Tag Archives: Unbroken

MOVIE SEASON: AWARDS, REVIEWS, POPCORN, WHICH ONE TO SEE NEXT

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Unbroken
Director: Angelina Jolie
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson
Actors: Jack O’Connell, Takamasa Ishihara, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund
Director of Photography: Roger Deakins
Film Editor: William Goldenberg, Tim Squyres
Awards to date: Critics Choice Award Nominee for Best Picture, Critics Choice Award Nominee for Best Director, Critics Choice Award Nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay, Critics Choice Award Nominee for Best Cinematography,

The opening scenes show airmen flying a bomber over Germany in World War II. These scenes are extraordinary, certainly some of the best of this kind ever filmed. They are riveting in their clarity. One reviewer likened them to the work of Clint Eastwood. As a movie-goer of some experience, I’ve never seen such scenes better executed.

The photography throughout this film is excellent. Every frame is beautiful. Through much of the movie, this viewer was enthralled by the beauty of the shooting and could think of little else.

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The movie is based on the gripping account of the life of Louis Zamperini as told by Laura Hillenbrand in her best-selling non-fiction Unbroken. Louis was a troubled teen who became an Olympic runner and then a bombardier during World War II. Shot down over the Pacific he endured 47 days adrift at sea and later internment in Japanese prison camps.

For moviegoers who have read the book, they know the emotional content of the story. For those viewers who have not read the book, the telling on screen may well seem sterile, uninteresting, cold. There is a certain ho-hum, let’s go through the events, quality to the telling of the story, though the events are horrific. Where is the drama and heightened feeling among the three men trapped on a raft for 47 days after their plane is shot down? What of the relationship between Louis and his older brother, who sees his athletic potential. What of the difficulties of his teen years? What about the grit he showed as he developed as a runner? The deep feelings and emotions of some facets of his story seem to be missing.

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There is more drama to the horrors of the conflict between Zamperini and his tormentor the prison official known as The Bird. Both actors are at their at their best with this conflict. Details of torture are not sugar-coated. And yet, the source of Zamperini’s strength, the underlying fears he must have known seem strangely absent.

The writers and the director must take responsibility for the coldness of the movie. It seems overlong in places, even uninteresting. The emotional drive of the narrative is lacking. This will be felt more keenly by those who do not know Zamperini’s story as told by Ms. Hillenbrand. Others may like the objectivity, and not miss a strong dramatic edge to the narrative.

Many will see this movie. The book is very popular. News of the movie has been everywhere. Angelina Jolie is a director to watch. It will be interesting what part word-of-mouth may play in its box office success, and how it may or may not be effected by the awards ceremonies on the horizon.

Join the conversation. Let us know what you think of this movie.

SIX BOOK-BASED MOVIES TO SEE BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR

I listed these movies in no particular order. All scripts are adapted screenplays predicted by some sources to be under watch for an Oscar in the adapted screenplay category. You can expect a good story, well-told. All of them have something special to offer in addition to a good script.
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Mockingjay Part I
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen is not to be missed! There are endless articles about this movie. You can easily find more info. Jennifer Lawrence is the outstanding young actress of this or any generation. The movie also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Juliette Moore, both usually give outstanding performances. Woody Harrelson gave a riveting performance in the first two movies of this series.

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Wild
Yes, I am a Reese Witherspoon fan, and I loved the book by Cheryl Strayed. Reese is receiving plenty of Oscar buzz. I can’t wait to see this movie. I expect the cinematography to be stunning.

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Unbroken
Another terrific book, a classic of this century. The word is that Angelina Jolie has done a fine job directing. Any way you slice it, it is a fabulous story. The adapted script credits list Joel and Ethan Coen, well-known and extremely able movie writers, producers and directors.

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The Homesman
Another outstanding performance or so we are told, by Hilary Swank. Admittedly this movie gets my nod because I am a fan of westerns. Here we have Mary Bee Cuddy, a Nebraska pioneer woman in the years before the Civil War, and a look at the cost to women of immigration and the life on the plains with only the wind to keep them company. The movie also stars Tommy Lee Jones. It is based on a novel by Glendon Swarthout.

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Gone Girl
This script continues to be talked about. Rosamund Pike is being touted for a best actress Oscar nomination. The movie also stars Ben Affleck. Need I say more?

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Still Alice
Several friends have recommended this book. I have yet to read it. The subject matter of early-onset dementia is a tough one. Juliette Moore’s outstanding performance draws raves from the critics and the script is in the running for an Oscar nomination.

I like the IMDb website or the app for more information about a movie or TV show. I have the app on my ipad. (How else would I understand some of the crazy TV I watch?) www.IMDb.com

Do tell us what movies you plan to see or have seen and what you think. You pay your money. You are a movie critic. Your opinion counts.