Creation

Creation

Creation. 2009. Jon Amiel, director. Great Britain.

Creation is the story of Charles Darwin; the man most often associated with thought surrounding the evolution of life. While persons previous had laid groundwork, none proved the truth of evolutionary thought to the extent that Darwin was able through his meticulous gathering of scientific data. In his identification of natural selection – the how of evolution – Darwin enjoys a certain originality.

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The Wrestler

The Wrestler

The Wrestler. 2008. Darren Aronofsky, director. United States.

The Wrestler immediately inundates its viewer with sounds and sights serving to communicate the high esteem in which Randy “The Ram” Robinson is held. Broadcasters excitedly call his matches while announcements are made identifying attendances in the tens of thousands. Venues such as Madison Square Garden host Randy and posters highlight his iconic status.

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Doubt

Doubt

Doubt. 2008. John Patrick Shanley, director. United States.

One of the more memorable roles for Philip Seymour Hoffman, to me, was as Father Flynn in Doubt. Set in 1964, Flynn is a priest in the Bronx. Sister Aloysius, principal of the school attached to the parish Flynn administers, becomes suspicious of the relationship between Flynn and one of the students in her school. A tagline for the film reads: “There is no evidence. There are no witnesses. But, for one, there is no doubt”. This encapsulates the struggle that will unfold between the priest and the sister.

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Only God Forgives

Only God Forgives

Only God Forgives. 2013. Nicholas Winding Refn, director. Denmark.

The headline could have read “Only God Forgives. Cannes Audience Cannot”. A not inconsequential number of walkouts occurred during early screenings of Only God Forgives. It has been reported that, of those enduring this picture in its entirety, many accompanied the final credits with booing. One reaction, although positive, admitted that Only God Forgives would “have people running for the exits and for the hills”.

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Gravity

Gravity

Gravity. 2013. Alfonso Cuarón, director. Mexico.

Seven years after Children of Men, Alfonso Cuarón has returned with Gravity. In Gravity, a foreign country explodes one of its satellites and this sets in orbit debris which destroys an American spacecraft and leaves several astronauts adrift in outer space.

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Children of Men

Children of Men

Children of Men. 2006. Alfonso Cuarón, director. Mexico.

In his review of Babel, Roger Ebert describes its filmmaker as one of three men representing the “New Mexican Cinema”. Ebert notes how, in the past, a country might suddenly produce a brilliant generation of filmmakers and he expresses his view that, in the present, such a flowering is occurring in Mexico. Babel, Pan’s Labyrinth and Children of Men were three Mexican pictures released in the same year and each, in my opinion, is a near masterpiece.

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The Fifth Estate

I'm Julian

The Fifth Estate. 2013. Bill Condon, director. United States.

In July of 2007, a series of attacks took place from the skies of Baghdad. In the first, fire was directed at a group of a dozen or so men. Among them were two war correspondents working for Reuters. Eight men were killed including one of the correspondents. In the immediately following second strike, fire was directed at the wounded. Clearly wounded, and posing no risk, the second correspondent was killed by helicopter fire as he was being helped into a van. Two further men were killed, two children within the van were wounded, and their father was killed. A spokesperson at the time stated that coalition forces had been engaged in combat against a hostile entity. That interpretation was accepted. In April of 2010, however, WikiLeaks released footage of these strikes. A different story – the truth – was told.

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