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Hotel Rwanda (2004)
I am happy this film was made, but... (Spoiler Warning)
Terry George deserves much praise for being able to make this movie about a difficult time in the recent history of the world. Prior to seeing this movie I knew very little about the conflict that took place in Rwanda, and thus I am glad to have seen this movie to learn about the horrors that took place there in 1994. However, as a film itself, I believe Hotel Rwanda is very flawed. Everything in the film is milked hard for melodrama, which may be understandable given the subject matter. Nevertheless, I found the handling of this instance in time to be largely heavy-handed. Also, the characterization of many people in this movie felt very black-and-white, such as how the Tutsi Rebels were given somewhat of a hero treatment towards the end, despite the fact it was they who assassinated the President (though maybe it was not the rebels, the movie doesn't make this clear). Additionally, it states at the film's conclusion that the Hutu Army eventually fled to Congo as a happy-ending coda. But what went on in Congo after that? More chaos. The film fails to mention that many of the problems in Rwanda continue to exist in the African continent. Hopefully this will change, though whether it will in my lifetime appears debatable.
On a more positive note, I do think the performances were very good, with Don Cheadle giving a very compassionate portrayal of the beleaguered hotel employee who strived to keep those around him safe.
Not a curiosity item
I checked this movie out via the wonders of the world wide web figuring this movie would be more of a funny piece of fluff. How wrong I was. Superstar is a very moving portrait of a troubled individual that was never able to completely conquer her inner demons. My only complaint is that the conclusion for the movie seemed to be lacking a commentary of some sort. Plenty was said throughout the movie about the troubles that anorexia brings to women, but one final comment on the matter would have made a more satisfying end in my opinion. But overall, a highly satisfying movie. It's really a shame that this will likely never be available again on a wide basis. Not until Carpenters songs become public domain I guess.
The Newsroom (2004)
Different style, still one of the best things on tv
While Ken has made the show much more darker (I think there has been a death in every show), it still remains an incredibly funny show. George Findlay was always the most interesting character in the original series, thus I have no problems with there being a lack of returning cast members. Amongst the new actors, I especially enjoy Matt Watts, whose deapan delivery makes his character much funnier than he should be. Overall, a solid return for Finklemen after all those artier than thou pretentious pieces that he did after the original series (More Tears was still good though).
Willie Catches On (1962)
This film was produced by The National Film Board of Canada, and is a pretty startling commentary on racism in the early 1960s. While it tries to show that making stereotypes about jewish people, African-Americans, and other ethnic minorities is wrong, the film still manages to seem offensive and ineffective. It hasn't aged particularly well, and is now mostly good for a few laughs, like in one of the early scenes where an oriental garden comes over to say hello to baby Willy (the main character in the film), causing baby Willy to cry on the spot. I caught this on VisionTV in Canada as part of some show that goes through the NFBC archives. If you catch it, be sure to give it a watch for the sake of your own curiosity.
I Shout Love (2001)
Quirky short film
I saw this movie as an opener for The Law Of Enclosures, and much preferred it to the "feature presentation." The dialogue was funny, the female lead was very effective, and overall the story was affecting. Has the potential to be a good tv series, I'm sure the CBC would accept a Sarah Polley project down the road.
Super 8½ (1994)
More art house than porn
Being the first Bruce La Bruce movie I have ever seen, I was quite intrigued to see "Super 8 & 1/2." The movie is overlong, but does have some very amusing bits mixed in with the graphic sex and general weirdness. Bruce is the big star of the movie, but the Wednesday characters are also quite fun, and the cameos by Scott Thompson, Richard Kern, and Vaginal Cream Davis are fun. A must see for anyone familiar with Bruce's writing in Exclaim magazine (though it helps to be open-minded too).