Friday, April 12, 2013

The Weekend Pick: Go Big, small and game-changing with "42".

In this weekend's movie openings, only one new release found its way to the top of the Moviedozer list. That film is writer, Brian Helgeland's (Mystic River, L.A. Confidential) telling of the Jackie Robinson story, 42. The film is both written and directed by Helgeland.

Starring Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and a deeply in character Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, 42 is a small story in a big film, and a small film telling a big story all at once.

The story of the first black player to crack through the color barrier of major league baseball obviously carries profound historical importance. But it was, and is, the reserved character of the two men at the center of the story who deeply believe they can prevail over hard set prejudice, that pushes the story to unfold so powerfully. That achievement, and the indomitable belief in its inherent justice and acceptance, would become a milestone for race relations in our country and an indelibly proud moment for the sport of baseball.

In a past article on marketing true-life movies (The Art of the Trailer: Selling true stories.), Moviedozer included the trailer for 42. You can see it by clicking here, or on the title of the article above.

Going small. Three new limited release worth attention.
Also based on real life events, Into The White takes moviegoers back to World War Two and a small arial battle that results in forcing the combatants to confront one another while trying to survive side by side. Notable for including a performance by Rupert Grint who played Ron Weasley throughout the entire series of Harry Potter movies, the film also takes big concepts and themes and distills them down to basic instinct and emotion.

The Angel's Share will take you on a journey to Scotland and a taste (and a sniff) of making whisky. That's Scotch Whisky, thank you very much and this clever comedy finds charm in the people whose lives are truly flavored by the "waters of life" that flow through their land and their blood. Notable for winning a Jury Prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for director Ken Loach and a clever angle (if a bit contrived) for telling the story of a young man's redemption.

Lastly is a movie that I personally doubt I will ever sit through. Mostly because the trailer makes me feel as if I already have, in another movie. Both of the films I'm talking about are directed by Terrence Malick. The new film, featuring a cast headlined by Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem, is To the Wonder.

As fans would expect of Malick, the trailer images are stunning. Unusual framing, seemingly incongruent cuts, a masterclass in folding light around characters, ethereal camera movement and stunning composition. All of the artistic qualities that drew me into the trailer of Malick's Oscar nominated The Tree of Life. The admiration of which also drew me into sitting through each of the 139 minutes of its running time wondering why I felt like the experience was more like sitting on a bench in front of a wonderful photography exhibit rather than being told a story on film.

I'm including To the Wonder in today's column because it is, indeed, a beautiful trailer. It is also hauntingly and annoyingly similar to Tree of Life. So the trailer is here for you to enjoy, at about the exact running time I would recommend a Malick movie runtime. But for 2 minutes, it is gorgeous work. If you're a fan of Terrence Malick's work, you should certainly go see the whole movie on a real theater screen because even I won't deny that he is a master filmmaker.

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