Chesley Sullenberger has been a pilot all of his adult life. Having had an interest in planes from a young age, Sully decided to join the United States Air Force Academy where he became a 'top flyer' in his class. From his initial position as a cadet, he worked his way up the ranks be become a captain. His astute knowledge of planes was one of the reasons why he was also part of an accident investigation board.
After leaving the air force, he began work at American Airways, whilst also keeping up his interest in aircraft safety. On January 15, 2009 sully began work as usual, travelling to LaGuardia Airport for a flight to Charlotte. The bags were loaded, the passengers seated and the checks completed as it was time for take-off.
As Sully and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, initiate the take-off procedure, there was nothing to make either think that this wouldn't be a straightforward shuttle flight. As the wheels took off and the plane lifted from the ground, the plane is suddenly thrown into chaos as a flock of geese fly into the plane and cause serious malfunctions in both engines.
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Michael Rezendes is a dedicted reporter for the Boston Globe and part of their Spotlight Team; an investigative division focused on justice and whistle-blowing. When accusations of child sex abuse by members of the Catholic Church arise, he leads the team into their latest case, determined to uncover the truth about a morally questionable priest and his scandalous activities across six different parishes over the course of several decades. It is alleged that the church knew what was going on, but chose not to act and hold their reputation above the welfare of their children. Not only that, but past statements from attorneys don't appear to add up and a delicate battle ensues with the government and police all getting involved as the Boston Globe take on the church. There's a large team at the newspaper working on bringing this case into the open once and for all, and they refuse to let these atrocities be swept under the rug another time.
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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
But much of Life as a House is completely watchable. Mark Andrus's script (he's written As Good As It Gets and the underrated, rarely seen Late For Dinner) appears cookie-cutter: he gives us the lazy, lonely, eccentric nobody (Kevin Kline); his estranged family, including beautiful ex-wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) and alienated teen (Hayden Christensen); and his predictably uptight neighbors, pissed off that his ramshackle of a house has stood in their beautiful oceanside neighborhood for twenty years.
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A wonderfully ambitious, old-school ensemble piece, very much in the can-do spirit of the community to which it pays homage, "Cradle Will Rock" is a politically-undertoned dramedy about theater, censorship, ambition, apprehension, oppression, Orson Welles and the Great Depression.
Written and directed by Tim Robbins -- never one to shy away from cause-fueled entertainment -- this passionate labor of love celebrates and fictionalizes a legendary moment in American theater, when the government shut down the performance of a musical produced by the Works Progress Administration -- and the actors, at the risk of losing their jobs during the bleakest economic season in U.S. history, staged it anyway in a show of inspiring solidarity.
The play was entitled "The Cradle Will Rock" and its story of a greedy industrialist taken down by the organized working man made a lot of federal bureaucrats see red -- as in communism.
Continue reading: Cradle Will Rock Review
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