Archive for the ‘War’ Category

The Foreigner – (*)

Posted: April 20, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Action, Revenge, Terrorist

This is a mess. A real mess.

The title is deceiving. This isn’t about a ‘foreigner’, it’s about a series of attacks by a new radical IRA.

Jackie Chan, who plays an Asian restaurant owner who loses his daughter in one of the attacks, is out for revenge. He’s a well-trained soldier and determined to find and eliminate the bombers on his own.

Ok. Good premise.

But then somehow, Jackie Chan disappears in the story and Pierce Brosnan’s character becomes a central figure. He plays a politician, with links to the old IRA and is now not only dealing with a mad ‘Chinaman’ who’s haunting him, but also with his political friends, who are betraying him and with the British PM, who’s accusing him of the attacks.

Then Pierce Brosnan disappears from the screen and they focus on the bombers and their next attacks and the British who try to stop them. Oh and on a hitman who Brosnan’s character hires to kill Jackie’s character.

It’s a mess. A real mess.

And the IRA, really? Why make a movie about fictitious IRA terrorists? We finally kind of forgot they (still) exist. No need to bring paranoia back.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1615160

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The Oscar for Best Motion Picture is a fantasy fairytale set in the cold war era about the love between a mute cleaning lady and an amphibious ‘asset’ that is kept from the outside world in a government facility.

It’s a unique movie experience. It’s not all that original as it’s a homage to the monster movies from the late fifties and early sixties, but it’s shot with the utmost care for details. It has a bit of an Amelie Poulain feel to it. Everything just looks really good and there’s off beat humor and weird charm.

If people get offended by the age gap between the two main male characters in Call Me By Your Name, then maybe they also won’t like the romance between a woman and an animal. It’s awkward as well to imagine a human having sex with a human like amphibious water animal. But hey, it’s a fantasy movie. It’s fictional!

This is an entertaining movie. Never boring. Great to look at. And with a good soundtrack. But again, the story just isn’t all that original or intriguing.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580390

Sure, it’s a good history lesson and yes, Jessica Chastain is a great actress, but this movie is pretty dull. It shouldn’t be. It’s about a noble and brave couple that helped rescue several Jewish people from the ghetto in Warsaw, during the German occupation. Yet, there’s nothing in the movie that stresses this bravery and nobility. It all feels too much like fiction.

First there’s the decision to film a story in Poland and have the characters speak English. That’s a standard procedure in Hollywood (or other movie industries), but it’s annoying. Especially if the actors speaks English with an accent. Either speak Polish and have it subtitled or speak English. But English with a fake Polish accent, just makes the story less realistic.

Then there’s the development of the side characters. Or better: the lack of. In order to empathize with the victims, it’s important to get to know them. But we never do. They get rescued and hide, but we don’t know anything about them. Some stay a bit longer, others come and go. It’s all very superficial. You should feel like the zookeeper and his wife are doing something special, but the way it’s presented feels like they are just doing what’s right. There’s little tension. And that feels unrealistic too.

And finally, there’s the redundant character of Lutz Heck, a former friend and colleague of the zookeeper and his wife, turning against them and becoming the bad guy in the movie. He’s a zoologist and a scientist with crazy ideas, which is intriguing, but turns out to be a powerful nazi officer in the occupied Warsaw as well. Which is a bit far-fetched.

There are two different stories here. One is about a family who has the means and courage to rescue people and takes the risk of doing so. And the other is about a scientist who uses the zoo’s facilities to breed animals that were believed to be extinct. Mixing both of them feels fictionalized.

The Zookeeper’s Wife is okay movie fare, but the real story is much more exciting.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1730768

 

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

 

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/