Zulu (1964)

zluDirector: Cy Endfield

Writer: John Prebble, Cy Endfield (Screenplay) John Prebble (Article)

Starring: Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ula Jacobsson, James Booth, Michael Caine, Nigel Green

 

Plot: Outnumbered British soldiers do battle with Zulu warriors at Rorke’s Drift.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Story of Heroism

 

Story: Zulu starts as we see the aftermath of one of the Zulu warrior’s attacks on the British military post before we see how Otto Witt (Hawkins) and his daughter Margareta (Jacobsson) is trying to discuss peace. He learns that the Zulu warriors are about to attack the Rourke’s Drift post one of the strongest military posts the British have.

When Lieutenant Chard (Baker) arrives at Rourke’s Drift to help construct a bridge he clashes with LT Bromhead (Caine). As the Zulu approach the military post Chard and Bromhead clash on defensive techniques in what is the story of 4000 Zulu warriors against a mere 140 British soldiers in what is one of the most famous battles in military history.

 

Thoughts on Zulu

 

StoryThe story is easy to follow but when you look at history you are left to wonder (without doing research) why the British were at war with the Zulu’s in the first place. The story only shows one epic battle that the British actually won against what seemed like impossible odds at the time.

History/WarWhen you look through the history books we have seen the British have been involved in many wars but this one could well be one of the greatest victories against the odds in our military history.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are based on the real men who were fighting in the battle of Rourke’s Drift in what is considered a battle for true heroism. The performances are all great throughout the film showing how organised the British soldiers once were when it came to battle for King and country.

SettingsLooking at the settings we see they used South Africa as the main setting which makes us understand the climate and condition the soldiers would have had to fight under.

Final ThoughtsThis will always be one of the classic war films that shows just how the British managed to overcome the impossible odds, we get to understand the military decisions being made throughout which makes this one of the greatest of all time.

 

Overall: Classic that will always be considered one of the greatest.

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The Killing Fields (1984)

killingDirector: Roland Joffe

Writer: Bruce Robinson (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Waterston, Haing S Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands, Craig T Nelson, Spalding Gray

 

Plot: A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot’s bloody “Year Zero” cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million “undesirable” civilians.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Moment in History

 

Story: The Killing Fields starts in Cambodia 1973 when New York reporter Sydney Schanberg (Waterston) arrives in the war-torn country to meet his representative and friend Dith Pran (Ngor) who shows him around the country. When the war gets to a new level of danger the American’s are leaving the country but Sydney wants to stay to cover the atrocities going on in the country but Dith refuses to leave his side even after Sydney gets his family out of the warzone.

Staying behind Sydney, Dith, Al Rockoff (Malkovich) and Jon Swain (Sands) continue to report the atrocities around Cambodia for the news around the world where they will end up having to experience things no one on Earth should ever have to get through.

 

Thoughts on The Killing Fields

 

StoryThe story mostly shows how on local had to survive to get out of the Cambodia before he becomes a victim of the war between Cambodia and Vietnam. We do also have a look at how the reporters are seeing what is going on but they get safe leading to the American’s wanting to help their friends while he survives what is going on. This is shocking story that will leave you in shock, fear and moments of tears in the final outcome.

Biography/History/WarThis film is very important because of what happened in Cambodia and how the people were treated, with this we get to see a time in history which will need to be seen to understand what they went through.

Characters/PerformanceWith each character based on the real people it is hard to look at what we think of the character’s action they take and experiences they must go through. Looking at the performances you can see just how brilliant they all were through the film with Ngor stealing the show.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how horrific the situation in Cambodia was and how if effected anyone involved in the devastation of the war.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard film to get through because of the subject matter and I can see plenty of people not wanting to see it but this is also essential viewing for any historical film fans.

 

Overall: One of the hardest films to watch but also one of the greatest films to see.

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The Founder (2016)

founderDirector: John Lee Hancock

Writer: Robert Siegel (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson

 

Plot: The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers’ innovative fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: McDonalds Advert

 

Story: The Founder starts in 1954 as milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc (Keaton) is performing his sales pitch around the diner scene. His luck is about to change when Dick (Offerman) and Mac (Lynch) the McDonald brothers order eight machines which grabs Ray’s attention as he visits to hear the story of the first ever McDonald’s and how the service revolutionary idea behind 30 seconds’ food service.

Seeing the operation Ray wants to franchise the idea against the brother’s wishes. When Ray finally gets his way he makes McDonalds the fastest growing business in America but the backlash falls when the brother’s want their share of the business they created leading to a law case getting everything messy between the two sides.

 

Thoughts on The Founder

 

StoryThis is an interesting story of where McDonalds came from which is fine but my issue is the lack of a real-time scale of the events, I also didn’t like how the end credits show certain important elements of the story which barely get touched on in the film. in the end the story is just another story about a ruthless business man who took advantage of the real brains behind the idea.

Biography/HistoryThis is a good look back at how McDonald’s is founded and it shows part of the history where a business man took advantage of the real workers.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all based on real people with Ray Kroc coming off as the ruthless businessman who just doesn’t give up, while thee brother’s being portrayed as the suckers who wouldn’t believe his business mind. The rest of the characters are all only bit parts in the film with them only being part of Ray’s life.

Performance wise Keaton does shine with Offerman and Lynch both being great as brother’s, it is hard to say a bad thing about any of the performances in this film.

SettingsThe settings used all reflect the time the film is set in, with the iconic McDonald’s logo being the most iconic moment in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is could easily have been just a documentary that would have been a lot more interesting as an all-round story.

 

Overall: We have seen this before and in the end it brings very little new.

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Faberge: A Life of Its Own (2017)

FABERGÉ: A LIFE OF ITS OWN will be released On Demand, DVD & Blu-ray from 10th April

 

Director: Patrick Mark

Writer: Patrick Mark (Screenplay)

 

Plot: This feature-doc tells the epic story of the Faberge name, from Imperial Russia until the present-day, spanning one hundred and fifty years of turbulent history, romance, artistic development and commercial exploitation. From the bejewel led Easter eggs of the Romanov Tsarinas to the 1970s allure of ‘Brut by Faberge’ aftershave, and from the Russian revolution to today’s high-fashion glitz in New York and London, the film explores a multi-faceted world that began with one man: the prodigiously talented Peter Carl Faberge, Court Jeweler of St Petersburg. Shot at locations across Russia, Europe and USA (including the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II), the film features interview contributions from the world’s foremost Faberge authorities, as well as personal reminiscences from Faberge family members.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fascinating Documentary

 

 

Thoughts on Faberge: A Life of its Own

 

ThoughtsWe have all heard of a Faberge Egg Correct? Well learning about the history of how one designer Peter Carl Faberge studied European culture before designing his own style of jewellery, eggs and antiques. Seeing how the name became a worldwide name before the Russian revolution left nearly all the history destroyed but seeing the popularity of the Faberge name continue to rise, be it for the collection or brand new marketing using the name.

watching how everything in the history of Faberge has unfolded is a fascinating watch for all the history fans out there, the jewellery fans as well as the Russian historians.

 

Overall: When you come to watch documentaries, this is one well worth watching.

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Shakespeare in Love (1998)

shakeDirector: John Madden

Writer: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard (Screenplay)

Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck

 

Plot: A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Oscar Heavy Classic

 

Story: Shakespeare in Love starts as Philip Henslowe (Rush) has been struggling to pay his debts to Hugh Fennyman (Wilkinson) and with his star scripter William Shakespeare (Fiennes) working on the latest play for the theatre which can clean his debts.

Shakespeare looking for his latest muse sees just how Queen Elizabeth (Dench) sees his work where we get to meet Viola De Lesseps (Paltrow) a wealthy daughter of London who dreams of being in a Shakespeare play. When William meets Viola the motivation behind Romeo and Juliet is born and with Viola is undercover as the lead actor of the play but is also being forced into marrying Lord Wessex (Firth) by Queen’s order. With the love between William and Viola being kept a secret one of the most iconic plays in history becomes the reality in the famous Rose theatre.

 

Thoughts on Shakespeare in Love

 

StoryThe story here plays along the lines of seeing how love can inspire the best work from playwrights as we see the struggling Shakespeare re-discover his best work once he falls in love once again. The parallels to what is going on with the play and everyday situation all comes together very well as we see how the final pieces of the puzzle comes together. This does have a full stage feel to everything going on which could easily be a turn off for some people though.

Comedy/Drama/RomanceWe have good theatre based comedy without being a joke a minute throughout this film, the film really does focus on the romantic angle between William, Viola and the problems she must face with arranged marriage to Lord Wessex.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all loosely based on real people that also become the characters within the Romeo and Juliet story that we have all come to know. The performances are all brilliant here showing us that if we want a stage play movie we can turn to these actors for first choice.

SettingsEach setting fits the time period perfectly as we would all be willing to believe we are in the middle of 1593 watching the creation Romeo and Juliet.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that not everyone will but is easily one of the most fascinating ones around as we learn the creation of one of the greatest plays ever written.

 

Overall: Classic in its own right.

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