Review: As timely and important than ever, Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit makes an unsettling yet poignant film about racism-induced Afro-American uprising in Detroit circa 1967. While Bigelow presents downtown Detroit riot in Hurt Locker fashion where smoke soaring high and dusty ruins are practically adorning every corner of the city, it’s not the carnage which is highlighted; but, the root of it all: white’s oppression.
Combining real footage with sharp recreations of the event, Detroit immediately plunges into the warzone, displaying the horror and volatile circumstances. Without warning and proper exposition, pivotal characters—including racist cops, undervalued security guard, white girls among black, black ‘Nam veteran & black musicians—are introduced and lured into the climactic standoff patiently; while audiences are expected to draw the thread between them. Circumstances, characters and the film’s message culminate in robust one-location havoc in a place called Motel Algiers.
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Review: In Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan reenacts a pivotal WWII moment dubbed as ‘Operation Dynamo’ a.k.a. ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’ as an epochal non-victorious, non-Americanized spectacle in only 106 minutes—making it his shortest but also most precise and concise tenure among his recent work. It might be a fact-based war film the auteur unlikely to make; yet, Dunkirk is still a Nolan epic through and through—with inventive storytelling, heartfelt tension and Nolan’s math.
It’s 1940 where approximately 400,000 allied soldiers of British Empire and France were cornered in a French beach town, Dunkirk; in a literal “between the Devil and the deep blue sea” circumstance. What separates those defenseless soldiers and home are only Nazis following from the land behind, Nazis bombing from the air above, Nazis torpedoing over the sea and the freezing 100 kilometers of sea. Rescue ships cannot reach the shore; only private boats, yachts and civilian tugboats can reach the ground. On the brink of a colossal loss, miracle only happens when home comes to those men who cannot go home. Continue reading Dunkirk (2017) – Review
“Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t,” said Oskar Schindler.
Based on a real story about Oskar Schindler – a German businessman who saved thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied German during the World War II, Schindler’s List stormed the Oscars in 1994 with 12 nominations and won 7 of it, incl. Best Picture, Best Director for Steven Spielberg and Best Adapted Screenplay for Steven Zaillian. A story as epic as it is, narrated in 3-hour long black and white motion, is definitely a story of a lifetime; and I am pleased to finally watch it after nearly 24 years after it first screened. Continue reading Blindspot: Schindler’s List (1993)
Review: Undeniably, Silence is Martin Scorsese’s most personal and ambitious work to date. Adapting Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel of the same title about the voyage of two Jesuit priests in the 17th century Japan, in a misty era called ‘Kakure Kirishitan’ or ‘hidden Christian.’ It is a story about faith and questions that surround men of faith in a desperate time. Inarguably, it is poignant, visceral and though-provoking at the same time – just like faith itself.
Silence follows Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garupe (Adam Driver), who voluntarily voyage from Portugal to Japan in order to locate the whereabouts of their missing mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson). Arriving in Japan, the priests immediately get plunged into the miserable life of Japanese Christians, who live and pray in silence and secrecy, for fear of being prosecuted and tortured by Shogunate Inquisitor, Inoue (Issei Ogata). Under such circumstances, the priests barely carry their initial mission out as they’re engulfed in rehabilitating the people’s deteriorating faith and survive the catastrophe themselves. Continue reading Silence (2016) – Review
Review: There were three African-American women working at NASA in circa 1960s and helping the institution sending man into space, winning the space competitions against the Soviets. Not everyone knows about that fact (me neither, in fact), until Hidden Figures comes and opens people’s eyes in the era where this substantial revelation is relevant. However, it’s never been a preachy, egghead’s story; instead, Theodore Melfi’s adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s non-fiction is a high-energized feel-good film about equality and empowerment.
Those three titular figures are Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe). Those women are all brilliant in their own field even beyond; but their only problem is more complex than their minds; because they are women and people of colors. Continue reading Hidden Figures (2017) – Review
Review: In Patriots’ Day 2013, two bombs blasted off during Boston marathon, killed 3 civilians, including an 8-y.o. child and injured hundred others. Only three and a half year passes, a big-budgeted retelling of it has already made into screen, not as a kind of exploitation, but as a moving, respectful story. Patriots Day is an ode to a city survives from tragedy.
With Patriots Day, Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon) has proven himself as an avid filmmaker, a specialist to craft an authentic reenactment with hearts within. There’s sympathy depicted in its dramatic docu-like pictures coupled with authentic footage and spotlights to certain people who directly involved in the tragedy. Continue reading Patriots Day (2017) – Review