Archives November 2020

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “MANK” – 7.0

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “MANK” – 7.0

 

In a word:  Boring

 

Different strokes for different folks, as they say.  Some people will love this movie, others will walk out at the halfway point.

     In a nutshell, the movie centers on the true-life misery, talent and wit of famed screenwriter, Herman J. Mankiewicz (aka Mank) who was also well known as an unabashed alcoholic.  Played by journeyman actor, Gary Oldman, the plot (if you call it that) centers on the Oldman character, in which he staggers and slurs from scene to scene among the Hollywood elite, including Orson Welles, who was to be the primary actor in the eventually released 1941 blockbuster, “Rosebud.” It would eventually become the signature role for Welles.

     First, the reader here must know that yours truly is in the minority among most reviews of this film, which frequently takes place in Mank’s bed passing out or recovering from a hangover. Matter of fact, there are hardly any scenes which depict Mank pecking on a typewriter, nor does he spend time dictating dialogue to his secretary, who does most of his typing.  That might beg the question; who really wrote the actual screenplay? (stay tuned, that’s coming)

     I was first impressed that the movie is deftly based in a late 1930’s backdrop, presented totally in black and white. That worked great for Schindler’s List, but it slowed down to a crawl in Mank.

      Scene by scene the viewer must discern the constant drone of dialogue, which could probably have been edited for brevity, and still keep the movie of interest.

     I’ve oft complimented Gary Oldman’s acting talents, which now cover a period of nearly 40 years, winning many awards, including an Oscar in 2018 for Darkest Hour, playing Winston Churchill. He now has another six movies in production or pending release.

     It should be noted that Mank did apparently complete the manuscript for Rosebud and eventually shared an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay with Orson Welles.

     This is not a great movie for anyone with Attention Deficit Disorder, because the viewer will tend to wander (mentally). The acting is very good among the entire cast, as are many other aspects of the film, i.e. period and backdrop details, photography, etc.

     I give this film a 7.0 out of 10

Mank (2020) – IMDb

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “HILLBILLY ELEGY” – 10.

“Hillbilly Elegy”  10

 

In a word: Powerful

The movie was based on the non-fiction book of the same title, authored by one of the main characters who actually drives the story, J.D. Vance.

     To begin, we must acknowledge the awesome array of class A actors, each of whom played a critical role in the film. These could not have been easy roles to play. Any of the primary cast members could be worthy nominations and/or Oscar awards, to and including Best Director, Ron Howard.

     The movie is set in two complicated periods of life first in the squalor within Kentucky in the 1990s and then Ohio later on.

     J.D. Vance is a trouble youngster (approx. age 12) constantly searching for acceptance and love in a dysfunctional family that can barely stand each other. The movie flips back and forth from this boys struggle at age 12 to his mid-twenties trying to earn credits to attend college, only to be set back over and over, facing critical episodes of survival when his drug-addicted mother goes off the rails.

     That role belongs to one of the finest actresses now or ever, Amy Adams, who clearly struggles with mental health challenges exacerbated by drugs and alcohol, and whose actions keep the rest of the family in a down spiral.

     The Mammaw role, the rural grandmother to J.D. and his sister, is deftly played by journeywoman Glenn Close, clearly one of her greatest performances ever. I’d say she’s a lock for best supporting actress.

     The main role of J.D. Vance is played (as a young man) by Gabriel Basso, who offers quite a resume, but unknown to me until this movie. He, too, could be nominated for an Oscar.

     Beware: This movie can generate a flow of tears, especially for those who have survived family dysfunction, pain, love and loss.

     Be prepared for a few scenes of violence and a smattering of foul language that fits the story. Much like I wrote in my last review of “Let Him Be,” this is an acting lesson for and by the main characters.

     Director Ron Howard will likely be nominated for Best Director.

     It terms of pure art in the world of movie making, this movie is worthy of a 10.

Afterthought: I do have partialities when it comes to actors. Do I think Amy Adams is one of the great (not just beautiful) actresses of all time?  Guilty!

Hillbilly Elegy (2020) – IMDb

 

NPR Interview with J.D. Vance: 
‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Recalls A Childhood Where Poverty Was ‘The Family Tradition’ : NPR

THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT

Theyrrr herre…

 Patrisse Cullors, mentioned in various published articles about leftist politics in America, is the Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter…well known as a devout Marxist. (easily verified).  Fellow co-founder Alicia Garza, openly admits her alliance as a devout Marxist as well.

These are not secrets. They get support from the highest of levels.  

The Marxist clan who lead Black Lives Matter have an extreme agenda which is pointed out in the articles linked below.  No surprise, I’ve studied her and her other co-founders, also Marxists. In political circles it is well-known. This is what Communists have been promising for the last half century…divide and conquer. In another few years, we just might be seeing a full-blown revolution.  When that happens, it’s Bye-Bye to the U.S. Constitution. There will be no turning back.

 According to a recent issue of News Break: 

      George Soros has given Black Lives Matter and the Antifa related revolutionary movement more than $100 million dollars. The Soros run Open Society Foundations is on record with giving Black Lives Matter $33 million dollars this year alone. This is in concert with an array of funding for a variety of Democrat and DNC related left-wing groups across the country.

What’s amazing is how certain organizational elements in America, and private individuals, support their agenda without realizing the ultimate consequences if they succeed. I’m sure many people are well-meaning, but they are also being used, exploited and brainwashed.  Here’s a revealing link about their objectives…and they’ve only just begun.

Black Lives Matter founder calls for Biden to abolish prisons – TheBlaze

George Soros gave Black Lives Matter and Antifa over $100 Million dollars | News Break

 

HONORING POLICE DIVISION CHIEF CHARLES BLACK:

Twas a summer evening in Melbourne, Florida, 2015. We were at home watching TV when the phone rang.  I took the phone to another room, so as not to disturb Suzanne.  I said, curiously, “Hello?”

     After a short pause, the woman said, “Marshall?” She had a soft whispery voice. I knew who it was. Actually, I recalled that voice as far back as 1961 when she worked for the Dade County Sheriff’s Department as a station-house secretary. No words were needed. There was only one reason that Lynda Black would be calling me. I erupted into a cry, barely able to talk. I felt the depth of her heart.

     “Is he gone?” I asked.

     “Yes,” she replied, now crying as well. Then she said, “Last night, I got out of bed around 3 a.m. to use the bathroom. Charlie was sound asleep, snoring. When I returned, he was not snoring.”

     Such is the way Charlie Black would do almost anything: The right way. His credo always stood, “There IS no other way but the right way.”

     I first got to know Charlie Black as my trainer in 1961. He had a fast step and a fluid mind that was a challenge to keep up with. His nature was distant, as though it was a nuisance to be training new officer.

     Charlie rose through the ranks quickly, passing every promotional test at the top of the list. He made a mark in every assignment as the department fell into an abyss after a series of corruption scandals, none of which involved Charlie. He worked mostly in the Intelligence Units. Shortly after the new Director E. Wilson Purdy (former FBI agent) was installed in 1968, Charlie was elevated to chief of detectives at the age of 32. Purdy was squeaky clean and known to thoroughly vet everyone he promoted to the nth degree. He had made a powerful impression on the department and everyone in it.

     I was already working in Homicide. To me, Black was a tough to keep up with and a hard-ass authoritarian. He made many friends, but also some enemies who did not work for him very long.

     I never knew he even noticed me, until early in the 1970’s, when I sat high on the Lieutenant’s list. My Homicide boss hollered at me, “Hey Frank, Major Black wants to see you.”

     Charlie was being promoted to a division chief in charge of Communications, Records and the Crime Laboratory. He smirked, then popped the question: “Marshall I want you to be my right hand man. Come work for me, and if you score well, you’ll be a captain in no time.”

     Thus began 45 more years of close friendship and deep respect. By virtue of being at his side, he taught me about getting a job done by-passing bureaucratic red tape. He stood up for me and helped me through some tough times, on a personal level. Yes, as the saying goes, he was my Rabbi.

     One day, he called me into his office and said, “I want you to bring these papers to the Sheriff of Monroe County. Now!”

     “Okay Boss, it’ll take a few hours to drive to Key West and back.”

     “Forget driving. I’ve arranged the police aircraft to take you down now. They’re waiting for you at Opa Locka airport.”    

     I would compare Charlie Black to the likes of Donald Trump. Yes, he could be pompous at times, bull-headed, domineering and self-ingratiating. But his sights were always lasered on his police agency, to make it the very best it could be. And, he was passionately loyal to the people who worked for him.  Being among those, was a privilege.

     Charlie also personified a term known by many in the Spanish community, he had a set of “cojones.” Intimidated by no one.

     Charlie and I remained friends for life. He and his bride lived in Western North Carolina during retirement. He was extremely devoted to his Lynda.

     Though I could probably write a book, there are many stories I omit here. Yes, he was imperfect. But this should not be the forum to discuss those bumps in the road. He was there for me, and many others, to a fault.

     Thanks Charlie, for being my buddy.

     And by the way; Happy 85th Birthday.

HONEST REPORTING VITAL IN RACIALLY CHARGED CASES

In the November 6th issue of Florida Today, the Associated Press issued an article about the renaming of a road in Miami to honor 17-year old Trayvon Martin, who had been shot and killed in Sanford, Florida in 2012. The article would have us believe that Martin deserved the honor because he was an innocent kid wrongfully murdered by George Zimmerman, a local resident serving as a neighborhood watchman. Readers would naturally assume Trayvon Martin was victimized by a racist-born madman. Martin was considered by some as a hero, especially because he was unarmed. It was also emphasized that he was black and Zimmerman was not. Sadly, the often media fails to tell the whole story.

     Trayvon Martin was no hero. He was in Sanford visiting his father, because he had been suspended from school for ten days for possessing illegal drugs. Zimmerman spotted the lanky teen after sundown, walking through the neighborhood wearing a hoodie. Some might conclude that Zimmerman was wrong to follow the teen. True or not, that doesn’t justify Trayvon Martin’s actions from there.

     Based on a myriad of evidence and eye witnesses, it was determined that Trayvon Martin angrily turned and confronted Zimmerman, a pudgy 29 year-old. Martin suddenly punched Zimmerman in the face, knocking him to the sidewalk, then sat on Zimmerman’s body flailing more punches, battering his head on the concrete. Bloody trauma to Zimmerman’s head and face supports that accusation. Then, and only then, fearing for his life, Zimmerman removed the pistol from his clothing and fired one shot.

     Had Zimmerman failed to act, he would likely have been the corpse and not Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman knew that.

     As a retired 30-year cop who handled hundreds of assault cases, including the jailing of some police officers, I fail to grasp how and why Trayvon Martin should be honored when, in fact, he was committing a deadly assault on the watchman.

     These kinds of cases and the manner in which the media sometimes portrays an event, is what stirs hatred, particularly when it’s unwarranted.

     Per Associated Press: “The teen was unarmed and walking back from a convenience store when he was shot by George Zimmerman.”  

     There was far more to that story.

     This is also reminiscent of the killing of 18 year-old Michael Brown by Police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. The officer was ruthlessly vilified by the press and other citizen groups. One cable newscaster I watched went into an outrage stating, “A police officer shot and killed an unarmed boy.”

     That “unarmed boy” had just robbed a convenience store. Minutes later he was confronted by Officer Wilson on patrol, telling him to get back on the sidewalk and off the street. Weighing over 300 pounds, Brown suddenly punched Officer Wilson through then driver’s window, then reached in and grabbed the cop’s pistol, unsuccessfully.  Dazed and bloodied, Officer Wilson stepped from his car and warned the large teen to halt, that he was under arrest. Brown turned around and began charging Wilson in a menacing manner. Wilson fired shots. Brown went down, dead.

     These are facts as determined by a Grand Jury and a number of on-scene witnesses. Hate had nothing to do with it.

     This case spawned the group known today as “Black Lives Matter,” forging the perception by millions that it was a “racist” assault upon an innocent black teen. That simply was not true. Zimmerman came from a racially mixed family.

     Then began the ill-conceived chants among haters, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” as though the officer killed Michael Brown for folly. Officer Darren Wilson actually did nothing wrong. But he and his wife still live in seclusion for fear of retribution by hate mongers. His police career is finished.

     We also remember the New York City haters, marching the streets and chanting: “What do we want? Dead Cops?” over and over…while those targeted cops had to stand by, face to face, sucking it up, knowing how the press and local politicians stood by in accord. 

     The media has an obligation to be fair, neutral and non-presumptuous. Stirring emotions with errant reporting or purposeful omissions, means the reporters are guilty of manipulating facts in order to produce a volatile story.

    These are two incidents in which the media and people-mobs acted upon ill-conceived falsehoods, wrongfully castigating the innocent. Sometimes the bad guys are actually good, and the good guys are actually bad. It’s much about preconceived conclusions.