Monthly Archives: February 2010

I Watched a Movie a While Back

So the title pretty much says it all.

I watched a movie a while back, and given that it was a relatively limited release I may as well review it now (3 weeks after I saw it). Given that it may very well still be in select theatres and also because chances are you won’t go out and watch it anyway, it really makes no difference if I do so now as opposed to immediately after I saw it.

So what movie you ask? praying I may at last get to my point so reading this article might soon come to a close. Well let me tell you what movie! Jim Sheridan’s dramatic film Brothers.

If you’re not familiar with Jim Sheridan, he is the auteur responsible for the oscar winning Daniel Day-Lewis triumph My Left Foot and of course more recently his tour de force piece of shit Get Rich or Die Tryin` which tells the epic tale of the venerable actor rapper Curtis `50 cent`Jackson…but I digress

The movie stars Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, and Jake Gyllenhaal in a story about a marine with a perfect family life that all goes to hell when he is captured in Afghanistan and is presumed dead (for a trailer go here). Without giving too much away essentially the marine`s brother (Gyllenhaal) steps in and sees to helping the family through and ends up becoming very close with them. The Marine (Maguire) returns and is emotionally unstable and as a result must try to return to his family life, and overcome the suspicions he has of his brother and his wife (Portman).

So what to make of the film then, the story is one of genuine substance, focusing on the adverse effects of post-traumatic stress which alienate the marine and the power of redemption a loving family has on a troubled and misguided person. The characters drive the story and are complex and well portrayed, the cast is very small and you really get a good sense of every character in the story and get to see a great deal of emotional range. Maguire is easily the worst fit here, due to his flat portrayal of the loving family man. Considering though that Maguire delivers a chilling performance towards the end of the movie as a man lost in his own perennial nightmare speaks volumes then as to just how good the performances of this cast truly were. The film does stumble however, with it`s chief issues being pacing and some poor editing choices, cause the movie to at times sag and lose momentum. Music cut to montages of the brother with the family is cheery like something out of a Disney movie despite the scene having a certain eeriness, and stirring scenes conveying emotional tidal waves seem to come and go in the blink of an eye, swaddled with empty fluff showing mundane family activities ad nauseum.

The film ultimately falls short of greatness, though certainly still maintaining the ability to hold your interest for a full 104 mins getting you to genuinely care about the characters in the story. The greatest thing I can say about this film is that it feels as though it’s about real people, which is truly a credit to the actors.

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On Tragedy and Loss

Hello loyal readers,

Today’s post will not feature the cavalier attitude I take in most of my entries, though there are many interesting things I could share my thoughts on I can’t help but feel as though they would be trivial and pointless given present circumstances. If you’re lost, let me shed some light.

Yesterday morning, a woman was stabbed to death in a halfway house in Toronto. I don’t feel the particular desire to chronicle the details specifically so if you want to know the full report you can find it here.

While this story is a tragedy in itself, this news was especially jarring for me because this person was the mother of a close friend. I don’t want this to statement imply this is about my anguish or grief over her loss, because it is not and to do so would be incredibly selfish. I simply feel the need to share my thoughts in writing because frankly I am incapable of talking about things like grief.

It is truly profound the impact death has on a community, most especially when it is tragic and unforeseen. There is a ripple effect of emotional turbulence. Speaking personally I am hit hard because it troubles me to think how hard it would hit my friend, and so those I express my feelings to are affected by me albeit much less so, and so on. I am not sure what element of tragedy that makes people stand up and take notice so much, why it pervades every news station and worms its way into seemingly every day of our lives. I like to think it’s because people long to feel connected to one another and a sense of loss does so more than possibly any other emotional sensation. Reading the news coverage online I was touched to see several comments offering condolences to the family (though not all were so respectful but there are always those that seek to deviate). Though on first impression it may seem selfish or even macabre to be so enthralled by such terrible events, I think the motivation is ultimately benevolent at core. I believe most people want to help those that suffer through terrible tragedy.

It is hard for me to be optimistic though, in the face of such a terrible occurrence. Considering the nature of her work for this woman to be killed in such grotesque manner is inconceivable. I can’t help but ask, how could this happen to someone with such kind and compassionate of intentions? Events like this call into question the greater purpose of life and make me wonder just how such awful things can even happen. Given the nature of the circumstances it would seem altogether likely that her killer will also end up with minimized punishment since he was in all likelihood mentally unstable. I ask you though how does that seem right? Regardless of whether it was completely premeditated or in a fit of passion how can we return balance after such an injustice?

I apologize if this isn’t cohesive, a large part of me writing this is purely and simply cathartic. Beyond all else, more important than any of my rants though, is to remember the pain this family is experiencing and to respect the great work this woman had done.

Dmitry, you are a dear friend and my heart goes out to you and your family.

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