ABC Film Challenge – Romance – P – Passchendaele (2008)

Director: Paul Gross

Writer: Paul Gross (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Gross, Carolin Dhavernas, Joe Dinicol, Michael Greyeyes, Meredith Bailey

 

Plot: The lives of a troubled veteran, his nurse girlfriend and a naive boy intersect first in Alberta and then in Belgium during the bloody World War I battle of Passchendaele.


Tagline – in love, there is only one rule… don’t die.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Much Love Not Enough Reality

 

Story: Passchendaele starts when Michael Dunne (Gross) returns from war injured, he comes back to his home town, where he meets a nurse Sarah Mann (Dhavernas). Sarah’s little brother David (Dinicol) is trying to go figure out how to get the love of his life Cassie (Bailey) to be allowed to see him because of his class in society.

When Michael gets forced to return to duty, his first assignment is to help recruit from his home town, only he won’t let David get involved, until a twist in the family name of the Mann’s puts both Sarah and David’s lives in danger, with only Michael wanting to defend them.

 

Thoughts on Passchendaele

 

Characters – Michael Dunne is a war veteran who killed a young man at war before he got injured himself, returning home he battles with his own mental health which does brand him a coward in the eyes of many, until he falls in love and is forced to return to war to protect her brother. Sarah is the nurse that helps Michael recover from his injuries, who just so happens to be from the same town, she lost her father to war and now her brother wants to fight, she will do what she can to prevent him, only her father’s history puts her place in the town in question. David is the younger brother of Sarah, he wants to go to war to impress the people of their town and follow in his father’s footsteps, he doesn’t care how it happens and knows if he does this, he can marry the love of his life.

PerformancesPaul Gross takes a couple of roles both on front and behind the camera in this film, he doesn’t make the impact we would like for many of the war movies we do see which disappoints. Caroline Dhavernas and Joe Dinicol both are basic solid supporting performance who both don’t get the impact they need to in the film.

StoryThe story here wants to show us how the Canadians were involved in one of the biggest battles of World War I, which is an important story that needs to be told, only we get a love story between a veteran a nurse and her little brother’s desire to go to war. While we see how Michael must deal with the horrors of the consequences of his action in war, it just gets pushed aside, which would have been the attitude at the time. We don’t seem to learn enough about the battle from the action involved, which is the most disappoint part of the story telling. The love side of the story does drag the story down way too much.

History/Romance/WarThe history side of this film should be much better, this shows the involvement of the Canadians only doesn’t seem to show us just how big their part was. The romance is the weakest part of the film only dragging it down, while the war side once we get there could challenge many for the brutality of visuals involved in war.

SettingsThe film does use the settings at a mixed level because the town could be anywhere, while the war moments look like the real war happening.


Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The love story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brutal war story that shows us the true reality of war, only for it to waste too much time on a pointless love story.

 

Overall: Brutal war sequences saves this dull romance film.

Rating

 

 

Greyhound (2020) Movie Review

Director: Aaron Schneider

Writer: Tom Hanks (Screenplay) C.S. Forester (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Elisabeth Shue, Michael Benz, Rob Morgan, David Maldonado

Plot: Early in World War II, an inexperienced U.S. Navy captain must lead an Allied convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boat wolfpacks.


Tagline – The Only Thing More Dangerous Than the Front Lines Was the Fight to Get There

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: War Movie 101

Story: Greyhound starts as we see the beginning of World War II, where American Naval Ship Captained by Captain Krause (Hanks) as he looks to navigate his way to the frontline, one that will see him need to navigate through Nazi U-boats that are waiting to pick off any incoming ships.

The closer they get to their destination, the more obstacles they must overcome, offering rescue to the ships they find along the way, taking advice from the other ships that they are following and experienced different levels of threat.

Thoughts on Greyhound

Final ThoughtsGreyhound is a war movie that shows the story of a rookie naval captain who looks to guide a fleet of ships to the frontline for the battles in World War II, where they must overcome the odds which will see them getting attacked by countless enemies losing souls along the way. This is another one of those incredible stories of war, it shows us just how many soldiers sacrificed their lives during World War II. While the story is incredible, it isn’t told in the most interesting way, with none of the conflict scenes hitting the intensity you would be expecting. Tom Hanks is strong enough in the leading role, but he never hits the full level of his abilities, with the supporting cast not putting a foot wrong, only they just don’t get to make an impact in anyway. This does end up feeling like one of the bigger disappointments in the year, being more average, rather than a spectacle it should have been.

Overall: Average war film.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Q – Three Kingdoms (2008) Movie Review

Clutching at straws again here, we are going with Q because of Maggie Q.

Director: Daniel Lee

Writer: Ho Leung Lau, Daniel Lee (Screenplay) Guanzhong Luo (Novel)

Starring: Andy Lau, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Maggie Q, Cunxin Pu, Andy Oh, Rongguang Yu, Hua Yueh, Lung Ti

Plot: His country torn asunder by civil war, Zhao Zilong, a common man heeds the call of duty and from the humblest of roots rises through the ranks on wings of courage and cunning to command an army charged with liberating the land from an evil warlord. Inspiring by action, honor and a dream of unifying his divided nation, Zhao Zilong’s heroism becomes legend, but as the years pass and the throne changes hands the war still rages on. When a newly enthroned king decides peace can only be achieved by defeating the warlords once and for all, the aging Zhao Zilong embarks on his final and greatest campaign, a road to adventure that will crown his name in glory for all time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice History Lesson

Story: Three Kingdoms starts in the middle of a three kingdom war going on in ancient China, common man Zhao Zilong (Lau) joins Liu (Yueh) army which is winning the war with the circle opposing forces, where he meets a fellow country man Luo Ping-An (Hung) as they prepare for battle against Cao’s army.

After Zhao braves going alone to search and rescue the Emperor’s wives and child escaping the capture of the enemy army, making himself an icon in the war, and somebody Cao promises to capture one day. After decades of fighting, Zilong is the last remaining general under the Emperor and now he wants to go into one more battle which could finally unity China against Cao’s granddaughter Ying (Q).

Thoughts on Three Kingdoms

Characters – Zhao Zilong was just a small town common man that went to war to fight for peace so he could start a family, his acts of bravery saw him rise the ranks to become one of the most trusted generals for Emperor Liu, his abilities in battle show why he was the longest lasting of the generals and why he made himself a legend in the eyes of the people. Luo Ping-An was the first friend Zilong made in the army, he understands directions and stays by his side for every battle with his knowledge of the landscapes unlike anybody else. Cao Ying is the granddaughter of the enemy general, she has seen her family fall and now leads the army to finally end everything from her side of the battle. Zhuge is one of the original generals that Zilong learns from, one who would go between soldier camps to help them win battles they were outnumbered in.

PerformancesAndy Lau in the leading role shows off his fighting skills with his serious side to his character to his performance, he is the star of the film, which sees him being the best performer even though most of the cast don’t put a foot wrong.

StoryThe story shows us just how one common man turned into one of the most famous generals in ancient Chinese history, we see his rise from the bottom right to his position of legend status. This is an interesting look at one of the great wars in history, seeing how both sides were trying for something that would unit a country, even though decades of fighting didn’t help them achieve this. We mostly focus on just one man’s journey from the bottom to the top and how he became a legend in the war because of his abilities in combat and ability to motivate his army. We do skip a lot of time through the film which does take away from trying to get all the details of the war though

Action/History/WarThe action is massive when it comes to the numbers involved in the battle sequences, they look beautiful to watch too, when it comes to the history of the war we do skip over large parts of it which can be disappointing at times.

SettingsThe film here recreates the ancient Chinese era with ease, making us feel like we are part of this bigger battle.


Scene of the Movie – The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The large time jump.

Final Thoughts This is a good interesting look at history and just how much was risked during these wars, we see one man’s journey to find his own position in power too.

Overall: Strong History film.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – U – USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016)

Director: Mario Van Peebles

Writer: Cam Cannon, Richard Rionda Del Castro (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tom Sizemore, Thomas Jane, Matt Lanter, James Remar, Brian Presley, Yutaka Takeuchi

 

Plot: During World War II, an American navy ship is sunk by a Japanese submarine leaving 890 crewmen stranded in shark infested waters.


Tagline – Based on a true story of survival.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Confusing

 

Story: USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage starts when the USS Indianapolis is selected for a new mission, Captain McVay (Cage) must lead his ship solo in an attempt to deliver weapons on the secret mission, the ship can handle any ship or plane, but the weakness comes from submarines, which they usually have destroyers to help with.

After completing the mission they are returning home, when the ship gets torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, the men get scattered in the ocean with limit supplies and sharks waiting to pick them off, this turns into a battle to survive in wait for rescue.

 

Thoughts on USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

 

Characters – Captain McVay has the respect of the crew, they know they can trust him, they know he will treat them well, he is part of the crew that is sunk, he will make sure his men are safe taking control in a fair way where everybody is given the same, he will spend his time searching for more crew. McWhorter is one of the crew that gets injured in the sinking, he fights through with McVay by his side. Lt Adrian Marks is a pilot that manages to finally find the crew while searching for lost planes. We do meet way too many crew members to keep on top of who was who in this film, which only confuses us while trying to keep on top of the cast.

PerformancesNicolas Cage is the highlight of the performances and he ends up making certain scenes feel like a comedy. Tom Sizemore does all he can, while Thomas Janes doesn’t have enough time to do anything. The overly large cast just makes everything confusing, making it hard to judge any of the performances.

StoryThe story looks at the history behind the USS Indianapolis sinking after delivery the weapons that bought about the end of the war. The story should be one that brings historical survival moment to life, instead we spend way too much time following too many characters just stranded in the water, which I understand is a big part of what happened, but seeing the political side of the story felt a lot more interesting. This is a story that does seem to end up falling into one that drags for way too long, we are left wondering just why we need to end up seeing too many characters, which makes it difficult to support any of the characters involved. This is hard to say because we know this really happened and these were real people of the horrors of war.

Action/History/WarThe action in the film is war based which is solid enough, to tell the historical moment at the end of the war.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in the ocean as the survivors need to wait in hope of rescue, surrounded by sharks with limited supplies.


Scene of the Movie –
Court Case.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis should be a much better movie when you see just how serious the story should be, sadly moments feel like comedy and it is hard to keep up with he pure number of characters involved.

 

Overall: Misses the point.

Rating

 

 

Gary Oldman Weekend – Child 44 (2015)

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Tom Rob Smith (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel, Fares Fares

 

Plot: A disgraced member of the Russian military police investigates a series of child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union.


Tagline – How many more must die before the truth is exposed?

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: Child 44 starts as we see how Leo Demidov (Hardy) escaped an orphanage joining the military at a young age, he went on to become a war hero leading his men Alexei (Fares) and Vasili (Kinnaman), after the war he remains in the military making sure the Soviet Union isn’t compromised by anybody who could be against the country.

When one of Alexei’s children is murdered, the country covers it up as an accident, Leo reluctantly starts to investigate and after two more murders, Leo finds himself becoming an enemy of the country, exiled from the capital under General Mikhail Nesterov (Oldman), where the killings continue. Leo continues his investigation which only draws more attention to himself, as murder can’t happen in paradise.

 

Thoughts on Child 44

 

Characters – Leo Demidov was raised an orphan only to escape and become part of a military unit, he spent years within the Russian military rising up the ranks to become one of the most respected men in the military. He remains in the military where he helps keep traitors out of the capital, he soon learns about a string a child murders, which the country wants to cover up, which puts his reputation on the line as he looks to solve them exposing a killer in a country that doesn’t admit to murder. Raisa is the wife of Leo, she has started to become a target for country believing she is a traitor, she is tired of the life within the rules given and must soon start to lie to her husband to stay safe before working with him to solve the case. General Mikhail Nesterov is the man that Leo is sent to serve under, he does notice the trends in the murders and will send Leo out to solve the case. Vasili is one of the soldiers that served next to Leo, he was considered a coward during the war, but after the war he became stricter breaking the rules creating tension between the unit for his behaviour towards prisoners.

PerformancesTom Hardy in the leading role does everything asked of him, he handles each his characters actions, while giving us a solid enough Russian accent throughout. Noomi Rapace continued to grow her reputation as she shows that she can adapt to nearly every role placed on front of her. Gary Oldman brings the experience to the role, though he does fall into the supporting role for too long through the film. The rest of the supporting cast doesn’t make the impact required with their time.

StoryThe story here follows a Russian military man that starts investigating a string of child murders that grab the attention of the country who refuses to admit that murder can happen within it. While we get to see how the investigation becomes deeper with each and every turn, it is the trying to conduct an investigation in a country that simply won’t accept murder that piles on the pressure within the story, see how he must fight his country to stop a serial killer is interesting, even if it is slightly slow at times. We don’t get many suspects because we can’t completely investigate which can hold up that side of the film at times.

Crime/HistoryThe crime side of the film follows the serial killer taking the children, the other side of the crime story comes from how the country was treating people that didn’t follow their strict orders, this does show how the history of the country did hold it back at times.

SettingsThe film is set in Russia and Ukraine, showing how secretive the country was with how they didn’t want to admit anything going on wrong.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kidnapping is creepy as the film gets.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The over slow building.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving crime thriller that is more interested in showing the countries strict rules that focus on solving the crime.

 

Overall: Pacing just lets it down.

Rating