Archive for the ‘War’ Category

Hacksaw Ridge – **(*)

Posted: March 14, 2017 in 2016, Action, Australia, War, WW2, XX1/2

A member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (some kind of evangelical group) enlists to help out in World War II, but refuses to carry a gun as he refuses to kill anybody. He enlists as a medic as he wants to save lives, but he needs to go through a training in which shooting a riffle is part of the program. It’s a tough training and he nearly doesn’t make it to the battle fields, but when he does, he’s heralded by his bravery. Because it’s possible to help, save and serve in war times without killing.

This Mel Gibson movie starts off slowly, but is quite powerful in the second half, during the actual taking of Hackswaw Ridge on Okinawa Island near Japan. It’s an interesting story regardless if you think it’s extremely silly or incredibly brave to enlist for war and refuse to  use a weapon . It’s based on a true story. But it’s of course a fictionalized version of it. To learn more about the real Desmond Doss, check this history vs hollywood site. But do it after you’ve experienced the movie.

Some critics call it christian propaganda. Just because the main character acts out of faith, prays and carries a bible with him. But Mel Gibson (a notorious catholic) never glorifies the religion conviction. He just shows a man who is very firm in his principles. Which again can be interpreted as silly or brave. But at least it isn’t negative.

The action is hardcore though. Limbs fly around. Some scenes can be considered horror. So it isn’t for the weak at heart. Nor is it for people who think Andrew Garfield is an overrated actor. In fact, the whole cast are just okay performers. There’s not one performance that sticks. But it’s a good war movie. A tad too long maybe.  But worth watching.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2119532

The Good Lie – **

Posted: February 10, 2017 in 2014, Drama, Kenya, USA, War, XX

You can’t really say anything bad about this well intended, good hearted, sugar coated, biblically inspired tale about a family of refugees from Sudan who try to reconnect when they are split up arriving in the United States, apart from the fact that it’s sugar coated and biblically inspired maybe.

It’s not a masterpiece, but who cares? The movie puts refugees and their struggle and journey in a more positive light than what we’re used to hearing about in the news lately. Focussing on one particular group, who are Christians of course… – a story about muslim refugees wouldn’t really get produced that easily-, the movie makes the controversial theme more personal and approachable. Even Trump supporters might care ! Maybe they should start watching.

Yes, the acting is bad. But it’s done by amateurs. Apart from Reese Witherspoon of course, who’s not even in half of the scenes. But her name draws attraction and she pulls it off not making the movie about her character.

It’s not as engaging as you’d hope. It’s not as funny as you’d expect (all the jokes are already in the trailer). But it’s also not as bad as you’d fear. It flopped at the box office and didn’t get released in Europe, but give it a chance!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2652092/

 

Based on an autographical book from the seventies, Un Sac De Billes tells the story of the Jewish family Joffo (and in particular the youngest sons Joseph and Maurice) during the Second World War. The family has a popular barber shop in occupied Paris and even has German officers as clients. But when Jewish people need to start wearing a yellow badge, the family decides to flee to unoccupied southern France. Not as one family, but split up. It’s quite a journey, but they make it to Nice, which is in the unoccupied zone and under surveillance of the more moderate Italians soldiers. Until Mussolini is disposed and the nazis come marching in and the family has to flee again.

This classical tearjerker is made for kids. They are the central characters and all focus is on them. It’s adventurous at times and there are some funny scenes too. But it also has some harsh moments that may not be suitable for kids (there is an execution by firing squad f.i.). The movie theatre was filled with adults though, a lot of seniors even. And almost everyone was sobbing. It’s not as good as Au Revoir Les Enfants, but it’s worth the watch. The period setting is praiseworthy and it’s not all that moralizing and pretty factual. The kids’ performances are good. But it’s in the supporting roles dat you see talented actors like Patrick Bruel or Christian Clavier shine.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5091612

Allied – **(*)

Posted: January 15, 2017 in 2016, Romance, Spionage, UK, USA, WW2, XX1/2

Catching this during its final week at the movie theaters, Allied does deliver. The classic WWII romantic thriller is well directed (by Robert Zemeckis) and stars the almost always fascinating Marion Cotillard as a resistance girl/spy. It stars Brad Pitt as a Canadian pilot/secret agent as well. But even though he’s also a main character in the movie, his fascination for Marion Cotillard makes him look like a supporting actor. It makes sense that the yellow press accuse Cotillard for the break-up of Brangelina.

The movie’s atmosphere reminds you of other great war classics like Casablanca (the location of the first half of the movie) and Lawrence Of Arabia (the opening dessert sequence). Much time (and money) was spent on details. The set design is impeccable. It looks really good. As far as the story goes, it’s intriguing until the end. It really does feel like it’s based on a true story. Even though it’s all fiction and several scenes don’t make sense.

Not sure if all the cursing happened back then the way it happens in the movie. And not sure if lesbian couples could be so open about their relationship back in 1942 (that scene adds nothing to the story either). Not sure how a British pilot can fly across the Channel into enemy territory and fly back home the next day like it’s nothing. Come to think of it.

Now, a day later, several things just don’t make sense. However, when leaving the theatre the feeling was good.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3640424

The Imitation Game – **

Posted: December 25, 2016 in 2014, biopic, Drama, Historical, LGBT themed, UK, USA, WW2, XX

1941

Posted: October 1, 2016 in 1979, Comedy, Slapstick, USA, War

This is by far the worst Steven Spielberg movie ever. There’s a lot going on, yes, but at the same time there is nothing happening at all (that makes any sense).

It’s a comedy without jokes. Not even the slapstick scenes make you smile (and there’s an overdose of them). All actors seem to be on drugs. They blurt out lines that make no sense at all and they all run around like chickens without a head. It’s very racist as well. There’s a difference between calling out Nazi’s (as opposed to Germans) and calling out Japs (as in general: all Japanese). It’s like someone at Universal thought: we’ll give Spielberg so much money to waste on a comedy that he will never ask us for money again.

To avoid at all costs (unless you really want to see all of Spielberg’s movies).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078723

 

Back in 1982 Sigourney Weaver and Mel Gibson starred in a political drama set in 1965’s Indonesia. She works at the British embassy and he’s a rookie foreign correspondent from Sydney. They meet, fall in love and have an adventurous affair in a poor country on the brink of a civil war.

There are some really cool elements in this eighties semi-classic. It helps when you see this while visiting Indonesia (pleading guilty here). You get to learn ’something’ about the turbulent history of this fascinating country and there are all kind of references to its culture. It starts with a scene in which the famous shadow playing puppet theatre is explained. It refers to the way the then president had to find a balance between the right and the left in his country, between rich and poor and (to a lesser extent) between Muslims and non Muslims. It also refers to the relationship between the main characters who are pushed to meet each other by an odd storyteller/puppet player.

The latter is a small cameraman with a distinct look and way of talking. The character is played by a woman (Linda Hunt, who won an Oscar for the part), but in all fairness, the performance is silly and absurd. The storytelling element adds a little bit to the mystical atmosphere, but it could have easily been done by an Indonesian character.

Weaver and Gibson however are a treat to look at. Their chemistry is excellent! They should make another movie together soon! Another year of living dangerously…

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086617