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Criteria are rather simple : white people (mostly guys)- but often with the notable exception of hero or other key character- are all bad, obnoxious, racist, stupid, vicious, violent or simply idiots. The "non-white" characters on the other hand are all nice, noble, intelligent, courageous, etc.....
There are quite a few of those out there, but these 40 come foremost to mind.
Anne Parillaud Feast
A millionaire's daughter gets in a scam with her inheritance but everything turns out well in the end.
Great EU soft core from the 80's, crammed with sex and nudity but remains surprisingly good-natured. Movie feels like one great erotic summer vacation. Anne Parillaud (about 19 in this movie) looks almost unearthly sexy, is frequently nude and has numerous sexual encounters, the best one a very lengthy sapphic session (with her cousin !).
Another great effort from director Hubert Frank, one of the unsung heroes of 70-80's EU soft core porn.
Watch out for heavily edited versions as the 81 min running time claimed by IMDb is way too short. It is at least 90 min or more.
Anne Parillaud, when gaining international fame thanks to "La femme Nikita", tried to ban this movie. No such luck Anne !
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Ultra-violent spoof for the video game generation
Based on some comic book (another one) this is the tale of the initiation of a teen (I suppose) into a British secret service organization.
The reason why I went to see this thing in the cinema is because I loved "Kick-Ass", also from director Vaughn. That movie was also very violent but the crazy concept, a shy high school boy and a 11 -year old girl fighting crime, made it work.
The next installment from Vaughn starts off well, largely thanks to Colin Firth as the mentor. Just until halfway into the movie when Firth character is offed, during the now infamous church scene (extremely violent even for this kind of movie), we're stuck with this 'new kid' for the rest of the movie. As this actor has basically zero charisma it's all downhill from that point. The whole thing simply turns into this violent video game style catastrophe with our 'hero' having to invade the bad guys fortress, in doing so killing dozens and dozens of his henchmen, not to mention exploding heads and a certain Swedish princess.
This ultimately pretty sicko movie will be largely appreciated by a late teen/early twenty audience, not only due to the R-rating but as they simply are the target audience for this: brain dead geeks addicted to ultra-violent video games. If you do not fall into this category : do yourself a favor and avoid this like the plague.
The Sweeney (2012)
The big screen version of the tough Brit cop series from the seventies leaves a lot to be desired.
The plot itself is paper thin and similar to 100's of other police thrillers but a good opportunity for some fine banter between the co-stars (as in the old series) and some tough action sequences. Sadly this is not the case.
The main problem is the two leads : Winstone, obviously in his fifties, is simply too old and too fat for the role. You see him immediately huffing and puffing when he has to chase some bad guys trough the streets of London. The other guy, the supposed sidekick, is one of the least convincing cops you'll ever see, can't act for beans and reminds more of some hoodie from the back streets of Glasgow. Needless to say there is zero chemistry between the two actors. Rest of the cast gets equally wasted, including Damian Lewis.
The action is rather OK: a chase/shootout on foot after bank robbers in broad daylight through the center of London (thank you Michael Mann) and a spectacular car chase through an abandoned caravan park (thank you Top Gear Team).
So a missed opportunity altogether. Will end its life in the cheap DVD bin of supermarkets.
Darby's Rangers (1958)
Average WWII drama from maverick director Wellman
"Darby's Rangers" is the story of an US elite unit during WWII on the European front. We get to see their rough training, initial actions, numerous encounters with women and a final big battle in which they allegedly played a major role : the landings in Anzio, Italy.
The training segment is well done, but again hampered by the love interludes. Things finally seem to get going when they set off for their first landings in Algeria in 1942, when they had to fight French Vichy troops (but as with the Germans, the enemy is hardly seen in this movie). Then it's off to Sicily and then Italy, where they encounter some fierce opposition from Jerry.
I have to admit :I really do not know what to think of this movie : the battle scenes are rather well-staged, although mostly shot an a sound stage. There is a harrowing scene when they have to move between some German panzers, some close combat in an Italian village, etc... So everything is there to make a good typical 50's war drama: the perfect all good-guy commander (Garner), his side-kick sergeant (Warden) and a whole bunch of colorful characters as the dapper Rangers, not to forget a high number of love interests. But unlike some previous efforts by director Wellman in the war movie genre, as the classic "The Story of GI Joe" (on war correspondent Ernie Pyle)and the supremely "Battleground" (on The Battle of the Bulge), this almost drowns in its own clichés. Especially the love interludes come over as rather silly and almost ruin the picture.
What's left is a so-and-so war movie, with all the right ingredients but somehow it just doesn't work. An average time-passer but that's all.
Lost Command (1966)
Undeservedly forgotten epic on French colonial warfare
It is remarkable how few reviews this big-budget war movie has received over the years on the IMDb. It seems almost forgotten but this is totally undeserved.
"Lost Command" has all the makings of a big-budget epic of the sixties : a war theme, large battles and some big stars of the day : Anthony Quinn, Alain Delon and (a very sultry) Claudia Cardinale, including the director Mark Robson, fresh from his success "Von Ryan's Express". But this warmovie is a bit more difficult to categorize.
Based on a novel by former French army officer and war correspondent Jean Larteguy it was made only a few years after the actual events (set in 1958 in French colonial Algeria) this somehow is Hollywood's answer to the better-known and much acclaimed European "The battle of Algiers" (1963)from director Gillo Pontecorvo which was shot in black and white, on a shoestring budget with no major stars and very left-wing.
"Lost Command" is almost the complete opposite : a massive budget, shot in Technicolor, big stars and a rather right-wing attitude. But here's the twist : the movie doesn't ignore the brutality on both sides including those by the French paratroopers towards the Algerian civil population, with scenes depicting the use of torture and a massacre of a peasant village (in reprisal of the brutal murder of several of their comrades). Also the terrorists aren't portrayed as all-out baddies, as their leader, an ex-para himself, is played by, wait for it, George Segal (!) in heavy brown make-up. You hardly recognize him. The restof the cast is excellent, with Anthony Quinn leading the way as the para commander and French actors Alain Delon and Maurice Ronet as his assistants.
It is also historically very accurate : the Dien Bien Phu prologue, the uniforms and weapons, etc... They also face roadside bombs, suicide attacks, booby-traps in the inner city, all rather reminiscent of things to come with the US occupation of Bagdad. No wonder then that former commander of the US troops in Iraq, David Petraeus(a paratrooper himself), is an avid fan of the book (and film) from which he took ideas to support his new counter-insurgency strategy.
Come to think of it, this would be a much more interesting training film to show to the US troops in Bagdad as they did indeed with "the Battle of Algiers" !
As it was made only a few years after actual events this was a bit too close for comfort for the French government so "Lost Command" was banned in France for over 10 years. Subsequent French releases vary rather in length, editing out sometimes more then 30 minutes of the original version. The French only got to see the complete version with the release of the DVD in 2003.
So highly recommended viewing, as it treats its audience as adults and not mere as teenage public just looking for cheap thrills with lots of shootings and explosions.
You've Got Mail (1998)
I don't get it
I don't get it :not the plot but simply the fact that this movie just gets to me. If you look at my profile and some of my movie reviews and lists you 'll notice I have a penchant for tough war movies ! Yet I can't resist YGM, the total opposite of a war movie. Is it the magnificent New York locations (does NY really look like this ?). Or is it the great script and direction by Nora Ephron (her best together with 'Sleepless'), the fact that everyone is so likable, smart and civilized (especially the two leads). Is everyone in New York like this ? Time for me to pay that city a visit (I'm from Europe)!
I recommend this to anyone, especially if you are feeling a bit down.
The Victors (1963)
Anti-version of The Longest Day
This long movie deals with the misadventures of a US platoon in Europe during WWII. Essentially we follow three main characters, a private (George Hamilton), a corporal (George Peppard) and a sergeant (Eli Wallach) through a series of 'vignettes'. Brass is almost completely absent, except for a rather comical intervention by the unit captain.
This is a very unusual war film, almost an anti-version of that other big WWII epic of its day, "The Longest Day"(both shot in black-and-white). But TLD concentrates on all the heroics and spectacular aspects of war whereas "The Victors" (hence the rather cynical title) deals mainly with day-to-day life behind the front, boredom and various encounters with the local women. Anybody expecting another flagwaving US movie will be severely disappointed as the main aim is to point out the difference between the propaganda newsreels and the real stuff, a message the movie goes out of its way to bring home.
"The Victors" is almost the sole responsibility of producer/director/screenwriter Carl Foreman, known for his leftwing attitudes and also featured once on the notorious Hollywood blacklist. It's Foreman's sole directorial effort in his career and he does take a lot of hay on his fork. It looks almost as if he tries to redeem himself for his big hit as a producer a year before, "The Guns of Navarone", which treats war mainly as a big adventure caper.
The original movie was even longer as there are a number of different versions lying around, mostly dealing with nude scenes involving Romy Schneider and Elke Sommer.
Is probably the only US movie where there is a reference to the fact that during that war there were indeed at one moment almost +50.000 US deserters roaming around France and Italy !
The BBC aired this on a Saturday afternoon, probably trying to make some point here (but rest assured : no nude scenes!).
In its day, apparently a big flop, again in contrast with TLD which proved an enormous hit. Audiences weren't just ready for this kind of big-scale realistic and downbeat view on war.
Last Holiday (2006)
Lame, stupid and completely predictable
Latifah plays this nice and hardworking but lonely employee, finds out she has an incurable disease and decides to make one last dash for it in some glitzy East-European ski resort.
OK, why did I start to watch this ? Mainly because it seemed to hold some interest due to the rather original setting (for a US movie anyway)and with a cast including Timothy Hutton and Gerard Depardieu.
But alas, my worst fears were confirmed. Of course with the lead role to the extremely annoying "Queen" Latifah this was no surprise. All tired Hollywood clichés are covered and in line with todays political correctness, showing most of the white actors as greedy and stupid and all the colored ones as incredibly smart and noble.
I must admit I only managed to get halfway this movie as the lame plot ,the loudmouthed and self-indulging Latifah just proved too much for me. Expecting that it would turn out she was not dying at all, Hutton (as the greedy millionaire) would get his comeuppance and she would marry LLCool in the end . And that, apparently judging from the other reviews, is exactly what happened.
Escape to Burma (1955)
Silly jungle feature
The BBC aired this recently and as it was directed by super veteran Allan Dwan I happened to tape it.
Ryan plays the typical US macho hero of the fifties, a fightin',shootin'(a Luger no less!) and kissin'guy. Mrs. Stanwyck is the owner of a plantation near Rangoon and she is not to be messed with. Third character is your run-of-the mill British, slightly repressed policeman, on the hunt for Ryan who supposedly has murdered the son of the local potentate.
If you are a fan of Dwan's work better skip this one. The only good thing about it is the crisp clear color photography, the rest is pretty embarrassing. Clichéd would be putting it mildly. The script seems to be written in an afternoon and the same can be said of the movie itself.
It is a bit unfair to Allan Dwan, as he made countless movies and still turned out some excellent stuff near the end of his very long career, as the classic marine epic "The Sands of Iwo Jima" and the sexy "Slightly Scarlet". So do not judge him on this silly jungle epic.
A Good Year (2006)
Another take on the tired old Provence/Tuscany cliché where spoiled brats find redemption.
Story is simple : massive pr**k (finance trader Crowe) inherits a French vineyard, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, beds the coolest French chick in town and receives a massive financial bonus (after all he is a trader). He gets it all but remains a massive pr**k. And a massive bomb at the BO.
That's the whole storyline. There is also a very annoying US girl, claiming also the inheritance, the lovable old uncle(Finney)and some French stereotypes.
Taking into account the talent (Scott and Crowe) and all the money invested in this movie - 35 million $ - you 'd hope for something more sophisticated then your average romantic TV movie of the week, but that is what this is, no more no less.
Any redeeming factors ? Well, it all looks great, this is after all a Ridley Scott movie (and he lives about 10 minutes from where this is shot). The French do their best to speak English, especially Didier Bourdon (very famous comedian in France) as the vineyard keeper, who also shares the only funny scene with Crowe (a tennis match).
And with all these French Provence clichés, the ultra thin storyline and that soft-focus photography you'd almost expect for some young nubile David Hamilton style girls to show up. Aha, just wait till the very end.