There are two very interesting stories being told within The Free State of Jones. The bulk of the film tells the story of Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey), a field medic for the Confederate Army during the height of the Civil War. As the war raged on, Knight deserted his company and defended his and his neighbours’ property from pillaging Confederate cavalry. The penalty for desertion (and most crimes under the CSA) is death; so Newt ran. With the help of friends, Newt joined a band of runaway slaves, hiding from trackers in the swamps. The group grew larger as more deserters and runaways sought refuge from the all consuming war. 5 became 10 and 10 became 100 and soon the ‘colony’ sought more permanent dwellings. Eventually, after overtaking the small town of Ellisville, ‘The Knight Company’ sought to secede Jones County from Mississippi and become The Free State Of Jones.
However, as I’ve stated; there are two storied being told in this film. In late 1948 Newt’s Great Grandson Davis also fought for his freedom. Given the common knowledge of Newt Knight’s second marriage to a former slave, Davis was dragged into court to prove his ethnicity. It’s a rare occurrence where a child’s paternity wasn’t a of the father’s, but of the mother’s identity. If proven to be technically black, Davis could face serious jail time for marrying his wife, Junie Lee Spradley, a local white woman. Continue reading “Movie Review – The Free State of Jones”
In the gif above, Green Bay Packers (in Green) Running Back Eddie Lacy (#27) runs for a first down, but not before being brought down by Washington Safety Brandon Meriweather (#31 in white). The helmet to helmet contact gave Lacy a concussion, taking him out of the game. No penalty flag was thrown on the play, but Meriweather was fined later $42,000. Only a slap on the wrist when you consider Meriweather had a salary of around $1.2 million that year. Ironically, Meriweather left the game later on after a similar hit that left him motionless on the field. That was from a regular season game in 2013; last weekend in New Jersey, New York Giants star Odell Beckham Jr. committed 3 “unnecessary roughness” penalties for unsafe hits on opposing players, but wasn’t ejected from the game. One particularly vicious blow to the helmet of Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman cost Beckham Jr. a game, as he was suspended; but the damage to both players will certainly play a role in their post career quality of life.
Before the talk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the technical term for the trauma to the brain players sustain during the violent collisions; football players faded into obscurity, rarely to be heard from again. What’s usually lost on casual fans, is how long it takes to make it to the NFL. Players usually start around 8 years old on the Pop Warner fields through High School, College and hopefully to the pros. Depending on the position, some players will take a hit every down of every game and others can avoid contact. As the NFL evolves from the ‘What have you done for me lately?’ mentality toward its players; there’s still a long way to go before players receive the post career treatment they deserve. As the CTE debate and diagnosis continues, Concussion takes a look at the origins of the discovery of the disease and Dr. Bennett Omalu’s (Will Smith in the film) fight to bring his revelation to the NFL’s attention. Much like big tobacco in the 90’s defence against warnings about smoking, the NFL was less than receptive to Dr. Omalu’s discovery. Continue reading “Review – Concussion”
Long delayed Jupiter Ascending was supposed to be the answer to Marvel/Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy. With an original release date of July 25, 2014, the latest from the Wachowski siblings (I guess) went through several script changes, before conceding to a 6 month delay. Rumoured to be delayed for graphical enhancements and IMAX conversions, Jupiter Ascending is finally released. I generally dislike space operas and I try to avoid any title that starts off “Star…”. But as bad as the critics and its 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes would suggest, Jupiter Ascending isn’t as terrible as the press would like you to believe. Continue reading “Movie Review – Jupiter Ascending”
In today’s tabloid driven, celebrity obsessed culture, it’s easy to forget that celebrities are people too. Hideously wealthy, revered, beautiful people; but still just people. In ‘Beyond The Lights’, we’re introduced to Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). She’s come a long way from Brixton in South London, UK. Driven by her mother/manager Macy (Minnie Driver) Noni is on the precipice of greatness. On paper, she has it all; a high-profile rapper/boyfriend, Kid Culprit (actual rapper MGK), a hit single that lead to a Billboard Award nomination, and more money that some small countries.
However, the image of Noni, created by her record label and mom is nothing more than a sexy, demi-glace piece of bacon, that may or may not own an inkling of talent. Haunted by her conscious and haters on twitter, we find Noni pondering the meaning of life and all that there is; from the ledge of her 12th floor balcony hotel room.
Most of us have been thru hard times in our life. Whether it’s losing your job or not being able to pay the rent or mortgage it really stinks. No one wants to feel helpless and needing to depend on others. It may be a matter of personal pride, or simply something you don’t want. When you do find yourself in that situation though you have to take a hard look at your life and re-assess things to come out of it. And that reassessment of things is definitely a hard thing to do, considering it might mean changing a lot about oneself.