Movie Mondays ~ Monday, September 16, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, September 16, 2019


Well, imagine that…I finally managed to fit two films into my busy work schedule again. This week, I have yet another documentary to review, one that I was not actually looking for and instead was seeking a different documentary I had heard about but instead stumbled upon this one. I think you will want to learn more about this one though and consider checking it out for yourself. More on that shortly. The other film was one that had been on my future viewing list on Netflix for a while,and I finally got around to seeing it because I was suddenly in the mood to see one of my favorite, handsome, classic leading men and one of my favorite actresses. And yep, they’ve still got it. As always, thanks for reading. ~ Chris K.



FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 09/09/2019 – 09/15/2019

(click on images to enlarge on the screen!)



95. The Great Hack

Documentary (2019)
Featuring David Carroll, Brittany Kaiser and Carole Cadwalladr


I had planned on locating and watching a new documentary I was reading about called ‘Inside Bill Gates’ Brain’ (or something like that). (I thought I read that it was debuting this past Friday on Netflix, but if it did, I couldn’t find it. Maybe it’s on HBO, I still have to look for that one.) But I did run into this documentary about Cambridge Analytica, the company behind the successful recent campaigns for the Brexit movement behind the UK move to leave the EU and the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. The company’s specialty? Mining personal Facebook data to determine future action and opinion and sway that opinion to get behind a preferred candidate or position. The proof so far has been that the company has been pretty successful in isolating prospective “undecided” and using propaganda to sway them in their client’s desired direction.

This film follows “Davids” fighting the Goliath that is Cambridge Analytica which really represents a Goliath among many culpable Goliaths, companies who use personal data or sell it for use without their users’ knowledge or consent. The case has blown open the door on this conversation, so at least companies are now being forced to talk about it and disclose their policies. The Davids are a number of people we meet who are taking the company to task including David Carroll, a professor who is trying to retrieve his own personal data that he feels he has robbed of, and Carole CadWalladr, a journalist who has reported on Cambridge Analytica throughout a series of articles since its beginning and through hearings about its work with Facebook regarding the sharing of member data and its ramifications. We also meet former players in this shady game who have become controversial whistleblowers like Brittany Kaiser. As we get to know her, we may question her real motives for sharing the information that she does, for she doesn’t appear to have much remorse for any of her actions, but ultimately her actions help pave the way for attention to be brought to cases like Facebook’s sharing of member data and defining what kind of disclosure needs to take place so members can make informed decisions when they take part in online assessments or what appear to be harmless, fun personality tests that are actually gleaning data from users.  I wouldn’t say Kaiser is being forthright for admirable reasons,  perhaps more to protect her own ass, but if the end result is positive for the rest of us, I suppose that is a good yield for all.

As someone who uses social media on a regular basis, I found this documentary to be both interesting and a little frightening. I have always been hesitant to take part in the kind of personality tests which prompted this whole data gathering scheme in the first place, but I can see what might draw someone to do it. It is easy to get lost down the rabbit hole of applications like Facebook and Twitter, especially if the topic of the questionnaire is something a subject the person can’t resist.

I think for some people this documentary may be a little slow moving, dry or boring, but if you are fascinated with what’s going on behind the scenes in technology and particularly in social media, and if you are especially intrigued by the shenanigans behind the operations fueling the Brexit movement and Trump presidential campaign of 2016, then I think you will find this of interest and definitely worth educating yourself about if only to save yourself from being hoodwinked on social media in the future.


Score: 84







96. Our Souls at Night

Drama (2017)
Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Judy Greer, Bruce Dern, Iain Armitage


I have been a fan of Robert Redford, the actor, for many years though I will admit many times that I have seen the films he has directed and been bored to tears. So I do prefer him as a performer, but I respect him as a thoughtful activist and supportive member of the acting community, and as just who appears to be a humble, plainspoken, nice guy. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s still nice on the eyes, too. Yeah, I know that reads as shallow as I thought it might, but I’m sorry — he will always be the dashing Hubbell in THE WAY WE WERE (1973). Sigh. (swoons)

So when I saw this film listed with both him and Jane Fonda a long time ago,  I added it to my future viewing list and honestly forgot about it. Recently, I scanned ‘romantic movies’ in Netflix and there it was! All this time later, so I finally watched it this weekend. It’s definitely not up there with earlier films like BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (1967) or THE ELECTRIC HORSEMAN (1979) which are both better written and better directed films, but I love these two actors onscreen. They still have a special chemistry and bring vulnerabilities to their performances and a tenderness that is so endearing, that I couldn’t take my eyes off their scenes together. Even if the story and plot were sparse at times, the characters intrigued me enough to hang in there, and ultimately I’m glad that I did.

There are some fun appearances from familiar faces like Bruce Dern as an old friend of Redford’s who likes to poke fun at his buddy, a widower who it appears to the small nosy town is exploring a new relationship with an attractive widow, but who we learn early on is seeking a unique kind of company with a specific purpose in mind (I won’t ruin it for you). I was also pleased to see pop up in the film an especially nice surprise, Iain Armitage or the cutie patootie who plays lead in “Young Sheldon” starring here as Jane Fonda’s grandson.

If you’re a fan of Redford, Fonda, or the two of them together, I say definitely see this one but just don’t go into it expecting to get a classic from their past. Still, I know true Redford and/or Fonda fans will enjoy seeing them together again. And if you’re not necessarily a fan of the actors but you enjoy a sweet, romantic, character-driven story with less action and more conversation, you’ll probably find something you enjoy in this little  tale of love, loss and the daily struggle to make up for our past mistakes.


Score: 83






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