COMING SOON...

COMING SOON...

BLACK VENUS, IT, THE NAVIGATOR: A MEDIEVAL ODYSSEY, TIDELAND, THE HOT ROCK, DIAMONDS OF KILAMANDJARO, GOLDEN TEMPLE AMAZONS, THE HIRED HAND, DAY OF THE JACKAL, and DUCKMAN THE COMPLETE SERIES

Sunday, February 12, 2012

IN TIME: TIME RUNS OUT


The subject of time and immortality has had a long standing tradition in science fiction. Perhaps the most famous of late was the 1976 film LOGAN'S RUN where people died voluntarily on their thirtieth birthday. So it only seems natural that the subject of time would once again come to the forefront in sci-fi as it does with IN TIME.

In the future humans have been genetically altered to stop aging at on their 25th birthday. The problem is when they hit that age they only have so many hours left to live. Embedded in each person is a digital readout on their arm that shows how long they have. To gain more hours you must work to earn them. This means those on the low end of the scale must work to pay for their daily needs like food and shelter. It also means that when their clock reads 0 they die.

Existing in this world is Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), a factory worker trying to make ends meet while living with his mother (Olivia Wilde). She has just turned 50 and it may take viewers a second to realize that when he kisses this woman it's his mom not a girlfriend. Remember, you stop aging at 25.

Due to celebrate her birthday after work, Will stops by a bar with his friend to find a stranger passing out free drinks with nearly a century of time on his arm. When the local hood and his gang attempt to rob him of his time, Will helps him escape. The man is Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) and he and Will talk about time. He explains that for there to be time for the upper crust to live they have to take it from someone else. Tax hikes and higher prices are just ways for the rich and famous to live longer at the costs of those below them. While hiding out overnight, Henry passes along his hours to Will telling him to use them wisely.

Will tries to reach his mother but things don't work out as planned. She's just paid off her latest loan with less than an hour left and it costs 2 hours to ride the bus. On the street near home she and Will head towards each other but just as they are about to meet, she collapses, her time out. Now Will decides to take the time problem to its source, the wealthy.

Staying at fine hotels and buying a fast car, the world of the rich is different. No one hurries as they have all the time in the world. But Will can't help himself. It's this fast paced lifestyle that singles him out as the Timekeepers, police who handle time crimes, come looking for him led by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy). Will ends up at a casino where he wagers all his time against a wealthy businessman named Philipe Weiss (Vincent Kartheiser), a wager that Will wins resulting in an invitation to Weiss home.

At the party Will meets Philipe's daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) and the two are attracted to one another. But Sylvia also finds herself attracted to the differences she finds in Will having no idea where he is actually from. When the Timekeepers show to arrest Will, he takes Sylvia hostage and heads home.

What follows is a transformation of Sylvia as she sees how others live doing anything for just a few more hours. With the Timekeepers hot on their trail, they begin robbing banks to redistribute time to those in need, sort of a Robin Hood of the time clock.

Eventually we know that a final confrontation will result as Raymond diligently pursues the couple as does the local hood Will confronted at the start of the film. With plenty of high speed chases and some face to face confrontation, the film features plenty of action for fans without a ton of story to get in the way. Sure the story is there but as the film heads to its end it becomes smaller and smaller.

The time is money wordplay works well throughout the film and the story does have enough meat on it to be interesting. As always it does ring a little hypocritical for high paid movie stars to be in a movie that's presents an allegory about how wealthy people should share the wealth with everyone instead of taking it all for themselves, especially when ticket prices for a movie run an average of $9.

Timberlake shows that he can act better than many would expect. Too many write him off as little more than a singer but he's turning into one of the few all round entertainers show business has to offer. Seyfried looks gorgeous as always and does a great job when it comes to action as well. Murphy demonstrates that he's not a one note actor, offering a performance of a cop on a mission quite well.

On the whole the movie is pure fluff entertainment posing as a message movie. The entertainment offered is substantial but the message is lost and would seem better suited for a Michael Moore movie where he sits in his mansion complaining about how the little people are being ripped off. All in all it's still a good time and worth a rental.

Click here to order.

MONEYBALL: FANS VS STATS


I've often been amazed at the salaries of professional athletes. I mean it's great that they have the abilities that they do and can perform unlike anyone else out there. But to be paid millions of dollars to basically play a game? I'm more concerned that the guy cleaning out the septic tank gets paid better than an athlete. Which one would you rather depend on?

This brings us to the new release MONEYBALL. Brad Pitt stars in this real life story of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics in 2001. The A's have just lost their three best players to teams that could afford to pay them higher salaries. The home office just doesn't have the money to compete with bigger cities that offer bigger paychecks. So how can a team that spends close to $30 million compete with a team that costs $130 million?

Billy finds the answer by sheer chance. While discussing possible trades in Cleveland he watches as the head men keep deferring to a fresh looking young guy named Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). Cornering him later on Brand explains to him that teams far too often look for players rather than points. They seek out and pay stars for their attraction quotient but never look to see if they can justify their salaries with their abilities. Brand believes that a great team could be made of semi-decent players, but players who score runs.

Beane embraces the idea much to the consternation of the talent scouts and the team's coach Art Howe (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). He bypasses their recommendations and instead puts together a team based on stats that Peter puts together for him. In so doing he believes the team may have no major stars but they will have a winning season. Too bad everyone attempts to stop him rather than go along.

Beane and Howe butt heads as to who will play where and when. Eventually Beane puts Howe into a position where he has no option but to place the players he wants where he wants them. That's when the team suddenly begins to win and win big going so far as to break previous records of consistent wins.

Based on the book of the same name, MONEYBALL is an interesting film about a subject that along with apple pie is near and dear to the hearts of most American's, baseball. We romanticize about the players; we celebrate the victories and losses of our favorite teams. But how many people actually consider what it takes to put together a winning team? That is the main subject behind this film.

But it's more than discussing the choice of winning versus the romantic notion of pure athleticism that makes us love the game. The movie is about a man pushed into a corner who needs to find a way to bring home a winning team without being able to spend the money that bigger cities can afford and who more or less succeeds in doing so. After Beane went on to create this format other teams followed with more success.

Brad Pitt is an actor that could easily fall back on his good looks and make movies that offer little depth but plenty of eye candy for the ladies. Instead he takes risks now and then with movies that show he is a better actor than many would give him credit for. The subtle style he offers here as Beane makes you believe you are watching the man instead of an actor portraying him and that's the sign of an actor worth watching.

Hill steps out of the comic foil he's played in nearly every movie he's ever made. Instead he's the straight man here, the character (based on several real life individuals) that comes up with the plan that just might save the A's. He never gives this performance the same old styling that he's used before, instead making this character as believable as Pitt's Beane.

You don't have to be a baseball fanatic to enjoy this movie but it wouldn't hurt. More action takes place off the field than on. In any event what you will end up with is an evening's entertainment that is worth the effort to take the movie home. Not only will you want to consider renting this one, it might actually be worth adding to your collection. I know I'll be watching it more than once.

Click here to order.

THE DOUBLE: GERE AND GRACE AND A DECENT THRILLER


There was a time when a movie with Richard Gere meant mega-box office success. It seems that Hollywood has taken to releasing his pictures much along the lines they do with aging actresses, delivering them straight to DVD rather than the big screen. That's a shame since Gere has rarely turned in a bad performance and the movies bypassing the big screen are often better than movies that make it there. THE DOUBLE is a good example.

Gere portrays Paul Shepherdson, an ex-C.I.A. called out of retirement by his old boss, Tom Highland (Martin Sheen). It seems that years ago Paul was the lead agent in charge of tracking down a top Soviet assassin, a man known only as Cassius. When a U.S. Senator is killed using the same techniques as Cassius, it is believed that he has returned. Paul insists that he killed him years ago but no body was found.

When Paul attends a joint meeting of the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., he asks why anyone would believe this is the work of Cassius. The man who brought this to the F.B.I.'s attention is their agent Ben Geary (Topher Grace). Geary has studied every piece of evidence concerning Cassius going to far as to write his thesis in college about the case. It is his belief that the recent murder shows signs that Cassius has returned.

Paul and Geary are assigned to work together to find the evidence to prove or disprove that Cassius has returned and if he has to find him before he kills again. The pair follow up on clues and contacts in the hopes of finding anyone that can lead them to Cassius or at least information that would do so. And here's where a plot twist arrives early. I wouldn't actually call this a spoiler since it was revealed in the trailer, but the identity of Cassius is shown early on when he kills an ex-comrade that was in his group of assassins that Paul and Geary interview. Paul is Cassius.

So now the whole mystery takes a different angle. Instead of two agents trying to find a killer the pair has one trying to find him and the other trying to remain hidden. And if Cassius wasn't the murderer of the Senator than who was? It is these questions that make this thriller more interesting than one would have expected.

Shootouts, interviews and betrayals are found around every corner. Paul gets to meet Geary's family and warns his wife that the man her husband is trying to find is deadly and that it could put their family in danger. But Geary doggedly pursues each lead in the hopes of finding his man.

So I said there was a spoiler right? Well perhaps not quite so. As I said, that was revealed in the trailer for the movie. There remains a twist in the story as it ends that will catch you completely off guard, not something easily done these days. And that's what makes this thriller one worth watching, along with the great performances.

As I stated early on, there are so many films these days that make it to the theater and you wonder just who the folks behind it knew to get it released. At the same time a decent thriller like this one goes unnoticed. But that's the beauty of DVD. Movies that could have gone unnoticed have a chance to be seen and this is one of those movies that deserve it.

Click here to order.

THERE BE DRAGONS: TOUCHED BY GOD


Don't rent THERE BE DRAGONS thinking you'll be watching some dungeons and dragons item. It has nothing to do with fantasy worlds or actual dragons.

The movie is the true story of Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei. This group may sound familiar to you as it was used in the Dan Brown book/movie THE DAVINCI CODE. But it seems that truth is more interesting than fiction as we find out what it was all about. Also don't think this movie is a boring recitation of religious ideology, far from it.

Taking place in Spain Dougray Scott plays a journalist looking into the life of Escriva for an article he's writing. When his father, Judge Manolo, learns of this, he calls for him and provides him with information Scott never realized he had. It seems that his father and Escriva grew up together in the same small town in Spain.

The two began as boyhood chums but financial ruin made Escriva's family a pariah to that of Manolo. Later they have a run in at the seminary they both attend but make amends. Their lives then take to very different paths that one would think would never cross again. Instead, their lives cross at moments more important than anyone might ever know.

Manolo (Wes Bentley) works with his father's company and takes on the attitude of royalty when it comes to his workers. While many are complaining and threatening strikes, influenced by the Communists viewpoints becoming popular, he continues to see himself as the person in charge who can do as he wishes. Things change with time and the factory closes but he retains his wealth and position. Manolo eventually offers his services to the military who have tried to take over the country, going undercover with the subversives who want to have Communist rule.

At the same time Escriva (Charlie Cox) has become a priest, but one without enlightenment it seems. When he asks for direction from God, he receives it and then approaches his superiors with the idea he feels God sent to him. It is this idea that begins the formation of the group known as Opus Dei. But rather than be depicted as fanatical murderers we are presented with an order that follows the guidelines of everyday people uniting to worship and to follow God's word through their daily lives. Each person involved follows the same rules that priests would follow without being ordained. Escriva believes that in this way all can become closer to God.

The problem with Escriva though is one that involves the church during the Spanish Civil War that is going on around them. The subversives want nothing to do with the Catholic Church, going so far as to kill priests in the streets. Escriva's group must meet behind closed doors, worshipping but not openly.

While this is going on Manolo has infiltrated the subversives. He routinely sends information via radio to the military which disrupts much of which these fighters set out to accomplish. While undercover he also falls in love with one of the female fighter who wants nothing to do with him. She shares herself with the leaders and most fierce fighters, but holds back from Manolo. It just makes her more alluring to him.

These two divergent paths must cross at some time and they do. But not before we witness the reality of who these two men really are, the acts they perform for their different beliefs and how their world changes around them.

Director Roland Joffe has been connected with movies that take on the ideas of God and man in many forms, most notable with THE MISSION and THE KILLING FIELDS. Here he once again provides an outsiders view, a look that neither encourages nor dissuades the beliefs of the viewer. Instead we have an open minded look at a topic that is rather touchy for most.

As I said at the start, the movie might sound stuffy if all you heard about was Opus Dei and the Spanish Civil War. But after watching it made me more interested in both topics. You'll find yourself surfing the web looking for info on both or seeking out reading material. And the movie itself will hold your interest from start to finish. Well made, well directed and well acted, it should have been and Oscar contender. My guess is when the subject matter of God came into play it was unofficially disqualified. Their loss perhaps but your gain should you decide to watch.

Click here to order.

THE WHISTLEBLOWER: SAD BUT TRUE


I've never been a big fan of message movies. It seems far too often the message gets lost in the whims of the director or actor involved and the real story is buried. But occasionally a movie comes along where the story being told, the facts beneath it all, are so strong that they ease their way into you brain and ferment there, taking hold and forcing you to witness what it was all about. THE WHISTLEBLOWER is one such movie.

It's 1999 and Rachel Weisz stars as Kathryn Bolkovac, a police woman with problems. Her ex-husband has sued for and won full custody of their daughter and is moving her to Georgia. Kathryn requested a transfer to the Georgia State Police but they don't have any openings at the moment and with a mortgage to worry about she can't just up and move. Then fate steps in and provides her with a chance to make great money for just 6 months work. That job is as a privately run security force connected to the United Nations forces working in Bosnia.

Kathryn takes the job thinking she'll just be doing regular police work in another country, helping folks in need and having her back watched by fellow officers. Her first taste of controversy arrives when she comes to the aid of a Muslim woman constantly beaten by her husband. The local police could care less since she's a Muslim. Through her knowledge of law and the with the help of a sympathetic officer, Kathryn gets justice for the woman, a first concerning Muslim women in the area. This comes to the notice of others at the United Nations.

Kathryn is offered a chance to work in the Human Rights commission and jumps at the chance. During one of her investigations she learns of a group of young girls who have been severely abused to the point of torture. In talking to them they lead her to investigate a local bar where she finds pictures of the girls being sexually and physically abused in the worst conditions possible. A room with dirty mattresses and chains to hold the girls is found with used condoms and needles strewn around. In checking the pictures she finds Kathryn discovers that various members of the private contractor peace force she joined are a part of this group as are members of the local police.

Kathryn takes this news to her supervisor and is asked to pursue the matter. She talks one of two girls into testifying about the abuse and the men who were involved. Called away, her ally in the force takes the girl to testify only to be ambushed and have her taken from him. Returned to the hole she was removed from, the young girl is tortured in front of the rest on hand as a way of showing them what will happen if they talk.

Kathryn continues to search for the young girl in hopes of finding her and honoring her promise to keep her safe. Seeing the girl's mother who arrived before she was taken only causes Kathryn more pain. With no one to help her, with all those around her viewing her as the enemy, she finds aid in the group she's worked for at the UN.  Can she save this young girl in time?

The end of the story in real life had so so results. The employees of the company involved in the story were removed from the area but not tried in court. An investigation into human trafficking was begun and the depth of the problem was unimaginable. But the costs involved were high. The career of Kathryn Bolkovac was ruined. The problem though slowed remains.

The great thing about this movie is that it doesn't pull punches. It wants you, the viewer, to realize just how bad the situation is. It wants you to see just how hopeless the lives of these girls become. And it wants you to know that there are people in this world possessed of an evil so overpowering that human life means nothing to them. In a world where we consider the disruption of cable in the middle of a game to be horrific, its hard to imagine a world like that depicted here. But perhaps with movies like this more people will be made aware.

Weisz does a tremendous job here pulling out both the naive ness of her character at first and then the realization that she may have taken on more than she could handle. The feeling of being helpless in a foreign land, of not knowing who you can trust, is on full display in her performance and she does it with ease. You will believe she is Kathryn Bolkovac. And you will realize that this problem is not one that will go away easily.

Click here to order.

CSI-GRAVE DANGER: TARANTINO TAKES A TURN


Fans of the TV series CSI (the first one set in Vegas) are dedicated fans. Who would have guessed that among those many fans was director Quentin Tarantino? It turns out he was a die hard fan of the series so when they called back in 2005 and asked if he'd be interested in directing an episode he jumped at the chance.

This presented something new for the director. Rather than hash out who the characters were he was about to direct he was walking into a group of actors who were as well versed in their characters as he was. The same held true of the crew for the series. This was a family atmosphere Tarantino was walking into and not one that he was a part of. But he blended in immediately and was welcomed by the entire ensemble. The result was an episode that when the dailies came in the folks behind the show opted to make it a two part episode rather than cut anything they found it so good.

The episode begins with CSI officer Nick Stokes (George Eads) being called to a crime scene. The officer on hand shows him a pile of what looks like intestines with a small blood trail. It's enough to make the officer puke but Stokes passed that reaction long ago. As he follows the trail of evidence away from the initial scene he's chloroformed and kidnapped. He wakes to find himself buried in a glass coffin beneath the ground with a tape recorder and an automatic pistol.

Word reaches the CSI headquarters and no money or manpower is spared. They process the scene to find clues to lead them to rescue Nick. It's not long before word reaches the group along with a thumb drive that provides them a link. When it requests them to watch, it switches on lights and a camera in the coffin so they can see Nick suffering.

Nick's parents are contacted and they begin to try and raise the million dollars for the ransom of Nick. Knowing they won't be able to do so in time, Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) contacts her casino owning father for the funds. While you would think a simple transaction between CSI leader Gil Grissom (William Peterson) and the kidnapper (John Saxon) would by simple it is far from it. Rather than take the money, Saxon blows himself up. Once more the CSI team must sift through the clues they find in the hopes that they can rescue Nick before his air runs out.

This episode was different than most in that it first involves a member of the CSI team as a victim rather than just an investigator. That allows the cast to offer something more than usual. While they might be seeking justice for others throughout the show, this time it becomes personal. This time we are allowed to see more emotions play out instead of the cold veneer that is usually displayed at crimes scenes they go to. Sure they care at each one, but this is one of their own.

I can't recall ever seeing an episode of CSI where the acting wasn't among the best available on television. And as the series has progressed it's as if these actors were portraying themselves as opposed to characters. But the truth is they are acting and doing it better than many actors around. Each one offers something new to their roles in this episode and Eads displays more emotional depth than he'd been allowed to previously. To show the fear of dying buried alive could be played over the top but here he offers a fear that you feel in your bones.

So does Tarantino make this one his own? In some ways. There are scenes that play like pieces of his films, one of which was improvised by actors Eads and Gary Dourdan as Warrick Brown. It takes place in the CSI locker room and they have a back and forth discussion about their lives that Dourdan says was their moment to do a Tarantino riff much like the "royale with cheese" moment in PULP FICTION.

Fans of the series will want to make sure they add this one to their collection. Not just to complete it but to make sure they have all the extras they could hope for involving cast interviews and more. Having it on blu-ray only makes it better. And for Tarantino fans who want to own everything he's ever done, this is your chance to own the show without having to fork out for the entire series.

Click here to order.

I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT: PERFECTLY PARKER


Sarah Jessica Parker is an actress that most folks either love or hate. Some think she's adorable and others think she has horse like features.  Some think she's a tremendous talent while others think she's a hack. For me I think she fits somewhere in the middle. She may not always pick the best movies to make but she does her best and excels at romantic comedy. This brings us to I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT.

Parker stars as Kate Reddy, a financial consultant trying to make her way to the top. But she's more than that. She's also the mother of two adorable children. And she's married to Richard (Greg Kinnear), a husband who adores her and supports her career all while having his own as an architect. Kate also does her best to make herself a part of her kid's lives via PTA, etc. And all the mom's just can't get how she can do it all and have it all. But things aren't as great as they seem.

Trying to juggle each and every aspect of her life Kate seems on the surface to be handling things perfectly. But behind the scenes things are about to implode. She's just been given the go ahead to promote a project to Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan) in New York and has to spend more time on the road. She's beginning to get her schedules mixed up as well as just who she's sending email to and planned holiday time just doesn't seem to work out.

But Kate tries her best. Along for the ride are her close friend who's amazed at her capabilities (Christina Hendricks), an assistant who's cool demeanor hides a dazzling brain and loyalty (Olivia Munn) and a boss who appreciates her skill more than anything else (Kelsey Grammer). Each affects her life but not nearly as much as Jack and her family. While Kate and Jack work together, they seem to becoming closer than she might like. And the business side of her life is taking over the private side and hurting things at home. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a tear jerker with tawdry items happening but a light hearted comedy.

Parker does a great job here as Kate, the bedraggled mother who wants it all and is doing her best to have it. She shows the competent Kate in the office but balances her out with the frazzled Kate trying to make sure her contribution to the bake sale is perfect for her daughter. She does it all with ease.

The supporting cast does a great job as well. Kinnear plays the happy husband who thinks his wife has it all under control but begins to worry when her job takes over her life. Brosnan is the always cool businessman who finds Kate charming. Both men in her life take up most of her time but in the end we know where Kate is going.

Many will probably say that this film offers far too much fluff and not enough heavy handed drama. So what? There are times when fluff is a good thing. Sit back and enjoy it now and then and stop thinking movies have to be filled with bad things to be good.

I've never been a big Sarah Jessica Parker fan but have always found she's been a good actress in most roles. She shines here. Fans will adore her no matter what. And for those who aren't this movie may just offer enough to make you become one.

Click here to order.

SINNERS AND SAINTS: BAD TIMES IN THE BIG EASY


It seems that beleaguered cops that take on criminals who are armed more like terrorists than criminals and then shoot those same criminals are held up to more scrutiny than the bad guys in films these days. A bad guy opens up with a machine gun and a rocket launcher on the police. After a chase, the policeman shoots the bad guy with a .45 and yet the public outcry is for the officer. I know, this is oversimplification but then again we're talking about a movie that may run anywhere from 80 to 120 minutes. The fact is in movies these days the police are often portrayed as more flawed than those they are trying to stop.

Such is the case with SINNERS AND SAINTS. Johnny Strong portrays Det. Sean Riley, a New Orleans police officer who is facing major inquiries into his abilities for shooting criminals that shoot first and answer questions later. The movie opens with his partner being killed and another officer shot by a group they came to question. When they return fire and take out the bad guys, guess who might be brought up on charges and taken off the streets? Yep, the police.

But there is more going on with Riley than just his partner's death. As the film proceeds we discover he's dealing with the death of his child and a divorce. His long time friend Colin (Sean Patrick Flannery) is completely unaware of this when he shows up out of the blue. They may have grown up together but they took separate paths. Colin always seems to end up in trouble. Before he leaves this time, he presents Riley with a gift that goes unopened.

To keep Riley on the force his commander places him with a new partner, a homicide detective named Will Ganz (Kevin Phillips). Ganz is more the usual police detective, wears a suit and tie and digs for clues more often than interrogating suspects. The two would seem a perfect fit and actually do compliment one another. As they begin working together they start investigating a series of murders where the victims are tied to chairs and lit on fire only to have the flames extinguished and started over and over again. It's a particularly cruel form of torture but leads them to realize this isn't about serial killing; this is someone searching for something.

As they track down clues and informants Colin's name comes up which puts Riley in a particularly bad situation. True to his duty, he seeks out his old friend with the hope of helping him before those responsible for these torture murders find him first. The clues lead to a group of mercenaries rather than street thugs. And the local street gang that suffered the loss of their leader's brother wants vengeance as well. What secret does Colin have that would cause these mercenaries to search for him?

There is a spate of films being released straight to DVD these days from various companies, never making it to the local theater that uses several screens for their one hit film. Some are terrible and others like this one worth seeing. It may not feature a mega-star in the lead role but Strong is a credible actor who is quite believable here. Not only can he act, he handles the action portions of the role fine as well.

The story is more believable than most as well. When the reason for the mercenaries search comes out and Colin's ties to it, it seems plausible.

The weakest part of the movie is Phillips. He honestly seems to be trying his best but at the same time seems like he is acting rather than just being the role. Perhaps with time he will get past this. Let's hope.

On the whole this movie isn't one that will result in repeated viewings but will offer a decent night's entertainment for fans of police stories, mysteries and action films. And with the performance he offers one hopes that Strong will find the perfect vehicle to take him to star status.
 
Click here to order.

ALLEGED: PERFECT TIMING


It seems that the knowledge people have these days comes from the easiest source and that more often than not is the television. The sales of newspapers are down and it seems the art of discussion is rare these days. Fortunately the internet has changed some of this but even there a ton of misinformation can be found. So imagine what it must have been like years ago when the only source of information was the newspaper.

That's the basis of the story found in ALLEGED, a different takes than we've witnessed before concerning the Scopes monkey trial. For years the only way to learn about this trail was through the film INHERIT THE WIND. I've always loved that film, in particular the acting done by both Spencer Tracy and Frederick March. But that movie made it seem as if the trial was the result of the people's wills often depicting anyone who was religious as fanatical.

This time around we have a different story. Instead of the trial being brought about by a teacher who has a fire burning inside of him to teach students about Darwin we instead have a town that's slowly fading that needs a hook to get folks into town again. They recruit the local science teacher into saying he believes in Darwin so that they can get people riled up about the question of creationism versus evolution.

Pulled into the midst of this whole circus is Charles Anderson (Nathan West), a reporter for the local newspaper whose father was the owner years ago. He wants to move on to better things, to the big city where he can achieve fame like his idol, H.L.Menken (Colm Meaney). Menken was the leading journalist of his time and one of the most read. Getting him involved means more folks hearing about the town and then coming for the trial.

To make it an even bigger event, the townsfolk get the best speaker they can find for the prosecution, Williams Jenning Bryan (Fred Dalton Thompson). Bryan has already decried the idea of evolutionism and the trial seems like a slam dunk. But then Menken and his paper bring in noted lawyer Clarence Darrow (Brian Dennehy) for the defense. What seemed like a slam dunk is now a case that will be viewed and used across the country.

In the middle of it all is the story of Charles. He becomes caught up in the spectacle of the entire situation more interested in impressing Menken than in reporting facts. And while hanging around with Menken he is tutored in the art of twisting a phrase or creating a story where none exist. This was the state of journalism at that time and is represented much more here than in INHERIT. Charles becomes so invested in the lines and way of life Menken presents him that he nearly loses the most important thing in his life, his fiancé Rose (Ashley Johnson). It isn't until a crisis slaps Charles in the face where he must decide to either tell the truth or become a part of the bigger world where truth is not told but created.

The movie is well made but appears to settle into the made for TV format in feel and appearance. This movie would not have made much released to the box office. But it does offer a nice evening's entertainment as well as offer a new look at an old story.

It also has the ability to make you think differently when looking at the news. How much of what we are told these days is the truth and how much of it is twisted to suit the needs of those in charge of dispensing the news? Many claim that FOX is little more than this but the fact of the matter is that in these days EVERY news network has their own agenda when it comes to the news they disseminate. It is rare to find the absolute truth without digging deeper to find it.

Perhaps it is this reason that more people are turning away from the major news networks we all grew up watching and trusting. Too many fake stories, too many stories that turned out to be twisted and too many stories that were ignored to support one side or the other. I think that's a good thing. People need to look deeper than the surface no matter what the outcome. And with movies like this at least getting made, perhaps more people will take the time to do so.

Click here to order.