Snapshots - #35: Marshall, American Made, The Glass Castle

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The movies…
Marshall (♦♦♦♦): Black lawyer Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) is entrusted by the NCAAP to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) in Greenwich, CT, who has been accused of rape by his white employer. As Marshall is not allowed by the judge as legal counsel because he doesn't hold a CT license, he engages, reluctantly on both sides, the service of Jewish insurance lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), whom, with Marshall's help, will have to acquire criminal defense experience in a matter of months. But as the case is tried in court, it becomes evident that it is anything but cut and dry. Powerfully acted by Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, and Sterling K. Brown in the leading roles, Marshall treads a fine line between inspiring legal thriller and drama. On both counts it delivers in spades. Based on a true story, with race and bigotry fueling public opinion, before the apogee of the Civil Rights Movement, this accused black man is doomed from the start. A full century…

The Dark Knight Rises (♦♦♦♦½)

After the death of Harvey Dent in Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne has gone into exile, or rather, he never leaves his mansion anymore. All that changes with the emergence of a dangerous criminal named Bane, whose devious plan consists in bringing Gotham City to its knees, both figuratively and literally. Bane proves to be a powerful opponent and he is not to be taken lightly. He’s trained with the League of Shadows, alum of Wayne’s master Ra’s Al Ghul.

With still more surprises under his belt, Christopher Nolan has outdone himself with the last installment of his Batman Trilogy. There are lots of explosions, threats, lots of gun fights and not for the sake of destruction but with plenty of justification within the context of the story. The coolest gadgets were yet to appear, and appear they did: a flying batmobile—which as Lucius Fox would put it “[there’s] nothing like a little air superiority”--, a twisting motorcycle (of which Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman makes plenty of use) and army gadgets that we see all the time in plenty of films out there.

New to the franchise are Marion Cotillard as Miranda and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake, former collaborators of Nolan in Inception. Together with the constellation of stars that has become ubiquitous to this trilogy, the only actors needed were Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page to have the Nolan’s party complete. Also new in her role is Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, a role previously interpreted by Michelle Pfeiffer. Hathaway not only fills up the catsuit with her curves, but she definitely owns the role of Catwoman, who in Dark Knight Rises has more grit and kicks more evil butt than it’s femininely possible. Make no mistake this Catwoman is less about purrs and more about stealthy jewelry theft and double crosses. Tom Hardy in the role of Bane, arguably the only villain in this installment, leaves in the dust the chaos unleashed by Ra’s Al Ghul and the Joker combined.

Dark Knight Rises brings back some characters that we got to know in the two previous films in the trilogy, namely Alfred, Lucius Fox and James Gordon—this time as Gotham’s Police Commissioner Gordon; Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman, respectively, reprise their roles. Christian Bale, also reprises his role as Batman.

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