You've seen it before (Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope).
Go see it again.
You may have thought the above review was a little too trite or too short or too simplistic or too pompous, or, whatever.
Then again, maybe not.
Someone created a compilation video to demonstrate the similarities between Episode IV and Episode VII. It's pretty cool (and well done). Take a look (warning, Spoilers).
Or, to see it on Vimeo (at a higher resolution), CLICK HERE.
Whenever I ask my daughter what she’d like to watch on TV or at the movies, her pat answer is, “Nothing Sad. Nothing Serious.”
She wouldn’t like Demolition. At least, that's what she thought. So we left her at home.
That’s not to say Demolition is all sad and all serious. There’s humor, love friendship and all that other stuff, too. And all of it is done extremely well.
Jake Gyllenhaal, one of the best actors today with a last name that is hard to spell, plays Davis, an upwardly-mobile investment counselor who suffers depression when his wife dies in an automobile accident. While at the hospital immediately after her death, he attempts to order a pack of Peanut M&Ms from a vending machine, but the candy gets stuck in the machine. He writes a letter of complaint to the service department, which eventually results in a personal relationship with the service agent and her son.
What follows is Davis’ journey through the numbness of depression and how it impacts his relationships with those around him. His stepfather tells him, “Repairing the human heart is like repairing an automobile. You have to take everything apart to examine everything. Then you can put it all back together.” So Davis does. He disassembles his leaking refrigerator, a restroom stall and eventually his house.
Demolition is a great movie. It deals with the way one man deals with severe depression, and yet, the flick is not depressing. Grief is a part of life. Everyone faces it. It is not something we should fear or dread or avoid. Davis’ father-in-law expresses our tendency to avoid the topic when he says (something like), “When a woman’s husband dies, she’s called a widow. When a parent dies, we call his child an orphan. But when a child dies, we don’t have a word to describe his parents.” There-in lies the strength of Demolition. It helps us accept and understand severe depression.
As I’ve said before, good stories help us feel, empathize, understand the world around us. Demolition does that. It is a good story.
Shameless plug: The depression Davis feels is, in a very small sense, similar to the way my main character manages the depression brought about when he loses his brother in my upcoming YA/NA book, Camp Fear (Solstice Press).
I’m not in the movie creation business (but I did write training video scripts when I worked at Universal Studios Florida and Hughes Supply), However, I do respect people who write, direct and produce movies.
While watching the recently released CREED, I was impressed when the writer/director used a “long take” (or "oner") for the first big boxing scene. Basically, the entire two-round match (lasting about five minutes) appeared to be filmed with one camera, focusing on one character and then another, turning to view the crowd, zooming in on Rocky Balboa, etc.). It gives the viewer the feeling that he is right there in the movie.
Other famous filmmakers, including Hitchcock, Kubrick and Spielberg, have used this technique. One such film was SNAKE EYES, staring Nicolas Cage and directed by Brian De Palma (who imitated Hitchcock a lot in his movies). Beginning with the first scene, the twelve-minute-long oner (actually three shots carefully edited together) follows sleazy Ricky Santora (Cage) through the back stage of an Atlantic City sporting arena where he beats up a drug seller, makes a bet, sees a boxer, and then goes to the arena where he talks to a friend and witnesses an assassination, all the while taking calls on his cellular flip phone (the movie’s that old). Pretty cool. Lots of fun.
Tell me about the long takes you recall and look for them in current movies.
By the way, see CREED. While not as inspiring as the original Rocky, it’s a good rental.
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Rookie Movie Reviews
Stories are stories, whether they are recited around a roaring campfire, printed on paper or projected on a screen. And, stories should say something.