Mar 082009

blindness_poster.jpgWhen a sudden plague of blindness devastates a city, a small group of the afflicted band together to triumphantly overcome the horrific conditions of their imposed quarantine.

Genres: Art/Foreign, Drama, Thriller and Adaptation; Running Time: 2 hrs.; Release Date: October 3rd, 2008 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for violence including sexual assaults, language and sexuality/nudity.

Starring: Don McKellar, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover, Alice Braga

Directed by: Fernando Meirelles

I was struggling with myself while deciding if I wanted to watch this movie, so we rented it and watched it Sunday night. It wasn’t getting good reviews but I decided to go ahead and make up my own mind after seeing it. Most of the reviewers are right, this is something different. It makes us look at ourselves in a different way. Yes, at times it is intense, but maybe that’s why some people don’t like it. You have to be able to think of civilization in a different life.

The underlying story shows us just how tenuous is what we call “society/civilization,” and how quickly it could break down.

Now, its not perfect, it probably ran about 15-20 minutes too long and there were times where you lost a little focus. There were a lot of parts of the story that just didn’t seem to make any sense, and it seemed to resolve itself just a little to simplistically, but its was unique, and enjoyable in its own way. Don’t forget, if the whole world did go blind, it wouldn’t be very pretty. It’s not something to take the kids to, but not a bad choice for adults.

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Slumdog Millionaire – A Movie Review

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Mar 082009

Slumdog Millionaire PosterThe story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. Intrigued by Jamal’s story, the jaded Police Inspector begins to wonder what a young man with no apparent desire for riches is really doing on this game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out.

Genres: Art/Foreign, Comedy, Drama, Adaptation; Running Time: 2 hrs.; Release Date: November 12th, 2008 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for some violence, disturbing images and language.

Starring: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Madhur Mittal, Freida Pinto

Directed by: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan

Lay and I finally watched this movie last weekend. I’m just getting around to writing my review. I know I’ll be taken to the wood shed by some, so let me get this over with right away. I don’t think it was the best picture of the year.

That being said, it was a great movie, and I think it deserved most of the awards it won. I’m not sure about the music awards, but the cinematography was fantastic, and it was a great story cleverly told. I highly recommend seeing it.

I had a few problems with some of the film’s consistency.

At one point during the questioning by the police Jamal is asked if he’s seen his brother recently. His answer is a very indignant response to the effect that if he had, he wouldn’t be in the current situation, as he would have been in trouble for killing his brother. However, one of the kep moments in the story has him reuniting with his brother. I’m also bothered a bit by the the ease of the reunion after many hears of hate-filled separation, and the quick way Jamal’s brother just said, you go stay at my apartment. I didn’t understand the logic of this as anythingother than a plot device. I also could not find an explanation for why, near the end of the movie, Jamal’s brother punches some numbers into his phone, and very melodramatically hands it to Jamal’s life-long love, Latika.

Lay had a problem with the fact that Jamal and Latika kept finding one another in the millions that live in India. I had no problem with that. I can suspend my disbeleief on something like that as a plot device, but believe it is not so impossible in real life either.

The movie was beautifully filmed, and I was pulled in immediately, and developed an instant impathy and respect for the three main characters. The game show questiongs serving as the plot vehicle for telling the story was absolutely brilliant. I think it is better seen in a movie theater, but I’m sure I’ll watch it again once it’s out on video.

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Transsiberian – A Movie Review

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Nov 102008

Transsiberian Movie PosterAn American couple, Roy and Jessie, decide to take the long way home from their recent sojourn in Asia on the legendary Trans-Siberian Express train from Beijing to Moscow. On their way, they meet another couple from the West, Carlos and Abby, with whom they quickly form a familiar bond that often unites fellow travellers away from home. When Roy accidentally gets separated from the group at a stopover, Jessie begins to realize that their compatriots aren’t exactly who or what they seem to be. The real danger begins to surface as a deceitful Russian detective and locals terrorize Jessie in this unforgettable journey.

Genres: Art/Foreign, Drama, Thriller and Crime/Gangster; Running Time: 1 hr. 51 min.; Release Date: July 18th, 2008 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for some violence, including torture and language.

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Kate Mara, Eduardo Noriega, Ben Kingsley

Directed by: Brad Anderson

I honestly don’t remember seeing previews for this film, but I was only in limited release, so I’m guess maybe it wasn’t shown widely here in Tampa. It certainly should have been. It was an excellent story that was well acted and well edited. Anderson even captured a bit of the Hitchcock style in that much of the films suspense, while very palpable, was subtle and just under the surface. This understatement, to me, often offers the most profound effect. The acting was immense, the landscape was immense, it was all great! There are a few graphic scenes which really make a strong point. There is no skirting issue, it is right in front of you. Emily Mortimer fit her role so well it was scary, it could be reality, as with Woody and Ben.

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