Apr 102014
 
Boardwalk Empire Season Four

Another season of Boardwalk Empire, another season of watching characters die or leave the show. Mostly die. Actually, the number of dead or departed characters approached Game of Thrones-levels. This season, Chalkie White (Michael Kenneth Williams) faces the threat of Doctor Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright), a gangster from Harlem, who plans to expand into Atlantic City, and is the first character on the show to question the social order that made African-Americans second-class citizens. Read More…

Jan 302014
 
Public Enemies Era

When outlaws like the Barker-Karpis Gang, the Clyde Barrow Gang, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd began to attract national attention in 1933, the FBI was an under-funded, amateurish organization. A series of celebrity kidnappings and the massacre of four law enforcement officials in Kansas City in June 1933 led to calls for a national police force, and the FBI would lead the war on crime. In 1934, the many bank robbers would be divided into five nice, clear groups: the family of kidnappers, the lovers on the run, the charming escape artist, the psychotic killer and the misunderstood country boy. A year later, almost none of them were still alive and the FBI was a national institution.
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Jun 242013
 
Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie Parker (October 1, 1910-May 23, 1934) and Clyde Barrow (March 24, 1909-May 23, 1934) were poor, young people with little hope for the future when they met in Dallas, Texas in January 1930. Clyde was arrested shortly after, which would have ended most relationships but Bonnie’s love was true. Despite a brutal experience in prison, Clyde hated the drudgery of honest work, so he returned to a life of crime, bringing Bonnie with him. After a drunken encounter with police officers at a dance resulted in a dead deputy on August 5, 1932, surrender was no longer an option for Clyde because he would get the electric chair. Recently released from prison, his elder brother Buck met Clyde, Bonnie and new recruit, 16-year-old W.O. Jones, hoping to persuade Clyde to surrender, but the vacation ended on April 13, 1933 when two police officers died in a shootout, and Buck and his fiance Blanche found themselves part of the gang. The gang became national celebrities after pictures of them posing with guns were found in their abandoned apartment. Several months later, Buck was severely wounded in another shootout with police, and died of his wounds shortly after a posse discovered the gang’s campsite. Hoping to gain more members for the gang, Clyde helped several prisoners break out of Eastham Prison Farm on January 16, 1934. Angered by the attack, the warden persuaded the governor of Texas to hire former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer to hunt down the gang. Betrayed by gang member Henry Methvin in exchange for a pardon, Bonnie and Clyde were lured into an ambush where they were killed on May 23, 1934. Read More…

Nov 192012
 
J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895-May 2, 1972) was the long-serving and controversial director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. John Edgar Hoover joined the Justice Department shortly after the United States entered WWI. Possessing superb organizational skills, Hoover was promoted to head of the Radical Division within the Bureau of Investigation. Rising to Acting Director of the Bureau in 1924, Hoover switched the Bureau’s focus from investigating political organizations to criminals. Faced with a wave of violent bank robberies in 1933, Hoover was placed in charge of an expanded bureau, which captured or killed a number of Public Enemies. Believing that he and he alone should symbolize the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), magazine articles, books and movies portrayed Hoover as having trained the agents.

A national symbol by the end of WWII, Hoover was a lifelong anti-communist, and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-1953) seemed to confirm the global Communist conspiracy. When Dwight Eisenhower became president in 1952, he supported Hoover’s belief that domestic security trumped civil liberties. John F. Kennedy symbolized the shift in cultural values that would take place during the 1960s, and Hoover disliked both the president and the social changes. In fact, Hoover used the FBI to attack any group that threatened the status quo, including Martin Luther King Jr., the anti-war movement, and the Black Panthers, employing wiretapping techniques of dubious legality. Despite a lengthy relationship with Richard Nixon, Hoover’s continued career was uncertain when he died of a heart attack on May 2, 1972. Read More…

Jan 302012
 
J. Edgar

Rating: ★★½☆☆

J. Edgar is a touching movie about gay lovers when the idea of gay rights did not exist, but the love story takes precedence over the story of a paranoid, narrow-minded bureaucrat who believed that his own patriotism was the ideal and anyone who did not meet his standards was a threat to the nation. Read More…

Dec 092009
 
Public Enemies

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Public Enemies is a fast-paced, flashy look at the brief period in the early 1930s when outlaws roamed the mid-Western United States, robbing banks at will. Read More…