The Theory of Everything

5/5 stars
Theory_of_EverythingI went in to see this movie while on vacation in Las Vegas with my lovely wife. I expected a romance. Having known of Stephen Hawking and his ultimate divorce, I imagined the film would delete that and sugar coat his romance prior to him becoming confined to a wheelchair. I had it only partly right. The director focused on their romantic relationship in the early years, the late sixties and seventies. You see how they meet and get a feel for what he was trying to with his theory of everything. It is quite touching and certainly the stuff of chick flick type of movies. At the same time, I enjoyed watching that part so it may be suited fpr guys as well, or guys that want to cuddle with girls. It’s after all that is established and they are in a relationship that the disease hits and it hits powerfully. You might call it exquisite pain for the protagonist and the invested audience.

After doctors give Hawking 2 years to live, you see he and his wife have learned to get along. The movie is still a love story but takes on a new dimension of a family. Yes, they are able to have children. Hawking becomes a famous author we follow him through more and more sophisticated wheelchairs. My wife at one point said to me, “This is where you say thank God for technology.” Through the use of a special machine, he learns to speak again through typing. There is also a running theme throughout about religion. She has it, he doesn’t. It makes for some interesting interplay at chosen points in the movie. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if he ever renounces atheism or not. Either way, he delivers a powerful speech on the topic. This is a tear jerker, a romance, and an inspiring film to boot. I give in 5/5 stars.

The One I Love

5/5 stars
the-one-i-loveThis movie was on every banner before my eyes every time I’d log on to IMDB, Netflix, Rotten Tomatoes, or movie phone. Clearly the gods of matching meta data were in its favor. Every time I clicked on it I just saw a boring, wanna be romance that said in the synopsis it was about a couple at the end of their marriage trying to rekindle things. It just didn’t excite me but I kept it on my list just in case nothing else was on. I highly recommend not giving up on movies because this one ended up being the opposite of boring. It is indeed about a failing relationship but the steps they take to make it better are partly science fiction. That’s right, I said that genre. It’s sort of a Twilight Zone meets a couple in therapy. I know my wife and I related with some of the humor and the sci fi. More than anything, it got me thinking about the many sides to our partner and how we can fall in love with one and not the other. In the end, which will we choose to live with? More importantly, which will we not. Continue reading The One I Love

Flight

flightDenzel Washington is a great actor, not many people will argue against that. When you see his name on a movie you can know it was at least well thought out and that you’ll get a great performance from him. I knew that going into Flight and was not disappointed. The screenplay wove in and out like a plane in mayday and some of the characters didn’t seem correctly placed but the entire ride is energetic full of powerful acting. The story centers on alcoholism with pilots. Like surgeons, they have the public trust as they play the role of god. Those who abuse the public trust must answer to a court of law. Continue reading Flight

The Grand Seduction

5/5 stars
the-grand-seductionNetflix, like so many movie search engines out there, makes suggestions based on your watching history. Usually they are very standard and not particularly enlightening but sometimes they bring out a gem. That’s what happened to me with The Grand Seduction. Check this one out, if you have Netflix you can get it streaming currently. It’s a sleepy, measured movie at the beginning but if you can wait it out, it become comedic, charming, and pleasant like a bowl of hot clam chowder on a rainy day. The movie was produced by Brendan Gleasson who most will remember as “mad eye” from the Harry Potter movies. He’s been in many other notable movies but he’s usually not the star. In this he’s the guy turning the wheels both in front of and behind the camera. Continue reading The Grand Seduction

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

5/5 stars
IMG_3328.JPGThis is a sometimes graphic, emotionally gripping and surprisingly inspirational film. I’m so glad I saw it because I feel more educated and empathetic toward those in poverty as a result. It shines a light on a world that most middle and upper class movie goers won’t go in knowing. We are at a camera’s length from life in the projects, in Brooklyn. The 14 year old black protagonist’s name is Mister and he is questioned about it a few times. He is forced out on his home and onto the streets with a younger friend Pete. They have adventures no child should have to endure. They are fighters and will not accept defeat. Don’t forget the title however, it holds some meaning.

While the film does include a lot of profanity and drug use, it portrays the survival of these two boys in the city. Once out of food, they learn to get by. As Mister says to Pete, “People do what they have to survive out here.” It’s a black struggle picture for sure but it highlights the struggle of all people who are in poverty. As I was watching it I found myself finding more compassion for some of my black students who live at a comparable poverty level. It felt like school was a higher place to be when the streets were illustrated with raw and jagged detail. At least you get free lunch in school. Of course, the struggle isn’t just black. Pete is Asian and there are Hispanic characters down and out. I recall there were at least 2 white people who were in the middle class or at least a class above poverty. Both are sympathetic to Mister’s plight. I had that same sort of sympathy as a teacher and white male in society. With all the money in the world, why s there any inevitable defeat? Movies like this shed a light on the modern African struggle and they help defeat stereotypes. I’ve long believed that the black struggle should be illuminated in film more, it is a credit to mankind what blacks have overcome and continue to. Executive producer was Alicia Keyes. It was the delight of my day to see this film. I actually watched it a second time with my wife and she agreed it was amazing. This film is now streaming on Netflix. I give it my highest recommendation.