Over the past few days I have seen “The Italian Job” (1969), “Bad Education” (2020), “Athlete A” (2020), “Blow The Man Down” (2020). In a nice twist…all of them are really good!

The Italian Job
Director: Peter Collinson
Writers: Troy Kennedy-Martin
Stars: Michael Caine, Noel Coward, Benny Hill

Release Date: September 3, 1969

Biggest takeaways from The Italian Job:

  • A much funnier movie than I ever would have expected. Judgement may have been shaded having seen the 2003 version first, but this heist has much more levity.
  • The story features around Charlie Croker, played by Michael Caine. I’ll admit that I have not seen much where Caine is the sole leading man, but he embraces the spotlight here. This is another major difference from the more modern, well known version. Much less focus on the fellow members of the heist. The focus of the movie is Croker and the atmosphere of Italy.
  • Mini Coopers baby! The small cars are cool as hell, even in 1969. The final 30 minutes of the movie, which culminates in the Mini Coopers wreaking havoc and climbing all over the streets and building of Italy, is a wild and wonderful ride. It is the highlight of the movie.
  • The ending of the movie…while symbolic in a way…is still slightly disappointing. Would have enjoyed a bit more closure, but much like how the chase for the ideal heist high is never achieved, the treasure may never be grasped.
  • Stanko Rating: B (3.5/5 Stars)

“The Italian Job” IMDB
“The Italian Job” Rotten Tomatoes


Bad Education
Director: Cory Finley
Writers: Mike Makowsky, Robert Kolker
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Ray Romano, Geraldine Viswanathan

Release Date: April 26, 2020

Biggest takeaways from Bad Education:

  • Simply put, Bad Education is excellent movie and it is carried by the good Allison Janney and amazing Hugh Jackman. Jackman gives his best performance since Logan (2017).
  • The vibe of Bad Education seemed just right. It had the un-glossy sheen of a high school bathroom floor tile that hasn’t been mopped in a few days. The color pallet suits it well.
  • Geraldine Viswanathan is also wonderful as the young intrepid reporter who broke the story of the financial crimes. The two movies I have seen her in are this and Blockers (2018), which she was also excellent in. I am excited to see what she does going forward.
  • I had no idea the extend of this crime and the magnitude of the money stolen. Really crazy story.
  • Can we talk about how good HBO is at their job? They have just released Perry Mason which is a wonderfully dark and beautiful version of Amazon Prime’s Bosch, and a sure to be acclaimed documentary in I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. All praise to the Home Box Office.
  • Stanko Rating: A (4.5/5 Stars)

“Bad Education” IMDB
“Bad Education” Rotten Tomatoes


Athlete A
Director: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk

Release Date: June 24, 2020

Biggest takeaways from Athlete A:

  • This documentary is a dreadful must watch. Again, entering with only a basic understanding of what happened, Athlete A shines a bright spotlight on the major atrocities and negligent behaviors by way too many involved.
  • There are two supremely powerful scenes in this documentary; for one, when it’s illustrated how Maggie Nichols was denied a part of the 2016 Olympic team because she reported Larry Nassar for his actions. The bombastic applause of the entire Olympic team being announced and the voice over illuminating the true hidden horror that Nichols is dealing with. It is scary to think about those thousands in the crowd cheering on the coaches and Nassar himself be association…but also the idea that they are cheering on the young women who were living with a hidden burden and giving them strength and a reason to not let the evil totally consume them. It is too hard to put into a simple thought, but the scene itself is provoking. A second remarkable seen comes to right at the films conclusion; when all the victims speak in front of Nassar in court. It had me sniffling because it was so sad and so inspiring. It is powerful for an obvious reason.
  • I personally love a good journalism behind the scenes type story. Part of why I loved Bad Education, but this featuring the voice of those from the Indianapolis Star who truly unraveled the case is cool as hell. If I have any gripe with Athlete A, the reporters expositional candidate recordings are a little too obviously staged, but that is nothing more than a tiny nothing.
  • Can we also talk about how good this Athlete A poster is? It is just really simple and perfect.
  • Stanko Rating: A (4.5/5 Stars)

“Athlete A” IMDB
“Athlete A” Rotten Tomatoes


Blow The Man Down
Directors: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
Writers: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
Stars: Sophie Lowe, Morgan Saylor, Margo Martindale, Gayle Rankin

Release Date: March 20, 2020

Biggest takeaways from Blow The Man Down:

  • The setting of Easter Cove, Maine makes this movie wonderful. A unique scene makes even the most mundane (which this is not) even more entertaining.
  • Both Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor are excellent in their roles, but Sophie truly stands out.
  • The ending to Blow The Man Down is perfect in its quietness. The small realization that creeps upon Priscilla and Mary Beth Connolly is wonderfully portrayed by Lowe and Saylor.
  • The Movie also stars Gayle Rankin, wo is also in the new HBO show Perry Mason. She as a gift for playing the damaged characters. She was very good in this, mainly opposing her bed and breakfast pimp played by Martindale.
  • Stanko Rating: B+ (4.0/5 Stars)

“Blow The Man Down” IMDB
“Blow The Man Down” Rotten Tomatoes

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