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Posts Tagged ‘Drama’

“A Few Good Men” is a heavy drama revolving around the trial of two U.S. Marines, who are accused of killing another Marine, and the effort of three assigned officers to win their case.

On the first twenty minutes, we already know who is the perpetrator, and we can already form our personal judgment whether the two U.S. Marines, Dawson and Downey, be put to jail or not. Unfortunately, our characters is still about to find out and the only suspense we get is how they are going to find out, which is not enthralling  since we know who will be the last person to testify.

The better half of the film is spent mostly in the courtroom, debating about the case of Dawson and Downey, and I have to say, it is a great plot device to use the witnesses to reveal  information bit by bit rather than a cut to a series of investigation, this way the film spares us from the actual trial going on.

My only argument is that the whole story is quite shallow for a dramatic film. There is nothing at stake. If Dawson and Downey losses, they spent their life in jail. Normally, you should get mad on this fact but D and D (allow me to call them like that) just look straight ahead upon hearing this. We don’t even see them participating on unearthing facts, at least not freely. They just flash this grave look that says, do whatever you want, we don’t really care. So why should I even care about the case?

ImageThe first conflict I can come up with is how should the three assigned officers prove to the court that D and D are innocent, which is a bit ironic since these officers don’t really have a solid evidence to prove their statement, but as fate would have it they will later rightfully receive it. You might think that the system or the government is the conflict. At first, yes it’s the government. On second thought, not really. The government is not even trying hard, at least in the way I see it. The government is neutral.

The second conflict is from Tom Cruise’s playful lawyer character, Daniel Kaffee, who is afraid of falling short on achieving something, as this would stain his late father’s reputation. In fact, he hasn’t entered the courtroom not until D and D’s case.  Unfortunately, this conflict ends when the earlier mentioned conflict starts.

Demi Moore’s character, JoAnne Galloway, is the whole reason why the D and D case is raised. She takes it seriously, accompanying Daniel in all the investigation and makes sure that everything goes smoothly. But there’s no reason to justify her behavior. When asked why she is doing all this trouble, she answers, “Cause they stand on a wall and they say, ‘Nothing’s gonna hurt you tonight, not on my watch’”.   This isn’t convincing at all, unless she has a painful memory on the matter. There are people who render service to protect people (i.e. police, security guard) and they might have a heavier case than this (i.e. death penalty) but why wouldn’t JoAnne prioritize them?

If you’re fond of watching courtroom scene, hearing intellectual rebuttals, this is the film for you. It’s intense. There is no room for a little bit of romance, even though by the look of the characters they demand it. The two U.S. Marines are charged for three penalties – murder, conspiracy, unbecoming a U.S. Marine – and by the end, I liked what the court’s verdict, and you will too.

PS: Have you ever heard of the famous line “You can’t handle the TRUTH!”? Who would have thought it came from the “A Few Good Men”

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The drama in “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” deals with Craig, a teenager, who suffers from deppression, insecurity and pressure, like most teenagers. He dreams of suicide, through jumping on a bridge, but somehow finds the courage to call help and checks himself in a hospital for further medication.

So what’s funny in the story?

To tell you upfront this is not a funny film comparable to “Hangover” or “Wild Child”. But it is funny enough to make your heart smile and your eyes sparkle. My theory of why they call it a “funny story” is the concept of you first think of yourself as worthless, then later you think yourself as genuine, like you have a function on this greater and bigger system we live. The idea is dull but to some degree, it’s actually funny. The moment you realize it’s all there in you, sleeping, you just have to wake up at the right time and the right place. By that, I’m talking about our main character, Craig, who feels he is talentless but later finds out he has a talent in drawing, who feels he is inspireless but later inspires everyone else.

Is suicide the main theme?

Although his suicidal thoughts is the reason in the first place that moves the story, this idea, as the film progresses, is negligible. (But maybe I have to rethink about that because all of the patients in the hospital are, one way or the other, brought by suicide attempts.) The story deviates from its premise in the first encounter where Craig meets Bobby, a frustrated father, by then the story talks about friendship. There’s also a time when Craig meets Noelle, a lovely lady who is about the same age as Craig, by then the story talks about infatuation. You might think there’s a danger of the film playing many concept at one but surprisingly the film delivers it well.

It’s tiring seeing films with extreme conflicts, the one that talks about life and death or love and hatred or travel throughout world. Perhaps, you might opt to see real mundane things happening to a person, without the aid of superficial conflicts. I might contradict my point since it isn’t normal to be in a hospital ward because of suicide attempt but then again this isn’t about suicide. The film also plays metaphors. Upon staying in the hospital, Craig shares a room with Muqtada, an egyptian who secludes himself from the world and spends all his time in bed, but he is not bedridden. I could easily see him as a friend who can’t find any place in this world and thus makes his own world. He is pitiable and is need of help, by then the story talks about service.

So how was Emma Roberts?

Emma Roberts, as Noelle, has a mild role. It’s logical to the part she plays. Noelle is just another plot device to realize how genuine Craig is. Zach Galifianakis, the founder of Hangover’s wolf pack and one of the main reason why Hangover received a sequel, is still amusing as he plays Bobby. When Bobby asks what Craig thinks of why he is in the hospital, Craig says “I heard you tried to rape a penguin at the zoo.” Bobby is alarmed and retorts, “Who told you that?” That line made me squeaked. That was priceless.

It’s really amazing how actors can adapt different character stories and still manages to convince us that it is their personal life.You may think that Emma Roberts always plays a warm character. But if you happen to see “Lymelife”, you can see Emma in a seductive role, though not in anyway fetish. There was scene where Emma flaunts her chest and teases her partner. I can never forget that. That made me think that actors do illuminate magic.

The verdict

In essence, the film is dramatic but the narrative is funny. The film is no puzzling code. You can take it at face value and still get that same mild experience. But sometimes if we dig deep, we feel deep. (But if we dig deeper, we drown. Kay?)

IMdB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0804497/

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_pq7HKc9z8

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Our film club plans to diversify our movie taste and at one time we had a concept about German films. It was “Das Experiment” (The Experiment in English). The movie is about a simulation program conducted by psychology scientists to witness the effect of socialization in a total institution, which in this case a prison. Enticed by the hefty money offered, many young men volunteer in the program. Randomly, some are assigned as guards and others as prisoners. As the film progresses, one thing comes in my mind, my sociology class. We have discussed this experiment alongside with the Hawthorne Effect on Sociological Investigation.

“Das Experiment”, as it turned out, is based on a novel called “Blackbox” by Mario Giordano , and the novel in return is based on Philip Zimbardo’s study “Stanford County Prison”. The study was to test the hypothesis if the prison itself is the cause of the violence. Before the actual experiment of course, the participants were closely examined if they were physically and psychologically fit to enter the program. The real study and the film were alike, they both ended bloody.

As the experiment starts, the guards are reluctant to command their counter part. The prisoners refuse to accept orders and mocks the guards and also reasons that “this is just a game, we’ll get our money soon”. Peer pressure, however, settles on the guards as they are humiliated in their roles. Tarek is among the rebellious and besides they were supposed to be rebellious since the money they will received depends on their performance. Berus, the most offended guard, begins to impose violence and the prisoners, especially Tarek, suffers a series of abuse like being stripped naked and urinated. (more…)

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Last week, my sister wanted to borrow my flash drive. She craved to get a copy of a Korean TV Series. I refused, knowing that she had her own flash drive and besides one of my living legacy is don’t lend personal things, doing so would break my self-made promise. If you have guessed that my decision was final, you would have been wrong. How could I resist on persistent pleading. Of course not. But little did I know, that was the most right decision I have ever made, at least at the time of this writing.

Shin Min Ah and Lee Seung Gi

The Korean TV Series was “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.” I saw it aired on a local channel, they always do, they can’t put up a good show and so they borrow from other countries and this has been the tradition of local channels, competing for who has to get the latest hit TV Series.

After I got the flash drive, some days later, I was about to delete the files in one button, all of them were already highlighted, waiting to meet the recycle bin. If you have guessed that my decision was final, then again you would have been wrong. Something about me wants to check out this series. I opened the first episode and moved the time bar to at least 10 minutes ahead. I was laughing, seeing the crumpled face of the protagonist, Cha Dae Wong, about to be sent to a military camp. I knew that although the series made me laugh, it would not get me hook to the story and so I watched some more and waited how would I react on the succeeding scenes. After I finished the episode, which was surprising since I only desired to see the main characters, I watched some more.

Miho is happy with her new name

(more…)

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The Way Back (2010)

I can’t walk straight for about one hour, let alone twenty minutes in a sun-baked desert. Their 4000-mile walk, unlike any marathon, they don’t have a stop for a drinking fountain or even raise a white flag to surrender, is a dying cry for freedom . Because they don’t have any choices but to walk. A story about captivity amidst the ongoing war, this historical film recounts the mysterious travelers who escaped prison, from Siberia to India.

Janusz (Jim Sturgess) is convicted a spy to the soviet union by her wife, who was forced to reveal the information due to torture. He ends up in a camp in Siberia and later meets Mr. Smith (Ed Harris) and other people who became an accomplice to the escape. After knowing the way out , and luckily a bad weather to cover their attempt, they cut the wire fence and is chased by the guards. (more…)

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