Hotel Rwanda, Last King of Scotland, Letters From Iwo Jima and Flags of our Fathers, The Good German, The Devil Wears Prada...
coming soon: Art School Confidential, The Departed.
These are my thoughts on these movies, not really reviews in the true sense, since I do not go over who is in these movies and who directs, when they were made and released etc..
Hotel Rwanda, Crash and, The Last King Of Scotland
This review is about way late, I know. But, my purpose here is simply to put forth my thoughts and give myself a chance to hear others thoughts. I have seen quite a number of movies in last couple weeks. Among them some older movies like Hotel Rwanda. By now many of you have probably seen this movie and that is fine because I wonder what you all think of the movie.
It is hard for me to correctly express what I think and feel about this particular movie. Don Cheadle is impressive, as impressive as the character whose shoes he fills on camera. He carries his “African” accent well throughout the movie with only a couple brief instances where the accent broke. Nick Nolte the UN man is entirely unconvincing. His “emotional” outbursts fall flat, and he seems to be acting the role of a general, who is acting the role of a general. This could be the best directing or the poorest acting.
Hotel Rwanda is a difficult movie to criticize without sounding callus. The film, however, I would categorize along with feel good movies like Crash(2005), or White Man’s Burden (1995) (possibly the worst movie ever, and definitely in that category). By feel good, I mean not that you feel happy or elated after viewing, but instead I mean to call attention to the mistaken idea that a movie could really be all that great at accomplishing some epiphany. Maybe it would be more clear if I said the attitude I have perceived after people watched Crash was something like: Oh my god, I saw that movie, racism is really, really, bad…I am better person for having watched this movie…Booo for injustice…And let’s give lectures and gather round to discuss this wonderful film that has opened our eyes.
Is it ironic that Don Cheedle is in both of these feel good movies? I think not. He is like that actress who is always in “powerful” movies, the boxer, the lesbian, the cross dressing wanna-be-boy, etc. Now what I find curious is that the writer/director of Crash also scripted Million Dollar Baby which stared above mentioned actress.
I guess the big question I struggle with here is: How successful is this form at accomplishing any real education, or real change in attitude. What really fascinates me about these movies is the fine line between entertainment and reality that they walk.
The Last King Of Scotland
I would say is another fascinating movie. It is a good story lifted from reality, and bent to fit public viewing. There is a theme here! Yet, another movie about a horrible person, Idi Amin played by Forest, Forest Whitaker. The BBC review calls this film “a successful intertwining of fact and fiction…” I wonder what exactly they mean by that. How is it a success? What does it succeed at? Yes, it is entertaining to watch. Forest is impressive in his role as Idi Amin. So impressive he has finally removed the bitter taste of Ghost Dog. But, the more I think about it, this movie has nothing to do with Idi Amin or Uganda, the film is about Forest playing a role. And he does so ever so well.
The Good German
Now here is a movie that almost was great, but suffers at the hands of the old dictum: “A miss is as good as a mile”. The movie tries ever so hard to be great. It does, it really does. It calls to mind that little train “I think I can, I think I can…” except at the end it fails. Despite plagiarizing the final scene of Casa Blanca the movie does not reach anywhere in the realm of the classic greatness of Casa Blanca. Instead it flops. With an overly dragged out plot, that goes nowhere and a terrible set of unconvincing plot twists and over blown directorial fascination with classic B&W movies The Good German fails.
Yet another comic book based movie. It was fun the first time. This is the sort of movie I like watching when it costs me nothing to do so. It is exciting and terrible at the same time. Nick Cage is ok, and his love interest is very attractive what more can you ask for?
Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima
Directed by Clint Eastwood these two films are a pair. I mean they are two distinct movies that complete each other. Taking two distinct perspectives on Iwo Jima and the battle between the US and Japan over this small plot of dirt. IN Flags of Fathers the movie revolves around the story of the raising of the American Flag over the island. The iconic photograph that results and PR campaign that followed. I agree with the BBC reviewer who says “the film effectively contrasts the public face of war with the bloody reality.”
Letters from Iwo Jima is the story of the Japanese fight to hold the island despite Japan’s terrible military loses and the loosing of the war. The film shows how the brave and committed Japanese soldiers dug themselves into the island. The subtitles on this one get a little tiresome. At times I felt it would have been better is nothing had been said. And I must also unfortunately also report the film features at least one fantastic director bitch slap, as I call it. What I am referring to is when directors or producers, (I am going to choose to blame producers, because I like Clint Eastwood as trusted for quality director) take that extra unnecessary step to spell out meaning. The scene that is guilty: Japanese soldiers shoot and disable an American marine who is then captured and attended by the Japanese soldiers, who are forced to do so by their CO. The CO happens to be a Japanese Olympic horse jumping champion, and can speak English. Anyway, eventually the marine and CO get to talking, the marine dies, and leaves a letter clutched in his hands. The CO then reads this letter. A letter from the marine’s mother. The reading of this letter is moving. The bitch slap comes soon after when the Japanese foot soldiers are forced (by the producers) to have a contrived discussion about how the letter sounds “just like my mommy” and oh, isn’t that sad. Of course this is just my opinion. I know some people like having things spelt out.
The Devil Wears Prada
This was a film I watched on my baby sister’s recommendation. It was a pleasant watch. Nothing much there, mostly just fluff. There was one scene, though, that I found to be interesting. Someone in charge took some liberties I think. The attempt by “the devil” to explain fashion to the new assistant girl, who was just another pretty faced actress was inspirational. I can not remember exactly what she said. But I remember thinking, oh well that’s an interesting way of justifying 500 $ heels.