Historical Drama Recreates 1939 Attempt to Assassinate Hitler

 

13 Minutes

Film Review by Kam Williams

Historical Drama Recreates 1939 Attempt to Assassinate Hitler

Believe it or not, over a dozen different attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler (Udo Schenk) were made before he took his own life in April of 1945. The year before, he only suffered minor injuries in the bombing that was the focus of Valkyrie (2008), a docudrama starring Tom Cruise.

13 Minutes,  Film Review, Adolf Hitler, docudrama, Tom Cruise, Munich, November 8, 1939, unsung hero, tribute, Christian Friedel

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall), 13 Minutes chronicles the first try after Hitler had taken control of Germany. The incident occurred in Munich on November 8, 1939 in a hall where the Fuhrer was scheduled to deliver an address.

Trouble is, Georg Elser’s (Christian Friedel) homemade time bomb went off too late, as Hitler had completed his remarks and exited the building 13 minutes earlier accompanied by several henchmen, including Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (Ulrich Matthes), Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess, and the architect of the Holocaust, Heinrich Himmler (Ulrich Noethen).

Later that same day, Georg was apprehended while trying to slip into Switzerland. Border guards took him into custody upon discovering incriminating evidence in his possession suggested a connection to the explosion.

He was soon delivered to Germany’s Chief of Police Arthur Nebe (Burghart Klauszner) and Gestapo Chief Heinrich Muller (Johann von Bulow) for interrogation, but refused to answer any questions until they threatened to arrest his girlfriend Elsa (Katharina Schuttler),  too. Georg confessed to protect her, but they still didn’t believe the simple carpenter could have possibly acted alone, given the powerful explosion that claimed 8 lives and wounded 62.

13 Minutes,  Film Review, Adolf Hitler, docudrama, Tom Cruise, Munich, November 8, 1939, unsung hero, tribute, Christian Friedel

So, they resorted to torture to extract the identities of his suspected accomplices that only existed in their imaginations. But Georg had nothing further to share, other than an explanation of exactly how he’d secretly amassed enough gunpowder to construct a weapon of mass destruction.

13 Minutes employs an unorthodox story structure, as it opens with the failed coup, and is followed by a series of Georg’s flashbacks. While behind bars, he reminisces.about everything from his disgust with Nazis to his ill-fated relationship with Elsa.

A long-overdue tribute to an unsung hero who came that close to changing the course of history.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality and disturbing violence

In German with subtitles

Running time: 114 minutes

Production Studio: Lucky Bird Pictures

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Source:  Baret News

Southern Belles Vie for Union Soldier’s Affections in Sofia Coppola’s Sublime Tale of Seduction

 

The Beguiled is a Civil War saga based on the best seller of the same name by the late novelist/playwright Thomas Cullinan (1919-1995). The sublime tale of seduction was first adapted to the screen in 1971 as a melodramatic revenge flick starring Clint Eastwood. This relatively-refined remake was directed by Sofia Coppola whose effort was richly rewarded at Cannes where she became only the second woman to win Best Director in the history of the festival.The Beguiled

Film Review by Kam Williams

Southern Belles Vie for Union Soldier’s Affections in Sofia Coppola’s Sublime Tale of Seduction 

The Beguiled is a Civil War saga based on the best seller of the same name by the late novelist/playwright Thomas Cullinan (1919-1995). The sublime tale of seduction was first adapted to the screen in 1971 as a melodramatic revenge flick starring Clint Eastwood. This relatively-refined remake was directed by Sofia Coppola whose effort was richly rewarded at Cannes where she became only the second woman to win Best Director in the history of the festival.

The story is set in 1864 at a Virginia boarding school for girls run by prim Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) with the help of equally-proper Edwina Dabney (Kirsten Dunst). They have five students entrusted to their care, ranging in age from prepubescent to the late teens. 

At the point of departure, the sounds of battle are audible off in the distance. The raging conflict cuts a sharp contrast to the serenity of the idyllic campus where we find Amy (Oona Laurence) foraging in the forest for wild mushrooms. 

She stumbles upon a wounded Union soldier hiding in the woods. Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) had been felled by a bullet to the leg. The innocent adolescent instinctively brings him home, only to be criticized by an elder classmate (Angourie Rice) for rescuing a “dangerous enemy.”

The Beguiled,  Film Review, Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, Oona Laurence, Colin Farrell, Civil War, Thomas Cullinan

After initially issuing a stern warning that “You are a most unwelcome visitor,” their ordinarily icy headmistress inexplicably melts. She allows the ailing adversary to remain on the premises without even informing the Confederate army of his presence.

Personally assuming the responsibility of nursing their guest back to health, man-starved Martha soon finds herself swooning for the solicitous stranger. Trouble is, John proves to be quite the Casanova, knowing just the right words to surreptitiously charm the pants off each of the females, one-by-one.

The Beguiled,  Film Review, Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, Oona Laurence, Colin Farrell, Civil War, Thomas Cullinan

Of course, the cat’s eventually out of the bag, and his collective spell is broken. And after the heartbroken lasses put their heads together, he probably wishes he’d simply surrendered  to the Rebels rather than seek refuge.

Hell hath no fury like some Southern belles scorned!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality

Running time: 93 minutes

Production Studio: American Zoetrope

Distributor: Focus Features

Source:  Baret News

Canadian Librarian Courted by Hobo While Searching for Aunt in Delightful French Farce

 

Lost in Paris

Film Review by Kam Williams

Canadian Librarian Courted by Hobo While Searching for Aunt in Delightful French Farce

If you’re familiar with the surreal cinematic stylings of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon, then you have an idea of what sort of treat’s in store while watching Lost in Paris. The talented husband and wife team wrote, directed and co-star in their latest magical escape into the theater of the absurd.

The movie might best be described as a cross of Wes Anderson and Charlie Chaplin, as it is an unconventional, visually-captivating affair featuring little in the way of dialogue on the part of the mime-like leads. The lithe-limbed, rubber-faced duo entertain far more with their movements and expressions than with words.

Lost in Paris, Film Review, Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Wes Anderson, Charlie Chaplin

The film unfolds in Canada about a half-century ago, which is where we find Fiona (Gordon) bidding farewell to her beloved Aunt Martha (recently-deceased Emmanuelle Riva) who is moving to Paris. Fast-forward to the present when Fiona, now a librarian, receives an urgent appeal for assistance from her 88 year-old aunt.

In the letter, Martha complains that they’re trying to move her into an assisted-living facility for old folks. But the feisty free spirit will have none of it.

Fiona dutifully springs into action and the next thing you know she’s landed in France sporting a bright orange backpack festooned with a Canadian flag. Her troubles start right off the bat, when she gets stuck in a subway turnstile thanks to that oversized valise.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_NXqwh_76sk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The slapstick escalates further when the weight of the knapsack causes her to topple into the Seine while posing for a photo on a bridge. She has to shed the bag to survive the ordeal, and ends up separated from all her possessions, including her passport, cell phone, cash and clothes.

It is in these dire straits that Fiona crosses paths with Dom (Abel) an amorous hobo living in a tent pitched along the banks of the river who soon becomes hopelessly smitten. So, Fiona finds herself having to fend of the advances of an ardent admirer while frantically searching for her missing aunt.

The ensuing chase proves every bit as charming and sublime as it is hilarious and implausible. A disarmingly-endearing homage to the Silent Film era!

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

In French and English with subtitles

Running time: 83 minutes

Distributor: Oscilloscope Laboratories

 

Source:  Baret News

BFFS Reunite for Raunchy Bachelorette Party Reminiscent of “The Hangover”

 

Rough Night

Film Review by Kam Williams

BFFS Reunite for Raunchy Bachelorette Party Reminiscent of “The Hangover”

Jessica (Scarlett Johansson) and Peter (Paul W. Downs) are on the verge of tying the knot. But prior to walking down the aisle together, they’ve agreed to simultaneously throw themselves bachelor’s and bachelorette’s parties. But while she flies down to Miami for a swinging soiree’ with a quartet of her closest college classmates, his relatively-modest plan is merely to share a refined evening of wine tasting with a few a nerdy buddies. 

Rough Night,  Film Review, Scarlett Johansson, Paul W. Downs, BFF,bawdy bachelorette party,

Since Jess is also in the midst of a campaign for the state senate, she doesn’t want their reunion to get so out of control as to generate the sort of negative press that might hurt her candidacy. However, she’s blissfully unaware that decorum is the last thing on the mind of Alice (Jillian Bell), the girlfriend entrusted with scheduling their agenda. 

Alice sees the getaway as an opportunity for the BFFs to indulge one last time in the sort of depravity they enjoyed on campus a decade ago, when they would get wasted playing beer pong on a typical Friday night. Consequently, she’s prepared for a wild weekend which includes everything from cocaine to a male stripper.

Such activities might not sit well with another attendee, Frankie (Ilana Glazer). After all, she’s not only a lesbian, but a repeat offender worried about violating the “Three Strikes” law mandating a life sentence. However, pal Pippa (Kate McKinnon), a clown returning from Australia for a good time, is up for anything, as is overstressed Blair (Zoe Kravitz) who needs to decompress from an ugly custody battle.

Rough Night,  Film Review, Scarlett Johansson, Paul W. Downs, BFF,bawdy bachelorette party,

The mayhem starts right in the airport terminal when Alice uncorks a bottle of champagne in celebration, only to unwittingly trigger a stampede by passengers mistaking the pop for a gunshot. Then, upon arriving at their beachfront rental house, the girlfriends are invited by naughty, next-door neighbors Lea (Demi Moore) and Pietro (Ty Burrell) to participate in an orgy

The plot thickens soon after the exotic dancer Alice hired rings the doorbell. Before he has a chance to shed all of his clothes, he accidentally hits his head and promptly passes away. Against their better judgment, Jessica and company decide to dump the body in the ocean rather than call the cops. And what ensues is a relentlessly-hilarious, ever-escalating comedy of errors. 

Thus unfolds Rough Night, a raunchy romp most reminiscent of The Hangover (2009), although it also has moments likely to remind you of Bridesmaids (2011) and Weekend at Bernie’s (1989). The movie marks the phenomenal directorial debut of Lucia Aniello, the first woman to direct an R-rated comedy since Tamra Davis made Half Baked in 1998 with Dave Chappelle.

Laughs galore in a bawdy bachelorette party gone from bad to worst!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for crude sexuality, drug use, coarse humor, brief bloody images and pervasive profanity

Running time: 101 minutes

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Source:  Baret News

Urban Comedy Explores Korean Domination of Black Haircare Industry

 

Brazilian Wavy,  Film Review, African-American, Chris Rock, Korean, Aron Ranen, Kirk Henriquest, wacky comedyBrazilian Wavy

Film Review by Kam Williams

Urban Comedy Explores Korean Domination of Black Haircare Industry

In recent years, a couple of groundbreaking documentaries addressed some serious issues pertaining to African-American hair. The first, Aron Ranen’s Black Hair, chronicled the Korean takeover of the black haircare industry. The second, Chris Rock’s Good Hair, was an eye-opening expose about the dangers and costs associated with sisters’ straightening hair and purchasing wigs in capitulation to a European definition of beauty.

Now we have Brazilian Wavy, a wacky comedy which takes a lighter look at the same two themes. Directed by Kirk Henriques the thought-provoking film packs a wealth of information before delivering an emotional punch, despite lasting a mere 21 minutes. Much like your typical TV sitcom, the entertaining short manages to entertain while sending you away with a worthwhile message to reflect upon.

The picture’s plot is straightforward enough. At the point of departure, we meet Remy (Barry Floyd), a nerdy brother who just had his heartbroken by his two-timing girlfriend, Jin (Celeste Seda). To add insult to injury, word gets around that she left him for an undocumented midget driving a garish, pumpkin-looking jalopy.

More importantly, she’s also Korean and the daughter of the owner of the only beauty supply store in this neck of the ‘hood. Brazilian Wavy, Film Review, African-American, hair industry, Korean, Aron Ranen, Kirk Henriquest, wacky comedyThat conveniently dovetails with the fact that Remy’s something of a scientist and has just invented a new styling gel called Brazilian Wavy which he’d like her father to carry.

But after being turned down, he hatches an elaborate plan to burglarize the store in the middle of the night  with the help of his brother Mavo (Lamont King) and roommate Zakia (Jasmine Burke). Of course, things don’t go as planned, and the ensuing developments are best left unspoiled.

Suffice to say that Brazilian Wavy is a fun way to learn that the chemicals black folks use in their hair can cause serious harm, like baldness and blindness. Nevertheless, many are willing to assume the risk and “Live by the perm, die by the perm, and go out in style.”

Very Good (3 stars)

Unrated

Running time: 21 minutes

Studio: Maroon Work

To see a trailer for Brazilian Wavy, visit: https://vimeo.com/174867558

 

Source:  Baret News

Marine Bonds with Combat Dog in Man\’s Best Friend Drama

 

Megan Leavey

Film Review by Kam Williams

Marine Bonds with Combat Dog in Man’s Best Friend Drama

Five years ago, Mike Dowling published “Sergeant Rex,” a memoir about the unbreakable bond he’d forged with a bomb-sniffing dog while conducting over 35 missions on the front lines of Iraq. Now, another Marine, Corporal Megan Leavey, is the subject of a docudrama “based on a true story” chronicling her suspiciously-similar relationship with the very same German shepherd.

Megan Leavey, Film Review, based on a true story, Marine, Kate Mara, Edie Falco, Will Patton, K-9 unit, German Shepard, U.S. Military, dog whisperer

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the film stars Kate Mara as the title character, with veteran thespians Edie Falco and Will Patton in support roles. At the point of departure, we find the rudderless protagonist enlisting in the service more out of a lack of direction than a sense of patriotism.

But after completing basic training on Parris Island, she finally finds her true calling upon being assigned to the K-9 unit. Uncontrollable Rex is on the verge of being declared unfit for active duty by the base’s impatient veterinarian, Dr. Turbeville (Geraldine James), when an intrepid dog whisperer begs for an opportunity to soothe the savage beast with a little TLC. 

Drill Sergeant Martin (Common) intervenes on her and the hound’s behalf. Then, exhibiting the patience of Job, Megan is the first soldier with the tender touch necessary to tame Rex. The two soon become inseparable and, the next thing you know, they’re shipped overseas to search for IEDs buried in the dangerous desert sands of Iraq’s Anbar Province. 

Megan Leavey, Film Review, based on a true story, Marine, Kate Mara, Edie Falco, Will Patton, K-9 unit, German Shepard, U.S. Military, dog whisperer

The deployment initially proves uneventful other than Megan’s crossing paths with potential love interest, Corporal Matt Morales (Ramon Rodriguez). Too bad he likes the Mets while she’s a rabid Yankees fan.

Unfortunately, before love has a chance to blossom, Megan and Rex are injured in a blast and shipped back to the States for rehab at facilities far apart from each other. By then,  Megan’s already developed an attachment to the hound that’s almost illegal. She’s convinced Rex belongs to her, not to the U.S. Military. So, she spends the rest of the picture cutting through bureaucratic red tape ’til their tearful reunion. Aww!

Megan Leavey, Film Review, based on a true story, Marine, Kate Mara, Edie Falco, Will Patton, K-9 unit, German Shepard, U.S. Military, dog whisperer

Pat and predictable, yet a sentimental enough journey to leave you weepy in spite of yourself.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, mature themes and suggestive material

Running time: 116 minutes

Production Studio: LD Entertainment

Distributor: Bleeker Street Media

 

Source:  Baret News

Desperate Survivors Lead Spartan Existence in Post-Apocalyptic Suspense Thriller

 

It Comes at Night,  Film Review, Kam Williams, Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, spine-tingler , horrorIt Comes at Night

Film Review by Kam Williams

Desperate Survivors Lead Spartan Existence in Post-Apocalyptic Suspense Thriller

Paul (Joel Edgerton) found a safe refuge for his family far from the rest of humanity in the wake of a deadly plague that’s been decimating the planet. At least that’s what he thought about their remote hideout until his wife’s (Carmen Ejogo) dad somehow caught the disease.

After allowing Sarah and their son (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) to say their goodbyes through germ-proof respirators, Paul put a bullet in his ailing father-in-law’s head before he had a chance to infect one of them, too. While the body was being cremated, traumatized, 17 year-old Travis tried to comfort himself as much as his pet dog, saying, “Don’t worry, Stanley, I’m going to take care of you.”

But as any movie fan knows, such an assurance is ordinarily an ominous kiss of death in a horror flick. And true to form, Stanley’s the next to go in It Comes at Night, a claustrophobic suspense thriller set inside a darkened cabin in the woods.

  The picture is the sophomore offering from writer/director Trey Edward Shults who made an impressive debut a couple of years ago with Krisha. Here, the emerging wunderkind again makes the most of a micro-budget, crafting a harrowing tale guaranteed to make your hair stand on end.

The plot thickens when another family of refugees, desperate for shelter and sustenance, shows up unannounced. Against his better judgment, Paul invites the strangers to share their already meager rations, provided none of them is infected..

Patriarch Will (Christopher Abbott) assures him they’re healthy, but there’s something suspicious about the way that his wife, Kim (Riley Keough), keeps their baby covered up. Anyhow, the six proceed to pass a peaceful enough, if Spartan, existence until things mysteriously start to go bump in the middle of the night.

Whaddya expect to happen in a scary, spine-tingler with such a big hint in the title?

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated  R for profanity, violence and disturbing images

Running time: 97 minutes

Production Studio: Animal Kingdom

Distributor: A24

Source:  Baret News

Recluse Comes to Regret Bringing Good Samaritan Home in Riveting Suspense Thriller

 

Black Butterfly,  Film Review, Kam Williams, suspense, Antonio Banderas, Colorado, Piper Perabo, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, riveting whodunitBlack Butterfly

Film Review by Kam Williams

Recluse Comes to Regret Bringing Good Samaritan Home in Riveting Suspense Thriller   

Paul (Antonio Banderas) is the literary equivalent of a one-hit wonder. The flash in the pan enjoyed a short-lived success, thanks to the best-seller he published while still in his twenties. Back then, he became the toast of the town when the popular tome was adapted to the big screen, even though the movie bore no resemblance to his book besides having the same title.

But that was decades ago. Now, all the money’s gone. The hangers-on have disappeared, too, and so has his wife (Alexandra Klim). As of late, he’s turned into a recluse, living alone in the mountains of Colorado in a rundown cabin he can no longer afford to keep up.

He fritters away most of his days drinking at a desk in a darkened room, praying for the inspiration to produce another masterpiece. Unfortunately, he’s suffering from such a terrible case of writer’s block that all he ever types are the words “I am stuck” over and over again.

Upon bottoming out with little hope of recovering, Paul admits to himself that it’s time to sell the house. So, he lists the property with Laura (Piper Perabo), an attractive realtor he hires more for her looks than  her expertise. After all, he’s her very first client.

His judgment proves even worse when it comes to making friends. For, he decides to bring back to his place the Good Samaritan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who saved him from a trucker with road rage. Only after Paul agrees to let the stranger crash for a few days, does the guy reveal that he “just got out of prison and ain’t never goin’ back.”

Paul (Antonio Banderas) and Laura (Piper Perabo) in BLACK BUTTERFLY. Photo Credit: Lionsgate Premiere.

Might this be the creep responsible for the recent rash of murders in the area? Unfortunately, Paul’s located in an isolated spot in the woods without any internet, TV or cell phone service. Nevertheless, the plot thickens with the unannounced arrival of several visitors, including Laura, a delivery boy (Nicholas Aaron), and a cop (Vincent Riotta) looking for a missing mailman. 

Thus unfolds Black Butterfly, an English language-remake of Papillon Noir (2008), a French film featuring the same basic premise. Directed by Brian Goodman (Sal), this compelling suspense thriller slowly ratchets up the tension only to unravel during the denouement, thanks to a humdinger of a twist.

  A riveting whodunit spoiled somewhat by a rabbit-out-of-the-hat resolution.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for profanity and violence.

Running time: 93 minutes

Distributor: Lionsgate Premiere

Source:  Baret News

Women Resist Replacement Rabbi’s Repressive Rules in Delightful Tale of Female Empowerment

 

The Women’s Balcony

(Ismach Hatani)

Film Review by Kam Williams

Women Resist Replacement Rabbi’s Repressive Rules in Delightful Tale of Female Empowerment 

A bar mitzvah is in full swing at an Orthodox temple in Jerusalem when the balcony designated for women worshipers suddenly gives way. Once the dust settles, the attendees discover to their horror that the collapse has left the wife of the rabbi in a coma, and her inconsolable husband (Abraham Celektar) in a state of shock.

Arapahoe at Village Center Station Gate A

As the days roll by, it becomes clear that neither Rabbi Menashe nor the Mussyof Synagogue will be back to normal anytime soon. With the building closed pending renovations, the congregation is initially grateful to find a temporary home out of town. However, its distant location makes it impossible to assemble a minyan, the quorum of 10 required to stage a religious service.

A savior seemingly arrives in David (Avraham Aviv Alush), a young rabbi who is not only willing to host services nearby but to supervise the synagogue’s restoration project. Trouble is, he is also an ardent advocate of an ultra-orthodox philosophy, and it isn’t long before he attempts to implement his patriarchal interpretation of the scriptures.

First, he directs the women to exhibit more modesty by always covering their heads with a scarf. Next, he announces that the temple’s balcony will not be repaired after all and that they will have to pray in a different room from the men for now on, as dictated by ancient tradition.

Arapahoe at Village Center Station Gate A

None of this news sits well with the tight-knit ladies of Mussyof who immediately mount a rebellion. Taking a page out of Aristophanes’ 2,500 year-old classic, Lysistrata, as well as from Spike Lee’s latest “joint,” Chi-Raq, they conspire to withhold sex until their hubbies come to their senses.

All of the above plays out in hilarious fashion in The Women’s Balcony, a delightful tale of female empowerment directed by Emil Ben-Shiron. The picture was already a hit over in Israel where it landed five of that country’s Academy Award nominations. Kudos, too, to Menemsha Films’ Neil Friedman who has an uncanny knack of acquiring charming sleepers certain to resonate with art house aficionados, a la Dough, The Rape of Europa, Beauty in Trouble and The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, to name a few.

Don’t miss Menemsha’s latest jewel, a comical clash of outlooks, pitting a self-assured sisterhood against a bewildered, backwards brotherhood. 

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

In Hebrew with subtitles

Running time: 96 minutes

Production Studio: Pie Films

Distributor: Menemsha Films

 

Source:  Baret News

Justice Denied Documentary Chronicles Racist Targeting of Chinese-American Bank

 

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Film Review by Kam Williams

Justice Denied Documentary Chronicles Racist Targeting of Chinese-American Bank

Asian-Americans are often referred to as the “model minority” because of their  success in the U.S. despite the existence of discrimination which has crippled other ethnic groups. However, the label has also led many a racist to misread Asian modesty as an invitation to treat them like doormats.

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,  Film Review, Documentary, discrimination, Asian, Dr. David Dao, United Airlines, Thomas Sung

Consider the serious rudeness done to Dr. David Dao, the Vietnamese-American physician who was beaten to a pulp by the police and dragged off an airplane for refusing to surrender a seat that he’d paid for to a United Airlines employee flying for free. Lost in the sauce was the fact he and his family were very likely selected because of the color of their skin. After all, the airline employee probably specifically targeted the Dao family never expecting members of the model minority to put up much of a fuss about getting bumped.

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail is a jaw-dropping documentary which chronicles an equally-outrageous example of bigotry, this time against the Sungs, a clan of Chinese-American immigrants. Inspired by the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” family Patriarch  Thomas Sung founded Abacus Federal Savings Bank in 1984 in the heart of New York City’s Chinatown.

He was motivated help his community after repeatedly witnessing how other lending institutions were willing take Chinese people’s deposits, but were very hesitant to let them borrow any money. Abacus flourished over the years, and his daughters, Jill and Heather, joined the family business as executives after becoming lawyers.

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,  Film Review, Documentary, discrimination, Asian, Dr. David Dao, United Airlines, Thomas Sung

The world came crashing down around them all when the bank and 19 of its employees were charged with conspiracy, larceny and fraud in the wake of of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. What’s stunning is that Abacus was the only financial institution the government ever held responsible criminally for the collapse of the mortgage market. Furthermore, the case was based entirely on evidence which Abacus itself had turned over to federal regulators  upon unearthing felonious behavior on the part of a loan officer it fired on the spot.

Was the ensuing prosecution malicious or warranted? Judge for yourself. But don’t be surprised if this chilling expose leaves you convinced the Sungs were innocent victims of a thoroughly corrupt legal system doling out “justice” in color-coded fashion, even when it comes to white-collar crime.

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

In English, Mandarin and Cantonese with subtitles

Running time: 88 minutes

Production Studio: Kartemquin Films

Distributor: PBS

 

Source:  Baret News