Let’s talk about movies: Hacksaw Ridge (2016) fought and won its own war to be unique in its kind

July 22, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

Cinema seat and pop corn facing empty movie screen

Rating: 8.3/10

Directed by: Mel Gibson.

Written by: Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan.

Genre: War.

MPAA R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.).

Starring: Andrew Garfield (as Desmond T. Doss), Hugo Weaving (as Tom Doss), Vince Vaughn (as Sergeant Howell), Sam Worthington (as Captain Glover), Matthew Nable (as Lt. Cooney)…

Running Time: 139 minutes.

Most of the war movies made every year are like a toilet roll: Important, but with dubious values. Among the few honorable exceptions that come to mind, I can cite All quiet on the Western Front (1930), The bridge on the river Kwai (1957), Schindler’s list (1993), Saving private Ryan (1998) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006). Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge (2016) is fighting and winning its own war to be added to this list for Gibson’s ability to detect two different approaches, very little exploited in the genre of war, and master them in a remarkable way.

First: In an era of omnipotent superheroes, big macho men and stars with inexhaustible physical strength, Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a conscientious objector, is a weak constitution soldier, to be more precise, the only unfit soldier in his unit for his refusal to shoot and hold a rifle, which turns him into the most likely candidate to be one of the first war dead in that combat. At the end, Doss showed to be the bravest man, a soldier who spent the night inside the enemy camp saving the lives of American combatants and even some Japanese soldiers too. His almost trademark expression: “Give me one more, Lord”, “One more”, referring to his plea for strength in order to rescue the wounded can make you shudder even if you boast about your impassive heart.

Second: A lot of movie directors have bared soldier’s feelings in the battlefield and have showed them trying to use their religious convictions as a shield or source of strength while they are killing paradoxically “the enemies”. We have also seen movies with pacifists looking for solutions to the conflict from a comfortable place out of the war zone. In Hacksaw Ridge (2016), you will see something completely different: Doss, a man whose integrity bind him to the idea of serving his country in the First World War in Okinawa and his faith in God bind him to the principle against killing another human being. During the film, Doss has to find a way to make both aspects coexist in harmony, not inside a church, but among bullets and flamethrowers.

Except for some excessive bloody scenes that can make some people squeamish and the last shots of Doss on a stretcher that made him look as the average mortal descending down the ridge first to show him as a mystic ascending into heaven later, I took off my hat to director Mel Gibson for being the creator of this work of art. As for Andrew Garfield’s performance, it was so good that the classic adjectives used to describe and qualify in these cases fall short. A great movie full of emotions that will keep your mouth open for almost two hours.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Let´s talk about movies: Moonlight (2016) shines like the sun

April 9, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

Rating: 8.4/10

Directed by: Barry Jenkins (III).

Written by: Barry Jenkins (III) and Tarell Alvin McCraney.

Genre: drama.

MPAA Rating: R (Restricted, with no one under 17 admitted without an accompanying parent or guardian. The movie might content strong language and violence, nudity for sexual purposes and drug abuse.

Starring: Mahershala Ali (as Juan), Ashton Sanders (as teen Chiron), Trevante Rhodes (as adult Chiron), André Holland (as adult Kevin), Naomie Harris (as Paula)…

Running time: 111 minutes.

There are movies that you want to stop watching them just few minutes after having started; others can be seen till the end. There are movies you can remember for a particular reason and others you can’t take out of your head. Moonlight (2016) belongs to this final group.

American cinematography is full of films with plot about drugs, addiction and bullying in schools. If we judged Moonlight’s plot for these topics only, the movie would be one among a pile of similar films we already saw in the past and one among another pile with similar ideas that are probably coming in the future. Then, what does make Moonlight different and good?

The answer is the beautiful and perfect way the different components of the plot were hung together: Little (Alex Hibbert), trying to find some explanation why their parents are separated in familiar terms, but paradoxically) together in the world of drugs. The teen-age Chiron (Ashton Sanders) fighting against his demons, those that made him lose his way about his sexual orientation and finally, the incredible physical transformation of Chiron in his adulthood (Trevante Rhodes) to hide his spiritual weakness, something that can only be understood just in the last minutes of the movie.

If Mahershala Ali’s performance (Juan) was really good, I recommend you to pay more attention to the moment when Chiron, after being beaten to a pulp, instead of bringing charges against “his friend” Kevin and, above all, the class bully Patrick Decile (Terrel), he decides to settle the matter himself: His calmness and resolution when entering the classroom, the movement of his body and head, the expression of his face indicating he knew exactly what he was going to do and finally, “the sweet” hit with the chair on Terrel’s shoulder. These moments defined this movie and made it spectacular.

And that’s all about Moonlight, because when it comes to good films, a lot words are unnecessary. You just have to watch them, and period. Moonlight 2016 belongs to this group, and after that, perhaps you will not be able to take this movie out of your head for a long time. The same happened to me.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Let’s talk about movies: La La Land (2016) is lol lol lol, but…

March 26, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

Rating: 7.5/10

Directed by: Damien Chazelle.

Written by: Damien Chazelle.

Genre: Musical.

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers).

Starring: Emma Stone (Mia) and Ryan Goslin (Sebastian)

Running Time: 128 minutes.

”What movie will win tonight?” A. M. asked me.

”Moonlight.” I said.

”But how can Moonlight win if La La Land is the clear and great favorite with the public and critics?” She asked me again.

”The same thing happened to Trump and now he is the president of USA”.

Despite having scored a record-equalling 14 nominations, there are good reasons to explain why this joyous musical did not win Best Picture at the Oscars and, above all, why it is behind other films of its genre. It might be seen as a mere conjecture, but several incidents show that a lot of people in the movie world (like Meryl Streep, for example) are not happy at all with Trump’s behavior and policies. Moonlight, Mahershala Ali and others as winners reflect better than La La Land the discontent mentioned before. But let’s just be clear on this idea in order to prevent any misunderstandings: I am not saying that those winners did not deserve to win; actually, they did. It is just that the context in which they were provided a little extra help for them.

The most important reasons, however, were cinematographic factors rather than social or political issues. In my opinion, you don’t even need your five fingers of one hand to count the greatest musicals of all time: Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The Sound of the Music (1965), Oliver (1968) and Les Misérables (2012). The first three films have showed their quality by being tested through the inexorable passing of time; the last one is still young, but deeper and with better plot than their predecessors. La La Land cannot even be compared with any of these group. Let’s see the why of it.

A musical comedy is the most difficult genre to judge since all things do not only spin around the plot, like other genres usually do, but around the music and humour too. To put harmoniously together these three components is quite difficult. To judge fairly the way they have been put is worse. That may very well be the reason why only 10 musicals have won the Best Picture Oscar. In La La Land (2016), some parts of the plot are connected as if the director and writer (the same person, Damien Chazelle) had no option, but to make use of filmic clichés: people dancing over cars or Ryan Gosling (Sebastian) throwing and catching his hat while dancing, etc. With these kind of things, you can get some claps and lose some Oscars.

I tip my hat to Emma Stone. She personally saved La La Land from falling into oblivion. She danced gracefully (Ryan Goslin had hard times trying to catch her when she was spinning!), sang beautifully and deserved all credits and her Oscar too. The swing of her blue dress and smile can make even and eighty-year-old man think about his glory years. The rest moves between the acceptable and good, and that’s all.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Last Love Poems: If I could back to my past…

February 28, 2017

dawn

By Eddy Montilla.

If I could go back to my past, I would have told her “Yes!” to whom so many times I told her “No!”

I would have kissed my best friend on that rainy night after class,

the only opportunity I had, the only thing she really asked.

I still remember that rainy night…

Walking together under one umbrella,

full of dreams, full of hopes.

She, perhaps, looking for something different and similar,

and I, for sure, without even knowing how to react.

If I could go back to my past, I would have told her “No!” to whom I told her “Yes!”

because when it comes to love, half love is worse than nothing.

I would have taken more risks,

I would have drowned my fears for the future

and would have taken more actions in the present.

If I could go back to my past,

I would have cultivated more roses instead of waiting for shooting stars.

I would have walked more on the sand, barefoot, singing a song,

enjoying the sea, looking at the horizon while trying to find mine.

I would have gone more frequently to the park where she used to walk

and have walked less with my loneliness.

If I could… Only Lord knows how many things I would have done
If I could…

But I can’t.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Tell me the answer: What is the only place where your mind and heart always return from time to time?

February 18, 2017

LOVE

By Eddy Montilla.

The place where the memories of your first love are.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Let’s talk about movies: The Magnificent Seven (2016) is far from being magnificent, but it’s still good

February 17, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

Cinema seat and pop corn facing empty movie screen

Rating: 6.8/10

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua.

Written by: John Lee Hancock, Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk.

Genre: Action, Western.

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers).

Starring: Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), Emma Cullen (Halley Bennet)…

Running Time: 133 minutes.

I am no great friend of remakes, reworking or movies based on books because you have not bought your ticket yet and you know what will happen already. So, this time, instead of talking about the plot, no matter if you can speak Japanese or cannot, I recommend you to see the original version, The Seven Samurais by Akira Kurosawa (七人の侍) or The Magnificent Seven (1960) so that I can save time to talk about the most important part of the movie: Denzel Washington.

    Denzel Washington is an old oak from the old school who does not need to be praised for a particular acting at this point of his life. His mere presence is enough to make from a simple movie something worth seeing. If these days we don’t see him in the film world as frequent as we did in the past, the reason is as simple as pathetic: Connoisseurs and lovers of good actors are “endangered species” like the gorilla beringei beringei, engulfed by the acephalous mass, by a headless large crowd of people fed by Hollywood with the actors they ask: body builders and curvaceous girls with big breasts.

    Denzel Washington’s greatness transcends his excellent film acting to reach the social sphere. No actor has fought more than Denzel Washington through his movies for the defense of U.S. blacks’ rights. Even in this film, where you can find humour, dramatic qualities and, a lot of action, of course, the best part of it is precisely at the end when Chilsolm (Denzel Washington) talks about the nightmare his family had to go through and shows his neck.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2017 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Thought of the day: Happiness and pain

September 1, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

LOVE-PAIN

Happy and sad moments share something in common: They always come to an end and they always revive. The biggest difference is that when your happy moments die, not always sad moments are born as result of it, but when your sad moments die, as a reward, your happy moments are reborn to bring you consolation, peace and, above all, to make you feel happier. If you are sad because you lost your job, someone very important to you passed away or for any other reason, remember that happy moments die, but so does pain. Be patient, hold on tight, hang in there. Sooner or later, your pain will die and your good moments will be reborn to be at your side.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.