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Blood Diamond (2006)
Simply a masterpiece, DiCaprio adds to his already illustrious career
Coming into the film, I had heard it was good but I tried not to get myself all set up for a letdown. I was, however, drawn into the movie without even really realizing it, and then all of a sudden at some undefinable moment in the first hour or so I was very invested in the story and the characters.
First off, as a film set in Africa, I felt that it did justice to capturing the tragic element of Africa without making it too (and by too, I mean relatively speaking) "Hollywood." I felt that the movie was in no hurry just to rush through setting the tragic stage in Africa on the way to delivering a Hollywood plot line. Rather, I felt and very much appreciated the depth of the movie and the fact that it gave significant and sufficient time to really try to explore and capture what the tragedies and chaos in Africa looks like, as with the depiction and actual engagement with children soldiers, the village raids, and frenzied chaos of not only violence and fear, but the suffering, pain, and emotions of humanity in the midst of it.
As to the story, the basic plot line is not one for the "list of top 10 greatest movie twists" or something like that. But it isn't supposed to be. The power of the movie comes in the unfolding of the story--what you see taking place, how the characters react, and the very poignant capture of the tragedy of humanity and what is happening in Africa. The greatness of the movie comes from what lies beneath the plot and shines through it.
As to the characters, DiCaprio's Danny Archer is simply unforgettable. You at first judge him, then are unsure of how to view him, then are mystified, and finally embrace him and his humanity. DiCaprio's performance was masterful. Djimon Hounsou's character was also very well played, but was less complicated by its very nature (less inner conflict meant less development) so Danny Archer really shines above both Solomon Vandy and Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly's character--also well played but much more of a supporting role and less in the forefront of the movie's story).
In my opinion, this movie is a must-see for everyone. It, like Hotel Rwanda (a great one), is a powerful movie that captures some of the deepest and more raw suffering and tragedy of humanity amidst chaos, conflict, and violence on the stage (Africa) which it is probably most prevalent at present, though sadly not noticed enough. If that doesn't grab you, Danny Archer's character is so poignant and beautiful that he stays with you. Don't miss your chance to get to know him. Finally, go call, email, or send letters to your Congressman or your Representative or government and put pressure on them to do something about the violence and genocide in Africa!
The Hurricane (1999)
Beautiful in its portrayal of not only a prizefighter's fight for justice, but his fight with himself to find courage
I am perhaps biased. I have met the Hurricane. I met him 5 years ago. I have shaken his hand, stood in his presence, talked with him. Whoever made the comment about this movie lacking courage, I think perhaps only lacks courage themselves--the courage to just accept the story for what it is, the inspiration and frustration, the bitterness and hope, rather than immaturely trying to cut it down or lessen it in some way. I have met the man, I have read the book, and I have seen the movie, and the movie was incredible. The acting, the cast, the script, the directing, all were to me, the best they could be. Take it from me, trust me, this movie is not only worth watching, but I think for many, if not most, is something that all of us should watch, to understand not only hate but love, and to see not only injustice, but justice as well.
interesting premise, great cinematography
some other comments (in particular one in which the person openly admits they did not watch past the first five minutes, yet still criticizes the show) state the show is cliché or is too much like prison break. I think that couldn't be farther from the truth. This show plays upon the paranoia of terrorism that is prevalent in society not by calling us to fear terrorism more but rather to fear what it would be like to be wrongly accused of terrorism, especially in a country and a world where simple accusations can increasingly be the be all and end all. The show has a great premise, the actors do a decent job, and the cinematography captures the rush of the plot without going over the top "hollywood." and you cannot criticize the director either, someone who has direct :Without A Trace", and several other popular shows, he definitely knows what he is doing. I'd say take a look at the pilot online or maybe when it's played again on television, and see it for yourself before you accept the word of individuals who did not even really give it a full chance themselves. I think it could be a pretty impressive show, and I usually am hard to please about dramas and shows that seem adrenaline driven.
Friday Night Lights (2006)
started out good
started out good, but then they started trying to spice it up with unnecessary things like overly dramatic teenage love triangles and the like. It's really a shame actually because my family and I really enjoyed it at first, thought it would turn into a really good series, but i don't know whether the producers changed their tone or what because the object and themes of the episodes just completely changed over the past 3 months or so, and it is now basically the OC plus 5-7 min of football clips every episode. i think that Kyle Chandler, the actor who plays the Coach is great however, and he does a good job despite the rest of the series, also Zach Gilford, the actor that plays Saracen does a good job, and so does Jesse Plemons. the rest not so much though
Some of the best screen writing i've ever seen
I have to admit, I was excited about Saved, but I was also worried I would be disappointed. Let's just say I wasn't. I'd been excited all year about seeing the Closer again and I enjoyed Saved much more than I did the Closer. The characters came alive immediately, you feel like you know them, the screen writing is amazing, the acting is great. The show takes a different take on the whole hospital style scene--it goes to the paramedics and the initial trauma and captures the chaos and adrenaline-pumping rush to the scene and then to the hospital with an ambulance crew. It captures the emotion so well, and develops different parts of the characters very deeply, as well as maintaining the traumatic nature of a day in the life of 2 paramedics, yet there is an underlying humor and uplifting turn to it, and while it captures the gritty nature of the emergencies, it does not go into overkill with overly dramatized and exhibited blood or gore as with most shows where it isn't as necessary as it is played up to be. A great show, I recommend it whole heartedly, most of my family were not desiring to watch it at all, but I convinced them to give it a chance, and they ended up loving despite admitting to having premonitions of a total letdown, and they're stubborn people, so it's some doing to get them to admit they were wrong so kudos to Saved and its cast. As a final note, Tom Everett Scott and Omari Hardwick do a fantastic job acting and not just acting, but that higher level of portrayal where it becomes a creation in our imaginations so great do they develop themselves. Akin to John Keats "Ode On a Grecian Urn," they bring it alive to us just as in the phrase "Beauty is truth, truth beauty--that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know." Enough said. It looks like it will be a fantastic series and I look forward to watching it again and sincerely hope it extends beyond only the summer season into the regular season of television.