Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

BLOODY SUNDAY (2002)
Paul Greengrass docudrama about the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" shootings is a fairly damning picture. It focuses mainly on Ivan Cooper (played by James Nesbitt) and his fellow leaders of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. They attempt to hold a peaceful demonstration march, but as the film makes clear, the peacekeeping British paratroopers went in with the intention to take out some of the demonstrators, particularly the leaders of the civil rights movement. What proceeds after their intentions are made known to the audience is horrifyingly inevitable and ends in a display of violence that, as Cooper tells the press at the end of the film, would be a massive catalyst for NRA membership and the crippling of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. ***1/2

CLOUD ATLAS (2012)
I'm going to mainly refer you to Roger Ebert on this one. I was never bored by a film that could easily have been sprawling and confusing; it's a large film, featuring several different storylines in several different time periods all jumbled together, but I found it moving and was never less than rapt with attention. It's non-linear, but also manages to fit its stories into a three-act structure and unite them with the common thread of a yearning for freedom and the repeated philosophy that we birth our future through our bad and good acts. I liked it very much; I was surprised, because I was prepared for a total disaster. But what I saw was a powerful film about how acts of kindness and bravery can reverberate through time, a film alive in the moment and kind of impenetrable but also emotionally genuine and touching. ****

THE LITTLEST REBEL (1935)
Nope. I'm as surprised as anyone that I like Shirley Temple, but this film... just no. I don't know if it was the jolliest, singingest, dancingest slave folk that broke me, or if it was the sight of Shirley Temple in blackface that did it, but just... just no. It's a Holiday Inn level of racism on this one. *1/2

TAKEN: THE SEARCH FOR SOPHIE PARKER (2013)
Taken, but with a mom and made for Lifetime and surprisingly boring considering its subject matter usually grips me right off because it feeds right into my panic disorder. **1/2

FREE RADICALS: A HISTORY OF EXPERIMENTAL FILM (2012)
Not quite what its subtitles promises, but it's a great personal journey by its director (Pip Chodorov) who, through his family, has made a number of friendships with leading creative lights in experimental, avant garde cinema. It's a wonderful introduction to the concept of experimental film. ***1/2

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