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Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God Review


Excellent

There's a reason this expertly shot and edited documentary is skimming under the radar: no one wants you to see it. The hugely skilled Gibney is taking on the world's biggest corporation, the Vatican, with a lucid, personal exploration of child abuse in the Catholic church. And while a first-person approach draws us in, it's the wide-ranging evidence against the top echelons of the church that takes us aback. This film is exposing one of the biggest ever conspiracies without ever shouting about it.

The main focus here is four men (Kohut, Smith, Kuehn and Budzinski) who were abused by a priest while they were students at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee. One of them blew the whistle in a 1972 letter, but the priest was never brought to justice for his crimes. It seemed like the local diocese was covering up his actions, but an investigation showed that the orders to stay silent came right from the Holy See in Rome. And as years passed, similar stories emerged from Boston, Ireland and Italy itself. In each case, the Vatican ordered the churches not to report the abuse to the police. 

Yes, this conspiracy goes all the way to the top, although Pope Benedict has tried to remain outside the fray even though his previous job was to investigate these cases.  And in looking at this careful outline of the events, it's clear that the real problem stems from the Catholic church's insistence that priests should never answer to earthly powers, which is why parents are so reluctant to believe their children's accusations against a holy man. In other words, the church is more concerned for the office of the priesthood than the victims of abuse.

Continue reading: Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God Review

Client-9: The Rise And Fall Of Eliot Spitzer Review


Extraordinary
Instead of simply making a documentary about the Eliot Spitzer scandal, filmmaker Gibney cleverly paints a much bigger picture. And without being pushy about it, he reveals a system that's utterly terrifying.

As New York's attorney general, Spitzer was "the sheriff of Wall Street", determined to force bankers to operate within the law. He fearlessly went after the biggest firms, standing up for people who were in danger of losing their hard-earned savings to fat-cat executives. This earned him a reputation that propelled him into the governor's seat and was grooming him to be president.

But it also gave him several formidable enemies. Then the news broke that he was a regular client of a high-priced prostitution firm. And Wall Street celebrated his fall.

Continue reading: Client-9: The Rise And Fall Of Eliot Spitzer Review

Mixing Nia Review


Grim
Nia is a mixed-race ad executive who just can't come to grips with her life, particularly her place in the social strata of New York City. Ostinsibly, you are supposed to care about whether Nia chooses vegetarianism, or whether she chooses to segregate her books based on the color of the writer. Unfortunately, Nia is so plainly shallow, not to mention pretty stupid, that you will probably have little luck caring about her at all. A few funny moments redeem the picture from drecksville, but overall the movie is a throwaway.
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