Saturday, July 15, 2017

Hidden No More.

It seems these days I review more mediocre and bad films than anything else, but every now and then I come across something that is truly well done and good, and I mean that in the truest nature of the word. In a world of film and television that is becoming increasingly filled with anti-heroes and dark, morally questionable characters, it's a breath of fresh air to have truly good characters with a moral compass that point north. Hidden Figures (based on a book) is populated with such people, although given the times the story takes place during there are also a fair share of dunderheads which I suppose could be labeled as the antagonists. The film is about the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States of America and the individuals who made it possible for the U.S. to launch a man in space and bring him safely back. Specifically about three black colored women who rise from their status against all odds to see the space program succeed and excel not just during the space race but beyond that as well. If it isn't obvious yet, I really enjoyed and loved this film. Taraji P. Henson plays Katherine G. Johnson the main character of the film, and she does so with energy, confidence, and such serene humility where it doesn't come off cheesy or with an air of predictability. Somehow she wasn't nominated for an Academy Award, which irks me to no end, as her performance was far more deserving than Emma Stone's. Octavia Spencer plays another of the three women, Dorothy Vaughan, and my goodness she is such a talented woman to watch perform (although her performance and character in the Insurgent series was not so good). She was able to pull off being humorous and serious with such credible deftness that it increased the depth of the performance of her character. Lastly, Janelle Monae played the character Mary Jackson who was fearless and bold, but not preachy and obnoxious about how she went about it; such an amazing character and great performance. Definitely deserved an Oscar nomination like Octavia Spencer, but I think her work speaks for itself. Kevin Costner played Al Harrison the chief of either the space program or NASA, I can't recall which, or maybe it was neither. He was great, although he possessed a rather static character most of the time. The same thing goes for Jim Parsons (Paul Stafford), Kirsten Dunst (Vivian Mitchell), and Mahershala Ali (Colonel Jim Johnson). All three of those individuals did great, but their characters were rather static and definitely not the main attraction. I would like to give a shout out to Glen Powell who played John Glenn; I'm not certain if that was how the man was really like, but he gave an amazing, although rather brief, performance of a great American hero. Olek Krupa played Karl Zielinski, an apparently brilliant scientist who was working on the design of the space craft; he had another brief but fantastic role. Overall the entire cast was great, but those three women are the main attraction for sure.
The director who also helped write the film, Theodore Melfi, is fairly unknown, but he did quite an amazing job with this film, which should have gotten more acclaim and attention than it did. That man man can certainly be proud for decades to come of his work on this film, because as summer blockbusters come and go, films like this will remain timeless. Allison Schroeder who also helped write the screenplay deserves a lot of the credit for shaping what I think could be called the heartbeat of a film. It was nominated for an Academy Award for best Adapted Screenplay but lost to Moonlight for some odd reason, considering the writing in that film was nowhere near on the same level as Hidden Figures. Apparently three people were responsible for the music in this film: Benjamin Wallfisch, Pharrell Williams, and Hans Zimmer. I honestly cannot recall anything from the score, other than that it wasn't terrible, but definitely forgettable. The cinematography by Mandy Walker was incredibly linear and boring; it wasn't bad, but there was nothing exceptional about it. All in all it was an incredible film, and I definitely suggest it for everyone to watch, I definitely will be watching it again and again in the future, which I personally is one of the best measures of a great or good much people re-watch it. I would like to take this opportunity to say something about the Academy Awards. I used to think that they were amazing, and were the one televised event that I looked forward to watching each year, but not anymore. I skipped this year's ceremony and spent time with my family instead which was far better. One thing that I seem to be more aware of with each passing year is that the Academy Awards do not award the best and finest in the categories, but rather for political and personal reasons. It seems to be a case of "it's not what you know, it's who you know." Therefore, I believe the Academy Awards are irrelevant and no longer necessary to define how artistically successful or brilliant those who work on films are. I would encourage everyone else to consider with great introspection that same notion. The same goes for most other awards shows as well: Golden Globes, SAG's, or Emmy's. Because it's like one of my former supervisors said about a program director where I was previously working at, how she was able to keep her job as she performed so poorly; she was sleeping with the CEO. Same philosophy probably is true here in getting jobs and awards in Hollywood land; nothing or very little to do with actual talent or skill.

Hidden Figures trailer

Hidden Figures clip

A Wrinkle in Time trailer (looks somewhat interesting, but we shall see).

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