Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Film
Title: Malcolm X
Director: Spike Lee
Starring: Denzel Washington

clip_image002Malcolm X is a 1992 adaptation of The Autobiography of Malcolm X (read my review) by Alex Haley and Malcolm X. The film begins with the depiction of the young Malcolm X in Boston and Harlem, along with his friend Shorty, and their involvement in burglary, drug dealing and prostitution. In flashbacks, the movie chronicles the life of Malcolm’s family before he was born and during his early childhood. His father was killed by the KKK (while it was said that he had committed suicide) and his mother was sent to a mental center. He was then separated from his siblings.

During a group robbery, Malcolm and his partners get sent to jail for 8-10 years, while his white female partners received 5 years in jail. After learning about the Nation of Islam and its teachings by one of the prisoners, Malcolm converts to the Nation of Islam while corresponding with the its minister, Elijah Mohammed. He educates himself in prison, and after leaving, becomes the main speaker of the movement, preaching Elijah Mohammed’s teachings of complete separation between whites and blacks, and that all whites were racists and enemies. However, Malcom’s feelings change after his pilgrimage to Mecca, where he was touched by seeing Muslims of all races and colors together. While preaching his new, flexible beliefs, he receives death threats and was ultimately assassinated.

Malcolm X is a very good movie, albeit being pretty long (3 and a half hours). Malcolm’s life before joining entering jail could have been shortened; I was more interested in his stint as an activist. His troubled young-adulthood was too detailed, in my opinion. We get that he was involved in all sorts of trouble. But the director, Spike Lee, who also played Shorty in the film, did a good job of showing Malcolm as an innocent young adult who just wanted to be cool, hypnotized by the “slave mind”, as Malcolm puts it. The film also depicted how Betty, Malcolm’s wife, sensed that he was in trouble even before Malcolm did. Since Malcolm revered Elijah Mohammed, it was difficult for him to imagine being betrayed by that person who changed his life.

I would recommend reading the book before watching the movie. The movie was very true to the book, and it was easy to follow. At the end of the movie, following real footage after Malcolm X’s assassination, Ossie Davis narrated Malcolm’s legacy and a scene with Nelson Mandela speaking to students about Malcolm X.

Malcolm’s story is a sad one, and showed that a person who wanted to change his/her society always suffered.

Malcolm X the film is available for rent and purchase on iTunes.

Read Full Post »

In the latest Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the teenage protagonist must encourage the new potions teacher, Professor Slughorn (a dull but crucial new character), to give him the memory of a critical moment between he and the young Tom Riddle, who was a bright student at Hogwarts, now known as Voldemort. This is the key to destroying Voldemort.

The Harry Potter movies just keep getting darker and tenser. The gloomy mood is set in the beginning of the movie, with Death Eaters whooshing over the Muggle city. This time, the more independent and older Harry is sitting at a coffee shop, instead of being tormented by the ridiculous Dursleys. David Yates, the director, vividly captures the tension and mystery in the story which keeps the audience at the edge of their seats.

Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter’s student enemy, is now “chosen” by Voldemort and must perform the task of killing Dumbledore. He is now a very serious and focused person. Tom Felton’s role as Draco Malfoy is exceptionally good. He is a pitiable character to me. He is not just the bully who often appeared in Harry’s way in the past Harry Potters. Now his situation, although not his character, has more depth. He makes the audience feel sympathetic for him, since he is obviously a lost person trying to shape his identity. Although Malfoy tormented Harry so much in the past, he is very miserable now.

There are humorous moments in the story, but I must add that Ron’s roles were exaggerated and silly, specifically the moment when he charmed by Love Potion. Despite this and the slow developing relationships of Hermione, Ron and Harry, the movie maintains a fine balance between that and Harry’s own missions.

After watching the movie, I wasn’t very satisfied because there wasn’t much accomplishment done in the end; plus the ending wasn’t very good. Most of the movie was about newly revealed “memories” about Tom Riddle’s past and the discovery of Horcruxes, which are yet to be destroyed in the upcoming movies (two have already been destroyed), to make Voldemort mortal. At least we know what to expect in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which will be split into two movies.

This movie will not disappoint. It’s exciting and capable of completely engulfing us Muggles into the magical world of Harry Potter for two and a half hours.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

Edit: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the upcoming movie, not HP and the Order of the Phoenix.

Read Full Post »

My thoughts on the Oscars

image

I was very excited during the Oscars yesterday night – and especially nervous when it came to “…and the winner is…”! I I think the ceremony was very different from last year’s Oscars. They presented the nominations creatively – especially for Best Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay. The stage was very elegant, and I loved Kate Winslet’s style.

Hugh Jackman was very funny. In my opinion, the most memorable Oscar acceptance speeches last night were Penelope Cruz’s (Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Best Supporting Actress), Dustin Lance Black’s (Milk: Best Original Screenplay), Sean Penn’s (Milk: Best Actor in a Leading Role), and Kate Winslet’s (The Reader: Best Actress)

I haven’t seen any of the nominated movies, except for The Dark Knight, and I thought that Heath Ledger totally deserved his Oscar. I am looking forward to watching SlumDog Millionaire as soon as it comes out on itunes.

Slumdog Millionaire was such a Big Win that I felt it ruled-out an intense sense of competition between the rest of the films, especially those nominated for Best Picture. David Fincher (director of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) looked uneasy when his name was mentioned along with the other nominees.

Coraline should’ve at least been nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

Since Waltz with Bashir is so popular, I expected it to win.

What I like about the Oscars is that it awards and puts the spotlight over the overlooked people whom any movie wouldn’t have been a success without, such as screen writers, sound editors and music composers.

What did you think of the Oscars? Did you think that the winners truly deserved their awards?

http://www.oscars.com/

photo credit: Oscars.com; Kate Winslet at the Red Carpet

Read Full Post »