Movie Review – The Great McGinty

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The Great McGinty (1940)
Written & Directed by Preston Sturges

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We begin at a bar in a banana republic where a forlorn and suicidal American banker is stopped from ending things by the bartender. The bartender is also an American, Dan McGinty, who tells his patron that he was once governor of a state in the U.S. From there we flashback to the story of McGinty’s rise and fall to power. During the Great Depression, he’s another jobless schmoe who is coerced into a voting fraud scheme for two bucks. He ends up showing an impressive level of moxie, and a local mob boss decides to use McGinty in his plans. He starts out as an alderman before moving to mayor and eventually governor of an unnamed state. But, as the film’s opening prologue tells us, one moment of good will topple McGinty back to the bottom.

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Movie Review – I, Tonya

I, Tonya (2017)
Written by Steven Rogers
Directed by Craig Gillespie

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Everyone has particular images and ideas when they hear the name “Tonya Harding.” In 1994 she was one of the most infamous people in the media. Her story has all the right hallmarks of the bizarre and tragic to make her the sort of person the news gobbles up. A figure skater from the “wrong side of the tracks” who didn’t mesh with the traditional prettiness of the skating establishment. Married to an abusive man who didn’t seem to have any direction in life. The two of them intermingled in a seeming conspiracy of the stupid to take out her rival for the Olympics, Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya maintained she had no idea what was going on, but husband Jeff Gillooly kept insisting she was aware. A sort of practice run for the O.J. Simpson media circus.

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Movie Review – The Big Sick

The Big Sick (2017)
Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Directed by Michael Showalter

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Kumail is an aspiring stand up comedian in Chicago who is under the constant shadow of his mother’s search for a wife. While he manages to avoid the expectations of his Pakistani heritage while keeping his family happy, Kumail chances to meet Emily. She’s just a woman at a set he’s doing, but the two click and immediately rush into a relationship. Things go wrong when Emily finds out he’s never mentioned her to his family and the reality of their situation sets in. However, the relationship takes an unexpected turn when Emily suddenly contracts an unknown disease, forced to go into a medically induced coma. Kumail is left to get to know her parents while coming to terms with his own parents in regards to Emily.

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Movie Review – I Just Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore

I Just Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (2017)
Written & Directed by Macon Blair

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Ruth is a woman who feels that the world around her is becoming crueler and more self-centered. It starts on a day where an acidic racist patient dies, a neighbor’s dog continually uses her yard as a bathroom, and she returns from work to find her house burglarized. They’ve taken prescription meds, a laptop, and her grandmother’s silverware set. The police seem unconcerned, and it appears Ruth may have left her own backdoor unlocked. This is the breaking point, and she seeks out an unlikely alliance with her neighbor, Tony. Together they go on a vigilante mission to regain her stolen property and confront the people behind the robbery.

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Movie Review – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Written & Directed by Martin McDonagh

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Mildred Hayes isn’t even a year into mourning the rape and murder of her daughter when she strikes upon an idea. She rents the three billboards just outside of her town of Ebbing and posts the following message:

“Raped while dying.”

“Still no arrests?”

“How come, Chief Willoughby?”

The billboards immediately draw the ire of the local law who see Mildred as being unreasonable and lacking understanding of their point of view in the investigation. Officer Jason Dixon, a cop rumored to have tortured a black suspect while in custody, is particularly angered and attempts to circumvent the law to get the billboards taken down to no avail. The community begins to disparage Mildred for this choice, but she holds fast believing that she can find some sort of redemption for her daughter.

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Movie Review – A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

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A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (2013)
Written & Directed by Roman Coppola

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Charles Swan III (Charlie Sheen) is a successful graphic designer who has just been dumped by his girlfriend, Ivana. The aftermath has him ending up in the hospital being told to watch his stress. His sister, best friend, and business manager (played by Patricia Arquette, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray respectively) come to his aid, assuaging his ego while he loses himself in flights of fancy. Charles finds his emotions ping-ponging between loving and hating Ivana, unable to make a clean break with her. He begins to suspect she is seeing someone else and gets into a series of unfunny predicaments to discover the truth.

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TV Review – The League of Gentlemen Series 1

The League of Gentlemen Series 1
Written by Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith & Jeremy Dyson
Directed by Steve Bendelack

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The fictional Northern England village of Royston Vasey is not a place you would want to spend much time in. This does not bode well in the opening scene for young Benjamin Denton who has come by train to visit his Uncle Harvey and Aunt Val. But he is just one character (the majority played by Gatiss, Pemberton, and Shearsmith) that make up this mosaic of depravity and dark humor. There is Mr. Chinnery, the veterinarian with a long accidental kill streak, Pauline the brutal jobs trainer for citizens on the government dole, and the trio of Brian, Geoff, and Mike, lads who were friends since school but have risen to very different levels of success. The worst though is high on the hills outside of town, operating a local shop for local people: Edward and Tubbs, a terrifying duo of inbred killers. Did I mention this show is a comedy?

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