Film Review : The Central Park Five (2012)

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IMDB Score – 7.6
Rotten Tomato Score – 93%

Directed By : Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon

A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

There’s nothing like watching a documentary like this at midnight and having your blood boil so much that you can’t get to sleep after it’s over. That was my experience watching The Central Park Five. I was born in 1989 so my memory of these events and the following trials were how I like to say in New Jersey non freaking existent. I’ll be honest, I’ve never even heard of this trial until I read about this film a couple months ago. The trial and crime swept my native tri-state area more than twenty years ago and the fact that I’ve never heard of it just shows how forgetful the media can be, forgetful and menacing.

The film really does a great job building up tension as pretty much all the key players are present giving interviews including the kids (now adults). The only people absent are the detectives themselves but nobody really expected them to show their faces on film and tell us how wrong they ended up being. It really was unbelievable how the events took place as the NYPD basically lied out their asses so that they could convict basically five kids who showed up first. It’s also a wonderfully character study on the psychology of being interrogated for 30 hours straight and how you’ll literally say anything to get out of that room. It’s hard to talk about this film without giving most of the events that take place away, even though these events are pretty much known to most people anyway.

The film ended up being infuriating but highly interesting and intense. The fact that it’s on Netflix is just another good reason to check out The Central Park Five.

4/5

Film Review : Gimme the Loot (2012)

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IMDB Score – 6.3
Tomato Score – 92%

Directed By : Adam Leon
Starring : Ty Hickson and Tashiana Washington

This is the description from IMDB of the plot to “Gimme the Loot”…

When their latest work is buffed by a rival crew, two determined graffiti writers embark on an elaborate plan to bomb the ultimate location: the New York Mets’ Home Run Apple.

This film has nothing to do with any of that. I have no idea why not only is this the plot description on IMDB but also the description which led me to watch it on Netflix. This however is not a bad thing. I ended up loving the film overall. The film really is about the relationship between two friends in inner city Brooklyn. The two are graffiti partners who for the first ten minutes or so scheme to tag the stupid apple that pops out of Shea stadium. The film then branches off into a whole other type of film. Leon didn’t have a huge budget to work with but made up for it with long takes of conversation and utilizing the great performances from the two leads. Hickson and Washington act like they’ve known each other for years and that they really are just going about their days. It’s in their performances that really sell the film and kept me involved.

The films plot however takes a huge dive towards the end and branches off into romanticland for what seems like no reason whatsoever other than to end the film. I horrible/great part about this is that it all occurs at the very end and doesn’t really deter from the overall experience unless you love nice little bows on top of your presents.

The film is one of the most realistic and convincing portrayals of what life is like in NYC. Way worth the 79 minute run time on Netflix.

4/5

Film Review : Union Station (1950)

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IMDB Score : 6.8
RT Score : No score

I’ll be honest. I lost interest in this quick. This is not a great movie. It certainly isn’t bad but I just didn’t find the story all that interesting to stay 100 percent focused. Barry Fitzgerald was pretty great in this although he basically plays the same exact character he did in the fantastic NYC noir film “The Naked City”. The story focuses on a woman who spots a man packing heat on a train. The subsequent chase unveils that the man is working for a thug boss who has kidnapped the daughter of a very wealthy man. She also happens to be blind. Why? I have no idea. This is just the story. The rest of the film follows suit. The direction was bland and there just wasn’t anything unique happening. Sometimes I find myself saying…”Hey! This film is in black and white, it must be great!”. There are average films all over the place guys. This was one of them.

2/5

Film Review: Frances Ha (2013)

That trailer is bad. It makes it seem like this film is a quirky romantic comedy when in reality it’s a quirky look on how hipsters live in New York City. Seriously, next time you’re in a Starbucks in NYC and there are a bunch of 27 year olds with fedoras, really long tank tops, and Buddy Holly glasses on, just listen to what they’re talking about. If they’re talking about movies, they’ll be talking about this. And you know what? I didn’t dislike the movie. I thought it was a modern day Woody Allen classic that isn’t going to turn into a classic. It’s official, Greta Gerwig is the new indie queen. I’m calling it right now. She’s going to be in every little indie movie from now until she fades away. She was actually pretty great in this. At least she can act. The film was directed by Noah Baumbach and succeeded in getting me not to hate it. I hated his first two films. Greenberg was just flat out annoying but it had a lot to do with Ben Stiller’s infuriating character that he does which I call “whiney jewish guy”. The Squid and the Whale was just awkward. I mean there’s a scene where a ten year old smears semen on a bookshelf in school. Strange shit. No thank you. I saw the film at the IFC Center in New York City with three other 50 year old dudes. One left in the middle, one had headphones in blasting Italian opera the whole time, and one was actually watching the movie. It was a weird little experience but the IFC Center was awesome so I can’t complain. By all means if you like Woody Allen which I do then check out this film sometime. Baumbach even filmed it in black and white. Totally old school. 3/5