Tag Archives: Halle Berry

Kings

Millie Dunbar (Halle Berry) is the big-hearted, hard-working foster mother of many, many children. They’re crammed in to her apartment, bunk beds stacked on bunk beds, but they are safe and happy and loved. Except of course when Obie (Daniel Craig), the cantankerous upstairs neighbour, is harassing them, yelling at them to shut the hell up. Other than that, it may be a struggle, but it’s home.

Unfortunately, home, in south central Los Angeles, is about to get shaken up. It’s just days before the Rodney King verdict will be delivered. Things are about to blow up.

Like Gook, Kings looks at this contentious, violent time by getting intimate with one of the every day people affected by it. And I don’t just mean affected by the riots directly, MV5BZWVkOTZkYzktYTVkZS00M2MyLThkN2EtYjBiZjkzYzc2YWFmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ1MTYzNzY@._V1_though Millie’s family certainly will be. In Kings, we see the trial on the tiny, fuzzy TV sets in every living room. People are living and breathing it. Millie is deeply moved by the updates on the news, and Halle Berry’s excellent work reaches out to touch us in the audience. Millie is raising multiple black boys in a neighourhood patrolled by white cops looking for any excuse (or no excuse) to take out their disgust with the trial on anyone whose skin fits the profile. For her, it’s real, and the consequences are terrifying. Halle Berry hasn’t had roles really worthy of her lately, but this is a good one to sink into.

Of course, things really get moving after the verdict is read. Millie’s kids are strewn all over a city going down in flames, and she is not the type to sit on her couch and hope they come home safely. Her rescue mission will be aided and abetted by Obie.

This movie isn’t about the riots, but about an unconventional family caught up in them. I am not old enough to have my own memories of this time, but of course I haven’t failed to absorb all kinds of details and impressions over the years. That said, I don’t think I’ve ever really felt it, or understood the extent of what it must have been like for a black person in L.A. (and elsewhere in the country, I imagine) at the time, the disbelief that this verdict could be returned, and the utter fear, the utter terror for one’s safety, and for that of every kid in the community. What a brutal reminder, as if one was needed, that their lives are not equally valued in their own country, to their fellow countrymen. Berry’s panic, and the tears that come so easily to her eyes, tell me this.

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Kidnap

If you’ve ever seen the film Taken and thought: this is cool and all, but I wish Liam Neeson was a soccer mom. Or, if you’ve ever seen Tom Hardy in Locke and thought: I like movies about people driving, but couldn’t there also be a child’s life at stake? Well, stop yer yammering, I’ve got something really exciting for you. Mind you, Kidnap is only exciting for those very specific individuals who put their hands up earlier. For everyone else, this is a generic movie at best.

Halle Berry plays the soccer mom who takes her eyes off her son for just one itty bitty minute and POOF! – he disappears. Only his kidnappers are just barely proficient so Halle Berry actually sees her son being stuffed into the back of a stranger’s car, and like Kidnap-movie-Halle-Berryany angry mama bear she takes off on a parking lot tear, totally prepared to outrun the car if only she can, but of course she can’t. So she hops behind the wheel of her trusty mini van and the world’s slowest, most meandering, and good lord most repetitive chase begins.

Halle Berry doesn’t have her cell phone so her only means of contacting the outside world for help is to drive erratically and hope that a cop will notice that something’s amiss. She’s pretty sure that every other missing child just wasn’t loved enough by his or her parents so she’s going to break the mold by putting the law into her own hands, which are white-knuckled on the steering wheel for a good 80% of the movie.

Halle Berry is good, even when she’s spouting cringe-worthy lines from a tired, uninterested script, she’s nothing short of panicky, breathless, desperate. ┬áHer character goes through quite an ordeal as you can imagine, but the film’s 84 minutes feel like an ordeal for the audience as well. We must endure hardships together. But since you have a choice, let me help you make the informed decision: Kidnap is derivative, predictable, and horribly cliched. The only positive thing I have to say is I was grateful not to find the story encumbered by secondary roles, subplots, or a character development. The movie stays true to its one-word title. And then they beat you over the head with it.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

I watched this movie with Jay on our way to Paris and it was awesome. Guardians of the Galaxy is still my favourite superhero movie of 2014 but Days of Future Past was almost as good, and I was not expecting that at all.

I read X-Men as a kid and loved it (it was probably my 2nd favourite comic behind Spider-Man). Then in my early 20s, the first X-Men came out, and I loved that! And the 2nd movie was possibly better than the first. And then the third movie came along, and it was so awful it ruined everything that had come before. It was very similar to the Matrix trilogy in that way. But unlike the Matrix, this franchise has done the impossible and resurrected itself.

This movie works in a lot of ways. It is a bridge between the entertaining prequel (X-Men: First Class) and the original trilogy. It is a standalone timetravelling adventure starring a bunch of familiar faces (it was very cool to see so many people from the previous movies make appearances, and all of them felt natural rather than squeezed in). And it is probably the most satisfying reboot I have ever seen. Too many superhero franchises have been rebooted lately, for no real reason other than a lack of imagination. I don’t need to see Peter Parker get bitten by a spider again. I didn’t ask for a new take on the Fantastic Four whose only purpose seems to be retaining the movie rights. But I was satisfied, and even excited, to see the slate wiped clean here and feel that the future for this franchise is brighter than ever. I am looking forward to see where they go from here (and apparently it involves Apocalypse!!!).

By the way, please stop putting extra scenes in the credits. It was alright once or twice but it’s played out at this point, and for the last several movies I have had to look it up onYoutube after the fact.

Overall, this was an extremely enjoyable movie, though probably too dense and convoluted for someone who isn’t a fan. But better that than another origin rehash! It gets 9 angst-filled outcasts out of 10.