Joyeux Noel (2005)

Director: Christian Carion

Writer: Christian Carion (Screenplay)

Starring: Diane Kruger, Benno Furmann, Guillaume Canete, Daniel Bruhl, Gary Lewis, Dany Boon

 

Plot: In December 1914, an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allows soldiers from opposing sides of the First World War to gain insight into each other’s way of life.


Tagline – France 1914. A moment of humanity that made history.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stunning Christmas Story

 

Story: Joyeux Noel starts after World War I has broken out, each country believes it would be over by Christmas and we meet soldiers on three sides of the war. The German, Lieutenant Horstmayer (Bruhl) who has famous opera Nikolaus Sprink (Furmann) in his unit. We have the French side with Lieutenant Audebert (Canet) and the Scottish side with Pasteur Palmer (Lewis).

With Christmas Eve upon us Nikolaus gets a visit from his girlfriend Anna Sorensen (Kruger) bring her back to the trenches to performer which brings a response from the enemies, the three side agree and truce to celebrate Christmas which showed us the humanity behind the horrors of war, one of the most incredible stories you will hear about.

 

Thoughts on Joyeux Noel

 

Characters – Anna Sorensen is located in Germany and is one of the best opera singers in the country, her partner is in the trenches a fellow opera singer, she arranges to see him which leads her to the trenches with her performance helping bring the sides together for Christmas. She wants to spend the rest of the war with her partner and will take a drastic step to make it happen. Nikolaus Sprink is the famous opera singer on in trenches, his fame upset his lieutenant who doesn’t want celebrity figures in his unit, though his performance brings the sides together for a moment of truce. Lieutenant Audebert is the French leader that is missing his wife and will take part in the truce bonding with the fellow lieutenants. Lieutenant Horstmayer is the Germany one that reluctantly lets his men meet the enemy, he does want peace too which shows in how he is still strict with his men. Lieutenant Gordon is the Scottish one who is happy to see his team take peace for a day or two. Each of the lieutenants must face the consequences of what happened because putting the human factor ahead of the war isn’t accepted by the superiors.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are fantastic from start to finish, it also brings names we know from big Hollywood films to our attention with Diane Kruger and Daniel Bruhl, none of the actors put in a bad performance which makes us believe these could have been the real men involved in the war.

StoryThe story follows the famous story that during World War I both sides put down their guns to celebrate Christmas together. We see the German, French and Scottish who learn that they aren’t as different from the opposite sides, they are just men forced into battle. This shows us how the men who were put on the front line without being truly prepared for war and are dealing with the loss of friends during the war, this shows us just how things can be different and will change you mind on everything you thought about any enemy in war.

History/Romance/WarThe history about this story will be remembered forever because it showed how people were different during war where the innocent men were being killed.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the trenches during the First World War, it shows how close the different sides were when it came to the war which bought them together for this incredible moment.


Scene of the Movie –
The Christmas Eve meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The aftermath.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most important Christmas films you will ever see, it has such an important message and a heart-breaking truth behind it.

 

Overall: Must watching Christmas Movie.

Rating

 

 

John Leguizamo Weekend – The Infiltrator (2016)

infiDirector: Brad Furman

Writer: Ellen Sue Brown (Screenplay) Robert Mazur (Book)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Daniel Mays, Amy Ryan, Jason Isaacs, Michael Pare,

 

Plot: A U.S. Customs official uncovers a money laundering scheme involving Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Crime Drama

 

Story: The Infiltrator starts as we meet Robert Mazur (Cranston) who has been working as an undercover US Custom officer who has just taken down a drug ring which for the time offers him a chance to walk away from field work. When one of Robert’s co-workers Emir Abreu (Leguizamo) comes to him with information of a Colombian drug lord Robert must decide whether to follow the lead.

Robert takes the job where he must go undercover as a banker for the Colombian drug lord where he must work with Abreu who he sees as a loose cannon to take down Pablo Escobar. The further Robert goes undercover the deeper he finds himself wondering just how far he will get pushed by the drug lords.

The Infiltrator gives us what seems to be just another look at a brave man who goes undercover to bring down a crime lord. We do have heavyweight performance from Cranston yet again that could easily get Oscar attention. I also think we get a great supporting performance from Leguizamo. The film gives us plenty of focus on the effects of going undercover on the personal life as well as the professional side of everything but it does sadly feel like just another story we have seen similar before.

 

Overall: Great performances to a crime story it feels we have seen before.

Rating70

 

 

Mr Nobody (2009)

logoDirector: Jaco Van Dormael

Writer: Jaco Van Dormael (Screenplay)

Starring: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham, Rhys Ifrans, Daniel Mays, Juno Temple

 

Plot: A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn’t choose, anything is possible.

 

Verdict: Ambitious to say the least

 

Story: We start by seeing Nemo getting killed over and over in different was, before we meet the older Nemo who is being treated and finds out that he is 118 years old even though he thinks he is only 34. Things continue to get confusing when he flashes between three relationships. He is the last living mortal and he is about to die and the people in the future are trying to figure out his true identity. He starts to tell his story to a young journalist where we learn more about the future world. What follows is a look back at Nemo’s life and all the decisions he takes and wants to change, with him possessing the ability to change what happens in his life. He seems to be able to look at every outcome he wishes he could see.

Well as you can tell from the previous paragraph I really did get confused with this one, but once you get to the end I do believe everything gets wrapped up nicely and actually all makes sense. This is hugely brave idea that will leave plenty of people losing interest because it plays so many different outcomes, lives that our hero lives people will not stay full interested. Though I consider that hard to keep up with everything will make sense and it all is very simple, it really could be something we have all looked at, at some point in our lives. In conclusion I think this is extreme smart film that pushes you in so many different directions to get such a simple message over that is really rewarding. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Jared Leto: Nemo filling both young Nemo and old Nemo we see how the others many different potential lives could have happen mixed with the older Nemo who is looking back at his life trying to figure out the truth about his past. Jared gives a brilliant performance with a full list of different characters. (9/10)

 nemo

Sarah Polley: Elise one of the three women that Nemo falls in love with gets married and has a family with. She isn’t the most stable of the women but offers a look at Nemo as a loving father. Sarah gives a good performance. (7/10)

polley

Diane Kruger: Anna his onetime step sister who he falls in love with even though things don’t always run smoothly in his versions of the relationship. Diane gives good performance but a lot of praise has to go to Juno Temple too for playing the younger version who has more screen time. (8/10)

 diane

Support Cast: Be it the different people he meets through his different lives, his parents and the journalist asking Nemo the questions. All of the support cast help Nemo get to the next stage of his story.

 

Director Review: Jaco Van Dormael – Brilliantly brave idea for a film that really pulls you in however confusing things seem to be but also wraps up the confusion before it all ends. (9/10)

 

Drama: This puts our characters through nearly every emotion possible while the story unfolds. (9/10)

Romance: The look at how Nemo looks for a perfect romantic idea while he always seems to meet the same problems. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Great look at how things could look in the future. (9/10)

Cinematography: Beautifully shot scenes especially the ones in the conclusion of the film. (9/10)

Music: A string of iconic songs used for montages through the film. (9/10)

Settings: While certain settings are very generic when things start to unfold we get some hugely unique ideas for settings. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Be it the make-up effects used on Jared Leto or the future world created to the space ideas and every special effect scene comes off brilliantly. (10/10)

Suggestion: I will be rating this highly but I really do think it will only appeal to certain people and the more casual fan might find the film both too long and too confusing. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The idea

Worst Part: Comes of overly confusing before the end.

Lessons Learned: Imaginations are limitless.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Opening Credits Rating: With narration from Nemo about the mind-set of a pigeon we get to see how the character will use his look at life. (9/10)

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $47 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

Tagline: If you never make a choice, anything is possible

Trivia: Nemo is Latin for “nobody”. It was the name that Odysseus gave the Cyclops.

 

Overall: Stunning, Brave and Brilliant

Rating 92

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

logoDirector: Quentin Tarantino

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger

 

Plot: In Nazi-occupied France, young Jewish refugee Shosanna Dreyfus witnesses the slaughter of her family by Colonel Hans Landa. Narrowly escaping with her life, she plots her revenge several years later when German war hero Fredrick Zoller takes a rapid interest in her and arranges an illustrious movie premiere at the theatre she now runs. With the promise of every major Nazi officer in attendance, the event catches the attention of the “Basterds”, a group of Jewish-American guerrilla soldiers led by the ruthless Lt. Aldo Raine. As the relentless executioners advance and the conspiring young girl’s plans are set in motion, their paths will cross for a fateful evening that will shake the very annals of history.

 

Verdict: Tarantino’s War Masterpiece

 

Story: This is what Tarantino does best, making such a simple story into one of the most engrossing films you will ever see. You get what seems like three separate stories that all end up coming together to make such a brilliant story you will be surprised that you have just spent two and half hours watching it. Sure the story is not based on anything true but the idea of how World War II could have ended is very interesting. I will be willingly to say this is by far one of the best war films in century. (10/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Brad Pitt: Lt Aldo Raine the leader of the Basterds who only recruits soldier who are Jewish and want to kill Nazis. He is honest to the people he captures and likes to make examples of the ones he lets go with his logo carving skills. Good performance from Pitt, who plays the role perfectly. (9/10)

 pitt

Melanie Laurent: Shosanna a lone survivor of Jew hunt by Hans Landa, she has now become a French citizen running a small cinema. She gets a chance to get full revenge on everyone involved after a chase meeting with a hero solider who wants to premiere a film about him in her cinema. Good performance from Melanie who shows her good side and her revenge side depending on who she is around. (9/10)

melanie

Christoph Waltz: Col Hans Landa nicknamed the Jew Hunter by the people for his expert skills in locating them when in hiding, he is a brilliant detective who will come off calm when first speaking before snapping into action when the time comes. Stunning performance from Waltz, with his brilliant timing on his story telling to uncover the truth. (10/10)

 watlz

Eli Roth: Sgt. Donny Donowitz nicknamed the Bear Jew, he is the man who will go that extra mile to make sure the Nazis pay for everything they have done. He has one of the most brutal introductions in the film during an interrogation scene where he ends up beating a man to death with a baseball bat. Good performance from Roth in the top supporting role. (9/10)

 roth

Michael Fassbender: Lt Archie Hicox the British officer who before the war was a film critic studying German cinema. He gets assigned to the Basterds to meet a liaison for the plan, he gets caught up in a fire fight before being able to become part of the plan. Good performance from Michael showing he had the potential to move between accents at ease. (9/10)

 fassbender

Diane Kruger: Bridget a well-known actress turned double agent who is the brains behind the Basterds cinema attack. She is well spoken and can handle any situation she is put in but when things went sour she has to trust the unlikely uncover operatives. Good supporting performance. (8/10)

 diane

Daniel Bruhl: Fredrick Zoller the German war hero who is about to have a film about his action released and after talking the higher up military into using Shosanna’s cinema, he believe is could be a start of a romance. Good performance from a rising star. (9/10)

bruhl

Director Review: Quentin Tarantino – I really question how Tarantino does what he does, he can make the most boring sounding scene into the most engrossing scene in the whole film, this time he pull you in and you simply won’t want to look away. (10/10)

 

Drama: Every scene pulls you in with the perfectly acted drama. (10/10)

War: This doesn’t go for realism of war, it doesn’t even focus on any battles it focuses on stopping it. (9/10)

Settings: Each setting looks authentic to the time and each setting makes ever scene that extra tense. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Good special effects used during some of the more violent moments. (9/10)

Suggestion: This simply put is an absolute must watch for everyone, it is a master class in film making. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The simple talking scenes that pull you in that are tension fuelled.

Worst Part: People think it all violence when it has very little violence in the film.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 1 Oscar and nominated for a further 7

Box Office: $321 Million

Budget: $70 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

Tagline: A basterd’s work is never done.

Trivia: Roughly only 30% of the film is in spoken English, the language which dominates the film is either French or German, with a little Italian. Chapter Three of the film ‘German Night in Paris’ is completely devoid of any English. This is highly unusual for a Hollywood production.

 

Overall: Brilliant Tarantino’s Masterpiece

Rating 96

The Host (2013)

logoDirector: Andrew Niccol

Writer: Andrew Niccol (Screenplay) Stephenie Meyer (Novel)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Max Irons, William Hurt, Chandler Canterbury

 

Plot: When an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over their bodies and erasing their memories, Melanie (Ronan) gets captured she gets infected with a Wanderer but Melanie fights for control over the new host who is desperate to take over her memories and find the last pockets of human resistance. We follow Melanie’s whirlwind romance with Jared (Irons) while she protects her kid brother Jamie (Canterbury).

 

Verdict: Twilight meets Battlefield Earth and as bad as it sounds

Story: These teeny romance films in a supernatural or futuristic world are really getting old. They make up the idea that a teenage girl’s love is stronger than anybody else’s. The idea on paper could work but the dreadful romance angles ruin any chance this film really has. (2/10)

 

Actor Review: Saoirse Ronan – Melanie who gets infected with a host called Wanda and spends most of the film talking to herself through the two personalities in her head. Poor performance and choice to be in such a poor idea of a film. (2/10)

 ronan

Actor Review: Diane Kruger – Seeker who is trying to find the last pocket of humans creates Wanda but loses her and spends the film hunting her down. Diane is a much better actress than she shows her but it’s not her fault the character is written so poorly. (2/10)

kruger

Actor Review: Max Irons – Jared one of the unrealistic love interests of Melanie who is only on the screen to make all the teenage girls interested in this unrealistic love idea. His looks got him the role as his acting is terrible. (1/10)

 irons

Actor Review: William Hurt – Jeb uncle to Melanie who takes in Wanda and tries to build a safe place for humans. William Hurt has Oscars to his name but I guess they paid well for this as his acting is the only good performance for a poorly written character in the film. (4/10)

 hurt

Actor Review: Chandler Canterbury – Jamie Melanie’s little brother who is the first to believe Melanie is still in there. Small role that saves his from full criticism. (5/10)

 jamie

Director Review: Andrew Niccol – With a strong history in directing this is a new low for him. (4/10)

 

Romance: Unrealistic love triangle. (3/10)

Sci-Fi: Invaders with technology but we only seem to follow the humans. (2/10)

Special Effects: Some good special effects but not enough that was needed. (2/10)

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: The human resistance area is good but the rest comes off poorly. (5/10)

 

Suggestion: Don’t bother wasting time with this film. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: The credits

Worst Part: The film

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Similar Too: Twilight

 

Overall: Terrible

Rating 10