Jarhead (**)

Unfortunately I heard a review of this movie-before I even saw it, that said that the film did not convey the internal mental drama that the book did. I went in with lowered expectations, which normally enhances my movie viewing experience, but not in this case. I believe the movie to be substandard as a drama during war times.

I am not sure if I am just sour with the violence and pornography that is now fed into movies that really does not enhance the story. Emotion is not acted properly making it most times feel forced upon the actors. While Jake Gyllenhaal has come a long was since Bubble Boy, he still does not convince me as a dramatic actor. Jamie Foxx did a good job with his character even though at times he seemed a little crazy; maybe that is what the role called for.

While I agreed with the political subplot that the movie had, I felt it was a little to force-fed. I believe that if I saw it that way, someone with opposite views to mine would have been annoyed by it. I am not sure if a marine will feel the same way, at times their portrayal seemed a little too comical.

In the end I did not appreciate having to see all the sex, not just because of the pornography, but because I believe it sends the wrong message. I feel that a young man that sees this movie, which is probably going to be must of the audience, will see way too much infidelity and sex portrayed as a gratuitous thing. *Spoiler* I also believed that his girlfriend could have stayed faithful to him, while that might have been predictable I felt it would have been a nice tribute to all the women that are waiting faithfully for their boyfriends and husbands away at war right now.

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City of God (****)

City of God (Cidade de Deus) is an excellent movie about a subject that might seem like fiction to some people, but it represents reality for the people that live in the slums of Brazil. At first I expected to see a lot similarity of the scenery in the movie to what I know from Colombia, but in reality it showed me that I have really never known what a slum is. There are places in my city back in Colombia like Ciloe SiloƩ, and El distrito de Aguablanca, that probably mirror what I saw in this movie, but even though I might have seen them, the movie showed me that I have never really been there.

Back in Colombia my Dad worked with a lot of people that lived in poor areas, and one of the ladies that helped my Mom around the house was from SiloƩ, another very poor area of Cali. Even though I had heard stories about the violence there and how bad it was, this movie put it into perspective. Children are the ones that sometimes perpetrate those crimes. I always thought that the gangs and bad people were grown ups but as the movie depicted it most of the times by the time you are 12 you could already be a murderer.

City of God is beatifully filmed, with colors and angles really helping the story. The soundtrack was also very fitting to the action and the Brazilian sound was definitely there almost being a supporting character. The use of sound reminded of another excellent movie Run Lola Run. The acting was excellent and the movie felt very real. Even though it was not a documentary but a movie based on actual events, it felt like a documentary. The events were not only possible but real. I was amazed to see how the corruption of the police was portrayed, and also the reality that hits when you know that stuff like that happens all around us but we mostly ignore it as a society.

Where I live now there is a town close by considered a Ghetto, and well in Chicago everyone knows there are places you don’t go into. It is sad that a movie this violently grotesque is not only true but could be happening just miles from us. Even though the movie shows how drugs made things worse, I think that poverty and apathy are biggest stars in the movie.

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Hotel Rwanda (****)

Who needs aliens when humans can exterminate each other. It is almost beyond comprehension that we as intelligent beings can still live in a world where such atrocities are happening. We let people die of hunger every single day; we turn our backs to people being killed. Ethnic cleansing is not a new thing; it is a lesson that the human race has not learned. Genocide is a word that we all now know… what’s worse is that it is not a word that is only used in textbooks but something that is happening even right now.

Hotel Rwanda is a film that I had wanted to see since it was in the theaters, and to my surprise it was even hard to find in the video store. Now that I have watched it I feel sad because of what I know has happened in the world I live in, but it also fills me with hope that there are still people out there trying to make this a better place to live.

Don Cheadle has always been one of my favorite actors. He always delivers a great performance; this one however was a difficult task for him. He was not portraying a fictional character, he was playing a man that had to survive the killing of thousands around him but managed to save 1200 lives. Cheadle was able to really make us feel the man’s anguish and pain as he had to make decisions that would not only put his life but his families at risk. It also painted the picture of how a man sometimes has to think of his family first before he can think of other people, I am not sure what I would be able to do in that situation if I had to chose between saving my family or saving my neighbor.

What makes me even sadder about this picture is that I did not know any details about the situation and it is a shame that I had to wait for Hollywood to let me know. I wonder how much can I really prevent something like that from ever happening again… I guess a good place to start is here


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Maria Full of Grace (***)

Starring Catalina Sandino Moreno, Guilied Lopez, Patricia Rae, Orlando Tobon, John Alex Toro, and Yenny Paola Vega. This was one difficult movie to watch. It is even tougher to review it now. I am not even sure where to start. The movie is the story of Maria, a 17-year-old Colombian that is dealing with life as we all do in a every day basis. Her world seems to be coming down on her to the point that she makes the decision to become a mule for a drug trafficking ring.

The movie is very well done, and even though it was produced in the US it was true to Colombia in both the Spanish spoken as well as the human interaction. The story was very well told, but a lot of the empty subplots I could easily fill in by being from that country. That is where my first issue with the movie starts. The way that Maria interacts with her family is not truly explained by the movie. Her struggle to be rebellious about giving money to her family clashes with the real reason she is becoming a mule. Her ultimate goal would be to help her family out. That is just the beginning of my problems with the movie. There are too many to bring up in just one post.

Colombians in movies are portrayed as thugs, mules or drug lords. It saddens me to see my country always portrayed that way. I cannot remember the last movie from Hollywood that I saw where a Colombian was actually in a role that showed a better face of the beautiful land that I am from. It is a reality that Colombia has problem both political and socio economic. I was born there and I never had anything to do with drug trade, my family is not involved in any way. I sometimes feel like the drug traffic is a cross that all Colombians have to bare as unfair as it might seem.

This is a movie review so I will stop my rant, and tell you that I do recommend you see the movie, but please keep in mind that while this is a window onto the life of a drug mule it does not represent all that Colombia is. Also keep in mind that this woman is doing this not because she wants to get rich, but because she believes this is a way to help her family and to help herself. While I do not agree with her Choice in the movie, I know this is the cruel reality that plenty of people have to live, not only that but many of them die as a result of it. Watch it, be open-minded and let me know what you think.

Logtar’s Rating System
* Don’t bother
**If there is nothing else in the video store
***Rent it for sure
****Go watch it in the theater today, or buy the DVD

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