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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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Blu-ray Review: Doctor Sleep

February 3, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
While McGregor earns top billing as the main character, it’s Ferguson and Curran that manage to steal the show. Ferguson does a great job as Rose, exuding a charm and beauty that’s at odds with her sinister motives and actions. She’s both a credible bad ass and someone we absolutely wanted to see get what she deserved. Curran is perhaps even better at making Abra someone that understands she’s in danger but also how much power she wields. She’s not looking for Danny to save her. She wants his help in taking them down.
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Blu-ray Review: Terminator: Dark Fate

January 21, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Blu-ray Review: Terminator: Dark Fate
Arnold still has perfect comedic timing as the unfeeling machine, and Hamilton’s anger and cynicism, while a bit exhausting at times, certainly make perfect sense given the character arc. Just their mere presence scores serious nostalgia points.
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Blu-ray Review: Gemini Man

January 10, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Blu-ray Review: Gemini Man
Upon arriving, the assassin is spotted by Brogan, who has a clear shot but doesn’t pull the trigger after seeing something familiar in his face. After a narrow escape, Dani takes some of the assassin’s things and has them checked against Henry’s DNA, revealing a perfect match. Now Brogan must face his most dangerous adversary, a younger version of himself, while trying to stay alive and unravel the depth of Varris’ deception.
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Blu-ray Review: Joker

January 6, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Blu-ray Review: Joker
Those things start to get stripped away from him, though, as after being jumped while on the job he’s given a gun for protection. When he accidentally drops the gun during a performance at a children’s hospital he’s fired, and when social services have their budget cut, his outlet for therapy and medication are severed. In the wake of losing his job, Arthur is assaulted on the subway by three men that work for Wayne Enterprises and ends up killing them.
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