Monthly Archives: August 2017

Detroit

Why?

Kathryn Bigelow, the director that has blessed movie fans with Point Break, The Hurt Locker, and Zero Dark Thirty, has added Detroit to her profile. This particular effort would have been better suited as a documentary.

Bigelow has wrangled a who’s who of hot young actors (John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Will Porter and Algee Smith) to name a few. All are strong actors, but I felt they were misused in this film.

Will Porter of The Revenant and Maze Runner fame, portrayed the main police antagonist. While he is a fine actor, he looked and seemed far too young for the role. John Boyega, was completely wasted and did not add anything to the story. While I understand this is a true event and the character he was portraying really existed, I think a lesser actor could have done the exact same thing. Mr. Mackie, who seems to find his way onto wonderful movie sets, was strong but was overshadowed by the persistent hatred and morally inhumane violence.

The film left me asking a few questions. Why was this movie made? What was the point? How does this push the racial injustice narrative along? Was Bigelow more interested in exploiting one of the many horrific injustices involving white police and black civilians? Did she envision people leaving this film feeling a sense of cause and progress?

I immediately went to Fruitvale Station (2013), Selma (2014) or even Schindler’s List (1993). These films put historical events on the big screen and left audiences with answers. I did not leave the theater wondering if I had just witnessed exploitation. I left feeling uplifted and inspired to never see these atrocities happen again, and with a sense of hope.

After consuming Detroit, I felt dirty. I felt as if I just watched a movie that threw racial injustice directly in my face and said, “Oh well, such is life.” Maybe it is the climate that we live in, but it seemed to prove that this has been going on for years and there is nothing that can be done about it. The same things that happened in 1967 are still taking place today.

Clocking in at a heavy two and half hours, the final act seemed to drag on, especially after such an emotional second act. I was mentally drained, and looking for a hasty exit.

Is there a next step? Or will this movie further prove that we as a country are okay with exploiting these events without actually learning from them? Was Bigelow laughing at us? Was she empathetic? Does this film make her feel better about herself?

Visually, the film was stunning and really brought you into the hotel lobby with the characters. But this proved to be both a blessing and a curse.

I recommend seeing this movie but prepare for some tough moments.

My rating:     

Ironic rebuild could reshape the Crosstown Cup

With the Chicago Cubs clinging to a slim lead in the NL Central, and the Chicago White Sox bringing up the rear in the AL Central, one could say the crosstown rivals are heading in opposite directions. I, on the other hand, see them heading in the same direction.

I am not looking at this in the vacuum of the 2017 season, but more of a big picture. The Northsiders are loaded with young talent. They are coming off of their first World Series Championship in 108 years and barring any more injuries, they looked primed to make another deep October run. Many, including myself, saw this team as a team that will be playing for another World Series ring this season. After a subpar start, they are now playing the type of baseball to back up that notion.

As a prisoner of the moment, you could theoretically say the only thing these teams have in common is that they both play in Chicago. I, being a White Sox fan, choose to look a little deeper at these two teams. The Cubs lineup day to day is one of the strongest in MLB, but what the Sox are doing is following the same mold. Owning, arguably, the top farm system in the league right now the Sox look poised to make a similar run that the Cubs are currently on.

The Sox started the real rebuilding process by parting ways with sure-fire hall of famer Chris Sale in the offseason. What they received in return was a hand full of huge prospects, most notably Yoan Moncada (#1 MLB prospect), they also wrangled Michael Kopech (#11 RHP), twenty-one-year-old Luis Alexander Basabe (OF) and twenty-three-year-old right-hander Victor Diaz.

      

For a lot of teams that was a great start to the rebuilding of a franchise. The Sox, however, did not stop there. The Sox then traded another great left handed arm in Jose Quintana to the cross-town rival Cubs for more young talent. While they lost a great pitcher that has had terrible luck, they gained more top MLB prospects. The Sox in return, received Eloy Jimenez (#8 prospect), along with Right handed pitcher Dylan Cease (#62 prospect). Add them to an already young and talented White Sox roster (Tim Anderson #38 2015 prospect, Luis Robert #23 prospect, Luis Giolito #28, Blake Rutherford #29 and right handed pitcher Reynaldo Lopez) and there is a very bright future on 35th street.

Along with the many moves, the White Sox have made of late, we can’t forget that they still have all-star Jose Abreu (30) and a pair of 26-year-olds Avisail Garcia and Adam Engle on the roster. Unfortunately, life tells us that all of these prospects will not pan out to the max, but with the embarrassment of riches the Sox currently have, they have room for a few to not fully recognize their potential.

This is a time that the fans in Chicago should be extremely excited to see what happens in the next few years and how this natural rivalry could grow into something very special.

Lion

In India, 180 children go missing daily, most are never heard from again, and even fewer are able to tell their story. Saroo Brierley, however, has been heard from again and his story is both incredibly heart wrenching and heart warming.

The deservingly scrutinized and much maligned Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences certainly got it right when it nominated Lion for Best Picture in 2016.

Not only was the story compelling, but the acting was superb. Sunny Pawar, who portrayed young Saroo, was fantastic. He was able to take the audience along on his journey. I found myself as frightened as Saroo was; I found myself as confused as Saroo was – most notably when he found himself in a foreign part of India where the natives spoke Bengali while he only knew Hindi. It was very easy to place yourself in this situation, and understand that a child of five years old would be in a panicked state of mind. Just imagine being lost in Penn Station and not speaking English.

Once in Australia, Dev Patel took the lead as the older Saroo, and did not skip a beat. The underlying angst that he felt resonated through the screen. The chemistry with both Nicole Kidman (adoptive mother) and Rooney Mara (girlfriend) was undeniable.

While the acting was superb, it could only be outdone by the beauty and terror that was the landscape of the film. The cinematic references were second to none. Whether on the train through the countryside or on a desolate bridge all alone, the pictures were breathtaking.

 

In the end, Lion is a film that understands the depth of Saroo’s story and takes every precaution to make sure the audience understands it as well. You will find it very difficult to watch this film and not be awed by its tenderness and heroism.

 

If you are looking for a film that will capture your emotions from the first scene Lion is certainly worth watching!

 

My rating: