Thursday, February 20, 2020     Volume: 20, Issue: 51
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
1917
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
AD ASTRA
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
BAD BOYS FOR LIFE
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: GRACE AND FRANKIE
BINGEABLE: INTO THE DARK
BINGEABLE: MAGIC FOR HUMANS
BINGEABLE: NATHAN FOR YOU
BINGEABLE: OUTLANDER (2014-present)
BINGEABLE: RUSSIAN DOLL
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: COOL RUNNINGS (1993)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FISH TANK (2009)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FRIENDS
BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: LONE WOLF MCQUADE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: OLDBOY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BLAST FROM THE PAST: ROBOCOP
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART
BLAST FROM THE PAST: YOU’VE GOT MAIL
BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON
CATS
DOCTOR SLEEP
DOLITTLE
DOWNHILL
DOWNTON ABBEY
FANTASY ISLAND
FORD V FERRARI
FROZEN II
GUILTY PLEASURE: THE HANGOVER
GUILTY PLEASURES: BARBIE LIFE IN THE DREAMHOUSE
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
GUILTY PLEASURES: GIRL MEETS WORLD (2014-2017)
HATEWATCH: 92ND ACADEMY AWARDS (2020)
HATEWATCH: CHOPPED
HATEWATCH: FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER’S MONSTER, FRANKENSTEIN
HATEWATCH: NAILED IT!
HATEWATCH: THE WITCHER (2019)
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
JOJO RABBIT
JOKER
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
JUST MERCY
KNIVES OUT
LITTLE WOMEN
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES
ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (EXTENDED CUT)
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE GENTLEMEN
THE LAST FULL MEASURE
THE LIGHTHOUSE
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
THE RHYTHM SECTION
THE TURNING
UNCUT GEMS
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: INSOMNIA
UNDERRATED: SHUTTER ISLAND
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
UNDERRATED: THE FALLING
YESTERDAY
ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

JUST MERCY

PHOTO BY COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES

JUST MERCY


Where is it playing?: Hi-Way Drive-In

What's it rated?: PG-13

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Destin Cretton (The Glass Castle) directs Michael B. Jordan as civil rights attorney and activist Bryan Stevenson, who works to free death row inmates who are wrongfully convicted based on racial bias. The film is an adaptation of Stevenson’s memoir, Just Mercy.

While the story and the message behind the film are powerful, the delivery falls somewhat short, as most biopics unfortunately do. I completely understand the director’s desire to keep the characters as realistic as possible and leave out the dramatic overkill, but with a cast like Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, and Rob Morgan, surely there could have been more of a punch packed into their scripts.

The film opens up in 1987 Alabama, when logger Walter McMillian (Foxx) is arrested for the murder of a young white woman, despite evidence proving his innocence. At the time of his arrest, McMillian is out in the woods working, and before police stop him—this being one of the most powerful scenes in the film—McMillian looks to the sky, a small freedom he never knew he would be deprived of. It’s a memory that McMillian holds onto (and revisits through the film) as he awaits death row.

Scenes like this carry the film, as it would otherwise be just a mundane and straightforward story. Cretton closely follows how the inmates are wrongfully convicted but also the attorney Stevenson, who is defending them.

Stevenson received a full scholarship to attend Harvard Law School; during his race and poverty litigation course, he worked for Stephen Bright’s Southern Center for Human Rights. The center represented death row inmates throughout the South, and Stevenson found his calling. After earning his degree, he takes on the McMillian case, his first case, and several others amid pushback from the community that can’t seem to reckon with the fact that an African American man was wrongfully convicted.

With each appeal that Stevenson files and McMillian’s memories of life outside his lonely prison cell emerge, I just can’t seem to get over how one-dimensional the characters are. Larson is also given a small role as Stevenson’s coworker, Eva Ansley, and (underrated) Morgan is given the role of Herbert Richardson, another inmate awaiting his end and reliving the actions that led to his sentence.

Racial injustice is at the forefront of the film, but it also touches upon a veteran’s PTSD that goes unchecked, corrupt law officials, and impoverished people who are victimized by law enforcement.

All of these points are extremely relevant today, and I wish the film had challenged viewers to open their eyes to that. (137 min.)

—Karen Garcia 








Weekly Poll
What do you think of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society merging with the Santa Barbara Humane Society?

I don't care who runs it, as long as they're still helping animals.
Hopefully it settles their funding issues.
It won't affect me. I get all my pets from breeders.
The entire county should operate as one Humane Society.

| Poll Results






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