Three good movies, now in theaters. Here’s a few comments:
CONVICTION = 8 ½
Parallels the William Dillon Story of Melbourne, Florida. Tragic case of a man who spent 18 long years in prison for a crime he did not commit, where prosecutors ignored recantations of witnesses who admitted lying, and did everything they could to block DNA testing.
Conviction is about Kenneth Waters, who was similarly incarcerated, despite lying witnesses and later, DNA that exonerated him, no thanks to the justice system. Rather, Waters’ loyal and loving sister, Bette Ann Waters, (played by Hillary Swank) went to school to earn a law degree in order to pursue her brother’s release.
The story is predictable, but emotionally charged and well paced. Acting is superb. Look for as many as three Oscar nominations for acting; One by Hillary Swank, another by Sam Rockwell (who plays an intense Kenny Waters) and Juliette Lewis for her supporting role as Roseanna Perry, one of the lying witnesses.
What the movie fails to tell the audience, is that Kenneth Waters died from a fall, six months after his release from prison in 2001.
“HEREAFTER” = 7 ½
I’m not much for the occult and life-after-death scenarios, but this was a riveting movie starring another one of Hollywood’s premier actors, Matt Damon, who — like Hillary Swank — cannot seem to make a bad movie.
The movie starts out following the life of a French woman journalist who gets caught up in a huge tsunami, nearly drowning. Her pursuit of trying to understand the visions she experienced while in a death mode, brings her to eventually meeting Matt Damon’s character, who is strangely gifted with the ability to see a person’s fate through a mere touch. Yet, he does everything he can to avoid the readings for which he gained international prominence.
The most refreshing part of the picture, was being introduced to actress Cecile DeFrance, who plays the journalist, Marie Lelay. Look for her in many future movies in America.
Entertaining, great acting. Not necessarily an Oscar winner.
THE SOCIAL NETWORK = 7 ½
This picture is based on the true story of how Facebook was invented (and pirated) by a brainy Harvard student named Mark Zuckerberg, played brilliantly by Jesse Eisenberg. It’s a fascinating journey through the mind of a genius. Look for an Oscar nomination for Eisenberg. He truly immersed himself in this character.