Friday, December 12, 2008

"Milk" & "Fuel"

I just had a back to back movie day, thanks to friends Raul and Sandy. Not exactly a double feature since we had to drive from one theater to another, squeezing in a quick dinner in between.

In the afternoon, we saw "Milk" which will, no doubt, earn Sean Penn many award nominations. I do believe that he is the finest actor of our times. "Milk" is certainly well-made, and the twin themes of, on the one hand, acceptance/inclusion/HOPE and, on the other hand, discomfort and dread (since we know where we're going in this biopic) are ripe for our times. We do ask ourselves, how accurate and depthy or idealized is this portrayal of Harvey Milk? At the same time, we can't help but be swept up in his rise to heroic stature. Josh Brolin seems to be everywhere these days, and his characters always seem to have their finger on the button. I recommend "Milk" as a must see film of 2008.

"Fuel" is a cross between "An Inconvenient Truth," "The Eleventh Hour" and the playful documentaries of Michael "Sicko" Moore and Morgan "Super Size Me" Spurlock. "Fuel" is not at all a one man show (celebs include Sheryl Crow and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.), but the film does revolve around the temperament and the fossil and cooking oil fueled ramblings of a new young filmmaker, Josh Tickell. Tickell was present at our screening of the film, along with his number one fan, his mother, who worked the audience like crazy to support the film and help it find a wider audience.

There is more hope in this film than in most environmental explorations. And there are real solutions for change (CHANGE and HOPE being such big words these days).

"Fuel" won an audience award at Sundance and is racking up other awards as well, though I would say it's chances of wider release will be hurt by it's two hour twenty minute length. The film urgently needs to be cut by half an hour to come in well under two hours, and I said so at the screening. But if I get the chance, I will definitely watch this one again. And if you get the chance, definitely see "Fuel" however you can, and like Josh's mom, work your friends like crazy to see it as well.


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