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Micro as opposed to macro version of the battle
Saw an early screening tonight in Denver.
I don't know where to begin. So I will start at the weakest link. The acting. Still great, but any passable actor could have been given any of the major roles and done a great job. I know almost no more about the battle of Dunkirk after seeing the film than I did before, and I am not exactly a WWII historian. Truth be told, I learned all I know about the battle of Dunkirk from the movie poster. Does that weaken the film? Hell no, this is a film about survival. The opening scene tells it all and sets the stage as we get our first glimpse into a young soldier's need to stay alive, and his creative attempts to do so. That actor may even be considered the main character of the film. More words have been written so far in this review than he speaks. And I have no clue who the actor in that role is. It is humorous that Tom Hardy looks like Bane through most the film in the role of a pilot wearing an oxygen mask throughout. Kenneth Branagh is the only officer with any lines in the film, so that should give you an idea of the POV that we experience. We are the enlisted man trying to find a way to stay alive in a chaotic and harrowing battle. Though I believe Dunkirk will win every single technical Oscar, I would be surprised if it has any acting nominations at all.
How does Nolan elevate this above other films of a similar nature? I think he says it best himself, when he describes Dunkirk as a thriller more than a war film. He pulls that off superbly.
When a ship starts to take in water as numerous bullets penetrate its hull, I wanted to jump out of my seat and cover up the holes myself.
The film has three separate stories that are titled Mole, Sea and Air. And we all know where Moles live. The way the narratives of the three stories unfold and how they are all tied together is what makes the film a masterpiece. Much has been said about Nolan using IMAX film cameras and how the film is enriched by this. I don't know. I doubt I saw actual film being projected at my screening. Every frame looked terrific though.
So what is the most superlative aspect of the film? Gotta be the soundtrack. Hans Zimmer will win the Oscar for this without a doubt. So , so brilliant. This is not a soundtrack that I would buy at the store and play on my stereo. This is a soundtrack that weaves throughout the three narratives seamlessly and creates this phenomenal sense of tension. There are times when a two or three minute tense orchestral passage plays continuously as the story shifts from the ground to the sea then to the air and the music draws the three stories together. Zimmer's soundtrack reminds me of the way that Bernard Hermann's work was so vitally important in building suspense in most Hitchcock films. Though that description almost sells Zimmer short. His soundtrack is that good.
I don't think this is a film that will retain even half of its strength in your home theater. No folks, this is a film that you cough up for an overpriced IMAX ticket and rationalize it by knowing that experiencing Dunkirk in any other fashion will just not cut it.
Baby Driver (2017)
Believe the hype
Everything about the film is pretty much pitch perfect if you ask me. Lets start with the cars. I have not been a fan of Fast and Furious films, but the chase scenes in this film run circles around that series if a certain reality of the moves matters to you. This is more in line with Bullit,French Connection, and the Italian Job films as far as great chases.
The music, fun, simply fun. Songs from every decade of my lifetime.
Action best pure adrenaline action in years. You will be truly on the edge of your seat during much of the film.
Humor, what can I say, love Edgar Wright's humor and this is his best.
And oh what a cast! Loved every one of the leads performances. I think Ansel was a standout, but come on Jamie Foxx, Spacey, Hamm and the beautiful Lily James. And the other leading lady, Eiza Gonzalez, was unknown to me, but she was great with one terrific diner speech in particular. I was lucky enough to see this at an early screening in Denver. I will be seeing this in the theaters once again when it opens, and I very rarely watch movies more than once.
Sometimes when I see a review fawning over a film like this, I think troll. Best way to check that out is see how many films the reviewer has reviewed and rated. I have over 4,000 rated films here. Not a lot of tens either.Best film so far this year.
Great B Movie.
The film takes about 20 minutes to take off, but once it gets going it is an exciting ride. The haters talk about the lack of realistic situations in Extortion, and I get it, but it gets your adrenaline going.
Probably seen Elon Bailey dozens of times but this is his first starring role that I have seen. He is good not great. Bradley Cooper light I guess.
Always nice to see Danny Glover and the bad guy from Captain Phillips does a solid job in a similar role from his Oscar nominated performance.
A couple nice , oh wow I did not see that coming moments really added to my enjoyment.Get out the popcorn for this one and have a good time.
The Phenom (2016)
The people that would like this film probably would not watch it.
This is a strong character study. I really enjoyed it, but it is not a sports movie, at least not what one thinks of a typical sports movie. Strong acting throughout elevate this from being a pretty run of the mill character study. I really enjoyed hating the Ethan Hawke character. At times I thought the character was slightly over the top, but I still liked it. Worth watching. Just a word of warning, if sports movies are your favorite genre, you may want to reset your expectations a bit before watching. You will probably enjoy it more.
Weakest Episode of the series so far
This is basically a side story that has little relevance to the main story whatsoever. It felt like filler the whole way through.Who knows , in a few episodes we may be revealed the relevance of this story, but I doubt it.
I enjoyed the first two episodes this season, but will be surprised if I end up liking this season as much as the first two.
Slow and disappointing
Although I consider Obama the best President in my lifetime, I consider this film the worst film made about a President who lived during my lifetime. I had to write this review because when I saw the low IMDb rating I figured it was due to typical site trollers that never even saw the film. But the truth is that this is not a very good film.
The acting is all solid, but the script is trite and boring. I don't think it revealed a bit about Obama that most people did not already know.
When tackling the issues of race that have to be tackled in a biography of a young Obama, it would be very easy to come off as clichéd. And unfortunately that is the way it comes off. If you feel like watching a film about recent Presidents there are several films about Nixon and JFK and Stone's Bush bio that are certainly worth watching. "Secret Honor" is a gem you should seek out in particular. But you can skip this one.
A Cure for Wellness (2016)
Destined for cult status
Opening up the week after John Wick 2 and 50 shades 2 and the same week as The Great Wall, does not bode well for the R rated box office of one of the most cryptic, deranged, and disturbing films ever made. You will hate this one or love it, not likely to get many in between votes. There are images in this film that I will never get out of my head. I am smarter than your average bear but I really have to see the film again to figure a lot of it out. And though I gave it an 8, I am not sure it is something I want to subject myself to again.
I really enjoyed Dane De Haan's performance. I was not familiar with him before this film. Jason Isaac is solid and Mia Goth is a fascinating actress that I had also not seen before.
Where do I start? The running theme of eels? The numerous Octagenarian nude scenes? The torture scenes? The cryptic mystery of the Spa? Yes, I think I will start there. We join the De Haan character at Dr. Volmer's Swiss spa as he spends a great amount of the film on squeaky crutches wandering the estate and trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Needless to say, he sees and is subjected to a lot of dark and twisted stuff.
Verbinski does a wonderful job at the helm. Everyone has been comparing this to Shutter Island, in pre release, but I was more reminded of Eyes Wide Shut in terms of mysterious atmosphere.
When I review a film, I find it difficult to walk the fine line between discussing it and revealing spoilers, so I will not say a whole lot more about this odd film. I do have one final thing to say. I am very liberal about allowing young people to see films but moms and dads trust me on this one. Do not allow pre teens to experience this film. There was a 5 year old at my screening tonight. I told the mom, "Have fun the next 15 years dealing with how this film affected your son. You should be ashamed." She told me to go to hell. But seriously parents heed my advice it will save you tons on therapy, bail, and/or rehab.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
A triumph for Gibson
No matter what you think about Gibson, and I don't think much of him as a man. He is an elite director. There is a unique genius in how he handles this film. I hope this does not constitute spoilers, I don't think it really does, but the battlefield scenes are the most harrowing I have ever seen. There is nothing left to the imagination with shock after visceral shock coming at you for a good twenty minutes. The effect is an adrenaline surge as you feel like you are trying to survive with Doss and the rest of his troop. The payoff occurs after Doss does what he does and comes off Hacksaw Ridge. It is so emotional. The effect is amazing and it is all steered by Gibson's intense direction. You may even think, oh God, this is just too much, as you are watching the battles unfold, but it all results in a unique payoff.
I like Garfield . He is a bit too goofy at the start and I feel like his hairdo makes him look more like the lead guitarist from the Spiders From Mars than a WWII hero. But once he gets in uniform his character really develops. Vince Vaughn seemed to love chewing the scenery as the Sarge, and Teresa Palmer was also solid.
As an agnostic, there was one scene at the end that I felt was a little over the top, but the religious angle is handled beautifully and the power of faith is a great lesson for anyone. This is going to be a real crowd pleaser, but it is decidedly not a family film despite the theme. It is the most violent film that I have ever seen.
War Dogs (2016)
Easily my favorite film so far this year.
Usually at least 8 films on my 10 best list are released from October 1st on, but this one will sure make the list this year.
If you are like me and thought that The Big Short should have won Best Picture last year and that in 2014 The Wolf of Wall Street should have won, and that " Lord of War" is one of the most underrated films of all time, you will love War Dogs
Maybe not as good as those two Oscar films but awfully darned close. and better than The Lord of War.
Funny , Suspenseful, extremely insightful, and though set during 2005- 2008 it has a soundtrack from the 60-80s that is pitch perfect.Loved Miles Teller and Jonah Hill. Teller is the best actor of his generation. Though this is probably not going to be his best performance this year. I have a feeling his performance in that Boxing film is Oscar bait. Jonah Hill plays the sort of character that he is best known for, but who cares he does it so well. I was not familiar with the female lead Ana De Armas, but she is mesmerizing.Bradley Cooper was terrific in a relatively small role as well.
I can see hundreds of twenty somethings wanting to become War Dogs after seeing this film, but I a pretty certain that window of opportunity is closed.
This has been a pretty disappointing year so far in film. My guilty pleasure was Tarzan, and I really liked Sing Street and 10 Cloverfield Lane but this is my first ten of the year. Maybe I should only have given it a 9, but I it certainly is the best film released in the last eight months, and you gotta give a 10 once in awhile.
Impressive Netflix find
Pat Mills is a talented funny guy. I had never of him prior to reading about this film on Rotten Tomatoes where they have a great section showcasing films that are currently on Netflix. It sounded interesting and it turned out to be really funny.
Mills plays a former child star with all the clichéd dysfunctional attributes that go with that curse. He apparently has first hand experience, because when I looked him up I discovered that he began his career as a child on a Nickelodeon show,
Mills character David, lies to get his job and then begins doling out the worst advice possible. It all turns out funnier than it should be. At one point the school Administrator's discover his lies and his actions and the film takes a different much less successful turn. I think Mills makes some really bad choices at this point with the character including his turning on his students.
Look, odds are if you watch this close to the date of this post, you are going to go into it with few expectations, and you are very likely to be happily surprised. Almost gave it a 7 due to the weak final act, but gave it an 8 for its' uniqueness.