Review

The Greatest Film I’ve Never Seen…

the-greatest-film-ive-never-seen-blogathonRephrase that…”I’d never seen”. “Greatest”, that I might need some convincing of but hey, I’ll get back to that later.

Who doesn’t at some point or another say, in a deep, creepy Schwarzeneggerian/Terminatorian voice…”I’ll be back”? Come on, admit it. And if you aren’t going to, then at least just come out with it that you’ve heard that line used many a time. I’m just going to come straight out and admit it. Together with…I’d never seen The Terminator (1984) until today. Yep. It’s true. Although, funny enough, because it is deemed such a, dare I say, classic, I have had the DVD for a number of years now. Cellophane still on. And I finally watched it.

What was I expecting? Actually, I don’t really know. I’d obviously picked up from pop culture musings that there was a terminator (yes, yes, cyborg, I know) who wrecks some havoc on earth. Why and where and how everything unfolds, well, there I had no clue. Like most of us, I think, all I had was this:

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Right?

And then maybe this…

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..which I have since learnt is a cyborg. A cybernetic organism covered with living human tissue. In this case, a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). It has been sent to earth to terminate Sarah Connor. Sent to protect her is Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn). That’s pretty much the jist of the story. But there’s a catch to it…a really good one. One I didn’t see coming and one that I’ve been mulling over the whole day. Or rather, trying to get my mind around the whole day…almost a chicken and egg situation. I won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen this movie. Besides, I need to ponder the situation a bit more.

Anyway, all-in-all, not a bad movie. One I’m enjoying more and more as I rewind it in my mind and as I re-watch snippets of it. Knowing the end (a very tender one for me), the events leading up to it take on a new dynamic which wasn’t there on first watching.

Is it one of the greatest movies I’d never seen? Well, I’m not sure yet. It definitely wasn’t bad. And definitely deserves its status. I’ve been told I need to see the next two in order to better appreciate it. But whatever it is (or isn’t), I did actually enjoy it (80s feel and all) and must thank Moon in Gemini for hosting this Blogathon without which I probably still wouldn’t have gotten around to watching this one.

For more revelations on movies that hadn’t been seen, head on over to Moon in Gemini. You’ll be amazed that you are not alone with some of them. Whew. But one thing is for sure, I need to catch up with more of these “greatest” movies I’ve never seen.

 

 

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An excellent evening with Dada (Ante Portas)…

…ah, wow…that was so awesome! Such a fabulous concert. Don’t you just love those small, cosy venues? Those where you feel a band is playing just for you and a select few?

Oh man…it took forever for Sunday night to arrive (and funnily enough, it went past way to fast)…my tickets for “An evening with Dada” were fiiiiiiiinally valid. Whew…what a wait. For a band that I’d only recently discovered but who have been around for 22 years. How do I know this (aside from Googling)? Well…they told us…

…in this very unique evening. The band chatted and played us through their timeline. How they met (school sandpits are wonderfully social), how they thought they’d never get far at a band competition where everyone but them had “soundchecks” (along with lots of important looking pre-performance checks), the confusion between “Holland” and “Roland” (yes, a voucher for (to) Holland would have been awesome), personal space on stage in other countries and so much more. I had a big grin on my face from start to finish – it was sheer fun listening to their stories and music (acoustic). Gosh, did we all have a good laugh. And it all came across so natural. Perfect. No other words needed.

We were about 180 people (those few empty seats missed out big time) and had a vibe and atmosphere like no other. I’d say it will be a long time until I experience another concert (is this really a concert?) on this “niveau”. If at all, actually. There was something so special and so unique that repeated by someone else just won’t be the same.

If you get the chance to watch these guys – don’t hesitate, just go for it!

Der Rote Baron (2008)…on this 100 Year Anniversary…

Red-baron_movie-posterI’m totally, emotionally drained. My mood is sombre. I’m quite angry…at the futility of war. It is just disgusting.

I tend to avoid watching war movies, not because I want to ignore that fact that these things happen but because I struggle to watch the atrocities, the lives being wastefully taken, the horror of it all…and the list goes on. But, as World War I ended 100 years ago today and Maddy from Maddy over at Maddy Loves Her Classic Films is hosting the World War 1 Blogathon, I decided to watch a movie I’ve long wanted to see…Der rote Baron (The Red Baron). I’ve just finished…hence my tender emotional state…but…it is an excellent movie.

The Red Baron is about the ace fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen (superbly played by Matthias Schweighöfer) who, as a child dreams of the freedom he might find up in the air. Born into aristocracy, he has the opportunity to follow this dream and so, during The Great War, finds himself using his skills for his country. We find ourselves following his ascent to the skies in his red plane but also in his status. He is known as the Red Baron not only because of his skills and abilities but just as importantly, because of his camaraderie with those around him. Initially, this is more a game for him…a means to live out his passion for flying, he even mentions that the objective is “..to bring down aeroplanes, not men”. At the beginning of the movie the atmosphere is lighter, with our young pilots having quite a number of cocky one-liners. As our story and therefore the war progresses, von Richthofen‘s eyes are opened to reality. This largely initiated by Käte (Lena Headey), a nurse desperately helping those less fortunate on a daily basis. As more and more of his pilot friends fall from the skies it all starts hitting home.

Excellent acting from all involved…so much so that you’ll find yourself sitting there feeling the losses, the decisions, the horrors of war. Der rote Baron doesn’t give many gruesome battlefield scenes but I think the emotional ones, the conscious decisions given and orders taken, those scenes are as powerful as any. It also tends to stay away from taking any sides but rather focuses on what would have been experienced by anyone, regardless of which side they were on.

 

Written and directed by Nikolai Müllerschön, it also stars Til Schweiger, Joseph Fiennes, Maxim Mehmet, Hanno Kofler and Volker Bruch amongst others.

When watching these things, I mourn the general destruction and loss of life…not only the human ones but also that of the environment, the fauna and flora. It makes me hope like crazy that at some point someone will learn from the past so that nobody ever needs to experience something like this again.

It is only fair that we honour the real man behind the movie too (along with everyone else fallen in battle).

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For more entries to Maddy’s Blogathon head on over here.

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In a Nutshell: The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017)

BalladLeftyBrownLefty Brown (Bill Pullman), “a man who never got anything right”, happens to be alone with his friend and partner Edward Johnson (Peter Fonda) when Edward is shot down. Lefty swears to bring the murderer/s to justice but, on returning to the Johnson ranch is accused of the heinous crime. With the help of his friends, Lefty proves that some people are not who they seem and more importantly, that he does, actually, get some things right.

Having a few shootouts, this isn’t a wild, raucous western but rather a wonderfully paced character study showing how outward appearance/behaviour is not what we should judge on and that circumstances will drive people do to anything…be it good or bad.

Bill Pullman is absolutely superb as Lefty who is by no means as incompetent as people think he is. What a brilliant piece of acting he does. Tommy Flanagan as Tom, Jim Caviezel as Jimmy and Diego Josef as Jeremiah are all Lefty’s friends, while Kathy Baker is Laura Johnson. Excellent acting all round. What a pity these type of movies don’t get a bigger audience.

Thoroughly enjoyable. Well worth the watch. And watch out for that haunting but beautiful ending song “The Ballad of Lefty Brown” by Maiah Wynne.

In a Nutshell: Hostiles (2017)

Hostiles_film_posterWow…Excellent…what more can I say? I’ve just finished watching Hostiles (2017) and I really am speechless…well, almost I guess. It has been absolute ages since I’ve finished watching a movie and the only thought I have is “that was brilliant”.

The story, on the surface, is rather simple: a brilliant captain is asked, no, instructed, to escort his arch nemesis home safely. That is, Christian Bale’s Captain Joseph Blocker must deal with his extreme hatred of Wes Studi’s Chief Yellow Hawk (who likewise has issues with Blocker) in order to get the ailing Chief and his family back to the Cheyenne ancestral lands. They encounter Rosalee Quad (Rosamund Pike) who has narrowly survived the massacre of her family by Comanche warriors. Naturally this adds a further dynamic to the situation. As do some other circumstances.

All masterpiece-fully (is that a word? But you know what I mean) done. The inner turmoil, the external actions, and a whole lot more (but if I mention them I’ll spoil it) are superbly portrayed by the entire cast. Oh how each and every actor/actress is absolutely perfect for their role. I’ve always enjoyed director Scott Cooper’s works…he never disappoints (well, of those I’ve seen).

This is definitely one for my collection. And will need a few more watches once I’ve had enough time to mull over my first viewing.

 

Non-english Language Blogathon…Snabba Cash (Easy Money) (2010)

Well, the big Blogathon day is here but I face the usual dilemma as the host…which movie do I write about? The problem is this…the reason I picked this Blogathon was because I had so many movies in mind…should be easy to single out one to write about then, shouldn’t it? But no, I just can’t decide. Especially with this particular topic…

…I have so many to pick from because I absolutely love watching movies from different countries where I’m exposed to different trains of thought, opinions, approaches, cultures, stories…and the list goes on…

The best solution I could come up with was this:

I’ll write about a few non-English language movies. In that way, I’m not showing any favouritism, hee, hee.

To start off, I’m going with one of the first movies that come to mind – Snabba Cash. And, I’m going to cheat (sooorrrryyyyy 🙂 ) and reuse most of a post I published in 2017 – I still feel the same about this powerful movie. (I promise my other posts will be first-time published ones)

Amelie_LamguageBlogathon2During the course of last year, while randomly watching a “mainstream” movie, I came across Joel Kinnaman (I’d never heard of him before) and therefore “found” Snabba Cash (Easy Money) a Swedish movie

Well, well, well…what a wonderful visual experience. You won’t get a wild action movie but instead, an introduction to the characters, their hopes, their motives, their relationships and then, a build up of the story. But don’t be fooled…it definitely isn’t boring. You’ll be intrigued as to how this will all come together and then unfold. If you’re like me, you’ll start feeling for the players. Sympathising with them. Hoping they’ll make it out so they can realise their dreams. Even though they are criminals and they should be behind bars.

Every scene is perfectly set up and captured. I really appreciate the reflections, backgrounds or the various interesting composition of shots supplementing character decisions and states of mind. Accompanied by an atmospheric musical score where needed. In my opinion, not just a movie but a well thought out work of art.

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Oh…I forgot to tell you the very, very high level story. Based on the novel by Jens Lapidus and directed by Daniél Espinosa it is set in Stockholm and has three main characters: JW (Joel Kinnaman), an economics student,  works as a taxi driver to keep up with the lifestyle of his rich friends. When he meets Sophie (Lisa Henni), whom he wishes to impress, he becomes involved in cocaine dealings in the hope of earning easy and substantial amounts of money. Jorge (Matias Varela), a prison escapee, knows the cocaine business but also has one last score to settle with the mafia boss who put him behind bars, Radovan (Dejan Cukic). And finally, Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic), the man sent by Radovan to take out Jorge, whose job is complicated when social services leave him with custody of his young daughter.

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Superb, thought provoking movie that isn’t just action scene after action scene. Well worth watching.

Of course, because this is the “non-English” language Blogathon, you’ll need to watch this one with English subtitles (unless of course you understand Swedish). Reading those subtitles is worth every moment.

For more wonderful entries into this Blogathon by hosted by moi…head on over here: The “non-English” Language Blogathon.

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Simply Splendid…Serendipity

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To start…I apologise for poor layout or incorrect spelling…you have no idea how hard it is writing a post on a phone. Anyway…

You know you’re in for a treat when the opening scene of last minute Christmas shopping is accompanied with Louis Armstrong’s Cool Yule. And that can only mean something light but special is heading your way. Serendipity is just that. Besides, how could a movie with such a title not be special?

It all starts during that last minute shopping rush…over a single pair of gloves. She wants them (for herself) and he wants them (for his girlfriend). They spend a wonderful evening together and leave the rest up to fate – a dollar bill with his name and number on it. A book sold to an used book store with her name and number. Life unfolds for both of them but somehow neither can forget the other.

The way this light romantic movie unfolds is simply magical. As the viewer it is such a pleasure (and often frustrating, in a good way) watching them, and fate, miss each other by seconds yet in doing so, working their way to each other. They just don’t make them like this anymore.

Set in New York, mainly during the Christmas period, it has some beautiful sights to show with my favourite being the snowy evening (two of them in fact) on the ice rink of Central Park.

Ah, I simply adore this one. Oh..“them“ is Sara and Jonathan…Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. They work so well as a couple.serendipity

For more wonderful Winter in July posts, head on over to Moon in Gemini.