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SIMPLE REVIEW: Selma

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another new film review and today I’ll be talking about Selma. Now considering how stingy my local cinema is when it comes to films of this nature, I thought I wouldn’t get the chance to see this, but me and friend checked it out today and now I’m ready to pass on my thoughts.

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The premise for the film is as follows:

“A chronicle of Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.”

Emotions, that’s what this film made me feel, pure emotions. Films that deal with the struggle of black people will always hit home (being a black guy myself) and each time I watch a film like this I feel incredible levels of pain, but also gratitude for what the black people of the past had done for us people today. The film deals with a very specific period of the civil rights movement and not only displays from the perspective of King, but his family, followers and the politicians as well. It is great to see King rise to the occasion and fight for his people, but also face impossible odds that seemed stacked up against. This film does not shy away from the brutality of history, there is violence of the verbal and physical kind, but it is the physical which is hard to watch as black people are shot, beaten and whipped in a disgusting manner and one can only imagine what it would have been like to witness this first-hand. However this needed to be shown as it does show the cruel world we used to live in. In some ways I see some parrells to the film Fruitvale Station, while both films have very different source material, there is one major similarity I found: black people getting unlawfully beaten and killed at the hands of white law enforcers with the people responsible weren’t held accountable for their crimes because of crooked legal system and racism. Anyway back to this film, I thought the story was raw, painful, beautiful and uplifting, it moved at a decent pace and hit all the right emotional beats.

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When it comes to the cast this film has a pretty substantial amount of famous faces and if you know your film and TV stars then you’ll spot a lot of famous faces. Since there are literally too many people to mention I’ll try to be brief and highlight my favourite people.

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr., wow, what a performance. Oyelowo is an actor I’ve liked for a while now, but this is clearly his best performance to date as he transforms himself completely and delivers his lines with such passion, intensity and his physicality also makes you feel like you are watching King right there in the cinema. Tom Wilkinson was also very good as Lyndon B. Johnson, Wilkinson is one of those actors who shows up in a lot of films but here he has a more substantial role and does a very good job. Tim Roth also does a great job as George Wallace, while Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King delivered a solid performance too and then there’s Wendell Pierce from The Wire) as Hosea Williams who was lovely. I also loved seeing Ruben Santiago-Hudson (from Castle) here as Bayard Rustin, Common was also good as James Bevel, Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Fred Gray was a lovely surprise, while the appearances by Oprah Winfrey and Martin Sheen as Annie Lee Cooper and Frank Minis Johnson were small yet effective. Then there’s Giovanni Ribisi as Lee C. White, Andre Holland as Andrew Young, Lorraine Toussaint as Amelia Boynton Robinson, Niecy Nash as Richie Jean Jackson and Tessa Thompson as Diane Nash who did great too.

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In conclusion Selma is a well-directed film with an incredible cast, a well-executed story and beautiful soundtrack. Though hard to watch at times, I did feel quite empowered after I left the film, I would have enjoyed the film a lot more had the projection people has fixed the sound problems that happened throughout the film! But anyway, go out and watch this film, it deserves your time and you too will see it got robbed at the Oscar nominations ages ago.

So have you seen Selma and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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A Million Ways To Die In The West Review

Howdy ladies and gents, time for the second review in my comedy double of the day and this comes in the form of A Million Ways To Die In The West. This film I’ve been curious about for a while, but wasn’t overly hyped for because I wasn’t too fussed about Ted back in 2012. But I wanted to give Seth MacFarlane the benefit of the doubt especially because of the western genre that was being brought into play. So how does his second live-action film fare? Well read on and find out.

A_Million_Ways_to_Die_in_the_West_posterHere’s the story summary:

“In 1882 Arizona, courage-less sheep farmer Albert Stark loses his beloved girlfriend Louise as a result of his withdrawal from a duel. He soon meets Anna, through whom he discovers his confidence and his courage. After falling in love with her, Stark soon realizes his true potential when Anna’s husband, the infamous outlaw Clinch Leatherwood, arrives in town seeking retribution for Stark’s relationship with his wife.”

The story is decent enough, however it is not the funny adventure I think MacFarlane fans were hoping for. I think the main problems with the story are: 1) We’ve seen this type of thing before. 2) The film is too long. 3) There’s a lot of points where it feels like nothing is happening. 4) The jokes are too far apart from each other. And 5) The jokes aren’t always funny. Basically what we have is a western with modern pop culture references meshed together and it is a clash of styles, especially when you have a lot of western codes and conventions working but then you have dialogue that doesn’t belong in that era of time. Even Ted, a film I wasn’t too keen on had a more streamlined story and better sense of cohesion, plus that film had its jokes coming quick a fast as opposed to this film. As with MacFarlane’s previous material the jokes are unashamedly bold, crude and offensive in some way whether it be about race, sex, drugs or toilet humour. The overall laughs in this film feel like a dodgy Family Guy episode, sometimes of it works but most of it falls flat.

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When it comes to the cast they are good, but none of the characters are that layered or interesting. Seth MacFarlane as Albert Stark is alright, he does an admirable job as the lead character, but Stark isn’t that likeable. He’s a coward, has no backbone and most of his jokes aren’t that funny. Charlize Theron as is good Anna, she is fun, a badass with a gun and is one of the best people in the film. Amanda Seyfried was alright as Louise but her character was so unlikable as she was such an air head and very superficial. Neil Patrick Harris as Foy was great, I’ve never been a fan of Harris, but he was one of the funniest people as he had some great dialogue and scenes. Giovanni Ribisi is pretty funny as Edward, the guy is so kind, innocent and oblivious to adult-based situations. Ribisi is one of the funnier people in the film and Sarah Silverman as Ruth is good too, she’s strange and does so many terrible things but still remains so happy about things. And finally Liam Neeson as Clinch Leatherwood was cool, rough and as badass as always, but compared to some of the other films in recent years I film like he was very underutilized.

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One of the best aspects of the film is cameo appearances, two in particular are really, really good and if you enjoy your film references then you’ll love these individual moments when they come.

At least the presentation is good. The film looks pretty with the desert and mountain locations looking beautiful and the soundtrack by Joel McNeely is nice and subtle for the style of film that this is, it works best when it is loud and grand.

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In conclusion A Million Ways To Die In The West has moments of fun and interest, but is long, boring and lacking any of the charm and comic timing that makes shows like Family Guy and American Dad so fun. Maybe the film wasn’t mean for me, I’m not sure, there are just a lot of things about this film that doesn’t come together which ultimately makes this film so underwhelming and forgettable.

Rating: 5.5/10 (Nowhere near as funny as it should be)

So what did you think A Million Ways To Die In The West? Did you love it or were you disappointed? Whatever your thoughts be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo. 😀

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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