31 DAYS OF OSCAR BLOGATHON- Day 2

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Taking the baton from fellow co-host Aurora of Once Upon A Screen, who brought us the initial round of blogger contributions yesterday, today I pick up on the second day of the 31 Days Of Oscar Blogathon. Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club will pick up the final day tomorrow. Explore all three days for three days for the best in the blogger biz for everything Oscar.

Just a reminder, this is our 5th year hosting this event in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies network’s month-long event to honor the Academy’s Oscars. TCM is showcasing this year’s special programming in alpha order. Click here for more info: TCM’s 31 Days Of Oscar

Now, onto today’s lineup!

Pop Culture Pundit takes a look at the brilliance of PURPLE RAIN: A Traditional Musical With an Anti-Traditional Score.

CineMaven’s Essays From The Couch presents Jeff Lundenberger as guest blogger as he goes deep in the Best Actress field of 1950 with, And The Winner Is…

Charlene’s (Mostly) Classic Movie Reviews discusses the beauty and bleakness of existence in The Diving Bell and Butterfly (2007)

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest explores the unforgettable oblique angles and visual styles of Cinematography in THE THIRD MAN.

Weegie Midget swoops in for a caped landing with Best Actor Oscar Winners in Superhero Movies!

Blogged Of The Darned enjoys life’s banquet in 3 Beekman Place- The Art Direction/ Set Design of AUNTIE MAME. I promise you won’t starve to death when reading this one.

I will continue to add more posts later today so check back for more blogger bliss! And to all the participating writers and readers alike, Aurora, Paula and I cannot THANK YOU enough for your continuing support!

…Kellee

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Bloody Snow Drifts in Rare View: THE HATEFUL EIGHT

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Quentin Tarantino simply put, “gets it.” Not just a great filmmaker who ranks at the top of any list of the best of them, this writer/director is a true film fan, too. So when he set out to make his eighth film, Quentin Tarantino doesn’t let a leaked script draft get him down. He takes it up a notch by not only shooting it in a format rarely seen in the last half-century, but he also takes it for a spin with a good ole fashioned roadshow.

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THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015) gives us a Reconstruction era whodunnit in glorious Ultra Panavision 70 mm format. Everything old is new again for Tarantino (and us) when he gives a retro fit to his story of what happens when a bounty hunter, a hangman and a prisoner get snowed in along with others in a blizzard along the stagecoach trail in rustic Wyoming. Like other films shot in this beautiful screen experience like BEN-HUR (1959) and IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (1963), he wanted to present his latest film in the widest cinematic experience (aspect ratio of 2.76 to 1) to a limited number of screens across the country just prior to its wide release, even including a musical ‘Overture’ and ‘Intermission.’

I even heard tale of a special program souvenir*, just for the lucky roadshow attendees. Just when I didn’t think I could possibly be one of those lucky few as I am located smack-dab in the middle of the country, far from what is typically a ‘chosen city’ for such engagements, lo and behold we found a participating theater a mere 30 miles from our town. This is again thanks to the unique and strategic planning of Mr. Quentin Tarantino and Weinstein Co. distribution.

Unlike such roadshow engagements of the decades past which only targeted the very biggest of select cities, this time the roadshow was expanded up to one hundred theaters. Which undoubtedly was a hefty expense to equip and train projectionists to this rare 70mm technology for all the locations not already fitted. (I imagine this would be needed for quite a few of them). But just imagine how this additional expense has now benefited these venues for future filmmakers to hopefully continue this idea?

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Now back to that HATEFUL EIGHT. I promise not to give away major spoilers here. Like other QT films, this one certainly did not disappoint. It possesses the same masterful storytelling, colorful characters, distinct style, a splendid score, and a signature wealthy dose of violence. And he slows down the pace just enough so we can get cozy with this snowed-in tale.

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What’s fascinating about Tarantino’s choice for that antique lens of Ultra Panavision, most of the film is not of exterior shots (although the exterior scenes filmed about 30 miles outside of Telluride are truly stunning with that ultra wide screen). Instead, most of the film takes place in a single room, with some inside a stagecoach. In other words, for a film that could easily convert into a stage play, it’s incredibly intimate. For a super wide format, it’s almost claustrophobic to get so chummy with your characters. This closeness snugly builds tension yet keeps the mystery taut.

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In addition to the unraveling story that unfolds like an Agatha Christy mystery peppered with enough brutal moments to make SCARFACE blush, the musical score is also a compelling feature that cannot be ignored. Leave it to Tarantino to convince the one and only Ennio Morricone to compose the theme song and original score. Yes, the same legendary composer to create iconic sounds from those legendary spaghetti westerns for Sergio Leone. Morricone hasn’t done a western score in decades (even though I don’t think I’d label this film as a western, per say). Due to time constraints, Morricone created the theme, nearly half-hour of original score, plus he added some unused material he originally created for THE THING (1982). It’s an appropriate choice considering the isolation of the winter blizzard and the haunting tone of the unraveling mysteries.

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I’d be remiss to not address the choices and performances of this cast, as QT’s films are known for their unique characters portrayed adeptly by each purposeful actor choice. It’s nice to see one of the hardest-working actors in Hollywood, Samuel L. Jackson take the lead in this latest Quentin Tarantino vehicle. They’ve partnered together on six films and it’s no secret that the brotherly love and respect is there. Jackson’s performance is strong as Maj. Marquis Warren, the bounty hunter. He keeps us guessing and that’s exactly what his character needs to do. Kurt Russell is perfectly suited as ‘the hangman’ John Ruth. Beyond his bigger-than-life characterization, his facial hair is practically a role in itself.

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Both Tim Roth as Oswaldo Mobray, ‘the little man’ and Walton Goggins as Chris Mannix, ‘the sheriff’ are unforgettable, quirky and entertaining for comical relief. Before I describe ‘the prisoner’ Daisy Domergue, I must confess my bias in regards to Jennifer Jason Leigh that will likely be unpopular. I just don’t like her. Ever since FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (1982), I’ve consistently found her to be unattractively and annoyingly unappealing. But here she plays a part where my bias works out. Without giving away too much, I’ll just say that Daisy is a very unlikable, annoying and unattractive character. I’ve never thought she wasn’t a good actress though. So yes, I’ve finally witnessed the perfect role for JJL. (I’ll expect the hate mail to start pouring in now.) The rest of the cast is equally great and I loved seeing Bruce Dern (as Gen. “Sandy” Smithers aka ‘the confederate’) continuing to work his magic, following his career resurgence after NEBRASKA (2013).

While many would describe this film as a western, I hesitate to do so after screening it because that category is too limiting. I think of it as more of a suspenseful mystery, taking place in the Reconstruction era along the Overland Trail in southern Wyoming. When I think of a western I think of a protagonist of moral fortitude pitted against one or several evil-doers. But as the title alludes, perhaps it’s all eight characters that possess a ‘hateful’ edge of antagonism and not so much of the protagonistic nature.

Ultimately, it’s all of these factors- the story, the cast, the music, the characters, the cinematography, and even the special attention to details like the roadshow experience combined- plus Tarantino’s writing that will make THE HATEFUL EIGHT a fan favorite and a timeless classic to come. I for one am grateful that Quentin Tarantino is not just a solid filmmaker, but a true film fan in the classic sense.

*(By the way, I never got that special program.)

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THE LINCOLN LAWYER (2011)

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Before Matthew McConaughey was giving stand-out and Oscar-worthy performances in films such as DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (2013) and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013) or in the popular HBO TV series “True Detective” yet after he was better known as that rom-com actor who seemingly took on a new career as a beach dude obsessed with constantly showing off his tauntly toned torso, there was a promising role that hinted of better days to come. Prophetically, Brad Furman’s LINCOLN LAWYER (2011) was released 3 years prior to McConaughey’s role as the pitchman for Lincoln Motors.

Based on the novel by Michael Connelly, THE LINCOLN LAWYER (2011) was in many ways a turning point for Matthew McConaughey. While he was successful commercially with romantic comedies and other light films, he hadn’t made very many successful dramatic roles since playing another defense attorney in A TIME TO KILL (1996). In the past few years, McConaughey has undergone a dramatic career transformation thanks to taking on more serious and indie film roles, starting around 2011 with roles like off-beat Mickey Haller as the defense attorney who utilizes a chauffeur-driven Lincoln Town Car as a means of business meetings, in addition to transportation.

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Haller is accustomed to odd, low-paying jobs like defending a biker gang. He generally assumes his clients to be guilty and prefers it that way. At least he knows where he stands. But he agrees to take on a high-profile case of assault from a very wealthy family. His client Louis Roulet (Ryan Philippe) stands firm that he is innocent of brutally beating a prostitute. Meanwhile, via the assistance of his investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macy) this case leads them to revisit an old case where a man named Jesus Martinez (Michael Pena) is serving a life-sentence for murder, in a strikingly similar fashion. Based on Martinez’s response to the evidence, Haller doubts Roulet’s innocence and sees a parallel pattern. He questions whether Martinez is actually innocent after all.

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Things get complex in the process of researching the clues that bring Haller to question his own moral compass. This is no longer a simple case. Roulet throws him curveballs along the way. We also get introduced to several side characters that oft challenge him in this journey of his own morality vs. winning a case, including his ex-wife Maggie (Marisa Tomei), the state’s earnest district attorney Ted Minton (Josh Lucas), cantankerous detective Lankford (Bryan Cranston) and betraying bail bondsman Val Valenzuela (John Leguizamo).

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To me, THE LINCOLN LAWYER has some distinctly noir qualities. Haller in many ways acts like a private dick, more so than a defense attorney. I like that we see all the steps in his process from the initial client meeting, to prison visits, to his gathering of evidence, to the courtroom drama and all the interactions in between. We see him as a flawed individual with a drinking problem- hence the need for Earl the very likable and loyal driver (Laurence Mason), who wrestles with whether he’s uncomfortable as the good guy or comfortable as the guy who helps the bad guys. He irritates the police because he outsmarts them yet doesn’t follow their rules and he’s respected by the non-upstanding citizens, yet he doesn’t belong to either side. In addition, Roulet’s mother Mary Windsor (Frances Fisher) reminds me of Mary Astor’s character in THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) in ways I can’t quite put my finger on without also revealing some spoilers.

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The plot has some nice twists and creates notable tension as it builds via plot details I’ve purposefully omitted to avoid spoilers. The cast is solid but I would’ve enjoyed seeing more character development into their back stories. It’s Matthew McConaughey’s performance that really stands out overall. And despite his southern drawl in a LA setting, it somehow works because this guy knows how to bring it.

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This was my contribution to Movie Rob’s and TenStarsOrLess.com’s AUGUST ARGUMENTATIVE, the month-long blog series highlighting films focused on courtroom based features. Be sure to explore their blogs this month for more contributors.

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SPY (2015) is the Gal Pal, Snort Fest

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Melissa McCarthy has accomplished more than offering up a light comedy this summer, much more than a silly spy spoof. She’s headlining a continuation of a recent trend of feminism and female empowerment in film via her latest comedy vehicle, in Paul Freig’s SPY (2015).

After screening SPY, I wasn’t surprised at all to hear that the same writer/director who brought us BRIDESMAIDS (2011) and THE HEAT (2013) is the man behind this film. In addition to bringing on several of the same actors, that same genuinely funny humor is present here. It was very clever, with moments of graphic realism for a touch of ‘gross-out toilet humor’ and basically, I laughed my ass off- out loud- which is always a good sign.

SPY mostly follows the basic predicatable formulas as you might expect in a Hollywood spy parody. Not as wild and whacky as CASINO ROYALE (1967) and while there is one scene in particular that screams  Austin Powers it follows much closer to a true Bond film in spy theme. It’s what you might expect if you took the clever writing from BRIDESMAIDS and popped in Melissa McCarthy as the lead and just let her go ‘do her thing.’ McCarthy takes charge by showing us again her natural range in comedy. We see her subtle ways of self-depricating narrative to her explosive moments of ‘fired up’ action.

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Melissa McCarthy is introduced as Susan Cooper, the CIA trained agent/analyst with ‘ears inside the head’ of Jude Law, the dashing CIA agent Bradley Fine. The highly successful duo work like a masterfully choreographed dance until Fine is taken out of commission. Fine’s assassin (Rose Byrne as Rayna Boyanov) threatens to take out all the remaining field agents. So with great reluctance they place Cooper in the field (as the only agent who knows the intel very well yet wouldn’t be recognizable by their target.) The adventures kick off soon as Cooper starts going with her instincts, unleashing her ‘inner agent’ self and starts kicking ass all over Europe.

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Besides McCarthy being down-right hilarious, a key highlight is the comedic chemistry we experience in pairings with her co-stars. Scenes with Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Peter Serafinowicz, and Miranda Hart are especially snort-chuckle inducing. I honestly don’t know how Statham and Byrne were able to keep straight faces delivering their lines.

Another plus for me is the characterization of Cooper as the female lead. What a refreshing rarity to not only see a female in the lead of an action comedy, but also to see her portrayed as intelligent, savvy, and she doesn’t look like a half-starved-to-death, supermodel freak show. When the verbal spars are exchanged on screen, (like between Byrne and McCarthy) even the insults are not solely focused on the typical fat-shaming sort, as usually seen with any plus-sized comedian (who looks closer to the average American than the eating disorder look that Hollywood often prefers).

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The female bonding throughout and equality of pairings is like a breath of fresh air for the Hollywood norm. McCarthy’s role as Cooper shows more depth and authenticity- we can relate to this lady (well, that is if we had mad skills as a CIA agent, but one can dream). In addition to the chemistry and performances, the witty writing is what makes this comedy click.

SPY has all the elements that worked well in BRIDESMAIDS plus it better showcases Melissa McCarthy’s hilarious talents, which I predict will continue to skyrocket her career. With the more recent crop of films depicting improved female roles, empowerment and friendships, such as:  BRIDESMAIDS (2011), THE HEAT (2013), BABY MAMA (2008), HOT PURSUIT (2015), and even MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015), I for one would be thrilled to see this trend continue.


 

Spy (2015).

Direction and Screenplay: Paul Feig.

Cast: Melissa McCarthy. Jason Statham. Miranda Hart. Jude Law. Rose Byrne. Peter Serafinowicz. Raad Rawi. Jessica Chaffin. Sam Richardson. Katie Dippold. Richard Brake. Bobby Cannavale. Carlos Ponce. Michael McDonald. Julian Miller. Alessandro De Marco. Björn Gustafsson. Ben Falcone. 50 Cent. Allison Janney.

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Finding No Faults in SAN ANDREAS (2015)

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I’m a sucker for an over-the-top, blockbuster disaster movie. The mega budget versions of this film genre seemed to initiate in popularity in the 70’s with films like AIRPORT (1970), THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972), THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974), and EARTHQUAKE (1974). Then they kicked off again in the 90s and transitioned into the 21st century with films like TWISTER (1996), INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996), THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW (2004) and 2012 (2009). Quick to follow there were parodies [like AIRPLANE! (1980)] and campy B flicks [like the recent super cheesy “Sharknado” TV movies] that found equal popularity, too.

Oh sure, these films are easy targets for film scholars and critics. And yeah, the more recent crops in this field certainly have more adrenaline-infused CGI on the screen than articulate dialogue, by a landslide. But like my favorite Hostess cupcake with a cold glass of milk, sometimes you just crave a guilty pleasure of sugary junk food. Which brings me to Brad Peyton’s SAN ANDREAS (2015).

Bigger-than-life Dwayne Johnson portrays Ray, a super-dad and rescue expert/helicopter pilot who is facing the emotional battles of his family being torn apart by the scars of the tragic death of their youngest daughter. From the very first scene, we see that rescue operations of staggering magnitude are a relatively stress-free, piece of cake for Johnson compared to his unresolved issues at home. These issues have created an emotional divide between Ray and his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) who plans to divorce him and  move in, along with their twenty year-old daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario), with wealthy boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd). They say a person’s true character is revealed in moments of crisis. In Daniel’s case, we later see his in vivid detail.

Earthquake expert Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) in the midst of epic disaster

Earthquake expert Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) in the midst of an epic disaster

It doesn’t take long for earthquake expert Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) and his team to discover up-close that their breakthrough technologies of predicting earthquakes are soon realized- in previously unknown fault areas in Nevada, then again even closer to home (yup, along the San Andreas fault line). Of course Ray is pulled into the rescue action as multiple cities are horrifically devastated.

As if a 9.6 earthquake wasn't enough, here comes the tsunami

As if a 9.6 earthquake wasn’t enough, here comes the tsunami

But interestingly, while these heavily populated cities are being demolished by record-breaking quakes, tremors and tsunamis, most of Johnson’s sole focus is rescuing his family. His expertise and leadership help others along he and Emma journey to connect with their daughter, but ultimately his only goal is protecting them. Smart thinking on his part because he succeeds in ways much more than life-saving rescues, he finds a therapeutic closure to conquer his haunting demons.

Ray and Emma have some major issues to resolve- and it takes an earth-shattering crisis to break down these walls

Ray and Emma have some major issues to resolve. And it takes an earth-shattering crisis to break down these walls.

(L-r) CARLA GUGINO as Emma, ALEXANDRA DADDARIO as Blake and DWAYNE JOHNSON as Ray in the action thriller "SAN ANDREAS," a production of New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow Pictures, released by Warner Bros. Pictures. from Warner Bros media pass

Sometimes it takes a quake to save a family…(L-r) CARLA GUGINO as Emma, ALEXANDRA DADDARIO as Blake and DWAYNE JOHNSON as Ray released by Warner Bros. Pictures

There are many parallels you’ll notice between SAN ANDREAS and other disaster films:

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In Roland Emmerich’s 2012 the premise is a main character (John Cusack) who is recently divorced from his wife (Amanda Peet) who moved on to another more emotionally available and stable man of means. In both films, the main male figure is struggling in some way which creates a wall in the marriage, but wants to reunite with his ex/or estranged wife and is a good father who in the end is willing to battle any obstacle to save his family. There is also a parallel in a significant character that is a scientist/expert in his field who plays a pivotal role in the discovery of the crisis and assists in communicating the stats of the play-by-play details= Paul Giamatti’s Lawrence in SAN ANDREAS vs. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Adrian Helmsley in 2012.

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In Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow… again the male figure has become emotionally unavailable which has created a division in the marriage. This time, the kid is older (son played by Jake Gyllenhaal) so the romantic focus shifts more to the son and his love interest, as they experience surviving the disaster together. There’s a similar love interest parallel in SAN ANDREAS between Blake and a nice Brit chap Ben (Australian Hugo Johnstone-Burt). But it’s still the dad (played by Dennis Quaid) who battles to save his family, against all odds. This time the scientist/expert in his field is the main male figure himself (Quaid).

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In Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day… this formula is slightly tweaked with a ‘double date’ approach. Fighter pilot Will Smith’s Capt. Hiller (parallelism in job description as Johnson’s Ray character) is sorta the male lead but so is Jeff Goldblum’s David. This time, David is the scientist/expert in his field and estranged from his wife but wishes and later succeeds in reuniting. No kids between the two but there is a family for Capt. Hiller, minus the ‘official commitment’ which is resolved eventually. Both Capt. Hiller and David save the day in the end.

No surprise that SAN ANDREAS sought out formula parallels that worked well in Emmerich’s mega hits. But unlike unsuccessful disaster films that only aim to highlight the roller coaster ride of destruction, SAN ANDREAS took it up a notch by positioning the disaster in the background (but the effects are spectacular) and placed first priority on the story of this family.

Super dad Ray's (Dwayne Johnson) driving goal is to save his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario)

Super dad Ray’s (Dwayne Johnson) driving goal is to save his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario)

Specifically, we see performances of heart-felt emotion and gritty action from Alexandra Daddario and Dwayne Johnson. I got the impression they were attempting to make Daddario’s Blake as a more wholesome and grounded version of Megan Fox’s Mikaela character of TRANSFORMERS. Despite that comparison, and thanks to Daddario’s stronger acting skills, I think Daddario has a greater potential in her acting career.

As for Johnson, he continues to prove he can handle more than a bulky shell of an action figure. This guy shows muscle in comedy and even some emotional range to boot. If SAN ANDREAS is my Hostess cupcake, “the Rock” Dwayne Johnson is the creme filling.

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ALOHA (2015) means hello and goodbye

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I was all set to take a couple of my kiddos to the summer disaster flick SAN ANDREAS because it seemed to be a movie of commercial and mass appeal across multiple ages. But we soon realized my true mistake was in accidentally picking the 3D version (which simply won’t do for my vertigo affected eighteen year-old) so with time constraints, we opted for Cameron Crowe’s latest, ALOHA (2015).

While ALOHA wasn’t my first pick, it seemed to be ripe with a splendid cast so worth a viewing. When asked by my fourteen year-old as we walked in as what this film was about, I told him I couldn’t say, based on the trailer. As we walked out, I asked him what he thought of it. He said he wasn’t sure. As for me, I knew what he meant.

ALOHA in its deep Hawaiian themes, is what I call a meandering film. The course of the story takes us on an uncertain stroll of several plots. We come in without a clear structure. Director/screenplay writer/producer Cameron Crowe likes to play it loose and off-beat as we’ve seen from his many films like SAY ANYTHING (1989), JERRY MAGUIRE (1996), and Oscar-winning ALMOST FAMOUS (2000).

The several stories layer like petals of a pineapple flower. The real focus as we attempt to sort out the various plots is left on the characters.

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Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone make an arrival as the odd, albeit highly attractive, couple that somehow works

 

-Bradley Cooper as Brian Gilcrest plays the sometimes military/sometimes private contractor whose reputation precedes him, in both good and bad history. His past reflects a man whose singular obsession and superior talents lie in the heavens of astrophysics since boyhood. With severe injuries from serving in war, sketchy relationships in private contracts and a changed landscape of space pursuits since the 2008 defunding of NASA replaced by civilian billionaires, he arrives to a tarmac of somewhat questionable welcomes.

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Krasinski steals scenes with his non-verbal guy code

 

-He’s come home to his past in Hawaii, the US Space Program in Honolulu- a past of the girl that got away (Rachel McAdams as Tracy Woodside) who now has a family of her own on the military base but these two still have unresolved matters. Her charming family includes the silent husband John Krasinski as John ‘Woody’ Woodside who says a mouthful with no words (and steals scenes in the process), a thirteen year old daughter (Danielle Rose Russell as Grace) with a savvy for the hula like a true native and a younger son (Jaeden Lieberher that cute kid from ST. VINCENT as Mitchell) with a google-like knack for Hawaiian folklore.

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Her character may be almost too good to be true, but Emma Stone’s performance is truly top-notch

 

-He’s been assigned a watchdog, the quirky Air Force fighter pilot Allison Ng (the magnetic Emma Stone), who is essentially his babysitter as he proceeds in negotiations with sovereign King of Hawaii for airspace rights as they plan to launch a satellite with questionable intentions. She’s a fascinating character in the film although she’s so interesting her character seems almost unbelievable. For instance, who utilizes a highly trained female fighter pilot as a glorified babysitter? She’s a mix of super nerdy, ultra-strict military protocols, strong moral compass and Hawaiian superstitions (due to her being one-quarter Hawaiian as she insists with her big pools of blue eyes, fair skin and strawberry blond hair) and sometimes she even relaxes her jet-fueled energy by cutting a rug with billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray) who is financing this entire project.

There are a few other characters of interest including ill-fitted yet humorous Alec Baldwin as General Dixon and Danny McBride as Colonel ‘Fingers’ Lacy. Bill Murray was a joy in this fairly small role because, let’s face it; he could do nothing but attempt to hand-knit a Hawaiian shirt for thirty minutes straight on the big screen and I’d find it utterly delightful.

Ultimately, the muddled mix of plot paths forces us to examine the characters more closely which does provide entertainment. That is if you accept and submit to this trip without any desire for a clear compelling structure or end in sight, you may find the stroll worth the journey. I bid Aloha to ALOHA- because I left right where I began.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)

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Imagine this. This bubbly optimist who enjoys all sorts of cinema- from the silents right up to the latest blockbuster- goes to see the latest entry of Mad Max. I’ll fully admit that a bleak dystopian view of the future is generally not my cup of tea. But I kept my mind open this Memorial Day weekend upon screening George Miller’s MAD MAX FURY ROAD (2015), because I’ve heard so many glowing reviews.

I should’ve listened to my pal Karen Noske who advised fellow optimists to skip the Mad Max reboot and go straight to Disney’s TOMORROWLAND (despite its less than glowing reviews). After leaving MAD MAX FURY ROAD, I felt like a victim of PTSD. Yet in the most campy-gone-wrong way, if that’s possible. To keep in line with my post-traumatic state, I shall share with you all the reasons I disliked this film, plus a few positive reasons the film earned my respect (I am an optimist after all)- in bullet points.

I’ll lead with the few merits… (note there may be a few hints at spoilers)

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  • Charlize Theron. (She was the true lead of this film. Her performance was the one thing that seemed authentic and worthy in this futuristic flick. She was the actual “Max” here.)

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  • Positive view of women. This film cast a lot of women in speaking roles and portrayed them in realistic, tough and overall positive perspective. Happy to hear women have a future, Mr. Miller, even beyond mother’s milk.

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  • More over, it’s a positive view of older women. What a refreshing thing to see mature women- shown in all their deeply wrinkled (no plastic or botox here) beauty. And these ladies are TOUGH. Kicking ass- clever fighting, use of weapons, throwing punches and getting punched back just as hard. Basically, mature women being treated as equals in an action flick as I’ve never seen before.

Now for what didn’t work for me…

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  • Tom Hardy articulates like a modern Popeye. He barely speaks throughout the film and when he does, it’s a mix of a 6-packs-a-day growl or he throaty whispers under his breath. I understand the sex appeal factor (especially when mixed with an Australian or Brit accent), yet surely at some point soon this trend that really kicked off heaviest with Christopher Nolan’s Christian Bale Batman trilogy must hit maximum velocity, right? I’m worried screenwriters will be out of jobs at this rate if the lead actors no longer need any lines, simply gargle some gravel after turning into a human chimney then mutter incoherently.
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the happy couple, fast friends

  • The quickest case of Stockholm Syndrome I’ve ever seen. At one point a red-headed female ‘breeder’ discovers the same man that just moments prior had tried to violently kidnap her, along with the other women in her party hidden in their escape rig. What does she do? Immediately falls head over heels, of course. Her attempted captor recently discovered his boss’s promises of a glorious afterlife was a bunch of rubbish. So loyalties flip and they’re all pals now that his cult abandoned him.
  • The over-the-top tone isn’t just campy, it’s RIDICULOUS. The parts that try too hard to be shocking seem more laughable than effective. The humor is lost because it tries too hard, as well- the few times its attempted. You could say there’s innovative visual effects and unique design but that often gets overshadowed by the ridiculous factor again.

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For example, it feels like you step into an 80s MTV video every time they cut to a red-jumpsuited guy tethered to a Fury Road vehicle whose only purpose is to rock out on an electric guitar, as the barbaric battle ensues in constant motion. To set the musical mood, or perhaps to compete with the tune of deathly road rage, there are also about four men banging on enormous drums atop another vehicle.

So the future doesn’t look very bright in this battle for basic resources via any violent means possible. But hey, if you’re a woman and you’re not being used as a breeder or for mother’s milk, you might have an equal fighting chance to be just as violent and messed up as anyone else. Otherwise, you can always rock out like you’re in a 1979 or a 1985 Beyond Thunderdome version of a MTV video. That is, if you can’t stop rolling your eyes as I did at how utterly ridiculous this reboot really is.

a surprisingly feminist film

a surprisingly feminist film

The Secret Of Roan Inish, the Legend of the Selkie, and How my Husband Caught One

My favorite holiday is upon us. ST. PATRICK’S DAY. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a nut for Christmas like nobody’s business. Mainly because of the songs, old TV specials and films. Furthermore, I’m truly a nut because for me, I could sing those holiday songs all year long (…the very opposite reaction for most folks.) But I’ve always felt St. Patrick’s Day was MY holiday. That is to say, my people.

All you have to do is look at my twitter handle and know that I take my Irish heritage VERY SERIOUSLY. Growing up, THE QUIET MAN was always our ‘instruction manual’ on what it means to be Irish, via the breathtakingly beautiful, big screen romance of John Ford, which was further spun into legend by stories from my Irish family. Years later, it was actually my Finnish husband that introduced me to my other beloved film of Ireland, John Sayles’ THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH (1995).

Roan Inish_poster

For folks who do not reign from the Emerald Isle, you may have a stereotype in your head of the Irish and how a film that tackles that subject should be. Oh you know, wee little men, dancing a jig and drunk all the time. But if you’re truly of the Irish way, you may be familiar with a lesser-known mythology, of the selkie. It took an American filmmaker to bring the legend of this celtic mythical creature of a half-human/half-seal to the big screen in this incredibly beautiful romance of Erie.

The Legend…

It’s unknown exactly how far back the selkie (sometimes spelled silkie, or selchie) folklore dates. There have been similar legends originating in Iceland, Orkney Islands and Scotland. But the most defined and lasting tales of this shape-shifting sea faery come from Ireland and the county of Donegal. (Donegal is where my maternal ancestors and current, albeit distant, cousins still reside in the O’Donnell homestead.) It’s sparsely populated area on the western Irish coastline and as such, the good people have made their living and lifestyles based on the cold, harsh waters of the sea. A sea that gives as much as it takes.

While in the water, the selkie keeps its form as a seal with sweet and kind, human-like eyes. The creature can rest on the rocks or beach and occasionally sheds its skin, turning into a strikingly handsome man or beautiful woman. For the male, it’s said they make unfit husbands because while they are highly skilled and willing lovers, they can be a tad mean-spirited. Imagine a ‘Don Draper,’ of sorts.

As for the female, the description gets much more specific. Like her male counterpart, she is a ‘dark one.’ Unlike the many blondes and red-heads that can be found in Ireland, a selkie is a true ‘black Irish’ with hair so dark it is almost black, generally in long, wavy, full curls, skin more akin to porcelain, and striking dark eyes. If a mortal should capture her and hide her coat, she is unable to return to the sea. It’s said that the desire for a man to do so is because female selkies make very good wives and mothers. To a point. If she should ever find her seal coat, her instinct to return to the sea is overwhelming and immediate.

The Film…

roan-inish-looking at crib

In Sayles’ narrative on the selkie legend, he adapted the screenplay from a 1957 children’s book (The Secret Of Ron Mor Skerry) written by Rosalie K. Fry. But then from a child’s tale, he created something completely marvelous. The story is generally seen from the inquisitive and resilient eyes of 10 year old Fiona Coneely (Jeni Courtney). It’s determined in a pub, suggested by the barkeep herself, that she should go live with her grandparents. Her mother has died. And her father’s only path away from drinking all his grief is to take a job in Scotland.

Her grandparents, Hugh (Mick Lally) and Tess (Eileen Colgan), are an entertaining couple of characters. He shares too much, as Fiona hangs on to every word, and grandmother tries her best to keep him in check. Meanwhile the grandfather continues to share tales of their ancestors that seem to carry the selkie bloodline. Fiona’s grandparents live in a small coastal town in Donegal where there are only a handful remain of the Coneely clan; due to the war or, like Fiona’s dad, have moved on to bigger towns to look for better work. Originally the Coneely family lived on a nearby island, Roan Inish, that has since been abandoned.

We discover from Hugh’s conversations with Fiona, that Fiona’s mother was a poor and wistful soul when her parents met. Grandmother Tess describes her with thoughtful pity and a vague mystery to her past. Although she recalls few details, Fiona also had a raven-haired baby brother Jamie (Cillian Byrne) that was lost at sea just a few years earlier. When Jamie was born, Fiona’s mother insisted the baby crib be constructed from special lumber from a ship and decorated it with sea shells. Baby Jamie is only consoled when rocked in the gentle waves of the shallow waters of the sea, in his buoyant crib. There’s an intense and moving scene in this flashback as all the grown-ups are distracted by attacking gulls and the tide rises to carry Jamie out to sea in his sea-worthy crib. Jamie’s father and others desperately give chase; just as a violent storm erupts and pushes against their progress, and simultaneously speeds Jamie’s crib out to the open sea.

Fiona is surprisingly pragmatic and adaptive in this new world. We don’t see her grieve, instead she clings to the stories as she bonds deeper with her extended family. This includes her teen cousin Eamon that is a willing partner in adventure-seeking and then another cousin, Tadhg, who is introduced as ‘one of the dark ones’ with a mysterious affinity to the sea. He has a quick-to-ill-tempered edge when his co-workers tease him but he has an immediate connection to Fiona. She’s hungry to hear his insight of the selkie ancestral bloodline.

He reveals the tale of their ancestors, Liam and Nuala. Liam discovered her just as she sheds her seal skin, whereby he steals and hides her coat. Years go by and they’re happily married with several children, until she stumbles upon her hidden seal skin. She returns to the sea. Since then, Tadhg implies, all Coneely family members with similar black Irish appearance, show signs of the Selkie ancestry.

roan_inish_two by boat

I won’t spoil the rest so you can experience the joy of this film for yourself by telling you what fearless Fiona discovers as she and her older cousin Eamon explore multiple excursions to the island of Roan Inish. But I can assure you that this film is a magical journey of music, beautiful visual artistry and a compelling layering of narratives.

The Connection…

There’s a common thread amongst Irish that Sayles captures well in THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH. We’re an oddly melancholic sort. We honor our past and our mortality A LOT. We’re not as fearful of death as we should be, because it seems our close relationship with tragedy has created an iron-strong survival need to romanticize our tragedies. Perhaps our surprising ability to survive, despite centuries of poverty and being invaded by pretty much everyone, is found in how we’ve learned to surf those storms. We don’t just brood about death or tragedy, we also write poems and songs about it. Our funerals are called wakes where we party and dance in a bar, celebrating the grand life of our departed. We make storytelling an art, including creating the most enchanting mythical characters.

The characters in “ROAN INISH” don’t keep their secrets for long. They share stories because that’s how they connect their present to their past, their children and children’s children to their ancestors.

So I’m grateful to my husband for introducing me to this beautiful film that I have developed a very deep and emotional connection whenever watching it. He is too. Because he’s convinced he’s captured a selkie and doesn’t plan on me finding my seal coat anytime soon.

The Oscar Picks

80th Academy Awards NYC Meet the Oscars Opening

Watching the Red Carpet for The Oscars, enjoying all of Hollywood’s excellence glamming it up under umbrellas and tents as the rain trickles down, so what a better time to review all the Academy Awards nominees in the main categories. I’ll add my two cents of who I believe will likely be the winners, along with who I WISH would be winners. (Yes, sometimes I may differ from the Academy’s vote.)

Best Picture:

“American Sniper” Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, and Peter Morgan, Producers
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
“The Imitation Game” Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
“Selma” Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“The Theory of Everything” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, and Anthony McCarten, Producers
“Whiplash” Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, and David Lancaster, Producers

My Prediction: BIRDMAN
My personal pick: The Imitation Game

BEST ACTOR:

Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”

My Prediction: Eddie Radmayne

My personal pick: Eddie Redmayne

BEST ACTRESS:

Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”

My Prediction: Julianne Moore

My personal pick: Julianne Moore

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”
Laura Dern in “Wild”
Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”

My Prediction: Patricia Arquette

My personal pick: Emma Stone

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Robert Duvall in “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood”
Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”

My Prediction: J.K. Simmons

My personal pick: J.K. Simmons

BEST DIRECTOR:

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Bennett Miller
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson
“The Imitation Game” Morten Tyldum

My Prediction: Alejandro G. Inarritu

My personal pick: Morten Tyldum

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:

“Big Hero 6 Don Hall, Chris Williams, and Roy Conli
“The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable, and Travis Knight
How to Train Your Dragon 2″ Dean DeBlois, and Bonnie Arnold
“Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

My Prediction: Big Hero 6

My Personal Pick: Song of the Sea (because I have a bias towards selkies- although many fans would pick The Lego Movie, which sadly wasn’t even Nominated)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

“CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky

“Finding Vivian Maier” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
“Last Days in Vietnam” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
“The Salt of the Earth” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, and David Rosier
“Virunga” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

My Prediction: CitizenFour 

My Personal pick: (I can’t say I’ve seen enough of these films to comment in all honesty.)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: 

“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from “Selma”
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again” Music and lyrics by Gregg Alexander

My Prediction: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”

My Personal Pick: “Glory”

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (Original Score):

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat
“The Imitation Game” Alexandre Desplat
“Interstellar” Hans Zimmer
“Mr. Turner” Gary Yershon
“The Theory of Everything” Jóhann Jóhannsson

My Prediction: “Interstellar” Hans Zimmer

My personal pick: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY:

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman
“Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
“Mr. Turner” Dick Pope

“Unbroken” Roger Deakins

My Prediction: Ida

My personal pick: Unbroken

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN:

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero
“Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
“Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
“Maleficent” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
“Mr. Turner” Jacqueline Durran

My Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

My personal pick: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING:

“American Sniper” Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
“Boyhood” Sandra Adair
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Barney Pilling
“The Imitation Game” William Goldenberg
“Whiplash” Tom Cross

My Prediction: American Sniper

My personal pick: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best foreign-language film of the year:

“Ida” Poland
“Leviathan” Russia
“Tangerines” Estonia
“Timbuktu” Mauritania
“Wild Tales” Argentina

My prediction: Ida

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling:

“Foxcatcher” Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

My Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

My Personal Pick: Guardians of the Galaxy

Achievement in sound editing:

“American Sniper” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
“Interstellar” Richard King
“Unbroken” Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

My Prediction: American Sniper

My personal pick: Interstellar

Achievement in sound mixing:

“American Sniper” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, and Thomas Varga
“Interstellar” Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, and Mark Weingarten
“Unbroken” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, and David Lee
“Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, and Thomas Curley

My prediction: American Sniper

My personal pick: Interstellar

Achievement in visual effects:

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
“Interstellar” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

My Prediction: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

My personal pick: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Adapted screenplay:

“American Sniper” Written by Jason Hall
“The Imitation Game” Written by Graham Moore
“Inherent Vice” Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Theory of Everything” Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
“Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle

My Prediction: Whiplash

My personal pick: Inherent Vice

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
“Boyhood” Written by Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
“Nightcrawler” Written by Dan Gilroy

My prediction: Birdman
My personal pick: Birdman

 


 

I left off some categories but hey, I haven’t seen all the nominees so I tried to pick the most well-known. How did I do? How did you do??

…Kellee

 

 

 

 

Breaking Codes and Keeping Secrets in THE IMITATION GAME (2014)

ImitationGame_poster

The 87th annual Academy Awards, or The Oscars as it has been coined since 2013, broadcasts just hours from now. Many say this year’s line-up of nominees have all but secured the winners for the main categories. For Best Picture, initially buzz suggested BOYHOOD will be the clear winner. Based on ticket sales some main streamers are vying for AMERICAN SNIPER. But most recently BIRDMAN seems to be the favored choice. I’d prefer to discuss a Best Picture nominee that isn’t getting as much hoopla as its contenders, yet I believe it deserves a closer look.

To be so profoundly moved by a film and yet trepidatious to scribe a review may sound bizarre. But that’s exactly what I faced after screening Morten Tyldum’s THE IMITATION GAME (2014). The reason is simple. I didn’t want to spoil what I experienced for fellow film goers by giving away key points. And yet my desire to express my thoughts on this wondrous film is too strong to keep all to myself. So, here we go.

[WARNING: If you have not seen THE IMITATION GAME, read no further. Instead, go to your local participating movie house and see this film. ASAP. Then come back here and continue reading. All others may proceed…]

THE IMITATION GAME (2014) is the true story of Alan Turing (portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch), not your ordinary run-of-the-mill, socially-challenged, genius code-breaker. It’s WW2 in England. Hitler and his evil forces are hammering hard and have the upper hand thanks to an ingenuis machine built to incript coded messages, aptly named ‘Enigma’.

imitationGame_group

So her majesty’s top military enlists a team of brilliant code-breakers of various strengths and dysfunctions. One of the teammates, Keira Knightly as Joan Clarke, has to be ‘snuck in’ under the guise as part of the secretarial pool because of the sexist code of the times. How on earth could an attractive young woman who is so brilliant that she beats the instructor’s record be seen using her brain to fight Hitler with a bunch of men when it’s her job to get married and birth babies, right? As for Turing, his introduction is reminiscent of Cumberbatch’s “Sherlock” character in his offensively socially unaware Aspbergers ways and equally brilliant. If he wasn’t so brilliant and so desperately needed, he would have been fired before he was hired by Commander Denniston (Charles Dance). The team soon discovers Turing doesn’t ‘play well with others’ and he ostracizes himself immediately.

With an obsessive determination, Turing stays on task and the others eventually realize the genuis of his quirky methods. But the process to counter the Enigma with the ultimate code-breaking machine (the precursor to the first computer) of his own making takes time. During these years, obstacles present themselves.

imitationGame_SpyTime

In these sexist times, Clarke feels pressure from her family to fit the female stereotype so Turing agrees to an engagement so her family doesn’t deem her an old maid and she can continue working on the project. Clarke and Turing work well together and respect each other but there’s no love chemistry- he agrees to the arrangement as a matter of necessity and convenience. Meanwhile, a spy is suspected and later discovered to be in their midst. When Turing discovers the traitor, he is forced to keep it secret as British Intelligence follow the Soviet spy’s work. And throughout the entire project, Turing gets constant pressure from Commander Denniston threatening to shut him down and he eventually succeeds.

But not before Turing’s wonder machine ultimately works, just in the knick of time. And to keep the Nazis from upsetting our Allies’ tracking, this team must keep it all very secret; even after the war’s end, including destroying all evidence of its existence and never taking credit.

As if this journey was not a fascinating enough peek into landmark events of our past, the rest of the film reveals an ugly side of history that many before this film were unaware. When I asked my more tech-savvy friends, they had already heard of Turing’s contributions to computer science, but not of the details of the extensive obstacles and secrets Turing endured but more specifically not of the injustices he faced regarding his homosexuality.

The ‘spoiler’ here that many like myself did not see coming was that Alan Turing, shortly after creating an intregal force in stopping Hitler, was forced to take chemical castration as punishment for his sexuality in order to continue his work. His code-breaking machine was named after his secret boyhood crush that was a sad tale in itself. And while his friend and collegaue Joan Clarke attempted to help create a cover via a marriage of convenience, he needed to be himself.

The Sexual Offences Act of 1967 was the legal step finally taken to decriminalize homosexuality in the United Kingdom. A legal righting of a grave wrong that sadly came too late. At the end of the film, after facing public shame of facing criminal charges for his homosexuality, after enduring years of extraordinary work with no credit, after enduring the hormonal effects of being a man placed on estrogen therapy, after years of keeping such deep war secrets of espionage that even his own team members were unaware, Turing ended his own life in 1954.

This story is both heart-breaking and inspiring. What’s most fascinating about this biopic is that here is a man who was critically responsible for ending the European campaign in WWII and likely saving millions of lives, yet I had never heard of him in that context. And what’s worse is this man of such profound significance to our world, was stopped short of reaching even greater contributions simply due to bigotry.

ImitationGame_alan-turning_alone

It’s the realization of that which opened the flood gates for me. As the credits rolled and the tears trickled down my cheeks, I wondered if he felt all alone. That perhaps his only true moment of feeling love and appreciation was in that boyhood friendship that yearned for more, or perhaps via his own obsessive tinkering- unfortunately both cases being essentially unrequited. A film that tells such a thought-provoking story and invokes such emotions, is certainly Oscar worthy.


This post was written as a contribution to the 31 DAYS OF OSCAR BLOGATHON month-long celebration in coordination with TCM, hosted by Aurora of ONCE UPON A SCREEN, Paula of PAULA’S CINEMA CLUB, and Kellee of OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED. Check out all four weeks of informative and enlightening posts: ACTORS, SNUBS, CRAFTS, PICTURES/DIRECTORS.

31-Days-2015-Hope

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