Well the lists are out and there is a buzz in the air as to who, what, and where will win the Academy Awards. Now I just want to say that there were many good and bad films this past year and I hope that Ellen will keep us entertained as she has done in the past.
Now rather than list all the films, I'm just going to come out and predict three of the categories. For best picture, I'm going with '12 Years A Slave'. Heading over to the best actor I'm leaning toward Matthew McConaughey and his work in 'Dallas Buyers Club'. Finally, for best actress I'm going with a solid Sandra Bullock in 'Gravity'. Below you will find the reviews for these three films. Take the time to browse through them. I would suggest you watch these movies before you make your choices but I believe some of you will agree with me on my choices. So sit back and enjoy the show on Sunday March 2, 2014 on your ABC channel.
'12 Years A Slave' - In the year of our Lord 1841, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) was a free man with a family. He lived a comfortable life as violinist in Saratoga, New York. This is a true story.
Solomon was to be drugged and sold as a slave. He would take the name Platt and would end up in New Orleans and sold to the highest bidder. In the beginning he would work for a kind man by the name of Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch). Running into trouble with an underling of the man named Ford he would be sold to a man named Epps (Michael Fassbender). It would be under Epps that Platt would be treated with cruelty, jealousy, and eventually downright hatred. Epps would read the bible by day to his property and by night he would rape the women.
Mistress Epps (Sarah Paulson) had such a hatred of the Negro she would incite her husband to beat them until they were almost dead. A slave herself in a sense, Mistress Epps had such jealousy of her husband for his taking the black women to bed that she would fill such rage in her husband that he almost whipped his favorite slave to death.
Platt was found out to be able to play the violin and would be lent out to others for dances and such. He could never have told anyone what he was and how he came to be there. He just couldn't trust anyone with that information. For to be a slave let alone a knowledgeable one could mean immediate death.
He would eventually cross paths with a Canadian Abolitionist by the name of Bass (Brad Pitt). Bass had found himself in tough spot and was working off a debt. The two men would work side by side and one day Platt would tell Bass how he got to be a slave. Bass would eventually write a letter to some of Platt's Yankee friends with the hope that he would be allowed to be a free man once again.
As I said this is a true story written by Solomon Northup himself. It tells the story of just how insane slavery was and all that was done to the black man in the United States. Director Steve McQueen brings to us a riveting tale of cruelty, sadism, and what would be called today a crime against humanity. It shows just how this country was built on the backs of others. This is a must see movie to be viewed by all.
'Dallas Buyers Club' - Ron Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey) is an electrician by trade and rodeo star on the side. He is a drunk, drug abuser, and loves to have unprotected sex with women. He is getting sick and eventually has to go to the hospital. Blood work is done and explanations of the findings are given. Ron has AIDS. He has 30 days to live and is told to get his life in order.
So what does any red blooded Texan do, he goes and gets two hookers and some coke and booze and has a party. He let's it slip to a friend that he has the disease and is immediately given the cold shoulder. No one wants anything to do with him.
While in the hospital he meets up with a trans-sexual that goes by the name Rayon (Jared Leto). Ron has a phobia about gays. Well he just doesn't like them. Rayon though he becomes friends with. He also starts to have a friendship with a Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner). Though she can't do much for him other than ease his pain, she tries to help anyway.
You see Ron gets on the computer and starts to look up the disease and finds out all kinds of studies and treatments are being done in other countries. The United States is dragging it's feet. Ron decides to do something about it. He opens a club of sorts and starts to dispense some of the drugs like AZT which is showing some positives results.
Ron starts to make trips to Mexico where he is picking up the drugs and bringing them back across the border. He acts as if he is a doctor and sometimes a priest to get the drugs back to the U.S. He starts to run into trouble with an FDA agent by the name of Richard Barkley (Michael O'Neill) who wants all this stopped.
Is the American government giving into the drug companies who are working their own agendas, I don't know. This film does give and insider track into the disease and the fact that there is no cure and there are people who are dying and don't give a dam about regulations.
Director Jean-Marc Vallee has given us an insight into the plaque of the 20th and 21st centuries. Oh we have slowed it down a bit but it is still killing people every day. This is a film that is not going to sway you one way or the other about the disease, but it will definitely make you think about how we do business in this country and how change needs to occur.
'Gravity' - Mission Specialist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is trying desperately to fix the Hubble Telescope. Mission Commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is trying to beat the record for the most time space walking. In other words he is having fun. Mission control (Ed Harris) tells him to help and to quit playing around. Ryan is having trouble bringing the Telescope back online when a disaster is reported.
It seems a Russian missile has shot down a satellite whose orbit was decaying. Problem this has left a lot of space debris heading for the shuttle. They are immediately told by Mission control to drop everything and get in the shuttle and head home. Abort the mission, Ryan tries to continue to finish the job. Kowalski comes at the last minute to get her back inside when debris starts to hit everything. They are able to get Hubble away from the ship but everything is getting hit with space debris.
Ryan is untethered in the incident and drifts away from the area. She is hyperventilating and can't right herself. Basically she is having a panic attack. Kowalski is able to get to her but it is a ways back to the shuttle. When they get there they see that it is hopeless to get the shuttle back to Earth and everyone on board is dead.
They try and make their way to the Space Station but it is apparent that the two can't make it together. Kowalski untethers himself from Ryan and floats away. Ryan is able to get to the station but realizes that their is a fire on board and must separate herself from the Station. Now because all the satellites have been destroyed there is no contact with mission control or Kowalski. Ryan is alone and is only a part time astronaut with only six months training. Will she die in space or will she make it to a Chinese space station and make it back to Earth. Watch the rest of the movie and you'll find out.
Director Alfonso Cuaron brings us an interesting tale of survival. The movie looks at life in space and actually shows us that every time we send somebody up in space that it could be a possibility of happening. That a catastrophe like this could occur and it could be life or death for some poor soul.