They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

Director: Peter Jackson

 

Plot: A documentary about World War I with never-before-seen footage to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Eye Opener

 

Story: They Shall Not Grow Old starts as the First World War begins as we follows through the stories of multiply men that lied about joining the army, followed their preparations before leaving for battle and learning how the men must learn how deadly the war was. We go through countless accounts of the life and experiences of the war, through clips that have been remastered to show the colour from the original black and white footage.

 

Thoughts on They Shall Not Grow Old

 

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best technical achievements in documentary film making, we get the see the footage that was only ever seen in black and white, restored to colour which shows us more of the harsh realities of war. Having the countless accounts from the former soldiers, where just weren’t prepared for going into war, seeing how almost pointless what they were doing was even after meeting the German soldiers too. This is an impress eye opening look at one of the biggest wars in history, the lives they were living both during and after the war which shows just how lost the generation could have been in this world.

 

Overall: This is easily one of the most important documentaries you will see.

Rating

 

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The Beguiled (1971)

Director: Don Siegel

Writer: Albert Maltz, Irene Kamp (Screenplay) Thomas Cullinan (Novel)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman, Jo Ann Harris, Darleen Carr, Mae Mercer

 

Plot: While imprisoned in a Confederate girls’ boarding school, an injured Union soldier cons his way into each of the lonely women’s hearts, causing them to turn on each other, and eventually, on him.


Tagline – Who is really the captor and who the captive?

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Twisted and Dark Thriller

 

Story: The Beguiled starts when a union soldier John McBurney (Eastwood) is injured, dying in the woods during the war, young Amy (Ferdin) finds him and brings him back to the girls boarding school to fix over and hand over to the confederate soldiers.

Head mistress Martha (Page) brings in strict rules to keep John away from the girls, but it isn’t long before John starts using his charm to take advantage of the women, including teacher Edwina (Hartman), eldest student Carol (Harris) and even Martha herself. Everything goes to plan until they learn about his plan and turn the tables on him.

 

Thoughts on The Beguiled

 

Characters – John McBurney is a union soldier that has been wounded in the war, he is rescued by the girls of a boarding school as he uses his charm to remain safe with the enemy soldiers looking for him. He knows how to seduce all of the women into loving him and it isn’t long before he has all of them waiting for him. Martha is the owner of the school, she doesn’t want to let John in because she knows a man would only bring trouble, only to know it would be right to fix him before falling under his spell just like the other women. She does have a brother missing in the war too. Edwina is the only teacher in the school, she has never been able to trust a man, though John manages to show her how to trust, though she is the most on edge of the women. Carol is the eldest of the student, she sees John as her first experience with a man, one that she can love and be loved by.

PerformancesClint Eastwood in the leading role is great, he goes against what people would be expecting from him in this villainous role that will make you hate him. Geraldine Page does a great job too, with Elizabeth Hartman giving us a strong performance as the one that seems easiest to seduce. Jo Ann Harris fills the role of the seductive teen well completing the three different generations of women trying to win the heart of John.

StoryThe story follows a union soldier taken in by a confederate girl’s boarding school where he uses his charm to lie and win the hearts of the women and girls in the school, until they learn of his ways and turn on him. This shows how the men and women during the war would feel left out by not seeing the opposite of sex for such long periods of time. This shows us just how without communication people can fall for anything and just what will happen if one-man pisses of a lot of women in the same building. This will go in direction you wouldn’t expect and will shock you with just what happens on both sides of the battle

WarThe film doesn’t show us too much of the battles o war, only the effects it has on both the men and women, just how far they will go to get what they want and get revenge.

SettingsThe film keeps us in one major setting, the boarding school, we see the scale of the building which shows us just how easy it is to operate the way John wants to around the girls.


Scene of the Movie –
The amputation scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The clips where we see how John does lie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark thriller that shows us just how far people will go to get what they want during the war, it has a twisted look at what will happen if you upset too many women at once too.

 

Overall: Eastwood shines as the villain.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – B – Black Hawk Down (2001)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Ken Nolan (Screenplay) Mark Bowden (Book)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard, Gabriel Casseus

 

Plot: 160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Military Movie

 

Story: Black Hawk Down starts as we learn about why the Americans are in Somalia during the conflict within the country in 1993. We meet the host of different soldiers with different ranks with the main focus on the squad leader Eversmann (Hartnett) on his first mission as leader, with experienced squad leader Hoot (Bana). The mission is simple extract to captured soldiers from the middle of the militant controlled town.

When one of the helicopters is shot down the mission changes and know the soldiers must fight the militants in the city to save as many men as possible.

 

Thoughts on Black Hawk Down

 

Characters/PerformanceGoing through the characters may take a while, it would be fair to say we barely learn anything about our characters outside of this combat, of the main focal ones we have on the day promoted to leader Eversmann who is good and being fair to his men which includes the desk soldiers Grimes who has never been in conflict before. McKnight is the vet that gives the orders from the ground. Hoot has been in conflict many times and takes the similar role to Eversmann as gives the loose advice on how to command a small unit. Sanderson is like the super soldier that runs into conflict knowing it will be the best defence against the enemy. The soldiers do all get their own small stories of the conflict, with Nelson Twombly being one of the most memorable.

Performance wise, we have a cast which plays out like a who’s who of Hollywood starts or stars to be, not a single person gives us a bad performance and each member of the cast could be believable as a soldier through the film.

StoryThe story is how one mission turned into a massive conflict for control of the city as the American soldiers must overcome the Somalian militant. This story is more about the action and as always does only show the American’s being the good guys even if they don’t understand the conflict they are walking into, while with that statement I am not saying I side with the Somalian’s either. The story could be considered thin because it does only show one long conflict but that does mean we get the extended look at each member of the unit in their own battle to survive.

History/WarThis is one of the many battles America has faced in the 90’s yes, it is only one battle but it shows just how this battle went down in one of the biggest battles of modern warfare.

SettingsThe city shows us just how difficult conflict would be for both sides, we see how vantage points could leave soldier exposed but also how difficult it could be to stay safe.

Special EffectsAll of the effects put us right in the middle of the battle showing us how brutal, deadly and horrific the battle was.

Final Thoughtsif you want to see one of the best modern warfare movies, this is the best conflict showing film out there, it has an amazing cast that would go onto bigger projects in Hollywood too.

 

Overall: Must watch war movie.

Rating

 

 

Daniel Craig Weekend – Defiance (2008)

Director: Edward Zwick

Writer: Clayton Frohman, Edward Zwick (Screenplay) Nechama Tec (Book)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Alexa Davalos, Allan Corduner, Mark Feuerstein, Tomas Arana

 

Plot: Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters, and endeavor to build a village, in order to protect themselves and about one thousand Jewish non-combatants.


Tagline – Freedom begins with an act of defiance!

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Amazing Story of the Tragedy of War

 

Story: Defiance starts as the Bielski brothers Tuvia (Craig), Zus (Schreiber) and Asael (Bell) set up camp in the forests of Belarus for Jews during the war, knowing they would become slaughtered if the Germans came across them. Tuvia wants to make sure the group survive, while Zus wants to fight back against them.

As the conflict between the brothers becomes clearer, Zus joins the Russian resistance to fight back, while Tuvia continues to grow the group offering the only hope of survival for the men, women and children.

 

Thoughts on Defiance

 

Characters – Tuvia wants safety for the innocent people in the war, mostly the Jews of Belarus, he offers them shelter in exchange for labour to make their community whole, guards them from the dangers that could come from the war, he makes the difficult decisions others simply couldn’t decide on. Zus wants to combative defence against the German’s he will eventually clash with his brother before joining the Russian’s against the German, always being left to wonder if he made the right decision. Asael is the younger of the three brothers, he learns to grow up through this war and his action show that he has given his own older brother the hope he needs to survive. Lilka is one of the women saved from the ghetto, she becomes somebody that challenges Tuvia to make the right decisions through the difficult times he is going through. We have a lot of support character who are part of this journey to show just how difficult surviving the war would have been for the innocent or helpless.

PerformancesDaniel Craig takes the leading role and shows all his strengths as an actor, he makes us believe that he is struggling with each and every expression he makes, this is likewise for Schreiber as the two show even with conflict they can work together. Jamie Bell continued to show he was growing up into a great actor ready for the more adult roles and with a supporting cast that contains Oscar nominated stars, we see the abilities involved with the cast.

StoryThe story here shows the incredible story of the Bielski brothers that gave hope to thousands of Jews during World War II, while the two oldest might fight over ideas of how to survive the war, they both want the same thing, freedom and safety for their people. We have seen many different stories of people doing incredible things to survive the war and never ask for anything in return is always growing, it is an important part of history that should never be forgotten and this film’s story shows us just how impossible their stories seemed.

Action/History/WarThe action in the film shows us the fighting suffered through war, the sequences show how quickly the peaceful locations can become ruined and just how war made people do things they never thought they would. This is also an important part of history which simply shouldn’t ever be forgotten.

SettingsSet mostly in the forest, this shows how the victims of war would be in hiding just hoping they never got seen by anybody who would come after them.


Scene of the Movie –
The journey.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The faith side while important does seem to take over at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is yet another amazing story of survival during the war, it showed how one family risked everything to make sure others were safe and shouldn’t ever be forgotten.

 

Overall: Powerful and important.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – The Patriot (2000)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writer: Robert Rodat (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Techeky Karyo, Rene Auberjonois

 

Plot: Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.


Tagline – Some things are worth fighting for. 

Runtime: 2 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long War Epic

 

Story: The Patriot starts where peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Gibson) sees the American Revolution coming towards his doorstep with his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) fighting about the British. When the British reach his doorstep they end up killing one of his sons, Col William Tavington (Isaacs) makes an enemy he can’t prepare to fight against.

Benjamin prepares his own militia to fight back against the British, one that has experience fighting on this land, one that has already won a war, all this to get revenge on the man that took his son in a cowardly action.

 

Thoughts on The Patriot

 

Characters – Benjamin Martin was once a feared general in the military, now he is a quiet farmer looking after his children after his wife’s death. when the American Revolution comes to his home, he loses a son to a ruthless Colonel. Returning to the force he leads the militia in battle against the English showing all the tricks he has learnt through the years, in his mission for revenge. Gabriel is the eldest son of Benjamin’s he is the first to go into war and after it returns home, he will serve under his father to show the pride he has standing next to him. Charlotte is the sister-in-law that protects the children from the war while the men go off to fight. Col William Tavington is the man that kills Benjamin’s son in cold blood, he doesn’t want to give a calm peaceful end to the war and is willing to and wants to kill anyone against him.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have a few personal demons, but when it comes to this style of film, he never looks out of place on the big screen, easily be the star of this film. Heath Ledger continued to show the world just how talented he was going to become with a wonderful supporting performance and Jason Isaacs gives us a villain from a war movie we are going to hate.

StoryThe story follows a once deadly war general who is forced back into battle after his son is killed during the American Revolution, this follows his revenge in the battle which does give us a fictional story to a real war that changed America at the time. Now this does have a reality in how the men would be losing family members to the ruthless British, though this does make out that the British were the worst of the worst when it came to battle. This is a movie designed to make the American audience feel extra patriotic and does show the two sides of war, the respectful way and the dirty tactics people will use to win.

Action/History/WarThe action is large scale war sequences, each one gets bigger with the number of bodies piling up as we go along. The historical side of the film focuses on the real war over the real people involved in the war which is fine, we only need the historical side as a backdrop for the personal battle.

SettingsThe film does make the realistic settings for the time the war took place in each location does play a key part in the film be it a battle, the moment which will leave people wanting revenge or safety.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Being overly patriotic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the long war epics that is designed solely to make America look great, it does end up going down the revenge line which gives an edge to the battles, which will be the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Patriotic 101

Rating