Archive for the ‘War’ Category

Beasts Of No Nation – **(*)

Posted: January 11, 2018 in 2015, Drama, USA, War, XX1/2

A regular family living in a buffer area between two war zones in a (fictional) African country gets ripped apart when troops are on the way to take over control. The mother and youngest children are able to flee to the capital. But the father and his two oldest sons remain to resist. The youngest of the two sons ends up fleeing in the bushes when the troops start ravaging the town and he soon joins rebel forces, who don’t mind training young boys into war machines.

This may be an Idris Elba movie (he produced and stars in it), but it’s little Abraham Attah who’s the main draw. This kid can act! He’s phenomenal! Just watch the movie to see this kid shine in every single scene. From being a fun and careless young kid with a creative mind, to a survivor enduring all kinds of hardships never losing grip of his true self. Sure, kudos’ to the creators of this character, but without a good actor it wouldn’t be as powerful.

It’s also filmed really well. Great settings. Great camera work.

But, the story doesn’t really dig too deep. And the end is sloppy. They should have made a series out of it. They could have spent an entire episode on the family before they got ripped apart. An episode about the situation in this ‘fictional’ land.  And an episode about the formation of this rebel group.  Before they start with the journey of the kid being trained as a child warrior. Using a fictional country and fictional historic events is risky. It’s not really clear who is fighting who. That’s all a bit of a blur (or a collection of abbreviations). So that’s a bit of a disappointment.

Nevertheless: watch it!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1365050

 

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Now this is a fun and entertaining superhero movie! It’s not set in the future nor in an American metropolis for a change, which is great. This Gal Gadot is quite the performer. She looks good ánd she can kick ass. Not sure if there’s much acting, but hey, The action scenes are impressive. It’s directed really well… Bring on the sequel! Finally a box office hit that is worthy of being a box office hit.

The movie introduces Wonder Woman, a demi-goddess raised by the Amazones, who considers it her destiny to destroy Ares, the God of War. When she hears from an American pilot who entered their world (via a weird time warp wall) that The Great War is going on, she decides to leave her protected, women-only resort and face the real world of humans. As she’s never a) hung out with men before and b) has never visited the world where humans live, she’s in for a real treat! The humor is good. The set designs are great. And there are several surprises, one of which is Said Taghmaoui in a very small supporting role.

Another surprise is the Flemish dialogue from locals. The scene and soundbite do not make any sense, but it’s just fun to hear. It’s just bizarre. According to the plot, an evil German officer is stationed in Belgium and Wonder Woman needs to get to him. So, according to the script and the dialogue, they go to ‘Belgium’. But later in the movie, they talk about a village called ‘Veld’. They show an actual map where the village is mentioned on. However, it’s a map of Northern France. So NOT Belgium, but French-Flanders (the part from Flanders that Louis XIV claimed for France). I checked on google maps. There’s no ‘village’ called Veld (which means field) in between Hazebrouck, Moerbeke en Oud-Berkijn (as seen on the map in the movie). The only village there is De Walle. There is a village called Veld in Belgium, but it’s close to Torhout and Brugge. Anyways. Whatever. Then somehow the locals talk Flemish and French. The café where they dance advertises in Flemish (Bier & Tabak), but the photographer speaks with a French accent. The one scene where Wonder Woman kills a sniper by blowing up a church tower, is followed with locals saying What happened? Did you see what she did? in Flemish. BUT, it’s said with an Antwerp accent, and that’s a total different dialect. Regardless if it’s Hazebrouck or Brugge, the locals would speak West-Flemish. Anyways. It’s the linguistic nerd writing right now. How do these scenes come about at the production table? It’s all filmed in the UK anyways. Nothing is filmed in France or Belgium.

dav

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451279

 

Au Revoir Là-Haut – **(*)

Posted: November 5, 2017 in 2017, Dramedy, France, WW1, XX1/2

Well directed, well filmed, well acted.

Yet somehow, the story isn’t quite as gripping as you want it to be.

An artist son of a rich businessman is sent to war and gets wounded days before the armistice. The lower part of his face is totally destroyed. He needs a daily dose of morphine, can’t speak and can’t eat properly. So far the sad part. He asks his soldier friend to fake his death and takes on the identity of another (dead) soldier. Life goes on, he becomes a great graphic illustrator wearing self-made masks and comes up with a fraudulent scheme to make a lot of money and leave France for good.

It’s quite an adventurous dramedy. It’s a multi layered story and the pace and action make it a fast ride. There’s a lot of drama, but the humor makes it light-hearted. In fact the humor makes the movie quite unique. It’s pretty dark (for a french movie). There are quite a lot of funny moments relating to dying and death and disrespect to the deceased. It’s not to everyone’s taste.

It’s visually spectacular. The historical setting is spot on. The war scenes in the beginning are Spielberg-esque. The masked moments are magical. It’s one to watch in the cinemas.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5258850

The third installment of the recent Planet Of The Apes trilogy kind of disappoints. It’s a very dark movie. Very serious as well. And very slow. There isn’t that much action or adventure. Hey, the second half takes place in a sort of concentration camp. There are some excellent elements that still make it a great movie experience, but somehow the end result is just okay and not great. The new talking ape character brings laughter. Several times. And that’s good. Because the rest of the story is very depressing.

The GCI animation is breath taking. In combination with the acting by Andy Serkis the main character Caesar (the leader of the apes) looks so realistic. It’s quite a feat to create a talking chimpansee, whose emotional expressions look so real that at no time you are realizing how impossible the story is.

For those who don’t know the story: after a virus has almost wiped out human kind, the survivors are at war with a population of apes that are resistent to the virus and have evolved. The virus in the mean time, makes humans become more animalistic. It’s the third installment. If you haven’t seen the previous movies in the trilogy, don’t bother starting with this one.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3450958/

Dunkirk – ***

Posted: July 31, 2017 in 2017, UK, USA, War, WW2, XXX

A few weeks ago, upon its premiere, Christopher Nolan’s new masterpiece seemed to only get rave reviews. The must-see movie of the summer! You won’t see anything better in the next couple of months! Great! In the meantime, several articles have been published that focus on Dunkirk’s shortcomings. Historically and dramatically. So, time to see it before the hype is over!

It’s a good movie. It’s action packed and doesn’t bore one tiny bit. It’s loud, which is great for a war movie. The direction is flawless. There’s not much dialogue, but that’s not necessary. The movie succeeds well in telling the story through moving images. Another interesting aspect is the non-chronological order in which the tale is told. It keeps you intrigued until the end. And the musical score by Hans Zimmer is brilliant. So, yes, it’s a must-see movie! Especially at the movie theatre.

But the haters have a point as well. David Cox from the Guardian wrote a great bad review, in which he expresses his disappointment excellently. It’s always tricky to make a historically accurate movie that covers the entire story. In fact, it’s impossible. So, when a director chooses three different stories that intertwine and have you sit on the top of your seat for about two hours, then it’s good. It’s best to not have any expectations at all and just feel blown away. You can read up on the history after watching the movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5013056/

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/