Blotter | Tuesday, March 21, 2017 Mar21

Blotter | Tuesday, M...

  Can I ask you something? How often does your interest in crime result in some moral handwringing? It’s a question I’ve been wondering about in launching this project and one I suspect some of you might wonder about, too. Do you have boundaries you’ve drawn for yourself that you...

Blotter | Thursday, ...

Blotter is your twice-weekly rundown on all things true crime happening in the world of movies, TV, podcasts, and beyond. We didn’t plan it this way, but it turns out that the middle of the week, in the middle of kind of a meh month (sorry, March) is a great time to kick off a true crime...

Blotter | Tuesday, March 14 Mar14

Blotter | Tuesday, March 14

Welcome to the first edition of Blotter, your twice-weekly clickable rundown on all things true crime happening in the world of movies, TV, podcasts, and beyond. Blotter is where I’ll aim to collect all the things you told yourself you were going to get around to checking out later, but all in one handy place. Some are timely news items, and some are recommendations for later viewing, reading or listening. As any true crime fan can attest, you might find the old buried next to the new: Louis Theroux’s 2015 documentary, My Scientology Movie finally saw a simultaneous streaming and limited theater release this week. You can read our review...

My Scientology Movie...

Overview: Filmmaker Louis Theroux sets out to make an objective documentary about Scientology, but when stonewalled by the church, he enlists the help of a former Scientologist and leaves conventional storytelling behind. BBC Films; 2015; Not Rated; 99 minutes. “When the going gets...

Be (Reluctantly) the Change You Wish to See in the World: A Cornetto Trilogy Appreciation Mar07

Be (Reluctantly) the Change You Wish to See in the...

Throughout the month of March, Audiences Everywhere will be sharing appreciation for film trilogies, including personal reflections from our writers on some of their favorites. This week, we’re starting with The Cornetto Trilogy. “Be (Reluctantly) the Change You Wish to See in the World: A Cornetto Trilogy Appreciation” Shortly before the release of Rogue One, amid all the media hoopla and internet chatter, something compelled my older sister to call me. Not a rare occurrence, but not a regular one either. She was calling, she explained, because she wanted me to know that I’d been there for the original, in ‘77. I hadn’t...

Want to Understand 2017 America? Watch Oklahoma City This Weekend Mar03

Want to Understand 2017 America? Watch Oklahoma Ci...

Overview: Two violent events mobilized the American far-right in the early 90s and inspired a former solider named Timothy McVeigh to carry out one of the deadliest acts of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history. PBS; 2017; Not Rated ; 113 minutes. How We Got There: This documentary-length episode of PBS’s long-running series American Experience painstakingly recounts the events that led to the explosive growth of the white separatist movement in the early- to mid-1990s and connects them directly to the deadly bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Though most have long intuitively understood the basics of the...

“This is the Zodiac Speaking”: Fincher’s Fil...

The story of what came to be known as the Zodiac murders began on December 20, 1968, though no one knew at the time how significant that particular shooting was to become. There’s no agreed upon date when the murders ended because the Zodiac—a moniker the killer gave himself—has never been identified. His shadow stretches until it just reaches into 1970, though attacks beyond 1969 have never been substantiated. For a period of just a bit more than a year, the Bay Area was paralyzed by the randomness and viciousness of these crimes. And that viral fear was spreading. Down in Los Angeles, the Tate and LaBianca murders committed by the Manson...

Mindhunter Trailer: Fincher Gives True Crime Fans ...

It looks like director David Fincher will be revisiting familiar ground in the just-released trailer for his upcoming Netflix series, Mindhunter—and with Fincher, that’s rarely a bad thing. He’s tackled serial killers before and if he manages to do on the small screen what he accomplished in Seven and Zodiac, expect this much-hyped series to be among the fall’s most-talked about premieres. The series is based on the book, Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, by John Douglas, a former special agent, who worked on some of the most high-profile cases of recent decades, including those of David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”), Dennis...

Happy Birthday, Paul Lieberstein, AKA “Toby”! Feb22

Happy Birthday, Paul Lieberstein, AKA “Toby”!

While the American version of The Office was filled with lovable oddballs (as was the British one, I’m sure, but I can’t with Gervais), for some reason, it was always Paul Lieberstein’s Toby that resonated with me. Toby radiated awkward sincerity in every interaction with his co-workers and the earnestness with which he approached his thankless job—which admittedly he was not terrific at, but look what he was working with—was laudable. His performance is endearing without being treacly, and somehow sad sack despite the likelihood he’s probably one of the most high-functioning people at the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin. So today we’re...

Samantha Sanders Talks Elle With Pop Culture Case Study Feb09

Samantha Sanders Talks Elle With Pop Culture Case ...

Where do you even start in a discussion of the power dynamics, the unflinching violence, and the sheer Verhoeven-ness of the mesmerizing French film, Elle? Lucky for me, the always-reliable and ever-curious David Hart of Pop Culture Case Study had that covered. You can listen to the conversation here. I hope you enjoy our lively discussion of each twist and turn of what, for me, was one of the most engrossing films of 2016. We even managed to keep our Isabelle Huppert fawning down to just a few minutes! (Be happy Hart didn’t give me unlimited time) If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe—and special thanks to Pop Culture Case Study...

Heed its Warning and Beware The Slenderman

Overview: An internet bogeyman inspires two Wisconsin girls to attempt murder in an effort to earn his approval, as recounted in this documentary that takes a closer look at the case and surrounding phenomenon. HBO; Not Rated; 2016; 114 minutes. “Some kids are just big believers”: Beware the Slenderman, premiering on HBO this week, is a long-awaited look at the story behind the vicious near-fatal stabbing of a young Wisconsin girl by two of her friends in 2014. The story gained national attention not just for the outlier aspect of its perpetrators—two 12-year old girls—but because of their declared motivation: To appease someone known...

The Founder is Almost Golden Jan23

The Founder is Almost Golden

Overview: Ray Kroc turns a single hamburger stand into one of the most successful business models ever—often at the expense of those along the way who help him. The Weinstein Company; 2016; Rated PG-13; 115 minutes. American Dreams: Rarely do the trailers before a film factor into its review, but it was impossible to miss something interesting that was happening in the 15 minutes before The Founder began. If film is a kind of projection of our collective psyche, right now we’re awfully anxious. And the studios seem to sense our fear. The previews I caught were about, in turn: Stalin’s 1932 takeover of Ukraine and the famine that followed;...

Netflix Hidden Gem #95: The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) Director: Henry Hathaway Genre: Western Paramount Pictures Synopsis: Four men return home for their mother’s funeral to find that the small Texas town they left behind is no longer very welcoming, in this classic late-era Western. Overview: Like any good Western, the climax of The Sons of Katie Elder plays out as a gunfight crescendo against a gorgeous backdrop. But the more satisfying emotional payoff happens near the beginning, as the four Elder brothers return home for their mother’s funeral only to be repeatedly shamed by everyone—from the town minister to the woman running the boardinghouse—for...

Netflix Hidden Gem #93: The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap (1961) Director: David Swift Genre: Comedy Buena Vista Distribution When The Parent Trap was released nationwide in June of 1961, love and marriage were on our minds. Life Magazine that week featured a cover touting “Weddings Worldwide” in its pages and in the White House a young family was seemingly living out our ever-after daydreams. June 21 was a Wednesday (it will be in 2017, too) and, if astrology is your thing, this was all taking place under the zodiac sign, Gemini—the twins. All of this is to say that it was a pretty auspicious time for Disney to release a movie starring a singular Hayley Mills as long-separated...

We See the Ships in the Distance on ApocalyptoR...

I never saw Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto when it was released in 2006. I remember being vaguely interested, appreciating that it seemed ambitious in scope and subject, and filing it away as a movie I’d maybe get around to. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen—not for years anyway. It wasn’t until a weekend, in the middle of doing a few loads of laundry, that I caught an afternoon cable showing. I sat down to watch just the opening scene to see what it was all about before getting back to the laundry. I didn’t move until the closing credits. So admittedly it wouldn’t take much to pull me away from laundry, but this afternoon must have been in...

The Edge of Seventeen Navigates the Awkwardness of High School Nov21

The Edge of Seventeen Navigates the Awkwardness of...

Overview: Four years after the loss of her father (and biggest champion), awkward and acerbic Nadine must learn to navigate the perils of 11th grade without lifelong best friend Krista, exiled by Nadine after hooking up with her popular older brother (and sometimes enemy), Darian. Sony Pictures Entertainment; 2016; Rated R; 104 minutes. Familiar Ground: It’s easy to immediately identify with The Edge of Seventeen since the viewer has likely been here before, whether in real life or at the movies. Awkwardness, it would seem, is a teenage universal. The story begins with a voiceover from Nadine (True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld) recounting to a...

The Violence of Grief and Coping Aug26

The Violence of Grief and Coping

‘Yes! Very funny this terrible thing is. A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea. If he tries to climb out into the air as inexperienced people endeavour to do, he drowns […] The way is to the destructive element submit yourself, and with the exertions of your hands and feet in the water make the deep, deep sea keep you up. ‘ -Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim If the simplest, conventional definition of an antihero is “one who lacks most, if not all, of the attributes of the hero,” then seasons 34 through 36 of my life explored a story arc rich in complicated motives, episodic freakouts and...