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______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Conviction July 27, 2011



Amazing. Inspiring. Awesome. Unbelievable. TRUE!
My wife and I just watched “Conviction.” Wow. What a movie.
I suppose it would still have been an excellent movie as a work of fiction, but by being a true story, it’s made all the more remarkable.
Strong love, faith, perseverance, and incredible sacrifice are all on display here.

“Conviction” stars Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis and Peter Gallagher.
It’s the story of Betty Anne Waters, who spends around two decades going to law school and becoming a lawyer for the sole purpose of proving her brother innocent of the murder for which he was convicted. Talk about conviction!
It’s also the story of a “justice system” that doesn’t like admitting to mistakes, as well as a story of the advent of DNA evidence and Barry Scheck’s “Innocence Project”.

Yes, there is a lot of profanity in this movie. But what is truly profane is the corruption of those who willfully twisted the facts, and procured perjury in order to get a conviction.

They don’t whitewash the fact that the man found guilty was often a short-tempered obnoxious jerk. Rockwell gives a performance that shows us a man it’s hard to be compassionate toward. But he is still a man falsely accused.
Had he been in a state where the death penalty was in effect, he would have been dead before his sister had time to exonerate him.

Hundreds of convictions have been overturned due to DNA evidence. We’ll never know how many hundreds or thousands of innocent people have been “proven” guilty but the lawyers, found guilty by the jurors, sentenced guilty by the judges, and put to death as guilty by the executioners.
There are many who think this “collateral damage” is acceptable in order to keep the death penalty in place for those they believe “deserve” it.
I am NOT among them. I’m pretty sure most of them would think differently were it their son or daughter wrongly sentenced. The possibility of even ONE person wrongly convicted and put to death is reason enough to abolish capital punishment.

All the performances in “Conviction” are top-notch. My favorite was probably the few, but excellent minutes occupied by Juliet Lewis.
I don’t recall hearing of this movie at the theaters, but I’m very glad I found it. It was time well spent.
Buy, rent, or borrow this movie.

— df

Buy the movie.  Click HERE.


Here’s a CBS news article about the real story: Read HERE.

 

Iron Man 2 May 8, 2010

My wife and I just saw “Iron Man 2”

This is one of those sequels that I actually liked even more than the original.
The effects were, of course, great.  But effects alone do not a good movie make.  Where this installment succeeded, like the first, is in the writing and the acting.  It has the human element.  It has heart.  It has emotion.  And, ever important, it has humor.  It has characters we can have fun with, and care about.

Downey, as expected, totally delivered.  He really is perfect for this role.  Paltrow, Johannson, and Jackson were all fine.
There was question as to whether Don Cheadle could fill the roll that Terrence Howard had in the first film.  Frankly, I didn’t miss Howard at all, and thought Cheadle was better.  Clark Gregg, always funny in “Christine,” didn’t have a lot of scenes, but he may have more in “Iron Man 3.”

Sam Rockwell gave a standout performance as Justin Hammer.  His arrogant, self-centered, spoiled brat of a man was a joy to watch.  I’ve enjoyed his nuanced performances ever since “Galaxy Quest.”

One of the biggest reasons I found this movie better than the first was the Mickey Rourke villain, “Ivan Vanko.”  In the previews, I thought his character would be one of the reasons I would like “2” a little less than the first.  Quite the opposite was true.  And Mickey fleshed out the role beautifully.  Don’t get me wrong.  I Like Jeff Bridges.  Maybe more than Rourke.  But the writing, and even the effects for this bad guy seemed more interesting, and even more believable.  (OK.  “Believable” is not a good word to bring to a discussion of a movie like this.  Nevertheless…)

Two ACDC tunes, along with one from Queen, helped the soundtrack really rock.  Hey, good music is always a plus.
And finally, let me say that just like the first movie, you’ll want to stay through the credits.

 

 
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