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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World Cinema Weekend – King of Devil’s Island (2010)

kingDirector: Marius Holst

Writer: Dennis Magnusson, Eric Schmid (Screenplay) Mette M Bolstad, Lars Saabye Christensen (Story)

Starring: Benjamin Helstad, Trond Nilssen, Stellan Skarsgard, Kristoffer Joner, Magnus Langlete, Morten Lovstad

 

Plot: Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the boys home Bastoy, a new inmate leads the boys to a violent uprising against a brutal regime. How far is he willing to go to attain freedom?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performance Heavy Drama

 

Story: King of Devil’s Island starts Erling C-19 (Helstad) and Ivar C-5 (Langlete) arrive on Devil’s Island a young offenders prison run by Bestyrer Hakon (Skarsgard). We see how both the boys learn to deal with the new surrounding C-5 the quiet, shy one gets taken advantage of as he can’t handle the physical work involved while C-19 fails to follow the rules as he looks desperately for an escape from the reign of Bestyrer and Husfar Brathen (Joner). With C-1 (Nilssen) trying to teach the rules it is only a matter of time before C-19 gets what he wants, his freedom by forcing the boys to up rise against the men running the prison.stellen

 

Thoughts on King of Devil’s Island

 

StoryThe story here is showing just how disciplining young men can be a fine line between putting them in their place or only driving them further away from the right path. We see how the boys have come from different worlds but must learn to work together to make the right choice and how these boys were made to suffer at the hands of the discipline heavy authority they found themselves under. This is a hard story to watch but it well worth seeing.

Action/DramaWhen it comes to the action it is mostly from the different levels of discipline our characters find themselves facing as well as the fighting, it all seems to be just what the film needs without being overly violent or just for the sake of it. The drama comes from seeing the situation the boys must go through with the consequences they face for what happens.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all brilliantly defined to show their pat present and future with our main five showing their weaknesses as well as their strengths. The performances are all wonderful with Skarsgard being powerful as ever, Joner showing all the shines his character represents. The younger cast also give powerful performances with Helstad, Nilssen and Langlete showing they will be names to follow in Nordic cinema.

SettingsWith the whole film being set on the island we get to see that these boys were prisoners we get to see just how extreme the weather condition are when it comes to the punishment these boys have to go through that is becomes it very own character in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very powerful film that has truly powerhouse performances from the lead stars that tells a very important true story.

 

Overall: Very intense and powerful drama that is a must for all fans of the prison uprising films.

Rating

 80

 

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

kingDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: William Monahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Maron Csokas, Edward Norton

 

Plot: Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long History Lesson

 

Story: Kingdom of Heaven starts as we meet Balian (Bloom) a blacksmith whose wife has committed the ultimate sin, suicide. When his father the great warrior Godfrey de Ibelin (Neeson) arrives offering to take him to the promise land of Jerusalem to become a warrior he takes the chance to escape the past which is haunting him. When his father dies, he must continue on without him across the seas and the dessert.

Arriving in Jerusalem Balian must start to find his faith once again in a town where prays can be had by any religion un the strict leadership of King Baldwin (Norton). Balian finds himself having to lead the armies of Baldwin as he finds himself in the middle of a religious war during the crusades.

Kingdom of Heaven gives us the story of the battle for Jerusalem during the crusades, I am not good with all my history so most of this I had no idea before watching which made this film all the more difficult to understand what was going on. The battles sequences all come off very well without being wow.

The performance all seem to be what you would expect from the stars involved with the elder being good for their smaller roles and Bloom struggle to be the leading man. In the end this feel just like all the other historical war films with nothing special about what is going on really.

 

Overall: Overly long history lesson that we didn’t need to know.

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Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Writer: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly (Screenplay) John Gatins (Story)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, Brie Larson, John C Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell

 

Plot: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindless Monster Mayhem

 

Story: Kong: Skull Island starts as we see an instant introduction to Kong during World War II, move forward to 1973 Bill Randa (Goodman) want to lead an expedition to the mysterious island in the Pacific Ocean, one that has only just been discovered by satellite images. Joined by his assistant Brooks (Hawkins) and a mapping team Randa puts together a unit to cover him if the stories are true.

The team includes tracker James Conrad (Hiddleston), photographer Mason Weaver (Larson), San (Jing) and army unit led by Preston Packard (Jackson). Upon arrive on the island Kong destroys all the helicopter killing half the unit, with the scientists looking for a way off the island and Packard out for revenge the two battle within as they face enemies they had never imagined including the monstrous Kong.

 

Thoughts on Kong: Skull Island

 

Characters/PerformanceConrad is a British tracker who we rarely see track, Weaver is a photographer who clashes with Packard a lot on the morale side of her job post-Vietnam, she isn’t just the damsel in distress though. Packard is a war-hero who I believe wasn’t a hero in war, he wants one more chance to go into a battle before returning home, as the film unfolds he does feel very similar to Pete Postlethwaite character in Jurassic Park 2. Bill knows more than he lets on but could be considered a businessman villain. Hank steals most of the scenes here, he is the former WWII pilot who has been stuck on the island for 28 years. Kong is a character all to his own, destroying anything that gets in his way while also showing the most emotion of any character in the film. we also have scientists who are forgettable, and soldiers who are giving basic banter to work with.

Performance wise, Hiddleston does struggling to make much of the poorly written character, Larson starts well but again her character is written weakly, Jackson does what Jackson does well without being his best, Goodman also doesn’t reach his potential while Reilly knows how to steal a movie with limited scenes. Most of the stars all struggle with the same problem, their characters are written very weakly.

StoryThe story here is fine, I liked that is wasn’t the same as the 30’s era trying to bring Kong back to New York, this is just a surveillance job turned race against time to survive. So, this is The Lost World with King Kong in the end. There isn’t too much to say good about the story because I found myself confused a lot, we had ONE ship with about SIX helicopters on it and sudden when they reach Skull Island there is about TWENTY helicopters, the same goes for the number of soldiers, one minute we have the FOUR we know and then when we need people to die there suddenly seems to be another group of disposable ones. These inconsistent annoyed me most.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is very big and sure you can switch off and enjoy it all, the adventure is in the new world unseen and comes off fine throughout, the fantasy comes from battle what should be the impossible.

SettingsI did like that we kept all the action upon Skull Island, I feel this is important to creating the bigger universe they want to.

Special EffectsI also think the special effects are brilliant through the whole film and could barely tell the different between what is real or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is big bad and fun but I feel the character development comes off pointless in places because all we get is a sudden death to a character that doesn’t make sense or it is an unknown character killed to save ones we have got to know.

 

Overall: This will go down in the fun but not great action set piece.

Rating

 

 

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

kissDirector: Shane Black

Writer: Shane Black (Screenplay) Brett Halliday (Novel)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, Corbin Bernsen, Dash Mihok, Larry Miller, Rockmond Dunbar

 

Plot: A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Crime Comedy

 

Story: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang starts as we meet Harry (Downey Jr) who is once a thief but ends up finding himself hired as an actor in LA. We also meet aspiring actress Harmony (Monaghan) and private eye Gay Perry (Kilmer) who are all at the same party in LA. For the role Harry accidently lands himself he has to spend some time with Gay Perry learning how a private investigator works.

When the two find themselves in the middle of a cover up that ended up having to find out who murdered Harmony’s sister.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a crime comedy that only Shane Black can bring us, we get a unique way of telling the story. we get the almost odd couple having to work together but that is more along the lines of a who dun it which could easily fit in any comedy mystery show. It is the creation of the characters and their interactions which makes for all the laughs throughout the film with the overreaction to things that have happened years before.

Downey Jr and Kilmer are excellent together really getting all of the laughs throughout and Monaghan is great completion to the leading trio. When it comes to the villain side of the story we don’t get very strong characters on this side of the story. this is a fun alternative Christmas comedy mystery film but you will have to be used to the style of Shane Black.

 

Overall: Enjoy comedy that will only work if you are prepared for the style of comedy being used.

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