Who Killed Sister Cathy?

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The latest true crime documentary series on Netflix went live this weekend and I really enjoyed it. I just finished it, so this is probably going to be a bit rambly but…so be it.

The seven episodes of The Keepers tells the story of an unsolved murder of nun Sister Cathy and the possible link with a cover up of sexual abuse within a catholic school during the late 60’s

While this isn’t the same edge of seat viewing that Making A Murderer was, The Keepers is more laid back, it’s essential viewing. Not many people are aware just how much power the Catholic church has in communities like these.

Sister Catherine Cesnik was just 26 years old when her body was found on snowy wooded wasteland in 1970. Beloved by all that knew her, her disappearance and murder rocked the lives of those who knew her and yet her murder was swept under the carpet and not investigated as fully as you would have imagined.

Sister Cathy’s murder lived on in the memory of who women who attended Keough High School where the nun had taught them. Two of these women, Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub started a Facebook group to talk about the murder and started to investigate the murder themselves to see if they could help, find some small clue that could bring the killer to justice. They had no idea what they were setting in motion.

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Father Joseph Maskell, Neil Magnus both accused of sexual abuse. Picture from Netflix

A woman named Jean Hargadon Wehner seemed to hold the key to the murder. She knew Sister Cathy and had told her that Father Josesph Maskell and Neil Magnus were sexually abusing her. Sister Cathy seemed to have had her suspicions about what was happening and told Jean she would sort it out. Not long after Sister Cathy disappeared.
What had started for Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub as a chance to go over a cold case had turned into the discovery of systematic abuse at their school and more.

Each of the episodes fills in more of the story and just how far up the justic system this stretches. It’s also a chance for victim’s voices to be heard and so important for people to understand why it sometimes takes victim’s so long before the tell anybody what happened. It’s essential more people understand that side of sexual abuse.

The Keepers is a great piece of documentary making and Netflix is doing a pretty good job of showing the exhaustive nature of crime. This isn’t so much about who killed her but why. With series like this and Making A Murderer, you do get a better look at the story and how crime impacts people’s lives. Also, I love that it took two retired women to crack the case open a little wider. Like a retired Cagney and Lacey or something. I have so much respect for them.

When you’ve watched the series let me know what you thought!

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

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She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

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I love an angry woman. Hell I am an angry woman! Angry women get shit done.
If you have any interest in feminist and the history of the women’s liberation movement you need to watch She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.
Directed by Mary Dore and released in 2014 this documentary is now available to watch on Netflix and I urge you to seek it out.

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The birth of feminism and the origins of the women’s liberation movement has such an interesting and revelatory history but it’s rarely discussed. So often we’re caught up in the modern fight for equality that we forget what came before. Its history is still so relevant to the fight modern women are currently fighting. I.e birth control, reproductive rights, equal pay

Using archive footage and interviews with prominent founders and members of various women’s liberation organisations you are treated to a pretty intensive and detailed film.
Judith Arcana, Jacqui Ceballos, Muriel Fox, Fran Beal, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton,Denise Oliver and more. These activists and many many more helped to bring about change and helped bring the issue of inequality and sexism to the masses.

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The film takes a look at the various movements and doesn’t shy away from the wrong turns and mistakes these women made in the journey that’s still continuing today. It’s important to see how things have moved on and it’s important that people know the history of feminism. Women are constantly erased from history so it’s especially important that we understand our own history.

witch2If nothing else I need more people to see members of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!) hex passers by during a demonstration.

Director Mary Dore was active in the women’s liberation movement during the mid ‘70s and the film is clearly a very personal piece, it shows. I found it to be an incredibly inspirational film, in the same way that The Punk Singer (2013) made me want to start my own band, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry makes you want to either get involved in feminism or step up your game if you’re already an activist.

Go watch it now!

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

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The Shallows 

DIRECTOR: Jaume Collet-Serra STARRING:Blake Lively
CERT: PG

Well there’s no LL Cool J track to accompany it but we won’t hold that against the The Shallows. 

In this Jaws meets Castaway thriller/horror we see Blake Lively take centre stage as Nancy. Nanny’s a young surfer from Texas who has travelled to Mexico to find a secret beach her mother had told her about before she died.

Nanny’s on holiday with her friend, who’s cried off from finding the secret beach with a hangover. Nancy didn’t travel all this way just to be put off by being a single adventurer so decides to seek it out on her own. 

Once there she takes to the water to catch some waves but there’s something in the water. A very large shark. Nancy is attacked and takes refugee on a piece of rock where she’s trapped. The shark, as always, takes a missed meal personally. 

These days most shark films are so full of CGI that it makes it impossible to enjoy them on a horror level but at least with The Shallows the effects are done extremely well.

There are some good jump scares and the tension holds up well throughout. While it’s been done before I did enjoy the way social media, texts and phonecalls are displayed on screen so we’re always a part of what’s going on.

Blake Lively does a wonderful job of shouldering the film, managing to find some humour as well as delivering a good dramatic performance. 

While you could probably poke holes in some areas, it’s an enjoyable experience  although doesn’t quite live up to the hype.

That said, if you’re a sucker for a shark film, like myself I’d say check it out! 

Moxie McMurder 

A Shared Madness 

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The Invitation – An Impressive Gem

the-invitation-posterThe Invitation directed by Karyn Kusama is an intense film that could easily describe itself as a drama, thriller and horror.

The film starts with our lead Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) on their way to a dinner party being hosted by Will’s ex.

The dinner party is pretty awkward from the get go. This is the house he lived in with his now ex before the death of their son drove them apart. Being back at the house is enough to affect Will in a big way.

This group of friends haven’t seen the hosts in two years and it’s clear they’ve changed. While Will is still grieving for his son, his beard and long hair, downcast eyes while his ex Eden looks radiant in her long white dress. It’s all smiles and warm welcomes but there’s an atmosphere in the house.

Over the course of the evening things get strange. A man Eden and David called Pruit arrives, played by the brilliant John Carroll Lynch, who is the embodiment of creepy. Eden and David reveal that they’ve spent the last two years in Mexico and that they’ve joined a group of people who have given them a new outlook on life. Pruit and Sadie (another unknown guest) are part of this group and while Pruit is creepy in a quiet understated way, Sadie looks and acts like a Manson Family member (Clearly a reference to Sexy Sadie.)

invitation group Will is already on edge by being back in his old home and experiences flashbacks but he’s the first to notice that something is off about this get together. As the night progresses things go from bad to worse and this dinner party takes a very dark turn.

I loved The Invitation. A good cast, good score and a creeping sense of dread that never gives up. It’s a tight thriller that really draws you in and leaves you something to think about.
Much like films such as Coherence and The Gift the less you know going in, the better.

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

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Garden City Cinema Review – Spotlight

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ACTORS – Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo,Rachel McAdams
DIRECTOR -Tom McCarthy
Cert -15

Spotlight is now showing at the Garden City Cinema in welwyn Garde City, Hertfordshire.

Spotlight is based on true events and tells the story of a group of journalists who discover a cover up of child sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

The film starts in the 1970’s where we see that a priest has been arrested on suspicion of child molestation sitting in a cell. Next we see another priest sitting with the mother of the abused children and he’s telling her how important the church is to the community, he promises her his full support and assures her this will never
This first scene tell us so much by saying very little and that’s how the whole film operates. We then jump to 2002 and the offices of Boston newspaper The Globe.

Walter Robinson played by Michael Keaton (TEAM KEATON!) heads a team of investigative journalists for a part of The Globe called Spotlight. They typically expose big stories and can take up to a year to get their story right and ready for publication.

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Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams are also part of the team. Ruffalo as Mike Rezendes is interesting to watch, he does a great job of playing a somewhat squirrely and excitable guy, not your typical Ruffalo role.
Rachel McAdams does a good job although I think she could have been given more. Her character Sacha Pfeiffer struggles with the impact the story she’s working on is going to have on her grandmother, an eldery 3 times a week church goer. This story is going to break her heart and Sacha wants to protect her grandmother from it but it’s never really given the time it needed to provoke a conversation between the two.

The team pull out all the stops to try the historic and systemic abuse of children by priests in Boston and the subsequent cover up by the church.
What’s made perfectly clear is that the church knew exactly what these priests were doing and instead of removing them from the church or contacting the police, these priests that abused 100’s of young boys and girls are quietly moved to a new church in another area, free to commit abuse again and again.

What’s also clear is how much power the church has over Boston, they have made themselves an untouchable superpower. the victims of these prieststell a sad tale and there’s the implication is that the kid’s families knew what was going on but as is often said in the film, a priest was like God and when God takes an interest in your child, you turn the other way.

Sex abuse within the Catholice church is not new ground but it is important because, little has changed. What Spotlight does is not focus on the priests themselves but on the deception that allowed preists to continue their abuses. It could have been so easy for this to be sensationalist film but it isn’t, it’s subtle, nuanced and gripping.

Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Brian d’Arcy James all put in good performances and I liked that the film’s look was very pale, not flashy, not throwing its budget in your face, it was all so that the story would shine through, which is does.

I liked Spotlight for the same reason I love Zodiac (2007) It’s the drawn out investgation, the small things that can make a big impact both in terms of the information you get and the information that slips through your fingers. The frustration, the passion and the forensics if you will of it all.
It sounds a little inappropriate, considering the content of the film but I really enjoyed Spotlight and I urge you to go see it.

To book tickets to see Spotlight at the Garden City Cinema in Welwyn Garden City click HERE

P.S This film reminded me of a documentary I watched in Netflix a while ago, might still be up there. It’s called Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. It’s a disturbing, heartbreaking documentary that deals with similar content and it’s a eye opener!

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

 

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Goosebumps

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New Jack Black kids comedy Goosebumps is really good fun. I never read the Goosebumps books but I was an avid fan of R.L. Stine’s Point Horror books so I decided to give the film the benefit of the doubt.
Goosebumps takes its own author R.L. Stine (played by Jack Black) and throws him into a wild story that brings his characters to life!

Zach (Dylan Minette) moves with his mother (Amy Ryan) to a new town after his father dies. On their first day in the new house Zach meets Literal ‘girl next door’ Hannah (Odeya Rush), but her father interupts their conversation. Black plays Stine in a perfectly creepy but amusing way, the only thing that bothered me was his ridiculous accent, it’s both terrible and unnecessary.

The next evening Zach overhears an argument between Stine and his daughter and Zach becomes worried about Hannah so after calling the cops and getting nowhere he decides to break into Stine’s home to check on Hannah and that’s when all hell breaks loose.

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Through a series of accidents the kids unlock a curse that brings Stine’s books to life and allows the characters to break free of their pages and come storming into the real world.
Werewolves, Yetis, some kind of zombie flying poodle….they’re all present and correct. I’m assuming it must be a lot of fun for kids to see these monsters they know so well up on the screen.

Goosebumps won’t be suitable for younger children, there’s one character in particular that I couldn’t bear and I’m 35! It’s a fun romp and although I have some minor quibbles. the usual – too much CGI, gender stereotyping etc overall the film is fun, fast and has a great B movies quality to it that I enjoyed.

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The Big Short

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ACTORS – Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt
DIRECTOR – Adam McKay
CERT – 15

The Big Short, based on the book of the same name is all about the financial crisis of 2007/2008. Hedge funds and subprime loans and credit swaps – oh my!

The Big Short is an ensemble piece with many different characters all essentially after the same thing but going about it in different ways.
After Christian Bale’s character discovers that the housing market is en route to crash he decides to bet millions of dollars against the banks that supplied the mortgage. When a few other businessmen get wind of this they decide to investigate and seeing how much money they can make they also bet against the banks. The banks are going to fail because of the seriously dodgy mortgages that they have been handing out and other corrupt backroom shenanigans.
Exposing the corruption of large financial institutions is great but making billions is better.

To be honest I found most of the details in the film to be quite tedious and a little confusing at times, but the filmmakers are fully aware of this so they bring in Margot Robbie in a bathtub to explain the finer details – hmmm.
I also hate the way this film is shot. The faux documentary style was almost motion sickness inducing and generally quite irritating although those annoying camera moves calm down after about 30 minutes into the film.

So I hated the film right? Wrong. It’s a decent film, with some really good performances and it’s an interesting topic but by keeping the everyman out of the picture and concentrating on the suits, the moral implications of what these guys are doing is lessened.
We don’t get to see much of how these deals impacted people’s lives.

Director Adam McKay who is known for films like Step Brothers, Anchorman and The Other Guys proves he can make more than just comedies, it’s just a shame he decided to film it the way he did.
The Big Short has been nominated for Best Picture in this years Oscars but honestly I don’t know why, other than the cast list. The film is good but it’s nothing to get overly excited about.

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

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The Hateful Eight

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He’s done it again. Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film The Hateful Eight is everything I hoped it would be.

From the cinematography, to the story and the characters, I loved this film so much. Tarantino rarely lets his fans down and while there are countless people who feel that The Hateful Eight is misogynistic and racist – I have to disagree. Personally I think it reflects the times the film is set in, but that’s an argument for another day.

Set a few years after the American Civil War, The Hateful Eight tells the story of eight strangers holed up in a log cabin while a blizzard rages outside.

We meet bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) on his way to the town of Red Rock, where he will hand over Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), his captive, to hang.
On the way to Red Rock they cross paths with Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a former union soldier turned bounty hunter and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a southern renegade heading for Red Rock as he’s been appointed as the new sheriff.
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When the blizzard forces them to seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery they meet four more people. Bob (Demian Bichir), English hangman Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern).

John Ruth and Major Marquis Warren know that something fishey is going on at Minnie’s and Ruth suspects that one of these fellas, or all of them for that matter might be part of a conspiracy to free Daisy. He has no intention of letting her get away and keeps her chained to his arm while his suspicions grow.

As you would imagine Kurt Russell and Samuel L Jackson turn in great performances but what really had me excited was Jennifer Jason Leigh , who is such an underrated actress and she turns in a brilliant performance as the nasty Daisy Domergue. Everyone is spot on, Tim Roth and Bruce Dern really stand out – as they would.

The Hateful Eight’s 70mm film print, Tarantino’s preferred way of showing the film, has meant three UK cinema chains, Picturehouse, Curzon and Cineworld, will not be showing the film.

The Hateful Eight is everything I hoped it would be, brutal, beautiful, funny. Go see it, you won’t regret it.

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

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Garden City Cinema Review – In the Heart of the Sea

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ACTORS – Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw
DIRECTOR – Ron Howard
CERT – 12A

You’re gonna need a bigger boat.

In the Heart of the Sea is now showing at the Garden City Cinema in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

Directed by Ron Howard and with a decent cast, In the Heart of the Sea is the story Moby Dick is based on.
At the beginning of the film Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw), author of Moby Dick, visits aging survivor Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) to hear his version of what happened to him and his crew mates on the S.S. Essex years before.

Set during the height of the whaling industry, when whale oil was a big commodity and due to this whale numbers are dimishing, the crew have to travel further than usual to find whales.  The Essex eventually tracks down some whales and slaughters them. It’s during one particular hunt when a giant white whale appears and attacks the boat.

Chris Hemsworth is first mate Owen Chase, who locks horns with the captain, he’s our ‘hero’ and while he’s not terrible in the role, he’s not great either.

I wasn’t really interested in the story and I’m still not interested in the story. This seafaring adventure just fell flat for me. There just isn’t enough meat on the bones of this story to sink your teeth into. Which funnily enough echos the film and the crew’s decent into cannabilism to stay alive once their ship is destroyed by the whale.

It seems no film can do justice to the epic story of Moby Dick, even its inspiration is too big a story.

Click here to book tickets to see In the Heart of the Sea at the Garden City Cinema in Welwyn Garden City.

Moxie McMurder

A Shared Madness

 

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