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Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Amazing movie experience, all need to see this
Hotel Rwanda is a an amazing movie and a story that needs to be told. The Rwandan genocide, lasting just a few months, was one of the greatest tragedies among many in the twentieth century. The US, Europe and the UN stood by and watched and this leaves us lessons for current conflicts in Sudan and other parts of Africa. As a movie, Hotel Rwanda is wonderful. Don Cheadle is perfect as Paul, tough and determined but full of doubt and fear. Any of us could be Paul but few would have the guts and strength. Some reviewers have claimed the movie is too Hollywood or does not show the true violence, but the use of sound, facial emotions and scenery forces the viewer to put themselves in the place of a Rwandan, not an American viewer. The movie is almost a documentary of what happened but is also very moving and an appropriate length. All in our theater were choked up with emotion at the end. I spent time in Tanzania in 2003, next door to Rwanda. East Africa is still dealing with the repercussions of the Rwandan genocide and so should the world. We all need to do what we can to prevent such conflicts.
A beautiful movie, should be seen by all
I am surprised at the low rating and low number of votes for Endurance. I rented this movie recently and it truly moved me. I spent time in Tanzania in 2003 and it changed my life. The Ethiopian land and culture are quite different but the entire movie brought back emotional flashbacks to my time in Tanzania. The scenes of everyday African life in Endurance are the most realistic and gritty that I have seen in a popular movie. The fact that many of the actors are playing themselves only adds to it. This is the real Africa and you see home life, work, school, church and urban life. The music is also amazing. The movie is slow moving and you need some patience, but the running time is short. Do not shy away from this because it is a Disney movie, it is definitely for all ages. I shed a tear as Haile won his race, and that is rare for me.
Great music, great story of justice
The remaining problems of AIDS and poverty in South Africa often overshadow the miracle that happened in the 1990's. This documentary shows you a different side of the story. Musicians of all kinds are shown, with interesting interviews and performances that are moving. I appreciated the way the filmmakers show a considerable amount of music but mix it in with personal narratives. It is fascinating to look at a time period that seems completely past but was so recent that all the involved parties are still alive. Even apartheid era police are interviewed. The musicians also range from charming older women speaking of decades ago to very popular musicians known worldwide. The film does seem to be a bit disorganized at times but it never loses your interest. Other movies about apartheid include Cry Freedom and Cry, the Beloved Country. For DMB fans, there is an interview of Dave Matthews on the DVD as he helped finance this movie.
4 Little Girls (1997)
Solid Documentaryof a tragic event
This is a great documentary which speaks to the central battles of the civil rights movement and the still present racism in America. Wide range of interview subjects from family members, politicians and those who covered the story when it happened. Spike Lee's work elicits strong emotions at times but also leaves you to provide your own conclusions as well. Recommended along with dramatized movies such as Ghosts of Mississippi, Mississippi Burning and the little watched A Long Walk Home. Watch these to learn something of the darker side of American history and decide for yourself how far we have come in the last forty years.
The American President (1995)
Great date film that makes you think
I think this movie has it all. Humor, politics, romance and the fact that it indirectly led to the creation of a long running TV series. (West Wing) So many other movies set in DC are all drama or thrillers or complete spoofs. I think they overdid it a bit on the Bob Dole parody, but Michael Douglas is great as the President. If Gore and Kerry had combined humor with passion for their ideals the way Andrew Shepherd does, they may have done much better. Annette Bening does a great job portraying a sense of both intelligence and innocence. I did not really think the relationship seemed that unrealistic in terms of age difference. Martin Sheen seems more appropriate as an adviser to the President than as the Commander in Chief. All in all, an interesting fictional look at what things may be like behind the scenes in the White House.
The Apostle (1997)
Courageous Story of Redemption
I will always admire Robert Duvall for all the personal effort he put into making this film. As a church worker who is a moderate/liberal Christian, there are few other movies like it out there. It presents a pastor who is clearly flawed and sinful, as all of us are. However, it also presents someone who simply wants to serve the Lord and help people, whether they are poor, black or prisoners. The filming locations and use of real pastors give the movie an extremely authentic feel. Great music as well! Highly recommended movie with great acting, a story that makes you think and a balanced portrayal of evangelical Christianity.
Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
Attention to Detail
If you want to see the story of Jesus on film, there is none more detailed than "Jesus of Nazareth." Great Actors, excellent visually, and not as dated as many seventies movies. Presents Christ in such a way that Christians will be moved while others while contemplate the life and words of Christ without feeling talked down to. This movie has much better acting and directing than the "Jesus Film" but does not included extrabiblical details like the 1999 Jesus movies or the Last Temptation of Christ. Same attention to cinematography and similar focus on facial emotions as Zefferelli's other works like Romeo and Juliet and Brother Sun, Sister Moon.
I also was surprised to find Anthony Burgess of A Clockwork Orange was a co-writer. Definitely recommended, but watch it over a couple days.