Vol. 22, No. 5,514 - The American Reporter - September 7, 2016

by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
Bradenton, Fla.
December 4, 2009
Film Reviews

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BRADENTON, Fla., Dec. 4, 2009 -- The one remarkable film of 2009? "The Road,' starring Viggo Mortensen with a wonderful cameo by Robert Duvall, is based on Cormac McCarthy's National Book Award winner of the same name and is, if possible, even more unrelievedly grim than the novel.

Set in the aftermath of some unnamed apocalypse, it follows the death-struggle of a mannamed Pa and a boy named "Boy" throuygh a ruined New England where maruders eat the survivors they find, no one has any ammunition and food is extremely hard to come by.

What do you say about a somnambulant film like this one? It is a great film riven throughout by the desperate struggle for survival that may one day again characterize humanity. And in the other sense of the word humanity, it is a giant.

The characters, good guys and bad, are uniformly riveting. The film was perfectly imagined, and there is not a single note of it that rings false. Nor is there any assurance to be found in this film that after struggle, mankind will triumph; we are left hoping we will, and that hope is a very precious commodity here.

"The Blind Side" is surely a rescuer for Sandra Bullock (after the ill-fated "All About Steve") as surely as she is a rescuer for Martin Oher, the giant NFL defensive tackle who she discovers in her Mississippi home town wandering the streets at night with no place to go. A gentle giant, she takes him into her family and raises him like a son, which he becomes when they decide to adopt him.

The movie is a genuine tear-jerked, mostly for the sad plight of Martin and his drug-addicted mother, and sometimes for the loving quality Bullock brings to her role. At a screening in Spring Hill, Fla., in very conservative Hernando County, the audience broke out in applause at the end for a fine, uplifting story, well told.

There's little about the apocalypse film "2012," based on a book by Whitley Streiber, that's uplifting except tectonic plates, which frame the film's marketing imagery and set its global catastophe in motion.

It's the end of the world, folks, so a few people have built an ark high in the Himalayas, and if you can get there and then get aboard you're maybe going to live. The film's premise is that the Incan calendar markings show the end of the world coming two years from now.

Suffice to say, the world ended for the Incas when the Spaniards invaded five centuries ago, and their ruins - like Macchu Pichu and Cuzco, in Peru - are evidence of an advanced society for its time. But that is mostly tangential to this story, which uses graphic design and lots of screaming tracks to mount a credible three hours of global destruction.

John Cusack, an immensely versatile star, shows his action-hero side gently nudged by his loving papa side as he struggles to bring his wife and child through the maelstrom.

I was engrossed by this film, and I came out of the theater with this to say about it: It is the best apocalypse film ever made. See it.

Some short takes:

  • Pirate Radio - Based on a true story, it's an engaging and very musical paean to the spirit of rock 'n roll back when it was banned in Britain and broadcasters were forced to go to sea to get heard. Philip Seymour Hoffman stars.

  • Planet 51 - Great for kids, as it shows them how we might look from another perspective, and not just an alien one.

  • Law Abiding Citizen It never slows down. Story of a man wronged by the courts may even have a message; it certainly packs a punch.

  • New Moon - Talk about your pregnant pause! This thing pauses every minute or so for a slow, deep breath, and it's tedious as hell. There's a few good action scenes, though.
  • Avatar? - Oh, that. Just one of the very greatest films of all time.

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