Sunday, November 27, 2016

Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight is about the career of a black man who from childhood to adulthood, has to navigate his life concealing his gay sexual orientation from the masculine black culture of South Florida.

Barry Jenkins debuted with a quiet frustrated slice of life with Medicine for Melancholy (2008). About a black bike courier who contemplates with a black woman who’s in a relationship with a white man. Barry Jenkins returns to the social struggle of the black experience with Moonlight.

Like Boyhood, Moonlight chronicles the touch stone moments of a boy’s life that add up to who he is. What Moonlight does better is focus in on those moments that turns one into their worst self. Through universal cultural missteps and sub cultural missteps of one’s race. There being a notion of mandatory apparent strength, aggressiveness and violence associated with black males within the black community, also linked to the imperative need for a positive male role model in a boy’s existence. As a partly back person myself, I can a test to this but I would most definitely say this cultural gripe is egged on universally by whites through media as a way to belittle the black experience and once again make being a colored person a caricature.

Moonlight also touches on refusal by the black community to understand gay rights and the possibilities of being black to be more 3 dimensional than 2 dimensional. Having the up-bringing of most black males to be a fight to be who they really are as oppose to an image being projected on to them for societies own indifferent pleasures. The movie’s title reflects on this as pertaining to “moonlighting” as someone during the day and as someone else by night. Also portraying an important scene and plot point of the movie as our protagonist has his first gay experience under the blanket of beach bound moonlight.

Moonlight is a very poignant film for one a like to see, and casts an important light onto the eye opening truths of black stubbornness and incapability to see past a crippling stereotype of their communities, while also being the product of a homophobic and prejudice global society. We need to change things once and for all, towards the betterment of our fellow human beings, young and old.

 -                 - Maurice Jones

Monday, November 7, 2016

Christine (2016) “Get out of your head….”

Christine is a 2016 bio-pic about manic determined newscaster, Christine Chubbuck, who shot herself live on air in 1974.

What’s brilliant about Christine is organic way it makes some characters in the film come off a sinister way, based on Christine’s mannerisms, when in reality everyone is just trying to help. It never tries to make Christine into a victim but presents the evidence of her own insecurities as a shining result. Though things get over whelming, unfortunate and laborious for Christine, the movie begs for her to step outside of herself and “see the bigger picture”. Things build up for Christine without any intake of insight and expansive reflection. Whether or not any of the depictions are accurate to the real life circumstances of real life Christine Chubbuck is unknown, but the film creates an important character study of plausible human behavior. And when it gets to the ever so anticipated, heart-stopping trans-gressive climax, it’s handled realistically without sardonic overtones or melodramatic fallacies.

Christine has uncanny touches to David Flincher’s signature style; IE – Zodiac, of creating a sense of dread, but the films atmosphere is extremely straight forward and naturalistic, and if there’s any misconduct, it’s because Rebecca Hall’s performance alienates her world’s intentions.

Rebecca Hall unflinchingly takes hold of Christine Chubbuck and explores the troubled possibilities and apparent neurosis of Christine, using Christine’s infamous speaking voice to expose even further the cognitive emotional battle bubbling underneath her. With Rebecca’s naturally awkward and quietly anxious acting style, she’s able to congruently parallel the pressure of a fast paced newsroom both athirst and unpredictable like an ulcer, which ironically plays an important role throughout the movie. This is Rebecca Hall at her best, honing her talents to conjure the most absorbing performance of her career - Absolute perfection.

The soundtrack is nostalgically amazing and isn’t featured ironically, just appropriate to the times; but displaying the idea of music (especially in a time like the 1970’s) being the one release in where people were free of thought and “man-made” pressure, and were allowed to be who they really are when they were alone.

Christine is one of the few bio-pics that simultaneously portrayed a real person’s life while making a point about stress, self indulgence, western civilization and the importance of self preservation. It cultivates the TV broadcasting experience in all its hyper glory of local and national awareness and spectacle, conjuring a disturbing tone within the lived through past of an actual era, the 1970’s, all thanks to thoughtful director Antonio Campos.


-         -  Maurice Jones