Monday, February 27, 2017

Chance's Corner: Movie Time at the Library (February) + Oscars Results

Another month, more movies!

For those of you who missed the news in January, we're now showing a kid's feature film on the last Thursday of every month, and a feature film for adults on the last Friday of every month. The movies start at 1:30 PM. This month we watched two stellar films.

Queen of Katwe

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's Disney's formulaic mantra. Well, this time Disney seems to have broken that mantra, or at least tweaked it.

In Queen of Katwe, we're transported to the slum of Katwe, which is located in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Young Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) lives there with her mother (Lupita Nyong'o) and siblings. Their only means of income is selling maize, and the demand for maize is pretty low. While their lives seem pretty bleak, despite the astonishingly bright colors that surround them, they make the best of the situation through their bonds of faith and love. It could just be another case of born in the slums, die in the slums, but a curious Phiona soon stumbles upon a makeshift chess club hosted by missionary Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) that changes her life, and her family's life, forever.

Everyone's singing the praises of the professional actors in Queen of Katwe, which is fair, but newcomer Madina Nalwanga is truly a sight to behold. I would love to see more of her in the future. So, what about the tweaks to the Disney formula I mentioned? Focusing on a girl from Uganda, and showing the realities of slum life, is a start. The subject of prostitution is even addressed, giving the drama a darker edge. Overall, Phiona's story is inspiring, but it's not entirely sugarcoated. This is no princess tale. Phiona's a queen.

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove centers around a grumpy old man, Ove (Rolf Lassgård), that lives an incredibly structured life (and drives a Saab). Every morning at 8, he walks around his condominium to check on the state of things and enforce block association rules. Every day he visits his wife's (Ida Engvoll) grave and puts out fresh flowers. He also goes to work at a factory that he's been at for over 40 years... until he's suddenly fired. Soon afterwards, his whole structured life goes out of balance. Ove thinks it's the end for him, but as fate would have it, it's only a new beginning.

It's odd to find myself saying that a movie involving suicide is cute and funny, but here I am saying it. A lot of that is owed to Rolf Lassgård and Filip Berg, who play old Ove and young Ove, respectively. Rolf has the endearing, growling personality. You just want to give him a big ole bear hug. Filip shows Ove's sweeter, softer side through flashback. Through him, we witness Ove fall in love with his wife, Sonja. It kind of plays out like a Nicholas Sparks movie, but it's quirkier, and better.

If you missed out, both films are available to check out here at the Franklin County Library! I'd definitely recommend them. Now on to the Oscars! 

I cast my Oscar ballot a couple of weeks ago, and my predictions turned out pretty solid. While I did give Denzel Washington the edge over Casey Affleck for Best Actor, it really wasn't all that surprising to see Affleck run off with the gold because Denzel already has two Oscars at home. The real surprise turned out to be figuring out who the Best Picture winner was thanks to a misplaced duplicate envelope. Even if no one was watching the ceremony live, they know about one of the most embarrassing moments in Oscars history. Congratulations to Moonlight, even though it turned out to be a bittersweet win.

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