Friday, January 29, 2016

The Revenant-A crazy good walk through the woods

               Ladies, gentlemen and fellow film lovers it’s that time of year again-Oscar season! Even with the #OscarSoWhite controversy I will be watching and enjoying the night as I do every year. Also as I do each year I try and watch as many of the nominees as possible (the more the best pictures nominees there are the harder this is) but I knew I had to see the film with the most nominations and this time around that movie is The Revenant.

                Truth be told I wanted to see the movie but I honestly didn’t know I was going to like it as much as I did and even more then I thought I would. Written by Mark L Smith based partly on the book written by Michael Punke it’s a story about a man named Hugh Glass played by the impeccable Leonardo DiCaprio who after being attacked and severely injured by a mama grizzly bear and left for dead, he survives and begins a long journey to seek his revenge. Along the way he meets a handful of  interesting characters. Besides revenge it is a story of love and fighting because of that love is what helps one survive

                  I know I’ve said this before but I mean it the time when I say director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu brings the viewer into the story. From the moment Glass is attacked by the bear we are right in the middle of the action and can feel his pain. All I thought as I watched the scene was this is what it looks like when my dog tears apart one of his toys and takes out its stuffing for the purpose of finding and extracting the squeaker. The camera work is amazing and becomes the POV of the viewer. We see the lens fog as Glass takes what breathes he has left, blood spatter and water spots also appear. The look of the film is a beautiful sight. The cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki is some of the best I’ve seen. Seeing the harsh wintery landscape helps the viewer feel as cold as I’m sure the actors were. The rushing river, high cliffs and light through the tall trees (The trees crackle to tell me its cold) made me feel like I was trudging through the crazy and unforgiving wildness. Another truth be told I have been a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio since his first acting days on Growing Pains and enjoy everything he has been a part of. As far as the Oscars go he should have been nominated for his first film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Titanic (for which I have been campaigning for him to win ever since). DiCaprio is the type of actor who at times is unrecognizable in a role and this film displays his ability to do so in the best ways possible (and I’m not just referring to the beard and hair) In The Revenant DiCaprio is alone as he crawls through mud and snow and is barely able to speak for most of the two and a half hours. As an actor he is excellent in allowing the viewer to truly feel for Glass as he looks for food (from bones of large dead animals) heals his wounds (at times not easy to watch) and find ways to stay warm (I can’t tell you what he had to do for that).

An also unrecognizable Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Paul Anderson, Kristoffer Joner and Forrest Gooluck also star in this gripping and fascinating tale. It is a small cast but each actor brings the characters (fur traders in the 1830s) they have created to life with freshness and realness that any reality show (about living in the wild) can only dream of having.

When the film was over I knew why it has been nominated for 12 Oscars and other awards so far this year and you will too once you have climbed the mountains and followed the path of The Revenant 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

10 years ago today...(originally posted Jan 7 2016)

A year after Heath Ledger passed away Entertainment Weekly remembered him and I HAD to write a letter back to them, below is what I wrote to the editor and what I wrote about happened 10 years ago today...

 Sarah Donaldson
Mon 1/19/09 12:49 PM

    Even though I cried when I saw my EW I was reminded of why I truly admired Heath Ledger and love everything he was a part of. In fact he was one of just a handful of actors who I went to the movies to see. Which brings me to a day I’ll never forget, the day I went to the multiplex for a Heath Ledger mini-movie-a-thon. I walked up to the counter with money in hand and asked for two separate tickets, one for Casanova and another for Brokeback Mountain.

     Casanova was showing first so I entered the theater, with only a handful of others, found the perfect seat and waited for the lights to go down.  When it was over I had a smile on my face as I re-entered the line with my other ticket in hand.  Anyway it turned out Casanova was longer then I planned and by the time I got into the theater showing Brokeback Mountain the only seat left was in the second row!  But my eyes adjusted and by the time the credits rolled I was smiling again.  When I got back into my car the two movies seemed to become one and I felt like I had just seen a, longer then normal, movie which happen to star the always wounderful,never the same role twice Heath Ledger.

      Thank you for remembering Heath Ledger one year later.  He was one of the best and I hope we never stop talking about him. He was something special and this fan will never forget what it was like watching him on the big screen.

As you can see I still have the ticket stubs. Recently I re-read EW  #853 from December 9, 2005 an issue that featured Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal and Brokeback Mountain on the cover and the article mentions that Ledger was coming off three flops including The Four Feathers and The Order, as you can see I saw them. In the same paragraph Gyllenhaal just did The Day After Tomorrow, which I have only seen on TV.
Because of Brokeback Mountain I became a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal  and have some ticket stubs to prove it.
Yes, Gyllenhaal has been is many more and I feel guilty about not getting the chance to see them but life gets in the way.
This is how the letter appeared two weeks later. Edited but still got my point across.