ASK FOR JANE (2019)

May 16, 2019

 Greetings again from the darkness. Sometimes the message of a movie is so much more important than the production quality that we can look past the ‘how’ that would normally make watching a chore, and instead focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ to find enlightenment. Writer-director Rachel Carey’s first feature film, co-written with Cait Cortelyou, tells the fascinating story of The Jane Collective … also known as ‘The Janes’ and ‘The Abortion 7’. It’s yet another true life story that finds us asking ourselves, “How have I never heard of this before?”

The film opens in 1972 when abortion was still illegal. The camera focuses on women in a jail cell … women that seem quite out of place behind bars. We then flashback 4 years to a dorm room in Chicago, and female students are discussing the predicament of one of their friends. This leads to the development and early stages of the Jane Collective, a secret organization to assist women in obtaining counseling and abortion. This was a time when not only was abortion illegal, but doctors would often speak directly to a husband about medical options for their wife, leaving the women with little information and no power to make their own decisions. The film touches on just how desperate women were. Rat poison, self-punches to the gut, razor blades, knitting needles, and even jumping off roofs were all used as ‘solutions’ to a situation for which they were only half responsible.

Now depending on your views, you may find abortion unacceptable. This underground abortion network assisted 11,000 women between 1968 and 1973, when Roe vs. Wade legalized the procedure. This landmark legal decision put an end to the Janes, as well as the back alley con artists and dangerous methods women previously used. Co-writer Cait Cortelyou stars as Rose, a character based on the real life Heather Booth, a hero to many. Supporting roles are covered by Cody Horn, Chloe Levine, Sarah Steele, Ben Rappaport, Sophie von Hasleberg, Alison Wright, Danny Flaherty, and Michael Rabe (son of the late Oscar winning actress Jill Clayburgh). Judith Arcana, a real life Jane, has a cameo and was a consulting producer on the film.

With a budget of only $250,000 raised (fittingly) through grass roots donations, the film is not a slick Hollywood production; however, these are women from recent history who deserve to be recognized and remembered for their courage and commitment. Women were forced to look out for each other, and these women certainly stepped up. With the recent legal attention being brought back to the topic of abortion, this story is quite timely, despite having taken place 50 years ago. How sad.

watch the trailer:

Advertisements

END OF WATCH (2012)

September 24, 2012

 Greetings again from the darkness. Hands down, this is the best cop movie in quite awhile. Not only that, it’s about street cops, not flashy detectives wearing $600 suits. This is no good cop/bad cop dance. These aren’t rebellious, power hungry cops run amok flashing their badges. Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Pena) are simply dedicated cops who are committed to serving the mission and surviving another day.

This film works for two reasons: the performances of Gyllenhaal and Pena, and the amazing writing and directing from David Ayer. Mr. Ayer is best known as the writer of Training Day, but also wrote Dark Blue and S.W.A.T, and directed Street Kings. He grew up in south central Los Angeles, and clearly has a talent for bringing real lifecop action to the big screen.

 Taylor and Pena are long time partners who have familiarity and banter down to a science. These are guys who become brothers based on spending every day together and trusting the other with their lives. These two scoff at the department mandate to write more traffic tickets, and instead find themselves smack dab in the middle of a Mexican drug cartel. That’s not a good place for two street cops and they soon wind up on the wrong list of some really bad people.

We see shootouts, car chases, chases on foot, rescues, traffic stops, house searches and just about anything else that these heroes are subjected to on a daily basis … just trying to maintain some sense of civility on their beat. No matter how frustrated you get with your job, put yourself in their “comfortable footwear” and imagine rolling up on “Big Evil”, who wants nothing more than to make you suffer.

 There is a really interesting thing going on with video cameras. Taylor is filming his daily activities for a class he is taking, while this group of bad guys is also seen filming their nightly crimes against humanity. Also, the supporting cast doesn’t play a huge role, but David Harbour, Frank Grillo, America Ferrera, Natalie Martinez and Anna Kendrick are all solid. The exception is Cody Horn who is way out of her element, and quite a distraction.

Pena and Gyllenhaal are a joy to watch and strike the necessary bond required for this movie to work. We never once doubt that these guys are brothers and fully trust worthy. Good guys doing a tough job in a bad part of the world. This is a gritty, realistic film that, at times, has a documentary look and feel to it. More of this, please.

SEE THIS MOVIE IF: you don’t want to miss the best cop movie in years

SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: your idea of a Buddy Flick is The Other Guys

watch the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf2K9GzgiF0