Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mini-Reviews: Star Wars, Mockingjay, Trumbo and Suffragette

For Your DVD Viewing Pleasure, consider the following 2015 films: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Did anyone else see what I saw: two people pitted against each other, one for good and one for evil; one for the Force and the Jedi, the other for the Dark Side and the Emperor; both manipulated into seeking the ultimate Power at the expense of billions of lives – in other words, politics as usual. That being said, this was a great E-ticket ride, lots of fun and fireworks and a really, really deep (well, maybe not deep) exploration of a conflicted kid with serious daddy issues. Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 4. Was anyone else as bored to tears as I was, watching this film? I kept wondering why I kept watching, but I had seen the others and wanted closure. I guess I could have skipped ahead to the last ten minutes, but I endured. What a weak and predictable finale to an interesting series! I mean: the line up of evil President Snow and self-proclaimed President Coin for the “execution”...And if Katniss was trying to get to Snopw to kill him and end the violence, why was she behind the combatting forces and not in front of them trying to reach the palace? And the final pastoral sequence was so idyllic and sweet and sad and, God I'm glad it's over. Trumbo and Suffragette. Also released in 2015, neither of these films got the hype or attention of the above two, yet each deserves notice. Both are amazing stories of really frightening times in which the issue of human rights is deeply challenged. In Trumbo, Bryan Cranston plays the lead character, a screenwriter blacklisted during the McCarthy Era who fought against the House on un-American Activities and spent time in prison for it – a genuine political prisoner. In Suffragette, a fictionalized woman combats male and societal prejudice in 1913 Britain in the struggle for universal suffrage, women's right to vote. Both are compelling and cautionary and address profound truths about ourselves. But in the Trump Era, who cares about truth anyway?

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