The blind side by Karen Russell dir. by John Lee Hancock, Lasse Hallström
I was a bit uncertain about this film. It sounded just a bit too heart-warming, as though it’d be full of overly sentimental “and everything works out in the end” stuff that makes me think of the flawed philosophy behind stories such as The Pursuit of Happyness:””:http://www.susanhatedliterature.net/2007/01/18/the-pursuit-of-happyness/, you know the sort of victim blaming that says you wouldn’t be poor if only you tried harder.
Luckily enough this film is not like that. Okay, it has the heart-warming aspect. Heart-warming by the bucket-full. But it is told in such a way that you just can’t help but smile.
Milk dir. by Gus Van Sant
Despite my long stated policy of not reading reviews until after I’ve seen a film I’ve come across quite a few views on this film. Mostly positive. Course I didn’t really read any of them. I’m not about to go against my own policy that way. But I did notice the good buzz. So maybe that is why I came out of the cinema a little disappointed at this one.
Changeling dir. by Clint Eastwood
It is 1920’s Los Angeles and single mother Christine Collins is trying to raise her boy. One Sat she is called in to work and when she returns home little Walter Collins is nowhere to be found. The police set about looking and eventually, after 5 months they bring him back. Only the boy they return to Christine is different; she is, however, informed that those changes are the result of her shock and the boys trauma. Why it is quite the done thing for a boy to shrink 4 inches as a result of such a horrifying encounter. And circumcised now you say? Well it is healthy, and who knows what that drifter may have been thinking. Ms. Collins is not about to rest however. She wants her boy back.
Hotel Rwanda dir. by Terry George
This is a film with impact.
The opening voice-over is a speech on the radio, an anti-tutsi speech, broadcast on Hutu Power radio, over a black screen so as to really let us hear the words. It describes the flaws, reveals the prejudices in Rwanda, tells the viewer of the cockroach infestation the Hutu people will have to wipe out. This is then contrasted by the opening scenes; In Kigali airport we see Paul (Cheadle) collecting fresh lobsters to serve in the hotel where he works as house manager. It shows a bustling, growing, on the up city. But on the way back to the hotel we are introduced to the undercurrent of tension that is played out so well throughout this film.
This is based on the true story of a serial killer in the 1970’s in California who highlighted his murders with cryptic letters to newspapers. He killed at random, and called himself The Zodiac, and wrote his letters in a code. He also often sent bloodstained items of clothes along with these letters as a sort of proof. He was never caught. Robert Graysmith was working as a cartoonist at one of the newspapers where the letters arrived, and became caught up in the case. The film is based on his book of the events of the time.
Alpha Dog dir. by Nick Cassavetes
You know this film isn’t half bad. I went to see it expecting a somewhat mindless popcorn film. But is actually a fairly watchable, half way decent flick.
Johnny Truelove and his pals are half-arsed weed-dealer-kids, hanging out and doing drugs, making money through dealing. But when real bad-boy Jake Mazursky owes money to Truelove things begin to escalate, leading to Truelove and “his boys” kidnapping Jake’s half brother. But the 15 year old Zack doesn’t seem like much of a victim. He gets to live the life of drugs, drink and parties; he is having a good time. But the kidnapping was a spur of the moment thing, and when he consults his lawyer Truelove realises that the implications may be quite serious.