Category Archives: Historical

The Man With the Iron Heart (2017)

AKA HHhH AKA Killing Heydrich

Director: Cédric Jimenez
Starring:  Jason Clarke, Rosamund Pike, Jack O’Connell, Jack Reynor, Stephen Graham .UK. 2h 

World War II has a host of characters that will be eternally admired and despised, routinely Hollywood steps in to honour the brave hero’s with a rendition of their stories, just lately we’ve been finding more names of brave men who rose up to fight the evil tyrants of the SS. Hopefully these reminders will help remind future generations of the price of freedom!?

There seemed to be a race to release a homage to operation Anthropoid, this particular movie, with a working title of HHhH (Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich),  was put on hold and renamed to make way for a film released in  2016 which took the converted and obvious title of “Anthropoid” , starring Cilian Murphy but is this really the poor relation to the saga? Poor, no but an alternative perspective.. just maybe. Both cover the basics of the 1942 plot by Czech resistance who sent two young recruits from London to Prague to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, the ruthless psychopath who came up with an evil plan known as the Final Solution. 

Continue reading The Man With the Iron Heart (2017)

Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck (2007)

Director: Michael Feifer
Starring: Corin Nemec, Andrew Divoff, Tony Todd, Debbie Rochon  .USA. 1h 32m

This was Michael Feifer’s first, bold attempt to retell the bloody history of a serial killer. Chicago Massacre follows the childhood and killing spree of one of America’s most deranged individuals, Richard Speck. This debut saw Feifer pair up with Corin Nemec, playing the lead role of a prominent killer. A year later the two would reunite for Bundy: A Legacy of Evil (2008). This could have continued with Nemec playing Gacy, Gein and even Kemper if the duo had the desire but it seems this is all we’re getting folks!?

It feels that the movie was conceived with a lot of promise, a couple of well known names were thrown into the mix, Todd and Divoff , who seemed eager to help as law enforcement officers trying to understand and track a man who single handedly slaughtered a number of women in july 1966, but their acting expertise is often overshadowed by the need to show Speck not killing people, they could have been the B Movie versions of Somerset and Mills, however the focus is on Speck and not the people tracking him, although their scenes are quite special, but always seem like some kind of pensive Film Noir. 

Continue reading Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck (2007)

300 (2006)

Director : Zack Snyder
Starring : Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Andrew Plevan, Andrew Tiernan, Rodrigo Santoro . USA | Canada | Bulgaria | Australia. 1h 57m

 

 

Out of all of the graphic novels and comics I’ve read over the years, this was surprisingly one I never considered to be a good candidate for a film adaptation. While I stand divided on if it should have been created, I’m forever blown away by every aspect 300, even with all the campy parodies and piss takes, for me, at least it’s still a rocking stylised story of ultimate bravery and sacrifice, but with so many of the pages from the novel coming to life periodically throughout the action, it seems I was wrong and 300 was made for the big screen. Continue reading 300 (2006)

Amundsen (2019)

Director: Espen Sandberg
Starring:Pal Sverre Hagen, Christian Rubeck, Katherine Waterston, Trond Espen Seim .Norway/UK. 2h 5m

Every explorer deserves some kind of detailed recognition of their sacrifices for their “art” and this sentimental epic really touches on the sacrifices made by Roald Amundsen, the first man to arrive at the South Pole.

From a historical perspective there’s a lot missing and a few facts that have been replaced by nurtured cinematography rather than being 100% factual, however the overall sentiment and gratitude from director Espen Sandberg is firmly stamped on every scene. Continue reading Amundsen (2019)

13th Warrior (1999)

Director: John McTiernan
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Vladimir Kullich, Dennis Storhoi, Omar Sharif, Richard Bremmer, Tony Curran, Clive Russell, Sven Wollter .USA. 1h 43m
Based on Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton

John McTiernan’s fantasy romp from the middle east to the icy hills of Scandanaiva is a bit of a guilty pleasure, the 1999 action adventure often falls apart with random acts but plot holes it’s still something to switch off and allow it to entertain you, then you’ll get on just fine, if you’re a thinker or armchair historian then this might just drive you nuts with its playful manipulation and I just can’t get over someone learning a language fluently in a couple of days.. Continue reading 13th Warrior (1999)

Ravenous (1999)

Director: Antonia Bird
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Guy Pearce, David Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Jeremy Davies, Stephen Spinella, Nail McDonough, John Spencer .USA/UK/Czech Republic. 1h 41m

Through all the beautiful landscape shots and bloody battles, Ravenous is a poetic journey of one man dealing with the mental conflicts of honour and cowardice set in a allurgin remote mountain location and having to deal with one of the most ferocious Algonquian legends. The film raises tough questions on how heroes are perceived and the effects on the individual, what if a moment of bravery is pure accidental luck, how can a man continue to live the lie before he’s found out?

After their first two initial weeks of filming the original director Mick McCluskey was sacked and leading cast member Robert Carlyle called on an old friend Antonia Bird to complete this prestigious project. Antonia had previously directed him in a brilliant English council estate mobster film called Face (1997) where Carlyle stars alongside Ray Winstone as an average Joe socialist who forms a gang to rob a bank, the movie still has a strong cult following and is highly rated along other Brit classics such as the highly acclaimed Nil By Mouth (1997) and really cemented burden Carlyle in the memories of dedicated fans. Continue reading Ravenous (1999)

The Great Martian war 1913-1917 (2013)

Director: Mike Slee
Starring: Mark Stong, Jock McLeod, Joan Gregson, Ian Downie .UK/Canada. 1h 30m

It’s often quite typical for a mockumentary to just detail a single little project or some kind of investigation using the found footage format to make the most of a small budget and hopefully to give chills and thrills for its audience, however The Great Martian War goes a step beyond to rewrite human history with a War of the Worlds fashioned World War.

The team has model their creative documentary with the flare of the (Sky) History Channel and goes as far to have the logo in the corner and a lot of the formatting looks quite genuine although it is lost halfway through the movie for some random effects that I’ve never personally seen any type of TV documentary but maybe this is artistic flare? It does hold up to the high standard of a professional job and it doesn’t go out of its way to explain certain details in the same way that a normal history show would expected it’s audience to have a grounding knowledge around the subject which is quite a clever stance. Continue reading The Great Martian war 1913-1917 (2013)

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Bigfoot (2019)

Director: Robert D. Krzykowski .
Starring.Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Bigfoot, Larry Miller, Caitlin Fitzgerald. USA. 1h m.

So we have a film with the title but seems to pluck headlines from clickbait news titles and you’d be forgiven for believing that this was going to be some fanciful psychotropic romp, but instead in Robert D krzykowski slightly downtrodden epic we find a very down to earth and grounded adventure/drama, but without pop characters, huge explosions and superhero’s there’s a lot of cinema gold here and it seems to work purely because of Sam Elliott’s total coolness.

You’ll also be forgiven for believing that this film is set in an alternate reality, but the movie is set in our reality, but back in 1987, where we find the now aged Calvin Barr played by he panty dropping silver fox and his infamous mustache, which should get as much credit as whatever David Bowie was hiding in his pants in Labyrinth (1986). Continue reading The Man Who Killed Hitler and Bigfoot (2019)

Ford vs Ferrari (2019)

AKA Le Mans ’66

Director: James Mangold
Starring:Christian Bale, Matt Damon, .USA. 2h 15m

For someone who isn’t into cars or racing all that much I have really enjoyed the small number of racing biopics that have hit the big screen in recent years. With so much energy from director James Mangold as he explores the run up to Le Mans 66 and the epic battle between two powerful car manufacturing giants from either side of the pong, he digs deep into the psyche’s of the less credited geniuses behind their success. Maybe it’s the drive and passion behind the vehicles which is more cerebral than the end race but I feverishly awaited this after enjoying Rush (2013), both movies are handsome looking and thrilling in their humanity but for die hard fans of the racing world, there’s nothing much new to enjoy but for the outsiders looking in, the film kicks into top gear and does a good job in keeping it there through to the bitter end. Continue reading Ford vs Ferrari (2019)

Deathwatch (2002)

Director: M J Bassett
Starring: Jamie Bell, Ruaidhri Conroy, Mike Downey, Laurence Fox, Kris Marshall, Hans Matheson, Matthew Rhys, Andy Serkis. UK. 1h 34m

The general trends with World War II movies is to punch your audience right in the gut with the violence and depression of the war. With all the progressions of cinema they all translate in more effect ways of demonstrating the darkest side of human nature and the brutal fight for freedom, but this isn’t the only way to portray the horrors of this dark chapter, since the was there have been numerous ghost stories written about lost soldiers, everlasting love and the occult nature of the “the enemies” of righteous civilisation. But is Deathwatch the new ghostly war story we need?

Bassett’s track record includes an array of action movies all tinged with the macabre, but Bassett is versatile in his approach with the lavish fantasy Solomon Kane filled with magic myth and monsters, and Wilderness, a group of wayward chavs verses a mystery slasher while stranded on a secluded island, he’s not a man who liked to be pinned down with a specialty apart from directing engaging movies. Continue reading Deathwatch (2002)