Sunday, January 27, 2013

My response to Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook, and the issues approached in those films

A couple more of my Facebook movie reviews:

Mike and I saw an early showing of “Zero Dark Thirty” at the Davis Theater in Chicago yesterday, and there were things we liked and disliked about this film.  The depiction of torture in this film has left many critics wondering if this movie is responsible enough about its stand on the use of torture.  Are we a gang of vengeful bloodthirsty agents who want to take down terrorists by any means necessary, or are there more humane forms of getting information out of suspects.  I would call this movie partially irresponsible, but yet we see Obama on a tv screen taking a stand against torture in the military.  When torture becomes prohibited by Obama, then we get to see objectively what really happened in the process to capture Osama bin Laden.  It’s harrowing to watch, yes, but necessary because much of it is based on true events.  Many critics have called it a masterpiece of war drama, and it is brilliantly told in exciting dialogue, but I had mixed feelings about calling these potty mouthed agents American “heroes” or “heroines.”  I’m on the side that says “you don’t have to become a monster to stop a monster,” but I was relieved as anyone else with the capture of bin Laden.  Closure yes, but feeling like terrorism will end, no.  This senseless war is costing us too much already, and we need to stop and count our blessings, and hope a war like this never happens again.  Also, the high level of Islamaphobia in this movie made me very uncomfortable, and made me almost feel like these people can’t be trusted, but that is racism to me.  The truth we need to educate ourselves on human rights issues, like reading the Universal Declarations of Human Rights, so that we realize what these violent films are trying to do to us.  We must not let us become morally irresponsible to torture,  and we must take a stand to see the full truth of the matter.  This movie has some violent scary moments that are situated in true events, but we need to watch carefully to take a stand against extreme torture, and defend human rights of innocent people.  Peace, Human Rights, Equality, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Mike and I saw “Silver Linings Playbook” and we both liked it quite a bit.  All the performances are very good in this movie, and this unique approach to the romantic comedy, made them nominate it for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.  Argo and Zero Dark Thirty were not nominated for Best Director, but this “comedy drama” is.  Why are critics all saying good things about this movie?  I think it’s because it takes a touchy issue like Bi Polar Disorder or Mental Health, and makes us feel that people with Mental Illness have a chance of getting their life together, and staying stable if given the chance, and with a little help from therapy and medication.  Another issue in the movie, shows how ex-husbands can become obsessed and stalk their ex-wives at uncomfortable levels.  Bradley Cooper’s character was difficult to watch because of his obsessive determination to get back with his ex-wife, yet his parents and friends love give him hope to go on, because his friends and family would not give up on him.  Will this movie win Best Picture?  I don’t think so, but it’s a brave little story about Bi Polar Disorder in the middle class, that it deserves attention by all classes.  It could win an Oscar for writing, I suppose. Also, I still think My Cherie Amour is a very sweet song, and how they used football “Playbooks” in the movie is very witty and unique.  Peace, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.
Sincerely, Ruben Santos Claveria

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My response to the Oscar Nominations for the 2013 Oscars for films in 2012

The Oscar nominations for films in 2012, were announced today.  Mike and I have seen five of the films nominated for Best Picture, because we read good reviews about them by Roger Ebert at  “Lincoln” is Mike’s favorite movie of last year, and I loved Les Miserables. 

Many people online are surprised that Tom Hooper was not given a Best Director nomination for “Les Miserables,” and Kathryn Bigelow was not nominated for Best Director for Zero Dark Thirty.  Other snubs that stood out were: Marion Cotillard not being nominated for Rust and Bone; Leonardo Dicaprio was not nominated for “Django Unchained,” and “Cloud Atlas” was ignored.  These award ceremonies always leave somebody out, which is why no one is ever completely happy with them.  I only like them because they have made me watch some very interesting films, that I otherwise would have passed up.  People on Facebook called the Oscars a selfish venture of the industry, and many people did not like some of the films nominated, one calling “Lincoln” a “snooze fest.” 

Yet, when you are surprised by great performances like Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppie in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and Anne Hathaway in “Les Miserables,” and Daniel Day Lewis in “Lincoln,” and Suraj Sharma as Pi in “Life of Pi,”  it makes it all worth it somehow.  Although many films that get nominated won’t get watched more than once, because of difficult subject matter, other films like “Les Miserables” are worth repeated viewings because you want to learn the music enough to sing the melodies to yourself, if you love singing that is. 

I’ve heard good things about “Silver Linings Playbook” and plan to watch it since someone in all the acting categories was nominated for that film.  I also want to see “Amour,” a movie that surprised people with five nominations.  Emmanuelle Riva, at 85, is the oldest Best Actress nominee for “Amour,” and Quvenzhane Wallis, at 9, is the youngest Best Actress nominee for “Beasts,” and they are both competing for the same award! 

A lot that you need to learn about life, you can learn from great movies, with great stories, which is why “Lincoln” and “Life of Pi” and “Beasts” all deserve their nominations.  The competition is very tough, and it’s hard to pick the winners, but I think Lincoln should win the most awards, because of the great script by Gay Playwright, Tony Kushner.  It’s award winning dialogue.

I think “Les Miserables” should win for Production or Set Design, and “Life of Pi” for Cinematography and Special Effects. 

I want Anne Hathaway to win for “Les Miserables,” but, like I said, the competition is tough.  Mike and I both think that Daniel Day Lewis will take home the Oscar for “Lincoln,” and maybe Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln,” too. 

The awards are in February this year, a little over a month away, making it difficult to watch all the movies nominated.  Sometimes we wait to see who wins in certain categories, like sound, costume, and music, to see the film. 

There are some great films out there with great messages, and I’m glad we get to see them all.  Some movies with bad reviews, that people say is difficult, and not interesting to watch, like "The Master" we'll probably pass up, but with all those nominations, maybe it'll be worth a watch on video.  Some movies are now on video, like "Beasts," "Brave," "Moonrise Kingdom," and others.  It's all a matter of taste.

Peace, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.