The Witness (2016, James D. Solomon)

Categories: 2016 and Movies.

We’ve all heard the story of the woman who was murdered in New York City in sight of thirty eight people who did nothing, a story that told us all of the moral degradation of modern urban society. Well, this movie is about her brother, his quest to find out what really happened, and to finally come to terms with the death of his sister. SPOILERS Read More

American Experience: The Poisoners Handbook (2014, Rob Rapley)

Categories: 2014 and TV.

This is a fascinating history of both the emergence of forensic science in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, but also of homcidal (and accidental) poisonings in NYC. It’s a useful reminder about how much we take for granted in the criminal justice system but also in our food and other safety laws – we’re protected now, but we once weren’t, when people were able to sell radium-based “tonics” and cosmetics, for example. (Jesus tapdancing Christ.) Anyway, it’s interesting stuff and it’s on Netflix. 8/10 Read More

Killer Legends (2014, Joshua Zeman)

Categories: 2014 and Movies.

I remember sort of enjoying Cropsey, finding it kind of frustratingly made, but compelling enough to give it a pretty decent rating. I didn’t write a review, so I have no idea exactly what I liked/disliked about it. But watching this film, which could be called Cropsey II, I worry I was far too generous. This movie is a mess. It’s ostensibly about the origin of four major American urban legends. The research these guys do is so surface-deep, though, that I worry that it isn’t at all reliable. (They are willing to go back to the ’50s, pretty much, Read More

The Act of Killing (2012, Joshua Openheimer, Anonymous, Christine, Cynne)

Categories: 2012 and Movies.

Western religion, philosophy and even early psychology tells us that the world is made up of good and bad people, and their goodness and badness is based on some a priori concept of good and bad. Of course, this flies in the face of our daily experiences: people we label “bad” do good things (which we usually will not accept as “good”) and people we think of as “good” let us down, or otherwise do things we might think of as “bad”, with numerous variations between these two extremes. But we are taught differently in part because, even in this Read More