Archive for the ‘WW2’ Category

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/

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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

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

Elser (13 Minutes) – *

Posted: May 23, 2016 in 2015, Drama, Germany, Historical, War, WW2, X

While leaving the centre of Munich towards Salzburg, you pass a Hilton hotel that used to be a brewery & beer hall. Nothing special, you’d think, apart from the fact that back in the thirties some guy (Elser) planted a bomb there hoping it would kill Adolf Hitler (who was giving a speech there). It went off 13 minutes too late (hence the English title) and killed/wounded innocent people working at the beer hall.

Nobody seems to know this story.

And that’s why Oliver Hirschbiegel (director of the excellent Experiment and Der Untergang) decided to tell the story of this brave man.

Well… it’s a boring story. I fell asleep after an hour and a half and can’t be bothered watching the final 20 minutes again. I’ll just read the short biography entry on wikipedia. There is no tension (the movie starts with the attack and then switches between torture/interrogation scenes and flashbacks). There is no humor at all, no captivating dialogue, no drama, no sympathy, no empathy. Nothing. It’s bland.

Maybe I’ve just seen too many movies about the nazis and those who resisted them.

It’s still a solid biopic. You can still check it out if you’re interested in the life Germans led just before the world war started.  A pretty confusing and intimidating time. Like, right now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1708135

Empire Of The Sun – *

Posted: January 16, 2016 in 1987, Drama, USA, War, WW2, X

I didn’t ‘get’ the buzz about this movie as a child back in 1987 and I still don’t get it as an adult. This is one hell of a boring movie. The story drags on and on and on. It’s depressing, negative, horrible. There’s nothing poetic or emotional about it. Tearjerker, my eye. In order to produce tears, you need to empathize. And there’s no-one to empathize with.

The only reason why you’d want to watch this 80s classic is because Christian Bale is amazing. His character sucks, but he still mesmerizes. He may be nominated for his silly part in The Big Short this year, but he deserved a nomination much more for this feat.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092965