Tag Archives: Brad Pitt

Movie Review: Selma (2014)

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The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people _ Martin Luther King, Jr.

An evil was motivated inside the human to discourage them, uproot and suffer them. But some steps were decided to cross the bridge with this community deprived of voting rights. Leader is the one who stands for his people, who fights for their right, who faces the hurricane but crosses the path of glory. Yes the path of glory, those footsteps which crossed Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. The man who raised the voice for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was American nonviolent activist Martin Luther King, Jr.

Selma is produced by Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey, and is directed by Ava DuVernay (who won the Best Director award in Sundance Film Festival for Middle of Nowhere in 2012). To my huge surprise, an American historical drama has not one but all four leading characters played by British actors. Few well-known actors played their part in this movie like Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Sheen, Cuba Gooding Jr.

When it comes to talk about a historical drama, it becomes obvious to date the timeline and events precisely. To give a dramatic effect, some scenes are fictionalized but above all, the most important historical events in the movie are all true.

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In the beginning phase of the movie, Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey) who was African-American civil rights activist in 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement, is denied the right to vote when asked to name all 67 judges of Alabama. Would you believe it?? Names of 67 judges!! Yeah sadly it is true not that the judges were 67, I mean that was one of the requirements from the Black voters to fulfill.

In 1964, literacy test for the black voters in Louisiana State was nothing but mental contortion. This might pave way for me to construct a new blog over the documents and bills of the sixties from the American political history. So it is better to click here. This is the page of Civil Rights Movement Veterans website in which you will find all the original documents created/distributed by Freedom Movement organization.

Ok another aspect of the movie is the speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo). The question is the accuracy of the speech if the words are MLK’s? NO. Director Ava DuVernay rewrite the speeches because there was no approval from the King’s estate to use the correct speeches. In fact the King’s estate had licensed the speeches to the DreamWorks Pictures and Warner Bros. for an untitled project to be produced by Steven Spielberg.

Death of Jimmie Lee Jackson in the movie is one of the intensifying moments which leads to the historical decision to march from Selma to Montgomery. Some 500 people organized by Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) attempt a peaceful walk to the Perry County Jail but police take it wrong and the beatings begin. Jimmie takes his grandpa and mum and rushes towards the nearby cafe to avoid further beatings. But police reach and has its say. Jimmie is shot by the police from a distance and dies in his mother’s arm. The only difference in accuracy is that in reality, Jimmie dies a week later in hospital.

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Bloody Sunday of 1965 is one of the sorry incident in American political history. John Lewis and Hosea Williams lead 600 protestors on a 54-Mile march from Selma to Montgomery through that Edmund Pettus Bridge. This was the first of three attempts to cross the bridge for the voting rights act. What Ava showed in the movie related to this incident is remarkably true. On that Bloody Sunday, the state troopers on the horseback attacked the peace protestors, used tear gas, brutally assaulted John Lewis and Amelia Boynton (who is still alive and 103 now), and this is what the movies shows and justifies. Both Lewis and Boynton beatings got a specific seconds of screening of their beating. ‘Twill make the viewer feel if they are watching the real footage. 

From this march, the importance of movie grows on you as the sorry state of Bloody Sunday melts your emotion as MLK makes a nationwide call to unite against the mischief and march against injustice and inhumanity. Further on things make look more complicated when Judge Frank Minis Johnson (Martin Sheen) issues a restraining order instead of approving the march. The picturising of second attempt of march is charismatic which is famous to be know Turnaround Tuesday. James Reeb‘s murder to the judge’s approval for the march has all its say to make a fascinating last phase of the movie reaching towards the historic march.

Selma is a global message in a very disturbed 21st century against racism, freedom and social/political rights. It is an inspiration for different generations to see the happenings of the sixties and cries of the struggles translated in cinematic venture. Those were the times when America and America’s other GMTs were radically changing. MLK’s voice for the negro communities wasn’t blocked or limited within the boundaries of America but was heard everywhere specially in Europe and specifically in Africa. Non-violence political and peaceful campaigns have always been remembered in the history. 

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I am very disappointed the way this year’s Academy Awards have ignored this wonderful drama. Tom Wilkinson as Lyndon B. Johnson or Tim Roth as George Wallace could have been easy pick for nominations of Best Supporting Actors, Ava DuVernay for Best Director, and of course David Oyelowo for Best Actor which precisely is one of the biggest blunder in Academy Awards’ recent history. Despite being British, Oyelowo’s MLK voice was pitch-perfect. His speeching style remind MLK’s. His passion and commitment remind MLK’s strong leadership.

Selma is easily one of the best movies of 2014. You make the best out of movie as almost all the aspects of movie are excellent. Fantastic screenplay and editing work, the ensemble cast have successfully fulfilled their duty to justify the services of the characters they played. It is one of the best tributes anyone can dedicate to MLK & his fellow peace activists & his tweeters.

“I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because “truth crushed to earth will rise again.”

How long? Not long, because “no lie can live forever.”

How long? Not long, because “you shall reap what you sow.”

How long? Not long:

Truth forever on the scaffold,

Wrong forever on the throne,

Yet that scaffold sways the future,

And, behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow,

Keeping watch above his own.

How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

How long? Not long, because:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; 

He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword;

His truth is marching on. 

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;

He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.

O, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant my feet!

Our God is marching on.

Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!

Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!

His truth is marching on.”

Rating: 8.9/10

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Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave (2013)

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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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