Confession Review

Confession is an interesting trial film that shows us different perspectives as we learn more about the case along with the jury. It starts out a bit on the slow side but once we cut to the court room then the race is on. It ends up being a pretty solid film with good pacing and writing throughout. Definitely a nice title to check out.

The film starts out with Lisa getting a letter from the guy who seems to be stalking her. Inside the letter are 2 tickets to a play and Lisa’s friend who has all the bad advice says they should go and see what this is about. Turns out that one of the lead performers in the musical is a man named Michael who wants to be with Lisa. Lisa refuses him but the guy continues to follow her around and even tricks the school Lisa is at into allowing him in. Ultimately they have a brief affair but before things can go much farther, Michael is shot dead by a lady named Vera. This ends up going into trial. Can the Jury figure out what possible reason Vera could have for murdering this guy or will it all be a mystery all the way through to the end?

The second half of the film takes us back to the events leading up to the shooting from Vera’s point of view. We already knew that Michael was not a good guy and these scenes serve to further illustrate that. He really just thinks he can get away with anything and the main issue is that he always seems to since nobody actually holds him accountable.

Take the first girl Lisa. Part of the annoyance here is that she tells him several times not to call or write to her but he does so anyway. She then ultimately agrees to see him so in a sense his pestering actually paid off. He just keeps on going and she keeps on letting him. He even pulls the whole “I have to see you because I’m moving away” card and I don’t buy it for a minute. Seems awfully convenient if you ask me. If he hadn’t been shot by Vera then it seems like the affair would have actually continued.

Then you have round 1 with Vera. So she ended up choosing Leonide over him and got married. Michael doesn’t let this deter him though and still keeps on writing her which is then something that she tries to hide from Leonide. She should have just told Leonide herself the instant she received the letter what had happened so that he would at least hear the truth before the gossip. Running over to Michael was not the right move.

Additionally, I don’t think it was smart to go to this party either. It was quite clear that the main villain still liked Vera as he flirted with her openly so getting drunk out of her mind was not a great plan. If Vera had to go to the party because she was bored, then at least don’t indulge in all of the drinks. It just ended up putting her in a very vulnerable spot which did not end well.

I mean, the villain’s the villain. He’s a pretty terrible character of course so that goes without saying. The heroes are the ones who needed to be better judges of character and just keep their distance the whole time. That would have really gone a long way here.

As for Leonide, he was very quick to believe the worst about Vera. She didn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence but you would hope that he could have heard her out a bit. As for splitting up, well it’s easy to see how that would happen. Once you’ve lost trust it is incredibly difficult to the point of being near impossible to get it back again. So once the doubt was there, you could say the marriage was already all but finished at that moment.

The best part of the film would be the actual trial for me though. I always like a good case and this one was really on point. You had all of the players talking tough from different sides. Vera certainly wasn’t helping her case by staying silent for so long but her defense attorney was really trying his best anyway.

The main prosecutor was a tough but fair man. He actually did allow himself to be lenient when needed while also staying tough on the case. One of his best lines is when he yells that the courtroom cannot be blackmailed by the accused and demands that the suitcase be opened up. Now, the judge is the one who ultimately makes that call but I loved his conviction. This guy was definitely not going to be pushed around and he made that quite clear.

The judge was also a compassionate man who did his best to make sure that the proper justice was served in this case. He wouldn’t allow for any incomplete ruling to make a mess of things. If you’re ever in court, this is the kind of guy you would want to be judge over the case. To an extent you could say the courtroom part even overshadows the actual flashbacks that we get because it is easily the most compelling part.

Confession is a strongly well rounded film. The writing is good and the movie moves at a decent pace once the court scenes start. My main issue with the film is mainly in the slow first half. The scenes with Lucy right through to the villain getting shot feel rather slow and uneventful. You’re waiting for something to happen the whole time. After that is when the film really gets going.

The other issue is that the two heroines just allow themselves to be pushed around far too much. Lisa didn’t want to get into a relationship but lets herself get strong armed into one while Vera was married but still ends up attending a party and getting super drunk in the presence of someone who has threatened her marriage several times. The characters really needed to stand their ground more.

Overall, Confession is a good film. It ends on a high note which is always important and the writing is on point. You’ll be engaged as you watch the film. Even if the intro slows you down a bit, just hang in there until we get into the courtroom and it’ll have been worth the wait. We definitely need more films that take place during a trial since it’s always such a blast.

Overall 7/10

Miracle on 34th Street Review

It’s time to look at a very iconic Christmas film. Miracle on 34th Street is a film that I know by reputation but I was never aware of the plot. I figured it had something to do with a kid finding out his father was a famous basketball player but clearly the sport spinoff is completely different. It’s definitely a solid film and one that holds up quite well throughout the years. Mixing Santa Claus with the court room is a recipe for success!

This movie starts off with Santa Claus deciding to take a break for a little while to see if New York understands the Christmas spirit. Unfortunately it seems that they don’t and buying gifts is all they care about. He quickly replaces drunk Santa at the annual Macy’s parade and is a big hit. His boss doesn’t believe in Santa but Mr. Claus aims to change that. Unfortunately a psychiatrist wants him out of the picture and tries to tell the world he is crazy. Santa is now in a legal battle to prove he is the real deal but the opposition has a smoking gun in the fact that they found his home address…in Long Island!

With almost every delusion there’s a point where it breaks and a point where it should burst if enough facts are provided against it. Often the individual in question will have an identity crisis, stay in denial, or suddenly be very rational about it. That’s not the case in this movie as Santa sticks to his theory that he is the real deal. Of course, nobody challenges him with the tough questions like how many presents he delivers a year or why he doesn’t live in the North Pole. We can probably assume that he was asked those questions in the original nursing home but it’s still a pretty interesting premise. The big question of course I believe he is Santa? I’m going to have to say No here. I just think there are too many strikes against him. The evidence is overwhelming and leaving his cane in the House is the only impressive part by the end. I like to think he left it there to hint to the leads that they should buy the house which could be done without the supernatural. Still, even if Kris Kringle is a little deluded here, he is still a pretty fun main character. Seeing him confront the drunk Santa was pretty intense even if you could argue that the drunkard won that battle. Santa can just be a little too naive and shocked at times to take on a battle weary New Yorker.

The cast is actually pretty solid as a whole. Doris is a likable enough lead and I was on her side of the debate. She has decided to raise Susan practically. She teaches her daughter early on that Santa is fake and shows her that there is a trick behind everything. It’s certainly a different way to grow up but I can roll with it. At the end of the day there isn’t much of a reason to believe in Santa. It’s not like it’s going to help you in the future. Unfortunately the message of the film is against her and that believing in a little magic is good for you. I don’t buy into it, but at least the message wasn’t shoved at the viewer too much. As it is most of the characters don’t believe in Santa and just use him for the publicity.

The romance between her and Mr. Gailey is a little weak though. Considering that they didn’t know each other pretty well, they got serious pretty quickly. I couldn’t really get behind that, but Mr. Gailey is also a fun character. He actually comes up with strategies to improve his odds which is commendable. Getting Santa to stay at his house was certainly a brilliant nice and one that really helped him out. He was also persistent in trying to get Susan to believe in Santa even if that did turn out to be a little trickier than expected.

Susan is a nice enough kid. She can still be rather greedy for her age as she immediately asks for a huge house to put Santa on the spot. Why couldn’t you ask for a doll house or something like that? Even at Santa’s big party she comes across as a big ingrate the whole time. This was a big moment for him and all of Macy’s, you’d think she could have at least pretended to be happy. Of course, she is just a kid so I’ll try to cut her some slack but it does support my theory that often times the kids can get in the way.

The supporting cast can be pretty solid as well. Doris has a colleague who is able to quickly get on board with the Santa idea. When an opportunity presents itself you have to quickly get with the flow or be swept away. In this case Doris may have been swept away if not for this guy’s quick thinking. Santa’s jolly actions of sending customers to other stores is crazy but it brought results so of course you would want to throw your lot in with him. Mr. Macy’s is also a very reasonable character and doesn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. His visions of the newspaper during the court scenes were certainly handled really well. When push came to shove, Mr. Macy’s was definitely ready. The guy from Gimbles was also pretty solid but at least from this movie it’s clear who is in the lead. Gimbles is merely following while Macy’s leads. It’s pretty nostalgic to see Macy’s as well since it’s been years since I set foot in there. I should probably change that one of these days.

Really the only bad character here was the self proclaimed expert who had a grudge against Santa. That guy was definitely not even meant to be likable though. The kid that Santa mentored was also on the annoying side I suppose. I keep on forgetting that the kid even exists since he really doesn’t even serve a purpose in the story. I guess they needed a reason for Santa to hit someone and get in trouble but I’m sure we could have had other routes. Santa definitely should not have gotten in the car with the others either. You always want to let the top boss know what’s up in case things get tricky.

As always I definitely enjoyed the courtroom scenes. Seeing them debate on if Santa exists or not is definitely an interesting concept. The mail delivery may have been on the really convenient side of things but I suppose we take those. Both sides did a decent job debating and in this case I would actually be against team Santa. After all, there’s no way that guy exists even if the post office has conceded. Putting the kid on the stand was a low blow as well. This is why you always want to leave the kids home before engaging in serious business.

Overall, Miracle on 34th Street was a really solid movie. The pacing was tight and it went from start to finish quite smoothly. I wouldn’t say that it ever dragged on and the writing was solid. Kris Kringle could tow the line on whether he was a good character or simply an annoying one the whole time. For the most part I would definitely say that he was handled well though. I think making him the real Santa would have made the film even better but I suppose they wanted to keep the grounded aspect of the movie. If you haven’t seen it yet then you should definitely check the film out. It’s got heart.

Overall 7/10

America vs. The Justice Society Review

It’s time to look at a very interesting Earth 2 story. I haven’t read almost anything with these guys except for the very old comics from way back in the day. This was an interesting way to find out about a lot of their adventures since then as the danger comes very close to home in this personal arc. I always root for America in films, but can I really root for them over my favorite heroes?

The plot is fairly straight forward. Shortly before dying, Batman gave his diary to an old scientist, who gave it to the newspaper to publish. The diary told a very frightening story about how the Justice Society actually worked for Hitler and the Nazi’s in World War II and have been covering it up ever since. Naturally, the Americans are outraged and decide to take the heroes to an unofficial trial to hear both sides of the story. The Justice Society decides that the best way to clear their name is to start from the beginning and recount their entire history to counter the diary’s lies. The thing is…are they lies? Robin isn’t so sure!

Naturally, this is Earth 2 so you should definitely expect some changes. This world seems to be farther in the future than Earth I so Superman and Wonder Woman are already quite old. Likewise, the Green Lantern and Flash have always been old in this place. The team isn’t exactly young anymore and the Sand Man has had a few strokes recently. They’re not in their prime, but they’re still tough enough to handle a villain or two when they pop up. That being said, old age has also changed them a little. Superman mentions a few times how he will probably abandon Earth so that he can finally retire with some peace and quiet. Wonder Woman wants to go back to the Amazons to take care of Steve Trevor, who’s in a pretty critical position after being injured recently and she does make a few outbursts in the comic.

This stresses the point that these aren’t the happy go lucky heroes that you are used too. Superman is even tempted to burn the diary several times even if it meant destroying something that could have been very important. Luckily, the heroes don’t take the easy route and even get a lawyer to help their case. That’s where the story really gets interesting and I was pleasantly surprised to see just how long the court case lasted. I’ve always been a big fan of seeing the courts so mixing that in with the superheroes was a winning combo.

That being said, it did come at the expense of the action as there are no real fight scenes to speak of in this collection. It’s all about trying to make a solid case and convincing the US that the heroes are for real and weren’t working for Hitler. The very premise is a little hard to swallow as you can’t imagine this ever being true and even the US acknowledges this except for the fact that Batman wrote it. That’s the only reason why anyone actually buys this.

Naturally, everyone reading the story probably figured that he had some kind of reason for doing this. Naturally, he did, but it was only a half reason. In the DCAU, it is acknowledged several times that Bruce Wayne actually believes himself to be Batman with Bruce Wayne as his alter ego. That seems to be the case here except it’s even more extreme as both of their personas now believe themselves to be completely separate. Bruce Wayne had gone crazy and was now completely suspicious of the League while Batman was still sane, but dying of cancer. It led to some interesting developments and Bruce making a lot of mistakes, which forced Batman into the ring. The plan was really convoluted and it’s hard to actually picture it succeeding, but this is Batman so we have to trust his plans.

If you haven’t read many Earth II comics before, then this can also be seen as a very large wrap up of just about everything that has ever happened on this planet. I believe some of the events may have been created for this arc, but I also think that most of them had simply happened and this worked as a nostalgia trip while reminding fans why they liked Earth II so much in the first place. It was definitely a pretty cool DC continuity even if the current Earth II is in shambles. This is really how Earth II should always be portrayed. An alternate Earth with similar heroes so that we can have more inspiring adventures!

Of course, due to the nature of the issues, there’s not really much to discuss. The heroes certainly saved the day very efficiently in all of their past cases and they won in the court setting fair and square. It was neat of the Spectre to offer to destroy this Earth though. A nice reminder of how powerful he is. Unfortunately, Robin did not look so good. He wanted to know Batman as a mentor who always took the right path so he decided to believe the diary. He mostly just spent every issue flinching, crying, and wondering why the heroes were trying to make Batman look so bad. It was their lives or Batman’s legacy and one has to hold more weight than the other.

I will admit that Batman’s version of the story was a lot of fun to read though. It was almost like an abridged version of a show as he showed many true events, but tried to make them look sinister by adding his own commentary. Batman essentially summarized all of the stories into one comic and then the Justice Society would expand upon that for the next 3 issues. It took a while to clear up the shadows that Batman had left, but the Society was certainly ready for the task. Superman and Wonder Woman were not really left in any danger since they weren’t accused of the same crimes (Even Batman couldn’t pull that one off) but they stuck around to support the team. All for one and one for all right?

The art is fairly solid as you can expect from a classic DC arc. The art definitely carries that retro feeling across while also being modern enough where you can picture it having some real action scenes. I definitely would not have minded a game changing villain for the ending to have a quick bout, but with the League members so old, the villain could not have been made to be That powerful. This League is definitely not as strong as the main one. Still, the good art just added another positive to the collection.

Overall, America vs. The Justice Society is a great DC collection. Finally, we get a full length court case where Superman and the rest of the League has to debate against the US. It would have been even better if Batman was here, but I suppose that the plot would have been completely different in that case. Still, the art is good and the writing is exceptional. You’ll be on the edge of your seat during the debate as the Judges continue to give the heroes a lot of time. You will need to be prepared for a lot of reading though as the collection is certainly very text based. Each page will take you about as long to read as 3-4 in the average comic. There is text everywhere as dozens of the team’s adventures finally come to light and we learn why they did not end the wars sooner. I’m going to miss the DC comics as I may not be checking one out in a while, but if you wanted to see a Superman who felt like Superman…this is definitely the comic to check out! It’s an AU future that actually feels fairly realistic and it could work with some mild tweaks in the New 52 someday.

Overall 8/10