THERE is nobody I know who wants to hear “bad” news. I do not think anyone would like to receive such news. What I find interesting is the way people react to such news. There are families who do not acknowledge news of a loved one’s illness. They may hear a relative was diagnosed with cancer but they do not know how to react or act on such news. The relative may go on their journey towards death without having the support and love of their family members, not out of hate only ignorance, who do not know how to make things better. Sadly you cannot always make things better; however, lending an ear or bringing a cup of ice chips to the dying relative could make a world of difference. WHEN it comes to the general public I am not sure if “bad” news is always reported honestly by the media. Sure they are quick to report a tragedy, let us say an earthquake or flood, but the focus seems to go to what will grab a viewer’s attention or heart strings. A small child saved from the roof of their home would make good story; but not an individual who was struck with a debilitating injury from the catastrophic event, who will no longer be able to perform their job, facing a life of poverty. Now I know there have been times where this is not the case, just recently seeing these “Go Fund Me” pages would be an example of getting the word out. I think the influx of reality television shows and the various social media outlets have warped people’s perceptions of basic truth. It is because of this movie that I have been thinking about this subject. We may want to only celebrate and focus on the positives, but the reality may not always match the cheering. RETURNING to the states for a short victory tour Billy Lynn, played by relative newcomer Joe Alwyn, had one person who did not want him going back overseas after the celebrations; his sister Kathryn, played by Kristen Stewart (Café Society, Still Alice). This film festival winning war drama directed by Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Taking Woodstock) was filmed by a new process using a high frame rate. It made this picture look like a live television show is the only way I can describe it. Personally I found it a big distraction and did not like the look it created on screen; there was a harsh sharpness to the scenes, but that is simply my tastes. With Garrett Hedlund (Pan, Unbroken) as Dime, Steve Martin (The Pink Panther franchise, Cheaper by the Dozen franchise) as Norm and Vin Diesel (The Last Witch Hunter, Fast & Furious franchise) as Shroom; the acting was good but the script did not provide enough for the actors. At times there were scenes of brilliance but then another scene would fall flat. I did not think the story offered much for the viewers; I was left with a bored feeling, wishing I knew more about certain characters and their motivations. Overall the viewing aspect was not pleasant to me and if this technique of shooting a film is going to be a reality, then I want fantasy.
1 ¾ stars
I wish I would have seen the 3D version of this exquisite movie. The fact that I am not a big fan of the 3D fad we have been experiencing, should tell you something about the visual aspect of director Ang Lee’s (Taking Woodstock, Brokeback Mountain) incredible masterpiece. Under his watchful eye both actors and animals commanded their scenes, placed perfectly for optimal effect. Based on Yann Martel’s best selling novel, the story was about the survivor of a shipwreck who found himself in a life boat with 4 animals from his family’s zoo. Newcomer Suraj Sharma was amazing as survivor Pi Patel. I found his ability to emote emotions without the use of his voice to be fresh for someone new to acting. Irrfan Khan (Taking Woodstock, Brokeback Mountain) did a beautiful job in his role, being properly confident yet reserved. Now I must talk about a third actor in this film, the tiger. I read that there were 3-4 Bengal tigers used in the picture except in scenes deemed dangerous. One would not have to take a big leap of faith here to realize a live tiger would not be used in scenes when Pi was in the same boat. The fact that I had read about the use of CGI effects made the computer graphic tiger more astounding to me. The big cat was so real looking I could not take my eyes off the regal animal. There was only one scene where the cat looked computer generated. Truly, the level of realism for all the animals was remarkable. I believe this movie will be a topic of conversation due to the different views the audience will walk away with from the open ended story. A breathtaking piece of work that I plan on seeing again in 3D.