Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies!
It’s been a little over a month since the last installment. Libraries are still closed. Mail delivery continues to be patchy but it is getting better which equates to about 2 discs a week from dvd.com. I’ve turned to watching stuff I own and am depending on netflix more and more. There is enough viewing to cover 3 or more Tuesdays, so Movies, Movies, Movies! Is reconvening.
Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (2020) netflix documentary series
Starring: Epstein and associates (via photos and taped interviews related to investigations), many victims, law enforcement professionals, attorneys for prosecution and defense, private investigators, employees and former employees of Epstein.
Director: Lisa Bryant
Genres: crime documentary
Synopsis: The series globe trots and time hops over a long span of time and builds a solid case against Epstein. The series is (4) 55-minute episodes: 1 “Hunting Ground” – how he recruited his victims; 2 “Follow the Money” – how did he get so rich and how did he stay so rich; lots of name dropping of rich and powerful people like Trump, Weinstein, an English Prince; 3 “The Island” Epstein’s (Perverted) Fantasy Island in The Virgin Islands and how he used it to lure victims and traffic them to the rich and powerful; 4 “Finding their Voice” – how he was finally brought to justice and how his victims were affected.
Impressions: Epstein is, plain and simple, a monster. It doesn’t say anything about his early childhood except that he grew up in Coney Island, but from high school on he made a pact with the devil and dedicated his life to getting richer and more powerful through the seduction, forcible molestation, and sex trafficking of minor females at minimum. He did not act alone. He recruited charismatic bombshells to scout out and manipulate the young victims. According to one victim, he is just one player in a vast international sex trafficking of minors ring. The headlines and the doc say that Epstein hung himself in jail. There are a lot of theories floating out there about how he died or was murdered. My belief is that he DIDN’T. I think he’s alive and well and sexually forcing himself on some young girl at this very moment.
Etc.: The series covered a lot of territory, especially in the areas of how he lured the victims and the traumatizing effect he had on them; and the concerted attempts to prosecute and convict but being stymied because of his connections. It does leave the viewer wanting to know more. I do see there is a book, Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein, by James Patterson and John Connolly, that I will probably read at some point. The forensic part of me would like to know more about his early years and what twisted him into the sociopathic narcissistic pedophile that he was/is.
Extraction (2020) netflix
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Shivam Vichare, Piyush Khati
Director: Sam Hargrave
Genres: action, mercenary rescue
Synopsis: Tyler (Hemsworth) plays a mercenary who has nothing to lose and is assigned to rescue the kidnapped teenage son of an imprisoned drug lord. Tyler’s team is wiped out in the beginning of the movie, which leaves him solo to rescue the kid and get him to safety.
Impressions: Very well-done hand-to-hand combat scenes; exciting chases and navigating the city a lot of time on foot; Hemsworth shows how fit (and hot!) he is; the kid, Ovi (Jaiswal) is likeable.
Etc.: American movie, set in India, Bangladesh, and Thailand
After Life S1 & S2 (2019-2020) netflix series
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Tom Basden, Tony Way, Diane Morgan, Mandeep Dhillon, David Bradley, Kerry Godliman, Ashley Gensen, Paul Kaye, Penelope Wilton, Joe Wilkinson, Michelle Greenidge, Roisin Conady, and several more.
Creator: Ricky Gervais
Genres: grief, comedy
Synopsis: Tony (Gervais) is a grieving widower who works as a reporter at a very small town newspaper (less than 10 in the news office.) His co-workers are about as ordinary as you can find. He also has a dad with dementia in the nursing home that he visits every day. He also visits the cemetery and old home movies of his wife with regularity. Season 1 (each season is only 6 episodes, dangit) shows Tony in full-blown grief, which has him on the edge of joining his deceased wife but at the same time makes him a royal prick to his co-workers. Season 2 has him more accepting of his wife’s death but still struggling to figure out what do with his life. In addition to the co-workers are some quirky people he lets into his world along the way.
Impressions: Could be a grief-processing instructional video. Between the grief is fall-over funny happenings, mostly when he and his photographer co-worker go out to cover “human interest” stories. Excellent, mostly low-key, support cast.
Etc.: There may be a Season 3! Yay!
Justified TV series (2010-2015) 6 seasons, 78 episodes
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Jacob Pitts, Erica Tazel, Walton Goggins, Natalie Zea, Jere Burns, David Meunier, Jonathan Kowalsky, Rick Gomez, Raymond Barry, Damon Herriman, Mykelti Williamson, Michael Rapaport, Mary Steenburgen, Ron Eldard, Sam Elliott and MANY MORE
Creator: Graham Yost and MANY directors, including Alan Arkin
Genres: organized crime, action
Synopsis: US Marshall Raylan Givens, born and raised in Harlan, KY, begins the series in Miami. After shooting a bigtime drug lord point blank, he’s transferred to Lexington, KY, not far from Harlan. Givens and the other Marshalls are on the trails of some nasty, dangerous characters who are involved in various organized criminal enterprises. Along the way are lots of firearms, lots of shooting, often by Raylan. Justified pretty much explains how Raylan continues to keep working; he always gives the armed criminals a chance, but many don’t take it. In between the Marshall work are romantic side stories, as well as how Raylan’s father’s legacy of being the kind of organized criminal that Raylan now hunts, affects his thoughts and actions. The mountains, with raising weed on them and working coal in them, are characters woven into the fabric as well.
Impressions: One of the best tv shows ever made. Quality every step of the way. The lines between the heroes and the villains often blur. First class villains, usually one main one with a bunch of henchmen in each season. Many villains carry on from season to season. Lots of nature shots. The adversarial relationship between Raylan and Boyd, the top bad guy, is an ongoing source of tension/entertainment. Erica Tazel (Rachel Brooks) is a black female, and I love how she is able to spread her wings in the show. Jere Burns (Wynn Duffy) is a standout in this series. Joelle Carter (Ava Crowder) gets a lot of screen time and is one of my favorite characters.
Etc.: I just started watching an Australian series on netflix, “Rake” and was shocked to learn that Damon Herriman (Dewey Crowe) is Australian!