Snowpiercer @ The Ross

Snowpiercer, the train

Snowpiercer, the train

Snowpiercer is the latest venture into dystopian society from South Korean film director Joon-ho Bong. Set in the near future, Snowpiercer pierces through the vein of consciousness with rapid speed. It is brutal. It is gruesome. It is cold; difficult to watch. The earth has frozen over destroying all life after a disastrous global warming experiment. Billows and dunes of snow cover the earth; it is the dead of winter–every day … always. Those humans who survived board a train whose engine is designed by Wilford (Ed Harris) to travel around the globe for all eternity. Eighteen years! Eighteen years in an iron box with 1,000 people, and you had better know your place!

Tanya (Octavia Spencer)

Tanya (Octavia Spencer)

Imagine that. Living and having your being on a train; coming of age on a train; dying on a train. Imagine a society set up in long narrow confines where bunk beds abound. Bong depicts the constellation of hierarchies formed within that space without so much as a blink of an eye. The upper crust enjoy lavish living, fine dining, and socializing in the front of the train. The poor, packed in like sardines in the tail end of the train, are tyrannized by Wilford’s minions–and they abuse the children too! Rebellions have occurred; all but one, however, have been quashed by Minister Mason, played with exquisite evil by Tilda Swinton.

Curtis (Chris Evans) fearless leader of the revolt

Curtis (Chris Evans) fearless leader of the revolt

Chris Evans stars as Curtis, the passenger tapped to lead the revolt, and hope for freedom abides not only in him but in the valiant revolutionaries aboard the train who arm themselves to fight with him. The revolutionaries exhibit an indomitable spirit, and even though you know the majority will die, their heroics are worth going through the well-rehearsed visual punishment. The fight scenes are awe-inspiring as each illustrates what the oppressed will do to gain their freedom with the knowledge they may not come back alive from the war. Evans exudes trust through his character Curtis; you know he will make it even though the odds are stacked against him and his crew.

Minister Mason (Tilda Swinton)

Minister Mason (Tilda Swinton)

Make no mistake: The Train, or the snowpiercer is the devil in film. Art director Stefan Kovacik imagines an ominous iron horse that, through Kyung-pyo Hong’s cinematography, pierces all ice it encounters on the track; it is disheartening to know it never will stop–never. Hong takes us underneath the train and lets the audience feel the wheels on the steel track; to feel the relentless speed of the demon; to see the depths of the drop if it derails. No one will hear them scream.

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Snowpiercer plays through July 24th at the Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

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Also playing through July 24th is Big Men, Rachel Boynton’s very impressive documentary on the discovery of oil in the country of Ghana, Africa.

Watch for film television & more. In the meantime,
Catch a Movie …
Share the popcorn …
Feed your soul!

The Grand Budapest Hotel @ The Ross

Grand Budapest1

Who knew that Wes Anderson had it in him? The ‘it’ being the ability to charm with an exotic, mysterious, strange, outlandish adventure encased in an embroidered, beaded silk cinematic purse named The Grand Budapest Hotel. The set is like a miniature city, and it’s as if Anderson shrunk the audience so we can experience the baubles and trinkets of grand old Europe, especially, the expanse of the countryside and all of its majesty. Frame-by-frame, Anderson delights the senses with visually

Deputy Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum)

Deputy Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum)

stunning settings. The film ricochets through time and place to tell the story of M. Gustave, played by Ralph Fiennes, the exact, fun-loving, sensational proprietor of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Gustave is a man ahead of his time, whom the narrator informs us is “a glimmer of civilization in the barbaric slaughterhouse we know as humanity.” That “glimmer” avails himself of rich and wealthy female patrons, who are smitten with his joie de vivre. An elderly Madame D, played by an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton (kudos to makeup designers) bequeaths to Gustave a valuable painting, and thus begins family squabbles, murder, mayhem, intrigue, and love. Andersen even treats us to a daring prison escape led by Ludwig, played by a bald Harvey Keitel.

Ludwig (Harvey Keitel)

Ludwig (Harvey Keitel)

Madam D (Tilda Swinton)

Madam D (Tilda Swinton)

The story begins in 1985 in Lutz, a fictional town in Eastern Europe. An aging author, played by Tom Wilkerson, writes of his journey to the hotel, and through flashbacks we bounce to 1968, and the author recalls his younger self, played by Jude Law, on a stay at the hotel. Over dinner, the author learns of M. Gustave by listening to the story of the hotel’s history and its proprietor from Mr. Mustafa, played by F. Murray Abraham. From that dinner table, Anderson ricochets to 1930, to a cold, dark, and damp Central Europe in between two world wars. Anderson portrays this time and space well as he captures via Gustave, a national tension and disquietude, a kind of controlled panic or a hunger to gorge on life because the joie de vivre could be decimated at a moment’s notice.

Let the story begin! M. Mustafa (F. Murray Abraham) and Young Author (Jude Law)

Let the story begin! M. Mustafa (F. Murray Abraham) and Young Author (Jude Law)

We expect … how shall I say this … we expect divine performances by Swinton, Fiennes, Keitel, Abraham, and Law — that’s a given, really. But Tony Revolori pushes through with a fine performance as Zero, the young M. Mustafa as the Lobby Boy. In the end, it is he who inherits the painting as well as the Grand Budapest Hotel and all of its grand history.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a must see; you will enjoy every fantastical moment!

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The Grand Budapest Hotel plays through April 24 at the Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

Also at The Ross Elaine Stritch, Shoot Me, a documentary homage to the Broadway legend, who is still going at 80 years old, plays through April 3.

Listen to the review on NET Nebraska @ 20:55 min
http://netnebraska.org/interactive-multimedia/none/friday-live-nebraska-chamber-players-2

Watch for film television & more. In the meantime,
catch a film!
share the popcorn!
feed your soul!

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