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The Pacific (2010)
The Story of a Much Bigger Band
3 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"The Pacific" gives the viewer an experience of the war in the Pacific through the eyes of three very different men: Sgt. John Basilone, PFC Bob Leckie and PFC Eugene Sledge. The result is a complex portrait of the experience of the 1st Marine Division in WWII.

This story covers a much longer period than "BoB." The combat action stretches from 1942-1945. Also,Easy Company stood at 200+ men,while the 1st Marine Div. totaled appox. 15,000, 9,000 men in the 3 infantry regiments (7th, 5th, 1st) that bore the brunt of the action. Each principal in this series had a different experience of the war: Basilone (7th Mar. Regt.),a Sgt. at the start of the war, won the Medal of Honor on Guadacanal. He then left for the States for War Bond tours until returning to action with the 5th Marine Div. on Iwo Jima where he was killed in action.

Bob Leckie (1st Mar. Regt.)enlisted after Pearl Harbor and fought with the division from Guadalcanal to Pelelieu. He was severely wounded on Pelelieu and evacuated back to the states.

Eugene Sledge (5th Mar. Regt.)joined later in the war due to a heart murmur and fought through Pelelieu and Okinowa, surviving without a (physical) scratch.

This makes "The Pacific" a tougher series to follow than "BoB": few familiar faces and a lot of shifting of perspective and location, often within a single episode. There are also significant non-combat periods when the division was recuperating from the terrible campaigns it fought in. But I think if you have the patience to work through it, you will find it a valuable viewing experience. Then you should pick up the books written by Leckie and Sledge to gain a fuller understanding of what they experienced. Plus, there is a book on John Basilone available as well.
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Yugoslave Socialism with an Unhappy Face
2 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"When Father was Away on Business" tells a complex story about life in Yugoslavia in the 50's. A man is convicted of what can only be described as an "inproper socialist attitude." However, his real crime is having an affair with the local hot socialist babe (a young Mira Furlan) who's attracted the attention of his brother-in-law, a local party official. The film outlines the impact of this man's arrest and imprisonment on his family, with special focus on his youngest son. The father is finally released, the family survives, but the scars on all sides will never heal.

Noting some of the other reviews, there are details to this film that will likely be lost on the casual viewer. I believed the family was Jewish, only to learn from other reviews that they were actually Muslim. Also, awareness of Yugoslavia's strained relationship with the USSR is helpful. While I found the film interesting, the father's continued philandering made him a rather despicable figure. The young boy's retreat into sleep walking is probably a comment on what it took to survive in that society. The Father-in-Law's desire to act as if nothing had actually happened to his son-in-law is a hint here. The wife is the true martyr in this story, faithful to a cheating husband, willing to finally reach out to her brother who betrayed them both and trying desperately to give her boys a decent life.
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300 (2006)
Spartan Propaganda on Steroids
24 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"300" provides a highly imaginative depiction of the battle at Thermopylae. The film outlines the story of the 300 Spartans who held the pass to the end until overwhelmed by the Persians (and a little Greek treachery to boot!) The film is visually stunning and is certainly worth viewing if you are a fan of great visuals. You must keep in mind when viewing this film that this is actually a fantasy version of the events at Themopylae. The Spartans are depicted as maniacal supermen who disdain all the other Greeks and the Persians even more. I think this is carried too far, since the Spartan only comprised a small portion of the total Greek forces in the original battle. However, the Spartans did go down fighting (with the Thebans and some others). I'm sure this film is very popular in today's Sparta. But I'm sure it ticks off most of the rest of Greece!
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Waterloo (I) (1970)
Outstanding Visuals, Mediocre Story
26 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Waterloo" provides some of the finest war footage you will see. Its depictions of the fighting at Waterloo are simply astonishing. This film was shot before the wonder of CGI. So the visuals required real people, real horses and real smoke and explosions.

The story, however, is fairly weak. The film provides only the sketchiest background to events prior to the battle. It depicts events in the battle but never clearly outlines what's going on. It introduces main characters, but only so you can put a face to a name later on. You learn virtually nothing about the people. I think to a large degree the actor's efforts are wasted. This movie expects that its audience will know the basics about the fall of Napoleon, his exile and return from Elba, and the events leading to the battle of Waterloo. If you don't know anything about this era, and don't know the basic outline of the battle, you might get lost. I have seen other comments on IMDb that the original version of the film was much longer. This film looks very much like a longer film harshly edited to get it down to a more commercial running time.

However, a section of the film like the attack by French cavalry on the British infantry squares makes wading through the rest worth it. In addition, the depiction of the carnage of the post-battle battlefield really brings home the sordid nature of the entire affair. YOu can easily see why Wellington is seen to comment at the end that the only thing sadder than a battle won is a battle lost.

So if you'd like to see some excellent depictions of Napoleonic warfare (minus some of the gore present today), this film is worth your while.
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OK WWII Film with some Good Scenes Mixed
14 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Objective, Burma! tells the story of an American Airborne platoon that is parachuted behind Japanese lines. Their objective is to destroy a critical radar site that could provide the Japanese early warning of a major allied offensive. The mission starts off well, but then decays in to a terrible ordeal.

My reaction to this film was mixed. I thought Errol Flynn was quite good. He takes a very understated stance this this film and it works quite well. There are some good scenes that are pretty edgy for the time. This film was made in 1945 while the war with Japan was still raging. Half the platoon is believed slaughtered in an ambush, only to later find that there were survivors who were tortured and mutilated by the Japanese. Popular characters, such as the newsman, are broken by the strain and die alone. The night battle on the hilltop at the end is good because it draws out the Japanese approach and shows both sides playing cat-and-mouse to get the other side tip its hand. Also, the film mentions both the Chinese and British as major players in the coming offensive. So it recognizes that we weren't over there alone.

On the flip side, the sort of corny jocularity that is present in a lot of old WWII flicks takes up a lot of space here. The platoon members really comes across as amateurish. The tension of moving behind enemy lines and the danger present in the supply drops were handled much better in "Merrill's Maruaders," a film that a lot of people see as basically grade B. The platoon also seems to slaughter vast hordes of Japanese, who are mostly portrayed as clueless and clumsy. The idea of splitting up the platoon behind enemy lines was pretty ludicrous. The captain would have been court-marshalled for that one! I think that Errol Flynn set the right tone for this movie and he was matched by some of the other actors. But the film didn't maintain this tone and I think it suffers as a result.
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Only for the Initiated
6 June 2006
I will be clear up front: I am not a gamer and knew nothing at all about the story for Final Fantasy VII before watching the movie. However, I did enjoy the first Final Fantasy film, so I was interested in seeing what this one had to offer. My summary says it all.

As was noted in many other reviews, in order to really comprehend the plot, you really need to know the game. I was able to get a rough idea of what the story was about (I think). But it's obvious that the film makers expected this audience to come prepared. Because of that, for the uninitiated, the film is hard to follow and whole sequences leave you wondering "What the hell was that about?" In addition, characters are either just sketched out or, in some cases, they simply show up and it's expected you will know who they are and why there are there. So I'm not describing the plot since I'm sure I got some of it wrong.

The film is visually impressive. That's what kept me watching it. However, the second half of the film is devoted to endless combat sequences that are notable for their graphics, but also for the lack of any actual injury coming to any of the combatants. Unlike many other reviewers, I believe the fight sequences dragged the movie down. They became repetitive and, in many cases, were somewhat pointless. I've got to believe that it would be a heck of a lot more fun to actually play the game and fight those fights then to simply watch them.

Overall, the rating I've given this movie is very much based on my being one of the uninitiated. The earlier Final Fantasy film was much better to a non-gamer
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A Powerful Mood Piece
30 December 2005
"Good Night and Good Luck" presents the McCarthy hearings of the 50's through the prism of a very particular individual, broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, and the organization he worked for, CBS. While many people have commented about the failure of the film to place these hearing in historical context, or the political viewpoint (anti-McCarthy) the films is expressing, I think these observations are a bit off mark. While Clooney is definitely taking a political position, I believe his main purpose is to convey the mood of that time, that place, and those people. Once the decision is made to directly attack McCarthy, there is real fear present among the participants. Clooney also is willing to include details that tarnish the halo around CBS and Murrow. The loyalty pledges are signed, Murrow is chastised for pulling some punches on some McCarthy misstatements. In addition, the sub-plot about the "hidden" marriage of two of the characters adds to the tension. Fear doesn't just come from big, politically-charged issues. Even a liberally-minded employer can reach into your personal life and the impact can be just as potent.

If think if you see this movie as a mood piece, it succeeds masterfully. If you want the history, there are plenty of better places (of varying political viewpoints) where you can learn more.
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Windtalkers (2002)
The Invasion of Saipan with an Occasional Navaho thrown in
21 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
If you are looking for a film that will provide you with the story of the Navaho Codetalkers, this really isn't your film. If you're look for a war flick with plenty of gore and where everything seems to explode in massive fireballs (just like in the Simpsons!), this is your flick.

While the title focuses on the Navaho Codetalkers, most of the film is really taken up with inflated actions scenes and stock characters. While there is some effort to show the training of the Codetalkers, how they were actually used is obscured (they didn't call in coded fire missions) and some of the scenes are just ludicrous. The scene where one of the codetalkers poses as a Japanese soldier taking a Marine prisoner is pretty silly. I guess the Japanese officer they approach must have assumed this soldier was from Japan's wild west.

In essence, the "Windtalkers" theme is just something to catch you eye and make this film "different." John Woo really didn't want to make a film about the Navaho Codetalkers. This film is just an exercise in explosive excess.
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OK 60's WWII Film with Good Final Battle Scene
15 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This film takes the true story of the First Special Service Force and links it up with a fair number of Hollywood clichés. The overall story is pretty standard. You follow the unit from it's inception in Montana to it's first major action. The characters are pretty stock as well. The "Dirty Dozen" take on the American volunteers is completely off-base. All the volunteers for this outfit (Canadian & American) went through a very vigorous screening process. Of course, since was originally envisioned as a "suicide unit," to put it mildly there were plenty of unique individuals running around in this outfit. For example, the American officer who kept snakes under his bed to get over his fear of them is true. It's unfortunate that they didn't mine some historical info to give you a better feel for these guys.

The real focus of the movie is the assault on Mt. La Difensa in Italy. While the movie is pretty standard up to this point, they make an effort to convey here the difficulty of the assignment. This segment is handled pretty well and is worth the viewing.

Overall, if you're a war film buff, you'd probably enjoy this film. The veterans of the "Black Devil Brigade" weren't really happy with it, but at least it brought that unit to life on the screen. Your best bet is to check out the movie, then look for some of the books to tell you what really happened.
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Come and See (1985)
A Witness to Atrocity
2 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This film follows the path of a young boy as he confronts the incredible brutality of the partisan war in the Soviet Union during WW II. The film starts with the boy joyfully going off to join the partisans while his mother shrieks with fear. However, when the partisan band heads off, he's left behind due to his youth and innocence. As a result, he becomes a witness to the atrocities visited upon his village and others nearby by a wandering einsatzgruppen unit that takes great pleasure in its grisly task of extermination. The film is episodic and takes some unusual turns (the effort to put up the dummy German is one). This is film about images, not words. There is remarkably little dialogue throughout much of the film. It's also brutal and graphic. A great deal of the horror of this films comes from the simple joy (and conviction) that the Germans bring to their goal of wiping out the population.
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Good for Harryhuasen Fans
11 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I rented "20 Million Miles from Earth" because it was one of the few Ray Harryhausen films I'd never seen. Overall, the movie is a pretty average 50's grade B sci-fi film. What makes it worth watching is the character of the Ymir, the creature from Venus. In later years, Ray Harryhausen remarked on the innocence of this creature and its final resort to violence only when it had been tormented to its breaking point. If you watch the performance of the Ymir (the best in the movie!), you can really see that it's essentially a non-violent creature that's highly confused and just looking for it's home (and some food!).

I think a scene that really captures this is when the rapidly-growing Ymir breaks out of its first cage. Although the professor and his daughter are standing 5 feet away from it, and the professor has placed it in the cage in the first place, the Ymir doesn't attack them. It paces back and forth, then turns to them and gives them a quick roar, as if to say "Why did you do that!?" If you watch the creature closely, most of the time it's scared and just trying to get the humans to leave it alone. A very good piece of work.

Overall, the movie is very silly and pretty stupid. People are constantly screaming about the monster's great danger,then they go after it, poke it with a big stick, and wonder why the thing's ticked off! Nobody ever get's the "V-8" moment and says, "Hey, why don't we just feed this thing, it's probably starving!" The reason, of course, is that you don't get to blow up the Coliseum if you're just having a nice picnic!
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Robot Stories (2003)
Definitely Worth A Rental for Something Different
1 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I recently picked this up as a rental and was glad I did. Like many other people who've commented here, the overall film is a bit uneven. However, the first two films make it really worth it.

In the first film, "Robot Babby," I believe Tamlyn Tomita's performance, really helps sell this story. Her reaction at the end is the key to the entire film.

The second story, "The Robot Fixer," is really great. You could pull this story out and show it alone as an example of what can be done with a little money and not a lot of time. With even the simplest movies today moving into 2+ hour length, it's refreshing and somewhat inspirational to see something this good come out in a short. This one will stick with me. Excellent performances, particularly by Wai Ching Ho as the desperate mother.

The final two films, "Robot Love" and "Clay," don't quite have the power of the first two. "Clay" has an interesting premise (place a scan of your brain in some Matrix-like system and have eternal life). However, the script struggles with clearly developing the internal dilemma of the main character. He's trying to wrestle with the issue of whether such a future consists of a real life. A pretty good try though.

Overall, if you want to try something a little different from the norm, this is a very good change of pace. I will keep an eye out for future work from Greg Pak.
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Combat! (1962–1967)
A Strong Show, Especially for the Early 60's!
26 January 2005
Recently I began viewing the episodes of "Combat!" in sequence. I had loved this series as a kid, but was concerned that my return would result in serious disappointment. However, I've been really surprised at how strong the show really is, even after all these years!

The early episodes are a bit shaky because the show is still trying to find its feet. The use of Shecky Greene for comedy relief was an interesting idea, but those situations don't really seem to fit the rest of the show. But as I progress, the shows keep getting stronger, more confident. Yes, more happens to this platoon than would happen to any other unit that size. But, it's TV after all and they keep trying to mix up the scenario to add different plot lines.

Some of the themes considered in what I've seen so far: -The struggle of a new man replacing an old vet. -Challenging a collaborationist to help the resistance (with a good ending!) -How the constant stress of war can break men (a popular theme). -A child trying to join the war, then finding out what that really means.

I also beg to differ with one of the comments made by another reviewer. The platoon doesn't always have what they need. On the contrary, many of the episodes have, at the their heart, the platoon struggling with what they don't have or can't do. I applaud the folks who put this show together. I especially applaud the fact that Germans regularly speak German and French characters regularly speak French and there are no subtitles. Yes, these characters speak English when needed. However, the show often has the men struggling with basic communication and "Caje" is always being asked to translate. A nice touch.

So, if you rent this show, you'll get a pretty decent experience. These episodes will not have the graphic violence of today's military pictures. But the show was perfectly ready to grapple with some pretty complex and tough questions. An admirable effort for its time!
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Decent WWII Film that could have told a lot more
1 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed Dark Blue World but felt there was a lot more we could have learned from this film. It's well acted and beautifully filmed. The air combat scenes are quite good. (Note: I am almost certain that a number of the large scale air combat scenes and some of the single aircraft scenes were cut straight from "The Battle of Britain.") I found the love story to be rather unconvincing.

I think there was a lot more that could have been done to give you a better picture of what these guys went through. I mean, one minute two guys are riding a motorcycle down a road to flee from the German occupation. Then they immediately shift to England. It would have been a good part of the story to show what they went through to get there.


It also would have been very interesting to see how the transition to home, Soviet occupation, and ultimately prison camp worked out.

So, this movie is very much worth seeing. But you may no learn as much about the experiences of the Czech fliers as you might want to.
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Moses Baby!!!
1 September 2004
Growing up Catholic, I had an irrational fondness for those big biblical epics of the 50's and 60's. Being much more mature now, I still do! Of course the movie is silly, overblown, and not particularly accurate. But let's face it: This is the Bible done by Hollywood!! God has an uncredited bit part and can't even get on the marquee!!(Heston had a better agent!). This is not a deep personal film that delves into the complexities of human faith. It's a film parading a lot of male and female pulchritude, with betrayal, standing-by-your man or woman, the finger of God bashing the Ten Commandments into stone, the Red Sea flowing backwards, and a burning bush. The film critic Pauline Kael once said something along the lines of: Since great films are so rare, if you can't enjoy good trash, why go to the movies? Her review of The Ten Commandments indicates that it sits proudly in the great trash category. So sit back, eat popcorn, get an extra pillow for your tush, and enjoy!
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633 Squadron (1964)
Great Score! Great Planes! Lousy Movie!
26 August 2004
I first saw 633 Squadron in the movies when I was 9 years old. At that time, the score and the shots of the (actual) Mosquitos used in the film left a lasting impression on me. I always loved that plane and could conjure up that score anytime. A few years ago I picked up the tape and watched it again. It was a lot better at age 9! I again enjoyed the score and the shots of the aircraft. I even enjoyed the cheapo model shots of the planes flying up the fjord. I have a high tolerance for cheesy special effects! But the story is terrible! Some of the scenes are simply laughable! Even at 9 I recognized that the "attack by the underground" was one of the worst examples of "combat" footage ever. As noted by others, the "love" story is insipid and the movie really is just not up to "B War Movie" standards. So, sit back, enjoy the music, enjoy the shots of the Mosquitos flying around (even the cheap models) and fast-forward through the rest.
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A Very Strong Series
28 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I had not heard much about "Band of Brothers" before I began watching it. I somewhat expected to be disappointed. However, despite the erratic viewing because I was renting the tapes, I found myself being drawn in from episode to episode. I think bought the DVD set and have watched it all the way through at least twice. It's quite impressive, much better than I expected. It's also a series that benefits from more than one viewing. After you've seen it once and gotten an idea of the cast of characters, it's quite moving to go back and view the episodes knowing the destiny of many. In addition, you can relax and enjoy the portrayals a bit more without working to keep track of everyone.


I found memorable moments in every episode: Sobel's face when Winters chooses court martial and when removed from command; Winters staring out the doorway of the aircraft at the end of episode 1; the D-Day drop (a very strong episode); the company walking into Bastogne; Winters shooting the SS trooper; most of the episode about the medic; Dike cracking up in the attack; Eindhoven in flames; Gottlieb translating to the concentration camp survivors; Nixon after the drop with the 17th; etc.

I've gotten a lot pickier with my military movies as I've gotten older. I found "Behind Enemy Lines" to be simply silly because it moved so far from anything realistic. Band of Brothers has a real sincerity about it's attempt at recreating the past. The best review I've read is in this collection of reviews in IMDB. A veteran from the Italian campaign stated that he found Band of Brothers very moving, but he couldn't watch it again. It hit just too close to home for him.
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Titanic (1997)
Excellent in Parts, but I still prefer "Night to Remember"
12 May 2004
I have long been interested in the Titanic since reading Walter Lord's great book "A Night to Remember" over 30 years ago. I loved the film made from the book and own it. So, I was interested when "Titanic" hit the screen. However, this film just didn't do it for me as a whole. I found the love story between Jack and Rose unconvincing. I really found the whole character of Rose hard to take. While recognizing that she was in a bad spot, she came off to me as so egocentric and petulant that there were times when I felt like she deserved Billy Zane (great as a nasty. Billy Zane has the perfect looks for the early 20th century parts). So when she hops in the sack with Jack, it looked like a nice fiery diversion that probably wouldn't have lasted two weeks once the boat docked. But, the boat didn't, which brings me to the parts I like best.

We have some friends who are naval architects and, according to them, "they sunk the boat real good!" Also, I found that Cameron really did capture the terror and tragedy that affected the nameless passengers who went into the water and went down with the ship. I found most of the sections of the moving that didn't involve the main characters better than the hissy fits going on in first class.

One thing that did surprise me was the absence of the story of the California, a ship that was sitting within 20 or so miles of the Titanic with its radio off. That was one of the most poignant elements of the real story. I don't know why Cameron didn't include it. Overall I give it a 7 of 10.
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Pearl Harbor (2001)
Tries to be three movies and misses out on being one
5 May 2004
I had really been looking forward to "Pearl Harbor" when I saw the previews. Once I saw the long string of bad reviews, I decided to hold off and watch it on video. Well, it earned those reviews. "Pearl Harbor" really tries to be three movies: 1) A historical account of the attach on Pearl Harbor; 2) A love story framed by that attack; 3) A story of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. I imagine that the producers were banking on audience having no interest in older films, because each of these themes was done much better in "Tora, Tora, Tora," "From Here to Eternity," and " Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo." If you're interested in the story of Pearl Harbor, a torrid romance framed by the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Doolittle Raid, just rent these three films and you'll get a much better sense of the whole thing. Yes, I admit that some of the action scenes in the attack were good. But there's an awful lot of bad movie surrounding those scenes. It's a shame because I'm sure many Pearl Harbor survivors were hoping that their experience would get the same respectful treatment (and intensity), that Speilberg gave the guys from D-Day. That treatment is still to come.
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Man of Aran (1934)
A Spectacular depiction of man and nature
26 April 2004
I rented this from Netflix recently. Visually, this picture is stunning. Some of the finest filming of the sea I've ever seen. The minimalist story really isn't much, just an attempt to provide some excuse for various actions in the film. This film is really not a documentary at all. One of the special features on the DVD is a short film called "Making the Myth" (or something like that), which is all about how the film was made, how Flaherty scripted various scenes, etc. As noted in the a previous review, the entire shark scene was something Flaherty pushed, recognizing that shark hunting sells. However, according to "Making the Myth," basking shark hunting had gone out over 50 years earlier. Apparently Flaherty also thought that, if he got people hunting the sharks for his move, they might start it up again as a local industry. We found a good portion of the dialogue almost unintelligible. Especially at the start, we thought they we speaking Gaelic! Still, the dialogue is really unnecessary. Flaherty uses old fashioned dialogue cards, like in a silent film, to explain what's coming up. Overall, this was a very interesting film to watch. Since it's just over an hour long, it's a good one to see when you have some time but don't want to commit to any "Major Movie Event!"
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Max (I) (2002)
Interesting Premise, but didn't grab me
2 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I found the premise of this movie interesting but the film really didn't grab me. I think part of the problem for me was that I really didn't connect with John Cusack as Max. There was obviously a lot going on inside Max and his interest in Hitler seems very much to be a desire to connect with people who'd been through the horror of WWI, something clearly absent in the domestic scenes. Aside from that, for me the character left too much unsaid. I was interested in the sections where Max and Hitler interact and bored by the rest of it. Maybe that's the key: Max was only really living when interacting with Hitler the soldier and just walking through the rest of his life. I do believe that the film ended just a bit early (spoiler). You see Hitler leaving the cafe, ticked-off because he believed Max had stood him up, ending Hitler's shot at a career in art. However, the viewer sees the assault on Max that was obviously set up by the Army Officer seeking to keep Hitler focused on the political arena. Within 24-48 hours, Hitler would have learned about Max's death and been able to put 2 + 2 together. Hitler's confrontation with the Army officer would have provided a key transition point, compelling Hitler to choose politics.
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A Powerful Depiction of a Family Coming Apart
21 November 2003
There are films where you can see extensive carnage and it doesn't move you. This is a film where you see a man hit his wife and it hits you in the gut like you're being hit yourself. An excellent depiction of the impact of anger and violence on the members of a poor family. In this case, they happen to be Maoris living in New Zealand. The father dominates the family because he is so powerless in the other facets of his life. He's addicted to boozing and carousing and the only way he can really express himself is with his fists. The wife fights back, but can be beaten into submission. But she's also allowed herself to be seduced by the boozy lifestyle and fears responsibility. The center of the family is the oldest daughter (13), who is really the only one who can communicate with all the other members. The boys are either lost in life or lost in their own rage. The youngest daughter is simply too small and clings to her sister. It takes a tragedy to allow some of these individuals to reach out for each other and try to re-create a form of family life. A very powerful film, not for the faint of heart.
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Alien (1979)
Simply One Scary Movie
29 October 2003
I am not a big horror fan and normally don't care for gory horror films. However, I generally love science fiction and was very curious to see what this film was all about (I saw it when released in 1979). Well, all I can say is it scared the hell out of me!!! In fact, when the movie was over, the lights came up in the theater and nobody moved or said anything. That's how powerful this movie was back in 1979. As noted in many other comments, this is a well constructed film that has the ability to keep drawing you in when, in the back of your mind, you're saying "I don't want to go there!" It's a testament to the quality of this film that my parents (who were in their fifties at the time and had never seen anything remotely like this in the movies in their entire lives) sat through the whole thing on HBO.

No real need to go over the story because, by now, almost everyone has a rough idea of what the "Alien" films are all about. I will say that there was a direct predecessor done in the 50's. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name. I rented it years after seeing "Alien" and was struck at how closely it resembled the more modern film and how some scenes were pretty scary for the time.

Anyway, I recommend this film. As noted by many, it may not hold the same impact today after years of increased gore and shock. But, I think for a lot of people, it will still hold your attention and still scare the hell out of you!
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American Experience: Coney Island (1991)
Season 3, Episode 11
Brings Coney Island to Life
7 October 2003
One of my favorite documentaries! As someone raised in Northern, NJ, I grew up with the stories and memories of relatives who visited Coney Island in its heyday. It was really interesting to get a feel for what it was like for someone in the first half of the 20th Century to go to Coney Island. This documentary achieves that. It also provides some interesting comments on social changes, and how Coney Island relfected them, in the US over 50+ years. A very enjoyable film with a bit of melancholy over what was lost when Coney Island began to fade in importance.
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White Badge (1992)
Vietnam from a Korean Perspective
7 October 2003
While I don't view this film as highly as the others who've commented here, I do think it provides and interesting insight into the Vietnam experience. What I found quite interesting about this film was its similarity in themes to so many US films on that war. The film does provides hints on how the war was portrayed in Korea (much gov't censorship), the frustrations of the "poor" Koreans fighting as proxies for the "rich" Americans, and the fact that many of these Koreans returned to their own country where US troops are a constant presence. The DVD version I saw may not have been the best copy. The film was very dark, the editing was a bit choppy, and some of the music sounded canned. I'm pretty sure the end of the movie used the end music from Platoon. Still, I think it's worth your time to watch this film to get an insight into the Vietnam experience that you might not get anywhere else.
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