church who’s crimes of molestation were sweep under the rug by church, city and state officials. The amount of victims and predators grew so rapidly out of control, exposure was inevitable. A small group of journalist who specialize in investigative reporting within the Boston Globe, called Spotlight, headed up by Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) began working on this story when they thought there could be as many as nine priest involved. Before the story was published, they had a list of 90 priest and growing. It seemed everyone was in on the cover up, from the District Attorney to the Archbishop of Boston. As the team interviewed victims, it became clear that the damage done to these children went much deeper than a sex act. The impact on a lot of lives turned out adults that ended up in many walks of life. The team had many setbacks including the attitudes of parents who didn’t want to accuse the church of any wrong doing despite knowing the truth. The team, Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Marty Baron, (Liev Schreiber) Ben Bradlee, Jr. (John Slattery) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) worked diligently from 2001 to 2002 at getting these priest exposed and out of the mainstream. Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney brilliantly played by Stanley Tucci, was responsible for getting Spotlight their first interviewees. This is when we learned irreparable damage was done to many of the victims and a cap of $20,000 was paid to keep things quiet. Thanks to newly appointed editor, Marty Baron, who appointed the Spotlight team to take up the story in the first place, these priest were exposed sooner than later.
In the end, several pages of domestic and international list were displayed across the screen of convicted pedophile priest. I’m not sure what the church is really doing about this problem but I know it is a serious issue. The story was well told and the movie was well acted. I wouldn’t give it best picture but I liked it very much and recommend that everyone sees it.
[SPOTLIGHT is nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Film Editing and original Screenplay]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged archbishop, ben bradlee jr, boston globe, brian d'arcy james, john slattery, journalist, liev schreiber, mark ruffalo, marty baron, matt carroll, michael keaton, michael rezendes, mitchell garabedian, rachel mcadams, sacha pfeiffer, spotlight, stanley tucci, walter "robby" robinson
Begin Again, for me, is a delightful change of pace. It’s a sweet and happy story with loads of entertainment. I really liked this movie about a business executive, Dan (Mark Ruffalo) in the music industry who is down on his luck, causing him to make bad choices and unproductive decisions while trying to maintain his image and job. Along comes a new song writer and singer, Gretta (Keira Knightley) who is also new to New York City. Dan hears Gretta singing one of her songs on stage and offers her a chance to record her own album. After some thought, Gretta decides to take Dan up on his offer. The story is full of little twist and turns that would be considered spoilers if I revealed them, so I’ll leave them out. Gretta’s boyfriend, Dave Kohl (Adam Levine) is soaring through the music scene, singing songs she wrote for him, among others. The music is fantastic and the story is very good. Gretta also has a brother, Steve (James Corden) who is also in the music business. He helps her through a rough time — they have a very close relationship that heavily contributes to the upbeat vibe that “Begin Again” gives off. I liked this movie enough to see it again. It’s on DVD and has flown way under the radar. In my opinion, it’s definitely worth your time to see it!
[BEGIN AGAIN is nominated for Music (Original Song)]
Weird is as weird does and Foxcatcher is weird. The tone is set so dark that it was hard to know what happy was. Foxcatcher which is based on a true story has emerged as an Oscar contender. I’m not very familiar with the sport of wrestling however after seeing Foxcatcher, I realized it was not really about wrestling but about the pressures of life and the impression most of us would like to leave on our parents. Steve Carell brilliantly plays the wealthy John DuPont who has a passion for wrestling. His desire to own a team that would take home the gold during the 1988 Olympics, brought him to a relationship with Mark and Dave Schultz played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, respectively. Both are world renowned for their wrestling talents and had already won gold for the 1984 Olympics. The acting was fantastic as this was Steve Carell’s first serious actor endeavor which awarded him a Best Actor nomination. Vanessa Redgrave played Jean DuPont, mother to John. With a cast like this, you can’t go wrong. Kudos to Foxcatcher’s director, Bennett Miller, who must have had some difficultly keeping this movie as strange as it is. The twist is even stranger and if you don’t know the story, you will never see it coming. Foxcatcher held my interest and was enlightening.
[FOXCATCHER is nominated for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Directing, Original Screenplay (Writing), Best Makeup and Hairstyling]