12 Years A Slave : Movie Review

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

12 years a slave
My Rating: 4.5/5

(I am wiping my tears off my eyes and blowing my nose simultaneously after the credit scene of this film)

Solomot Northup/ Platt
Solomot Northup/ Platt (Chiwetel Ejiofor)

Where should I begin? First of all, the guy who portrayed Solomon Northup is fucking AMAZING. The word AMAZING wouldn’t suffice to praise Chiwetel Ejiofor for his depiction of Solomon. Forgive me for not watching any of his film before but I swear I got him under my radar now. Maybe I did watch his films but I can’t remember. All the overwhelming of hype and buzz of this film is credible. I mean, the film is fantastic and brilliant. they did win 1 award for golden globe awards and they also receive numerous nominations in Academy Award.  12 Years a slave film is based on the memoir of ‘12 Years a Slave’ written by Solomon Northup who is a free Negro born in New York State. In 1841, He’s been kidnapped in Washington D.C after being tricked by 2 guys who claimed to have a job in circus for him. He then, sold into slavery and being shipped off to New Orleans.  The plantation owner, William Ford (portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch) bought him and his name has been changed from Solomon to Platt. He stayed as good slave to Master Ford and even suggested to his master the idea to transport logs effectively using the lake. However, situation arose as the one of the managers at the plantation disliked Platt and always picked on him. He failed to remain calm and in the spur of the moment, he had beaten the manager. Fear for Platt might be killed as an act of retaliation by that manager; Master Ford sold Platt to Edwin Epps, the cotton plantation owner. Platt did try to tell Master Ford that he is a free man but Ford can’t help him because he had a debt to pay.

Platt & Master William Ford
Platt & Master William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Let me be frank with you guys, that I watched this film solely because of Michael Fassbender. After Shame, X-men: First class, Prometheus, Fish Tank and so many films of him that I watched, I have became a big fan of Bender (and a bit obsessed too). Ruby and I called him ‘Abang Bender’. Michael Fassbender in this film is nothing like his previous characters in the films I listed above (nothing at all). When Ruby and Ika first told me about this film and they were pretty much excited about Fassbender going to play some evil role, I was like ‘okay’, not that I don’t look forward to it but in Xmen First Class, he’s pretty much covered the definition of evil. The role he played in this film, unfortunately is much more twisted, sadistic, brutal and vicious slave owner. Evil could not even begin to justify what he has done to all of his slaves. He whipped his slaves for not being able to pick an average amount of cotton per day, he raped his slave whenever he pleased to do so, and he called them up in the middle of the night and asked them to dance just for sake of his entertainment. I seriously don’t like his character in this film. I hated it because his acting was excellent and I did see him as inhuman slave owner in the film. At that time, having and owning slaves is not a sin and legal by law.  Master Epps frequently read to his slaves the bible verses that supported slavery act. He planted the idea that they have to accept that they are his property and he can do whatever he likes to them.

Platt & Master Edwin Epps
Platt & Master Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender)

Platt attempted twice times to contact his friends and family. The first attempt failed as he sought help from the wrong person. Afraid of being caught again by Master Epps, he burned all the stolen paper and destroyed the ink and pen that he made. Later, He met Samuel Bass (portrayed by Brad Pitt) a Canadian carpenter who constructed the gazebo for Master Epps’s house. Bass is a simple man who believes that men no matter what color he was, is equal before god. He expressed his opinion to Master Epps but Epps dismissed his point by saying that the slaves are rightfully obtained by him. They are his property. Platt felt Bass’s sincerity and confided in him, his story from beginning until he ended up as one of Master Epps’s slaves. Bass agreed to help after a moment of reluctance to write a letter for him and will bring it to Saratoga Springs. One day, a sheriff appeared with his friend who is a shopkeeper from the place he used to live, Saratoga Springs. Platt fitted the description of Solomon Northup from his previous life at New York and is freed right away. Epps refused to let Platt go and threatened to pursue the matter to the court. The final scene of this film is the reconciliation of Solomon Northup with his family. 12 years of absent in the family showed that his daughter already got married and have a child named after him. That scene was so touching and full of emotions of sad and happiness. He then begged his wife for forgiveness of not being able to return soon and missing in her life for 12 years.

Samuel Bass (Brad Pitt)
Samuel Bass (Brad Pitt)

Unforgettable Scenes:

I would like to state that every single scene in the film is haunting my mind. This movie is not something you can repeat twice and watched it all over again. This is about subjugation and suppression of black-skinned people by white people who they called ‘Master’. However, I would like to highlight some of the unbearable scenes that I don’t want to watch EVER again.

1. Every single scene that has a singing moment or a song in it. It is excruciating. They used songs as an entertainment, encouragement, and some of it even as reminder to realize who they really are. Some of those songs had catchy tune but was sung in the solemn and grave environment and time. among all of the songs featured in the film, Roll Jordan Roll really stuck in my head and i kept humming the song.

Patsy (Lupita Nyong'o) , Master Epps & Platt
Patsy (Lupita Nyong’o) , Master Epps & Platt

2. When Master Epps chained and whipped his favorite slave patsy in front of other slaves. He told Platt to do on his behalf but Platt didn’t go all the way as he ordered. He then took the belt and whipped patsy until he felt satisfied. This film then showed how badly patsy has been injured.

The Disturbing Hang Scene
The Disturbing Hang Scene

3. When Solomon was hanged at the tree and fighting for his life as his feet only an inch away from the tree. There is some slave who did give him water but nobody dared to remove the rope. It was agonizing seeing a man fighting to catch his breath while all the slaves continued their works as usual at the background like nothing happened. He was freed from the rope by Master Ford when he returned from work. I mean like what the fuck you didn’t send any of your messenger to release him right away. He was tied by a bad people but somehow the manager of the plantation couldn’t care less. He did chase away the bad guy but he walked away without releasing him. The wife of Master Ford also turned away from the scene.

Patsy begged Platt to kill her.
Patsy begged Platt to kill her so that she can end her suffering.

4. The rape and assault scene of Patsey by Master Epps is cruel and pitiless. Patsey endured it even she didn’t like it. However, she’s finally break down in front of Platt asking him to kill her. She admitted that she does not have enough courage to take her own life. However, Platt refused to do so.

5. When Solomon realized he’s been kidnapped and beseeched his kidnapper to release him. He tried to convince them that he is a free man from New York. However, he failed to provide any legal document as a proof. He was beaten using a wood stick until that stick is broken. The kidnapper then used a belt to flog his back until it bled. I cried, dude. I really cried my heart out. How could you treat another human being like animal?

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TO EACH ITS OWN MERITS – BBC Sherlock and CBS Elementary

BY RUBY CHINGU

I am here today to talk about what have been the most important series to my life in the past 2 years of my life, BBC Sherlock, and what seems to be the increasingly important series in my current  life, CBS Elementary. Both have been adapted from the very famous Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. TV producers had and have been using and modifying the same stories of Holmes again and again and again and suprisingly…. we the readers and audiences never really get tired of the detective tale, aren’t we? Palah Chingu wrote a review covering both series a few months ago. Since I have just finished watching the first season of Elementary, I have this crazy urge to let out my thoughts about the two series, too. Like, seriously, who can ever resist our modern interpretations of Sherlock Holmes?

BBC SHERLOCK

sherlockbbc2I love the series. I love it to death with an indescribable devotion. You see, BBC only produces around three to five episodes of Sherlock per season. Sometimes, the fans have to wait several very long months until the next season shows up. Each and every single month that passes, trust me, a Sherlock fan would be praying for the BBC crew to just fucking start shooting so that we can go crazy over seeing Sherlock and his best friend, Watson on screen together.

It is a brilliant highly intelligent series. The episodes are superbly written and directed. But then, I’d expect no less from BBC. Come to think of me, I do think Brits TVs are much more careful and meticulous in their productions. They don’t rely on too much gloss, they love to inject a bit sense of intellectuality here and there. It’s exactly like that for Sherlock. The first time I saw it, I thought – what a motherfucking great series! It’s so complicated, I don’t get what shits Sherlock is saying most of the time – but hell, I am sure addicted to it. The writing makes the episodes very unpredictable and the twists in the episodes – unlike other cliched detective series – really does blow your mind.

SHERLOCKBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes – need I say more? His acting turned me into a helpless Cumberbitch. Gifted with a face with unique features, Benedict gives Sherlock this out-of-this-world character. He’s a genius – no, make that a super genius, second only to his brother, Mycroft – who views human beings around him as those of a lower less-intelligent species. Despite how egoistically selfish and vain that sounds, he’s not that wrong. He is super selfish, he is a bastard, he is mean, he gives very mean comments to people who actually care about him. He has no reason and rationality unless they are vital for his investigative works. Apparently, he is not a psychopath but a high functioning sociopath. Bottom line is, he’s crazy. I love this new interpretation of Sherlock – if our intelligence agency is made of men like him, I will never have to worry about the safety of the world anymore. However, in all honestly, I would not like to know him in person if he exists in real life. I have no doubt he’d be a real pain in the ass.

Sherlock (2010)

Sherlock does not emote, period. Except for perhaps in some very sweet moments with his one and only John Watson, played by Martin Freeman. John, as Sherlock calls him, is possibly Sherlock’s link to the world of normalcy. Not that our John here is an exemplar of what is normal but next to Sherlock, he is pretty much the only sane person Sherlock lets into his mind. They met as roommates and overtime, John became Sherlock’s confidante, best friend (albeit strangely), and partner. Watson is essentially the ‘wife’ in Sherlock’s life. He’s reliable, he’s polite, he’s soft-spoken, he’s flexible, he looks normal from every angle. He wants (or thinks that he wants) the normal life. The hope, however, is constantly diminished by Sherlock’s presence. He cares for Sherlock when people gives up on doing so. He embraced Sherlock’s craziness (and selfishness) reluctantly since he realized nothing can change the person his best friend is. John mourned for months and years after Sherlock died before his eyes. The first time I saw Sherlock cried when he was telephoning Watson prior to the jump (though later we’d know that the death was faked. Of course it was fucking fake!). The first time I saw Sherlock apologized was also when he asked for John’s forgiveness for pretending to be dead, knowing how crushed John would be.

sherlockwedding_2781381bThe chemistry between Benedict and Martin (God, this sounds GAY!) is so amazing, it makes me want to cry. The way they look next to each other is different – Sherlock has that dark I-am-such-a-mysteriously-brilliant-man look whereas John looks just like….. someone who would be called John. Your next-door guy whom you’d expect to mow the lawn every now and then. The way they talk to each other is also cute – Sherlock would go yap and yap and yap and John, most of the time, has to listen and bear with his sentences cut short by his genius detective friend. They are always constantly together. John is often annoyed with Sherlock, though he gave up of ever expressing such feelings. Sherlock found a person he thought he’d never find in John – a friend. Most importantly, they love each other. (Again, very very GAY!) The writers seem to notice the explosive fandom the series has created over this couple that they actually intensified to a whole new level in Series Three. John was literally – I tell you – Sherlock’s damsel-in-distress. Hahaha, people, I give you – the GREATEST BROMANCE TO EVER EXIST ON PLANET EARTH.

CBS ELEMENTARY

key_elementaryFirst time I heard that CBS would be producing their own TV series based on Sherlock Holmes, I was quite pissed off. Why create another one when we already have the amazing BBC version? Why can’t they buy the copyrights and show the series in America? Are the writers in US out of ideas already? They seem to have been adapting sources out of their country for some time now. I mean – I could not think any other actor could play a modern Sherlock other than Benedict. And I was sure that Elementary would suck, big time. I was convinced the series was rubbish without even seeing it.

Hell, I was very very wrong. Foolishly wrong.

I am going to be very honest now. Story-wise, BBC Sherlock is much better and superior. I think BBC Sherlock also has better directions, pace, and a more elegant cinematography, which resulted in more impact to the audiences’ minds. Elementary has some smartly-written clever episodes. At times, it has average episodes. But BBC Sherlock’s writings are not just clever and smart – they are brilliant. But I think such comparison is fairly obvious. Sherlock has 3 to 5 episodes per season but CBS writers have to dig their heads to come out with clever stories for 24 episodes. I mean, the writers are not robots, people. BUT ELEMENTARY is one hell of an addictive series, made up of awesomeness and pure joy.

???Why? Because of Jonny Lee Miller, whom I wrongly accused of being unable to interpret the character as good as Benedict. In truth, he’s great. And there is no comparison at all because his acting makes Elementary a totally different show from Sherlock. Jonny’s Sherlock is a genius nonetheless. However, he is a bit more relatable. His emotional range is significantly expanded. He CAN emote – he fell in love once. He is a recovered drug addict whose father hired a sober companion, Joan Watson, to ensure that he does not relapse and return to his drug habits. In a way, he’s very flawed. He is also essentially a man-child. He does not really place much important in hygiene of himself and his apartment. He is obsessive over his cases and works for free as a consultant detective for NYPD. Why? Because he does not need to earn any money. He is a spoiled brat who lives off the money from the trust fund he inherited, which means he came from an insanely wealthy family. That explains why he’s immature 90% of the time. He’s often giddy, anxious and impatience.

Oh God, I love seeing him on screen. I completely fell in love with Sherlock Holmes! I find him so endearing and adorable! Now, Jonny’s Sherlock is someone I would not mind meeting in real life. Hehe.

lucy iuLucy Liu‘s interpretation of Joan Watson is also impressive. I was skeptical at first when I heard that CBS was going to turn Watson into a female character. The first thought that popped into my head was – are the writers going to make them sleep together? Cause sex and romance would pretty much destroy the professional and friendship-based chemistry Sherlock and Watson have in all the other versions. Good news, they don’t (or at least not yet and please keep it that way). Our Watson here (because Sherlock does not address her as Joan) is a calm and collected sober companion who would change his career into a consulting detective and Sherlock’s partner. As a former surgeon and an experienced sober companion, she comes off as a healer to broken things. Patients, drug addicts etc etc. She is supremely patience, smart, confidence and, though at times amazed at Sherlock’s skill, never deems Sherlock as a superior being. She also has a very clear mind and a great sense of control – something that Sherlock lacks.

elementary-super-bowl-cbsNow let’s talk about their chemistry. It did take me a few episodes to get over the GREATEST BROMANCE OF ALL TIME and neutralize my head to accept the partnership of Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson. It is surprisingly refreshing to see them together. The dynamic between Sherlock and Watson here is completely different. Sherlock calls Watson, Watson, perhaps because he’s not used to the name Joan. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think Sherlock here is less affectionate to his partner compared to the BBC version, which does not make it a bad thing. Their dynamic relationship is akin to a relationship between an elder sister and a mischievous younger brother. Now, you don’t normally express your love to your sister, do you? Sherlock does care very much about Watson but he does not have to tell her because he knows she would always be there for him, to limit his impulsiveness and to control him. Yes, that’s the main difference between the BBC and the CBS versions of this chemistry – our Watson has the power to ACTUALLY restrain Sherlock.She was, at first, his sober companion – meaning she had to make sure he does not relapse. She made sure his habits are under control and forced her way into his life, though he disliked it at first. As time passed by, our man-child Sherlock realized that with Watson, he is a better man, a better recovered drug addict and a sharper detective. And God, I do find it enjoyable to see a Sherlock that listens and abides to someone’s opinions but himself. Now that is what makes this so sweet. Sherlock, being a recovered addict, did want to go back to his drugs but he confessed the only thing stopping him was that he did not want to disappoint Watson, who has been nagging on and on about it. When Irene Adler was staying at their apartment, he also insisted Watson to stay, because “this is your home,” as he said to her. I mean… that is so motherfucking sweet, I almost cried.

Ok… I’m done.

NOW that is a very long gibberish paragraphs of spazzings and fangirls over Sherlock and Elementary. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, thank you for creating the stories. I love your novels and love the fact that people keep adapting your stories again and again. You make my life so happy.

Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

MY RATING: 4/5
MY RATING: 4/5

Where do I start is the question that come across my mind first after watching this film. There’s a mixed reaction on this film that i felt and I somehow couldn’t get it off my head. I was angry, betrayed, sad and depressed all at once. I felt it all right in my chest.

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Tom Hardy as Stuart Shorter

Stuart is a homeless person. He met Alexander in one of the meeting for the homeless person. Let’s just say that meeting created the friendship between them. I was not convinced how Tom Hardy can pull off the homeless look. I mean, He’s a stud. He’s charming in his own way. That’s where he proved me wrong. He portrayed the character so effortlessly. You can feel the emotion, you feel empathy and somehow, you could blame the world for turning him into who he is in this movie. I wasn’t planning to watch this film any time soon. Believe me, last thing I want was tears on my face and post-effect after watching this kind of film.

Stuart has been abused by his own brother for 3 years. His brother sometimes brought friend to join him in the act. At the age of 9, Stuart lost his innocence. I can’t stand the abuse especially when it involves kids. I don’t like kids personally, but nobody deserved to be treated like Stuart had for 3 years. It was inhumane, cruel and evil. The most shocking truth is that his own brother, to whom Stuart put his trust, was the one who violated him. There are a series of awfully unspeakable thing that happened to him. He finally lost it and went on rampage, demanding that his mother put him in the children’s care.

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Alexander and stuart

I always wonder when this thing occurred to kids, what did they do to deserve this? Sure, they can be annoying as hell and sometimes could be irritating, but a few punishments are more than adequate. Being sexually abused for years really flipped people in a way that ordinary people can’t fathom. After being put into the children’s care, he was not exactly saved either. He was abused (once again) by the pedophile in the care. I cried. I really cried my heart out when Stuart confessed in the tape that he was abused when he was 9 years old and stated that he never understand how could people inflicted harm on him.

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Benedict Cumberbatch as Alexander Masters

Alexander, on the other hand, has no interest in working for homeless shelter. He told Stuart he only did it because the pay was good. However, the more he spends time with Stuart, the more he wanted to know about him. He told Stuart he wanted to write about Stuart and it was Stuart’s idea to write a biography about him but in backwards style. It was to appeal the readers. Benedict Cumberbatch was never a disappointing actor. He played as Alexander Masters, the one who wrote the biography of Stuart shorter. He discovered what really happened to Stuart after listening to the recording tapes that given by Stuart and a series of interview by his own family’s members. In the beginning of the film, you can see how Alexander felt disgusted and even felt uncomfortable to be around Stuart. What can you expect? I bet we all would feel the same way. He changed afterwards. He’s accompanied Stuart everywhere and so used to his present around him.

However, right after the draft of book finished, Stuart committed suicide in front of the train. Alexander told that he was not sure why Stuart did it. I don’t blame him for taking away his life. Sure, there a lot of people can say that they can help, gives support and everything but in the end, the one who felt it is the victim. How can you take the misery, pain, hatred that they felt right after they experienced the abuse? Nobody can. The only comfort I had after watching this film was the perpetrator; the Stuart brother’s committed suicide. I don’t know why he did it, but I’m glad he did.

The book written by Alexander Masters:

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Sherlock & Elementary : TV series review

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

Sherlock: 4/5 Elementary: 3.5/5
Sherlock: 4/5
Elementary: 3.5/5

Sherlock Holmes portrayed By Benedict CumberBatch (Sherlock) & Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary):

Benedict Cumberbatch & Jonny Lee Miller
Benedict Cumberbatch & Jonny Lee Miller

Truth be told, if people asked me which sherlock i preferred the most, i might have no answer to that. I like how Benedict and Miller played sherlock in similar role yet they are distinctives in their own angle. Benedict somehow possessed the arrogance and charms in his own wits. People find him irritating, weird, psychopath but how he portrayed sherlock is admirable. I, maybe not a fan of cumberbatch because i find his face slightly annoying but as fan of tv series, Cumberbatch did an excellent job.

Miller on the other hand, is what you could say american version of Sherlock though he himself maintained being a british citizen in this series. He portrayed a recovering drug addict plus a genius consulting detective. As can be seen, this version of sherlock is a little bad boy as Miller association with prostitutes and drugs are not news anymore especially to others who knew him well. Miller gave an annoyance vibe to NYPD department but they had to endure him because of the relationship he had with Captain Gregson.

In both series, you can say that both sherlock had a slight similarity for genius and intelligence are part of them. However, One find women is a element to exercise sexual function and the other, might find them as a repellent. Either way, they played the character flawlessly and have their own interpretation in the role.

Dr. Watson Portrayed By Martin Freeman (Sherlock) and Lucy Liu (Elementary):

Matin Freeman & Lucy Liu
Matin Freeman & Lucy Liu

I am inclined to like Watson portrayed by Freeman much better than Lucy. Not because Watson supposed to be a man originally, but lucy does not have that kind of spark to the character. she fails to make me worship Sherlock/Watson pair in elementary. Sherlock, on the other hand, well, the bromance should keep going on no matter what. Lucy Portrayed Watson as sherlock’s sober companion. They began their relationship with professional association. Freeman (sherlock’s Watson) started knowing sherlock as they are roommate and began familiarizing with what sherlock did for a living. You can see that their friendship growing over time passes by.

In the elementary, Lucy and Miller kept their distance and the relationship was strictly business. Lucy noticed that as the term of being sherlock sober companion in elementary nearly ending, she decided to stay even she’s not being paid. she realized that she liked doing the investigation together with sherlock in the elementary.

Irene Adler portrayed By Lara Pulver (Sherlock) and Natalie Dormer (Elementary):

Lara Pulver & Natalie Dormer
Lara Pulver & Natalie Dormer

Although I am excited about Natalie Dormer gonna play the character of Irene Adler in the Elementary. I was disappointed by how elementary shows the dysfuctional, on-and-off relation of Irene and Sherlock. May i remind you, that there is no sexual scene (there are nude scene, but no sexual interaction) between Pulver and Cumberbatch in Sherlock but i was convinced. I even worshipped them. For me, cumberbatch really make it through showing us that Pulver is ‘The Woman’ for him.

Dormer, On the other hand, brilliant in her own acting, seductive as ever but fails to put the emotion as Irene (Maybe i expected too much of her since i already her fans in the tudors tv series). There are some scenes that i liked between Sherlock and her in the elementary, but to be compared in the episode of the scandal in belgravia of sherlock, maybe its a long way to go.

Moriarty Portrayed By Andrew Scott (Sherlock) and Natalie Dormer (Elementary):

Andrew Scott & Natalie Dormer
Andrew Scott & Natalie Dormer

This is by far, the most shocking twist presented in the elementary as ‘The Woman” herself is the Moriarty that Sherlock took years to find. Not that i dont like the twist, i think the writer is brave enough to combine both characters. That took some guts to do so. However, Much i would like myself to feel impress, i dont. That’s because it destroyed the relationship between sherlock and irene had in the past. Its a big blow to me. Natalie Dormer is Evil enough to play that character. She did amazing job portraying woman version of Moriarty. I just dislike the idea of Irene adler and Moriarty is the same person.

Moriarty in sherlock, is the craziest character i ever watched. Scott successfully balances the psychopath and the crazy in the moriarty. Sure, he’s a villain but how he lured sherlock to fall into his tricks and turned other people against sherlock was surprisingly good. Andrew Scott did justice on the moriarty role. Because of what happened to Watson, Irene and Moriary in the elementary forced me to deducted 0.5 from the rating. If it was up only to Cumberbatch and Miller, they would earn 5 from me right away.