Posts Tagged ‘12 Years A Slave’

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The Birth Of A Nation is a salvage of the fates of Black American community in the chapters of slavery from the American history. The Birth Of A Nation is the reminder of the bondages, brutalities and the tortures, and the vengeance which falls rebel to them and deaf to the manipulated ears.

This perhaps is the second black slavery film in last few years (the other being Twelve Years A Slave). But my honest opinion is that this not only betters Twelve Years A Slave but in my opinion is ‘perhaps’ the best film of 2016 so far.

The darkest of the subjectivity is the naked eyes of Nat Turner witnessing the cry of freedom in despair whose soul is imprisoned and the least the poor slave can do is drop or hold some tears, the scenes are heart-shattering but remarkable picturising. Another object of protest is the use of the Bible among the whites and the blacks. The understanding of the holy book playing the cruel game of offending the slaves; and the rage and revenge committed through the read has a severe impact.

With all the cruelty in the display, the film missed the tricky part of not showing the rape scene of Nat’s wife. The brutal beating which began a birth of the rebellion in Nat’s heart was much of a demand which secluded the luxury of the torture to be like icing on the cake but missed.

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The violence of the revolt was the arrival of omen on the establishment; as per the records in the history books, the black rebels even went on to kill white women and children but fair enough to limit the graphic violence. If the excellence of filmmaking had enough potential to grow on the viewers, the last attack on Jerusalem gives you the best Oh Boy! moment with a highly impressive camera work. This ultimate face-off is another ingredient of the artistry in the making of this film. Conclusions are painful but the final 15-minutes especially the fate of Nat Turner are jaw-dropping technical finishers.

I would like to pass my huge compliments to Nate Parker for this very important project for which he wrote the screenplay and directed to the utmost effort. Also did he finance the film and played the titular role of Nat Turner. All the performances were appealing; camera work and film editing were far superior.

Keeping the controversy that bombed their box office result aside, The Birth Of A Nation is a spectacular film enriched with the most dynamic presentation of pain and loss dreaming towards the freedom in agony. It is a cinematic brilliance.

Rating: 9.2/10

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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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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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