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May 28th, 2023

boston strangler spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


True crime stories have always somewhat fascinated me and recently, filmmakers put to film one of the stranger true crime cases in history with the film “Boston Strangler.” The movie follows a pair of female reporters (played by Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon) as they connect the Boston Strangler killings and break the story for the Boston Record American. 

To start off with, the movie does a great job of creating a tense atmosphere and does it even in the opening scene when police find one of the Boston Strangler’s victims with the song “Nowhere to Hide” playing on the TV in the background. I found it absolutely chilling and was left to wonder “How will the movie go from THAT?!” Another style choice I really liked in the movie was how the killer’s face was never shown (which actually comes to make sense at the end of the film), and it adds another layer of tension. I also thought it a good choice to not actually show the murders themselves because (A) it showed respect to the victims and (B) it allows for some imagination on the viewers’ part – I felt like the movie did a good job capturing the overall terror of that time period pretty well, and I can’t even imagine just how terrified people were, especially women. 

Along with those style choices, I also thought it was good how the movie focused on the people who broke the story of the Boston Strangler instead of the crimes themselves, which has been the norm for a lot of true crime dramas in more recent times (*cough* Netflix’s “Dahmer” *cough*). Again, doing that shows respect to the victims themselves and also gives an insight into what actually went into the investigation and how everything came together. 

creed 3 spotlightJonathan Majors (left) and Michael B. Jordan in an early scene from “Creed III.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Text conversations between my mom and I can turn extremely random at times and recently, she had brought up how she had recently come across “Creed 2” online, which led me to suggest to her we go see “Creed 3” when she came and visited me last weekend. We did exactly that while she was here, and both of us ultimately ended up coming away rather emotionally knocked out. 

The first “Creed” movie, a spinoff from the “Rocky” franchise, was released in 2015 and followed amateur boxer Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) as he gets trained and mentored by Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), the former rival turned friend of Adonis' father, Apollo Creed. The newest installment takes place several years later and sees Adonis briefly come out of retirement to face off against former childhood friend and boxing prodigy Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors).

From an overall production standpoint, I thought the movie was extremely well done. There’s so much interesting imagery used and several seemingly small details that ultimately ended up mattering a lot more than I initially thought while watching it. The cinematography and different camera shots are also very creatively used throughout the movie and there were multiple moments where I couldn’t help but say to myself “What an absolutely GORGEOUS scene!” One of my absolute favorite scenes is during the climactic fight between Adonis and Damian, because it shifts from them being surrounded by cheering and fans and a full Dodgers Stadium to the fight being just between them with blows landing and no other sound or people around. I thought it was an extremely cool take on just how zoned in fighters become, and it was almost like being right there in the ring. 

women talking spotlight onlineA scene from Oscar contender “Women Talking.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The decision to leave a harmful situation can be difficult and complex, and one of the Best Picture contenders for this year’s Academy Awards, “Women Talking,” takes on just that. The movie is based on Miriam Towes’s 2018 book, which in turn was inspired by events that occurred in the Manitoba Colony, a Mennonite community in Bolivia. Between 2005 and 2009, more than 100 girls and women in the colony woke up to discover that they had been raped in their sleep, with several of the colony’s men ultimately being convicted and sent to prison. The movie follows a group of women who, on behalf of the other women in the colony, debate on how to react to these events, and they have only 48 hours before the rest of the colony’s men, who are away to post bail for the rapists, return.

While the movie overall is pretty minimalistic in scale, there is plenty to keep viewers’ attention right from the beginning. The opening shot features a young woman awaking to find bruises and wounds sustained from her attack and then calling for her mother, and I was absolutely horrified. And from there, the overall emotional tone of the movie remains pretty gripping. The opening narrator mentions how the attacks were attributed by the colony’s male leaders to ghosts and demons, were God's punishment for their sins, or simply the result of an overactive imagination. It hurt seeing how the victims were gaslighted so badly by people they were supposed to trust, and then the realization hit me very quickly how there are still so many sexual assault victims throughout the world whose stories are similarly dismissed, so I have to give praise to director Sarah Polley for adding that realism to the movie. Another scene that was particularly harrowing to watch was the aftermath of Nettie’s miscarriage, which ultimately causes much other woe, as we see when that backstory is featured.