Two very different films about guns and violence
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[Content warning: this review discusses school shootings and gun violence]
“Us Kids” is one of the most powerful coming-of-age movies I’ve ever seen. The kids growing up in the on-demand video documentary are the survivors of an infamous high school shooting, which leads to this question: How does a person grow up and come into the adult world when they are simultaneously discover how to heal from the physical and emotional trauma of being shot, witnessing death, and losing the trust of adults who couldn’t or wouldn’t help them? “Us Kids,” directed by award-winning documentary director Kim A. Snyder, has that answer.
As of February 14, 2018, “Parkland” has become a household word, referring to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that claimed the lives of 17 students and staff. This film does not focus on the disturbing details of the shooting, but simply focuses on a handful of teenage survivors of that day as they launch a nationwide movement to prevent gun violence in schools. The film captures the intimate, everyday reality of this process.
It’s positive, inspiring, revealing and powerful.
I was initially interested in watching this movie, but was reluctant to submit to such a heavy and potentially depressing subject. However, “Us Kids” doesn’t seem at all difficult to watch. In fact, I immediately wanted to see it again because there is so much information to process.
The headline “Us Kids” comes straight from what senior Emma Gonzalez said on television days after the shooting in response to those in power saying the shooting was not preventable, despite the evidence. “The people in government who are elected to power lie to us,” she said. . We call BS “
Part of this documentary follows a high-profile and very loud group of Parkland survivors as they tour the country to get young people to vote against dangerous gun laws. Another follows the personal struggles of Samantha Fuentes, an elderly person who left visible scars on her face and legs from which she was shot several times. Sam uses calmer ways to express herself and create change, such as writing and playing music, as she struggles with PTSD and an intense fear of being downcast again, whenever she’s at home. ‘outdoors.
An incredible moment is when Sam gives a speech to accept the Pen Literary Awards for the Courage of Free Speech from the Pen Literary Awards for his advocacy for guns. As we read his speech, we hear him commenting on the thoughts going through his head. She points out that when she realizes how exposed she is, how much she looks for ways out, her panic begins to increase. His mind keeps repeating “I’m going to get shot, I’m going to get shot.”
We see the scars on his face. We hear his voice tremble.
On the outside it comes across as stage fright, but this cinematic medium lets us really know what’s going on in this teenager’s head. When she throws up and walks out of the stage, she later says to the camera, “Not just the shooting, like, almost took my life. It took my sense of security. It took my sanity.” It took everything. “
This incredible documentary reveals the little things that affect the lives of these teenagers, from the hoodie that a 15 year old boy won’t peel off even in 90 ° weather, because of the bullet scar on the back of his head , to impromptu midnight dance parties as he organized a nationwide protest, of being harassed by armed adult men threatening already traumatized teens with death.
As intense as it may sound, the filmmaker’s style is easy to absorb and has a steady, smooth flow. Neat editing choices include using “real-time” text messages and social media posts, so I recommend viewing on a screen large enough to read small print.
The best documentaries do more than show you reality or educate you. They suck you in and leave you changed. Even though these events happened three years ago, “Us Kids” left me thinking, what can I do? I want to do more.
[Suggested Emojis: Two Thumbs Up]
‘ARMY OF THE DEAD’
I never thought I would have a hard time staying awake during a bloody horror movie.
This painfully worded wreck proved me wrong.
The plot of “Army of the Dead,” directed by Zack Snyder and starring Dave Bautista, is so predictable that I was calling the events a half hour before they happened. And don’t get me started in the placeholder dialogue.
This Netflix mistake is trying to be a zombie flick, but also a Las Vegas heist story, heartwarming family drama, and doomsday comedy, all at the same time. I felt like I was watching six different movies – none of which were interesting.
The pace of the film is extremely chaotic, ranging from an adrenaline rush of blood spurting over the camera lenses for a minute, to people awkwardly standing to discuss teenage angst the next day. There is no continuity.
Worst of all, the public itself is not respected. There is an endless stream of unnecessary exhibits, including a whole scene how crucial it is to aim for the heads of the monsters. The average person has more in-depth knowledge of zombie killing than anything in this movie. Zack Snyder, really? I remember going to class in Berkeley and hearing people discuss the detailed zombie apocalypse strategy, like what to do if zombies can climb trees.
We know to target their brain!
Is this movie really watchable?
Yes, a little, and the reason is Tig Notaro. His dry sense of humor is the only thing that got me through.
That detail aside, you should give “Army of the Dead” a pass.
There are better zombie movies to watch.
[Suggested Emojis: Thumbs Down, Sleeping Emoji]