I’m glad that I was able to watch this movie the night before the Academy Awards. I had heard about The Hurt Locker last summer, but it got lost among giant battling robots and other epic blockbusters. That’s a shame, because this really is quite the gem.
It’s far from being your conventional war movie. You never really get to see a clearcut antagonist nor is there a very clear narrative being shoved down your throat. Instead, the film is presented in an almost documentary-like fashion, following a group of special soldiers as part of the war effort in Iraq. Instead of fighting insurgents, per se, this special ops company goes around defusing IEDs, or improvised explosive devices.
Quite unlike Inglorious Basterds and other films like it, The Hurt Locker is more about creating atmosphere and depicting the addictive nature of war. You really do feel a great deal of tension throughout the film and while there is no primary conflict, villain, or even clearcut character development, this movie offers a thoroughly thrilling experience. There’s just enough shaky camera work to keep the tension alive.
Michael Jackson’s This Is It (2009)
One of the biggest stories of last year was the unexpected passing of pop icon Michael Jackson. He was set to host an epic concert series and while those concerts will never come to be, we are offered a backstage glimpse at the rehearsals through This Is It.
If you’re expecting a conventional documentary with a sense of a narrative, you won’t find it here. Instead, this movie is more about giving you a sense of what the concerts would have been like if they were to have happened. You get a sense of the choreography, the set design, and other creative elements that would have come to fruition.
Yes, the show is more complex than Filipino Thriller. Seeing the build-up process for the Smooth Criminal segment, for instance, was great. It brought it us back to the legendary music video and how it would have been recreated on the stage. This is It is a must-watch; it’s far from being a great film, but it is our last look at the King of Pop.
Julie & Julia (2009)
I’m no chef. My specialty would probably consist of instant noodles and cold cut sandwiches. I’m much more inclined to dine out than to cook at home, unless someone else happens to be doing the cooking.
That’s why I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Julie and Julia. In it, Julie Powell (Amy Adams) attempts to prepare every recipe in a cookbook written by Julia Child (Meryl Streep) in one year’s time. That’s over 500 recipes. Amy Adams is adorable in her role, fighting through hardship and rejection, making for a truly believable character that could just as easily live above the pizza parlour on your block.
What kept the movie interesting was showing the parallels between the journeys of Julie and Julia, even if they were decades apart from one another. Based on a true story, Julie & Julia is a heart-warming and endearing film, but I wouldn’t say that it’s anything special. However, it does demonstrate, for the umpteenth time, that Meryl Streep can act.