Daily Archives: December 21, 2017

Darkest Hour Movie Review

Winston Churchill was one of the greatest politicians and orators of the 20th century. He will go down in history as one of the men who saved Europe, democracy and Western civilization from the Nazis.

The new movie, Darkest Hour, starts off as World War II is beginning to engulf Europe. Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) is being forced to resign as Prime Minister due to his inability to lead the country during wartime become obvious. His chosen successor is Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman), whose reputation up to this point is not flawless. Churchill’s wife, Clemmie (Kristin Scott Thomas) convinces her husband to take the position. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Layton (Lily James) is hired as Churchill’s personal secretary. He is not the easiest man to work for.

Churchill has a choice to make. There is the possibility of making a deal with Germany and stopping the war in its tracks. Or, they could fight, knowing full well that lives will be lost in the process.

This movie is pure Oscar bait. Oldman’s performance is  truly exceptional. He is so good that I thought that at times, I was watching a documentary about Winston Churchill rather than watching a film with a fictional narrative and actor Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill. I also appreciated that instead of putting Churchill on a pedestal, he is shown as a flawed human being who is suddenly thrust into a job that requires a decision that will forever change not just the fate of Europe, but the whole world.

I absolutely recommend it.

Darkest Hour is in theaters. 

 

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Movies

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Captain Hook

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the classic story of Peter Pan, Captain Hook is the antithesis of the youthful hero. Hook, a pirate by trade, would like nothing more than to finally defeat Peter Pan once and for all. An older man who wears a long dark wig, Hook is the stand in for being a certain age.

Once Upon A Time decided to change-up the character. Instead of the old man wearing the wig, Captain Hook, aka Killian Jones (Colin O’Donoghue) is a rock and roll version of the character. Wearing leather and still sporting the  traditional metal hook, Hook’s initial enemy is not Peter Pan, but Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle).  Hook’s other half at the time is Milah (Rachel Shelley), Rumple’s estranged wife.

Though Hook starts off as a villain, he becomes a hero and the significant other of Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison). Emma is initially skeptical of Hook, his charm and smooth talk are not exactly turns ons in the beginning. But underneath that charm and smooth talk is a man who has conviction, heart and fights for who and what is important to him.

To sum it up: Taking a classic character and rewriting them while keeping the known characteristics is like walking a fine line. On one hand, the writer is tasked with the very difficult job of not simply copying what has been done before. But on the other hand, find a way to combine the new version of the character with the characteristics and narrative that the audience has come to know and love or hate is an equally difficult task.

When it comes to OUAT’s version of Captain Hook, the writers found a way to balance what was known about Captain Hook with a new narrative and new character arc. A  good writer knows which characteristics, narrative elements and character arc fits their version of their character while declining to use other elements that don’t fit in with their story. It’s a challenge that many a writer has faced, but if it is done properly, the writer is able to blend the old with the new and create a character that both fits in with the older image while creating a brand new image of the character.

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Throwback Thursday-Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story

For many musicians, the dream is to sign a record contract and perform for millions of fans around the world. The question is, however, when that dream becomes reality, will the musicians continue to be themselves or will they give into the image that the record company wants them to be?

In the 1999 television movie, Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story, Lyne Tanner (Bonnie Somerville) and Tyler Hart (Brad Hawkins) are part of a 1950’s rock and roll band whose dream is to make it big.  When they finally make it big, the record company is eager to mold the band into their own image. Will the band give in or will they remain true to themselves?

There are two arguments about this movie: it’s a television movie. Yes, the music is infectious, but the narrative is also a little predictable. The other argument is that the narrative is not a new story. How many musicians have signed record contracts to learn that the record company’s image of the band contrasts to how the band sees themselves?

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

 

 

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Filed under Music, Television, TV Review