Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive this film for being somewhat dull in the way the events are recounted. Solid acting helps give the characters some soulfulness, and the issues are things society is still grappling with. Writer-director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) may struggle to maintain the momentum of the story with his fragmented script, but he recreates the period beautifully and makes sure that the ideas resonate.
It's set in 1862 Mississippi, as the American Civil War is in full force and medic Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey) finds it increasingly difficult to serve in the Confederate Army. In addition to the rampant racism, he realises that this is little more than a class war: poor men fighting to help the rich maintain their wealth. So he abandons his post and returns home, where he assembles a ragtag militia from escaped slaves and deserters. Together, they claim that Jones County is a free state. Their battles with military forces and angry locals continue long after the war ends. But Newton and his second wife Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) keep fighting against the state's blatantly racist laws.
This story is intercut with another series of events 75 years later, as a descendant of Newton and Rachel fights a courtroom battle in which he's criminally charged with marrying a white woman, even though he's only one-eighth black. This sideroad has nothing to do with Newton's story, other than to connect it loosely to America's civil rights protests in the 1960s, so it drastically slows down the entire movie. There's a lot happening with Newton, but filmmaker Ross never quite lets a scene build up some momentum before cutting away to something else.
Continue reading: Free State Of Jones Review
Mike Lassiter finds himself being put on trial for the murder of his father. The Lassiter's are a rich family and Mike lives with his mother Loretta and father Boone. The body of Boone is found with a knife still in the fatal stab wound that killed him, Mike's fingerprints are on the weapon and when he is interviewed by the police he admits to stabbing his father.
With an incredible amount of evidence, the police arrest and charge the teenager with the murder of his father. Mike's mum, Loretta, recruits her attorney friend Richard Ramsay to defend her son and as Richard begins to develop his case more and more facts come to light about that night and Boone Lassiter.
It's uncovered that Boone is a vicious man who could be 'exceptionally cruel' and Mike witnessed events of abuse carried out on Loretta by his father - he'd even threaten his son. As the case proceeds, Richard asks another attorney to come on board and help keep Mike out of prison. Janelle is a young yet enthusiastic lawyer who believes that Mike is protecting his mother from the crime that she committed. It's possible either of the two family members could've killed Boone and what starts out to be a clean cut case for the prosecution soon becomes more convoluted.
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Like the majority of mother and sons, Karla and her son Frankie share a special bond. They love spending time together and have days out together enjoying one another's company. Karla decides that she and Frankie will spend the day at the park and the pair begin to have a wonderful day together, Whilst Frankie plays on the children's play equipment, they play a game of Marco Polo. Karla affectionately calls for her son by shouting 'Marco' whilst Frankie reciprocates with 'Polo', the game goes on for a while before Karla finds her calls going unanswered.
Becoming more and more worried about her son, Karla frantically begins to search and eventually sees one of his toys on a bench. Her concern escalates and leads to her asking 'have you seen my son' to anyone and everyone who will listen. Journeying to the car park, he catches a glimpse of a boy she believes to be Frankie being put into the back of an old vehicle. She reaches the car but in the chase Karla drops her phone.
Taking pursuit of the vehicle in her own car, Karla decides to go to the police station but the officer on duty doesn't see Karla's pleas as an urgent matter and asks her to fill out report forms. Knowing that her son's life is potentially in imminent danger she returns to her car and tracks down the other car.
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The Duel is an American Western film starring Liam Hemsworth who is cast as David Kingston a Texas Ranger who is sent to the Old West frontier town of Helena to investigate a series of murders that have taken place in recent years. The town is led by charismatic preacher Abraham Brant who is played by Woody Harrelson and the undercover investigation soon becomes personal for Kingston as he realises that Brant could be responsible for the death of his father.
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The brutal reality of war is those who often die and put their lives on the line are the ones who reap the smallest of rewards. If you're no longer fighting for your freedom, for some there's no point to continue risking your life. When Newton Knight is faced with the death of a young boy, it's enough for him to begin questioning exactly what and who he is fighting for.
Forced to go on the run Newton helps many folk on the way and also goes on a journey of self-discovery, one that leads him to fight a fight that's really worth dying for. With the help of some slaves, who are also on the run, Newton and the people of Jones County begin to fight back and take back the land from the wealthy and put it in the hands of the people.
Free State of Jones is based on the true story of Newton Knight and it directed by Gary Ross.
Colin Pryce is a Louisiana congressman who becomes a hero in the eyes of all US residents surrounding the Gulf of Mexico when he decides to take action to help those affected by a severe BP oil spill. Many citizens have had their livestock taken from them, with hundreds upon thousands of shrimp and fish killed in the area, and he seems to be the only one making any move to ease the devastating environmental and financial impact. With the help of his wife Deborah Pryce, he wins respect for his charismatic and inspiring speeches, but he almost destroys all that when human temptation gets in the way. A whirlwind affair becomes a nationwide scandal when he is seduced by a beautiful young woman, and it's all he and his family can do to lessen the blow for his disappointed followers by continuing his campaign to address those who still need his help.
Continue: The Runner Trailer
The film is helped admirably by the two slutty waitresses -- admirably played by Marisa Ryan and Amy Hathaway -- two girls who clearly hate each other only slightly less than they hate their own lives. The rest of the film is a bit forgettable -- a bunch of tired jokes about condoms and froufrou drinks, but at least it's not a total loss. Here's to hoping Ryan and Hathaway move on to brighter things!
Continue reading: Sex And Bullets Review
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