This Is It: DVD Review

I may run the risk of partiality with this review, however there really was no cause to fault Michael Jackson in this DVD. I first saw this film at the cinema and upon settling among fellow viewers, there was a jovial and upbeat atmosphere in the theatre.

Once Michael Jackson entered into the lens of the camera, an applause erupted, but a sudden silence soon followed.  This was no ordinary film. We had all seen Michael Jackson’s dance videos before and this seemed just as the rest of them. Except it wasn’t.

Michael Jackson was unique. He was unique in his looks; in his thoughts; in his moves; in his sound. Even if you are not a fan, you can not deny this man’s talent or the extent of his popularity. For me this film shows Michael Jackson as the star he has  always been, it is also a gift to his fans. We are given a gift to see Michael during his last days and remember him as he and his fans would like to remember him: on stage, the place he always felt most at home.

This video puts to rest the rumours that he would not be able to live up to our expectations. That he would be unable to deliver. Michael is undeniably thin even shockingly so, yet the dance routines he displayed on This Is It were enough to make one who is young, fit and healthy to struggle, yet Michael breezed through them. To the naked eye his routines were faultless, which not only puts to rest the above rumour but also that of Michael not working with his dancers. To be so in sync with one another surely requires hours of practice and rehearsals.

The humble man comes into play during the rehearsals allowing individuals to shine. To have their time in the spotlight. Yet even during the rehearsals, wearing simple clothes and with no direct instruments accompanying his routine, Michael Jackson still held his own and his stage presence was electrifying. Even though I have followed Michael’s career and his music throughout the years, in watching this film I saw a different side of him. You are allowed a taste of his humour and he genuinely seemed the happiest he has ever been despite his internal anguish.

The story of Michael Jackson may in itself be stranger than fiction, in that the man was an ordinary man in an extraordinary world with an extraordinary talent. I just hope his memory experiences the same as that of Elvis Presley. That even though the man died under questionable circumstances his talent and genius will precede him.


Precious: DVD Review

Set in 1987, Precious is based on the book: Push by Sapphire and revolves around an obese African-American teenager nicknamed Precious, who is pregnant with her second child at the age of 16 after being repeatedly raped by her father.

Precious’ mother, the rapist’s partner, takes out her self-hatred in the form of horrendous jealous rages against Precious and subjecting her daughter to brutal physical and emotional abuse. Although Precious learns to overcome the abuse through special educational classes and also learns to nurture improved self-esteem, in the film’s last scenes she receives news enticing a fresh round of sadness and despair.

Undoubtedly, the outstanding and heart wrenching ­performance of newcomer ­Gabourey Sidibe as Precious is unforgettable. The fact the film is her début leaves you craving more from her as an actress.  Her mother, Mary is well-played by the comedian Mo’Nique, whose play on brutality is frighteningly chilling.

The biggest surprise for me was Mariah Carey in her no make-up and bling-free role as Precious’ social worker and through which Carey has in my opinion raised her standing in terms of acting ability. Mariah has won 5 Grammy Awards; 17 World Music Awards (the most won by any artist); 11 American Music Awards; and 28 Billboard Music Awards, however for me her most memorable performance is as Mrs. Weiss in Precious. I barely recognised the stripped back Carey in her most nondescript role yet, for which she rightly won the Breakthrough Performance and Supporting Actress of the Year Awards. Although Carey has stared in several films before, I can only hope that as her awards suggest, she has finally ‘broken through’ into ‘serious acting’.

Precious’ story broke my heart and even though it was a work of fiction, what was hard to acknowledge is that her story is true. As the film suggests, there are Precious girls everywhere. The film also shamed me into thinking I ever had the right to complain of hardship. Despite this though, there is a shining sparkle of innocence amidst the heartbreak, particularly in Precious’ character.

The film opens with Precious portrayed as the ‘typical teenager’ with two young children and an incomplete education. Yet when the door opens into her home life you are shamed into retracting your quick judgement of her and those like her. In fact, the film is full of misconceptions. From the beginning as Precious tells her story, similarly it is only towards the end of the film do you understand Mo’Nique’s character as Precious’ mother, Mary. In fact it is her mother who has caused such pain and disruption in her daughter’s life, who finally gives Precious the gift of moving on and the hope of ending the abuse. While watching the film, you are convinced Mary is a closed book, a monster through and through. The film sheds light on Mary’s life (albeit briefly) and proves that not all monsters are monsters to begin with, they are only made that way by others.

The film ended leaving me empty and hungry to know whether Precious survived the crises that life had thrown at her. However upon contemplation of this, it was the best way to close the door on her story. Living the life of Precious, you will be living a day at a time. There is no answer to whether you will survive, only hope and that is what you see in Precious.

Furthermore, that is what the film has given me. Hope. Hope that although my life is miles away from that of Precious and my difficulties considerably inconsequential in comparison, there is hope that I too can survive the trials I struggle with.

Seven Pounds: DVD Review

My fellow readers, I am going to stand tall and shout from the rooftops what a fabulous film this was.

I was gripped at the very first scene and particularly at a depth to Will Smith which I had never seen before, even in The Pursuit of Happyness. It is so refreshing and very unique to find an actor who is extremely talented in both genres of sci-fi/action and serious drama. Smith is absolutely remarkable in this film and has definitely earned more respect from me as an actor.

I do not want to give anything away except to say in watching the film, you will be taken on a journey of redemption in Ben Thomas’ (Will smith) quest to quench his guilt for a past wrong and in his search to find seven people in deserve of his life changing, selfless gifts. It is a film that turns an ultimately ugly act into something beautiful. You will definitely need a box of tissues with this film as I did, in fact I may go as far to say that if this film (and indeed Will Smith’s performance) does not touch you, you must be made of stone.

If you have not already seen this amazingly beautiful film – watch it NOW!