There was a lot of shooting in the things I watched this week, with the (I hope obvious) exception of the first thing on the list. It was pretty upsetting, and I have at least one rant below, but generally they were well made upsetting things.
I was so happy to go see something where no one gets shot or beaten and it was legit good. Not just cute, which I knew it was going to be, but actually great. Mostly because Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, and the lovely voice of Ben Whishaw as the titular bear, but also the story was actually a well thought out and nicely crafted tale of immigration and a gentle (it’s for kids after all) fable about the importance of getting over our fear of the unknown and welcoming the stranger. A delightfully English breath of fresh air.
I have a lot of very strong feelings about this movie, but they’ve been hard to summarize down into blog-sized portions, because I try not to be too political here. (At least in a partisan, addressing the “hot button issues way” – I’m never going to stop being personally political aka unequivocally feminist, pro Civil Rights for all, etc.) And this is particularly tricky because despite being a pacifist I try very hard to support individuals who choose to sacrifice their lives to serve our country. But this movie made me actually distrust that respect. It felt like an attempt to canonize Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), and instead I spent the whole time wondering what was really separating him from the Syrian sniper that is killing “our guys.” The way this movie tells the story of the Iraq War made me physically sick; portraying an entire race of people as “savages” feels dangerous and backward. I’m not saying terrorists are misunderstood. There’s evil in the world, but refusing to acknowledge that people on the other side also have loyalties and motivations beyond simple blood lust is not an interesting way to approach this story.
That being said it’s a well made movie, and Bradley Cooper is great (though frankly not Best Actor nomination great) & Sienna Miller was good in the woman who tells the man not to do the brave thing role (see the great Emma Thompson explain hat that means at the 11:40 mark in this video.)
This miniseries probably shortened my life by a couple of hours given the amount of times it literally made my amount of times it literally made my heart race. An in-depth look at various nodes in the web of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (two sides doesn’t even begin to cover it) through the eyes of an idealistic business woman, Nessa Stein (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who is (as Gyllenhaal pointed out in her Golden Globes acceptance speech) at times powerful & at times vulnerable and at times honorable and at time vain. There are a lot of people to keep track of here (but don’t get too attached to any of them, chances are they will die in one horrific twist or another) yet they all feel like real people with stated goals and complex inner lives. (Though I really don’t understand why Nessa ever leaves her panic room.) It’s not for the faint of heart. but it’s brilliant.
Another on my long list of brilliant things it took me forever to watch because I convinced myself it couldn’t be as good as everyone said it was… Well – it was that good, of course, a perfectly crafted blend of the pulp novels the name is stolen from and a philosophy class – somehow not ridiculous because Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are doing not only the best acting of their careers but possibly the best acting on TV ever (or up there anyway).
The mystery itself is both emotionally affecting and hard to follow and not as central to my enjoyment of the show as I initially expected. By the end I was quite content to watch Rust and Marty talk about the stars.