Tag Archive for 'drama film'

Lone Survivor movie review

Lone Survivor is one of those movies that exhibit just how tough our men in service are, and just how tough the human spirit can be. It always underlines my great respect for our service men and women. I love that. This film is based on a true story. It starts out somewhat slow, but hey, that’s life. A recon mission can be slow as hiking through nature can be. The fight scenes seemed incredibly realistic with flesh spraying from bullet hits. The sound was also very engulfing. The sound of the bullets hitting and where they where placed in the surround panorama really added a depth of engagement. It amazes me just how many bullets a human can take and keep going. Those guys must have been hit well into the two digits.

For the most part of the movie, I thought the leader of the team made a bad call letting those locals go without creating some sort of delay, but I turned out to be wrong. The film also showed how when senior leaders over-estimate the toughness of their troops that there can be serious consequences. That stuck with me, but I wish it stuck with me even more for my own career.

Another thing that got to me was that I didn’t realize under how much stress the peaceful Afghans live. Some villages just want to live their peaceful life with their goats and simple homes with no running water, and then these stupid Taliban hooligans from the next village over come and raid these villages. That’s terrible! These remote places with no police have to stand their ground with whatever weapons they have, and many die trying. I can’t believe a person with a goat and without running water has to deal with this Taliban crap on top of their already underprivileged life!

Not only do I recommend watching this film to anyone, but I would own this film.

Transcendence movie review

Transcendence is excellent composition and an important an important film for humanity to discuss both the next age of civilization and what is humanity. Compositionally, every opening scene details and symbols get tied to something in the later in the story, so every string is tied off and the whole thing is rather balanced. Transcendence is probably the first commercial film that drives its story atop of a relatively accurate prediction of the capabilities of super powerful artificial general intelligence (AGI) and the promises and proverbial magic of nanotechnology. The actors’ performances were excellent, and Johnny Depp delivered quite believably on point, going from human to death to resurrection in a machine and beyond—certainly a long character arch.

As with many great films and in line with recent story telling styles, the antagonists are relatable, and one of which, Max, a colleague of the protagonists, changes sides, so one finds oneself halfway through the movie before deciding whether to like or hate Max.

I always love the theme of a machine becoming more human, and this film explored this overarching theme from the angle of making a human become a machine. I am not a true philosopher, and although this film restated at least twice the impossible test of what it means to be conscious, another, while more subliminal, question was an undertone of whether a machine can love. A human can quite easily love a machine, but how true a machine’s reciprocation of such love is beyond imagination perhaps unless it is personally experienced. Perhaps as Ray Kurzweil states it, and I’m paraphrasing, “It’s so compelling that it doesn’t matter if it’s real.” One stance of that debate within the film was that love along with other emotions could be so illogical that only a human can handle the internal dissonance while a machine will never reconcile that because it is merely a simulation, and therefore any notion of love would fall apart within a machine. But frankly, how is that so different from the human experience because after all, once there is too much dissonance, it too can fall apart?

Finally, the significance of the closing scene, in the protagonists’, Casters, sanctuary garden, leaves much to wonder what is happening inside the puddle of water that is riddled with nanotechnology. My take on it is that puddle now contains a consciousness—or two. This film shows technology on the horizon of humanity, a horizon that is also the end of humanity, as we know it. The only controllable change is redefining humanity. Everyone should see this film and then decide on which side of technology to take a position. At least this way, everyone will be better prepared for both change and the dialog.

Philomena movie review

Philomena is a very powerful movie because unlike in fiction, it depicts a story arch that does not get to complete. Philomena was forced to live in a covenant to give birth to a baby out of wedlock and who was later taken away from her for adoption. She searched for her son ever since. It is based on a true story, and after watching the special features containing interviews with the creators, I believe the story is close enough to the truth to certainly do it justice and send a message to world. I always try to take a lesson away from a film, and this film by all means explains that life is not fair, there are cruel people in the world who really deserve pity more than anything else, and life is too short but not too short to spend it on driving towards an important life mission. One never knows what one will accomplish on a long journey, but if it is an important journey, then one must accept it and make the path towards that target.

Dreams of a Life movie review

Last night I saw the 2011 documentary film Dreams of a Life where a filmmaker sets out to discover the life of Joyce Vincent whose body was found in January 2006 decomposing in her apartment in North London after dying unnoticed apparently in December 2003, surrounded by unopened Christmas presents with her television set still turned on. The documentary pieces together the story of her life by interviewing many people who knew Vincent interweaving the interview footage with reenactment scenes.

After the film’s dramatic introduction, the pace slows down before picking up again about midway through. I initially thought this film would be like a CBS 48 Hours Mystery TV show focusing also on the forensics surrounding the death, but instead it was almost a celebration of Vincent’s life where the audience gets to know her. The interviewees and the audience try to make sense of how Vincent could have disappeared for so long without anyone noticing, especially considering she was a very social person and no substance abuse.

Some of the interviewees described Vincent as someone with no past because she never shared much of those details with anyone, and she would always acquire the tastes and interests of the boyfriend with whom she was at that time because she really did not have any of her own interests, other than singing.

Vincent feels like a few people I know who are driven by attention, seem quite genuine but stop for some mysterious reason any relationship growing deeper beyond a certain point. People like that are always searching for something but will never let you know what that is.

Dreams of a Life is certainly worth seeing because it is like a trip for the audience members to introspectively explore their personal voids and relationships.

Official Trailer on YouTube

Link to Dreams of a Life on Hulu Plus

Link to long article on the The Guardian website: Joyce Carol Vincent: How could this young woman lie dead and undiscovered for almost three years?

Country Strong movie review

Last night we watched Country Strong. That movie was one of the biggest let downs that I can remember. I kept waiting for something to click, and it just never did. The whole movie was a convoluted sequence of disjointed scenes displaying one substance abuse episode after another.

The whole movie was about a fictitious country singer’s struggle to sobriety. We never learned why she was struggling. We’re just forced to assume we can associate with a rock star’s problems to such a degree that we can simply extrapolate the history by reading between the lines.

Whoever green-lighted this project must have been involved with similar issues portrayed in this movie to simply not be able to imagine the lacking a commoner’s point of view and think there was sufficient character development. I didn’t feel moved at all by this film. The movie writer, Shana Feste, who was also the director, should find a different day job.

Black Swan movie review

Last night we watched Black Swan. That was one of the most disturbing moving that I’ve ever seen. A slasher movie would be less disturbing. What made it so disturbing was the self-inflicted pain that Nina Sayers caused, and the audience associates more with this main character than with those characters from a slasher movie.

Mila Kunis’s character, Lily, was the breath of fresh air in this movie. Although she was a darker character than Nina, Lily obviously knew how to handle it better, while the same darkness practically destroyed Nina. Watching Natalie Portman’s performance made me feel nervous.

The movie was a very good exploration and portrayal of what it takes for an artist to truly feel artwork. Such a deep dive can be very taxing. I’d probably want to own this movie and watch it again and again.

The King’s Speech movie review

I just watched The King’s Speech for which Colin Firth won an Academy Aware for Best Actor. The was nominated for dozens of other awards, and I can see why. It was a very intriguing story about King George IV who overcame his stammer through the help of an unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue who is played by Geoffrey Rush.

The film depicts many obstructions through which Albert, the Duke of York before he became king, lives through before and during he becomes king. Never being expected to be king, he becomes a king when his older brother, King Edward VIII, chooses to marry his lover Wallis Simpson. So, not only was Albert made fun of growing up for his stammer, but he then becomes a king who main purpose is to speak for a nation. The personal difficulties through which Albert lived are heart-warming and relatable, and just watching him overcome his obstacles as much as he could, stand up to his responsibilities with his best intentions, and grow through all of that and gain confidence is inspiring.

The special features are definitely worth watching the producers and director wanted to make this film as accurate as possible, and listening to how the actors prepared for the roll really shines a new appreciation from me for these actors. What really stuck to my mind was how methodical and passionate the director Tom Hooper was in making the film, and even though the film won so many awards, the director did not speak with much confidence recalling just how lucky he felt that he managed to get the cast that he got. I guess things sort of aligned for him, but it also sounds like he was very tenacious. I also should mention that this film was important to make for Hopper because he is half Australian and half English, so the Anglo-Australian relationship between the king and therapist was very important for Hopper to display.

It is also important to state that the writer of this film, David Seidler grew up with a stammer, and managed to overcome it. This inspired him to write this story because Seidler regarded King George VI as his hero because …

if the he could overcome his stated stammer with the entire world listening to every syllable that he utters, then [he] could overcome his stammer too.

The special features contain a public service announcement from The Stuttering Foundation.

I think that I could own this movie because I have a feeling that watching it many times over will reveal a new depth or nuance that was not previously uncovered.