It's that time of the year for all the 2013 best of's and this weeks flavor of the month is the Golden Globe Awards coming this Sunday night. It was a wonderful year for film and we have some some beautiful people in them. The following films and their reviews are the five choices for the Best Motion Picture. If you didn't get a chance to see them I have taken the time to do so and I hope you enjoy reliving some of the past year in film.
I must say though, my personal best has to be '12 Years A Slave'. The others I enjoyed but 12 Years...well that just took it for me. Can't wait to review the show on Monday with ya and I hope you have an enjoyable evening watching the show.
'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.
'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.
'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.
'Philomena' - In the 1950's pregnant women did not have many ways to handle an unwanted pregnancy. In England some women would go to a convent to have their baby. Thus when the child is born the Church would do their best to find a home for the infant but would make the mother work of a debt for caring for the child. Women would do many of the menial jobs around the convent and would have limited time with their children. Thus when an adoption would occur the mother would sign a letter stating that she would not look for the child in any way.
Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) was such a young woman. She would meet a young man and they in turn would have sexual contact and a baby was born. She was not in any way able to properly care for it. She turned to the church for help and did the very best under the circumstances. She would go on and have a productive life and her child would be adopted by a family from the United States. One problem, Philomena always regretted having given up her child. She would go back to the convent and would be given numerous excuses but the bottom line once you give a nun your word don't expect her to go back on it.
Fifty years later, Philomena will be approached by a man her daughter knows and is asked would you like to find your son. You see the man is a BBC journalist well he was. He was interested in really trying to find out what had happened to the lad.
Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) was also in between jobs at the time. Th two would end up in America in search of the boy. They would learn about the man he grew up to be and the life he had. They will find out that he had passed away from AIDS. Now comes to the crux of the problem.
The church at the time was totally against anything Gay. Still are I suppose but they really didn't like the idea of this coming out. Everybody wanted Philomena to just give up and go away. Sister Hildegarde (Barbara Jefford) was a nun who knew all about the case but you were not going find anything out by her. In her mind Philomena was nothing more than a tramp.
I am a Catholic by faith born and raised. I have a degree in History and to this day some of the stuff that my faith has done in the past really makes you want to stand up and scream. Director Stephen Frears has been able to bring this all to the screen with the work of Steve Coogan and Martin Sixsmith. You see this is a story based on fact. I remember reading about what went on back in the day with the convents. At first, I thought what they had done was good for all concerned. Now I feel it's time to forgive all. You see Philomena had it right to forgive. Sometimes we carry scars around to long and they will take over our lives. This story brings people together who never would have been in contact with each other. This is a story that will bring you to tears but also make you laugh. It also makes you want to forgive all who may have done you wrong. It touches your soul and your inner being and that is what makes a great movie.
'Rush' - James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) were racing Formula 1 in 1976. They were running in most races 1st and 2nd. They verbally fought each other on and off the track.
They had first met when they were both racing in Formula 3. From the start they were not fond of one another.
Hunt was an ass. He had met a women and married her soon after they met. Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde) was a model. She would later be involved with Richard Burton.
Lauda would meet Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara) and they would date some time before they were married.
Hunt would still do anything in a short skirt, Lauda loved his wife.
The competition between these two would become infamous. I remember this season and I remember some of the races. The two would do anything and everything to out duel each other.
It was the German Grand Prix and it was a miserable rainy day, but they decided to race. They really shouldn't have. The conditions were horrible for Formula 1. The two would pit and it would be Hunt who was out of the pits first. Niki would do all he could to catch and pass Hunt. It was here that his car would crash into a fiery ball of flame. It was minutes before they were able to get him out of the car. It was nobodies fault for the crash it was mechanical error. He would be alive but he was badly burned. I remember watching this race and seeing the crash. I did not think he would live. I think most never gave him a chance and thought he would die. What he goes through from this point on in the film you must see because it's hard for me to write about.
Director Ron Howard has done a wonderful job with this film. He has been very sensitive to the families about the story. This is an inspirational film and it deserves to be seen. I have always loved Formula 1 racing and this was a dark moment in it's history.