Emperor (2012)

logoDirector: Peter Webber

Writer: Vera Blasi, David Klass (Screenplay) Shiro Okamoto (Book ’His Majesty’s Salvation’)

Starring: Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones, Eriko Hatsune, Toshiyuki Nishida, Masayoshi Haneda, Kaori Momoi, Colin Moy, Takataro Kataoka


Plot: As the Japanese surrender at the end of WWII, Gen. Fellers is tasked with deciding if Emperor Hirohito will be hanged as a war criminal. Influencing his ruling is his quest to find Aya, an exchange student he met years earlier in the U.S.


Verdict: History Lesson


Story: We start by looking at horrors of the atomic bomb attack on Japan and seeing how Japan surrendered and how they left Emperor Hirohito on the protection list until they figure out what to do with him. We follow our General as he arranges the arrests with limited resources before the Japanese General complete their honour suicide. We see how General Fellers has to discover how involved the Emperor was in the war and whether he should be tried as a war criminal. While he looks for a lost love in the remains of a destroyed Japan. He has a ten day deadline; we have to see how much information he can uncover by the deadline and figure out the truth before the judgement is rushed.

If you were to take away the redundant romantic story this could actually turn into an interest history lesson. Saying that if you took that out it would end up being an hour special made for TV. After only learning the very basic story behind the truth of the World War II it is always good to see a film that helps uncover more about what happened and this does tell the audience about the aftermath of the Japanese surrender. It does show that the Americans were the heroes and how one man whose idea of respecting the traditions changed the outcome. In the end it really is just a history lesson that could have been a television special instead of an attempted big film. (6/10)


Actor Review


Matthew Fox: General Bonner Fellers the man given the task to figure out whether the Emperor can be tried as a war criminal. He is also trying to find a lost love who might have been a victim of the war. He has to come over odds which seem to put him in a situation he can only struggle to get through to uncover the truth. Matthew gives a solid performance but never does anything that will give you Goosebumps which is essential for real life dramas. (6/10)


Tommy Lee Jones: General Douglas MacArthur he gives General Fellers the task and expects nothing but the best from his very best General. Tommy Lee only seems to be a supporting character demanding the best from the lead, he doesn’t have much to work with but does a solid job when he does. (6/10)


Eriko Hatsune: Aya Shimada the student General Fellers falls for before the war and tries to keep in contact with during the war, we are left to wonder if she is still alive as the film unfolds. Eriko does a good job but really doesn’t have much to work with or any real outcome on the main story. (6/10)


Masayoshi Haneda: Takahashi hired to become General Fellers personal drive he is tasked with helping uncover the location of Aya. He does a good job in a supporting role where he becomes almost a friend for General Fellers, he doesn’t have much to work with and even when we get the emotional moment it is almost skipped over. (6/10)


Support Cast: Filled with Generals and other suspected war criminals we get to meet a mix of supporting characters who have helped with the flashbacks guiding our hero and now time also help the hero uncover the truth.


Director Review: Peter Webber – Does a solid job, but lacks the emotional levels required for certain scenes. (5/10)


Drama: Solid use of drama but lacks the emotional scenes which could have made the film very powerful. (7/10)

History: The look at the post war, war criminal investigation is very good but the romantic storyline ruins it all. (8/10)

Settings: Brilliant re-created settings of the destroyed Japan. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the history fans out there the casual fan will not enjoy this at all. (Try It)


Best Part: History lesson

Worst Part: Romantic Angle

Believability: Based on what is meant to have happened after Japan surrendered, but the romantic angle is made up. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $3.3 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Tagline: Japan 1945: General Douglas MacArthur was given a mission to decide the fate of a nation, the guilt of a leader, and the true price of peace.

Trivia: The romantic story between Fellers and Aya was entirely fictional for the film. Fellers was married in 1925 to Dorothy Dysart who accompanied him twice on his posting the Philippines, and she also went with him to China and Japan.


Overall: Interesting Lesson

Rating 60


The Killing (1956)

rob challengeThis week on the challenge Rob has chosen the Stanley Kubrick The Killing, which is a film that I haven’t seen but it is from an icon of cinema so I will be watching hoping for the best.

logoDirector: Stanley Kubrick

Writer: Stanley Kubrick (Screenplay) Lionel White (Novel)

Starring: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Jay C Flippen, Ted de Corsia, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook Jr

Plot: Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Dated, But Still Has Style

Story: The Killing starts at the horse tracks where Marvin Unger (Flippen) is not interested in watching the races but uses the knowledge of the outcomes to his advantage. We also meet Policeman Randy Kennan (Corsia) as he deals with personal issues from before the horse racing. We continue to meet the characters involved this time it is Johnny Clay (Hayden) who is trying to make sure his partner Fay (Gray) understands everything planned. George Peatty (Cook Jr) is trying to keep his high life going to impress his wife Sherry (Windsor).

We continue to see how everyone has an agenda with Sherry having an affair with Val (Edwards). Johnny is the ring leader for the job with Marvin, Randy, George and Mike, they will split the take five ways and the take will be $2 Million. We get to watch how the plan truly unfolds and learn whether the master plan goes down without a hitch.

The Killing leaves me wondering how to review this, do I look at how I feel about the film now or how I think it would look at the time of release. I have decided to go with how I felt about the film now. I have seen plenty of heist films now and they are all very flash and stylish so comparing this to any of them becomes almost impossible, but I can see how they got their ideas from. The style the film is shot in works to keep each chapter of the plan as a mystery even if it is easy to work out. I can see why people consider this a classic but I can’t help but feel that certain parts of his have dated. (7/10)

Actor Review

Sterling Hayden: Johnny Clay is the man pulling the strings in the heist, he brings the team together in the plan to take $2 Million as well as arranging to have others involved in the distractions for a small fee. Sterling does make for a great leading man with his plan. (7/10)

Jay C Flippen: Marvin Unger is the right hand man for Johnny, he gets involved in the more important parts of the plan because he knows how to stay calm through every potential exchange. Jay does give a solid performance but like most of the supporting characters end up feeling flat. (6/10)

Support Cast: The Killing has a supporting cast that is mostly part of the plan, each member plays their part to the final heist but not a single character ends up standing out.

Director Review: Stanley KubrickStanley puts his own style to the heist film which has easily be used to build the heist films we get today. (8/10)

Crime: The Killing plays out the whole heist through the film which help keep the crime style of the film shine through. (8/10)

Thriller: The Killing does keep us guessing to how the plan is going to work out. (8/10)

Settings: The Killing keeps the settings very heist based with a large part of the film in and around the horse race tracks. (8/10)

Suggestion: The Killing is one to watch because you will see how many ideas this film has given to the future directors ideas. (Watch)

Best Part: Airport scene.

Worst Part: Has dated

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Awards: Nominated for 1 BAFTA

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $320,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

Tagline: …Like No Other Picture Since “Scarface” and “Little Caesar”!

Overall: The inspiration for all of the heist films we all know and love.

Rating 80

Trailer Alert – The Night Crew

Plot THE NIGHT CREW centers on a group of hard up bounty hunters who must survive the night in a desert motel against a horde of savage border runners. They soon realize that their fugitive, a mysterious Chinese woman, is much more than she lets on.

Release Date: 20th July 2015

When it comes to action we are finding ourselves having to watch the same old superhero stuff at the moments but this one looks like it will give us something we all enjoy, just pure action that keeps us guessing what will happen next with an all star cast.


Will I Be Watching? Yes

Will You Be Watching?

My Anticipation Rating –70%

My Guess Rating – 70%

Will It Be Number One In UK? – No