Roger Ebert died today. I have been reading his film reviews for years. I remember in the early 70s he shared a stage with the late Gene Siskel and they would have a lively discussion of the fine points of the films they reviewed. Over the last few years we have seen Ebert valiantly fight cancer and in the latter years he lost his voice to the disease, but his mind was a sharp as ever. he still wrote his reviews and last week as I prepared to see Tyler Perry’s Temptation I tried to locate a review by Ebert, but earlier this week we learned his cancer had returned, and today we learned that he lost his battle with the diesease. He fought the good fight and he will be remembered, not so much for what he said but for what he wrote.
Tag Archives: movies
I was sad to hear that Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have seperated after 13 years of marriage and two children. They always came across as being so much in love, but you never know what goes on behind closed doors. What is disheartening is to read the stories that seem almost gleeful at the revelation. Rumors abound and I won’t dignify them by publishing here. I will just say that it is sad to see a family divide, and Will and Jada for 13 years helped us believe that love could survive the hype.
UPDATE: From Will and Jada Smith: “Although we are reluctant to respond to these types of press reports, the rumors circulating about our relationship are completely false,” the Smiths said Tuesday in a joint statement. “We are still together, and our marriage is intact.”
We live in a society that has become far too casual. Case in point former President Clinton will appear in the sequel to the Hangover. The original movie was R rated because the movie was raunchy. I saw it so I know what I am talking about. Don’t get me wrong I am not riding some moral high horse here but is this the kind of movie a former president should be in? I guess the question is what should former presidents be doing? Building homes for the homeless is a good thing, maybe writing books, giving speeches is a profit center, but appearing in the Hangover…what would George Washington say? Tell me what you think.
Last night I watched the movie The Least Among You. Set in Watts during the turbulent sixties. The main character Richard is portrayed by Cedric Sanders. This film is almost a coming of age movie. Richard is a young man with a dream, but he is not the typical hero. He is a flawed individual who finds his true calling while attending an all white seminary. He initially believes that he will “serve” his time at the seminary, and then quietly transition to his real dream, but while there he really gets the opportunity to learn who he really is and discovers his true destiny. Along the way he meets Samuel Benton (Louis Gossett Jr.), the school groundskeeper who helps him sort out some of the baggage that has plagued him his entire life. What we witness is an angry young man that grew up without a father find an older man who also has his own emotional baggage that he too releases. A powerful line in the film that seemed almost a throwaway line came from Gossett’s character, Benton. Benton was a recovering alcoholic who had been clean for years, but he said I want my life to be about more than “not drinking.” In the movie both characters are forced into a web of self examination that enables them to come out better on the other side. I am not going to tell all the twists and turns because I believe this is the kind of movie that needs to be seen. It has layers and it will affect each person that views it in a different way. It depends on where you are in your own life how you interpret the film. It is the kind of film that makes you a little uncomfortable because it forces you to really examine are you really moving toward your destiny or are you stuck in your comfort zone. A good film not only entertains, but it makes you think and that is what this film does.
This morning I asked a friend of mine if she was going to see the new movie Waiting for Superman? She replied no she can just take her $10 and pay for the news because she already knows that schools are bad. The movie explores the lives of four students who yearn for a good education. It spotlights some of the problems within the traditional school system, but it also takes a not so subtle swipe at teachers and the unions that protect them. We all know a good teacher is hard to find and a great teacher is a gift from God, but is it really the teacher’s fault that Johnny can’t read? What is the parent’s responsibility in the education of the child? Are unions really the problem? Tell me what you think.
The Facebook movie, The Social Network opened this past weekend. It was the number one movie, but the numbers were disappointing. The movie only took in $23 million dollars. Over the past couple of weeks the cast and the director have made the rounds touting the movie. The founder of Facebook made news for donating $100 million dollars to the Newark school system. Some cynics said he did this as a premptive strike because of how he was depicted in the film, but it just seems that the public was simply not that interested in Facebook. I mean a movie about Facebook. My kids love Facebook, but they were not clamoring to see the film. So who were they trying to market this film to? The Facebook user is not really interested in how it came to be they just want to talk to their “friends” and make new “friends”.
A few days ago I was discussing Janeane Garoflo with a friend of mine. The question is what happened to the comdienne? She used to be happy and funny. She had a thriving movie career and she would occasionally appear on sitcoms, but now she is seemingly a full-time activist and the other persona is gone. It is wonderful to be passionate about what you believe in but it is sad to see that passion erase other facets of your personality and that seems to be the case here. She is no longer the funny girl. She has settled into her new role as the activist who is now disenchanted with her leader, now that he has been determined to be a mere mortal. That might be part of the change, hopefully she can get back to what made her famous in the first place and that was comedy. Janeane can we just get a smile.
Today I finally saw The Blind Side. My friend had been raving about the movie for weeks and she wrote a post on her blog (www.gaj1206.wordpress.com) where she compared The Blind Side to the movie Precious. She highlighted how two children had been forgotten by society, but someone finally saw them and helped them change their lives. Today I saw how Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy had helped a child because he needed help. It was a feel good movie and the fact that it was based on a true story made it better. The movie did not gloss over the fact that the family was white and rich and the fact that Oher was black and poor. It was a thread woven throughout the film and that helped make the story so very believable and ultimately very touching. One thing that disturbed me in the movie was the role of the NCAA. The NCAA actually investigated the Tuohys involvement in Oher’s college choice Ole Miss. Both of them as well as the tutor that helped Oher prepare for college were Ole Miss alums. The NCAA contended they were boosters and that they had pressured him to go to Ole Miss. In the movie the NCAA rep said “what would happen if people just came down to the hood and took black kids in just to get them to go to their college?” She said this as if this was a bad thing. The Tuohys were actually a lifeboat for Oher. They rescued him from a life of poverty. This was a boy who had the clothes on his back and what he could carry in a grocery bag. Yes, others had helped him, but they took him as far as they could take him. The Tuohys had the resources to actually equip Oher for a future in college and ultimately a NFL career. It was absolutely galling to see the NCAA questioning their motives. The Tuohys did something that most people would not think about doing. They opened their home and their lives to a homeless boy and that should have been celebrated not investigated.
On Christmas Day the new movie It’s Complicated hits the screen. The premise of the movie is a man cheats on his wife and marries his younger lover then he cheats on her with his first wife and the laughs begin. In light of the Tiger Woods cheating fiasco it is a little hard to find comedy in cheating. I invite you to read a very interesting post on this issue entitled, It’s Disturbing :
Over the past few weeks I have read many reviews of the movie Precious. Most if not all have been complimentary, but then there was Armond White of the New York Press. He wrote a scathing review that compared Precious to the infamous 1915 drama Birth of a Nation. That is quite the comparison. I saw Birth of a Nation in college and if featured unflattering portrayals of black people with the roles being played by white people in blackface. White said “not since The Birth of a Nation has a mainstream movie demeaned the idea of black American life as much as Precious. Full of brazenly racist clichés (Precious steals and eats an entire bucket of fried chicken), it is a sociological horror show. Offering racist hysteria masquerading as social sensitivity, it’s been acclaimed on the international festival circuit that usually disdains movies about black Americans as somehow inartistic and unworthy.” Precious does not demean the black experience in reality it embraces a part of the black experience that we don’t see. It exists but it is not only invisible to the mainstream it is also invisible to large segments of the black community. The real truth is we don’t want to see it. it is far too raw and too painful for most of us to deal with. Precious removes the veil and we are forced to look at some raw truths. It is ironic that the title character is over 300 pounds and she seeks to blend in. She does not want to be seen, but her size makes that dream impossible. We see a person, a child struggling in an existence that most would find futile. Her struggle is reminiscent of the mythological character Sisyphus. His task was to push a huge rock up a hill with the full knowledge that it would come down again, and he would have to repeat the process. That is the life that Precious had a 24 hours of struggle with the promise of 24 more the following day. Sometimes when you don’t see something you can choose to believe it simply does not exist, but sometimes you are brought face to face with some truths that you do not want to accept. Sometimes you attach some insidious logic to why this truth is exposed. The purpose of Birth of a Nation was to instill fear in the majority. The images were designed to affirm the fear that black power spelled the end to life as they knew it. Precious had no such agenda. Precious is the story of a girl who lived a horrible life and then one day a light came into it, it was not a bright light but it was just enough to give Precious a glimmer of hope and that is what this girl yearned for.
I encourage you to read another insightful post written by Gail on Precious and The Blind Side: