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MOVIES

ARGO

TITLE: ARGO
DIRECTOR: BEN AFFLECK
RUNNING TIME: 121 MINUTES
PRODUCTION HOUSE: WARNER BROS. PICTURES
CAST INCLUDES: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Victor Garber

DATE: 23 MARCH 2013

IT’S THE end of 1979 at the US embassy in Iran. The recently deposed Shah, a friend of the US is dishing out heavy doses of human rights violations and the people have reached breaking point. His friends must release him to his fate or suffer at the hands of an angry nation. Dying of cancer he has taken refuge in America. Meanwhile back home all hell breaks loose.
A nation of fed-up Iranians protest outside the US embassy calling for the return of the Shah.
On one fateful day, the nation breaks through the embassy gates and invades the symbol of America in their country.
The Americans caught by surprise at the turn of events try by all means to get rid of every valuable document, some through fire and unfortunately others through the shredder.
Once the Iranians gain complete access to the building. Over 50 Americans are held hostage and six escape and seek refuge at the Canadian Ambassador’s house where they wait, for rescue or for death.
Meanwhile back home the CIA is working on a plan to rescue the six escapees before they are discovered missing by the angry nation.
Though soldiers are on full alert on the streets and at the airport, it would seem a little underground hide-out from which the six emerge only when it is safe is what stands between life and death in the Canadian’s home.
At the old embassy rioters have gotten hold of the shredded documents, pictures of the American citizens who worked at the embassy and on piecing them together, they soon find that some people escaped.
The story really starts to gain momentum and direction when the CIA calls in the expertise of Tony Mendez a CIA operative played by Ben Affleck who specialises in rescuing citizens from conflict countries.
At his first meeting where ideas of a plan are being brainstormed, without any idea or any solution to the current problem he ridicules the plan of action to bring in six bicycles into the country on which the escapees will leave Iran. He states his case on why this plan is bound to fail and it is evident to anyone with any sense that this will not be the winning rescue mission.
It is through a telephonic conversation with his son that night, when he discovers his son is watching Battle of the Planet of the Apes and he also tunes in to the same channel that the idea of the rescue is birthed.
To pretend the six are part of a Canadian film crew scanning Iran for a possible location to shoot a similar sci-fi movie.
Of course, the big question is how this fake crew and fake movie will be sold and believed enough to allow them to leave the country unnoticed.
In this well told, well plotted story based on true events and formulated through assistance from the 2007 article about the Canadian Caper in which Tony Mendez led the rescue of six US diplomats from Tehran in Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, Ben Affleck does a stellar job.
Mendez sets out to make the tale legitimate and gets assistance from Hollywood. Together with his new team of ‘ordinary’ people they create a media frenzy over their new fake movie, and soon everyone is talking about the movie, Argo.
Scenes are sketched and actors are approached. Soon the entire idea seems real enough for Mendez to set out on his mission.
Numerous obstacles are put in his way, though none so big as the lack of faith and the need for glory that has captured the CIA. That even though he manages to get into Iran on a fake Canadian passport and fake name with six other fake passports and identities; convince the powers that be that he and his crew only landed in the country a few days ago and are staying at the Canadian Ambassador’s home, even when he has put all his cards on the table and gained the trust of the escapees. Even when the plan finally falls into place, even then, the CIA is still changing its mind to such an extent that it calls off the mission in favour of a planned military rescue of all hostages.
But because Mendez has made a promise, he defies the powers that be in a bid to save lives at whatever odds. Not for glory for his name will not go up in lights, but because he believes he should complete his task no matter what, that it is his job.
The thrill of the tale and the probability of being busted and the numerous chances of getting caught keeps you at the edge of your seat from when the plan is tabled until the plane takes off for America. It is indeed a movie worthy of all the fuss and all the hype.
This is a story of bravery. A tale of purpose and determination. A story of victory and though unusual it is also a tale of how it is still important to save the few lives even when the many seem likely to perish.
In this story we see a father and husband separated from his family, yearning to play these roles in the lives of those dear to him, yet at the same time, without placing any life above another, we see this broken man still has in him the fire to become a hero.
It is a story of how nations become allies, and even though it may be debated, it is also a tale of loyalty to one person despite the consequences. Indeed it would’ve been much easier for the US to handover the Shah.
Argo, the fake movie that Mendez sells as real is also a tale about a rescue mission, an enticing tale of success, of victory.
The movie does not seek to question whether the US was right in offering refuge to the Shah, but instead it questions the lengths to which a country would go to rescue their own in a foreign country at the brink of utter disregard for human life.
The costume, the texture and the background of the plot makes it easy to be sucked into its reality from beginning to end.
This is one of those movies that will give you the same tension , the same anxiety and suspense every time you watch it.
Well plotted, well directed.
Deserving of all the praise it has received in the industry.

Vuvu Vena, VM

TITLE: FOR COLORED GIRLS
DIRECTOR:  TYLER PERRY
ORIGINAL WRITER: NTOZAKE SHANGE
PRODUCTION HOUSE: LIONSGATE
CAST:Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Thandi Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Rose, Tessa Thomson, Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg and Macy Gray

DATE: 1 MARCH 2011

PIC: coolblackmedia.blogspot.com

It may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it is not only informative but inspirational and you go through a number of ‘aha’ moments as you watch.

For Colored Girls the movie was adopted from a stage play. The movie by Tyler Perry famous for his creation of Madea and his other movies revolving around that character, like A Diary of a Mad Black Woman and The Family That Prays and Why Did I Get Married.

The original play by Ntozake Shange, an American playwright and poet, was called – For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.

The play went on to win an Obie Award, born to a social worker and an air force surgeon in New Jersey in the 40’s, Shange suffered discrimination because she was black.

Shange was born Paulette L. Williams and changed her name after attempting suicide due to her separation from her husband while she was still in varsity. Her current name is Xhosa for ‘she who has her own things’ and the word Shange has been defined as ‘she who walks or lives among lions’.

The movie, as adopted by Perry focuses on a group of black women who have different battles to fight within relationships. And each battle is a step closer to the realisation of who they are and the things that they posses within in themselves, izinto zabo. As well as the realisation of the fierceness and relentless spirit of a warrior that lives in each and every one of them.

Most of the instances portrayed in the movie could happen to any woman, but there are some unique settings that are only suffered by coloured women.

At the peak of tension in the reality of the women’s lives in the movie their reasoning and their emotions are portrayed through gorgeous poetry.

I watched this movie with a group of my coloured girl friends and undoubtedly we could each find someone we knew in its contents. The poems that stuck with us, because they rang true to our realities were recited by Loretta Devine and Janet Jackson respectively.

The first was about how a man could take away everything you are if you do not realise and we as women constantly give and give without restraint. We only wake up too late, but in this case it was early to realise that ‘somebody almost walked away with all my stuff’.

The poem recited by Jackson speaks of the words ‘I’m sorry’, how many times we’ve heard our partners chant those words that they’ve left a bitter taste in our mouths, so much so that we’d rather not hear their sorry(s) any longer and prefer to see the evidence of just how sorry they really are.

It is a movie made for black women, unashamedly so, written by a black woman and directed by a black man with an all black cast.

Some of the things that women have to suffer through in relationships are beyond comprehension. Some of the things that black women have to endure from their partners could lead one to want to die, to invite death to befriend her. Especially at a time when the one she trusts with her all gives her HIV or kills her babies, or rapes her or gives her an unwanted now father-less child or can’t do anything about the fact that she can’t have any children or simply keeps disappearing on her just as she falls in love with him.

Some of the pain suffered by women can not be articulated in any language clearer than poetry. But when their voices have been heard and they’ve let out the tension within them, some people will never understand how these women carry on living with a smile on their faces and their heads held high. Now those are secrets that women can never share, because they too do not know how they posses the magic of the phoenix, to rise from the ashes, even if it is to get burnt again.

What fascinated me most about these characters is that they live. Despite the unfair hand dealt to them by life, they live and they impart life. Because after all, when all definitions fade, they are still women and to nurture life is a divine role.

An amazing cast, a story line that is the essence of untold truths. I bet you it has black women all over the world changing how they live and how they think about themselves. Reclaiming their beauty and their worth. Becoming the women the world almost didn’t allow them to be.

For more on the movie visit: http://www.forcoloredgirlsmovie.com/

SOURCE: Vuvu Vena, VM

SEX AND THE CITY – THE MOVIE

Director: Michael Patrick King

CAST: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon

At the core of it all, love presides. Love is the thing you know? This is a tale of journeys traveled, fears revealed, friendships harnessed, love lost, restored, and found again.

After six splendid seasons of Sex and the City the series, came this movie. Four years later, still focusing on the lives of the four women. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon). Based in New York City, one is immediately alert to the colour, fashion, and speed of the city. Where it is important to fit in with society, find love, be a label freak and if you must age, do so with style and grace.

These four have been friends for about twenty years now. Charlotte has a husband – Harry, and together they feared they couldn’t have children, so they adopted a Chinese girl – Lilly. Charlotte is the uptight, yet childlike friend, well off and generally has no other problems in life. And as if to seal her fairytale, she falls pregnant and gives birth to a girl – Rose.

Miranda is the stressed-out friend. Always making sure that it’s known that she is both mother and lawyer, and to top it off she is married and therefore life is EVER so hard. Married to Steve, Miranda has moved to Brooklyn to build a family with husband and son – Brady. Because of her devotion to her work and stressful life, Miranda has not made time to be intimate with Steve in six months and when it finally happens, she’s in a rush to tick off the next thing on her list. Steve later confesses that he cheated; Miranda doesn’t handle the news too well and the two separate, causing Brady to travel between parents. Miranda finds it extremely difficult to forgive Steve.

Samantha (now 50 years old) has been with Smith for FIVE YEARS!!!! To everyone who has watched the series, you’d understand why this is such a shocker. Smith is the model turned Hollywood star that stuck by Samantha through her battle with cancer. Together they moved to Los Angeles, to build Smith’s career. As manager, Samantha turned him into a brand that she could not tame. Lately, her devotion to one man, her nostalgia, not only for NYC, but for her past life starts to consume her, and what with her new neighbour, Dante, who embodies everything Samantha used to be. Having been a good girl all these years, Samantha is at the crossroads of this chapter and she must decide.

Carrie, now every girl has always wanted Carrie’s love story with Big. Well…almost, take away all the break-ups and heartaches, and it was a fairytale. So once again, Carrie and Big are the cherry on top. When the movie begins, we are alerted to the fact that the two are looking for an apartment to share. After ten years of this roller coaster ride, this is a moment that has been long coming. Carrie is now 40 and isn’t married. There is no other man for her but Big. Eventually Big does propose, the coldest, emptiest, non-romantic proposal ever seen on TV. Either way, Carrie obliges and the wedding plans begin.

Spreads on Vogue, page six announcements, wedding planers, guest lists, the works. All the while Big is aloof, what with this being his third marriage and all. Tension starts to rage in the relationship and Big mentions that if it were up to him he would have simply gone to the City Hall, because all he wants is Carrie, not the glitz and glam that comes with a wedding in NYC.

Even so, one can tell the unspoken understanding between the couple. It’s a thing that comes with knowing someone, these two knew each other. Carrie is doing research for her fourth book about what happens after one finds love. She has a library book titled, ‘Love letters of Great Men”, and both she and Big get stuck on one by Beethoven, actually six words of that letter: “ever thine, ever mine, ever ours…”

Carrie moves out of her apartment of twenty years, this is a momentous event as most of life happened in this apartment. Now it’s as though it’s the start of a brand new book. She does a little fashion parade for her friends of some of the clothes in her closet. Highlighting again the need to be up to date with fashion in this city, “great style at every age”. What was in last fall may be out this year…and so we see.

The night before the wedding, at the rehearsal diner, Miranda (after talking to Steve) tells Big that he is crazy to get married, that it ruins everything. And as though Big was not having a difficult time with his own thoughts of two failed marriages and an attempt at a third, his cold feet come to life and he begins to pull away. He calls Carrie to share his fears and she puts them all to sleep, telling him if he doesn’t know what to write for his vows he should simply say “I will love you”.

By the next morning, Big has made a decision and he doesn’t pitch for the wedding, they meet on the streets as Carrie leaves the venue, and the display of pain echoes Miranda’s words to Steve the night before “you broke us, what we had is broken. I changed who I was for you.” This sends Carrie into a morbid spell of heartache, where her friends have to be there once again for her, and all four of them go on her honeymoon, and there the healing begins.

Upon returning, Carrie revamps her life, faces the city after almost finding love only to loose it. Five months go by and she does not make contact with Big. She hires an assistant, Louise, who also came to the city to find love….and labels. She recently had her heart broken, but later finds love in the same man and she gets engaged. Reigniting hope, restoring faith.

However this is a movie about happy endings, Carrie and Ben do work things out on their own terms, so does Miranda and Steve. Though it is not a fairytale movie, it teaches that sometimes love requires more than one try, at times even more than two tries, however, eventually, with the right mate, you learn to work it out. It is a cycle of sorrys and a lesson of forgiveness. But it is the love that prevails, wiping clean all the heartaches, now this love, that’s the love worth looking for. Someone to love forever. Someone who will love you forever. And surprisingly, it can be found in the city, in a man or in friendships!

WOULD YOU WATCH IT AGAIN? OFCOZ I OWN IT. IT IS A STORY OF HOPE AND HEALING…LOVE STORIES ARE TIMELESS.

Source: Vuvu Vena, VM

BATMAN – THE DARK KNIGHT

Director: Christopher Nolan

CAST: CHRISTIAN BALE, MICHEAL CAINE, HEATH LEDGER, GARY OLDMAN, AARON ECKHART, MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL, MORGAN FREEMAN

It’s a war between good and evil, the battle is complex because good is dressed as evil. The fight is for the soul of Gotham City, the soldiers are, Batman (Christian Bale), the Joker (Heath Ledger), the District Attorney (Aaron Eckhart), and GCPD, headed by LT James Gordon (Gary Oldman). The streets of Gotham are the battle field and it’s inhabitants the props.

Much emphasis is put on faces and masks. It would seem, even the unmasked are hidding behind their faces. The ultimate issue is that Gotham has a faceless vigilante as a hero. The Joker is out to prove that Batman is not such a stainless hero, that he too derives pleasure from killing. Batman however, seeks to give Gotham it’s ‘White Knight’, the DA, Harvey Dent, with a face and a zeal for justice.

Backstage, away from the battlefields, a love triange is insuing between Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) – an attorney & Batman’s ex – the DA and Batman. The Joker plays on this information which inevitably leads to Rachel’s death, leaving both men believing her heart belonged to each of them exclusively.

On the streets there is an allience between GCPD and Batman, and later the DA, all are fighting to capture the Joker and restore peace to Gotham. However the Joker is of a deranged mindset, forward thinking, disturbed, witty and seldom out-smarted. He says, “Upset the established order and everything becomes chaos, I am an agent of chaos”. In his pursuit to unmask the hero, he turns the city over on its head – and for what? Pleasure?

The intricate detail in faces, masks, make-up, costume, scars and wounds plays like a golden thread throughout the movie. First the Joker, scars enlarging his smile are enhanced by the white powder he wears, a mask, make-up, that he puts on daily, but it is never too clear what he is hidding from, but except for the permanent smile on his face and the habitual laughter, he never seems to smile.
Batman, an ordinary man, put aside his great wealth as Bruce Wayne, no special powers like regular super heroes, is never seen out of costume. His costume is a symbol, the Dark Knight, a bat, it is a signature that allows an ordinary man to do extra-ordinary things, however it does not protect the flesh from wounds extracted from the battles.
Then there is the DA, as decent a man as Gotham could hope for. He starts off as an ordinary unmasked protagonist, but with loss, he looses half his face, wounds, a mask, they call him ‘Two Face’, and he lives up to the name when he is fueled by revenge for a lost love. He says to Batman, “You thought we could be decent men in an indecent time”. The loss of hope, good becomes evil.

The conflict plays out, good dies, though not entirely, evil is captured, yet not killed, and only towo men are left standing. Batman and Gordon. Gordon, after all has played out, says to Batman, “The Joker took the best of us and tore them down, people will loose hope”. At this point the hero evolves, Batman lays himself down, the sacrificial lamb, to restore hope to Gotham, he decides to become whatever the City needs him to be – right now, the bad guy. He goes on a run, carrying the sins of the city on his mask and costume, the GCPD chases after him. It is the City that defines the hero, and a true hero adopts.

Brilliant casting, Heath Ledger’s last work – I think it is safe to say that this was his masterpiece. Riveting talent!

Would you watch it again? Over and over! Brilliantly told!

Source: Vuvu Vena, VM

HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU

Director: Ken Kwapis

CAST: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlet Johanson, Justin Long

Having read and enjoyed the book, I wondered how they planned to make a movie out of it. It wasn’t exactly a typical fiction and it had no specific characters to frame a movie around. But the clever use of the make and female actors showed aspects of what the book intended.

The stars of the movie are by far the young, clumpsy and clueless journalist who falls inlove with every guy who looks her way, and her hard-hearted, once-beaten-twice-shy potential boyfriend. Their story is easier to relate to. However, all in all, just as the book, this movie is a mirror on how the dating scene plays out in our generation, but more especially on how women view their roles in that scene. it makes one laugh at how common their heartbreak is.

Source: Vuvu Vena, VM

 

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