Well, here are a few more of my mini reviews for some Oscar selected movies I viewed. With this blog entry, I think I've watched and wrote about all the movie that were nominated in the category of Best Picture, but if I missed one I'll check it out later.

I watched the movie “The Queen” on DVD. This movie is about the response of England's Queen Elizabeth in particular and the British government in general to the untimely death of Princess Diana due to a car accident in France.

The movies main point is that the monarchy of Britain had become so detached from their subjects that it's response to Diana's passing was offending the sensibilities of the British people.

With the funeral as a back drop, one gets a feeling for the functioning of the British government and the role the monarchy plays in it. One also comes away with a general feeling for the way the Prime Minister's office works. I enjoyed the play between Queen and Prime Minister

The story seems to suggest that the British monarchy, in order to survive, must evolve with the times while still maintaining as much of the old traditions as possible. It is a hard task, but the survival of the monarchy as an official part of British government depends on it.

“The Queen” is a great movie and anyone interested in some of the events surrounding that tragic accident will enjoy this movie. I give “The Queen” a grade of B.

“The Last King Of Scotland” is about a recently graduated Scottish medical student who in order to escape his father and the mundane life of being a family doctor in the Scottish countryside decides to go to Uganda in search of fun and adventure and to help a little by becoming a medical aid worker.

The young doctor arrives during the time of a coup by Idi Amin and is soon caught up in the newly empowered government of Idi Amin.

The actor who plays the doctor does a good job of portraying one not too politically aware or more out for excitement than being concerned about politics. One gets the sense of a horny young doctor whose only real concerns are treating patients and enjoying himself.

At first the doctor seems pretty naive about the things going on around him and with Idi Amin, but the truth of the matter becomes brutally clear to him as he gets more involved with Amin and, shall I say, other things of value to Amin.

Whitaker does a bang up job as Idi Amin and plays the former dictator's charm, temper and rage very well. Whitaker's Amin has a lot of instability and no one knows when he will go off. It is an excellent performance.

“The Last King Of Scotland” can also be viewed as a general portrait of many despotic leaders of Africa. Idi Amin was just one of the most brutish rulers to ever rule a country on the continent of Africa, but there have been many others.

“The Last King Of Scotland” is an excellent movie and worth seeing by all. It receives a grade of A.

I saw the movie “DreamGirls” on DVD. The movie follows the trials and tribulations and success of three African-American women singers in the music business from about the mid 1950s to the late 1970s. By doing this the movie also deals a little with various types of music like rhythm and blues which forms the foundation of rock and pop music. It covers the sound that dominated the 1960s (mostly the early to mid sixties) which had many African-American female singing groups.

Now, the story deals with the transformation of rhythm and blues, rock, pop, and disco music within an African-American context, so many of the transformations of rock music are missing from this story, but there is a lot to be gleaned from this tale because the foundation of rock comes from music that originated in the African-American community (Jazz, Blues and Soul).

You see how white artist made hits out of many African-American composed and sung songs. You see how a manager for a singing group turns his small time singers into stars and the tensions this can create. You see how a manager adopts his group's sound to what is popular which is, on many occasions not what the artist wanted.

It is said that the play “DreamGirls” from which the movie is based is about Motown, Diana Rose and the Supremes and Little Richard or Marvin Gaye and I can understand how some came to that conclusion.

So, “DreamGirls” will introduce you to some of the history of American music, besides telling a wonderful story about three women's experiences becoming stars. It is an excellent movie. I give it a grade of A. I wish I had seen this one in a movie theater with a good sound system which is one of the best ways to enjoy a good musical.

These short reviews do not do these movies justice. There is so much more that can be said about “DreamGirls”, “The Last King of Scotland” and even “The Queen”.

Anyway, all of them are worth seeing.

on May 25, 2007
“The Last King Of Scotland” is an excellent movie and worth seeing by all.

Time to go and get the dvd then