Cinepub


Last Year In Film: Milk by Jamie

As a straight, white male I don’t think I can claim that I have ever been oppressed. In fact in the entire history of my people you might have to go all the way back to the Roman invasion of Britain to even attempt to make a claim of oppression and a fairly flimsy claim it would be too. What hardships our people faced when the Romans brought us roads, sanitation and mosaics. To be fair though, they did call us wild savages and laughed when we painted our faces blue. That had to sting. Bastards.

So it’s with some trepidation that I come to Milk, the story of 70s gay rights activist and politician. It’s the same problem with films about black civil rights. I can empathise with the people in these films, be disgusted by the actions of the oppressors and I certainly believe that every one is entitled to the same rights as everyone else, regardless of race or sexual orientation but as a member of the group who’s never really had to deal with fighting for our rights, I find it kind of hard to relate to these films sometimes. Not the fault of the films of course, just a circumstance of birth.

With Milk it was even more challenging because, in general, the history of the gay civil rights movement isn’t as extensively covered as that of the black civil rights movement. I could probably name you quite an extensive list of films covering that topic but for films about the gay fight for equality, I could name two and they are both about the same person, this film and the documentary that preceded it, The Times of Harvey Milk, and I’ve only seen one of them.

Anyway, on with the film. It opens with archive footage showing the police raiding several gay bars during the 50s and 60s before going onto the story of Harvey Milk, a gay man living in New York during the early 70s on the day before his 40th birthday. A chance encounter with Scott (James Franco), a younger gay man, leads them both to move to San Francisco for a change of scene. It’s here that Harvey first develops an interest in politics and a hope for the improvement of the lives of gay people in America.

After several unsuccessful attempts to be elected to the position of city supervisor for his district, Harvey finally achieves his goal and becomes the first openly gay man elected to public office. It’s at this point that he meets Dan White (Josh Brolin) a man who he seems to get on fairly well with at first and the men come to an agreement to back each other during votes, in particular White asks Milk to support him on preventing a mental health institute from being built in his district. Harvey changes his mind after finding out more details about the proposition and White becomes determined to oppose him at every turn, leading to his own political downfall. Meanwhile Harvey goes on to greater and greater things, successfully leading the opposition to Prop 6 which would have banned gay people and those who support them from becoming teachers which further deepens Dan White’s feelings of failure. I won’t spoil the ending but if you know the true story at all, and chances are you probably do, then you know what’s coming anyway.

So what is there to say about this film? Well, the performances for one were all brilliant. From Sean Penn to Josh Brolin (who I think I’ve liked in everything I’ve seen him in since The Goonies) to every supporting character. Each actor brings something great to their role, no matter how small it is. The big question is, of course, should Sean Penn have won the Oscar for best actor? Well, I’m still not to sure about that. I’m kinda torn between him and Frank Langella as Nixon at the minute. Penn definitely deserved to be recognised for his portrayal of Harvey Milk but there’s just something that Langella brings to the former President that I feel would have been equally justified had he won the award.

Perhaps the most important thing about the film is the impact it had on me. Well, it certainly made me appreciate the struggle of the American gay community during those tumultuous times and provided me with enough history to help me understand just why the world is the way it is today and the part Harvey Milk played in that. And the ending is incredibly touching, particularly when mixed in with the archive footage. Which brings me to another good point. Throughout the film the action is interspersed with archive footage from the time and it’s far, far less jarring than the faux documentary interviews in Frost/Nixon. That being said I still think Frost/Nixon just beats Milk by a tiny margin as a slightly more enjoyable film. All in all, I certainly recommend Milk and I’ll give it four pints out of five.



Cool As Ice Solo Review: Part 5 by Jamie
04/06/2009, 4:51 pm
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This movie actually has what must technically be called an end because nothing else happens after it! Huzzah!



Review: JCVD by Jamie
10/05/2009, 9:38 am
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Cool As Ice Solo Video Review: Part 4 by Jamie
07/04/2009, 3:35 pm
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Oh god, it just won’t end…



Cool As Ice Solo Video Review: Part 3 by Jamie
25/03/2009, 11:15 am
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Finally! Part 3 is here and I spend a little too much time on a minor montage sequence…



Cool As Ice Solo Video Review: Part 1 by Jamie
19/12/2008, 5:32 pm
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In 1991 a film was made, a film so awesomely god awful that tackling it could not be done in ten minutes alone. I reckon I’m looking at a three parter here at least. Help.

I present “Cool As Ice: A Review”



Great Scenes from Shit Films, Part 3: Jaws: The Revenge by Jamie
22/10/2008, 6:16 am
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Jaws is one of my favourite films of all time. It is awesome. Unfortunately sequels were made. Terrible, terrible sequels. Ok, 2 wasn’t so bad but 3 and 4 are awful. Jaws 4, aka Jaws: The Revenge, is easily one of the worst films of all time.

Martin Brody is dead. Ellen Brody visits her son, Michael, is working as a marine biologist… I think. It seems like an odd choice of employment for someone whose family has such a constant problem with sharks. His younger brother Sean is a cop or at least he was as he’s despatched by a shark fairly early on in the film, the event which prompts Ellen to visit Michael. She believes that the shark purposefully attacked Sean because it seems that she’s gone bat-shit crazy.

Whilst in the Carribean she meets and becomes romantically involved with Michael Caine, a man who clearly needed cash desperately at this stage in his career. There is clearly no other explanation for his appearing in this film. At some point Ellen’s granddaughter goes on a banana boat which is attacked by a shark. The granddaughter survives but she’s traumatised by the experience. Perhaps she’ll become a marine biologist.

Ellen goes to find the shark, which she believes is the same one that ate Sean because she’s gone bat-shit crazy. Michael Cain flies Michael and his friend Mario Van Peebles out to find herwhen the shark attacks the plane but they manage to get on the boat. Mario Van Peebles uses a little box that makes the shark jump out of the water. The shark attacks Mario Van Peebles and drags him under the water. It then resumes jumping out of the water, becuase it’s clearly gone bat-shit crazy and believes itself to be a dolphin. Ellen rams the boat into the shark, causing it… to… explode….for some reason. Ellen believes the curse of the shark is lifted and everyone lives happily ever after, except for Sean. Mario Van Peebles, on the other hand, survives though badly mauled.

The film is shit, makes no sense and makes me physically sick. So which scene will it be? The inexplicable death of the shark, a death that for some reason causes the shark to explode. It is awesome. Not only does the shark just blow up for no reason but they even have the gall to include scenes from the first, infinitely superior film. Enjoy.




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