|Table of Reviews|
Brian Banks – Review
Brian Banks – Budget of $10 million – 1 hour and 39 minutes
Brian looks across at the park he played on as a kid and remembered the freedom he felt. He walks into the Long Beach City College, suits up, and plays a great game of football. It’s not Santa Clara University but Brian is happy to be there and happy to play. After the game, Brian gets a phone call from his parole officer. A new law was just passed in California. Anyone on parole for a sex crime will be fitted with an ankle monitor. They must wear an ankle monitor all the time. They have to charge it in the morning and at night. If they tamper with it, they will be sent back to jail. If they leave their approved areas or come within 200 ft of a school or park, the P.O. will be alerted. The last rule catches Brian’s attention. Brian implores his P.O. to make an exception so he can continue to go to school and play football, but the P.O. says no. Brian gets in his car and screams. Leomia, Brian’s mother, tells him to write the California Innocence Project again. But she advises him to take a different approach. Instead of writing about his case, he should write about himself. Justin Brooks, the founder of the C.I.P calls Brian. He explains a few points.
- CIP works for people in jail, Brian is currently on parole
- Brian took a no-contest plea, which can only be fought with habeas corpus
- You can only file a habeas corpus if there is new evidence or a recanted statement by the original plaintiff.
- While there was no DNA found in the plaintiff or the scene, it was never used in the original case. Since Brian’s original lawyer had it and didn’t use it, they can’t use it now
- The plaintiff received $1.5 million from the school because the school didn’t protect her, so she won’t recant.
With all this information, Justin advises Brian to keep his head down and finish his parole in a year. Then, he can live his life as a free man. Brian explains that he is on the sex offender’s registry list. If he doesn’t clear his name, he will be on the list forever. He will never be free and his NFL dreams will be over. Justin refused to give Brian hope and can’t take his case. So, Brian takes matters into his own hands. Writing the habeas corpus himself, Brian lists the C.I.P as his lawyers. Of course, this triggers a copy to be sent to the C.I.P. Justin is impressed with Brian’s legal knowledge and takes the case. They have 1 year to clear Brian’s name or he will be on the list forever. It will take a ping on his computer to get the ball rolling.
Based on What Set Me Free by Brian Banks, Brian took lessons taught in jail by Jerome and continued to apply them after he was released from jail (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). Jerome gave Brian As a Man Thinketh and Brian treasures that book. This movie will make you uncomfortable. And it should. The gross injustice Brian suffered is a real-life nightmare people deal with every day. While the law says ‘innocent until proven guilty’, this movie proves that statement is likely ‘guilty until proven innocent’. Each time Brian makes a step forward, he is slapped back down. You will get a pain in your chest for him. When Brian gets success, you will cheer. Sit back and watch Brian get the justice he was denied.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
F*** the system – Brian Banks
Ok – Justin
The car payment can wait. Your happiness can’t, Brian. You deserve happiness. Not shame. Not guilt. Happiness. – Leomia
The only thing you can control in life … is how you respond to life – Jerome Johnson
The Farewell – Review
The Farewell – Budget of $3 million – 1 hour and 38 minutes
Billi talks on the phone to her grandmother, Nai Nai, living in China. Nai Nai worries about Billi living in New York. She hears all the scary stories about people being robbed. Billi worries about her grandmother’s health. Nai Nai questions Billi about her fellowship but Billi says she never got a response. However, she is holding the rejection letter in her hand. Billi questions her Nai Nai about the sounds in the background of her call but Nai Nai says she is at her sister’s house. Nai Nai is lying. She is at the hospital waiting for the results of her scan. The two women hang up, regretting the lies. Billi goes to her parents’ house to wash her clothes. Her mother, Jian, tells Billi they are going to China. Her cousin Hao Hao is getting married. Billi is confused. Hao Hao met Aiko 3 months ago. Billi asks if Aiko is pregnant. Her mother puts her head down. Her parents explain that Hao Hao is getting married because Nai Nai has stage 4 lung cancer. She has been given 3 months to live. Billi wants to go to China and see her grandmother before she dies. Jian tells her no. Jian explains that the family has decided to follow tradition and not tell Nai Nai she is dying. Tradition tells them people who get cancer, die. But it’s not cancer that kills you, its the fear. They worry that Billi won’t be able to keep the secret. So, they want her to stay in New York. A few days later, Billi – to the surprise of her parents and the rest of her family – knock on Nai Nai door. She has to walk the line of Chinese tradition she was born into and the American way of life she lives in today. Can she bear her Nai Nai’s burden for her family or will she expose the secret?
Based on an actual lie, be prepared to tear up as these actors deliver an honest and loving performance. You feel compassion for Billi as she struggles with the decision to tell her grandmother. You almost start to judge the family. Until they explain their reason for lying. Then, it makes perfect sense. This movie is mostly in Mandarin, so it’s 90% subtitled. However, this won’t bother you. The story is so compelling, it’s like reading a great book. You will be drawn in. Sidenote: Bring food. There is so much good food in the movie, you will get hungry.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
I quit because I was about to get fired – Billie
I just don’t like to put my emotions on display, like I’m in the zoo – Jian
It’s a good lie – Dr. Song
Stupid child, teasing me – Nai Nai
Good Boys – Review
Good Boys – Budget of $20 million – 1 hour and 29 minutes
Tweens Max, Thor, and Lucas call themselves the Bean Bag Boys. They are trying to navigate through their first year of middle school together. One day, a popular kid dares them to take a sip of beer. Max does it but Thor does not. Thor is labeled ‘Sippy Cup’ but Max has gained respect. Soren calls Max over to the cool table during lunch and invites him to a party. Soren warns him that it will be a kissing party with girls. Max accepts the invite if Lucas and Thor can come too. Soren thinks Lucas and Thor are basic. But Max stands up for his friends, scoring them an invite too. Max walks over to their table and tells them they are invited to a kissing party with the cool kids. Only problem: none of them have ever kissed a girl. Max is excited because his crush Brixlee will be there. First, they look-up kissing on the internet and are horrified. Then, they find Thor’s parents’ “CPR” doll but it’s a little crusty. Finally, the boys have the idea to use Max’s dad’s work drone. Max’s dad has warned him to never touch it. But Max gets it and attempts to spy on Thor’s female neighbor hoping to see her kiss her boyfriend. Before they can see a kiss, Thor and Max flight over the drone controller. The girls see the drone and knock it down. Now the boys must get the drone back or they will be grounded and Max will never get to Soren’s party and kiss Brixlee.
This is a coming-of-age story meets Superbad (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). If you can handle little kids kissing, cursing, and unknowingly playing with adult toys, then you can handle this movie. Anyone else will be wildly uncomfortable. While their crazy adventure leads these boys to a frat house, a paintball fight, and a quest for Molly, you are given small glimpses to remind you that they are still kids. Lucas is constantly telling the truth. Thor just wants to belong. And Max wants to kiss his crush. They like D&D, Fortnite, and climbing trees. At heart, they are kids trying to get to the next stage in life together. This movie embraces that journey is the funniest way possible.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
What about me? I’m I just gonna have to sit here – Lucas
Do you know what it’s like to want to rub up against a tree all the time – Max
Shut up, Atticus. Your dad has 2 DUIs. That’s why he has to take the train to work every day – Thor