Category Archives: War

Overlord (2018)

Director: Julius Avery
Starring: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk USA. 1h 50m

I didn’t know anything about this movie before I started seeing it’s backlash, but I personally believe that it’s a mistake to look at Overlord as a Horror movie, it’s just a Blackened Action War movie. The mechanism is generally simple, good guy Americana vs pure evil monster nazi,in between there’s a overnight coming of age, us and them dynamics and any excuse to shoehorn in some swearing and mild violence. Overall I find that the film sits neatly between a homage to lurid EC Comics series like Tales from the Crypt and the Wolfenstein video games, without taking it too seriously or trying to fit it neatly into historical facts I really enjoyed the black lead cast in their sometimes gory adventure, it’s not a great film, there’s nothing truly outstanding but for me it’s incredibly enjoyable. Continue reading Overlord (2018)

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Der Hauptmann / The Captain (2017)

Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Max Hubacher, Frederick Lau, Bernd Hölscher, Waldemar Kobus, Alexander Fehling, Samuel Finzi. Germany. 1h 50m

Here is another chilling nightmare from the German home front, as the end of the war begins to loom into reality and defeat is imminent, a lone German runs deep into the woods while being chased by some overprivileged soldiers blowing horns and taking pot luck shots at him. The man manages to evade death and recapture and eventually stumbles on an abandoned car and uniform of a high ranking officer.

This crystalline black and white brutal masterpiece, possible shot in this style inspired by Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993) shows that the talented director Schwentke has gone back to basic and delivered something beautifully stark and somewhat monstrous. Continue reading Der Hauptmann / The Captain (2017)

Dog Pound (2010)

Director: Kim Chapiron .
Starring. Adam Butcher,Shane Kippel,Mateo Morales, Slim Twig.Canada. 1h m.

Long after a wave of brutal British films hit the screen in the late 70’s and early 80’s detailing social disturbances, punk and skinhead culture and a lot of lost souls, race relations were at a boiling point with the rise of right wing groups in English cities and this all got reflected in such institutional films as Scum (1979), Made in England (1982) and Scrubbers (1982), that era passed and there was a lot of calm, but director Kim Chapiron, who had blasted on the scene with Sheitan (2010) a creepy occult themed thriller starring Vincent Cassel. While Dog Pound doesn’t employ the macabre of the unknown it’s equally disturbing and a loose remake of Scum. Continue reading Dog Pound (2010)

Gong fen you xia / Pink Force Commando (1982)

Director:Yen-ping Chu
Starring Brigitte Lin, Sally Yeh. Taiwan.

An amazing twitter buddy reminded me of this movie, if you’ve got any interest in B-Movies then check out @cjzisi <-twitter and/or the blog for a treasure trove of amazing reviews of rare and obscure films. I had seen this many years ago but I have to admit that somehow it was somewhat mostly forgotten, so I dug out the old VHS and re watched it.. Damn how the hell did I manage to forget any of this!? Continue reading Gong fen you xia / Pink Force Commando (1982)

Outpost (2008)

Director: Steve Barker.
Starring. Richard Brake, Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Michael Smiley, Julian Rivett, Enoch Frost,  UK. 1h 30m.

Military horrors and bunker films have been a unique niche market for some time, when done right they offer a healthy lashing of terror, there hadn’t been much to hit the big screen since Deathwatch, where a team are tormented by supernatural forces in the trenches of WWII, add an element of the occult and science fiction and voila.. Outpost. In this murky horror a team of weary mercenaries are hired to travel into war torn Eastern Europe where they have found a well-hidden and abandoned bunker with a very unusual machine.  The wealthy businessman who picks up these seasoned troops, keeps his secrets close to his chest and while he thinks he knows the ins and outs even he’s surprised by depravity that was carried out by the deranged nazi scientists in the depths. Continue reading Outpost (2008)

Below (2002)

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Director: David Twohy.

Writer: Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Holt McCallany, Bruce Greenwood, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Chinlund, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Tim Plester, Zach Galifianakis, Christopher Fairbank. USA/UK. 1h 45m.

This was a curious film, an underwater mystery that take a while to get going but it does turn up the atmospherics in the later half.

A handful of survivors are plucked from a damaged ship and brought aboard the USS Tiger Shark submarine that’s on patrol in the Atlantic Ocean during WWII. A conscientious doctor a wounded soldier and a few others become welcomed guests on a sub with more mysterious than the Mary Celeste. Continue reading Below (2002)

Edge of Tomorrow (2013)

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Edge of Tomorrow (Action, Sci Fi, 2014) (12A) D: Doug Liman: P: W: Christopher McQuarrie (Screenplay) Hiroshi Sakuraka: C: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Tony Way 1h 53m. USA.

TAGLINE : Live. Die. Repeat

Synopsis: A military officer is brought into an alien war against an extraterrestrial enemy who can rest the day and know the future. When this officer is enabled with the same power, he teams up with a Special Forces warrior to try and end the war.

This epic sci-fi had the hard work already done, director Doug Limman (Bourne, Mr and Mrs) and Writer  Christopher McQuarrie (Usual suspects, Jack Reacher), had an easy job bringing this unique Manga story to life. Edge of Tomorrow is based on the Hiroshi Sakurazka novel All You Need Is Kill, the stage set for a ground breaking sci-fi mystery story;  originally casted with Brad Pitt as the lead. A reluctant and clumsy Cage (Cruise) is drafted into the army to fight a species of aliens who are always a step ahead in the war.

Scaling down the Japanese mega weapons,  and reducing the need for large-scale destruction the film instead tests it laurels on the leading couple,  while the other characters are strong they lose potency for the sake of Cruise who instead of battling with a team throughout spends most of the film going it alone or with just Blunt by his side.

The epic promotion of Live.Die.Repeat is a huge clue to the crucial groundhog day effect to expect in this film, while its essential the technique can be really boring but it’s made bearable through humor and kept to a minimum. But once this element is fully comprehended and done to death, the deeper mysteries of the plot start to unfold. WIthout getting too technical Edge of Tomorrow starts to become a real sci fi movie, playing on realms and alien elements that are actually alien! Too often do we find aliens that we can understand.. this isn’t so here, a brilliant twist.

Much in the same way that Snowpiercer (2013) tried to bridge the gap between east and west,  while avoiding the misdemeanours and sensationalism both movies reduce the massive scale of the weaponry and warfare. It’s understandable as the audiences are very different but it would be commendable to exact or expand on what was there. A great opportunity lost.

Rita (Blunt) and her downsized buster sword and who sadly isn’t a Japanese teen, is formidable throughout as is Cruise, Paxton and Gleeson,  despite their many battles they remain pretty faced in the sea of CGI robotics,  which look impressive. I have to admit that the modern robot effects that have been perfected through such films as Transformers (2007) and Terminator Salvation (2009) and are looking more robust and evolving well, the same can’t be said for the mushy faced blue glowing aliens who looked very out of key, personally I feel that the non mecha approach should be done with real characters with enhanced CGI

Generally the film is good, it’s got the typical edge of the all american hero and therefore you can pretty much work out the entire plot from the beginning but it had elements that make it interesting to watch. It does broach aspects of the world of Manga in a slightly tame manner but what it lacks there it does make up for by introducing a strong element from the original book about the aliens battle techniques.. I can’t say anymore I’d give it away…

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Rating : 7/10

V: Without knowing the great material that was used originally I could easily give it a higher score of an 8  but I gotta take a point off for weakening a great Japanese novel/comic series.

R: Looper (2012) , 12 Monkeys (1995) , Pacific Rim (2013), Patlabor (1989+),

 

Q: There’s a Full Metal Bitch.”

L: Groundhog Day Effect, Time Travel, Mecha Movies, Manga to Hollywood
5B: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Tony Way
DGI: Knock a shot for every repetition

Kisha

300 : Rise of an empire (2014)

300: Rise of an Empire

300: Rise of an Empire (Historical, War, Action, Fantasy 2014) (18) D: Noam Murro: P:Gianni Nunnari C: Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro, David Wenham, Andrew Tiernan, Andrew Pleavin and Peter Mensah .1h 42m USA.

TAGLINE : Seize your glory

Synopsis: Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

While Zack Snyder’s live action remake of the Frank Millers/Lynn Varleys graphic novel 300 (2006) set the pace for a new generation of golden GCI enriched historical tales, this poor less endowed relation offers nothing but post Pathfinder (2007) GCI bloodletting, an awkward sex scene and lots of soul draining drama in a giant badly reconstructed swimming pool.

Frank Miller was quick to start work on the Xerxes comic series which is still unfinished but despite this; it was snapped up by director Noam Murro’s, whose previous resume includes only one film, comedy romance Smart People (2008) , and it’s obviously he was out of his depth in this greatly anticipated (non) sequel. The story seems to have very little to do with Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) instead it deals more with the battles against the Persian naval forces commanded by Artemisia (Eva Green) and in the Spartan corner Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton).

Overall it’s 300 (2006)  in a swimming pool, similar to how Master and Commander (2003) is basically Gladiator (2000) in a swimming pool and Waterworld (1995) is Mad Max 2 (1979) in water, more movies need to make this step, for example maybe Bad Milo! (2013) could have a loving butt adventure on a boat.. it would be a lot more entertaining.

300 Rise of an Empire (2014)  is pretty dull, it doesn’t have any of the dazzling moments or great battles scenes as it’s predecessor, the characters have no depth, although they do have very nice wardrobes and the same set of spray on peck and six packs. It seems everyone is only available for a short angry faced cameo then it’s on to the next slow motion death scene. Artemisia and Themisokles have an awkward grunting, beatdown pseudo sex scene which was difficult to fully undertand. The only treat is a final showdown which does involve a high density of CGI but is the best and longest fighting scene. there isn’t really a whole lot to really get the grasp of, it’s not a political battleground, it’s not a great battle strategy enthused film like Red Cliff (2008) It just attempts everything and achieves nothing. Gerard Butler is sorely missed…

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Rating : 5/10

R: 300 (2006). Troy (2004), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Pompeii (2014), Hercules (2014)

Q: Artemisia: You fight much harder than you fuck.
Queen Gorgo: You’ve come a long way to stroke your cock, while you watch real men train.
BS: Final fight scene is ok.. Otherwise it’s lots of meh!
OST: Junkie XL, Black Sabbath – War Pigs
L: Historical War Films
5B: Rodrigo Santoro, Andrew Tiernan, Jack O’Connell
DGI: Knock a shot for every gay reference.. I dare you!

Tangerines – Mandariindi (2013)

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Tangerines – Mandariindi (Drama, History, War 2013) (Not Rated) D: Zaza Urushadze W: Zaza Urushadze: C: Lembit Ultsakm, Elmo Nuganen, Giorg Nakashidze, Misha Meskhi 1h 27m. Estonia, Georgia.

Synopsis: War in Georgia, Aplchazeh region in 1990, An Estonian man, Ivo has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines, In a bloody conflict at his door, a pair of wounded soldiers are left behind and Ivo takes them both in.. But they are not comrades.

Tangerines landscape

Dark poetic film from director and writer Zaza Urushadze, Ivo; a farmer and father, is the true hero, rescues two solders after a short burs of combat outside of his modest home, realising they are on opposing sides, he along with his neighbor and fellow tangerine picker Margus (Elmo Nüganen) takes on the duty to heal both men and in turn gains their respect, loyalty and trust. All Ivo wants to do is harvest his tangerine crops, in a similar vein as Mr Majestyk (1974) Ivo, alike to Charlie Bronson has a dedication to fairness and fruit, except Ivo is a bit more passive with his persuasions.. Tangerine challenges the dark of humanity and groundless prejudices, in a flawless, crisp and magnificent manner, the cinematography and music perfectly enhance the deep human drama that unfolds as Ivo and his neighbour risk everything to heal both soldiers, both physically and help to heal the mental damage and restores some basic morals with the young men who adopt him as a pseudo father. The film delivers many poignant messages; it’s bittersweet, simplistic and has a novel back-story that is embroidered through the scenes of the two soldier’s colourful insults. The ignorance and often-faceless enemy of this civil war becomes very real and exposed as brittle lies and laid to rest, as a father would deal with two bickering children. All of this is presented in a gorgeous broad landscape, with so many metaphors to look out for in this profound film, I can’t praise it enough.

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Rating : 10/10

R: Father of a Soldier (1965), Leviathan (2014) Ida (2013), JSA (2000)

L: Selected Estonian Films, War Films, Farmers in Films, Beautiful Landscapes

Q: Ivo “Killing a sleeping man when he is unconscious, is a sacred thing too? I didn’t know.”

TIL: Always respect your elders.

BS: When the solders think their argument has angered Ivo (after they have both started to respect him) and he leaves the dinner table, then a disembodied voice assures them that Ivo is only pissing and isn’t upset. Another breathtaking scene is when Ivo is explaining how he will see the actor put on a play after the war, that gleam in his eyes as his reminiscing isn’t something you capture on film all that often and is marvellous.

5B: Lembit Ultsakm

DGI: Not really the best for drinking games however you could knock a shot for every tangerine picked and for every insult thrown for each other soldiers.

Tangerines

Joyeux Noel (2005)

Joyeux Noel – (War, Drama, Historical, Music, 2005) (12) D/W: Christian Carion C: Benno Furmann, Diane Kruger, Ian Richardson . 1h 56m. France.

On christmas eve during WWI the Germans, French and Scottish fraternise and get to know the men who are on the opposite side of a brutal war, in what became a true lesson of humanity.

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This was a poignant insight into a true occurrence during the first christmas of the Great War. Although the legend of the football matches and cease fire was not generalised it did happen, along the front line and probably wasn’t as “pretty” as this film makes out but the humanity of the event is probably as sincere.

There were moments when I thought the film might just turn into a full blown singing and dancing musical but it did help display that music is a universal language as much as prayer in some cases.

The story revolved around the love affair of Nikolaus and Anna (Benno Furmann and Diane Kruger) and obviously the German, French and Scottish legions. The men decided to have a moment of clarity on an otherwise deathly Christmas eve and drop guns and celebrate together. Which goes to show that “war” is always just political action. Unfortunately the dirty work is carried out by those who don’t necessarily want any part of it.

There are lots of interactions between the men that illustrate them visiting each other and knowing each other before the war, e.g visiting one and others hotel etc. It displays that there was a unified Europe before the war.

There is a feature of this movie which plays out similar to that in Schindler’s List (1993) Where an unknown person is clearly visible, in Schindlers it was the girl in the red coat, in Joyeux Noel it is a German and his 10am alarm clock. Both characters play an important role to remind you without knowing fully, that human beings are involved here.

A lot of small comedy moments are included, it’s hard to add this into a war movie without the cast looking like ball sacks but it’s focused  on the officers and lets face it. we’re all routing for infantry.

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The language barriers are addressed in a logical way, the sets and wardrobes seem authentic to me but alas I am no historian. I was a little dubious about Benno being transported here and there at very short notice and so quickly but none of the transportation is shown, maybe to focus on the situation!? I dunno.. but he seemed to have no trouble getting out of the front line when he needed to.

The music aspect of this movie was the most annoying part, I’m not a fan of musicals myself but a catchy tune helps, understandably for this film the music had to fit. Lets just say that I didn’t rush out to get the OST. I’m pretty sure that it could have been crafted in a better way.

Another factor which shocked me a little about this film is that I knew from the start that this was WWI, no doubt about it.. but after watching for about an hour or so when one of the German officers said he appreciate the prayers even though he was Jewish I hit pause.. I couldn’t work out how a German officer could be Jewish then it finally sunk in again that it was WWI… it’s amazing how after watching so many WWII movies after hearing the German and seeing the war aspect my brain just clicked into WWII phase.. Is cinema making me racist!? Lol I kid..

This movie is quite engaging and a really compassionate insight into a small but vitally important snippet of the Great War.

T: One of the last films Ian Richardson made before his death on February 9th 2007.

Q: What the hell are you doing, Shoot the bloody kraut, shoot him god damn it the holidays are OVER!

R: Schindler’s List (1993), The English Patient (1996).

8/10

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