Thursday, November 20, 2014

At The Movies With Angelina!

I came third row close to that superstar, idol, inspiration and special envoy to the UNHCR, Angelina Jolie, at the world premiere of her directorial debut Unbroken. I could practically read the tattooed coordinates of her kids' birthplaces!
Here she is taking all kinds of selfies with fans outside for the better part of an hour. And she had a pen for autographs too, just in case anyone wanted to get old fashioned.
Brad Pitt came later and did the same thing. They were incredibly gracious and generous with their time, and it made you realize that you would never want to be that famous.  

Unbroken is the unbelievable true story of Olympic runner and WW2 vet Louis Zamperini. He became very close with Angelina during filming, she even said he was like a father (take that Jon Voight) and only died earlier this year, at the ripe old age of 97.

The film begins with his plane crashing into the ocean where he's stranded for 47 days and only goes downhill from there. He's found by the Japanese navy who toss him into a POW camp where he is savagely beaten, taunted and tortured. Unbroken is, in another word, bleak! Louis ultimately became a champion for forgiveness, but the film doesn't spend show how exactly he got there (was that God on the liferaft?) and certainly not enough of this redemption to lift audiences from the dark horror of humankind.
Jack O'Connell (left) stars as Louis Zamperini. He was pretty well bombed on the red carpet -- and considering what he went through in the film, perfectly understandable!

Have you seen the new Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1? The first two in this franchise were great. Who doesn't want to see teens killing each other? But in this one, the third, absolutely nothing happens! The only thing I learned is that Julianne Moore's wig looks like she borrowed it from a corpse in the catacombs and also either they shot films two and three together - or they really took their time in post with this expository trailer for number four because Phillip Seymour Hoffman's been dead for ages!

Then we have that lofty Nightcrawlers -- Jake Gyllenhaal plays an opportunistic ambulance chaser in LA in a suspenseful, well-crafted portrayal of... creepy crawly people. It's nice to see Rene Russo is still around; she comes out of her crypt here looking like a dead ringer for Gena Rowlands and playing a TV producer remarkably as hideous as our lead.

His sexual ambitions and her ambivalent consent combine to make them the most bizarre pairing since she was dating Dustin Hoffman back in the 1995 stinker, Outbreak. Nightcrawlers is not neo noir, it's neo-blech. You're all just sociopaths! And I need to take a bath.

You can restore your faith in humanity with the indie, Pride. Set in Thatcher's UK it's based on the true tale of a group of maligned gays who assist the maligned coal miners on strike in Wales. They were both misunderstood and despised and treated unfairly by the authorities, so they have a lot in common but the rural small-town miners want no help from the gays and eventually even vote to refuse any further funds raised by them, but change happens in the small community and when the strike is all over, guess who comes down the next year to lead the London pride parade to support the gays at the height of AIDS?

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