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Thread: Milk

  1. #1
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Milk

    (really looking forward to this one)





    Penn brilliant as Harvey Milk in epic biopic


    With "Milk," a great San Francisco story becomes a great American story.
    Director Gus Van Sant uses the account of one of the country's first openly gay public official, who was assassinated in 1978, to invest the gay rights movement with mythic grandeur, as a successor to all the heroic social protest movements in American history. Van Sant's point of view may be a matter of politics, outside the scope of a review, but his success in putting over his point of view is a question of art.
    His success is complete. His shaping of the material is seamless, and the images he evokes are inspiring.
    At the center of everything is Sean Penn, who disappears into the title role. Gone are his familiar facial expressions. Gone are the pursed lips and the covered, compressed quality. He has Harvey Milk's hair, and from some angles - particularly when Milk is in the public arena - the physical resemblance is uncanny. But what's more striking is the spiritual transformation. Penn gives us a man who was once closeted and now, as if in response, lives his life completely in the open. He's spontaneous as Penn has never been spontaneous. He's emotional, vulnerable and generous with his laughter. Penn plays him as an utterly liberated man, and this liberates Penn as an actor.
    Milk's openness, which makes him an endearing figure, gives the movie latitude to paint a complex portrait without losing the audience's interest or affection. The Milk who emerges is at times vain and frivolous. His personal life is often messy and sometimes downright farcical, and his Machiavellian streak isn't becoming, even if impressive. He's no saint, but he has courage and self-knowledge, and you get the feeling that both qualities were hard earned. Van Sant's Milk is essentially an average man who gets the call. By chance, by accident of history, by some strange meeting of disposition and location, Harvey Milk, in the 1970s, finds himself to be the one person best suited to lead the gay rights movement.
    The movie begins with him in 1978, making a tape recording to be played in the event of his assassination. We then flash back to 1970, when Milk, at 40 years old, decides to throw off his closeted life and move from New York to San Francisco with his new lover, Scott Smith (James Franco).
    Van Sant mixes archival footage with new footage - at times, it's impossible to tell one from the other - and it's fascinating to see San Francisco in the '70s. There's color and beauty, but also coarseness; excitement and hope, but with a feeling that something - or everything - just might spin out of control. The depiction looks accurate, but maybe it looks that way only to people, like me, who never saw San Francisco in that era. No matter. Van Sant captures something, either the city as it was or the San Francisco of legend.
    By the time he arrives in San Francisco, Milk looks like a hippie, but he's an old hippie with non-hippie talents, such as a gift for organization and a head for business. He buys a camera shop, and soon his store becomes a community hangout. Before anyone else does, Milk realizes the potential clout of the gay community. He becomes the guy people go to when they get beaten up by the police. He becomes the guy the Teamsters talk to when they want the gay community on their side. A generation ago, it apparently wasn't that easy being gay in San Francisco, but Milk realizes the way out of the darkness: He understands that mainstream acceptance will come not through hiding and assimilation but through people being openly and unapologetically themselves.
    "Milk" contains a second remarkable performance (unless you also count James Franco's, for looking totally OK about having Sean Penn kissing him like he means it). As Supervisor Dan White, who ultimately murdered Milk and Mayor George Moscone, Josh Brolin presents a chilling study in weakness. White's intelligence is limited. His self-conception is rigid and inaccurate. His anger is unspecific but towering, and he might be gay, though his homosexuality could be hidden even from himself. Brolin lets us see White's thought processes, which are slow and easily derailed by self-protective anger. Last month, Brolin played George W. Bush in "W." This week he's Dan White. He must wonder sometimes what casting directors are reading into him.
    Van Sant's goal in "Milk" is to give the gay rights movement the grandness and impact of the civil rights movement. To do that, Milk must be made into the gay equivalent of Martin Luther King Jr., who led a moral crusade, fully knowing that he might be murdered along the way.
    In truth, the King comparison only goes so far. Yes, Milk led a crusade that involved physical risk, and the real Harvey Milk did make tapes (in 1977) to be played in the event of his assassination. But it would be stretching things to say Milk was killed because he was gay. His death was more like a fluke, part of a macabre workplace crime that also robbed the city of its mayor. It's evidence of the film's effectiveness, its power to incite emotion, that Milk's death is made to feel like the inevitable consequence of his being a visionary.
    One truth "Milk" doesn't need to amplify or manipulate: It's that Harvey Milk's story is part of the San Francisco story, and that story still means something, even to those who came to town years later and never heard of Milk until they got here. Van Sant's images of the candle-lit procession in the aftermath of Milk's death, of the tens of thousands filling Castro Street, are as moving as anything on this year's screen. Those images will mean the same everywhere - that there's something in the American soul that makes people want to come together and that makes progress unstoppable.

  2. #2
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    yup i cannot wait to see this movie.
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    Silver Member FlyByKnightRider's Avatar
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    I really cannot wait to see this movie too.

    Interesting story:
    My mom was living in San Francisco in the mid-late '70s, the same time Milk and Moscone were assassinated. She told me the city after the murders was the saddest situation because many people, gay and straight, felt so dejected by the deaths that they became almost cold. Even though she didn't live in the Castro(she was living in the Haight-Ashbury), she knew many who did and they echoed her same sentiments.

    Her and I are going to see it together as soon as it comes to our town.

  4. #4
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    I just saw this movie today and can say it was absolutely brilliant. Sean Penn was incredible, as were most of the rest of the cast. James Franco was absolutely phwoar, even with the pube head. One thing I noticed, which struck me as odd, is that Danny Elfman did the music. I thought he was a big-time Cos so what the hell is he doing scoring a film that is essentially promoting gay rights? I was under the impression the Cos don't do gay so if not that makes him one big, fat hypocrite.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

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    Elite Member TonjaLasagna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buttmunch View Post
    One thing I noticed, which struck me as odd, is that Danny Elfman did the music. I thought he was a big-time Cos so what the hell is he doing scoring a film that is essentially promoting gay rights? I was under the impression the Cos don't do gay so if not that makes him one big, fat hypocrite.

    I apologize for my ignorance, but what is 'Cos' ?
    If Danny Elfman is homophobic, then he did it just for the money
    "the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone"

  6. #6
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Cos is Scientology. And Danny Elfman is a Scientologist and Scientolgists don't believe in peen on peen therefore Elfman is a hypocrite. But I guess he's got to pay for those audits somehow. He'll never make it to Tethen level 1000 if the big bugs aren't rolling in.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

  7. #7
    Elite Member TonjaLasagna's Avatar
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    Ahhhhhhhhh, that sucks, didn't know he was part of that Cult.

    Yea, Elfman is def a hypocrite!.........he took the job for the cash
    "the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone"

  8. #8
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Either way, this was one great flick. I cried and was moved and disturbed and thoughtful and everything in between by the end. I can't say enough times how absolutely fantastic Sean Penn was. I hope he wins the Oscar after seeing this. I loved Richard Jenkins in The Visitor and thought, until now, that he should win for not only having a fantastic, slightly under the radar career, but also for being great in that film but after seeing Milk I've revised and think Penn should get it. I'm seeing The Wrestler tomorrow so perhaps I'll change my mind again.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

  9. #9
    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
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    Loved it. I applaud the director, cinematographer and art director for really capturing the 70's. The detail was amazing.

    Sean was wonderful. Underplayed, genuine, not a caracature, but this sweet, caring, regular guy with passion.

    Why Josh Brolin was nominated I can't say. Nothing shined there. I can't decide between Mickey and Sean. These are the only movies of this year that I saw.

  10. #10
    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Cannot wait to catch this on PPV. Top of the list in my book!

  11. #11
    Elite Member TonjaLasagna's Avatar
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    Bought one of those special AMC Best Picture Showcase tix and i'll see 'Milk' 10:30am Saturday morning. Can't Wait!!!!
    "the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone"

  12. #12
    Super Moderator NoDayButToday's Avatar
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    That's so much fun, I went last year and would be going this year if I weren't working. Sneak in small protein packed food, the free popcorn is not enough to get through the day and take advantage of the 10-15 minute breaks between movies, you'll need them to stretch and walk around. Also, best part, no previews!

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