Monday, February 11, 2013
I'll be honest with you, I wasn't exactly sure where this movie was headed, especially near the end when I wanted to climb through the screen and punch everyone onscreen. I had to watch the movie trailer for this movie over and over during the Christmas season, because it was playing on the display TVs in the store where I worked, so that plus the fact that I love Denzel Washington prompted me to buy this movie as soon as it came out on DVD, but after I put it in, I became confused. the story seemed to jump a little in the beginning, between Denzel Washington's pilot who was the main character of the film and some woman who wasn't really identified much, so I was confused, but I trusted the movie to sort things out, and it eventually did (up until the climax when I began to have those previously mentioned violent/homicidal feelings towards the characters and their asinine actions).
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS WARNING SPOILERS
I was conflicted about the ending for a bit, because honestly, whether the pilot was drunk or not, the fucking plane fell the hell apart and fell out of the sky, and he landed it while only killing a few people whereas none of the other pilots who attempted similar simulated situations could even manage to save one person on board so while for purposes of the character's personal life I wanted him to get sober, I didn't think he should be held responsible for the damn engine practically falling out of the plane, but after letting it sit a bit in my mind, I'm ok with the movie ending the way that it did because I think he did the right thing for the right reasons. He couldn't let Trina take the fall for his actions, whether he was an amazing pilot or not, and I really respect that and respect what he did. I still think the people who, you know, caused a plane that was falling apart to be allowed to fly should be held responsible too, and I hope that happened as well, but I was really glad the main character got his life together in the end.
This movie was worth buying and I'm glad I finally got to see it.
Monday, February 4, 2013
WARNING: This review might be triggering for someone who has had bad experiences with ex-gay therapy. Proceed with caution and be safe.
Damn that's a mouthful of a movie title. But the movie itself, at just a little over an hour, is a good documentary that doesn't overstay its welcome. The synopsis of the movie is this: In 2005, a teen was told by his parents that he was being sent to a camp that seeks to use "reparative therapy" to help people overcome their homosexuality. He posted a bulletin on his Myspace page (remember Myspace?) telling his friends he was apprehensive about this experience, and his friends did some research, found the location of the camp, and then stood outside every day with protest signs and bullhorns for his entire 8 week stay, shouting messages of support to all the teens inside the camp who might not exactly want to be there.
I have a hard time being objective on this issue, where objectivity is defined as not having an opinion (at least that's how most people seem to define it when they leave me snotty comments telling me that I'm not objective) because of my own experiences with reparative therapy. When I was seventeen, I was pretty messed up, and due to a lot of various situations, I ended up in a residential treatment program that focused on "reparative therapy" using "aversion therapy" techniques to help teens recognize the sins in their lives and avoid these sins in the future by controlling their sinful urges and behavior. Homosexuality, or rather same sex attractions, were included on the list of sinful behaviors that this program sought to treat, along with drug and alcohol addiction. What followed after I entered the program were some of the most harrowing months of my life, as I went through the program once, got released, and then totally lost it and wound up back in the program again. Technically, I wasn't "forced" to go into the program, I chose to go in, but the issue of "choice" is muddled when you are in foster care and you're told that if you don't complete this program, you will be released from foster care and have to find your own place to live. Have you ever lived on the street? It's cold out there.
My concept of these "reparative therapy" programs doesn't seem to be the same as anyone else's, especially since there are so many different types of these programs, and I'm told that a lot of them aren't as bad as the one I attended. The aspect of my particular program that sets it apart is its focus on "aversion therapy," which is therapy that serves to make an activity so unpleasant that it triggers a fearful response that makes a person avoid that behavior in the future. In other words, trying to make someone associate behavior with bad things so they'll avoid the behavior. For alcoholics, "aversion therapy" can include taking drugs that make it so that they vomit whenever they consume alcohol, so in the future they will choose to avoid alcohol because they associate it with getting sick.
For the program that I was in, without getting too graphic, "aversion therapy" for same sex attractions included forcing us to sit with our hands folded as if in prayer while we watched slideshows of photos with same sex couples together, and squeezing our hands together tighter with each image shown, so that our hands ached by the end of the exercise, with the result that we associated seeing such pictures with feeling pain. We were also forced to split up into opposite sex pairs and the girls were forced to lie on the floor and the boys were forced to lie on top of us and we had to make eye contact and lie there for a predetermined amount of time until they let us get up. If we broke eye contact, we had to start over. The guy on top of me kept crying, and every time he'd blink and I'd start crying too, since I'm a sympathetic crier, and we'd have to start over every time. I have no idea how long it took for us to pass this exercise. It seemed like hours. I learned to have a poker face and not show emotion. It helped me get by.
I'm not telling you any of this to shock you, I'm simply trying to explain why it irritates me when people say that I'm not "objective" about this issue. Of course I'm not "objective" about a practice that has caused such harm in my life. I think these therapy programs are harmful, and that this harm can last long after the program ends. I know for myself, it's been thirteen years since I went through this program, and I still have a hard time making eye contact with people, especially during intimate situations like kissing or sex. I still can't hold hands with someone (even someone of the opposite sex) with our fingers entwined because it makes me freak out. Even when these programs aren't as scary as the one I attended (and I haven't told you half of what went on in there, believe me) I believe that telling a teenager that feelings of love are sinful can be harmful. The last thing I'd ever want my kid to feel is ashamed, and I don't get why someone would want to make their kid feel ashamed of having romantic feelings for someone. That can really mess with someone's head and have far-reaching repercussions.
I'm telling you all this because I want you to understand the background I carry with me whenever I watch a movie like this. I don't really like the term "baggage" because it implies something that a person is willingly carrying that could be discarded at any moment if the person choose to let go of it. This is my background, it happened to me, and it's a part of me just like all the good experiences that have happened in my life are a part of me as well. It has shaped my life and my opinions, and that's the way it is. Yes, I'm predisposed to have a knee-jerk negative reaction to the idea of parents sending their kid to a therapy program to try and cure the kid of being gay. This doesn't mean I don't understand why a parent might do such a thing. Parents who genuinely think that homosexuality is a set of sinful behaviors that can condemn a person to hell might be terrified that this could happen to their child. They don't want their kid to go to hell, so they try to fix the problem and help their kids. I get that. Just because I don't agree doesn't mean that I can't empathize and understand why a parent would send their kid to a therapy program like this.
This movie takes the view that this kind of therapy is wrong and harmful, but it doesn't blast everyone who believes in such therapy as evil. It might be a little more one-sided than other movies, but it has a short running time, and it doesn't present as much information on either side as it could. The (fictional) movie "Save Me" presents more of both sides, though it, too, comes to the conclusion that these "ex-gay therapy" programs aren't the best idea. This movie gives a lot of interviews with a lot of interactive elements, such as having the blog entries typed onscreen as we watch. That was enjoyable and helped engage me in the story. I liked this movie overall, thought it ended on a positive note, and wouldn't mind watching it again.
I love this movie. My friend bought it for me on DVD for my birthday back in 2007, and I watched it back then with her, and it blew us both away. It's got a lot of action but it's also good at tackling deeper issues. I hear a lot of people didn't like this movie, and they piss and moan about it, particularly because many people think you can't understand this movie unless you've watched the show "Firefly" first (which was canceled after only one season and which shows what happens before the events of this movie). I know this is a bullshit claim, however, because I've never watched "Firefly" and I understand "Serenity" perfectly. I'm sure that watching "Firefly" would give me depth of knowledge and background, but it's definitely not a requirement for understanding this movie. I submit that most people would get this movie if they watched it, because the principles it discusses are relevant even if it is fiction. The government thinks it can improve people by meddling into their lives? That doesn't happen today? The government isn't above killing undesirables in order to preserve the "peace"? Where have I seen that before? The quote River says; "Old men covered in blood. they're drowning in it, but it never touches them"? Doesn't that sound like some "old men" I could name who are responsible for many deaths even though blood technically never touched their hands? Listen, I think this movie is worth watching. It hasn't lost any of its power in the years since I first saw it. If you don't like it, fine, but don't hand me a line of BS about how no one "really understands" it unless they watched the TV show first, so the movie is "worthless." This movie is FAR from worthless. Jerks.
I saw this movie when I was 8 years old and I didn't understand it exactly. I got the basic concept, but I didn't understand the central conflict between the reporter and his fiancee until I watched the movie again last night (that's due to a benefit of 23 more years worth of experience, I suspect). this movie is kind of talky but well worth watching. It has parallels even today in people who consider themselves not prejudiced but who sit by and allow prejudice to continue without speaking out against it.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
This is another movie that I loved that everyone else seemed to hate. Part of that was because the movie deviated so far from the storyline of the game upon which is was based, but I think that's kind of silly. I don't even care if movies based on books deviate a lot, as long as the resulting movie is a good one they can change whatever they want. It's when they change a bunch of stuff and then the movie sucks that I get pissed. I don't think this movie sucks. It's a little weird and out there, and there's that long, 20 minute sequence when a character walks into a room filled with white light and all forward motion and action stops so a narrator can go back and explain what happened in the past that led to the current horrific situation (come on screenwriters, you couldn't come up with a better way of doing this than that?) but otherwise, this movie was enjoyable and has been every time I've watched it.
The story is about a little girl who is adopted by a man and his wife who love the girl like their own child even though they adopted her later in her life, when she was eight, and even though the little girl has a lot of problems. she has terrible nightmares and sleepwalks in the night, putting herself in danger, and screaming of a place called "Silent Hill." The mother decides to travel to this place(because if my kid had screaming nightmares of a place, the first thing I'd want to do is visit there) so she sets off with her daughter to find this town that isn't on any map for some reason. She gets into a minor accident and her daughter runs off into the town, and once she gets there something isn't right. Ashes swirl in the air and soot covers the town and something dark and evil is there, something that wants to kill everything it touches.
There are a lot of creepy evil things in this movie. People have complained about the BAD CGI effects, but they don't bother me. I think everything looks good enough that it doesn't take me out of the story like bad effects can sometimes do. I like the acting, too. Rhada Mitchell is great, and Jodelle Ferland is a great little actress with such expressive eyes and face that it's hard not to be mesmerized whenever she's onscreen. Sean Bean is always good, and everyone else does great in their roles as well. I like the story of how evil can corrupt even the most innocent souls, how the damned in hell might not accept their fate and might lie to themselves, how the desire for vengeance can poison a heart, how children often see their mothers as the ultimate expression of good and protection and love, and mostly how a mother can love a child even if the child isn't biologically hers. I love it when Rose said "from the moment I saw her, I knew I was her mother." I just love most everything about this movie, and what I love makes up for whatever I might not like to make this movie worth watching again and again.
I saw this movie a few years ago, and even though a lot of people seemed to hate it, I really liked it. I worried that it wouldn't hold up to repeated viewings, but I enjoyed it this time around as much as I did the first time I saw it. I also noticed more this time around, which is always fun for me. I think a lot of blowback against this movie is because Lindsay Lohan is in it, and people seem to love to hate on her and dump on her these days. Here's my take on that. first of all, I love Lindsay Lohan. I've loved her since she was a little kid appearing in movies, and I still love her now. Yeah, she's done a lot of stupid shit, but so did I in my 20s, and I've seen a lot of drug abuse and alcoholism and such firsthand and seen them tear people apart, so I'll always be sitting on the sidelines, quietly rooting for Lindsay to make it. I may not know her personally, but I think she's a talented actress, and I've known so many people who have gone through a lot of the things she''s gone through, and it's possible to get your act together and have a life and a career and move on. I'll always be hoping she does that. So no, I'm not going to hate on this movie because she was in it, even if she's done some bad things in her life and in her career. I think she does a good job here with her character (or rather characterS) and it enhances the viewing experience for me seeing her in it, because the movie is so much of art imitating life, as the old Lindsay Lohan (the good girl everyone loved) is contrasted with the new Lindsay Lohan, the bad girl who does everything wrong and lets drugs and alcohol and sex ruin her life. Rings true, now doesn't it?
The movie is about Aubrey, a perfect young college student who has the world at her feet and all the opportunities in the world. One night Aubrey disappears, as many young girls in the area have disappeared, later to be found tortured and dismembered and dead. Aubrey's parents are devastated, until one night Aubrey is found, battered and bloody and missing some body parts, but alive. except she doesn't remember her parents or anything from her life, and she insists she is a stripper named Dakota who has no idea who Aubrey is. The movie follows the FBI and police and Aubrey/Dakota as they try to piece together what the hell is going on. The police are sure she's lying, and Dakota doesn't know what to think since she remembers her life and she sure as hell doesn't remember having all the money and opportunities Aubrey had. Meanwhile, we see flashes of Aubrey being tortured and dismembered, and we wonder what the hell is going on too.
The twist ending is kind of farfetched, sure, but it's something I've seen done to an extent in other movies, something I've also heard happened in a few cases in real life, so it doesn't ring as false as it might otherwise for me, and Lohan's performance manages to keep me engrossed in the movie and wanting to find out what happens next. I enjoy this movie. yeah, some of it is silly. I mean, Lohan plays a stripper who doesn't take her top off (or anything else...those poor guys at the bar aren't even getting their cover charge worth!) and she even leaves her bra on for the sex scene! Come on, it looks silly here, folks. but whatever. The caveats don't keep me from enjoying the movie. It's worth watching, and worth watching again, even.
This movie, bad as it was, reminded me a lot of "Mad Max." Of course, I saw "Mad Max" when I was a kid, so it's possible that it wasn't any better than "Warrior of the Lost world" and I'm only remembering it as better because I saw it when I was 10 and everything was cooler when I was 10. I even liked "Jason Takes Manhattan" back then, whereas now I realize it's a big pile of crap. So this movie, about a futuristic world where normal folks work like drones and obey every order sent down from a super controlling government, is dismantled by the "warrior of the lost world" who is a guy on a motor cycle who hates authority, so he rides around defying the government with no purpose until he meets these people who want to dismantle the government and start a "New Way," so they enlist him as their hero because their prophecy says he's the savior...yeah, it's stupid, but the commentary provided by the robots and the human Joel is actually pretty funny. I had fun with it, at least. I also liked watching poor Donald Pleasance cashing a paycheck as the leader of the evil government, and he was way too classy and put way too much effort into his role in this cruddy movie.