The newspapers virtually buried the riots in Greenwich Village that occurred over several days in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn and yet America’s social dynamics changed forever that September.
“Stonewall Uprising” is a well-crafted and informative documentary directed by Kate Davis (who also directed “Jockey,” previously reviewed here). Cracking down, primarily on homosexual establishments, was a tactic being used as leverage in the elections by New York City politicians. Prior to the raid on the Stonewall Inn, men and women kept a low profile to avoid legal prosecution and illegal physical attacks.
Director Davis interviewed men and women (now middle-aged and beyond) including a police officer in attendance, who all described the turn of the tide from that moment on. The crowd, to paraphrase the famous line from Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network” was “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!”
The outgrowth of the Stonewall riots still is being felt across the nation. Gays and lesbians are no longer restricted to meet in underground/Mafia-run establishments (like the Stonewall), but continue to fight for fairness and acceptance in the work place and the military. Gays and lesbians have equal rights in some states, but still are used by politicians who mislead the public with falsehoods to scare the uninformed.
“Stonewall Uprising” is a history lesson that offers the opportunity to educate and understand times gone by no matter when you were born.
No, the title of this documentary is not a typo! Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman interviewed dozens of noted screenwriters specifically about what it means to write for the movie business. Since making a movie is the ultimate in collaborative artistic efforts (and a far cry from being a novelist or playwright), the challenges for a wannabe writer go far beyond sitting in front of a computer.
To Hanson and Herman’s credit, he met with a wide and diverse group of writers and he addressed classic scripts penned by Paul Schrader (“Taxi Driver”), William Goldman (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”), Ron Shelton (“Bull Durham”), David S. Ward (“The Sting”) to contemporary mega-hits credited to Justin Zackham (“The Bucket List”), John Carpenter (“Halloween”), Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon”) to independent successes by Allison Anders (“Gas, Food, Lodging”), Antwone Fisher (“Antwone Fisher”), and Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption”).
More than 40 scriptwriters weighed in on various aspects of the “business” of writing and their comments proved far more revealing than any fictional account portrayed in the movies.
If you have an interest or know a family member who dreams of selling a script to Hollywood, there’s no better way to get a realistic grasp on the trials and tribulations than hearing from those who have “been there, done that.” Plus, “Tales from the Script” is entertaining.“Casino Jack”
As litigious as our society is, one assumes that a film based on actual people and events must be factual, otherwise the release of “said film” would be delayed in the courts until either public interest wanes or scenes are re-edited to avoid controversy. “Casino Jack,” based on the rise and fall of Jack Abramoff, a leading lobbyist in Washington, D.C., is filled with familiar names involved in not-so-subtle arm twisting.
Abramoff (Kevin Spacey) and Michael Scanlon (Barry Pepper) are partners without fear as they wheel and deal their way around K Street. To the tune of $40 million, they bamboozle Native Americans into believing they are the only lobbyists capable of handling negotiations with members of Congress.
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is “friends” with Abramoff and becomes caught up in the money laundering conspiracy along with several other congressmen.
Scene stealing is not technically a crime, but if it were, Jon Lovitz as sleazy businessman Adam Kidan would be guilty as charged.
Spacey may not be the typical leading man a la Harrison Ford, Robert Redford and Denzel Washington; however, he may be the most versatile, morphing into the current role with seeming ease.
Filmmakers aren’t history teachers. Their primary focus is on entertaining an audience. If along the way the viewer’s interest is piqued to learn more, it may be an added bonus.
BTW: Jack Abramoff was convicted and served four years of a six-year term. Michael Scanlon has been sentenced to 20 months in prison. Tom Delay is appealing his three-year felony sentence.
Rebecca Redshaw is an author and playwright who worked for 25 years in the film industry in Los Angeles. Copies of her book, SOFA CINEMA: An Easy Guide to DVDs, may be purchased at the Sequim Gazette. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grading this week’s DVDs: the ABC’s
Mon, Mar 19, 2012
Politics, political figures and spies
Tue, Mar 6, 2012
Tue, Feb 14, 2012
And now, reality
Mon, Jan 30, 2012
Looking back on the year that was (Part 1 of 2)
Wed, Dec 7, 2011
Film buffs should revisit ‘Northwest’
Wed, Nov 2, 2011
Conspiracy theories played out on film
Tue, Oct 18, 2011
Mix-ups, marriage and horse management
Mon, Oct 3, 2011
Going ‘Grease,’ locally and on DVD
Tue, Sep 13, 2011
It’s All About the Music
Fri, Sep 9, 2011