Rated R for profanity, drug use and disturbing violence
Beltway Sniper Saga Revisits 2002 Reign Of Terror In D.C. Area
In October of 2002, the entire Washington, D.C. area was practically paralyzed by a series of sniper attacks that was difficult to solve because the murderers didn’t fit the typical serial killer profile and there was neither rhyme nor reason for how they picked their victims. Plus, the shooter’s perch was inside the trunk of a car, a blue Chevy Caprice with a peephole bored out of the trunk.
That not only afforded the pair plenty of cover but enabled them to make a fast getaway from the scene of each crime. Meanwhile, the general populace waxed hysterical, having no idea from which direction the next bullet might come.
If you’re interested in understanding what motivated the two madmen behind the bloody spree, then Blue Caprice is designed with you in mind. Directed by Parisian Alexandre Moors, the movie co-stars Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond as John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, respectively.
Early on, we learn that the former was an ex-Marine who stopped the latter from drowning himself down inAntigua, then adopted the suicidal teen and brought him back to the States. The two subsequently dropped anchor in Tacoma where the Svengali-like taskmaster introduced his malleable protégé to military-type training, including the use of guns.
However, something in John’s brain snapped when his ex-wife got a restraining order that prevented him from seeing his children. That’s when he decided it was time to pull up roots, relocate to D.C. and start hunting for humans.
I’m not sure to what extent the director would like the audience to empathize with either of these disgusting perps. I knowHollywoodlikes to make martyrs out of mobsters and murderers, but it usually waits at least a generation or two before romanticizing their life stories.
So please pardon this critic for finding it hard to stomach a sympathetic send-up of such despicable characters. At least Muhammad has already been put to death, and his accomplice is serving life without parole and will never again see the light of day.
Good (2 stars)
Running time: 93 minutes
Best Kept Secret
Moving Documentary Chronicles Dedicated Teacher’s Selfless Efforts On Behalf Of Her Autistic Students
Janet Mino teaches at JFK High inNewark, a public school for students with special education needs. By 2012, she had been working with the same small group of autistic boys for four years, which meant that they would all be graduating together in the spring.
Understandably, Ms. Mino had grown quite fond and rather protective of her class, given how autistic kids are generally sweet souls of unfathomable innocence. In addition, she knew that upon aging out of the system and receiving their diplomas, they would essentially be forced to fend for themselves in a hard, cruel world not inclined to lend a helping hand.
For that reason, she devoted much of their senior year to preparing them for life beyond the protective cocoon that she had so lovingly created. That’s why she asked them where they would like to work, whether in a fast food restaurant, a factory or elsewhere, with the hope that she might be able to help them avoid ending up vegetating at home, institutionalized, or even out on the streets.
Therefore, after school hours, she would visit various local establishments to pressure potential employers to take a chance on a child with autism. Otherwise, without the daily stimulation of a structured environment, they were likely to lose the communication and interpersonal skills she’d so carefully cultivated.
Ms. Mino’s heroic efforts are the subject of Best Kept Secret, as uplifting a documentary as you are likely to see this year. The picture was directed by Samantha Buck, whose camera captures each of Janet’s pupils so intimately that you feel like you know them by the time that closing credits start to roll.
Furthermore, as the tears stream down your cheeks, you can’t help but worry about how each might be faring today. If this movie’s aim is to find the deepest spot in the audience’s heart, then bull’s-eye!
A magnificent tapestry of touching relationships more like mother and child than student-teacher. When scientists figure out how to clone humans, they ought to start with Janet Mino.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 85 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening September 20, 2013
Battle Of The Year (PG-13 for profanity and rude behavior) Musical drama about buddies (Laz Alonso and Josh Holloway) who assemble a talented, hip-hop dance team with dreams of bringing the B-Boy trophy back to the U.S. for the first time in 15 years. Cast includes Chris Brown, Josh Peck and Caity Lotz.
Prisoners (R for pervasive profanity and disturbing violence) Hugh Jackman stars in this vigilante crime thriller as a desperate father who decides to take the law into his own hands after being frustrated by the detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) handling the investigation into the Thanksgiving Day kidnapping of his six-year-old daughter (Erin Gerasimovich) and her best friend (Kyla Drew Simmons). With Paul Dano, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo.
C.O.G. (R for profanity and sexuality) Quixotic character study of a Yale grad and “Child of God” (Jonathan Groff) who takes a job off the grid at anOregon apple farm where he fails to fit in with his fellow migrant workers. With Denis O’Hare, Casey Wilson and Dean Stockwell. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)
The Colony (Unrated) Sci-fi horror flick set at a frigid outpost during an Ice Age in 2045 when a band of beleaguered survivors find themselves not only fighting the elements but a horde of cannibals as well. Starring Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Zegers and Bill Paxton.
Enough Said (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, slapstick violence, crude humor and partial nudity) Romantic comedy about a divorced massage therapist (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who falls head over heels for a kindred spirit (James Gandolfini) whose embittered ex-wife (Catherine Keener) just happens to be one of her clients. Supporting cast includes Toni Collette, Ben Falcone and Amy Landecker.
Haute Cuisine (PG for brief profanity) Gustatory biopic chronicling the career of legendary French chef Hortense Laborie, who was summoned by President Francois Mitterrand to serve as his personal cook. (In French and English with subtitles)
Ip Man: The Final Fight (R for graphic violence) Martial arts biopic chronicling the later life of the legendary grandmaster (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang) when reluctantly forced out of retirement for a final fight against menacing mobsters from the dangerous underworld of the Triads. With Gillian Chung, Jordan Chan and Eric Tsang. (In Cantonese with subtitles)
Jewtopia (Unrated) Screen adaptation of the Off-Broadway play of the same name about two childhood friends (Joel David Moore and Ivan Sergei) who reunite as adults to help each other land their Ms. Right. Ensemble includes Jennifer Love Hewitt, Nicollette Sheridan, Camryn Manheim, Wendie Malick, Tom Arnold, Rita Wilson and Jon Lovitz.
The Muslims Are Coming! (Unrated) Tolerance is the theme of this concert flick featuring Muslim standup comedians as they attempt to combat Islamophobia by making uptight audiences laugh. With commentary by Soledad O’Brien, Russell Simmons, Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, Lewis Black and Janeane Garofalo.
My Lucky Star (Unrated) Romantic comedy, a prequel to Sophie’s Revenge, about a young woman (Ziyi Zhang) implicated in a diamond heist who falls for a spy (Leehom Wang) trying to save the world. WithYao Chen, Ruby Lin andAda Choi. (In Mandarin with subtitles)
A Single Shot (R for nudity, sexuality, profanity, graphic violence and brief drug use) Cat-and-mouse thriller about a hunter (Sam Rockwell) on the run from a gang of criminals after pocketing $100,000 he found next to the body of a teenager (Kelly Reilly) they had just murdered. With Melissa Leo, Jeffrey Wright and William H. Macy.
Thanks For Sharing (R for profanity and graphic sexuality) Recovery comedy revolving around a trio of sex addicts (Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins and Josh Gad) who bond while undergoing treatment in a 12-step program. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Joely Richardson, Alecia Moore and Patrick Fugit.