Friday, March 16, 2012

The King's Speech

Written by David Seidler and directed by Tom Hooper, this 2010 British, Biography-drama was a combination of royalty and commoner and was etched in the minds of all those who watched it. What made it so different? And what made it so memorable? Could it be the royal décor and garments? The under-dog Geoffrey Rush who played Lionel Logue expertly? Or simply the proficient stammering performance of Colin Firth who played King George VI? These among many others are why I’m sure this film was a triumphant!

Helena Bonham Carter, who usually plays dark and odd characters did an effortless job it seemed at portraying a caring and patient Queen Elizabeth. Queen Mary played by Claire Bloom (who had the pleasure of working alongside the infamous Charlie Chaplin when she was 19); gave for me a magnificent true-to-life cold depiction of what King George’s mother may have been like. The audience fell in love with both families and cheered on as he made his final and official speech at the end of the movie. There surely aren’t any books on ‘how to stutter’; but for some magical reason Firth was able to embody and bring to life what those living with this dilemma must feel like.

Plenty of laughs and a lesson in history; I find it suitable for the young and the old. J Beautiful cinematography; close-shots; and marvelous story; leaves it’s viewers in love with the talent of Colin Firth and the charismatic man whom helped the king of Great Britain in the 1930’s. J

The Help

I’d been seeing the posters everywhere; and if that wasn’t enough, everyone was buzzing about it too; I thought; do I really want to see another sad, slavery kinda’ movie? I didn’t enjoy watching how sad or bad times were over-and-over-and-over again. I got it; it was bad; and thank goodness I don’t have to deal with it again…but it was nominated several times at the Academies and one of my flight mates actually knew Octavia Spencer personally and told me of her journey to cinematic success. I had to see it!

I was able to enjoy this 2011 drama literally the night before the Oscars; and I am glad to say that it was more comedic than sad. I cried at the end scene but overall it was an empowering story about friends, trust, hardships and collaboration as a team and being unafraid of facing your fears to a valiant victory! Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain both buckled this film unto their belt of full film schedules this year; and succeeded wonderfully at portraying solid and lovable characters. Bryce Dallas Howard also shines as a cute but ignorant villain that makes the lives of all the maids a living hell. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer were strong, delightful and god-fearing women who knew their value and worth even when others couldn’t see it.

Novel written by Kathryn Stockett and screenplay adapted and directed by Tate Taylor, it was an entertaining voyage during the civil-rights movement and rich in cast and crew to making it an Award Winning cinematic delight! It was heart-warming to know the that film was about an aspiring writer and that even if justice wasn’t served at that moment; it got people to thinking about it. Viola Davis stunned at the Oscars, graceful, elegant and in the arms of her husband of many years; and I think one of the Oscar’s high-points that night was when Octavia Spencer won an Academy Award (I know I was moved to tears) J

Mississippi in the 1960’s such a short time ago; and it seemed lovely indeed; except of course for the fact that blacks weren’t allowed to do many things. It boggles my mind what in a country so great and in a time so short ago that things of this nature existed so rampantly. They say we should learn from history; but do we humans ever take heed? We still fight wars and still divide from our brothers and sisters! The journey is seemingly un-ending; but let’s hope that little by little we get there! J

Thursday, March 15, 2012

When yuh Big, Yuh BIG

Waltzing into a private “Hollywood” house birthday party the other night; I knew I was clearly ‘over-dressed’ in my model heels and halter black mini dress, leaving my legs bare to the cold night air; but I didn’t care if they looked my way; I was just happy to be out with my darling girl-friend who invited me and it was a welcomed change to typing my nights away and reciting poetry. I hadn’t been invited to one of these in a while; but I knew it was a welcomed excuse to socialize and network with others working in the film industry; the crowd would be young, beautiful, successful, all the ‘who’s-who’ in the business; drinks and dip would be expected but for others plenty of drugs would be available too.

The birthday boy was a dashing lad; smartly dressed and heavily receiving kisses from all the ladies. He was turning 30 and his life was simply one BIG celebration indeed! He was starring in one of television’s current and biggest shows; he was living in a mansion and surrounded by a heap of others like himself. Showered with kisses and a bottle of champagne didn’t sound too shabby at all. J

I made friends with the bar tender; he was a stout dimpled fella’ with bright blonde dreadlocks and he made a mean ginger drink; twas pretty darn good! J There were girls shaking their money makers in the living room, and some boys lounged on the couch staring at them, while others were snorting up what ‘Tony Montana’ from SCARFACE loved snorting up best. Outside there was a photo-booth dishing out instant photos of guests and a cozy bonfire keeping some others warm.

My friend and I made a pit-stop to the loo; and while walking by a young man with intense looking eyes bellowed a hello our way. I peered in his direction, but my friend pulled me onwards. Could it be a Caribbean accent I heard; sure it was only a hello; but being a foreigner and a flight attendant I was pretty good at deciphering accents from around the world; and a Caribbean person at that; any true islander would pick up on a fellow accent. While my friend canoodled with her husband I made the b-line back towards in his direction, and came right out with it. “Excuse me, where are you from?” By George! He was Caribbean indeed! J Surely this was too good to be true!

We began our usual Caribbean opening conversation with, “Which island? What part? How long yuh living here? Any family here?” The warmness and excitement quickly faded though as he began to only speak about his successes. Which surely I was proud of him; but when he realized I wasn’t yet there; he literally ditched me and joined some others at the opposite end of the room. Apparently, he knew everybody and everything! He made award winning films, was tight with Zoe Saldana (one of my film mentors – whom he said I just missed her because she was at the party), he worked with Orlando Bloom, and he had accomplished all of this at the young age of 33. Not bad at all!

Usually, Caribbean people are warm and helpful; it’s what we’re known for; we feed you, give you gifts, try to get you to dancing and offer assistance if need be. I didn’t expect this Caribbean super-star to give me any hand-outs; but it was hurtful to see the dizzying excitement fizzle when he deemed me less important and slunk away. It was there I remembered how Hollywood operated; families of success remaining successful and well the connections. All very clever indeed; I mean, you wouldn’t want just anyone coming in to mess up a good thing. I suppose I must have come across silly when he asked if I knew Zoe Saldana and I blurted out that I had a picture of her on my bedroom wall… probably not one of my cooler moves.

In Trinidad & Tobago we tend to repeat words to express the intensity of the subject. For instance; ‘The day was long-long…” meaning our day was a long one. Or, “It was hot hot hot eh!?” meaning the day was a proper scorcher. These and many more we use to re-iterate or express our passion on a specific subject. “When yuh Big, yuh BIG!” means once you’re successful or on top, you’re at the very top, you don’t remember where you were before. And I think this captures exactly the gentleman’s demeanor that night.

Many times we are shunned in life; like lepers, or the slow-learning people in the olden days; but then and now we are reminded that we are never alone on this journey in life; that we are always surrounded by the spiritual/universal love and understanding. Once we are on that path and are aware of the power we have, then we will always succeed. I’m not saying to stop networking; or doing whatever it is you’re supposed to do to get ahead; but keep proactive and most of all keep trusting that life is unfolding exactly as it should. Be compassionate for those that treat you unfairly; they know not what they do; and one day soon, you’ll also have your day in the sun! J


Jair J

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Ides of March

Written, directing and acting by George Clooney; released in 2011. I certainly didn’t think I’d like the movie as much as I did; but man was it moving! I thought, “Politics? I can take a pass…” But I’m sure glad I gave it a try and stuck it out; it was riveting from start to finish! The alluring George Clooney didn’t exactly get me shaking in excitement, but instead co-star Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman whose consistent banter and betrayal was nail-bitingly good! Paul Giamatti was also riveting and there was great dynamic between all of this film’s main characters.

The audience follows the presidential candidate on his campaign trail and learns about the basic ins and outs of doing whatever it takes to win the votes and trust of the people. It reminded me very much of the movie ‘Crash’ where although there weren’t several separate stories intertwined we still were able to see crooked versus true believers and how quickly one becomes tainted because of the hideous politics going on around them. What path will they choose? Or do they succumb to gain success? Ryan Gosling learns quickly and follows through to our viewer’s delight!

Budget estimated at about 12 and a half million dollars and making a cool 40 million back; it’s easy to see why Cross Creek Pictures, Exclusive Media Group, Smoke House, and Crystal City Entertainment found it easy to invest in such an entrancing and almost sickening story with an A-list cast! Dramatic to the max and full of twists and turns; this is a movie I’d gladly recommend. J

Scent of a Woman


This drama released in 1992 is certainly a cinematic gem; simple in production but with its larger than life characters; highly outstanding and spectacular. Still have not seeing ‘The Godfather’ which believe me it is high on my list of ‘movies I must see and study’; Al Pacino I see is unquestionably tremendously talented. Many actors have had the opportunity to play blind and I’ve seen quite a number attempt to make it true to life, so far, Pacino and Ziyi are the only ones I find believable.

Written by Giovanni Arpino and adapted by Bo Goldman, this film certainly had the dialogue, life and lessons the world could learn from. There were so many words of wisdom, kindness, and comedy packed within this script, it’s hard not to fall in love with this film from beginning till end. Pacino overshined the entire cast; and although he was somewhat of a fanatic, we loved him because we understood that he was simply hurting and wanting someone to really care. My favourite monologue; which would be relatable to the title of the film would certainly have to be:

“…Women…what could you say? Who made em? God must’ve been a fucking genius! Hair…they say hair is everything you know. Have you ever buried your nose, in a mountain of curls and just…wanted to go to sleep forever? Or lips, and when they touched yours, were like your first swallow of wine…after you just crossed the desert? Tits! Woo-Ha! Big ones! Little ones! Nipples staring right out at ya, like a secrets…Mmmm…Legs. I don’t care if they’re greek columns or second-hand Steinways…what’s between them…passport to heaven….”

Directed by Martin Best and released by City Light Films and Universal Pictures, this crew and cast hit movie gold! Jam-packed with moments and memories to last a lifetime! J

The Pursuit of Happyness

What made this 2006 film special; was that it was inspired by a true story. That and the impeccable acting delivered by Wil Smith and Thandie Newton; both actors really took their characters by the hand and sat with them and shared several cups of tea. They understood the anguish, frustration, hopelessness; fear and struggles of what the real people went through in the early 80’s in San Francisco.

Nominated for an Oscar and achieving 18 nominations and 10 wins in other film festivals, this film was written by Steve Conrad and directed by Italian Gabriele Muccino. We the audience, can see the dedication, research and study that went into making this one a memorable experience. Real life – Chris Gardener; whom the life-story was adapted from was visible on set from start to finish and to find an actor to play his son in the film; took casting a long 5 weeks until they found the perfect match of chemistry and connection – Will Smith’s (Chris Gardner) own son, Jayden Smith.

It’s hard not to go on this tumultuous journey with our characters, and feel what they feel as the close-shots and dialogue are true-to-life and heart-warming. We’ve all had our low moments in life; some more serious than others and it makes us spring with joy to see when our main character overcomes. It is a story about not giving up and that most times happiness is earned and greater yet that happiness is better when shared. We laugh, we cry and we learn to follow and keep the rules, but most importantly the lesson of never, ever, giving up! J