Recent movie highlights

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Recent movie highlights

Did I mention this before? I’m an unconventional reviewer of movies. Why is this so? There are several reasons. Let me explain before perhaps suggesting that you also watch these movies whenever the mood strikes you to do so. You have to be in the mood, and this also depends on your own artistic or genre interests. You may not agree with my impressions nor would you be particularly interested in the shows that I have applauded over the course of the past few months. I don’t need to tell you that watching movies is also an emotional experience.

Being an unconventional movie reviewer is no big deal or quite a big deal, depending on which way the wind blows for you. I have two minds. This depends on the mood swings on any given day. A similarly titled movie is Any Given Sunday. It is directed by legendary Hollywood writer and producer, Oliver Stone, and stars a host of highly acclaimed American actors, including Al Pacino and Dennis Quaid. I’ll be honest with you, I’m not really a fan of football, but I picked this movie deliberately. It’s an uplifting (exciting) drama about leadership, teamwork and character building. Five Stars.

My no big deal approach to unconventionality has to do with always being able to speak my mind. Doing this, I have been able to retain my original speaking (and writing) voice. But to give credibility to my work, I need to lean on some research every now and then. This means scanning what Hollywood’s top movie reviewers have had to say about the shows we’ve watched. But I also turn to social media to read what ordinary guys and girls like you and I thought about the movie. Ok, so maybe the way I write up my review is a big deal anyway.

Particularly for discerning readers, adding unconventional talking points to movie reviews, is quite a big deal. They have to be as informative as possible at best and crucially never give the story or plot away. It’s a big deal because even the best reviewers are continuously challenged towards finding an original hook that is truly going to pique unsuspecting readers. For instance, their sub-titling skills could be used to talk about an unheard of and low-budget independent film which must compete against all odds against the seasonal and biggest block-buster releases.

Another motivational movie I watched recently is poignantly titled You’ve got Mail. Most of you have seen the romantic reunion between two-time Oscar winner, Tom Hanks, and Meg Ryan. I wasn’t necessarily after romance and was more interested in the underlying concerns and story treatments that added meat to this pairing of the attraction of opposites which only Barbara Cartland would be proud of. As it turns out, the inspirational words come from the pen of Nora Ephron. It invigorated and vindicated me to objectify myself to subjectively disagree with the line that ‘it’s nothing personal’. Four Stars.

Still fresh in my memory is Man of the Year, starring the late Robin Williams. I found this movie by accident and grabbed it because I’ve now begun to follow the US Presidential elections in all earnest. The front-runners are Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton on the Democratic side, and the controversial self-made billionaire, Donald Trump, throwing his opportunistic lot in with the Grand Old Party of which Abraham Lincoln was once a member.

Robin Williams plays the part of a stand-up comedian and late night TV talk show host. He steps up to the plate reluctantly after an audience member, echoing the disillusionment of many voters, suggests that he run for president. He does this in an unconventional manner, going against the grain of the political status quo as an independent candidate. His come from behind victory is also a reflection of historic trends of past Presidential campaigns,

So, don’t expect Trump or Clinton, and certainly not Sanders, to be sworn in at the Union Buildings around this time next year. I give Man of the Year Three Stars.

As per tradition, around the time of the New Year’s festivities, I spent an afternoon with my ageing folks. Dinner, as usual, was wholesome and quite good for me. There was no dessert to finish it off with. The festive occasion of previous grand family gatherings was missing. Gone are the days when my folks would gather their large brood around them and put on quite a spread. My mother is getting on in her years and, like me, finds it quite difficult to organize herself as the perfect hostess and gets quite anxious about everything (and everybody) as well.

So, all we had this time around was each other and few tidbits of news and gossip, always about other people’s doings and never about our own shortcomings, from the past year. There was no tea and cake, but I did get a wonderful meat parcel to take home with me. After asking nicely, I got to take home a copy of their Capote, an excellent biographical film produced by award-winning film and theater actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman. He played the part of the legendary Pulitzer-prize winning writer, Truman Capote.

The story centered on the time when Capote was researching his pioneering non-fiction work, In Cold Blood. On the fringes of this story, was Capote’s helpmeet, Harper Lee who went on to write the acclaimed To Kill A Mockingbird. I was particularly enthralled by Catherine Keener’s supporting role as Lee. Film rating? Five Stars.

Many brilliant films evoke fond memories of past personal events. For my folks, one such film is the most recent version of Les Miserables. This epic version of Victor Hugo’s classic takes them back to one of the trips they made over to London where they went to see the great musical stage event being hosted in London at the time. They say the film was by far superior. The film is long, so I couldn’t stay to watch it entirely with the folks, but the little that I saw told me I could already offer it Five Stars.

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