Friday, November 29, 2013

Brokeback Mountain (Blu-ray + DVD) (2005)

Brokeback MountainFirst off let me just say, wow, everyone was right, as a straight male I can truly say this movie touched me in a way no other film ever has. BBM definately deserved the Best Picture Oscar, and what makes me mad is that I really liked Crash, but thanks to the Academy I cant watch it without thinking, how could they choose this over a masterpiece like Brokeback.

So most of you already know the story so I'll tell you about how this film affected me. My girlfriend wanted to go see this movie last week and I was actually pretty excited. I saw the previews and thought wow finally something original from Hollywood after a year full of crap. So we went and after the movie was over there were of course people crying but I didnt know what to feel, I thought the ending sucked but the acting was pretty good.

Then I found myself thinking it over on the ride home, and all night I dont think I said more than two words to my family, and then as I was getting ready to go to sleep I started to tear up, I called my gf and she had the exact same reaction. Brokeback is a movie that definately touches you, not because its a gay romance, but because its a beautiful parable about loneliness, love, and what it means to be a man. I was reading a review about BBM and what it said was true. BBM was needed because the gay community has become a joke in this country, sure shows like Will and Grace and Queer Eye are out there but it just reinforces the stereotype that all gay men are fashion obsessed, feminine, and funny. Well I have gay friends, and most of them are just like me, theyre regular guys who do manly things and who just so happen to be attracted to other manly man because God made them that way. BBM definately does a lot of good in showing a more realistic side to the gay community.

So like I said I hated the ending at first, then I went back to see it this week because I couldnt stop thinking about it, and it was even better the second time, I realized that by ending the way it does BBM shows the courage and strength that gay men have to go through to come out. I found myself asking that if I were gay would I have had the courage to give up everything I ever knew to be with the person I loved. Honestly I dont know if I could, I can sympathize with Ennis because I grew up in his situation, my father and mother have always preached against the sins of the world, including homosexuality, I dont know how Id ever be able to tell them if I were gay. Likewise almost everyone has that doubt that Ennis has, that wish that you had done something to make you happy instead of making everyone else happy, wheter its pursuing a relationship, career, or dream, we all have our regrets in life. What gets to me the most and what caused me to become one of those weeping audience members at the end of the second viewing was that Ennis does what he does in order to protect Jack, and unfortunately it kills him. I truly believe it wouldve been different had Ennis & Jack bought that ranch.

The acting is phenominal, Heath Ledger gives one of the greatest screen preformances in history as Ennis Del Mar. Phillip Hoffman won the Oscar this year and I really liked his preformance, but Heath has so little to work with and yet is so heart wrenching. He's able to convey so much by just saying "Jack, I swear" than most actors could show in a whole film. Expect this role to pop up on AFI's list of greatest preformances sometime very soon. Michelle Williams is also a revalation, that scene where she sees Ennis and Jack kissing and essentially sees her world crashing down is so powerful without being showy, and Academy I have a serious complaint, Rachel Weisz, WTF? To say that her preformance was better than Michelle's in Brokeback and Amy Adams in Junebug, you have got to be kidding me, guess being pregnant buys you some serious points doesnt it. Now as for Jake Gylenhaal, the first time I saw BBM I actually didnt understand him, he didnt seem to have any sadness at seeing Ennis go that summer except for when hes in his truck, than I realized why, he was being strong for Ennis, he was essentialy saying im your rock. Its a tough preformance that you have to see more than once to truly appreciate but Jake nails it perfectly. Anne Hathaway as Lureen isnt really given much to work with, but that phone call with Ennis shows shes way more than just a one note actress.

Yes, im rambling but its because BBM touched me so much its hard not to praise this film. For all those giving it one stars, you obviously havent watched the movie, because its so much more than two guys having sex, which by the way probably consists of 30 seconds of screen time and almost no nudity save for a shot of Jacks butt which if you cant handle that than how did you ever get through the gym class locker room. Also for all those saying homosexuality is a sin, and BBM glorifies it, the characters end up heart broken and alone, if anything its an anti-gay film, or at least would be if the scenes between Jack and Ennis didnt show that these two men obviously love each other completely, and I was raised Catholic, I believe god loves every one of us and gay people are born that way, and I think theyre put on this earth to teach us what real love is.

Brokeback is definately an instant classic, and will go in my DVD collection right next to Citizen Kane and Million Dollar Baby as my all time favorites. And for those who felt it got shafted at the Oscars, dont worry, Citizen Kane, the greatest movie of all time got 1 Oscar for its screenplay, theres no doubt in my mind that BBM will be remmembered far longer than Crash, and that it will be way up on the AFI's list of the greatest movies of all time.

Love has no rules. It happens when we least expect it, often when we don't want it, many times when we can't handle it. It often times scares you, surprises you, shakes you down to your very core. Ennis Del Mar (a remarkable Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (an emotionally available Jake Gyllenhaal) find themselves thrown together because of a job: forced to spend many hours together alone in the wild, tending to sheep in a remote region of Wyoming....on Brokeback Mountain. They fall in love: a love that they soon realize only lives and breathes on the mountain.

It's 1963, pre American involvement in the Vietnam War, post Korean War: a time in the USA when life was simple, straightforward and the lines between the sexes and sex roles were crisply drawn and severely delineated. It was a time when men and women were pigeon-holed into unrealistic modes of behavior and anyone who ventured outside of these boundaries was thought of at best, weird at worst... perverted and in many states, criminal. Ennis himself, at an early age was witness to the ugly, disgusting results of a hate crime perpetrated on a Wyoming farmer who had lived many years with his partner. In most societies he would be venerated but in 1950's Wyoming... he became a target.

Director Ang Lee begins this film as both Ennis and Jack are waiting outside of a building, both looking for work, both down on their luck, both avoiding each other's eyes. We know, or those of us who have read the story know, what is to happen and so unfortunately we read more into that simple scene than there really is. But with all that aside, this scene of Ennis and Jack avoiding each other, dodging each others looks, staring at the ground, kicking up the dirt is nonetheless rife with sensuality and tension.

Ennis and Jack are inexorably drawn to each other through their proximity, loneliness and through a shared lack of tenderness and emotion in their lives: they are emotionally, physically and psychically bonded almost from the start. It is inevitable. It is Fate.

And so begins a Love affair that transcends social mores, time, marriages, children, extra-marital affairs and divorce.

Despite all that is going on in their lives, Ennis and Jack meet several times a year up on Brokeback mountain and rekindle and thereby re-ignite their emotional and physical attraction: there is no one around, they are free from their regular lives...they can love.

Much has been made of Heath Ledger's performance as Ennis and he gives what is without a doubt one of the finest performances of this year. Ennis is a quiet, stoic man and he is troubled and frankly scared by how deeply he feels for Jack. As he showed us first in "Monster's Ball," Ledger is capable of digging way deep down into his gut and imbuing his performances with an unflinching frankness and truth that we can neither ignore nor help to be moved by.

Gyllenhall's Jack is the younger of the two: he's fun, he's a little crazy and unfortunately he wants a lot, lot more than Ennis is able to give him. Gyllenhaal's hang-dog, frisky puppy of a performance is full of warmth and light: the kind of transcendent light that shines out from a soul full of love, understanding and acceptance.

"Brokeback Mountain" is devastating in both its presentation, its performances and its tragic denouement. This movie is not for everyone. But if you are willing to open up your heart and mind a bit to let in its beauty, emotionality and sensuality you will not be disappointed. In fact... you will be renewed.

Buy Brokeback Mountain (Blu-ray + DVD) (2005) Now

I want to mention two things about this movie. First, how brilliant it is. And second, how beautiful the blu ray transfer looks.

1. It's been six years since Brokeback Mountain hit theaters, and though I've watched the film countless times since, if I had only seen it once, I can promise you I would never forget it. It is a storyline that you dream about, relate to, cry over, reflect upon, write about, and become haunted by. I watch a lot of movies and enjoy plenty of them, but never has a film inspired me to analyze its story so deeply and to read books on it by film critics and touched fans. The fourth time I watched it at the theater, I took a notebook and filled pages with notes on the beauty of the poetic transitions and the development of characters. But even during my 20th viewing (or however many times it has been now) I discovered new richness and depth in the story.

Without going on and on, I suppose I should just say that I love this movie. But before I talk about the blu ray, I just want to point out that this is not strictly a "gay" movie any more than Titanic or Romeo and Juliet are straight movies. Love is a force of nature, as the tag-line says, and it is not bound to one sexuality or another. The movie is, simply put, a human movie about human life, desire, hate, mistakes, and many other universal emotions that make up us all. I recommend you see it and after it's over, I recommend you see it again. Like Shakespeare, the story is endlessly multidimensional and deserves multiple viewings to truly grasp it all. Obviously Annie Proulx's original short story is also required reading (I would suggest reading it before watching, but either way is fine) as it contains endless brilliance as well. The overall talent involved with this project is stunning.

But let's move on and talk about the blu ray.

2. The first thing I should mention is that this "100th Anniversary" new packaging from Universal Studios doesn't mean that there are any new features or remastered transfers that are different from the already available Brokeback Mountain [Blu-ray]. It does come in combo-pack format, however, which includes a DVD and Digital Copy of the film if that interests you.

As far as the picture quality goes, I feel pretty confident when I say that I was blown away by it. I saw the movie in theaters, on DVD, on TV, and just about anywhere else I could find it. On Blu Ray, it was a whole new experience. You can read labels on soup cans, feel the richness of the grass, and see foam in the spring waters. Without question, this is a scenic movie. It DESERVES to be seen in 1080p. If you have the DVD, great, it's pretty good too, but this is so worth the upgrade. The picture is so beautiful, sometimes I just pop it in the player on mute and let it run as a "screensaver."

The audio is also a joy. Gustavo Santaolalla's score is a masterpiece in itself and all the more beautiful in lossless DTS 5.1. Not to mention Heath Ledger's character is a bit of the shy type who mumbles as much as he speaks. I never had a problem understanding him, but the speech is noticeably clearer now for anybody who found that to be an issue.

As far as the special features go, they are just repeats from the DVD release and admittedly not very exciting. Worth watching, sure, but not especially noteworthy. In some ways I think that's a good thing, though. As much as I would love Ang Lee to do a director's commentary, this type of movie will effect people in different ways and consequently I don't know that I would feel comfortable if the artists behind it revealed too much. That can easily frame the story in a certain way and ruin it for those who are touched by it in other ways. As I said, this is a universally human story, and it's a great movie for fans and scholars to discuss and compare experiences, but when the film-makers themselves start talking can potentially ruin things.

OVERALL: A+++ movie that will, without question, go into the Love Story Hall of Fame where it will stand next to other classics like Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and so many other touching classics, gay and striaght alike. As far as the Blu Ray, it also deserves an "A" rating for its beautiful HD transfer that is everything a fan could ask for and more. I highly recommend purchasing it.

And, if you are like the many who can't stop thinking about the movie and want to dive deeper into the literary genius of the story, here are some books that inspired me: Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay, Reading Brokeback Mountain: Essays on the Story and the Film, On Brokeback Mountain: Meditations about Masculinity, Fear, and Love in the Story and the Film, The Brokeback Book: From Story to Cultural Phenomenon, and Beyond Brokeback: The Impact of a Film.

Read Best Reviews of Brokeback Mountain (Blu-ray + DVD) (2005) Here

Brokeback Mountain is the tale of two cowboys, Ennis and Jack, who ranch sheep together one summer in the 1960's. One cold night, the two men huddle together in a tent to keep warm, and an explosive physical relationship erupts. They both agree that the night was a "one-shot deal," but somehow the two men keep finding one another again, throughout the summer. After the ranching gig ends, both men nonchalantly tell each other goodbye, but the separation is painful for both. Cut to four years later the men have gone their separate ways, married, had kids. But when they happen to see each other again, old feelings almost violently assert themselves, leading to a 20-year relationship that is by turns passionate, furtive, and tortured.

First of all, performances by Heath Ledger (Ennis) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Jack) are unbelievable. I cannot adequately describe the performance work in this film. Ledger, who I'd only seen in fairly superficial roles teen movies, not-so-great romantic comedies totally transforms himself for this role. Tight-lipped, sun-baked, and shamed, his Ennis provides the tension in the film that powers the plot through to its final, saddening conclusion. Gyllenhaal plays Jack, the more honest, self-accepting of the two men, with an emotion that is strong enough to be real but restrained enough to epitomize the tough guy image of a Western. Both lend a haunting quality to the various ways in which Ennis and Jack try to live their lives, denied of the one thing they truly want.

At the end of the day, Brokeback Mountain is a love story, the tale of two people who love each other but can't be together. This is not untrod territory in Hollywood. However, hanging this familiar storyline on a less-than-mainstream social topic for the movies homosexuality proves to be very powerful. The intensity of the two men's feelings for one another, and the delayed gratification that is the bedrock of their relationship, bring their experience into sharp focus for the viewer. Beautiful scenes of mountainous countryside and a strong, simple acoustic guitar accompaniment add to the poignancy. I just cannot recommend it highly enough. It will haunt you. It will make you think. It will move you.

Fair warning there is one brief sex scene between the two primary characters. If you don't warm to that idea, I recommend getting the film on DVD and fast-forwarding through that part. It is not worth missing the movie over.

Want Brokeback Mountain (Blu-ray + DVD) (2005) Discount?

"Brokeback Mountain" is the story of two all-man cowboys that find love in each other. The film is unique because it is not the typical gay stereo-type; perhaps it is the first mainstream film ever made on this topic?

Ennis Del Mar (played by the very talented Heath Ledger) is a very quiet and rough around the edges kind of man. He doesn't show his feelings very well and is somewhat of a loner. Jack Twist (played by the equally accomplished Jake Gyllenhaal) is more vocal about his feelings and emotions, but can still be pushed around (although I did enoy it when he stood up to his bigoted father-in-law).

What makes this tale so bitter is that their's is a forbidden love. It is reminiscent of "Titanic" or Romeo and Juliet. Please keep in mind that the picture took place during 60's, 70's, and early 80's, in Middle-America where no one was openly gay, much less a cowboy. But, despite all their differences and personal demons both men loved each other more than life itself.

Anyone with connected eyeballs can tell that Ennis and Twist were deeply in love (this was not an affair, rather it was a serious relationship that lasted over two decades). It was proof that Twist loved Ennis when they were on the hill getting ready to leave after he playfully lassoed and punched Ennis. Twist looked so sad to have intentionally inflicted pain on his lover. But Ennis holed off and punched him, because no one was gonna make Ennis his fool. And it was evident that Ennis loved Twist when he sobbed like a baby on the street after they departed Brokeback Mountain separately.

The cinematography in this picture was absolutely stunning. The soundtrack is also amazing. I am certain that this picture is very Oscar-worthy.

I saw this movie about a month ago and I still can't get it out of my mind. It is a very full-toned and haunting picture. To say that it was the very best film that I have ever seen would simply trivialize it, because it is much more than just a movie.

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