Archive for July, 2017

Syncopy, Warner Bros., Dombey Street Productions,

Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

The Battle of Dunkirk, and the famous evacuation is one of the great stories of World War II. The Germans had been tearing through France and The Allied forces found themselves surrounded by the Germans on the beach in Dunkirk, France. A German army that outnumbered the Allies two to one had them pushed back to the sea. The English Channel was the only thing between the British and their homeland, and Churchill decided it was expedient to bring as many home as humanly possible. Knowing that the next stop for the Germans would be the British Isles, they decided not to risk all their ships on a cause that could have left them in big trouble should the German bombers sink all their ships, they called on civilian ships such as barges and ferryboats, down to fishing boats and private yachts to all head for Dunkirk to rescue as many as they could. Something that has never totally understood happened where the Germans stopped advancing and held their position for a number of days instead of wiping out the Allied forces on the beach. Instead they constantly attacked from the air with bombs and machine guns. But the halt of the advance, for whatever reason gave Britain the time to remove over 300,000 soldiers back to England. This historical wartime film by Christopher Nolan is a brand new telling of the events of that week and the evacuation that certainly changed the outcome of the war in the end.

This is an excellent blockbuster of a film. I got to see it in IMAX and it was certainly very much worth it for the huge screen and the amazing sound system. When the bombs explode and the ships shoot their big guns, it shakes you to the core, and it feels like you’re in the plane when they fire those machine guns. The big screen and sound effects were amazing. It has been such a long time since I saw a really, really good World War II movie. Pearl Harbor was a love story, but this is an unabashed War movie and it doesn’t have time for love interests. Historically, most of it seem pretty accurate although a few changes had to made to make it into a movie, and I can imagine that the characters in the story were representative of real people, although maybe not actual individuals. There are a couple of stories which are told simultaneously for the most part, and everything sort of ties up together nicely, probably not like real life where it was so very chaotic. The acting is excellent, but there isn’t a need for huge Hollywood stars, as this is such a powerful story, that the events are the real stars of the film. It’s very well paced, kept to about an hour and three quarters which is about perfect, and is about the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. It’s interesting how in war, it’s much easier to look back and analyze and make different choices after that fact. In the Civil War, the battle of Gettysburg was an accident, and the whole thing was about shoes. Both armies needed shoes, and Gettysburg was the place to get them. The North had fought for 3 days, and on the fourth day, both armies stayed in their camps and watched each other. The Southern Army was crushed, but General Meade decided not to attach General Lee and the Confederate Army while Lee was sitting wondering why they didn’t attack and put and end to them on that day, as they were finished. Meade’s thinking was that he had won the battle, and if he dared to attack on the 4th day, he might turn his victory into a defeat. His cowardly decision, some say, drove Lincoln crazy and added years to the war which could have been over that very day. In the case of the Battle of Dunkirk, what would have happened had the Germans driven forward and attacked them on the beach. They had double the men, and the Allies had left behind most of their heavy equipment, ammo, and supplies. There is much debate over why they stopped advancing with their tanks and decided to sit and wait and allow the British to evacuate 300,000 soldiers to live and fight another day. It was a great victory for the Germans, but did not wipe out the Allied forces at it could have. Many have argued different reasons for the decision, but it certainly had a huge effect on the success of getting all those men out of a suicide situation for sure. Perhaps it was like Meade, who was just afraid to turn a win into a loss, or perhaps there was much more to it. Had they been moving so fast that they outrun their supply train, and needed to catch up? Were there political reasons for letting the Allies escape? I guess we’ll never know, but this film tells us what happened, and that’s what really matters. This is such a beautiful and touching and moving film that it’s something you definitely should see, even if you’re anti-war. The good news, and the lift it gave to the British folks certainly was an important thing, perhaps even more important that the actual effect of getting those 300,000 men back. Had they lost them, it would have been a hard blow to morale in Britain. Go see this, and watch it on the biggest brightest screen you can find before you miss it. This is one film that is truly a MUST SEE!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Legendary Entertainment, Tencent Pictures, Warner Bros.,

Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Tian Jing, John Ortiz, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly, Toby Kebbell, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann

A team of scientists convince their congressman that there is an urgent need to visit and document a hidden island, behind circle of constant storms, to document what exists there. They agree to send a team to visit the island first, but insist it must be lead by military leader Preston Packard who is sad that the Viet Nam war has been shutdown and he has nothing to do. But the island is more dangerous than they realized, and the wild creatures that live on the island wre extremely aggressive and the team is in big trouble from the very start, and trying their best to just stay alive, when the learn the king of the island is a giant ape known as Kong.

This is not really a Kong movie, and has very little to do with the giant ape. Kong only has a cameo or two and is a bit player in this story, but the other wildlife on this island are the key to the story. This is basically a military story much more than a giant ape story! Samuel L Jackson as Preston Packard is absolutely nuts as the driven soldier who naturally pushes too hard and is very stubborn and unwilling to listen. John C Reilly is a standed WWII soldier who has been stranded on this island for decades who is a major add to the story. The action in this movie is excellent, the battles are very exciting, and the acting is pretty decent, considering the non-stop action. Truthfully this movie is much more like The Battle of Los Angeles or Battleship than it is a Kong movie. They surely borrow some of the story from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s THe Lost World, more than anything. So as long as you’re looking for monsters and action rather than a King Kong movie sequel, you won’t be disappointed. Granted you have to suspend belief and threat this as science fiction, but the action is good, the monsters are realistic, and it’s a lot of fun.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

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ATO Pictures, Werc Werk Works, Spare Room Productions,

Greg Kinnear, Billy Crudup, Alan Arkin, David Harbour, Lea Thompson, Bob Balaban, Michelle Arthur, James Detmar, Michelle Hutchison, Chris Carlson

Mickey Prohaska (Greg Kinnear) is a slippery insurance salesman who will apparently say anything to make a sale. But while at a convention, he runs across a drunk lady in the bar who insists on coming up to his room. Next morning his wallet is gone. He heads home, already in financial trouble only to find out his credit cards have been maxed and he’s about to lose everything. But when he meets a elderly corn farmer named Gorvy Hauer who wants to pay for his insurance in pennies, but has an extremely rare valuable violin that the he isn’t even aware of, he thinks up a plan to sell the violin and taking the money. But one lie leads to another, and pretty soon Mickey is so buried in lies and troubles that he’s in deep, deep trouble.

This film was a good vehicle for Greg Kinnear. This is right in his wheelhouse. This is an interesting story which bears a second viewing. The first time through, it’s a really good crime story, with lots of crosses and betrayals and a lot of false leads, but the second time though, after you’ve seen the crime story, it’s a whole different film. This is a really clever sting movie that is intricately setup and worthy of Hitchcock. The nicest thing about this movie is the great acting found in it, as with talent like Billy Crudup, Alan Arkin, Lea Thompson, Bob Balaban, you can’t go wrong. THe cast had a blast making this film, and could see that it was a lot of fun developing their individual characters. This is similar to some of the other heist movies like Ocean’s Eleven, but the fun part is that you don’t know how any of these folks fit together until the very end. Watching Greg’s character Mickey slowing figure it out is a pleasure, but when he thinks he has it, he doesn’t know the half of it. This is a little movie without a huge budget, but really fun, and well put together. Though this film has been rolling around in my queue for years, I’m glad it finally bubbled up to the top. This was an enjoyable little mystery, and I can recommend it as something out of the ordinary.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Cas-Mor Productions, Gallery Films,

Dustin Leighton, Tom Noga, Clint James, Grady Hill, Candy Stanton, Sanford Gibbons, Peter Sherayko, Isaac Farm, Ashley Gomez, John Durbin, Dustin James

Frank Harden (Dustin Leighton) is a lone gunslinger looking for a Mexican girl who had been kidnapped and sold into prostitution in the town of Redemption. Redemption is still fighting the Civil war as two sides struggle for control of the town. But the Apostle (Tom Noga) is also on the trail of the men who murdered her family and carried the girl off. This is a LOW LOW LOW budget western, and one of the few Westerns still being made these days. A rare film indeed.

Robert Conway wrote and directed this attempt at a Spaghetti style Western of the old Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood days. It’s a complex story that that’s not really thought out that well. Seems like the story is being written on the fly as the movie is being made. Like the Spaghetti Westerns of the 70’s it’s all about being a western, but no so much on acting and story line. To be honest, this is a horrible story, but it’s so rare to have a new Western, I had to give it a shot. To be honest, I really didn’t dislike it, although I can see why people think it’s so horrible. It is quite serious, no tongue in cheek stuff like the “Trinity” films with Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer (also 70’s films) that I loved a lot back in the day. This is murder, treachery, and shots to the head, one after another. There’s no hero here, just different degrees of bad guys. Frank is a guy who is having a bad run of luck as he doesn’t kill for fun or for money, but just for pure revenge against anyone who crosses him. As a result, is him against the whole town in the end, and he’s much worse for wear. So Frank is the main character of the storym he;s certainly not a hero by any means. He is perhaps the hardest sucker to kill that I’ve ever seen. It’s a weird little western, that will leave you wondering what the hell is going on, but at least nearly no one is going to survive anyway, and that’s as it should be. If you like well made movies with good stories, RUN AWAY!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Blackbird, Cold Iron Pictures, Movie Plus productions,

Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Hank Azaria, Steve Buscemi, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Michael Sheen, Dan Stevens, Josh Charles

Norman (Richard Gere) is a fixer. Head of the Oppenheimer Agency, Normal sets up meetings. He talks really, really big, has no fear of annoying everyone, and basically talks a big game! He befriends an starting out Israeli politician. Lo and Behold, in a few years he becomes the Prime Minister of Israel and he needs his buddy Norman to help him putting Norman on the precipice of destruction and on top of the world at the same time.

This is a very quirky and off-beat movie that features Richard Gere in a very cerebral and thoughtfully put together movie. I would think a lot of folks are going to get into this. It’s a character study, and Norman Oppeenheimer is truly a remarkable character. He lies without missing a bit, and not much that he says is not filled with hyperbole and exaggeration. He’s a nice guy inside, but is really crass on the outside. I once worked for a guy who used to always tell customers “I am not honest because of any moral reason, but I am honest because it’s simply good business>” Trouble is there wasn’t an honest bone in his body. Guys like Norman can be patting you on the back and heaping praises left and right while he’s picking your pocket. So what can I say about this movie? Well, I have mixed reactions to it. There’s no doubt that Richard Gere’s performance is really very expertly done. He does an amazing job of bringing this guy, we’ve all known at one time or another, to life. But the movie isn’t filled with much excitement. It’s mostly like a one man show. It’s slow paced, and I never did figure out how all the other characters fit in to this story as it lost me a bit, so if you tackle it, pay a lot of attention. However, if you like slow character development and enjoy a masterful performance like Gere turns in, you’re going to be a fan of this film. But it is really hard to classify this film, as it’s not that funny and not that serious, and there’s not that much going on here. For that reason, I hesitate to praise it too much.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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