Summer of ’67 (2018)

Director: Sharon Wilharm

Writer: Sharon Wilharm (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel Schrey, Cameron Gilliam, Bethany Davenport, Christopher Dalton, Sam Brooks, Sharonne Lanier, Jerrold Edwards

 

Plot: Based on real life events, Summer of ’67 brings to life the turbulent times of the sixties and the struggles faced by the men and women impacted by the Vietnam War.


Tagline – Their lives will never be the same again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Look at the Effects of War

 

Story: Summer of 67 starts as the war on Vietnam is starting, we head to a small-town where we meet recently married Milly (Schrey) and her sister Kate (Davenport), Milly’s husband Gerald (Gilliam) is hoping he doesn’t get drafted, facing the reality he can’t get another job until he has done his service, while Beth’s boyfriend Peter (Dalton) would rather enlist that head off to college.

With Gerald and Peter going on the same ship the USS Forrestal, Mill facing bring their second child into the world alone, waiting for his return, while Beth looks to start searching for her future with hippie Van (Brooks). We get to see the effects of the separation as we get to see one more couple Reggie (Edwards) and Ruby Mae (Lanier) who have final found each other, but are being separated too.

 

Thoughts on Summer of 67

 

Characters – Milly and Kate both witnesses a tragic event in the opening of the film, Milly the older sister gets married and starts a family, one hoping to have their own home, but watches how her husband must go to war to be given an opportunity at a better job. Kate young and more impressable at her college age, with a college sweetheart, that wants to go to war, she is against any war which leads her into the arms of a hippie who is against the war. The two both are left waiting to see if their loves will return. Gerald is the husband of Milly who has no other option but to go to war, to give his family a future of stability. Peter is the college aged man that must choose between war or college. Van is one of the hippies that starts to sway Kate’s opinion on war with his anti-war views. We do get to see Ruby Mae who is a maid for the family and her new love Reggie, which does take a back burner even though they are going through the same situation.

PerformancesRachel Schrey is great in her role, we see how she makes her character need to be the big sister, wife and mother to three different characters each showing the strength she used through the anxious times away from her love. Bethany Davenport is good in her role, we get to see how she makes her late-teenage character be so unsure how to think about the war situation. When it comes to the male performers, they are good, but do have less time on screen. Sharonne Lanier is also good in her role, even if we could have given her more screen time.

StoryThe story here follows the wives and girlfriends that are left together in small-town while their partners head off to Vietnam. We have three women who while are around the same age (Well within 10 years) who are at different love stages, one with kids, one at the crossroads and one just fallen, this helps understand the different feelings the characters would be going through. Seeing how they try to stay together through the unknown, not knowing other than short television updates gives us a reflection of the war genre. This does touch on a real event, which if you know your history you will know the direction things will go. The best part of this not taking us to the war side of the film because we don’t need just another war movie.

History/RomanceThe does give us a look at the people left behind during the Vietnam war, this will look at people watching at home. The romance side of the film shows us how the three women are left to continue their lives while being unsure of the safety of their own loved ones.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the small-town setting which does show us the unity between the women who are left behind waiting.


Scene of the Movie –
The television report.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough time to watch the Ruby Mae and Reggie side of the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that shows us just how damaging going to war can be on the people that are left behind, the waiting, the anxiety of not knowing and the bravery they must put on to remain strong around family and friends.

 

Overall: Touching, strong and impactful

Rating

 

 

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Mad to Be Normal (2017)

Director: Robert Mullan

Writer: Robert Mullan, Tracy Moreton (Screenplay)

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, David Tennant, Gabriel Byrne, Michael Gambon, David Bamber, Olivia Poulet, Trevor White

 

Plot: During the 1960s, a renegade Scottish psychiatrist courts controversy within his profession for his approach to the field, and for the unique community he creates for his patients to inhabit.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average History Lesson

 

Story: Mad to Be Normal starts in the 1960’s R.D. Laing (Tennant) fills out lecture halls with his methods of battling the mentally impaired patients, with his methods refusing to give medication which strikes up an interest of fresh out of education Angie Wood (Moss).

R.D. offers a community home where the patients can be themselves asking for help when they require it, with his team of doctors ready to listen whether they need to be around, though when people start questioning his behaviour and methods he must prove with his results.

 

Thoughts on Mad to Be Normal

 

Characters – R.D. Laing was a psychologist in the 1960’s he tackles dealing patients problems in a different way compared to the electro therapy, he has them in an open house environment where he can support them as they are given a normal life. Angie Wood seems to be the one we follow as she enters his life at the start of this story and we follow their romance and respect. Jim is one of the patients that seems to be calmer than the rest even though he can be the closest to being a danger.

PerformancesDavid Tennant is easily the star attraction in this film, we get to see how he plays the laidback, while serious doctor searching for solutions to the problems people have. Elisabeth Moss does go toe to toe with Tennant for the most part with the supporting cast giving us good performances too.

StoryThe story here follows the experimental treatment that R.D. Laing in the mid-60’s. It showed how his vision was different to the rest of the people in his field which helped changed the ideas of treatment once it was complete. We do follow his personal life with his relationship with Angie Wood and get to see how his own tragedies in life may have affected his decision makings. While this is a history lesson on this man, we just don’t get sucked into everything that we go through as it does feel like we needed one big moment to happen.

Biopic/HistoryThe man R.D. Laing was a leading man in his field, we see his experiment which changed how treatment could be receiving, though this is a great moment from history we don’t get a chance to see just where everything could have been, how he got to this stage of his career and miss big parts of his career.

SettingsThe film shows us where the experiment took place which tries to give the patients everyday life over being locked away from the world.


Scene of the Movie –
The night it goes wrong.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t learn enough about how he got to the position he is in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid biopic that doesn’t hit the high points it should have.

 

Overall: Biopic that does enough of a job.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – R – Red Cliff (2008)

Director: John Woo

Writer: John Woo, Khan Chan, Cheng Kuo, Heyu Sheng (Screenplay) Guanzhong Luo (Novel)

Starring: Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Fengyi Zhang, Chen Chang, Wei Zhao, Jun Hu

 

Plot: The first chapter of a two-part story centered on a battle fought in China’s Three Kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.).

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacular Battles but Hard to Follow

 

Story: Red Cliff starts in the year 220 A.D. with Sun Quan (Chang) sending his army lead by General Cao Cao (Zhang) to defeat the southlands to create a peace within China. The other sides of the battle come from Zhuge Liang (Kaneshiro) who joins a union with Zhou Yu (Leung) to stop this battle from taking over the country.

As the battle rages on we come to the final showdown as the Red Cliff, one of the most famous battles in Chinese history and if you don’t know history you will be left wondering who won.

 

Thoughts on Red Cliff

 

Characters – Zhou Yu is a great warrior that eliminates any enemy that comes close to threatening him. Zhuge Liang is the calm tactical leader that brings two sides together in battle to stop the general. Cao Cao is the general trying to win the battle against the Southlands, he is aggressive in his tactics which would eventually be his weakness.

PerformanceThe performance from the whole cast are good throughout the film, we get to see the combat skills from some of the cast and their abilities to look like the calmest person in the room in other.

StoryThe story is focused on one of the greatest battles in Chinese history, it bought change to the nation and most importantly showed how organised and deadly the three sides of the battle were. If I am honest I did find this hard to follow as I haven’t done much in research into Chinese history but other than that if you just look to watch the battle sequences this is a visual over storytelling experience.

Action/History/WarThe action is the highlight of this film because the sequences are amazing to watch, we do get to look into history which is fine with the war side of the film showing us just how far the three sides would go for victory.

SettingsThe settings are mostly military based as we see both sides prepare for the battle around the iconic location of Red Cliff.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show in the increased number in battles which looks great through the film.

Scene of the Movie – The arrows on the river.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was hard to follow at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good action packed historical film but it does drift into the land of hard to follow at other times.

 

Overall: Breath taking battles but difficult storyline.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – O – Operation Chromite (2016)

Director: John H Lee

Writer: Man-Hee Lee (Screenplay) John H Lee, Sean Dulake (English Dialogue)

Starring: Jung-jae Lee, Liam Neeson, Beom-su Lee, Matthre Darcy, Sean Dulake, Jun-ho Jeong, Se-Yeon Jin, Justin Rupple

 

Plot: A squad of soldiers fight in the Korean War’s crucial Battle of Incheon.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Little History Lesson

 

Story: Operation Chromite starts as UN Commander a Chief Douglas MacArthur (Neeson) putting South Korean soldiers led by Jang Hak-soo (Jung-jae Lee) undercover to work with the North Korean General Lim Gye-jin (Beom-su Lee) to learn the best way to attack Incheon one of the most difficult location to provide an invasion on, against the wishes of the other military beliefs.

We follow how the mission to get the plans out unfolds as MacArthur does everything to keep power in the UN to make this operation one of his most memorable and iconic success of his career.

 

Thoughts on Operation Chromite

 

Characters – Jang Hak-soo is the South Korean spy that after the war agrees to help the Americans destroy the North Korean reign of terror. He leads his men well with honour and won’t leave them behind. Lim Gye-jin is the man trying to protect Incheon from the invasion, he will kill any traitors that get to close as he is ready for the battle that is heading his way. Douglas MacArthur is the man holding the mission Chromite, one of the most iconic Generals in American history and now he looks to defeat the Koreans in a way no one would expect.

PerformanceThe performances from the whole cast are good through the film, be it from the Korean side of the battle or the American.

StoryThe story shows us how Operation Chromite was completed, while you do feel moments of this are fictionalised the main story does seem to feel true. We get to see how the men risk their own lives to make this happen in one of the most ambitious military moves of all time. This does have the emotion when it comes to see the sacrifices made but does also fall into the problem of if it was based on the real events how do we know what these people were doing at that time.

Action/History/WarThe action is very entertaining, being big in most places with close gun fire or war scale battles, the history lesson learnt does feel like building on the facts which is of one of the biggest war operations of all time

SettingsThe settings all come off looking genuine through the film as we see the different battle fronts that the men come up against.

Scene of the Movie – Take the hostage.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It doesn’t feel completely accurate.

Final ThoughtsThis is a watchable war movie that tackles the serious side of the events even if things do come off slightly fictionalised.

 

Overall: Good war film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – D – Downfall (2004)

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel

Writer: Bernd Eichinger (Screenplay) Joachim Fest, Traudi Junge, Melissa Muller (Book)

Starring: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Corinna Harfouch, Ulrich Matthes, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Kohler, Heino Ferch

 

Plot: Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator’s final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.


Tagline – April 1945, a nation awaits its…

Runtime: 2 Hours 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful & Revealing

 

Story: Downfall starts as we see Traudi Junge (Lara) hired by Adolf Hitler (Ganz) to be his next secretary, she would stay in this role for 2 and half years, as we pick up the story as the Nazi’s soldiers are facing the battle to keep Berlin, one of their last strong holds in Europe.

In the final days we see how Hitler is losing the loyalty of the ones he trusted most and is finding himself facing certain defeat, but he isn’t going down without fighting.

 

Thoughts on Downfall

 

Characters – The characters in this movie are based on real people, any discussion is only about how they are depicted in this movie, my opinions are not being discussed here. Adolf Hitler is the leader of the Nazi’s they have been at war with Europe for years, not the battle looks like it will be ending, he has lost faith in the people he trusted to lead for him and no he is cleaning up the people that betrayed him, preparing for defeat, but never giving up full hope in recovering. This version of Hitler is like any dictator that is about to lose, he has given everything for his own belief and demands loyalty through even the worst times. Traudi Junge is the final secretary for Hitler, she is one of the only non-military people to know what Hitler was thinking, how he was acting in those final days. We do meet plenty of the people closest to Hitler, family and military in the final days the ones that stood with him and the ones that betrayed him.

PerformancesBruno Ganz is fantastic in this leading role, he gives us multiply memorable moments even though he is playing such a hated man in history. Alexandra Maria Lara is great in her role while the cast in the whole does nothing wrong all giving us great performances through the film.

StoryThe story here shows the final days of Hilter’s reign of terror over Europe, now this isn’t going to be something that everyone will want to see, because we know how diabolical the actions of the Nazis were. Withdrawing myself from any personal connection to this story, we are left with a very interesting take on how a fallen dictator will be taking everything before the battle is finally over, how the people closest to him would act, be it fear of him, fear of the consequences or even the reality they could now be free from his power. The chaos is clear to see, the betrayal he feels is shocking to see for someone that is meant to be so feared by his own side and the relief for the innocent is clear to see. This story isn’t going to be easy to watch, but the story is essential for any war historian.

Biopic/HistorySeeing the final days of Hitler before facing his impending defeat is interesting to see unfold the biopic and historical side of the film shows this in an accuracy unheard of before.

SettingsThe film does take us to what feels like a realistic setting for the whole film, the middle of battle at times and in the last strong hold Hitler held.


Scene of the Movie –
Protecting the family.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is very long over 2 and half hours.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most essential historical viewings of any movie, it shows the defeated dictator facing his reality while the high ranking generals etc doing whatever it takes to serve or betray him to survive.

 

Overall: Must watch historical drama

Rating