Tag: True Crime

2019, Movies

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival

Once again I only saw 5 movies this year. As with previous years, the reason for that will become apparent in a month or so. But, as usual, we managed to do a pretty good job picking movies and only saw movie I wouldn’t recommend seeing, which is a pretty good ratio.

2016, Movies, TV

OJ: Made in America (2016, Ezra Edelman)

I must say I paid relatively little attention to the OJ trial. I think I watched the car chase and I remember our French teacher bringing in the TV to watch the verdict, but that’s about it. My memory of the entire case is more about perceptions of what other people thought rather than facts. …

2008, Movies

Changeling (2008, Clint Eastwood)

This is a weirdly told true crime film which turns what would have probably been a really interesting film into a bit of a mess. It’s weird watching a Clint Eastwood film and thinking it could have directed by someone with a surer hand. I’m not sure what happened here, but it’s really clunky, something …

1989, Movies

Chameleon Street (1989, directed by Wendell B. Harris Jr)

This is a bonkers film about the a Detroit con man who successfully impersonated many people, which really serves as a vehicle for its director-star’s interpretation of the real person, rather than any kind of piece of docudrama. It’s a crazy story but that story is subsumed in a crazy art film.

2019, Podcasts

Conviction (2019)

At this point it feels like there are far more true crime and criminal justice podcasts than I could ever listen to. Though it’s probably not true, it feels like there are more criminal justice and true crime podcasts than there are podcasts of any other genre. And many of them follow a similar formula, …

2018, Podcasts

Bear Brook (2018)

I listen to a lot of “true crime” podcasts. Way, way too many. But most of them are what you might call “criminal justice” podcasts; i.e. they focus on wrongful imprisonment stories rather than mysteries. I generally prefer these types of podcasts because they fuel my outrage at injustice, something I generally don’t indulge in …

2017, Books, Non-Fiction

Killers of the Flower Moon (2017) by David Grann

This book is an eye-opening story that is part true crime, part history and part investigation into one of the worst parts of American history, a story that has seemingly been mostly forgotten, due to the ethnicity of the victims and how it violates American national myths. It is an awful story, but it is …

2018, TV

Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist (2018, Barbara Schroeder)

This is a documentary miniseries about an absolutely bonkers crime, which shouldn’t be called America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist, but rather American’s Craziest Bank Heist, or America’s Worst Bank Heist. If you are interested in true crime, I would strongly recommend watching this, both for how it tells the story and how this particularly story – …

2017, TV

The Keepers (2017, Ryan White)

The Keepers is a fascinating, moving, infuriating and ultimately frustrating true crime documentary mini series both about who killed a nun in 1969 but, also, on a larger level, the moral corruption of the Catholic Church and the government authorities who have protected the Church or at least ignored complaints against it. HUGE SPOILERS but …

2017, TV

American Vandal (2017)

The best pop culture satires and parodies manage to combine a scathing critique of their target genre or conventions with a true enough adherence to those conventions that you actually end up scaring while you enjoy the critique. American Vandal is an excellent, note-perfect satire of true crime series like Making a Murderer that somehow manages to …

2016, Movies

Masterminds (2016, Jared Hess)

Masterminds is one of those films you marvel about how it got made. Despite the rather incredible comic cast, this is a film that feels like it was dumped on an unsuspecting public once the people making it realized how much of a disaster it nearly is. It is a film full of very funny …

2016, Movies

Amanda Knox (2016, Rod Blackhurst, Brian McGinn)

If you are like me, you paid little attention to all the stuff around Amanda Knox, the American 20-something who supposedly killed her roommate because of her deviant sexual interests and other odd interests and beliefs. If you’re like me, you didn’t even know what she was supposed to have done, beyond murder, because you …

2016, Movies

The Witness (2016, James D. Solomon)

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. I thought the story was apocryphal. Well, this movie is about her brother, his quest to find …

2014, Movies

Whitey: United States of America vs James J Bulger (2014, Joe Berlinger)

Somebody once said, it’s not integrity that matters, it’s the perception of integrity. One of the reasons people freak out at the more minor of political scandals – the ones where there are only hints of impropriety, or where bureaucrats or politicians are accused of over-spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars when the …

2011, Movies

Bernie (2011, Richard Linklater)

This is one of those films that is played so straight you aren’t sure whether or not it’s a comedy. It’s also rather unique in the sense that, though it is a fictionalized version of a true story, it’s not only partially told as if it was a documentary, but it features interviews with numerous …

2015, TV

Making a Murderer (2015, Moira Demos, Laura Ricciardi)

This is a documentary in the grand tradition of The Thin Blue Line, Paradise Lost and Brother’s Keeper, but with the time-span of something like Hoop Dreams or American Promise. And, as a 10-episode TV show, it adds nearly unprecedented depth to its subject, comparable only to a Ken Burns documentary series, or Shoah. SPOILER …

2015, Movies

TIFF 2015: The Clan (2015, Pablo Trapero)

Though I see a lot of movies – and I mean a lot of movies – and I can usually articulate what I like and don’t like in a particular film, there are always one or two where I feel like there is something wrong but I can’t articulate it, I just feel it. This …