REVIEW: SIDE EFFECTS

 

CAST

Jude Law (Spy)
Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Vinessa Shaw (The Hills Have Eyes)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)

After her husband Martin completes a four-year prison sentence for insider trading, Emily Taylor drives into a wall in an apparent suicide attempt. Jonathan Banks, assigned her psychiatrist, prescribes a series of antidepressants, but none work. Jonathan contacts Emily’s previous psychiatrist, Victoria Siebert, who suggests an experimental new drug, Ablixa. The drug seems to help Emily, but gives her sleepwalking episodes as a side effect.
One night, Emily stabs Martin to death while sleepwalking. Jonathan fights for Emily’s acquittal in court. She pleads insanity and is declared not guilty on the condition that she stays in a psychiatric hospital until cleared by Jonathan. The publicity destroys Jonathan’s reputation, and his colleagues assume negligence on his part.
Jonathan discovers evidence that Emily is lying; she was not depressed and faked her suicide attempts. He also discovers someone may have profited from Ablixa’s fall in stock value. He interviews Emily after administering what he claims is a truth serum that will make her drowsy. Though the serum is actually a placebo, she feigns drowsiness, confirming Jonathan’s suspicion that she is deceiving him. When he confronts Victoria with his findings, she mails photographs to his wife Deirdre implying he had an affair with Emily. Deirdre leaves him, taking her son with him.
Jonathan calls Victoria’s bluff by telling her Emily told him about their plot. He threatens Emily with electric shock treatment and tells her Victoria is paying him to keep her incarcerated so she can keep a bigger cut. Emily explains that she hated Martin for losing their opulent lifestyle, and began plotting to kill him, get away with it and profit by his death. She began seeing Victoria for counseling, and the two women became lovers. Emily taught Victoria about the financial world, while Victoria taught Emily how to fake psychiatric disorders. They plotted to kill Martin and use the negative Ablixa publicity to manipulate stock prices. Jonathan accepts Emily’s offer to give him a cut of her money if he releases her from the ward.
Emily meets Victoria wearing a wire. After Victoria mentions details of the plot, she is arrested for conspiracy to commit murder and securities fraud. Emily, due to double jeopardy, cannot be charged as criminally responsible for her part in Martin’s murder. As retaliation for Emily’s part in the plot, Jonathan, who still oversees her case, prescribes her Thorazine and Depakote and describes their unpleasant side effects. She is sent back to the mental ward for refusing treatment, and Jonathan regains his family and reputation.It’s an edge-of-your-mind thriller rather than an edge-of-your- seat thriller. Never really scared, always questioning the moral and psychological behaviour of these characters. The ending takes some strange, sexually-charged turns, and perhaps a bit more conclusive than I was originally expecting, but don’t worry, you can still question where the line is between right and wrong and when each character crossed it.

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REVIEW: INJUSTICE

CAST
Chris Evans (Captain America)
Mark Kassen  (Jobs)
Marshall Bell (Total Recall)
Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider)
Jesse L. Martin (The Flash)
Vinessa Shaw (Eyes Wide Shut)
Roxanna Hope (No Reservations)
Michael Biehn (The Terminator)
Kate Burton (Stay)
Erinn Allison (The Return)
Tess Parker (The Ugly Truth)
Jennifer Blanc (Dark Angel)

Idealistic lawyers Mike Weiss and Paul Danziger are partners. Mike is a drug-addict and Paul is a family man with a pregnant wife. When nurse Vicky Rogers seeks them out, they learn that she contracted AIDS a couple of years ago when she was accidentally pinpricked with a contaminated needle by a violent patient. Vicky shows a retractable safety needle invented by engineer Jeffrey Matthew Dancort, who owns the Safety Point Company, but is unable to sell his product to any hospital from the United Medical group, apart from San Antonio Memorial. Danziger and Weiss accept the case and go to court against United Medical, defended by powerful lawyer Nathaniel Price. Soon, they see all the doors closed in their fight against the powerful mafia of the medical supply system.


Injustice is a movie somewhere between indie rawness and made for TV production values. That is to say it is humble, yet it doesn’t shoot itself in the foot as it begins with a single nurse’s AIDS infection and her desire to champion a family friend’s invention that would have prevented it. She sees a television ad for personal injury attorneys and, surprisingly to them, wants their services more so her friend’s invention can be implemented than for personal gain. The two attorneys in the shoe-string operation of Weiss and Danziger couldn’t be more unsuited for taking on the wealthy and powerful health-care establishment, yet due to Weiss’s obsessive interest in winning the unwinnable they do. Chris Evan’s portrayal of the drug-addicted Weiss drives this movie. Yes the story is solid, but the human frailty of Mike Weiss as brought to life by Evans is commendable. Weiss is a train-wreck of a person, however he is an unstoppable force who becomes a big thorn in the side of the health-care industries largest buying group. In spite of his drug use, he makes a case that scares the hell out of big pharma. Besides this being a compelling story, Chris Evans is the reason the viewer will want to watch this film.

 

REVIEW: THE 70S

CAST

Brad Rowe (Shelter)
Guy Torry (Runaway Jury)
Vinessa Shaw (The Hills Have Eyes)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Kathryn Harrold (Raw Deal)
Graham Beckel (Brokeback Mountain)
Laurel Moglen (Call Waiting)
Tina Lifford (Babe)
Leslie Silva (Odyssey 5)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Robert Joy (Amityville 3)
Michael Easton (Mutant X)
Peggy Lipton (The Postman)

 This was a much better movie than I expected. . This miniseries follows 4 young Kent State students throughout the ’70s decade as their lives change and they grow apart and eventually back toward one another. While the four characters are cliches, it would be difficult for this movie to show all aspects of the decade otherwise.3We follow all four- there is Dexter, the African-American who deserts the National Guard after Kent State and moves to urban LA, where he becomes a part of urban renewal and opens a theater playing popular “Blacksploitation” films like Shaft and Cleopatra Jones. Elieen is the Barnard grad who moves to NY to follow a boy but has her heart broken and becomes involved in her own career and the feminist movement. There is Byron, Eileen’s boyfriend, who goes from young Republican involved in Watergate to environmentalist and Alaskan pipeline oil worker. And finally there is Christie, Byron’s sister and Eileen’s best friend, a college drop-out who parties on the disco scene, dabbles in modeling and winds up in a San Francisco cult. This miniseries is a good bet if you want to learn a bit more about the decade and seeing it sans commercials is great!