John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

Terror at the Mall

Genre: Documentary




Release Date: September 15th, 2014

It’s the first day of October, more about which means three important things.

1) The fall television season is officially here so tune in for some great new shows (I, sick myself, am a big fan of Gotham) and check out your returning favorites.

2). We’re less than three months away from Christmas.

And 3.) Gilmore Girls has finally arrived on Netflix. Yes, the month of October means that the entire seven seasons of the WB dramedy are now available for streaming.

With this in mind (and to follow up on my piece on The Good Wife), here are ten reasons we love Gilmore Girls.

The Heartbreaks: The show had its romantic ups and downs for both of the Gilmore Girls– Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel)– but one of the reasons we love the program so much is that it depicted real relationships and the heartbreak that often comes along with falling in love. Some of the heartbreaks were tough to take (we’re talking to you, Dean) but the show handled these tricky scenes remarkably well. / Via

The Supporting Characters: There are other supporting characters mentioned on this list but this spot is reserved for the characters we loved who didn’t get their own listing. We’re talking about the magnificently sarcastic Paris Geller (Liza Weil), the joyful Miss Patty (Liz Torres), the lovably strange Kirk (Sean Gunn) and many, many more. We won’t be forgetting any of these delightful figures anytime soon. / Via / Via / Via

Stars Hollow: The town may have been full of the quirkiest characters around but it was also a soothing and loving home for the Gilmore Girls. Like the setting of a Norman Rockwell painting, it was a beautiful, little community bursting with life and odd traditions. It isn’t a real place but if it was, I’d be happy to move there tomorrow. / Via

Their Appreciation of Pop Culture: So many shows and movies exist in a world where daytime television doesn’t exist, movies aren’t available and books– how many of your favorite television characters have you seen reading lately– aren’t mentioned. Gilmore Girls wasn’t like that. It lovingly embraced the world of pop culture and celebrated reading (Rory, of course, was one of the most consistent television readers ever). / Via / Via

It introduced us to Lauren Graham , Melissa McCarthy, Matt Czuchry, Jared Padalecki and Milo Ventimiglia: Along with so many other actors, this show introduced us to some of the best performers out there. If you think about the four names above (all supporting players, save for Graham), you realize how much of the television landscape has benefited from their breakout turns on Gilmore Girls.

Graham went on to star in the beloved NBC drama Parenthood. McCarthy, who was nominated for an Oscar for her work in Bridesmaids, currently stars as Molly on the CBS hit Mike and Molly. Czuchy stars on The Good Wife (have I mentioned how much I love The Good Wife?). Padalecki found long-term success in his starring role on Supernatural. As for Ventimiglia, his Jess spinoff never came to fruition but he found success on the NBC drama Heroes.

What show other than Gilmore Girls has had that kind of acting success for its stars after it went off the air? / Via

Love Him or Hate Him, JESS: Sure, there are people who like Dean and there are others who love Logan but Jess might have been Rory’s best match on the show. I’m not saying he was the perfect guy for her but he was the most interesting of her mates and was almost as well-read as she was. / Via / Via / Via

The Parental Connection: One of the premises of the show was that Lorelai became pregnant with Rory at an early age and therefore was able to bond with her on topics and issues that other parents have a tough time connecting with their kids on. That tight relationship often came into contrast with Lorelai’s need to actually mother her daughter but through it all, this was a mother-daughter relationship that was hard to match. / Via

The Dialogue: Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls, was one of the best writers in the business. She created a program here with some of the fastest, wittiest and smartest dialogue on television. Sometimes it was tough to keep up with but it was always worth it to try, just to see how many references you could name or how many different subjects the show could address in even the quickest of conversations. / Via

The Coffee: There was coffee, more coffee and even more coffee. With the fast dialogue and the late night marathons, both of the two main characters relied on this important beverage and couldn’t have enough of it. It helped that the local diner was owned by the rough but charming Luke Danes (Scott Patterson). / Via

The Parents: Emily (Kelly Bishop) and Richard Gilmore (Edward Herrmann) were Lorelai’s disapproving parents (Emily was more disapproving than her more open-minded husband). Because of financial reasons (Lorelai needed to borrow money from them at the start of the series), Lorelai (and oftentimes Rory) was obligated to enjoy Friday night dinners with them for all seven seasons. The couple may have been tough to handle (especially for the household servants that Emily loved firing) but they were an essential part of this program and one that kept the show grounded. / Via

Luke and Lorelai: It was the romantic couple we were always rooting for but one that was consistently separated by other problems. Still, we wouldn’t have it any other way and when the couple finally tried their hand at romance, it was worth the wait. / Via

The entire Gilmore Girls series is now on Netflix.
When terrorist attacks occur overseas, buy cialis their impact is often underestimated by Westerners who simply see the story on the news and then forget about it. The new HBO documentary Terror at the Mall (premiering tonight at 9 PM) brings such an attack into our living rooms by displaying real surveillance camera footage of a September 2013 terrorist attack in Kenya.

It’s easy to forget about a terrorist attack when it doesn’t occur in your backyard. It’s hard to forget one that looks and feels like something that you could experience while shopping at a local outlet.

“It was more than just a mall. It was really a part of our lives, decease
” one shopper— who experienced the attack firsthand—notes in talking about Westgate, there
her local mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Like some American malls, Westgate houses several restaurants near the front and a grocery store at the back. These two locations play a pivotal role in this drama as four Somalian psychopaths invade these stores— killing men, women and children alike. Sixty-one people were eventually murdered by the terrorists in the attack including a dozen children and three pregnant women.

Terror at the Mall vividly portrays these events by mixing real surveillance footage with interviews with those who survived the attack. From the mothers who clung to their children to a set of brothers that was separated from their Mom in the midst of the crisis, this movie never holds back on showing how heartbreaking and painful this experience must have been.

To its credit, it also holds back no punches and shows the blatant disregard these terrorists had for human life (the surveillance footage is hard to watch and does show some of the murders taking place). As noted by the witnesses, the quartet of terrorists often asked shoppers which religion they were (some Muslims were eventually freed). When one woman notes her Christian faith, she gets killed. When an older woman pauses at the question (wondering what answer they are looking for), she is murdered as well. But as the story shows, many—if not most— of the victims of the mall attack were Muslims themselves.

These men simply had no respect for human life.

Despite its length at approximately one hour, watching this is a difficult experience because the footage is both real and heartbreaking to watch. The narrator notes that it’s likely that a few thousand people walked into the mall that day simply to shop for a few items. In addition to the dozens who were killed, hundreds were left with permanent injuries.

It’s worth noting also that the documentary doesn’t settle at simply showing the action inside the mall. It also presents an unflattering portrait of the Kenya police force which doesn’t enter the mall until three and a half hours after the attack began (a few heroic undercover police officers and two brave men had entered earlier on their own accord).

Terror at the Mall does in sixty minutes what news organizations can’t do in hours of programming. It brings an overseas terror attack home and shows— minute by minute— the horror that these innocent people experienced less than a year ago. When it’s hard to grasp what terrorists are doing to innocent people overseas, movies like Terror at the Mall help show the weaknesses of these monsters and the strength of those who are willing to save others despite the danger they face themselves.

Review by: John Hanlon