“Shot”: Indeed, everyone pays, as the film shows the effect of one bullet on the lives it affects side-to-side

Shot”, directed by Jeremy Kagan with his own story, concludes with a plea to support gun control – go to their website and “take action” right on your smartphone in the theater.

It may be baroque to claim it challenges the Second Amendment.

But the tagline “one bullet, everyone pays” rings true.  In the end (just as with the film “Stronger” yesterday), there are no victims, only casualties.

The concept of the film is to present an accidental shooting,  The film the parallels the lives, almost in real time, of the “victim” and the perpetrator.

As the film opens, film editor Mark Newman ( Noah Wyle), is editing a violent scene in a western, focusing on the damage done by bullets.  Then we learn he is divorcing his wife Pheobe (Sharon Leaf), in a mixed-race marriage. The separation will be relatively amical.

Then we see teenager Miguel (Jorge Lendeorg) getting gay-bashed in a park.  His cousin finds a gun and lets Miguel play with it. The gun goes off, and strikes Mark in the upper left chest, above the heart, but because the entry was from above, it descends into his intestines and hits his spine.

Mark remains conscious throughout the 911 call, ambulance and emergency room, even as fluid is drained with chest tunes.  After life threatening shock subsides, he gets talkative.  He has a pseudo-NDE in the MRI from claustrophobia.  In the meantime, the split screen shows Miguel moping around and talking to a priest.  His mother doesn’t want him to turn himself in to police, because “you’re brown”.

Five months later, Mark is getting hydrotherapy, as we hope he will walk again.  He will not. But Phoebe is still in his life, able to deal with the hardship, which seems to draw them back together.  He has health insurance from work or the union, but we don’t see him getting back to work.  He orders a Baretta by mail.

Mark was lean and sharp before the shooting.  Months later, he is getting fat and sliding as he has not been able to make progress from the wheel chair.

In the meantime, Miguel stalks him on his bike because he wants to apologize.  But there may be no forgiveness.

Name:  “Shot”
Director, writer:  Jeremy Kagan
Released:  2017
Format:  2.35:1, screen often split in parallel stories
When and how viewed:  AMC Hoffman Center, 2017/9/24, small audience
Length:  89
Rating:  PG-13
Companies: Paladin
Link:  official

(Posted: Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 at 10:30 PM EDT)

“Miss Sloane”: are lobbyists just manipulators who don’t believe in the causes they work for?


<tdFilmnation, Euorpa

Name: Miss Sloane
Director, writer: John Madden, Jonathan Perera
Released: 2016/12/9
Format: 2.35:1
When and how viewed: Regal Ballston, 2016/12/9, day, small audience
Length 129
Rating R
Link: FilmNation

“Miss Sloane” (directed by John Madden) gives us an aggressive young woman Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) who will do whatever it takes to win in the ultimate world of people manipulation: K-street lobbying in the Washington swamp, which Donald Trump promises his followers he will drain.

One of the key concepts is whether professional lobbyists believe in the causes they work for. Grass roots activist do. And individuals like me pick and choose our own goals.

Miss Sloane quits a firm that would have her work for the pro-gun, pro-NRA lobby and joins another one (Mark Strong) pushing for more intensive background checks and regulation. But the shenanigans in the Senate (with the hearings led by Senator Sperling (John Lithgow) are labyrinthine. Sloane talks fast and drags her young, largely young male staff along for the ride. A lot of the kids seem to be new college grads in their first jobs.

Then, there is the gigolo Forde (Jake Lacy) who makes his absolutely hairless bod a real spectacle in a couple scenes. Maybe Miss Sloane is a lesbian at heart.

And, of course, there is plenty of hacking (with little drones that look like real cockroaches) And there is also federal prison.

The film seems a little humorless, when compared, say, to “The Social Network”.

The film takes place almost entirely indoors. The credits say it was filmed in Washington DC and apparently Montreal. The outdoor scenes looked more like Montreal. It had a French-Canadian production team.

I don’t recall seeing Euorpa distribute directly into the US. This looks like a film that typically distributes from Lionsgate.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to ban lobbying by anyone for five years after leaving government.

(Posted: Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at 7:45 AM ESR)

“Newtown”: documentary focuses on the families affected by the mass shooting


Name: Newtown
Director, writer:  Kim A. Snyder
Released:  2016
Format:  1.85:1
When and how viewed:  Fathom event at Regal Ballston Common (from NYC) 2016/11/02
Length 80
Rating NA
Companies: PBS Independent Lens, Abamorama
Link: official;   PBS aired 2017/4/3

Tonight, “Newtown” was screened by Fathom events, with a panel discussion from New York by Chris Cuomo afterward. The entire event was called “Newtown: A Conversation”.

The film, directed by Kim A. Snyder and produced by Maria Cuomo Cole, focuses on the families of the children and teachers and staff shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 by Adam Lanza.

The film spends little time on tracing Lanza’s actions or background, although it shows the inside of the house after his mother’s body was found. It does trace the way parents gradually found out what was happening to their own kids throughout that day, and then traces five families afterward.  At the end, one of the dads takes up skydiving in a closing shot for the film.

The film includes some testimony about assault weapons and the tendency of bullets to tumble, something I remember from my own Army service.  Some homeowners (as in a case in Oklahoma in March 2017) might be able to defend themselves from a huge home invasion if they own them.  Gun control admittedly may put more weapons in the hands of criminals (as in Europe with terrorists) and leave average people more vulnerable to very determined attacks.  But gun control will prevent some domestic crime and rampages such as this one.  Different policy choices put different people at risk.

At one point, a father says that Lanza was not excessively bullied.  There is coverage of the effects on siblings of the victims.

The film uses background music from up to 13 composers, supervised by Fil Eisler.

Hollywood Life has an article here.

Cuomo moderated with his usual analytic style.  One of the panel members was a black female police chief from Orlando who had responded to the Pulse attack.  The panel was overwhelming in its refutation of the NRA’s idea that a “good guy with a gun” can always stop a very determined enemy attacker.  Cuomo suggested that what is needed is not so much new policy as closing loopholes and enforcing existing policy.  I think that gun control (as usually proposed) typically does reduce most domestic crime (and suicide) but it might make the public more vulnerable to some kinds of terrorist attacks.

On the day of Newtown, I made a bit of a pilgrimage to a high school where I had substitute taught to see a performance (which was not cancelled).

(Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016 at 11:15 PM EDT)