Rosewater

John Stewart makes his first movie and it’s really good. It’s the true story of a Newsweek journalist that was arrested in Iran after the 2009 election. Stewart takes a very compelling story written by Maziar Bahari after spending over 100 days in solitary confinement and presents it in a beautiful and compelling film. The movie is full of humor and even manages to humanize Bahari’s torturer. Stewart also includes a few jabs at New Jersey because “everybody knows about New Jersey.” The movie stars Mexican actor Gael García Bernal in a very strong performance.

John Stewart seems like an odd choice for this film. Known for his Daily Show, Stewart is respectful of the people, culture, and story and shows that he can make a film worth watching.

I got to see the film at a special advance screening followed by a live telecast of John Stewart and Maziar Bahari being interviewed by Stephen Colbert (not in character). You can tell they are all passionate about the subject. Their wish is that this film might be seen by the right people in Iran and other countries where free speech is forbidden.

I highly recommend this film. I hope it is considered at Oscar time including Stewart for direction.

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John Wick

Keneau Reeves is back with a movie that could be a worthy sequel to The Matrix. It is the perfect antedote to Interstellar. The plot is simple: They kicked his dog, now he must kill them. That’s it. Nothing too deep about it. John (Keneau) walks through the rest of the movie with singular focus. The movie takes this focus and turns it into a continuous string of action sequences as the bad guys come in waves trying to kill John. The movie it’s full of characters that would be at home in a Tarantino film. These characters live by a code and speak in euphemisms that play to the absurdity of the situation. John is able to call for a clean up crew as easily as calling Mr. Wolf from Pulp Fiction. The movie is predictable with all the usual revenge flick cliches but that does not diminish the experience. There are a lot of subtitles for the Russian. The filmmakers used some creativity in presenting the text on the screen. What sets John apart from his peers in the movie is his perfect aim and impossible reaction time. By the time the other guy has had a chance to take aim John has already taken the head shot. The movie it’s full of cool cars. They are the only ones spared. All modern cars end up being destroyed. It’s a pure action thrill ride. Don’t look for deeper meaning than that.

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Interstellar

The new movie Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey and directed by Christopher Nolan is destined to become a science fiction classic like 2001 but I don’t think it will be appreciated in our time. At three hours long I think some audiences will have a hard time staying engaged. The cast and story may make it a contender for the Oscars even without commercial success. Continue reading “Interstellar”