FlixChatter Review – Da 5 Bloods (2020)

In the last few years, Netflix has attracted several talented filmmakers to come and make films for their streaming service. Talents such as Fincher, Scorsese and Cauron has come on board and now Spike Lee has joined the crowd. The last film I saw from Lee was the much-hated remake of OLDBOY, even though I’m a big fan of the Korean original version, I didn’t hate Lee’s remake, I actually enjoyed it. To be fair, Lee disowned that film because the studio butchered his original cut to make it shorter. Now Lee’s tackle a Vietnam war theme film that sits on my top best films list so far this year.

During the Vietnam war in the late 1960s, buddies Paul (Dilroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), Melvin (Isiah Whitelock) and Stormin’ Norman (the late Chadwick Boseman) formed a tight bond fighting in a war for country that rejects their presence because the color of their skin. Seeing the lives of their fellow soldiers being lost in a war they don’t believe in, Paul, Otis, Eddie and Melvin looked up to Norman for leadership. Norman educates the men about the value of their lives and black history. During botched a mission in the jungle of Vietnam, the group found a chest of American gold meant to be a protection payment. They decided to bury the gold and come back to collect it once the war is over. 50 years later, four of the men Paul, Otis, Eddie and Melvin decided to go back to Vietnam to find the gold and also their leader Norman.

The plot of Da 5 Bloods broke into two parts, the first is about the men coming back to a country that’s now modern and full of tourists. It’s not the same place they remembered, Paul is having a hard time accepting the fact that the Vietnamese are no longer the enemy, while the other men are enjoying their time in a country that don’t really judge them based solely on the color of their skin. Otis who’s now the leader of the group, met up with an old flame Tien (Le Y Lan) who can connect the men with a Frenchman named Desroche (Jean Reno) that can help them move the gold out of the country. The men also have local guide named Vinh Tran (Johnny Nguyen) who helps them navigate through the city and into the jungle. The second part became more of an action/adventure as the men look for their buried gold and battle with the local henchmen that’s been following them.

With a runtime of 155 minutes, the script is credited to 4 writers including Lee. It’s a meaty script that could’ve derailed the story but Lee’s on top of his game and really took his time to tell the tale. Just like his other films, the film is full of political and racial subject matters that’s as relevant in today’s politics as it was back during the Vietnam war. The cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel is quite spectacular, this is probably the most “cinematic” looking film that Netflix has ever produced. I thought other films that they’ve made still has that made for TV look to them. Sigel and Lee really shot this film meant for the big screen. The only thing I didn’t really like was Lee’s decision to switch aspect ratios. The flashback scenes during the war were shown in boxy 1.33:1, the present-day scenes in the city were shown in cinemascope 2.39:1 and the second half jungle scenes were in flat 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I’m sure Lee has his reasons for that decision, but I don’t understand why he’d done that. I would’ve been fine with the film being shown in constant wider aspect ratio of 2.39:1.

Performances were great all around. With Paul being the lead in the film, Delroy Lindo shined as a trouble character who has to come face to face with a guilt that he can’t accept since the war. This guilt has been haunting throughout his life since the war ended. Another great performance belongs Clarke Peters, he’s the more level headed man of the group and tried to keep the group together when they face troubles in the jungle. Even though he’s featured prominently during the promotion of the film (given this is his last film released before he died), Boseman only appeared in flashback scenes and has about 10 minutes of screen time. But he’s great as the leader of men who needs someone to guide them during war time.

I thought this is one of Lee’s best films and I think it could be in the Oscar race comes awards season. Assuming there will be any awards this year. If you’re a Netflix subscriber then this film is a no brainer, it comes highly recommended.

4.5/5 stars


At the end of Da 5 Bloods, Lee showed with a quote from a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. that made the year before he died, in which King quotes literary icon Langston Hughes:

“O, yes/ I say it plain/ America never was America to me/ And yet I swear this oath—America will be!”


TedS_post


So have you seen DA 5 BLOODS? Well, what did you think?

Oscars 2019 – Reflections on winners, memorable moments

Quick confession: I’m copying this post from 2015. Well whaddayaknow, four years later, I am still loyal to tradition of watching the Oscars in my PJs live tweetin’ with my laptop!!


Well, first things first…

How did I do on my predictions?

  1. Best picture: ROMA Green Book
  2. Best director: Spike Lee Alfonso Cuarón
  3. Best lead actor: Cristian Bale Rami Malek
  4. Best lead actress: Olivia Colman
  5. Best supporting actor: Sam ElliotMahershala Ali 
  6. Best supporting actress: Regina King –If Beale Street Could Talk
  7. Best animated feature: Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse
  8. Best adapted screenplay: Can You Ever Forgive Me? BlackKklansman
  9. Best original screenplay: The Favourite Green Book
  10. Best original score: Black Panther
  11. Best cinematography: A Star Is Born ROMA (Alfonso Cuarón)
  12. Best Foreign Language Film: Shoplifters ROMA
  13. Best original song: Shallow (A Star Is Born)
  14. Best Film Editing: BlackkKlansman Bohemian Rhapsody
  15. Best Make Up and Hair Styling: VICE
  16. Best Production Design: Black Panther
  17. Best Costume Design: Black Panther
  18. Best Sound Editing: First Man Bohemian Rhapsody
  19. Best Mixing: First Man  First Man Bohemian Rhapsody
  20. Best Visual Effects: Avengers: Infinity War First Man

Well, I did a pretty awful job this year, ahah. I only got 7 right out of the 20 categories I predicted.

The one I’m surprised by the most is Mahershala Ali as his first Best Supporting Actor win was just a few years ago, but hey I’m by no means disappointed.

 

Red Carpet Stuff

I didn’t actually watch this LIVE on TV, just following Twitter for the Oscars red carpet coverage, as I do year after year.

These are some of my favorite dresses of the night:

I LOVE seeing colors on the red carpet. There might be some I missed but of the ones I saw in my timeline, these are the ones that I think are the prettiest.


I feel like Cate Blanchett often wear sea-foam green color on the red carpet and she looks absolutely gorgeous in this floral number. Amy Adams looks like a mermaid in that pearl gown and it highlights her figure nicely. Michelle Yeoh & Angela Bassett both proof you can look perfectly glamorous at any age!

Dapper men on the red carpet!

Well, let’s just get to the main event shall we?

Favorite Speeches:

Olivia’s reaction when she heard her name was priceless… then came her speech. Endearing. Adorable. Humble. Hilarious. Moving. If there’s a Best Speech award, this Queen wins it hands down!

“God is Good ALL the time… and ALL the time, GOD IS GOOD!” – AMEN Regina King!!

I so wanted Ruth Carter to win because I adore every single one of those Black Panther costumes!!!

This is the one category I want A Star Is Born to win… Shallow is a beautiful, emotional song and boy… that Oscar performance was something else!


Fave Moments

Woo wee!! Captain America is my fave hero of the MCU… and Chris Evans is the absolute embodiment of him. Not to mention he’s looking dapper af!! 😉

I literally just watched BlackKlansman last night, just in the nick of time before the Oscars telecast. Thrilled to see it won Best Adapted Screenplay! But that great moment is topped by Spike Lee jumping Samuel L. Jackson on stage before he received his award. Yeah!!!

Confession: It’s only my second Spike Lee movie (yes I gotta rectify that soon, starting with Do The Right Thing!)

Is there a more iconic musical performance duo??

Final Thoughts

I know lots of people are upset with two of the categories… Best Actor (Rami Malek) and Best Picture (Green Book).

Haven’t seen BohemianRhapsody yet but can’t help but really astounded/baffled/ bewildered by Malek’s win. Was hoping anyone but him in this category, especially Bale.

As for Best Picture… well I actually enjoyed Green Book and didn’t learn about the controversies until later. I still stand by that it’s a good movie (it’s on my Top 10 of the year) though after having seen BlacKkKlansman last night, I think that Spike Lee film should’ve won over Green Book!!

We can debate endlessly about who should or more deserving to win, etc., but y’know what, it makes me glad to see the diversity of the winners. Here are four of the acting category winners…

Rami Malek, Olivia Colman, Regina King, Mahershala Ali – Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Let’s hope the diversity and inclusion extends to FEMALE FILMMAKERS in the future!! Come on The Academy, there are a plethora of great work by female filmmakers worth to be in the Best Picture category, especially Leave No Trace.

Lastly, about the host-less Oscars… I don’t really miss it, but hey if we have to have a host again, we should have these three funny ladies host next year!


So what’s your thoughts on the 2019 Oscar winners and what’s your pick of best/worst moments?