10/13 Movie Trip

Our movie guy, Paul McGuire Grimes – creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies – has advice on whether he thinks a movie is worth seeing or not.

MARSHALL (theatrical release)

In 1941, Thurgood Marshall was the sole lawyer for the NAACP. He was brought on to defend many African Americans on trial as he was a champion at what he did for those that never had a chance. He has been summoned to New York City to defend Joseph Spell who has been charged with the rape and attempted murder of the wealthy white woman he had worked for. Joining him at the bench is Sam Friendman, an insurance lawyer who has never practiced criminal law before. The catch is that Marshall is an out of state lawyer. Friedman’s leery of taking on the case as he doesn’t want the attention. He finds himself forced into being the head attorney after the racist judge refuses to let Marshall speak in court. Friedman finds himself far in over his head while Marshall feels like he is defending the future of our nation in a case where race, truth, and consent play key roles in the fate of Joseph Spell.

-Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Kate Hudson, James Cromwell, Dan Stevens, Jussie Smollett

-Marshall was the first African American Supreme Court justice. He’s an important figure in our judicial system, and this film takes a look at his early years. Unlike other biopic missteps, this keeps a narrowed approach by focusing in on one case instead of being the traditional sweeping movie spanning decades in his life.

-Much like Hidden Figures, this provides a good history lesson appropriate for the younger audiences. It ceases from being too graphic with the crime. It attempts quite a bit of humor to keep the tone lighter.

-Too much of the movies stays in the courtroom. There are flashbacks to the crime, but it plays out like one long standard procedural courtroom drama. This doesn’t allow a chance to build on any of the key players or give a historical context to time period.

-Chadwick Boseman is your go-to-guy for biopics. This is his third in recent years following 42 and Get On Up. He, along with Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) bring some much-needed depth to their performances and the movie. Josh Gad, James Cromwell, and Dan Stevens all give surface level performances.

-Despite it being called “Marshall”, the movie is less about him and his achievements and more about the partnership he and Friedman had on this case with confronting stereotypes.

-What’s important is that it will resonate with audiences. People were cheering and applauding along in the theater for his efforts.

Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Thurgood Marshall deserves a better movie to tell his story

SPIELBERG (home release)

If you’re a fan of Steven Spielberg or grew up watching his movies, you’ll want to check out the new HBO documentary celebrating one of cinema’s greatest directors. Spielberg is an extensive look back his life and career. It’s nearly two and a half hours that also shines a light on the personal side of the director with interviews with his family on how they played a pivotal role in the themes he includes in his films. A wide of variety of actors, directors, and crewmembers are spotlighted praising Spielberg for the way works and his accomplishments to the silver screen.

-Original HBO documentary, available however you get HBO: OnDemand, HBO GO/NOW

Five Take-a-ways

  1. Spielberg is good friends with fellow directors Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and Brian De Palma. They all started out together in the business and would help out on each other’s projects.
  2. His parents divorced later on in life fracturing the relationship he had with his dad. He often infused his movies with family themes and abandonment issues
  3. He distanced himself from his Jewish faith for along time. It was only after his second marriage to Kate Capshaw and making Schindler’s List did he have a profound appreciation and renewed commitment to his faith.
  4. Has cultivated lifelong friendships and working relationships with his crew. He’s a majority of the same creative team for his entire crew. The documentary features interviews with John Williams, Kathleen Kennedy, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, among others
  5. He first started out working in television. He was 23 when he directed the legendary Joan Crawford in an episode of “Night Gallery”

THE BEGUILED (home release)

It’s 1864 and three years into the Civil War. Nicole Kidman stars as Miss Martha who runs a private all-girls home deep within a secluded area in Virginia. There are six girls that live there while getting their education, tending to the gardens, and doing other household chores. While out in the fields, Amy spots a wounded solider, played by Colin Farrell that needs medical attention. She brings him up to the home where Miss Martha tends to his wounds. The girls of the house are intrigued by the presence of a soldier in their home despite the fact that he’s a Yankee. The struggle with sexuality and power between some of them and their new guest goes too far leading to dangerous outcomes.

-Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, and Kirsten Dunst

-Excellent work by the entire cast. Kidman is having a stellar year and is a joy to watch. She’s always calculating their every move to keep the upper hand against Colin Farrell. Elle Fanning continues to be a star on the rise pushing the boundaries on teen sexuality and how she uses it to her advantage.

-Directed by Sofia Coppola (Maria Antoinette, Lost in Translation). She’s adapted it from the 1971 film of the same name with Clint Eastwood in the Colin Farrell role.

-Gorgeously shot always depicting the somber and hot atmosphere of the south during the Civil War. There are quite a few lasting images that get stuck in your head.

-Fascinating examination of doing the decent human thing of helping someone who’s sick and wounded regardless of a negative stereotype that may surround them.

-Don’t be turned off by the slower pace. It accurately fits the period with the extremely simple and basic lives the girls are living. There’s not a lot of action in the first half until it takes a sharp unexpected turn.

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