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Saturday - November 28, 2020
Quad Cities USA - Guide to Davenport & Bettendorf Iowa and Rock Island & Moline Illinois
 

Disorder In the Court

November 20th, 2020

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is streaming on Netflix There’s a long and semi-proud tradition in Hollywood of the courtroom movie. Some of them, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Verdict, and 12 Angry Men stand the test of time.* They have something particular to say about the law, about justice, and how we either uphold our ideals or abandon them altogether. Here’s the thing about making a courtroom movie…they’re hard. The first problem before you is the script. Ever read legal transcripts? If not, they’re a very effective substitution for valium. Your first challenge is to hack through... Read More

“Yes, God, Yes” a Sweet, Small Film Exposing Enormity of Catholic Hypocrisy

October 26th, 2020

The 70-minute teen comedy/drama “Yes, God, Yes” is a sweet, slight and mostly satisfying film that deftly, gently tackles enormous, weighty subjects – sexuality, morality, religion, personal autonomy and responsibility, and the vast, disgusting hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. The 2019 film was written and directed by Karen Maine (who co-wrote the 2014 abortion-themed “Obvious Child”) and stars Natalia Dyer (of “Stranger Things” fame), based on Maine’s 2017 short film of the same name also starring Dyer as a shy, sympathetic, and secret rebel. The awkward, totally identifiable... Read More

Miss Mystery

October 22nd, 2020

Enola Holmes is streaming on Netflix Perhaps the best part of a movie, for me, is the first couple of seconds. By that point, I have a broad idea of the premise. I’ve poured myself a drink. My brain is prepared. When the first production company logo appears onscreen, we’re in a Schrodinger’s Movie scenario. Anything is possible, and even if the premise is ill-advised, there’s a chance of getting something amazing.* Add to that the excitement you get from hearing a strong concept. A secret organization protects Earth from alien threats? Sold. A rag-tag group of scientists opens a business... Read More

‘Tenet’ A Beautiful, Big Scale Mind Bender

September 18th, 2020

Director Christopher Nolan started tinkering around with the concept of time many years ago on a much smaller budget with 2000’s “Memento.” I liked it so much that, on a visit to the Twin Cities, I took a girlfriend and her husband to see it, my second time through it. It was unique, original, interesting, exciting and it didn’t run 150 minutes. It was even nominated for Best Original Screenplay at that year’s Oscars. We’ve now been treated to “Memento’s” successors from Christopher Nolan: “Insomnia (2002); “The Dark Knight Trilogy” (2005-2012); “The Prestige” (2006);... Read More

Love, Die, Repeat

August 14th, 2020

Sometimes, the best-case scenario is to be wrong. We all have our blind spots, right? I was wrong about Andy Samberg. Wrong as hell. For a while there, I had him pegged as a second-tier Saturday Night Live alum. I figured his comic persona was just like Jimmy Fallon, where he was all about being cute and non-threatening. He would probably get a talk show or a sitcom, and that would be that. Turns out Samberg did get a sitcom, the very funny and very sharp Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He’s also part of the comedy troupe The Lonely Island, and he starred in the criminally unappreciated Popstar: Never Stop... Read More

Brothers

July 2nd, 2020

Da 5 Bloods is streaming on Netflix I’ve never served in the military. At the tail end of high school, recruiters from the Army bombarded my phone, trying to convince me to sign up for officer training school. What they didn’t realize, and what I only dimly knew at the time, was that I would have been an absolutely horrible soldier. There’s a host of reasons, but the main might be that I ask too many questions, and when you’re part of a chain of command, asking too many questions at the wrong time can get people killed. I’ve also never been Black. For God’s sake, have you seen me? If... Read More

Inspiring ‘Athlete A’ Shows Strength of Young Women, Dogged Journalists

July 1st, 2020

In this unreal time of global pandemic, civil unrest, economic depression and a president who views the press (and apparently not Russia) as the enemy, U.S. journalists could certainly use a collective hug. As pointed out in a perceptive, poignant New York Times column Monday, a staggering 7,800 journalists lost their jobs in 2019, according to Business Insider. Once the pandemic hit, another 36,000 media-company employees got the pink slip. And all these disasters came on top of losses that collectively cost American newsrooms half their journalists between 2008 and 2019. After I was laid... Read More

Girl Kills World

June 24th, 2020

Everyone who’s into movies has a thing. A thing that is endlessly fascinating and that can be refracted through a thousand different lenses. One friend of mine has a deep and abiding love of schlocky horror movies. Loves ‘em, can’t get enough of ‘em. They’re his happy place, and whenever he’s having a tough day, a small scotch and a viewing of Motel Hell will perk him right up. My thing is comedians playing villains. However, let me be clear. If a comedian or comedic actor is playing a comedic villain, that doesn’t scratch the itch. Instead, when a funnyman plays a real nasty piece... Read More

Touchable

May 20th, 2020

Sometimes the meaning of a life is revealed at the end of it. We’ve seen that in film for decades, and perhaps the best example of this is Citizen Kane.* After a meteoric rise and a life spent in journalism and the halls of power, Charles Foster Kane is moments away from death. He whispers, “Rosebud,” and as the film commences, we learn that all the power and prestige in the world is meaningless without love. A real life tends to be messier. Sometimes that’s problematic, and reality is jettisoned in favor of a narrative. The end result might look a bit like Braveheart, a cracking good movie... Read More

The Worst of All Possible Parents

May 15th, 2020

The Willoughbys is streaming on Netflix Once upon a time, there lived a parent. This parent had the colossal misfortune to be a) alive during a pandemic and b) in charge of children. It was bad enough that the wicked virus forced people to stay inside.* Movie theaters closed. Baseball stadiums were empty. Jobs vanished. People scoffed at the idea of eating at buffets. As you can imagine, all that time spent inside was incredibly boring for the parent. There were only so many times they could make sourdough bread! But as dull as it was for the parent, it was a thousand times worse for their kids.... Read More

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