Though this film is ultimately just an exercise in melodrama, the… MoreThough this film is ultimately just an exercise in melodrama, the character of Sophie Zawistowska is very complex and interesting to watch, and by no means hampered by the brilliant performance from Meryl Streep. Essentially this film is pegged as a story about the Holocaust, but it's much more than that. Though there are undoubted horrors seen onscreen, and this film deals with true facts about the inhuman exploits of the Nazis, the story is more about guilt. Everyone hides something horrible in their past, Sophie included, and that shame and repugnance shape whatever decisions we make in the future. Sophie has a very dire choice to make, and because of it she feels she doesn't deserve happiness in the future. Atrocities loom in her periphery, but she's trying to be friendly with Stingo (MacNichol) and romantic with Nathan (Kline), cheery and forgotten to her past, untied to her family. Using the Holocaust as a backdrop helps permeate the grandiosity of her guilt, and shows the terrors inflicted upon her, though any number of other historical atrocities would have served the same major purpose of influencing Sophie's guilt. It's not until the very last minutes of the film that we realize the true gravity of that guilt, and we understand the outcome for Sophie, Stingo, and Nathan. While it may not have aged especially well, there's still such vibrancy, and the illuminating performance from Streep will hold weight even decades in the future.
George A. Romero's sequel to the game changing mega-hit "Night of the… MoreGeorge A. Romero's sequel to the game changing mega-hit "Night of the Living Dead," this film has the same political undertones, and also subtle ruminations in consumer culture. Unlike the original, this film only deals with the exploits of four people, who trap themselves inside a mall and live off its resources. The original was much more about the epidemic, and the terror of ghouls rampaging through the wilderness. The urban setting shows the vacancy of man-made structures without human residency, and the ease with which we as Americans consume and find pleasure in spaces such as malls. Our heroes fall back into lives of luxury and convenience, though they are faced with horrors, because they are programmed to do so, as are the zombies who return to the mall based on their baser instincts. Riveting to watch because of how massive and impressive the film is, but also for the creativity of the story, "Dawn of the Dead" is a classic zombie film that tells a very human story.
There is so much wrong with this adaptation of the Max Brooks penned… MoreThere is so much wrong with this adaptation of the Max Brooks penned book, but that's an entirely different review. I just want to address what I dislike about this particular film and all its shortcomings. What bothers me most about this film is that without the association of the bestselling book, this film wouldn't be paid any mind. It's sloppy, especially when it comes to the CGI wall of zombies, which is over-simplistic and an obvious McGuffin, as are many contrived plot devices that spur forth the plot. The only similarity to the source material is the use of multiple countries, which is so obviously forced to accommodate the change in script. Brad Pitt (who is just playing himself) is given Christ-like status as he is the only one who can travel around the world, not get infected, save the life of an Israeli soldier, and find a solution to the virus. Instead of detailing the worldwide economic, political, and military interventions of a zombie war, this film just follows one inept guy as he lucks out again and again against the zombie foe. The ending is the most infuriating aspect, as it leaves everything on an ambiguous note, even though the entire film follows the one person who can supposedly save the world, and he does. Turning a book about the real world impact of a zombie apocalypse into a point and click adventure starring Brad Pitt means you cannot finagle an up in the air ending to seem deep. Either they should have streamlined it further in order for it to be another zombie film, or the book should never have been adapted, which would have made everyone happy in the first place.
While it's unclear how much of this story was staged by director Damon… MoreWhile it's unclear how much of this story was staged by director Damon Russell, our protagonist Curtis Snow is surely real, and here he is in his element. A drug dealer, a father, and a man ravaged by grief through the deaths of many people he loves, Curtis is the perfect specimen for a faux documentary. This film details the War on Drugs, the real trauma of death, and retaliation between rival gangs via violence and theft. Many of the things shown in this documentary are indicative of the conditions of life in poverty stricken areas, especially "The Bluff," a neighborhood in Atlanta rife with crime and drug dealing. There has never been a depiction as full of depth, or a documentary as real to life, as this portrayal of Snow, a man who has lost many people he loves, yet continues in his life of crime because it's his only means of keeping himself and his son afloat. Very eye-opening and dramatic, this is a must-see for those who haven't experienced a world of disparity.
This touching true story of a millionaire and his convict caretaker… MoreThis touching true story of a millionaire and his convict caretaker revolves around a friendship of disrespect and humor. Omar Sy (Driss) is probably best known to American audiences as Bishop from the X-Men franchise, strong and mostly silent. Here he is much more effervescent and humorous as Driss, inept to the social surroundings of his employer, and he is full of heart and heartbreak. Of course there isn't anything new about this film, or the story it tells, but it's heartwarming to see a quadriplegic overcome the baser anxieties of his handicap, and for a disenfranchised ex-con find happiness and loyalty in his friendship. Besides being very gooey with emotion, their exchanges are quite funny. Driss always seems to know just how to make Philippe (Cluzet) laugh, even while being very inappropriate. Most of what Driss does in this film is inappropriate and very un-PC, but the character is charming and the dialogue is coaxing, making this a very interesting film in of itself.
It's admirable that the writers of "21 Jump Street" wanted to… MoreIt's admirable that the writers of "21 Jump Street" wanted to capitalize on the fun and fervor of the first film, and tried to recreate its magic in this sequel. Unfortunately this self-congratulating send-up to the original eighties television show is too busy trying to show its audience that it's in on the joke, instead of just telling it. Oftentimes this film tells its audience "we know sequels usually suck, but we don't suck, because we'll make ourselves suck" and then it kamikazes itself. Though that level of Meta can be obnoxious, there are some solid comedy moments reminiscent of the original. Hill and Tatum work perfectly together in a blended chemistry that should have been better exploited for their second romp onscreen. While the film was very much like the original in its form of comedy and execution, it would have been better to see that, constantly, throughout the film, instead of scenes of partying and reference to the fact that it was a movie. I know it's a movie, I'm watching it.