The Dallas Movie Screening Group

This is the homepage of the Dallas Movie Screening Group. To join our mailing list you must sign up at our group page on Yahoo. You will then be connected to receive notices on how to find passes to the local screenings in the DFW area. It's up to you to pickup or sign up for passes. You can also barter, trade or just giveaway passes you don't want, need or share with other members of the group. Please read the instructions on the Yahoo page very carefully before posting. This group is closely moderated so that your mail box is not full of spam or other unnecessary mail. We appreciate everyone's consideration and cooperation.

You can use this homepage for posting comments, reviews, and other things that cannot be posted to the group. Of course spam is not allowed. Thanks!

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Reesa's Reviews can also be found at:
http://www.moviegeekfeed.com

Logo art by Steve Cruz http://www.mfagallery.com

Website and Group Contact: dalscreenings@gmail.com

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Giver Review and Interview with Brenton Thwaites




Lois Lowry's 1993 young adult novel The Giver took two decades to make it to the big screen. At one point, producer/actor Jeff Bridges wanted his father Lloyd Bridges to play The Giver. Director Phillip Noyce and screenwriters Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide stay faithful to the source material with a few tweaks like the main character Jonas going from age 12 to 18 and not everyone having the same eye color. The film begins in black and white to emphasis the “Sameness”. The people in this dystopian world cannot see color because it's too disruptive to their society. If you are not familiar with the novel, the movie forces you to make a leap of faith that there is such a world where a populace have cut themselves off from feelings, independent thought, imagination in a climate controlled world where everyone follows the rules. You must follow precise language, never lie, wear assigned clothes, and take your medication.

Each community that exists on this plateau that is surrounded by a cliff that separates their world by a cloudy crevasse and the land beyond to the border of memory. Every year there is a celebration with a ceremony that sends their elders to “elsewhere” (death), honors the 9 year olds for being half way to graduating, and the teen graduates who are thanked for their childhood. The chief elder (Meryl Streep) appears as a hologram to the community assigning each teen to their new job for life. Everyone except for Jonas (Brenton Thwaites). The elder tells him that he is gifted with many attributes and has been selected to the new Receiver of Memories. This position requires him to work with the last receiver who now becomes The Giver (Jeff Bridges). The Giver's position is to share with Jonas all the memories of humanity's past so that he can use his knowledge help advise. It's a huge responsibility and burden, so The Giver lives on the edge of “elsewhere” in a house by the cliff filled with these things called “books”.

Jonas' child hood friends Fiona (Odeya Rush) and Asher (Cameron Monaghan) notice a change in him. Especially when he stops taking his medication. The world is becoming more colorful now and although the rules say he cannot share what he is being taught, he finds it hard not to want to help his friends and family open their minds. Family units in this tightly run community are assigned to each other. Mother (Katie Holmes) and father (Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd) act as guides and monitors to their children. Babies are genetically produced in labs. Father brings home one of the babies from his job as a nurturer to help it thrive. Jonas notices Gabriel has the same “receiver” mark as he and The Giver possess. When he finds out that Gabriel is being sent to “elsewhere” because he's not measuring up to standards, Jonas makes a decision that may have been guided all along by The Giver.

The cast is wonderful as to be expected. Meryl Streep's long grey wig looks more like her new role in “Into the Woods” if you've seen the trailer. She is scary and condescending. Bridges looks like a rumpled professor in house slippers but you can feel his pain. Thwaites manages to convey Jonas with honesty in his discovery of real life. The last act tries to justify the need for “sameness”, but it sounds too much like some conservative Christian agenda. The themes are painted too broadly and makes one think there maybe more details in the book. In this world everyone is greeted with the phrase “I apologize” and “I accept your apology”. Maybe we are owed an apology. Should we accept?
(Review by reesa)



Interview with Brenton Thwaites when he came to Dallas on July 28, 2014. Watch the slideshow and listen to the interview.










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