The Oscars nominations came out yesterday and there sere some snubs that are quite visible. For instance, no Robert Redford for his work in 'All is Lost'. No Emma Thompson for her work in the movie 'Saving Mr. Banks'. Nothing coming to Tom Hanks for his role in 'Captain Phillips'. Has the Academy lost its mind. The shock, the horror, the simple are you kidding me. There was no love shown for 'Inside Llewyn Davis' other than for sound mixing and cinematography. Forest Whitaker was great in 'The Butler'. Below you will find reviews of the following movies. Please read them and then take the time to go see some of these movies. Enjoy.
'All is Lost' - While out on the Indian Ocean on a solo voyage our man (Robert Redford) wakes up one morning to see that a wayward shipping container has hit his boat. With water coming in our man is able to do a quick patch to the boat. He is able to continue for a short ways but learns that the patch is not going to hold.
Gathering what he can to survive he climbs into a raft. He is able to salvage some cans of food. He is able to get a sextant that will at least allow him to learn of his location. He has some nautical maps. He has the survival kit of some fishing line, water and matches. He is very alone.
Before his boat went down he had tried to get some sort of communication out declare an emergency SOS. Unfortunately, no one is able to hear him. His mission is to be able to maybe get his raft into a shipping lane and get a freighter to spot him.
One night off in the distance he spots a storm and it tears up the raft and him. He is able to salvage his raft because at the last minute if he hadn't done so his raft would have been lost to the sea. Our man is a very knowledgeable sailor. He does everything that you are supposed to do to survive but it just seems that everything he does he just can't seem to have any luck.
He wakes up one night to a freighter fully loaded with cargo sailing right by him. No one on board is able to see him even with our man firing off some safety flairs. Another freighter does the same thing and sails right by him, but when you are simply a little blot on a very big ocean it's hard to be spotted.
As days become longer and you have run out of drinking water and you have to improvise to get some drops of water off a piece of plastic and your food is running out you begin to lose hope of ever being rescued.
It is times such as these that the brain leans more to suicide rather than trying to survive. You begin to lose hope and you wonder why you are trying so hard to live but you seem to be tested more and more on your will to live. It is at these times in your life that you can truly amaze yourself.
Director J.C.Chandor doesn't fill this film up with a lot of useless chatter. Our man is not one to talk to himself. This film is what you see is what you get. Survival.
'Saving Mr. Banks' - The movie has to do with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and his acquisition of the rights to a story called Mary Poppins written by P.L.Travers (Emma Thompson). Mary Poppins actually was written out in several short stories but Disney wanted to make a movie about her. He had made a promise to his daughters some 20 years earlier about getting the rights to make a movie for them. He did not realize that when he made that promise that it would take 20 years to fulfill.
Travers was a hard lady to figure out and what most didn't know is how much the stories had to do with her childhood in Australia. You see her father Travers Goff (Colin Farrell) was a banker and he was also and alcoholic. He would lose his jobs and would eventually lose his life to the disease. This affected his daughter Helen very much. Helen Goff is P.L.Travers. Helen's mother Margaret (Ruth Wilson) was a shy little women who really wanted to help her husband but in the end it was too much for anyone to do.
Disney eventually brought Travers over to the states to see what he had in store for the movie. He brought out everything to make the woman feel good and sign over the rights of Mary Poppin's. She had a team of writers in brothers Richard and Robert Sherman (Jason Schwartzman and B.J.Novak) and Dan DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) to help in making the film. She had a driver by the name of Ralph (Paul Giamatti) to drive her anywhere she wanted to go.
Travers was tied to her books by her past just as Disney was to his father. It was when they found mutual grounds that all started to fall into place. Their fathers played a large part in the up bringing and it was when they both had been living in the past that it was then they began to live in the present. These two figures in history met and brought to the screen one of the most beloved films ever made, 'Mary Poppins'.
Director John Lee Hancock has put together a film that is long overdue. Disney has always brought us good films. With this movie Disney brings us back to something that for most of us we haven't seen in a very long time, and that is our youth. As I mentioned, 'Mary Poppins', was my very first movie to be seen in a movie theater. 'Saving Mr. Banks' allowed me to venture back to my youth and to a period I've missed for so long. Mary Poppins has the ability even now to bring tears, laughter, frustration, and a hole gamut of emotions up in me that I had hidden so long ago. Disney has brought us back to a time so precious to us all. You must see this film. It's okay if you cry a little. Everybody else will be too.
'Captain Phillips' - Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is talking with his wife Andrea (Catherine Keener) while he is packing to go join the ship Maersk Alabama. Phillips is traveling to an area that is becoming know for pirates. This is a true story.
Phillips arrives to meet his first mate Shane Murphy (Michael Chernus) and is informed of their destination, Mombasa. All the while in a tiny village the leading war lord has sent people to ask very nicely where is his tribute. Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) is awaken and told to get the money or else. They are told to go rob a boat for you see most of the men in the village are nothing more than pirates. Muse and three men are headed to the water to board a ship that will take them out and given some skiffs they are to simply rob and unsuspecting vessel.
Phillips and his crew are out on the open water now but they are separated from the convoy. This is not good in these waters. Pirates are always looking for the straggler. They are easier to hit rather than a convoy. Phillips notices the skiff's on the radar and orders the crew to the water cannons. Pirates have guns and ships crews have water. makes a lot of sense. At first, Muse and his little band of pirates are catching up on the vessel but then their engine fails. Muse gets into an argument with the Somali messenger and will eventually kill him. Muse and his men will continue their mission and do make it aboard the vessel.
Phillips had already called to the UK Maritime Trade Operations to inform them of the possible hi-jacking. U.S. vessels were in the area but were not close enough to give assistance. Muse and Phillips would walk the ship with Phillips offering anything he could find. Eventually Muse would kidnap Phillips and take him to Somalia where he thought they could ransom the Captain for better money.
Pirating has been on the rise for about the last twenty years. Somalia is one of the worst for this type of action. Over the years many a pirate from Somalia have attacked vessels and ransomed of their crew or ship.
Director Paul Greengrass has brought real life drama to the big screen. He has shown us what is happening a half a world away. Men and women are simply trying to earn a living but in the meantime they risk life and limb. This will not stop until someone finally foes in and takes out the warlords. Somalia as a country has been in disarray since the U.S. pulled out some twenty years ago.
'Inside Llewyn Davis' - It's 1961 and the folk craze has hit Greenwich Village. Everybody is trying to put true hard feelings into their songs and make them into almost a spiritual experience. Well one songwriter is Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) an ex-Merchant Marine. He's trying to break into the business as many others are doing the same. The money is there but it is not much. Davis sleeps on borrowed couches and doesn't have a place of his own. He also seems to have a mouth and sometimes it gets him into trouble. In the beginning of the film someones husband took offense to Davis and waited for him outside. When he got there he got the crap beaten out of him.
He crashes one night on Mitch and Lillian Gorfein's (Ethan Phillips and Robin Bartlett) couch and the next morning he accidentally let's out the cat. He tries to take it over to Jean and Jim's (Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake) place as he has some places to go. Later that night the cat gets out and he tries to find the darn thing.
OK look this is a week in the life of this guy and man does he have problems. Davis is pretty good at singing and was once hooked up with a partner and they were pretty good. The other guy committed suicide so there was no more partner. He takes a quick trip to Chicago in hopes of meeting someone but that doesn't go well. On the way he is traveling with Roland Turner (John Goodman) a lounge singer at best and the guy is a heroin addict. At every stop Roland goes to the can and has to be helped out because he is so strung out.
Davis's luck is so bad he tries to get back on a ship and make some money but because he doesn't pay his dues he has to come up with some money. He pays on his dues but the ship he was promised gets taken away.
This is a movie that you really need to keep up with. This guy sleeps on a different couch every night and there is always something going wrong. Directors Ethan and Joel Coen have given us a week in the life of a schmuck. He makes the wrongs choices and gets taken at every turn by all around him. What's funny is you want to watch it to the end and when you see the ending you sit back in your chair and just laugh. Enjoy.
'The Butler' - This is a true story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker). A sharecroppers son who watched his mom be raped by one of the sons of the owner and his father shot to death by the same man. He would be taken in by the same owner and taught how to be a "House Nigger". Cecil would later run away and land a job in a nice motel. A man by the name of Maynard (Clarence Williams III) would show him the proper way to be a Butler. Cecil would do such a fine job that he would make his way to Washington. He would be spotted by R .D. Warner (Jim Gleason) and would be asked to come to an interview to be a Butler at the White House.
His interviewer would be Freddie Fallows (Coleman Domingo) and Cecil would be hired on the spot.
By now Cecil was married and had two children. Gloria Gaines (Oprah Winfrey) would stand by her man but it was Cecil who would stand by her more. She would have addictions that needed to be monitored but she was a good woman. His son Louis (David Oyelowo) would be involved with the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's.
Cecil would serve in the White House for 30 years and serve many Presidents, but this movie is much more than just about a job.
This movie is a history of what was considered the norm to what became Law. The black people of this country endured so much bigotry and hatred at the hands of the white man that I'm surprised this country survived. This movie shows the injustice the black man had to live through.
Some might want to call Cecil an Uncle Tom because of the job he held. I disagree, everyone has to work. Cecil just worked in the White House. He was no better or worse than any other man. I feel he is a man to look up to. He held a job for 30 years. He held a job that had him at the highest level of his career. He held a job that with all my education I wouldn't be able to hold.
Director Lee Daniels should be proud of this Academy Award Winner, oops I might have let the cat out of the bag. I have never been an Oprah Winfrey fan but I must say the woman has out done herself on this one I truly hope and pray that Forest Whitaker will take home best actor. I have watched many a movie these past many months but this one makes you laugh, cry, get angry, and feel proud all in the same breath. If you do not do anything this year you must watch the Butler and learn what it is to be an American through the eyes of Cecil Gaines.