Archive for February, 2014

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While I was hanging on Facebook and trying to put my effort on jumping towards the conclusions of the year 2013 and pickings from different aspects of film making, up comes the idea from my subconscious mind that why don’t I blog my choices? Sounds a great idea!!!

It is good to see that readers from many parts of the world get connect with the WordPress and by chance read my blogs. Academy Awards function will take place on March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. I was terribly waiting for most of English-language movies of 2013 to watch in good print. Downloaded the movies I needed to watch (mostly Academy Awards nominated) at minimum 720p. I have watched them in last couple of months and I sincerely am thankful to my readers and friends on Facebook recommending me the movies of last year. 

So here is my pick from 2013 English-language movies whether nominated in Academy or not:

Best Production Design: 

The Great Gatsby

We know what Baz Luhrmann is capable of. He is well-know for making stylish and very fashionable movies like Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Moulin Rouge! (2001). Here he does the same as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby always demanded a ravishing look into the lifestyles of the Buchanan’s and parties of the Gatsby. Baz left me no option to look elsewhere.

Best Production Design - The Great Gatsby

Best Production Design – The Great Gatsby

 

Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby

So I forgot to propel you that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby not only demanded a ravishing look into the lifestyles of the Buchanan’s and parties of the Gatsby, but the novel also raises the significance of the dresses, the uniforms, the wardrobes to be used as per fashion and hugely fitting into a high-society urbanized life to convince and portray how the novel grows the writings on you. Catherine Martin was the lady hugely responsible for Moulin Rouge’s success as she went on to win 2 Academy Awards for Art Direction and Costume Designing for that movie. And once again she is just beyond the class in costume designing for The Great Gatsby. Bravo!

Best Costume Design - The Great Gatsby

Best Costume Design – The Great Gatsby

 

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity

Although I didn’t like this space movie but few elements were inviting. One of them was the sound blowing in your ears. The volume at space the movie spoke produce hysteria. By listening Sandra Bullock in her misery and trying to connect with the team, you are rubbing your ears as if you are trying to connect with them. Plays a vital role and that is where Gravity convince me.

Best Sound Mixing - Gravity

Best Sound Mixing – Gravity

 

Best Sound Editing: Rush

Vrrrrrroooooooooooooommmm, gear shifting, breaks, pressing accelerator hard. An epic F1 race between two great racers need that sound. Viewers need to feel the beat. Sound engineering has been a lusty ear therapy and it grows more in your eardrums with the intensity of battle on track between the two.

Best Sound Editing - Rush

Best Sound Editing – Rush

 

Best Music, Original Score: About Time

When it comes to writing music score for the movie, then it is supposed to be musical enough to make the screenplay and scenes of the movie catchy. That is the quality the musicians like Vangelis, Gabriel Yared, Hans Zimmer and Gustavo Santaolalla have, their scores flow and grow in the movie. Chariots of Fire, The English Patient, Dark Knight trilogy and Babel are such great examples.

About Time is a British movie directed by Richard Curtis, and with a disciplined film-making as the screenplay appealed, music score needed a heavy influence. Nick Laird-Clowes satisfies my ears from act 1 scene 1, when narration and intro begins. I must mention that Gravity and Rush are the other two which impressed me in this department but About Time is my pick.

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Best Music, Original Score – About Time

 

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay: The Wolf of Wall Street

If Ron Howard’s Rush was ever adapted from a memoir, I would have straightly picked it for this category. So Jordan Belfort’s book with the same title is my pick which Martin Scorsese successfully adapts and does justice. Most of the events happening in the movie is true. You can figure out yourself in http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/12/31/wolf_of_wall_street_true_story_jordan_belfort_and_other_real_people_in_dicaprio.html

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) - The Wolf of Wall Street "even this scene is true"

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) – The Wolf of Wall Street “even this scene is true”

 

Best Writing – Original Screenplay: Nebraska

But when it comes to original screenplay, then I find strong competition between Ron Howard’s “Rush”, Spike Jonze’s “Her” and Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska”. Rush is sports drama film based on true events while Her is sci-fi romantic comedy film not close to reality. But Nebraska is a pure leather from alligator. Making the movie in black-and-white presents a poetic theme + an amazing father-son chemistry produces a gem. Screenwriter Bob Nelson did a timeless and terrific story writing and this was his debut in movie as screenplay writer.

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Best Writing (Original Screenplay) – Nebraska

 

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle

She didn’t impress me in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ also directed by David O. Russell. But this movie is the real platform. JL is Rosalyn, wife of Irving played by Christian Bale. She is a mad lady who suddenly loses her temper. Mad in love with hubby will never file a divorce. Her role is shorter than the rest of all major characters in the movie but it is about influence and demand of her character developing in the script in the next half. Body language, facial variations, voice tone flexibility are just close to perfection. She richly deserves ‘Best Supporting Actress’ award on 2nd of March.

Best Supporting Actress - Jennifer Lawrence

Best Supporting Actress – Jennifer Lawrence

 

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

Although I am not a lot in Jared Leto movies but by chance I watched him in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club. This was one of the best roles played in 2013. Jared Leto plays Rayon, a transgender woman, who suffers with HIV,  joins fellow HIV fellow Ron Woodroof played by Matthew McConaughey as his business partner who will bring more HIV patients to Ron to join the Dallas Buyers Club. The role of Rayon was fictional and didn’t exist in reality but there are two most important aspects in this role. First thing is body transformation, he lost 30 pounds (14 kg) for the role. Secondly, the role itself. You won’t find Jared Leto in the role, he/she played an incredible role.

Best Supporting Actor - Jared Leto

Best Supporting Actor – Jared Leto

 

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine

How could I not pick Cate Blanchett for this category? This Woody Allen movie is not at all about his direction, it is first about her and perhaps has played her finest performance of career so far.  Jasmine is an elite Manhattan socialite who is married to 9 years elder wealthy business magnate Hal played by Alec Baldwin. Things go against her and lose a huge fortune. She is mentally broken and financial status is badly wrecked.

It is almost impossible to read or measure her mental capacity when it comes to play a character in tantrum. She beautifully manage her character when she is normal, when she is about to burst out, when she is talking to herself or when she gets angry. So many times, viewers including me won’t understand her timing, we simply are not able to analyze the whole temperament. I will be surprised if she didn’t bag ‪AcademyAward for ‎BestActress on 2nd of March‬.

Best Actress - Cate Blanchett

Best Actress – Cate Blanchett

 

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

Well to be honest it was a very hard decision. I was stuck between him, Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years A Slave”, Bruce Dern for “Nebraska” and Robert Redford for “All is Lost”. Besides Robert Redford, all are nominated for ‘Best Actor’ this Academy Award, so whoever wins between the three are deserving for me. I made my mind and picked McConaughey above them.

He is Ron Woodroof, who suffers HIV and the doctor has marked his death in maximum 30 days (but actually dies in 6 years). Like Jared Leto, he has transformed his body by losing 47 pounds (21 kg) for the role. Secondly, the aggression, the accent, the body language will take you to some other heights. In short, McConaughey has produced one gem of a performance which perhaps will remain highlight of his career.

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Best Actor – Matthew McConaughey

 

Best Director: Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

Need no introduction, but he produce a gem in almost every movie he directs. This time it is The Wolf of Wall Street. It is Jordan Belfort’s memoir which he adapted. It is 180-minute movie with 569 eff-words, the length you don’t expect to see in English movies but the quality is it will not bore you. The Belfort story will slowly slowly grow on you, things will be presented in such a way that you will ignite in their environment. Money, drug, sex are Scorsese’s favorite elements and will satisfy and propel you. With a critical subject, Scorsese has directed far better than other directors in my view.

Best Director - Martin Scorsese

Best Director – Martin Scorsese

 

Best Picture: Nebraska

And now my final say. Apparently the most understood movies, which I believe were the finest products of the year 2013 were Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, Her and Rush. I am very surprised Ron Howard’s “Rush” is nominated nowhere in Academy Awards categories. Anyhow, out of these 5 pictures, my pick is Nebraska. It is a story entirely different from the other four.

Nebraska is a case study of father-son chemistry on a simple plot. The old man is alone and he foolishly thinks he really won a million-dollar lottery. No one at his home trusts him but he is stubborn. His young son finally makes his mind to take him to Nebraska where he is supposed to collect his prize. It is a tale of a lifetime, a moment for old man to cherish once. The black and white concept of the movie produce a poetic nature.  Every scene is like a hidden message. Truly the best picture of 2013…

Best Picture - Nebraska

Best Picture – Nebraska

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Well then, the sprout of a caricature fortuned at the eleventh hour but before it was too late a call. At least a-week-old expedition plan last weekend was to climb a humongous un-expectation of disappointment but things fairly went right for us in our path as three winter-seekers left their city to trip Al-Baha.

Two different group of winter-seekers chose two different path. One left to Wahba Crater, the place on which I wrote a blog of my experience https://saminaik.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/a-footnote-at-volcanic-crater/. And we left to revisit that centuries old Thee-Ain village existing, surviving and producing its natural phenomenon on a unique marble mountain.

Script from the very beginning is bizarre and worth narrative in three different angles. Myself (physically prepared and organized for the trip) was all of a sudden participating as a freedom-fighter in a civil war at commode -_- The other guy was already blue and walking in the clouds until he got a call to get ready for his first ever expedition. Things went further crazy as the man who made the call to the sleeper steeper, left his car key in the car in a haste. And he was supposed to pick the man who was still fighting the war with demotivating symphony. Summarily, we left our homes late as usual :P

With a plentiful joy and excitement on our faces like those flock of sheep in ‘Shaun the Sheep’, we equally had left the turmoil of working discrepancies of 5 days/week. The plan was to move our asses from house at 1am but wasn’t acceptable to God and added two hours. Due to the fact, the plan to eat a heavy dinner of local franchise Al-Furooj broasts turned into a small box of chicken shawarmas. We were in nothing-to-lose situation but the driver had limited his speed at 120kph to avoid traffic violence. So it was pretty sure that we will reach to our destiny a little late. The man in blue lied in his coffin behind and vanished. He wasn’t informed at time to make him mentally and physically prepare. Had a minor shopping to buy some drinks and chips.

We had covered almost 200 km and the darkness began to disappear at a low pace. Visibility of beautiful landscapes twinkled with grey clouds. Of all the songs the driver played, the most impressive track I found was Abdullah Qureshi’s Sufi Medley. The track was acceptable to my mind and ears because it gave an access to accept the beautiful nature installed on the farmvilles, crops, mountains, rocky houses and black camels which were hailing us.

The car was forced to break at couple of sites for the pictures. The temperature began losing its heat and dropped below 20 degrees. The expedition debutant was very excited to enjoy this whole destiny. We stopped at one of houses made of slate stones (the picture below). Observation was necessary because I did see such similar architectures in my last trip. There were many different bushes, mostly wild. Very old branches of trees and thorns occupy the house. ’twas 7 in the morning and that house appealed a wonder. Oh I remember now, the house had an incomplete ceiling made of juniper trees. Behind the house, there was a passage to go up but you have to defend yourself from shattered and hanging thorns attracted to your jeans and jacket. And there are numerous houses on our way to the destiny. At 9am, we reached Thee-Ain village with the knowledge that security guy is absent :S

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Before breaking the jaw of security guard, let me tell you what is Thee-Ain Village. The history of this village is about 400-600 years. Centuries ago, the villagers of the land had witnessed the battle between Ottoman Turks and their inhabitants. There has been a local incidence in the legacy of village that a long long time ago, an old Yemeni man was asked to find water using a golden dowsing stick. When he struck the source, it is said that the stick jumped from his hands and took out one of his eyes. From that incident, the name of land widely became “one-eye village” which in Arabic the name you will trace over there is “Thee-Ain Village”.

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Due to the absence of security guy, we parked our car outside the gate like other visitors. I know that feeling to be honest the way the readers have just read the line of watchman’s absence few seconds ago. It indeed is a critical concern of the safety of heritage sites. It is quite a mockery the way people responsible for tourism are taking care of. I had observed the laziness in taking care of the site of such prominence in Madain Saleh couple of months ago (https://saminaik.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/the-breezing-ula-part-iii-madain-saleh/) and now there was physically no custodian in this marble village to sit and check the visitors. Only farmers were working inside. So basically few of visitors including us parked our cars outside and walked by foot towards the site without paying for an entrance ticket. The most expensive ticket was for a family consisting of 5 members which was 40 Saudi Riyals. And I myself noticed at least three families  entering the site without paying due to absence of security guard. Standing ovation for the people handling affairs in the Ministry of Tourism!!!!

Unexpectedly, the temperature wasn’t that favorable. It was peaking at almost 30 degrees (perhaps we reached very late and sun had began to speak). Glad to see some work has been done by the local contracting companies. The wreckages have been pulled out to keep the houses clean with a space. More juniper trees are installed to fill many ceilings. Cleaning and maintenance have been a subject with more proper care in many corners. Forestry and banana plantation farmville offers more marshing and water channel was still tricky to locate its roots flowing towards the other territories. Also we found a Bahraini wallet, recognize yourself if that really is yours :P

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Last time, my pal and I had climbed many number of houses. This time we completed the remaining one (I hope so). The alibi of my previous experience of this site can be found in (https://saminaik.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/rocky-doodle-in-centuries-old-ville/)

Time to look for Albert the toad in the forestry area. My pal caught the lil creature twice in the pond last time. This time we perhaps found its cousins. The low-level water streaming is still a face therapy. No matter the water was clean or dirty, but it was cold enough to throw my bald in it. Aaahhhhh felt fresh in microsecond.

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We moved forward to reach the place which was heaven beneath the sky where I lied above a big rock under the shadow of large tree. I found that rock and thank God no one occupied because village now produce more visitors than before. When I stood above the rock, I found feces. And when I had a close look at feces to realize what these were, all of a sudden I heard troop of baboons gibbering  -_- Haaaaiiillllll FML!!!!

Last time I discontinued locating the origin of water streaming but now I moved further steps to note where this water reveals from. It wasn’t more than thirty steps when the path was closed. The water was flowing from a mountain, the rest is mystery yet to reveal. I and my friend watched a lizard preying on dragonflies. That wasn’t an ordinary lizard, this one had a neck to lift and see hither and thither. Moved its body and ran at a pace towards the prey. When it ran, the long and pointed tail lifted up. I don’t know what we name such type of lizard but luckily I have a picture. See yourself and help me out if you can.

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One of our guys was eager to catch a dragonfly modeling in the pond. There we noticed that dragonflies are of many colors. Red was understood by the name itself, but we found blue and even grey. Actually dragonflies and damselflies are different insects under same classification but look pretty similar. When we see these insects altogether, we claim to see only dragonflies. You can read their difference here http://insects.about.com/od/identifyaninsect/a/dragonordamsel.htm There were innumerable dragonflies flying and mating. Dragonflies are the fastest flying insects in the world with an average of 4.5 meters per second.  

While moving towards the plantation site, baboons over the mountains were screeching, fighting and showing their ass on us -_- When I get closer, few of them began staring at me don’t know why -_- My pals joined me and began producing sound like these creatures. It wasn’t of any use.

Left the apes on their own and moved to the promising site. That is a huge important site which cannot be ignored. We three were little exhausted as well as my Xperia as it was running out of battery. We were stuck in mental confusion whether we should sit in the car, take rest and charge the batteries OR should we step in the plantation area, cover as much as we can and leave to the next site?

If we sit in the car, our body language may force us to leave and move to the next site but I guess it was a right decision because we do needed to reboot ourselves. Well, off we go to take rest. The security guard has finally arrived but the door and window are closed, bravo! I am yet to understand the system.

Doors are opened, time to key the car but helloooo…. not responding!!! Tried again, twice, thrice, price, dice, mice, vice… but never started. Opened the bonnet, checked the whole anatomy. Tried to start again, but it the battery which didn’t respond. Jeepers!!! Whatta shocker!!!! It was unexpected and uninviting. Precarious to the situation that car has stopped breathing at an entirely weird place i.e., outside the gate of Thee-Ain village. And the road is contrary to sloping as we are in ascending position. Also, there is no taxi in surrounding. Wanna know more? Yeah it is Friday prayers time. This is called genuine or epic O-TWADDI FML -_-

Thanks for reading ;) and do wait for the next part under ‘Heavenz on Baha-way’…. Feel free to comment below and have a good day.

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Ostrich….. Goldfish….. Tomans….. Listening Aid….. Sparrow….. 

There are reasons I prefer watching International movies belonging to different countries. The biggest reason is that most of the movies produced under different banners come up with an entirely fresh story, fetch an amazing scale of presentation and watch unfamiliar and different art of film-making. By this way, you get more awareness of cultural understanding of different cinemas, their film-makers, their artists and many more. The title of the movie and trailers on YouTube were worth to convince me for downloading and watching it. And so that happen.

Karim is an old man who lives in the village near Tehran. He is a kind-hearted, simple and humble man working in ostrich pen. He has a wife with three children. His eldest issue Haniyeh has listening problem and use listening aid. One day, Haniyeh broke her listening aid. Karim takes the aid to main city of Tehran to fix in one of workshop but the technician informs him that it is of no use and have to buy a new one which is 350,000 Tomans.

He would have easily paid the amount if the very next day, one of the ostrich would not have escaped. It was a hilarious scene and in fact it is a funny movie too. The timing of comedy is realistic and full of life. Losing an ostrich means losing almost 2 million Tomans and losing Tomans simply means Karim won’t be able to buy listening aid for Haniyeh. A typical hardship begins!!

Mistaken for a cab driver by a frantic businessman, he discovers a lucrative new occupation ferrying passengers around the city on the back of his bike. During this hardship phase, he confronts with life’s amazing nature of events which is a part of life of a common man. The story goes deep with different circumstances he meet to fulfill Haniyeh’s requirement and steps many walks of life. It is not only about struggling for Haniyeh but his own life changes. Everyday he bring new discarded item to home for social betterment and at the same time collect money for his different jobs. 

When Haniyeh’s need for listening aid and bringing discarded items to house wasn’t enough, his son Hussein wishes to buy a goldfish to make it swim in the pond by removing the sludge, which Karim rejects the idea. One day Karim meet an accident when the pile of junk collapses and severely injures him. Now you have to see yourself how he buys listening aid for Haniyeh.

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‘The Song of Sparrows’ is Iranian movie produced in 2008 and directed by one of Iran’s finest film-maker Majid Majidi. The leading cast is Iran’s iconic actor Reza Naji and that was fourth Majidi-Naji collaboration in Iranian cinema. Only two languages have been spoken in the whole movie; Persian and Azeri (Azerbaijan). The movie is a blend of joys and sorrows distributed in Karim’s family.

Karim is an amazing figure and portrayal of a jeopardized father who keeps his misery aside and strives his best to make the house home. One significant feature of Karim’s role is that Naji played a role of 40-year-old man who actually was 66 at the time of making. His role convinces how rural people face misfortunes specially when they are making their bread from village to city. 

The best scenes of the movie were when Karim don’t have change of 500-note to give to street girl at traffic signal and boys dropping a big can of goldfish latter. Both scenes have tremendous timing of hiccups and picking of body language towards the making of scene which make you think. 

The Song of Sparrows was Iran’s submission for the 2008 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Reza Naji won Silver Bear in 2008 Berlin International Film Festival which made him the first Iranian actor ever to win Silver Bear and also won Best Actor award in 2008 Asia-Pacific Screen Awards.

I shall end the review with statement made by the director Majid Majidi about his intention of making this movie: “My aim was to portray contemporary people today vis-à-vis the modern world in order to show how the era of modernization has put human beings in a stranglehold. By this I do not mean that I am opposed to modernity, per se. Modernization should be at the service of humanity, yet people find themselves conquered by it. The result is that with each passing day we are becoming more distant from our own human values. . . . All of our values — including friendship, morality and beauty — become less important day by day. In opposition to this process, my aim was to say that we must return to our human essence or else face a major disaster in the future.

Ratings: 8.3/10

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Lebanon poster

A view inside a tank from gun turret…. Faces hiding traces or disgraces…. Running car or a bridge too far… Silent house or screaming blouse…

An Israeli soldier without being reckless and haughty… his patience and sweat costing a huge amount of pulling the trigger to decide a fate of targeted person either innocent of fifty-cent, rebellion from a million, protester or protector, violent or benevolent, peacemaker or troublemaker…

Lebanon is an Israeli movie produced in 2009 by Samuel Maoz under the production banners from Israel, France and Germany. Most remarkable point of the movie is that it is anti-war movie which don’t appeal to tweet your pros and cons. Besides only 3 images, the whole movie is amazingly shot inside the tank. The outside view is all from gun turret. The entire film was shot in and around Tel Aviv.

Movie is based on 1982 Lebanon war which was fought between Israeli military forces and Yasser Arafat’s PLO (Palestine Liberal Organization), Bachir Gemayel’s LNRF (Lebanese National Resistance Front). This 3-year-war broke when Palestinian militant Abu Nadal’s organization (ANO) attempted assassination against Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov. In result, Israeli military, under heavy leadership of the-then Israeli premier Menachem Begin, the-then defence minister Ariel Sharon and Army-chief Rafael Eitan, invaded southern part of Lebanon. Director Samuel Maoz was himself a gunner in one of the first Israeli tanks which entered Lebanon in this war. This film is actually made on his experience.

It is an account of four Israeli soldiers fighting inside the tank; a driver, a loader, a gunner and a commander. Israeli air force has just bombed the place and now they have received the order from above – clean Lebanon and shoot to kill who are a threat. They were also green-signaled to use phosphorus grenade in the war to invade Lebanon. According to International Law or Treaty, use of phosphorus grenade or white phosphorus is forbidden in battles and wars.

Few more war participants enter the tank time by time e.g., dead Israeli soldier or Syrian war prisoner but the four are the main on whom the story revolves. Movie speaks the way they communicate/coordinate each other. As a matter of fact, this director’s masterpiece offers amazing body language of soldiers and multifaceted scenes. Much a hard work is done on the core casts, when it comes to complications of firing, shooting and even using hydraulic whine of gun turret. 

For a soldier from any nationality or faith, fighting a war inside the tank is never easy specially while using gun turret. The soldier who use the turret has never fired or used the turret and will face the consequences. The first shot fired will haunt the rest inside. The tank covers few critical sites where danger is alarming or suspicious are thought barning. Few scenes give you second thought or reluctantly check the scene again like troop of soldiers scanning the threat, firing in one shop but after a little pause, leaving a small kid on his feet.

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‘Lebanon’ offers a bulk of sharp contrast on behaviors of soldiers towards the first hours of war and the way they take this fight to suffer depression and disagreeing verbal exchanges. It is a wonderful translation of psychological aspects of the soldiers. They are all amateur and young soldiers who are put on duty to receive and follow the orders in such a massive war.

‘Lebanon’ was an extreme luggage of critic’s necessity worldwide with most positive reviews. It was rated R for disturbing bloody war violence, language including sexual references, and some nudity. It won the Leone d’Oro at the 66th Venice International Film Festival becoming the first Israeli-produced film to have won that honor. A must watch drama with all war-iffic elements of film making. 

Ratings: 7/10

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Black….. Nigger…… Slavery…… Physical Abuse….. Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup was a 19th century Afro-American migrated in New York and born from a father who was freed from slavery at his master’s will before migration. By profession, he was a carpenter, farmer and violinist. His surname Northup was brought up by his father Mintus on his own. His father bought a state-owned property which was a big thing in those days for a freed slave. Solomon and his brother got education among fellow New Yorkers which was also worth notable.

Solomon got married in 1829 and raised three children. He built and earned high reputation as violinist. Then came the moment when in 1841, he was offered by two men to join a musical crew of their circus company to Washington as a violinist. He accepted their offer and left without informing his family. He was kidnapped and deceived. Washington in those days was evil to black-free unlike New York and cotton expansion had widely profiteered the business of slave trading. Here began a series of 12-year slavery to Solomon.

I feel sorry for Platt oh I mean Solomon Northup, not only for being slave for 12 years but also for making a movie on you which after watching it, I don’t understand what stood applausable for critics and panel of juries to recognize it one of best movie. To be honest and exactly try to speak my opinion, the movie wasn’t that good.

The biggest failure of this Brad Pitt movie is direction that never impress and is like a second-graded cameraman shooting but trying to avoid director’s CUT. Unimpressive physical-abuse scenes besides one you will read later. The moment Solomon got kidnap lacked a reflexive screenplay. 

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Few book readers of same title have argued that sexual encounter in the beginning of movie was never mentioned in the book. I guess the girl was director Steve McQueen himself who used Solomon’s hand for orgasm :S The slave who was stabbed in the boat while trying to save fellow slave of getting raped is also not written in the book. Instead, the guy died from smallpox.

Fight between Solomon and Edwin is more to mockery of film making. Once Edwin fell in pig pen from the back, he is absolutely clean in the next shot. Clap Clap Clap!!! Carefully notice the drink toasting scene in the beginning with Solomon and the kidnappers. Solomon glass is half-filled while one of kidnapper has his glass empty. Next scene!!! I was surprised that the kidnapper was drinking empty-glass!!!! I was forced to click few seconds back and woaaahhhh his glass which was empty before was actually half-filled with wine in next shot!!!! LOL Was someone peeing from the top??

Husband of Solomon’s daughter looks like if he is unhappy of his return enough to trash him back to slave traders. Mercy on film making, where the f*** did the director find such annoying character??

The most impressive of all and the thing which classifies it an art was the leading actor Chiwetel Ejiofor’s role of Solomon Northup. With a natural haunting boo-face, he just revitalized his character with every step and new field of slavery. A physical role that demanded anger hidden in his patience was so violable like the real Solomon. He just shaped a hunger of freedom and mental capacity of madness towards returning back to New York to his family which was negro-free in mid 19th century.

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The most remarkable moment in movie are not one but actually two different scenes. One is which justifies the role Chiwetel Ejiofor has remarkably played and exemplifies in a-minute-and-half non-stop half-throat hanging scene of Solomon. Goodness me! the viewers who got amazed of Chitewel’s role till the hanging scene is about to begin, will keep their eye balls wide without plucking in the lashes and will keep noticing Solomon’s neck and movement of his feet. These non-stop action scenes are a great test of any actor’s capability of what caliber of performer he/she is and that is where an actor deservedly win your heart. Same eye-open bravura caught my heart last year when Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables performed ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ in a single shot.

The other scene is when Patsey played by debuting Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o is brutally tortured by Edwin for her absence in plantation. She is stripped and tied with tree and receive the whippings. If height of torture wasn’t enough, then comes an emotional scene. Edwin hand his whip to Solomon to make the squeaky beatings. Intolerable and mischievous act by Edwin force him to obey his cruel master but give soft whips in despair. Enraged Edwin seizes whip from him and make wild whipping.

Brad Pitt!! what a waste of cameo like seriously!!! Meaningless background scores when it should not have been played. Overall an awful movie and if it worth to watch, that is because of truly marvelous performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Ratings: 4/10

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