Month: January 2014

John Wells’ August: Osage County

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Its Meryl Streep’s world, we’re just living in it. John Well’s August: Osage County proves that a story isn’t what drives film, it is the manner in which it is delivered.

Family is one of the most important aspects of life. They can inspire, motivate and nourish a person, or they can knock them down, showing no mercy. August: Osage County tells the story of unconventional family that has been faced with death. They’re all brought back together after years of being separated, and are forced to get along under the circumstances. Violet, the mother who is portrayed by Meryl Streep, is what causes all of the drama. She is an old woman with cancer, who gets through the day by taking hundreds of pills. This leads her to hurt the people around her with her truthful words that they would rather not hear. She tells the truth because everyone else is scared. Scared that it will alter their feelings for one another any more than it already has. When someone points out something that has been ignored for years, its finally seen clear. Its finally something that isn’t just locked up in their minds awaiting assistance. I liked this film because it not only dealt with serious problems that people face on a daily basis, but it is also very funny. Its crude humour makes it enjoyable and adds light to terrible situations. It’s the kind of humour that can only be shared between family members, because they’re the only ones that could possibly understand. They’re the only people that have to understand, its a strange relationship that somehow stays intact over the years of change. Personalities change and circumstances change, but family is always brought together in one way or another.

Life goes on, and family stays together. Its just a cycle of events, that always leads to the same thing. A family reunion, filled with similar faces, but different circumstances. August: Osage County is a film that emphasizes the importance of family in the most beautiful way.

Jean-Luc Godards Pierrot Le Fou

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A world where happiness is encouraged, dancing is mandatory, and emotions aren’t suppressed. I wish more than anything that my life was a Jean-Luc Godard film. I wish that it was nearly as colourful, or spontaneous. That life wasn’t seen as a set of goals, but as an opportunity to be as happy as possible. A persons objective isn’t to get the perfect job, but to love someone more than anything. Pierrot Le Fou tells the story of what life should be.

Pierrot is a man that loves two things in life; literature and Marianne. He runs off with her, abandoning his life in search of happiness. No more conformity, or caring what people think, its just him and Marianne against the world. They’re soon on the run for their reckless behaviour, yet they couldn’t care less. They live in various unconventional places, but all they care about is each others presence. It, however is not a love story. It’s a story of life and how people would do anything to be happy. I don’t care if it sounds stupid or unrealistic, but its something that isn’t seen much in film today. Its a part of old French cinema that I love so much. It’s not the storyline that makes me love them, its the writing and emotions that are examined. It puts all of your emotions into profound words that explain everything that has ever been questioned. It opens your eyes wider than ever before, and changes your perspective forever. I don’t care if I sound insane, or that my words are over exaggerated, but then you clearly have never seen a Godard film.

Jean Luc-Godard is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, His quirky and unconventional writing style is what sets him apart from the crowd and makes him stand out as a genius in the film industry. I promise that if you were to watch this film, that it will change your perspective on life, love, and happiness. It will open your mind to new thoughts and emotions that you thought were never possible. It is a movie whose effect can last a lifetime, yet it’ll never grow old.

Dennis Hoppers Easy Rider

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Imagine being able to leave your day to day life and travel across the country. No more knowing what the next day will bring, or whether it will be pleasant. Relying solely on instincts and the everlasting urge to live in the moment. Dennis Hoppers Easy Rider is a film that shows what is imagined on a daily basis in cubicles across the country. Freedom, courage, and spontaneous interaction with people of similar interest. It is truly a tale of the American Dream.

Best friends Wyatt and Billy cruise across America, determined to make it to Mardi Gras on time. They find themselves distracted by the people they meet and the opinions of civilians that don’t understand. Shunned like a stray dog in the streets for not conforming to societies expectations. However, they could care less, because they’re the ones that are truly free. They don’t need to be accepted or thought of kindly, they just need to live their lives the way they want, and everyone else can mind their own business. They soon discover that it isn’t about getting to Mardi Gras, its about the journey there and their experiences in-between. This is an extremely important concept for people to grasp. You are not defined by your end result, you are defined by how you get there. Your life would be pointless if you never effected people in some sort of way, and didn’t fight for what you believed in.

Dennis Hopper created a debut film that can define his career. His directing style and choice of music truly sets him apart from other people of that time. In 1969 film was considered sophisticated, and no one wanted to hear a story about hippies. He shows us that he was years ahead of everyone else with his knowledge of life and its importance. He has been, and will continue to be, one of my favourite people in the movie industry, and I hope that more people will go back and enjoy his films, because they are truly a work of art.

Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza

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Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) is a film that truly deserves its title. It’s not only beautiful, but its moving and inspiring to the point of tears. It hooks you right from the beginning and won’t let go until the end. But during that time, you’re forced to deal with various emotions that most would like to ignore.

Jep Gambardella is a burnt out journalist that lives in Rome. He spends his nights partying to compensate for his dark thoughts and fear of growing old. He soon realizes that death is something that can’t be ignored. He, much like every other man his age, must embrace life like its the beginning, but think as if its the end. Its incredibly difficult for him to focus as he becomes unruly and distant from the people around him.  He attempts to continue finding hope and new feelings that haven’t already been experienced in his long life, through art and culture. However, it becomes very draining, seeing all of his friends dreams die and fade away, just like his did 20 years before. I really loved the story because its so simple, allowing for it to be relatable. It’s a point in every persons life that they don’t want to face and isn’t usually told. Most movies focus on a persons prime time, instead of it’s descent. It gives people a sense of belonging, like it isn’t strange to feel a certain way, even if its sad, it should’t be. Everyone dies, it doesn’t matter when or how, it just matters that you lived.

From classical violin, to the steady beats of techno, an array of sounds tells the story almost better than the actors. The music in The Great Beauty played a huge part in my feeling towards it. There was such a wide variety of sounds that I think it described life well. At times it was upbeat and happy, others it was sad. Life tends to be like that. There is no certainty that your day will be happy, or sad, or nothing.  It just depends on the way you look at it.

It is truly a film that I will remember for the rest of my life. I hope to grow old enough to understand this movie better and recognize its true beauty. I will watch it again, and it will inspire me and allow me to leave this world on a positive note, knowing that my life was not wasted, even if it was.

Park Chan-wook’s Stoker

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A visually stunning masterpiece, that proves that in order to beautiful, you don’t have to be pretty. Park Chan-wook’s Stoker is a film with a  morbid and disturbing plot, but the way it is filmed makes it a work of art.

India Stoker is a strange young girl with a curiosity that can’t be tamed. She is no ordinary girl, with an ordinary life. She used to spend her spare time with her father hunting, until the terrible accident. He died, leaving her alone with her mother, whom she can’t possibly relate to. At the funeral, her mother reveals to her that she has an uncle, that they never bothered to mention because of his travels. Right away she realizes that something isn’t right about this man, and his effect on her mother. Theres a growing tension between them, and At first, I thought that it was going to be a contemporary version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and didn’t expect to like it all, but the cinematography made up for its poor storyline. It progressively gets better throughout the film, but I still didn’t enjoy the plot. It just seems like a really lame TV movie with terrible writers and actors that didn’t fit the part. The characters also were questionable because they have no morals, and completely go against everything they believe in. At the start of the movie they feel one way, and then as it continues they just seem to forget. It’s also supposed to be scary but it seems like the main character couldn’t care less about what was happening around her. This made it very difficult to connect with her and have any sympathy whatsoever.

Cinematography has a lot to do with then quality of a film. If my review was supposed to be based solely on the cinematography, I’d say that its perfect. However, that is not the case. It, as a whole, is a decent film. It is not amazing, nor is it special in any way. I recommend this film to people that don’t mind watching it with the sound turned off. That way you can see how beautiful it is, without being corrupted by the rest of the movie.

Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12

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A hauntingly beautiful story of the struggles of growing up. The awkward stages, the embarrassing phases, and the unknowing of what the future will bring. Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12 is a film that has everything that you wish you could forget, and everything you wish you could remember about your childhood.

Encouraging them to grow, learn from their past mistakes, and most of all; love themselves for who they are. Grace is a supervisor at a foster care home for at-risk kids. The home allows them to grow in a safe environment, and look foreword to the future. The peace is disturbed when a new child arrives, with a past worth forgetting. Jayden is a troubled teenage girl, that hides behind sarcasm and tough exterior. She refuses to attempt to make friends, because she claims that her father will pick her up soon, so she distances herself from the other kids. Grace starts to spend time with Jayden, and realizes that they have a lot in common. Jayden slowly begins to realizes that friendship doesn’t have an expiration date, especially when its from people with the same experiences. To call it inspirational, would be an understatement. It’s a film filled with heart wrenching emotions that make you smile and laugh one minute, then cry like a baby the next.

I can honestly say that I started watching this film, having no idea what its about and expecting it to be a typical movie about the struggles of being a teenager. However, as the story blossomed, so did my feelings towards it. It wasn’t overly sad, or overdramatic to the point of being inaccurate to real life. It was realistic, as well as an amazing story. I really loved it and I’m not over exaggerating for the sake this review. I don’t write to sound good, I write because I want people to watch films that deserve attention.

This is one of many films this year that deserves more recognition. More people should see it and appreciate its beauty rather than watching all the star studded blockbusters. It will surprise them with its heartbreaking story, that is sadly more relatable that anyone would like to admit.

Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club

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I stare at the blank screen, unable to comprehend what I had just watched, and trying with all my heart not to start it over. People find it silly when I say that a film can make an impact on my life, that it effects the way I act, and look at the world, but this one did. When I was younger, I remember watching films, and if it was just right, it could change my mood just by a simple reference. It’s a very rare occurrence, but when it does happen, its magical. Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club is a film that I will love for many years to come. I will talk about it as if the characters are my friends, and I will cry at the simple mention of the name. It is a movie that deserves praise, and I will provide it. 

It tells an amazing story of a man named Ron Woodroof, who is an all-American white trash bull rider, who was diagnosed with AIDS. At the time, AIDS was considered a disease for homosexuals, who weren’t treated kindly in the first place. He was not only shocked, but offended beyond belief that someone would accuse him of loving someone of the same gender, because at the time, being a homosexual was more offensive than dying. When he’s told that he only has thirty days left to live, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to find a cure. Hospitals wouldn’t allow certain drugs to be given to patients, even though they were proven to prolong life, but some people didn’t have enough time for patience. He figures out a way to smuggle the drug from Mexico and instead of selling it to people, he provides membership to a club. When a person joins Dallas Buyers Club, they give Ron $400 and every month they get the medication that will save their life. Soon enough, hundreds of people show up on his doorstep, ready to live their life. Its a beautiful story that really moved me in a way that couldn’t possibly be explained. I can’t relate to any of the characters but I still feel for them and imagine what it would be like to live in a time where your sexuality determined your health care. 

Jared Leto’s performance deserves a slow clap that grows into an enormous round of applause for the rest of his existence. I know it sounds like I’m giving him too much credit, but his performance is what made the movie, in my opinion. He’s an actor that has been out of work for almost six years, due to his career in music, and has come back with more talent than ever. He first caught my eye when he was in the beautiful film; Requiem for a Dream. In it, he delivered an amazing performance as a drug addict struggling to survive. It truly shocked me how amazing he was, that I couldn’t imagine him ever doing better, until I watched this film. In Dallas Buyers Club, Leto plays Rayon; a fun-loving transgender woman with the biggest heart in the world. She was diagnosed with AIDS and was hoping to receive treatment, but wasn’t getting better until she teamed up with Ron, to smuggle drugs across the country and get sick people the treatment they deserve. You can see her struggle throughout the movie but she stays so strong that it sends shivers down my spine and tears to my eyes. I really loved her outlook on life, the way she hid her sadness and never to showed her weaknesses. She accepted herself for who she was, and ignored everyone else’s opinion. That is what makes her so strong and inspirational for all people of any gender or sexuality. She teaches people that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible, as long as you love yourself.

This is a film that is unlike any other. It has heart and soul and real meaning. It shows you what life is really about and provides hope when all odds are against you. If you don’t care what people think, you can accomplish anything. Whether it be big or small, the world is yours, and the options are endless.