Wednesday, January 22, 2014

American Hustle 2013**

As its name suggests, this acclaimed film is too culture specific for others to relate to and ends up being passably watchable. On the other hand, "hustling", (conman ship), in the shrinking globe, seems to be the universal strategy, unifying prince and pauper, whether countries or persons: corporates, politicians, mobsters. Survival is the problem and priority, in the complex jungle which we inhabit, as it has always been. It resembles the Coen brothers' "A Serious Man" in its' description of people trapped in the chaos of life, repeatedly bumping into the unexpected unforeseen. A depressingly enjoyable ribald comedy, punctuated with four letter dialog, presumably the current currency, never losing the straw of hope, and ending happily ever after.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Captain Phillips 2013 **

A modern piracy adventure set in the Indian Ocean. An American cargo ship is commandeered by Somalians. The courageous outlaws with limited resources hold the ship and its crew at bay till they are overpowered by the modern might of aeroplanes, machinery and trained men, closely co-ordinated by communication devices. A tense drama which holds your attention, more so since it represents a recent real life episode.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Gravity 2013 ****

This is documentary like space fiction. Most enthralling is to get the feel of being in a space station, seeing the planet in full spherical splendor and the vastness of which we are a part, and which is a part of us. It is mingled with a human adventure, with the fear of death a close companion. It builds up to an explosive suspense, as the astronaut joyfully joins feet with firm ground. This is a great true film about the new frontier--the grandeur of space. We do not need aliens or faraway fantasia--the first step beyond the atmosphere is sufficiently astounding.

Friday, January 17, 2014

12 years a Slave **

A film about slavery based on the autobiographical account of a person who was kidnapped to be sold into slavery. It shows features resembling the European holocaust. It is worse in some ways, it's perpetuity over long spans of time with no end in sight, inheritance from birth onward, continuing into the next generation. The film is notable in the absence of  the paternalism of other accounts, which almost glossed over the brutality, even making a virtue and a way of life of this institution. The lush verdure of the setting is captured in beautiful sepias.