Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies! I’m still binging on Rake (just started season 4) so only 4 movies this week (sorry!) but there are at least 4 in the queue already this week and more waiting at the library.
21 Bridges (2019)
Starring: Chadwick Boseman,Taylor Kitsch, J.K. Simmons, Sienna Miller, Keith David, Stephan James, Victoria Cartagena, Gary Carr, Toby Hemingway, Louis Cancelmi, Dale Pavinski, Morocco Omari, Katie McClellan
Director: Brian Kirk
Genres: police drama, action
Synopsis: Boseman plays NYPD detective Andre Davis, a cop who has been investigated by internal affairs multiple times for killing suspects and is in the middle of another when called to “take out” a couple of guys who mowed down a bunch of cops. The title refers to the number of bridges that connect Manhattan with the rest of NYC; they shut them down and “flood the streets with blue” to catch the two killers. Andre usually works alone but is assigned a female partner. The movie mainly revolves around the manhunt, but as they start putting the pieces together of the logistics of the crime that led to the murder, things start to get complicated.
Impressions: I really love the opening sequence of the movie, showing Andre as a kid at his dad’s funeral. Boseman and the 21 bridges premise is why I chose this movie. I’ve seen him in Black Panther and in Gods of Egypt and like his screen presence. The movie is more slick than last week’s “Crown Vic,” but again we have a story told from the police perspective. There is an underlying message that emerges in this movie that makes it worth seeing. Anyone who has seen the TV series, “Shades of Blue,” will recognize the message.
Etc.: It looks like this is the first non-TV direction this director has done.
Awards: 2 other nominations
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (2016)
Starring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Richard Curtis, Frank Phillips, Leonard Parkin, Carroll James, Marsha Albert, Eddie Izzard, Ed Sullivan, Whoopi Goldberg, Neil Aspinall, Brian Epstein
Director: Ron Howard
Genres: documentary, musical performance footage, interviews
Synopsis: The doc is really great for showing clips of The Fab 4 on their tours, the hysterical crowds, how they had to escape from the crowds, and some of the dangerous circumstances from the crazed crowds at the concerts. There are taped interviews, most of them brief, with each of the four from various sources. There is information on Brian Epstein, George Martin, and their influences.
Impressions: It was good to finally see the documentary, but most of it I’ve seen out on youtube and various blogs, reading, and books. I was a little disappointed in how dry it was. It did do a good job of showing what a bonded group the four were during their touring years.
Starring: Alfre Woodard, Richard Schiff, Danielle Brooks, Michael O’Neill, Richard Gunn, Wendell Pierce, Aldis Hodge, LaMonica Garrett, Vernee Watson-Johnson, Michelle Bonilla, Dennis Haskins, Alma Martínez, Alex Castillo, John Churchill
Director (and Writer): Chinonye Chukwu
Genres: drama, capital punishment
Synopsis: Woodard plays Warden Bernadine Williams, an extremely competent warden in a prison that has death row inmates and carries out executions (i.e. capital punishment.) She’s seen twelve during her tenure as warden. Her duties include meeting with the families of the inmates and also with the families of the victims of the inmates. She oversees every aspect of the process, including communication with the governor of the state that can grant clemency up to seconds before execution is carried out. She also has to be present during the death by lethal injection and call out the time of death. This movie is a detailed account of how capital punishment takes its emotional, psychological, and spiritual toll upon every person involved in the process – most of all the inmate, obviously. Individual’s sit on death row for years, hoping for clemency. Over those years the corrections people develop connections with the inmates. When clemency is denied and death must be carried out, a toxic ripple radiates from the act.
Impressions: Woodard gleams with star power in this role. She was meant to play Warden Bernadine Williams. That she was not nominated for an Academy Award for this role tells me something is greatly amiss with who votes in the academy or who has paid them off to bury important movies like this one.
Grade: 8.5 – 9
Etc.: Alfre Woodard was executive producer; very disturbing scenes
Awards: 4 other wins, 24 other nominations
Misery is easy. Happiness you have to work for.
— from Ondine
Starring: Colin Farrell, Alicja Bachleda, Alison Barry, Tony Curran, Emil Hostina, Dervla Kirwan, Stephen Rea, Marion O’Dwyer, Norma Sheahan, Don Wycherley
Director (and Writer): Neil Jordan
Genres: drama, romance
Synopsis: Farrell plays Syracuse (nickname Circus, as in clown, as in laughingstock) a recovering alcoholic fisherman who hasn’t had much luck – until he finds a woman in his net. Or is she a selkie who has lost her seal coat? The mystery unfolds through the movie. Syracuse has a wee daughter with kidney failure who rides around in a wheelchair because she’s so weak from dialysis. He also has an ex-wife who continues to drink. Throw in an ascerbic priest and you’ve got yourself a fine movie.
Impressions: The cinematography in this Irish movie is breathtaking. The little cottage in the cove is on my bucket list. The mystery of the selkie is used to great effect here. The little girl is simply adorable for her plain-spoken style. Farrell is gorgeous with his long hair and vulnerable manner in this movie; Bachleda gets plenty of cheesecake opportunities also. Great to see a movie set all around and in the water.
Etc.: Irish movie, filmed in Ireland
Awards: 6 other wins, 6 other nominations