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Blu-ray Review: Richard Jewell

March 16, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Acting is once again first-rate in Eastwood’s latest film.

Following much of Clint Eastwood‘s later work, Richard Jewell is another biographical drama telling a story that Eastwood finds interesting in the same vein as Sully, The 15:17 to Paris and so on. Given Eastwood’s involvement, you can be sure there’ll be no shortage of talent to fill out the cast, but we’ll see if he’s selected a story with enough meat on the bone to make a compelling feature-length film, something that hasn’t always been the case of late.

THE STORY

After being given a bit of background on Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser), the film brings us quickly to the signature event: the bombing of Centennial Park during the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, Georgia. Jewell was working as a security guard that night and spotted the mysterious package, alerting local authorities. The device turned out to be a bomb that detonated, killing two and wounding 111 others, numbers that would’ve been much higher minus Jewell’s actions.

Hailed as a hero in the immediate aftermath of the incident, Jewell soon became the focus of the FBI investigation, a fact that was leaked and reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde). The national media seized on the report, turning Jewell’s life upside down as they staked out his home. Under suspicion, Jewell reached out to attorney Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell), who helped keep Jewell, who remained friendly toward the FBI, from being taken advantage of.

With the media fanning the flames, Jewell’s initial heroism is replaced by the idea that he was the bomber despite no charges being filed. After nearly three months as a person of interest, Jewell is quietly informed by FBI Agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) that he’s no longer considered a suspect, even though Shaw, the source of the initial leak, lets Bryant know that he still thinks he’s guilty. The film ends with Bryant informing Jewell years later that the FBI had arrested Eric Rudolph, who confessed to the bombing.

THE GOOD

Given that Jonah Hill was originally attached to the project as Jewell, it’s a testament to the largely unknown Hauser that we never found ourselves wishing someone else was handling the lead role. He does a good job of generating sympathy for the man who has his life turned upside down through no real fault of his own. How accurate Jewell is as such a good-natured, affable guy is unknown, but Hauser plays him as a simple, respectful man who truly doesn’t understand how he’s landed in this position.

As noted earlier, Eastwood’s decades in the business mean he gets A-list talent, plugging in the likes of Rockwell, Hamm and Kathy Bates in Hauser’s orbit to deliver strong supporting roles. The story, while not action packed, at least has enough legs that it doesn’t feel like it’s dragging too much, something both Sully and 15:17 to Paris both struggled with despite being much shorter films.

THE BAD

As we watched the film we found ourselves hoping that Wilde’s Kathy Scruggs was a composite of multiple reporters, much in the same way Hamm’s Agent Shaw is. It wasn’t, and it’s hard to imagine Eastwood, Wilde and company thinking portraying Scruggs as someone that sleeps with sources to get key info was a good move. She’s largely cast as the villain, along with Hamm, shown as a conniving headline chaser with no scruples. A late (and modest) redemption arc do nothing to really redeem the character.

While Richard Jewell doesn’t suffer from the aforementioned issues as other recent Eastwood efforts, it does struggle with a new one: there’s no real payoff. In fact, if there’s a crescendo to the movie it’s Bates (as Jewell’s mother) giving an impassioned speech. Charges are never pressed, there’s no “oh shit” moment when the FBI realizes they’re on the wrong path, nothing. There’s something to be said for not sensationalizing the events, but here it didn’t make for a very compelling final act.

THE BONUS FEATURES

A couple of short extras are available, one that deals with a behind the scenes look at the filming, and one that focuses on the historic event. They collectively run around 15 minutes and offer little of interest unless you’re wholly unfamiliar with the Olympic bombing.

OVERALL

Richard Jewell is well acted and slickly filmed, two things you can pretty much set your clock to with Eastwood in the director’s chair. It stumbles in the final act, though, when the real-life story’s anticlimactic conclusion spills over and makes for a dull finish.

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Video Game Review: The Yakuza Remastered Collection

March 2, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Splitting heads on the PS4 is as fun as ever. Announced last year, The Yakuza Remastered Collection began unlocking content back in August with Yakuza 3, followed by Yakuza 4 in October and now, finally, Yakuza 5 has been released as well, meaning the entire collection is available for purchase (and review!). All of which can […]
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Video Game Review: Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle

February 27, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
BARF!!! As a general rule of thumb, one of the most difficult things to review is a collection of games, especially when you’re talking about titles from generations ago. Such was the task with Strangely Compelling’s Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle, which offers up 18 games from the 1980s and ’90s, many of which never […]
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Video Game Review: Darksiders Genesis

February 24, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Video Game Review: Darksiders Genesis
May the odds be never in your favour. Although we wouldn’t put the Darksiders series among our all-time favourites, it’s one that we’ve enjoyed over the years, guiding three of the Four Horsemen as they rip through enemy hordes. Rather than sticking with the formula from the first three entries, however, developer Gunfire Games is […]
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Video Game Review: Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle

February 19, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Still dressed to kill after all these years. While SEGA has dialed back its software releases in recent years, the publisher has dipped into its rich past to bring two of its better titles from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era to modern consoles via the Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle. Of the two, Bayonetta is […]
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