“Understated” isn’t a word you’d ordinarily use to describe a Jerry Bruckheimer production, but that’s surprisingly what 12 Strong ends up being.
Seongyong Cho was born in Jeon-ju, South Korea. He did graduate work at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science
and Technology (KAIST) in Dae-jeon. His passion
for good movies continues its primitive rampage, which includes weekly pilgrimages
to the local multiplex. He started his blog in 2008 and writes nuumerous reviews. In the midst of that, he manages to find time for
books, music, exercise (usually treadmill and swimming), and corresponding
with other bloggers.
Sometimes movies provide the moments I empathize with even though I am completely different from their characters. I remember how I sympathetically reacted to one particular scene around the end of "The Hurt Locker" (2008) because I would also be at a loss in its hero's circumstance unless my family or others accompanied me. Several months after watching that movie, I thought about that scene after wandering alone around the aisles of a big supermarket in the suburban area of Des Plaines, Illinois for at least more than 20 minutes until I settled on a loaf of white bread and a bottle of marmalade after lots and lots of hesitation.
While he has been called "the Master of Suspense," Alfred Hitchcock has also been called "the Master of the Macabre," and that title is exemplified by his delightful black comedy "The Trouble with Harry" (1955). On the surface, it looks quite atypical compared to Hitchcock's more famous works, but this is a vintage story from a great director with a wry sense of humor, and it is also one of the most liveliest works in his exceptional career. Although somebody is dead, there is no suspense or danger or blond lady in the movie, and all we have to do is leisurely enjoy a pleasant walk with its funny characters as they try to deal with bizarre trouble on one fine autumn day in their ordinary peaceful rural town in Vermont.
When I watched "The Ides of March" (2011) early in this year, it took me back to my memories with Mike Nichols' "Primary Colors" (1998), which already told us almost everything the former wanted to tell. When I watched it in 1999, it looked like a sarcastic story inspired by Bill Clinton's first presidential election campaign in 1992, but now the movie looks more like a timeless political comedy drama which understands a lot about how politicians alternatively dazzle and disappoint us with their better and worse sides.
Some horror movies have mercy on uninformed audiences who have no idea about what they will get. The opening sequence of New Zealand horror film "Dead Alive" (1992), which is also known as "Braindead", is a good example because it kindly gives the audiences a very clear idea of what it about and how it is about. As the hero escapes from the natives of Skull Island (Southwest of Sumatra) with a mysterious creature dreaded by the natives, he accidentally gets bitten by the animal, hidden in a wooden crate. He says he's all right, but his local employees are suddenly frightened about that.
A young boy curious about his birth. A priest with the long past behind him. A countess who gets involved in a doomed affair and then trapped in an unhappy marriage. A count who commits cruelty out of frustrated love. A criminal who accidentally gets the chance of lifetime to change his social status. A vengeful society woman who manipulates others to anger the man she is obsessed with. They might look like the characters randomly selected from several different books, but they are all the denizens of one labyrinthine tale which slowly reveals how their lives are intertwined with each other more than we thought at first.
Streaming on Netflix Instant.
It is quite a long night for them. They have been going around the wide area for hours, but they have not yet found what they are looking for. The sky gets darker, and they become more bored, tired, and frustrated in the deepening darkness. The wind blows ominously, the reeds on the field are shaken by the wind, and they begin to reflect on themselves as the search is being fruitlessly continued in front of their eyes.
If you haven't heard about Stephen Glass, who was a former employee of the New Republic, you may think he is a nice lad who occasionally screws things up while you watch him at the beginning of "Shattered Glass" (2003). Sometimes it's not easy to be angry about him because he is so sweet and considerate to the people working with him. If it seems they find a problem or error caused by him, he quickly admits and apologizes to them while looking like he is nervous about whether they won't like him any more for that. He frequently asks to them as if he wanted to check that: "Are you mad at me?"
Streaming on Netflix Instant
When I watched "The Intouchables" (2011) at the local movie theater several months ago, I got a nagging dissatisfaction with that crowd-pleaser, which was about the warm friendship between a disabled man and a caregiver hired by him. The movie was surely a pleasant drama with two amiable lead performances, but I found it too mild and superficial; it merely loitered around thin stereotypes and worn-out clichés and it went no further than that.
Sometimes an actor's face tells so much about his character that the movie doesn't have to waste its time describing the character's past to us. Roger Michell's "Venus" (2006) doesn't tell us in details how famous its hero was as an actor, but that's not a problem because he is played by Peter O'Toole, a living legend who gave us a bunch of memorable larger-than-life characters including Henry II of England, Eli Cross, the 14th Earl of Gurney, Alan Swann, and, above all, Lawrence of Arabia. When we look at him in the movie, we instantly remember how magnificent he was, and that aspect is naturally incorporated into his character.
There have been many horror movies about deranged characters and their insane deeds which make most of us cringe. As a diligent moviegoer, I have frequently encountered such movies, and I found some of them were enjoyable while others were repellent. While I saw a sense of humor in that ruthless South Korean horror movie "I Saw the Devil" (2010), my eyeballs were rolling in disbelief and disgust in the case of a movie called "The Human Centipede" (2009) and its more atrocious sequel.