|Mar. 10th, 2014 11:19 pm Lent Day 6 "When Comedy went to School" features Sid Ceasar's last performance. |
The Jewish Holocaust was the primary theme of two recently released motion pictures, **Aftermath** and **The Last of the Unjust.** **When Comedy went to School** presents the Jewish Culture in an more upbeat light, proving the old adage that "living well is the best revenge."
**When Comedy went to School** is a documentary that features some of the most influential comedians of the 20th century; Sid Caesar, Jerry Lewis, Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen and Jerry Seinfeld. Using concert footage of these comedians in their youth, the audience will receive a Master's education in comedy development, from the set up to the punch line.Leave a comment
|Mar. 9th, 2014 10:13 pm Lent Day 5 "12 Years a Slave" deserves it's honor. |
With Black History month wrapping up and the Academy Awards looming, **12 Years a Slave** is the film to see. With 9 Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe winner for Best Picture in Drama, **12 Years a Slave** is a well crafted motion picture that stands side by side with previous Best Picture Oscar winners like **Gandhi,** **Schindler's List** and **All Quiet on the Western Front.** Like the previous mentioned Best Picture winners, **12 Years a Slave** will not invite repeat viewings - only one viewing is needed to make this film memorable.
The title speaks for itself, it is based the autobiography written and published by Solomon Northup before the Civil War. Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a black musician from New England who is kidnapped and sold into slavery on a Southern Plantation. In his 12 years as a slave, Northup is sold by conniving rat (Paul Giamatti), brutalized by an entitled rich kid (Paul Dano) and performs brutal acts under the orders of an alchoholic overseer (Michael Fassbender). Yet Northup is given moments of beautiful grace from a fellow slave (Lupita Nyong'o), while learning Christian values from Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) and practical carpentry from Bass (Brad Pitt).
Director Steve McQueen (no relation to the actor who died 34 years ago) has created a human motion picture, with brilliant artistic and technical detail. McQueen takes his time to let the story unfold. He fills scenes with shot composition inspired by Old World Master Painter Francisco Goya, these scenes are both brutal & beautiful at the same time. The Hans Zimmer musical score is not intrusive, yet one will walk away from **12 Years a Slave** with an appreciation for acoustic music, in particular bluegrass, blues and gospel.
Win or lose the Oscar race, **12 Years a Slave** is one of the best pictures of 2013.Leave a comment
|Mar. 8th, 2014 11:13 pm Lent Day 4 "Dallas Buyers Club" provides no discount|
Disturbing and ugly best describes the ensemble cast in **Dallas Buyers Club.** Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, this film features extreme close-ups of the AIDS epidemic from the perspective of both patient and caregiver. Yet given it's gloomy premise, **Dallas Buyers Club** has many redemptive moments.
Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is a roughhousing rodeo cowboy. After an orgy, Ron contracts the HIV virus and is given 30 days to live. During this month, Ron runs afoul the medical community and dislikes being associated with the homosexual community. When he survives past his original death sentence, Ron challenges the medical community when he learns about AZT - a drug that can postpone full blown AIDS. Matthew McConaughey gives the performance of his career and is likely to take home an Oscar Sunday night.Leave a comment
|Mar. 7th, 2014 09:56 pm Lent Day 3 Streep vs. Roberts |
**August Osage County** is your typical Hollywood contender for an academy award; it features serious award winner actors like Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts & Chris Cooper, the story is based on a Pulitzer Award winning play and it has the Weinstein Brothers marketing machine behind it. The film is finely directed by John Wells with emphasis upon symbolic cinematography, contrasting the beautiful landscapes of Oklahoma with the spider's lair of the Weston Family.
We are introduced to Pa Weston (Sam Shepard), who has hired a caregiver. Pa disappears and Ma (Meryl Streep) summons her family. With children portrayed by Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis and Julianne Nicholson, one can expect shouting matches around the subjects of drug abuse, suicide and incest. In between this dysfunctional family feud, **August Osage County** features moments of comedy and laughter.
The problem with this film is that it does not feel like a slice of life. For all of it's technical beauty, **August Osage County** is an ugly film to watch. Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts reveal their inner barnacles and give excellent, but disturbing performances.Leave a comment
|Mar. 6th, 2014 11:37 pm Lent Day 2 - Would Jasmine be Blue if she went to church? | &lt;meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;URL=launch?reason=no_js_enabled"&gt; Leave a comment
While best known for her Oscar winning leading role in **Gone With The Wind,** Vivien Leigh earned her second Oscar as Blanche DuBois in **A Streetcar Named Desire.** A reliable British actress on both stage and screen, Leigh's award winning performances created such an indelible image of a young and aged southern belle.
Last Sunday night, Australian actress Cate Blanchett earned her second Oscar for playing a Blanche DuBois inspired character in Woody Allen's **Blue Jasmine.** While Jasmine (Blanchett) is no southern belle, she does suffer from similar delusions with that of Blanche Dubois, whose financial empire is now gone with the wind.
The film opens with Jasmine flying into a San Francisco airport to spend time with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins). During the long flight, Jasmine annoyed the people around her with constant chattering. We learn that the self absorbed Jasmine was once married to a Bernie Madoff like character Hal (Alec Baldwin), a successful money manager. Being a trophy wife, Jasmine lives a charmed life in the Hamptons, while ignoring Hal's indiscretions.
**Blue Jasmine** shares DNA with Tennessee Williams' **A Streetcar named Desire.** In a way, the travails of **Blue Jasmine** seems to be the back story of Blanche DuBois. After enjoying the debutant's life for so long, both women's fall from grace is tragic to watch.
While his family scandals from 21 years ago are still vivid, there is no denying that Woody Allen is a very literate film maker. With **Hannah and her Sisters,** being influenced by Anton Chekhov's ** 3 Sisters** and **Crimes and Misdemeanors** being influenced by Fyodor Dostoyevsky's **Crime and Punishment,** When inspired by the literary masters, Woody Allen's humor is at it's sharpest wit.
The Woody Allen ensemble of New York actors (Alec Baldwin, Bobby Carnvale) are appropriately cast. With Best Supporting actress nominee Sally Hawkins providing the most transitional performance as Jasmine's sister. Yet **Blue Jasmine** is Cate Blanchett's movie from beginning to end. Jasmine is a self absorbed, unlikeable character, but Blanchett creates a unique sympathy for the fallen woman.
Oscar season is now officially concluded, but a new season has begun. The **Miami International Film Festival** opens this weekend with 100 films from 40 countries. Of note, the 2013 Oscar winner for best documentary, **20 Feet from Stardom,** premiered at the **Miami International Film Festival** last year.
|Mar. 5th, 2014 02:37 pm Ash Wednesday 2014|
Sorry to be away so much, especially during an uninspired Oscar season. Leave a comment
As in the past, this journal will continue with entries everyday until Easter Sunday.
Beyond the daily entries, Cinema Dave will be editing his third book, a Christian-Horror novel that he wrote during Lent - 2010. As for physical discipline, Cinema Dave will walk 20 minutes a day, every day until Easter.
|Jan. 12th, 2014 08:54 am Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival presents "Ni 28 - Strate"|
It is 12 days into the new year and Cinema Dave has found a film for his Top Ten list - "Ni 28 Strate." A product of Pacific Island nation of New Caledonia, "Ni 28 Strate" is minimalist cinema at it's best. Leave a comment
|Jan. 12th, 2014 08:40 am "Lone Survivor" is one of the best films of last year|
"Lone Survivor" is only two hours long, but feels longer is a good way. It is an epic tale ripped from the headlines, but done with enough human detail.Leave a comment
|Jan. 12th, 2014 08:37 am "Carrie" remake in the shadow of pure evil|
The new "Carrie" compliments the original "Carrie," both films are very much of their times. The 1977 "Carrie" is full of cinema technology of it's time, while the special effects of the current movie have become routine. Being the first teenager to portray "Carrie," Chloë Grace Moretz makes a credible ugly duckling who turns into a tragic swan. Leave a comment
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