Cinema Surrogate

The Birth of a New Cinematic Voice
For the Love of Film

Vice - Dir. Adam McKay

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s Vice

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s Vice

Every actor in Adam McKay's Vice knocked it out of the park with their subtleties and nuances! Carell mastered Rumsfeld's squint, Rockwell nailed Bush's eyebrow curl and Bale's overall presence as Cheney was deeply menacing. By capturing the essence of these historical figures I do extend a hand to McKay's craft and resilience for completing such a daunting picture, suffering his own heart attack in the making. Though the choppiness of the approach limits a sound narrative, the overall story and execution delivered deserves much applause and Grace. Knowing McKay's style, especially in his execution on The Big Short, one can see his skill at juxtaposing mixed media, absurdist humor and cinematic narrative.


The facts showcased at hand holds my continued belief that this Power Structure so finely tuned weighs behind the nation, and it is my hope that this true Axis of Evil will suffer for their sins against humanity, as all laws of karma play out justly in the end.
Just like all good story, the protagonist succeeds in the end, which in this case Cheney is triumphant, but the sad nature of such truth is at the unfortunate downfall of the American people.

Filmmaking that challenges and changes perspective is one that deserves credit when due, go see Adam McKay's Vice for a real Masterclass of showmanship and visceral reflection on how the current state of world affairs was shaped by Dick Cheney and his league of cohorts.

 

First Reformed - Dir. Paul Schrader

Ethan Hawke as Ernst Toller in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed

Ethan Hawke as Ernst Toller in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed

"No I have not lost my faith," Ethan Hawke's Reverend Ernst Toller's voice-over speaks as he posts the phrase "Will God Forgive Us?" upon First Reformed Church's outdoor message board.


Paul Schrader's beautiful reflection on the state of Toller's mind at the crux of a recent tragedy perfectly captures today's current societal climate. Themes of despair and affliction plague Hawke's earnest portrayal of a man who at his own angst and weakness must find reason to continue to find sanctity in God's Grace, knowing that the environment and Earth too is being plunged into darkness.


Though hope remains in the eyes of Amanda Seyfried's Mary, the soon to be mother and recent widow that has confided in him, Toller traverses his own inner emotions and the turmoils that keep him from holding on to the faith that has aided him during his own tragic past.


Schrader's work of simple stagings and direction allows for his character's essence to speak through the forefront of this cinematic revelation of life, death and discovering one's purpose to survive through the wreckage of a climactic storm, both external and internally. It is a dramatic piece that deserves a focused attention, for such details exist in the most miniscule of perfectly crafted moments of subtle beauty.

 

The Hero - Dir. Brett Haley

Sam Elliott as Lee Hayden in Brett Haley’s The Hero

Sam Elliott as Lee Hayden in Brett Haley’s The Hero

How do we define a well lived life? What constitutes a worth while journey of accomplishment?


Brett Haley's The Hero shows Sam Elliott's Lee Hayden contemplate these questions as he reflects on his past as a western movie star faced with his future mortality at the wake of a cancer diagnosis. A man trying to fix his troubled relationship with his estranged daughter, looking for acting work besides mediocre voice overs for Lone Star BBQ sauce, Hayden is in search for a richer life in his old age, or at least an outlook higher than smoking weed with his dealer marvelously played by Nick Offerman.


The film captures both this theme of death and ageism, as Hayden's encounter with a much younger woman Charlotte, played masterfully by Laura Prepon, gives him another chance at a deeper intimate connection but her youth brings out the harsh reality that he ia simply buying time.


Sam Elliott gives the performance of his life, with such subtlety and gravitas in every scene he is in. This is a role that rarely comes around that can only be given such grace by a veteran like Elliott, that magical voice and majestic aura provides a pure earnesty and heart to Lee Hayden, who himself dreams of acting one more time as a character that can deliver the weight of his renowned career. The Hero is visual poetry that rides like the ocean tides Lee watches over the sun's horizon.