Monday, December 10, 2012

Flight (2012)

Written by John Gatins
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Starring Denzel Washington, Nadine Velazquez, Don Cheadle & John Goodman aka the banana man

Robert Zemeckis isn’t a well known director despite being the director of a list of great films such as, Forrest Gump, What Lies Beneath, Death Becomes Her, & Back to the Future. Zemeckis doesn’t disappoint with Flight either.

Flight is a wonderful film that starts with an amazing plain crash and follows the story of a pilot, Washington, who deals with the ramifications. Each step of the movie reveals another lurking truth about Washingtons character that would have been better off hidden.

The film revolves around three separate but intertwined subjects: The first is Alcoholism & addiction, Washingtons character, Whip, wakes up in a hotel room and snorts a line of cocaine before running off to fly a passenger jet airliner.  The second is religion, after surviving a horrific plane crash, new meanings in Whip’s life start to highlight the existence of the divine. The third subject is the ramifications and politics of a plane crash or any act of God where someone has to be blamed. Often it becomes obvious that Whip doesn't deserve the scrutiny he is under because of the accident. 

The film actually does an amazing job of intertwining these subjects and themes into an incredible film about deliverance and judgment. The movie doesn’t feel good all of the time but the movie play as an honest representation of life and the human experience. Nothing about this movie is flawed.

No rating. I really enjoyed this film but it doesn’t hold much relevance to my life. Addiction is an important message to get to those dealing with such a problem but for others it has little relevance at all. Everyone should see this movie but not everyone will find it meaningful.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Killing Them Softly (2012)

Written By Andrew Dominik
Directed by Andrew Dominik, George V. Higgins
Starring Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy and Richard Jenkins

This is an amazing feature film about politics and gangsters. The subject of the film is a robbery of a card game. Simply put a bunch of gangster types love to play high stakes card in back rooms and small houses and they get robbed every so often. No one gets hurt but all the money gets stolen and the mobsters want revenge. Generally somebody has to die. Interestingly enough the film deals with this situation of revenge while paralleling the 2008 presidential election of Barrack Obama. It's more then confusing and at times insulting. 

The theme of the movie is hard to understand and quite jarring in the beginning of the film. The story opens on McNairy’s character walking out of a tunnel while splicing in fragments of a crowed cheering while Obama speaks in fragmented edits. The opening makes the audience uneasy and not sure about what statement is being made. Racism, sexism, and general hatred are all present in this film along side cold calculating procedure of criminals and mobster politics.

The cinematography is outstanding in its clean natural angles and stylistic action sequences. Brad Pitt plays a hitman who claims he doesn’t like kill people who know him because it gets messy. There are “too many feelings” Pitt’s character complains “I like to kill them softly from a distance”

The film wraps up well after a long struggle to figure out what’s going on and finally the story resolves. Interestingly at the very end of the film, Pitt’s character makes an incredibly bold and interesting statement about what America is. And it's as if the entire film was just a buffer to put in context what this real point of the movie is. In this way the movie is incredibly rich with meaning, prolific in its ability to entertain you and submit a Pearl of insight.

Top 5. This film is very well done and has a gift for the view in the end. It’s not terribly uplifting or warm but the film is trying to say something and that is all a audience member can ask for.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Lincoln (2012)

Writen by Tony Kushner
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis

This film is simply good without argument or bias. Steven Spielberg is an amazing director but this film has the potential to be his historical film that lasts through time. About one of this nations greatest leader, this film creates a much stronger understanding of what was so confusing yet ingrained in our national history. Slavery is a hard issue to talk about, especially in America, and this film does it’s best to honestly represent the culture and feeling of the time period.

The film has an all-star cast. This is not just a film directed by Steven Speilberg, which is enough to make it an instant classic. Daniel Day-Lewis portrays Lincoln in this film with such subtlety and grace while being surrounded by a cast of characters. Sally Fields, Joseph Gorden-Levitt, James Spader, Tommy Lee Jones, Lee Pace & Jared Harris all add an perfect backdrop to the film.

The film runs like a play and each scene is smoothly crafted to deliver a message to the audience about the time and place and situation Lincoln was in. This film is very much centered on Lincoln and his desire to legally and legitimately pass the amendment that freed the slaves in America.

Interestingly, as you watch the film you might find yourself drawing pop culture references and making connections with current events with the films historical subject matter. Its odd to think that a film such as this would have relevance to our culture today but it’s a testament to how deeply ingrained these historical events play out in our daily lives.

Top 5. This one was a slam dunk before it even hit theatres. Spielberg and Day-Lewis together make history come alive with this amazing film about Lincoln. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Life Of Pi (2012)

Written by David Magee, Yann Martel (novel)
Directed By Ang Lee
Starring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan & Adil Hussain

Life of Pi is a fantastic tale. This film is an event to go see on the silver screen. This film is a dance of lights and sound that truly create a sense of world travel and univeral experience. The mystic world of imagination is present throughout this film.

The story is of a young boy who grows up learning all about the world and becoming more spiritual in his humanity. He suffers a great deal of lose when his family is killed in a ship wrack and he is stranded on a raft with a tiger in the middle of the ocean. The story is a coming of age tale that hints at the existence and experience of god and the humility of life.

This film has amazing cinematography and CGI graphics. The tiger and ocean of fish truly capture the mind's eye of the audience while at the same time look hyper real and crisp. The film speaks of imagination and wonderment as if the audience must watch through the eyes of a child. Each moment the movie becomes more and more real while it become more and more fantastical.

The film ends poorly. What you were supposed to believe turns out to be something you have to choose to believe. This is not to say the film has little to offer. In fact, the film may offer more then, what at first, you might think. Religious belief and story telling play their own part in this story strangling arguing for themselves. But the whole of the film still holds up in the end.

Top 5. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen, this film has a family friendly plot that has lots to offer both children and adults.