My Baby Ate Your Dingo and other ramblings

February 26, 2009, 12:15 am
Filed under: DVD review

 I consider myself a History buff and sadly the Civil War is a subject I am not all that familiar with.  I feel like the last time I studied it was in middle school.  I’m not sure why it was not focused upon more while I was in high school considering it is a pivotal part of American History and African American History.  I feel that the Civil War should be studied alongside the Civil Rights movement in order to analysis racism and segregation in the United States. 

     With all that said I would say this film gives a just viewpoint of the Civil War and helps to open people’s eyes to the time and the men who fought during it.  I do not feel that the film was extraordinary by any means and certainly there is room for improvement.  Broderick is well suited for the role as well as Morgan Freeman.  I almost felt like this film would have made more of an impact on me if it was not made by a big name director and did not star known people.  Sometimes star power can ruin a film because you recognize the actors from other roles.  No matter how hard I try to disconnect Broderick from Ferris Bueller he still is always there despite of his roles. 

     I enjoy war films a lot because war is so puzzling to me. One thing I noticed that was different from other war films such as Saving Private Ryan or Deer Hunter is that I did not sense a bond of brotherhood.  I know that this was because it was the Civil War and even though whites and black fought together they still were segregated, however, even among the African Americans I did not get a sense of a strong bond.  This film differs from the above mentioned because when a man was wounded you never saw another man stop to pick him up and move him from battle.  Perhaps this never happened because of the type of warfare.  I presume historians may not even know since it occurred so long ago.  For me when watching a war film I like to see that aspect of brotherhood, the no man left behind motto.  Since this film did not have that I felt a little less moved and questioned the soldiers duty to overcome racism.  

     Another HUGE aspect of the film that took me immediately out of whatever was happening was the music.  I did not enjoy the over emphasized heroic music.  It was not necessary to burst out in song when a “white man dropped his racist beliefs to fight with a black man”.  Music like that makes me laugh and makes me feel like they are almost mocking what is happening.  I rather it be silent when something pivotal is happening.  A perfect example of this is when Broderick’s character charges on Fort Wagner only to be gunned down.  We really didn’t need the added orchestra to feel his sacrifice and belief in the cause. 

     I defiantly think more films should be made about the Civil War, not so much because they will sell tickets because it’s a war film, but because It may help shine light on the race problem in America during the time and sadly race problem that is still going on in America.

 Men fought to restore a divided nation and free slaves but unfortunately African Americans are still facing hardships.  I grew up in a white town in the South. A town where blacks still live in the impoverished parts of town and are less educated then their white counterparts.  It is sad and embarrassing to know that I am from a town where racism is still prevalent and where people still hang confederate flags on their doorsteps and in the back windows of their trucks.  


In the house of Commora
February 26, 2009, 12:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

gomorra_hautGommorah is a brilliant first hand account of present day life in mafia ruled Naples.  Gomorrah was written by an ex-mafia member, Roberto Saviano and exploits the activities of the Mafia in Italy.  Due to the success of the novel and film, Saviano has now been forced into police protection.The film entwines five different stories, each unique and corrupt.  What I liked most about this film other than its bleak honesty was that it left out all the typical Mafia film stereotypes (although it did include fashionable track suits).  It is a story about ordinary people doing unordinary things.  There was little “Hollywood” in this film, no big star such as Deniro or Pacino, no big director, just plan unadulterated crime hate and death.

Romance and Comedy why not?
February 22, 2009, 8:42 pm
Filed under: movie review

isla-fisher-shopaholic-031108-0004Lately Ive been in the mood for simple hearted romantic comedies.  I never go into any romantic comedy expecting greatness but simply go to be entertained.  Most recently I saw Confessions of A Shopoholic and He’s Just Not That Into You.  Both films left me fully satisfied.  Isla Fischer stars alongside Hugh Dancy  in the quirky and innocent Confession of A Shopoholic.  Based on the novel by Sophie Kinsella, Shopoholic followes a young credit card debt ridden Fischer as she masquarades as a journalist for a financial magazine.  The film is a bit slow but does offer some adorable and hilarious scenes in which Fischer shows fantastic comedic timing.  The Latin dance scene between Fischer and Dancy is priceless and incredibly comedic.  If you enjoyed Devil Wears Prada you should expect to be somewhat entertained by this film, however, it is not up to par with Devils fashion and acting.

Another romantic comedy released recently was He’s Just Not That Into You. Surprisingly enough the film is right on the mark as far as the mind of women in the dating world is concerned.  I found it almost stressful rather than comedic.  I kept cheering all the women on and despising other (Johannson).  Some of the scenes hit too close to home, for example the scene in which Gigi is doing yoga and glancing at her phone every 5 seconds.  Yeah Ill admit Ive done that on more then one occasion.  Each relationship is unique and progresses the story in an interesting way.  The entire film seems like a How to or Self Help book for the struggling and confused 20-30 somethings.  I would have liked to have seen Barrymore in the film a little more then she was, considering she has fantastic comedic timing I found it strange to not see her in it more.  Scarlet Johansson and Jennifer Connelly are rather annoying throughout the entire film as well as their complex relationships.  I would have liked to have seen that disappear from the entire story.

City of God
February 22, 2009, 8:40 pm
Filed under: DVD review

cityofgod460This is one of my favorite films of all time. That’s a bold thing to state but it really is. I love everything about this film, the direction, the cinematography, the acting and above all the unique and hypnotic story all captivate me. I own this film and probably have watched it fifteen times. Every time I find something more I love about it, and am emotionally entwined every viewing. I think it says a lot about a film if it is able to keep your attention after numerous viewings. I find this story so incredibly haunting. It is so hard to witness pure evil in children so young. I can find sympathy with even the darkest characters in this film because of the surrounding they have grown up in, however, I cannot find means to justify what they do. Rio de Janeiro is possibly one of the most dangerous places in South America. Kidnappings and murder are common sport in this region of Brazil. The poor live side by side with the extremely wealthy. City of God focuses on a young group of Brazilian adolesantes living poverty stricken life of crime. They are children about all. Instead of playing with Wii’s and Playstation 3’s like normal children, they are killing and selling drugs. The two characters who are most focused upon are Rocket an aspiring photographer who wants nothing more than to escape and Li’l Ze the raining drug lord residing in their town. Rockets only way to escape is thru the photographs he takes. War rages on every day of his life and he documents and narrates this through the fantastical pictures. Li’l Ze is pure evil. He has no compassion and seems to never have had any. He kills from a very young age and rises thru the ranks very fast. Although the film is set in the early 80’s Rio de Janeiro is still very similar today. A film like this really lets the world know how complex humanity can be. For someone who is a pacifist and lives a middle class life, it is wickedly surreal to imagine a life living in such poverty were I have to fear for my life. I imagine you would feel suffocated, having to either give in to your futile existence and become a drug dealer, or give up and possibly die.

Forbidden Games
January 19, 2009, 6:34 pm
Filed under: DVD review | Tags: , ,

Forbidden Games   Directed by Rene Clement   France 1952

     Forbidden Games is a clear statement of how war affects every day citizens who are not battling on the front lines. The film focuses on how war effects children most of all.  When Paulette is orphaned due to a Nazi air attack, she is befriended by a young peasant boy while walking around alone carrying her dead dog. Immediately the young Michel befriends Paulette and asks his parents to take her in.  The boy is perhaps eleven years of age but shows great maturity in recognizing the young girls aloneness. The family takes pity on her and accepts her into their home. jeux

The young children in this film are truly amazing. Their performances are beautifully natural. For individuals so young, they were able to capture they feeling unique innocence and drama.  Together the two children escape into a fantasy world all the while being surrounded by violence. 

     My favorite scene in the film is when the children bury Paulette’s dog.  It is so touching as she says a prayer for him and covers him up with dirt.  For someone so young she has lost so much and is still a carefree spirit. They take time to bury graves for everything, they have a huge sense of respect for the dead, the perceive burying as a sort of game, a way to pass the time. 

     The end sequence when Paulette is taken away is one of the most melancholy scenes in the film. It is also one of the most powerful anti-war statements I have seen.  Slowly the camera cranes up to reveal hundreds of orphanages people.  Poor Paulette is running thru the area trying to find Michel.  It is touching and tragic.  


En-ra-ha, En-ra-ha, En-ra-ha
January 14, 2009, 12:20 am
Filed under: movie review | Tags: , ,


"Oh! What-chu-ma-call-it ding dang dilly dilly da da hoo hoo!"-Poppy

"Oh! What-chu-ma-call-it ding dang dilly dilly da da hoo hoo!"-Poppy

Fantastic, hilarious, touching, quirky… well  that doesn’t even begin to explain Happy-Go-Lucky.  Directed by British filmmaker Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky stars Sally Hawkins as the adorable Poppy,  an elementary school teacher who has a lust for life.  Although she may very well be on the brink of insanity, Poppy is extremely loving and caring.  Leighs previous films were rather depressing but Go-Lucky brings an enormous sense of humor to his style.  I found myself laughing out loud, perhaps too loudly, but my laughs blended in with the rest of the audiences.  Poppy is enchanting, a bit annoying, but basically I would love to have her as a best friend.  The comedic timing Hawkins brings to the role is priceless and certainly deserving of her Golden Globe win.  Poppy constantly smiles no matter how hard life gets which is a motto more people could live by.  She chose not to live a conventional life and is happier because of it.  her optimism for life is overwhelming and charming.  When Poppy’s bike is stolen she is forced to enroll herself in driving lessons.  Her driving instructor, Scott, is a polar opposite of Poppy.  Whilst Poppy views the world optimistically, Scott is morose and angry with the world.  The scenes between Scott and Poppy are some of the most hilarious parts of the film.  Although much of the film is comedic there is an underlining layer of sensitivity and lonesomeness.  Leigh is used to writing and directing films with a more somber tone and Happy-Go-Lucky still offers a bit of that.


A Holiday film that doesn’t involve a dog or a mouse!
January 13, 2009, 1:18 pm
Filed under: movie review | Tags: , , ,

A Christmas Tale  France 2008 Directed by  Arnaud Desplechin  Written by Arnaud Desplechin and Emmanuel Bordieu

I absolutely love Catherine Deneuve.  I’ll admit its more of an obsession.  She is so amazingly beautiful and so talented.  As a hardcore Deneuve fan I make it my priority to see anything and everything she is in (and bought a ticket to NYFF Persepolis premiere just to see her), but thats just the stalker in me talking.  catherinedeneuve1_narrowweb__300x3620


Catherine plays Junon a mother of four who is dying of liver cancer.  Her only chance to prolong life is to have a bone marrow transplant, the catch is the transplant could also possibly kill her.  The film centers around  a large family getting together for the Christmas season.  The family is like any other American family… only French.  Due to Junons illness, the family is forced to come together.  The film is full of familial rifts, grief, comedy, and heartache.  Desplechin has constructed a multi-layer film that slowly unravels revealing a family that truly loves each other and will always be there for each other no matter how much they may act like they hate each other.  I found this film to be comedic and gut-wrenching which is something very difficult to achieve.  The scenes between Junon (Deneuve) and Henri (Almaric)  the trouble child and acceptable donor, are priceless.  Whilst the two jokingly discuss their despise of one another you somehow feel they genuinely love one another.  If you want to catch a good Holiday film that doesn’t involve an animated character or troublesome dog then I suggest A Christmas Tale.

The supporting cast includes some of France’s  most recognized actors:  Jean-Paul Roussillon, Anne Consigny, Melvin Poupaud, Emmanuelle Devos and Chiara Mastroianni.