Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich: On Netflix. I have to admit that I never really paid that much attention to the story that broke about Jeffrey Epstein and then his sudden and unexplained suicide in the New York courts. But as I watched, I became more aware just how much there is a two-tier justice system in the US. By that I mean that there isn’t equality under the law, and justice doesn’t seem to be blind. It’s quite evident that those who are rich and well connected are able to buy themselves out of legal difficulties, even when the alleged crime is the molestation of young girls. The number of young girls that we are talking about is staggering. As a father, it sickens me that such predators are out there. Like most predators, Epstein or those around him, are able to sniff out weaknesses for his victims and exploit it to his benefit. It may be financial (many of the young women come from poor or broken homes without means) while others it can be emotional and still others for occupation or education. He made his money on Wall Street. He owns palatial property in Manhattan, Paris, New Mexico, Palm Beach Florida and an entire island near the Virgin Islands. He has a female partner, Ghislaine Maxwell (they aren’t married) who is the daughter of famous Brit media mogul Robert Maxwell. She assists in procuring the young girls. She is also an active participant. From a legal lens, this story sickens me as you first see the number of young women involved, the Palm Beach Police Department, and later the FBI and Justice Department. The sweet heart deal made with the Federal Justice Department is astounding, with more then one commentator stating “in all my years, I haven’t seen anything like it”. In short, he agreed to serve 18 months in prison, pay a fine and plead guilty to procuring a prostitute. Amazingly, while he is in prison, he was free to come and go and he pleased (including leaving the country to his island). He was the narcissist, rich, white guy who acted as though the rules never applied to him. He left a wake of bodies behind him to satisfy his fetishes. He has famous friends, some of whom won’t be surprising like Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew. Prince Andrew incidentally comes off looking like a fool and lying flat out to the news in an interview. Ultimately even Epstein’s last act with his wealth is a slap in the face to the victims involved. Some will argue that he was taken out in jail, and it was meant to silence him. Apparently his security cameras were everywhere. As protests continue for George Floyd, seeking equal treatment from police, seeking justice in this and other numerous cases, this situation shows glaringly just how unbalanced the scales really are. Well worth checking out.
Away From Her: this is a Canadian film starring Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie. There are scenes that look like they are straight out of Muskoka. Filming locations include Kitchener, Paris and Bracebridge by the Director Sarah Polley. It was released in 2006, and is a relationship movie of a long married couple (44 years) where she begins forgetting things and we find out that it is early onset Alzheimer’s disease. She seems to be more accepting of the fate, and convinces her husband that she should go to a local assisted living home. In 44 years he has never been away from her. The story shows the heart wrenching situation as it plays out. I have to admit that this is a horrible way to go, likely more for partner without the disease than the one with (but we’ll likely never really know that since the disease takes away the ability to talk about how they are feeling and experiencing it). It’s an example how life can be a lottery; you finally find a match/mate, and have a life together, then as you settle into what is seemingly a retirement then fate steps in and takes your partner away. The outer body of that person you loved is still there, but what made them connected to you is slowly eroded away. There are choices made that I won’t detail here. The performances were very good, and a good supporting cast (including Olympia Dukakis). I saw this on Crave but it can also be found here at CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/films/more/away-from-her
Edge of Tomorrow (Live, Die Repeat): I had read somewhere that the powers that be were looking to do a sequel to the Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt film, but that once she had decided to do Mary Poppins that it just kind of frittered away. It’s sad really, because this movie is a lot of fun. It is a Sci-Fi alien invasion movie where the world is on the verge of being taken over. A D-Day like invasion is planned in France against a well-prepared alien enemy. Cruise plays a US Major who is more about promotion/recruiting unexpectedly, for him, cast onto the front lines of the first wave of an invasion force. He meets up with bad ass Blunt and they go about trying to defeat the aliens with Cruise who has been given this gift to reset each day so that they can try to figure it out. It’s fun, it’s intense, it’s funny and not your typical Cruise vehicle where he is always in control. He isn’t here. Blunt teaches him, gives him tools and abilities over time and grows into being a leader. I am hopeful that they can coordinate schedules and try to make a sequel to this.
Ladybird: This Saoirse Ronan film is a repeat for me, but worth catching once again. It is a semi-autobiographical film for the director, Greta Gerwig. A high school girl in her final year makes choices and deals with her mixed up family situation. The best of that is shown with her Mom, played well by Laurie Metcalf, who is a nurse who’s life hasn’t turned out exactly as planned. I stand by my previous review and think this is fun to watch, and similar to Booksmart, that I reviewed recently. Beanie Feldstein is in both and plays a similar character. But the young powerhouse actors like Ronan, Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet bring it all together. Gerwig was very fortunate to bring this talented cast together for her movie. Well worth checking out.