It’s not just the Americans that can do all the first, such as being the first to the moon, forget the 1969 landing, there was a landing 70 years early in First Men in the Moon (1964) a classic piece of underrated and fun sci-fi.
From the trailer, the film looks pretty funny, complete with insect like aliens that were synonymous sci-fi at the time. These have been brought to life by the magic of Ray Harryhausen who has taken a side-step from the fantastical to the extra-terrestrial variety. Not half as many, but they still fill the screen.
When an American team of astronauts land on the moon, believing they are the first to step-foot on the lunar rock, discover much to their surprise that many years earlier a British crew had landed, leaving their mark with a small and unimposing union-jack flag and a declaration in the name of Queen Victoria. It sounds laughable really, but a chance for a fun story that sees eccentric Joseph Cavor (Lionel Jeffries) building a space-ship in his home in the middle of nowhere. He doesn’t count on finding a couple Arnold Bedford (Edward Judd) and Kate Callender (Martha Hyer)living close by, who are more than wiling to sell-up and invest in this mad-cap project. It’s quintessentially British in tone, down to the cockney accents.
We spend little time in the present, instead there is a mad-rush to find out the truth, seeking out the now very old Bedford who tells all to a group of the United Nation Space Program who eat up this amazing story that sees two men and a woman discover and insectoid civilisation under the surface of the Moon. Complete with monsters and hierarchy. There is very little horror, instead there is more a chance for discovery and probing, wanting to communicate with the human visitors who they have had little chance to observe until 1899.
We learn more and more about them as the film moves on, from first dragging the spaceship underground to the early communications and the unique employee solution. All very alien to us, yet so very human, coming from the literary mind of H.G.Wells who has given us a wealth of material to adapt to the screen. Also a cheeky knock to the Americans, creating a fictional account of what could happen and how we should approach extraterrestrials on first contact, something that the genre has focused on in detail.
- The Men on the Moon (conchapman.wordpress.com)
- The Men – New Moon (noyesnoyesno.wordpress.com)
- The Moon Men (drvitelli.typepad.com)
From one of the last director who was really let loose with a vision, ignoring costs in favour of the what Michael Cimino wants on-screen. Something that he got right when it came to The Deer Hunter (1978) a film that sometimes doesn’t need words to explain is going on visually, Thank god for John Williams tender score that fills in the sensitive gaps of the brutal film that sees a group of men torn apart and brought back together again in ways they had not first imagined.
What begins as a group of friends in an industrial town in Pennsylvania who are celebrating the marriage of Steven (John Savage) to Angela (Rutanya Alda) is the beginning of the end of an era for a group of friends that they will never be able to return to. We see at the wedding so much hope and future in this strong group of men who regularly go off deer hunting together. Something which we see twice over the course of the film. Each hunt is quite different. First there is a real rivalry between the men, able to play-fight and boast, It’s your average chance of male bonding over a male activity to prove your manliness. Before three of them head over to fight in Vietnam going with Steven into a world of horror that will change them all are Michael (Robert De Niro) who really looses himself in the moment, flying off the handle, a spell in the army would do him good. Whilst the more level-headed of the three Nick (Christopher Walken) is quietly confident, not really knowing what awaits him in the tropical hell created by his own country. And so ends the first third of what seems like a drawn out film to develop these men which we will see change.
The tone of the film dramatically alters in the blink of an eye to a lush green landscape of Vietnam which finds Michael clearly in his element, embracing the war, whilst he doesn’t know it could push him over the edge to somewhere he can’t return. Surrounded by rebels who are fighting for their freedom from the American invaders we see another side of what they were capable of. If Apocalypse Now (1979) painted a surreal image of the conflict where the soldiers escaped to, The Deer Hunter depicts the enemies infiltrating the mind of the soldier. A version of Russian Roulette is the rebels game of choice, spinning the gun around a table for the prisoners to play with their own lives. An extreme form of mental torture for both natives and Americans who are at the mercy of others who become god.
Every time the game is played the audience is sent into a state of dread, at any moment someone could shoot themselves cold dead, just by pulling the trigger, hoping that the barrel of the gun was empty. The stakes are raised and the game of chance becomes hope of surviving. This game is the catalyst in the three mens short lives on this earth, Before taking their chance to escape, the suffering is far from over. A glimmer of hope from their comrades is short-lived, if only to give the audience a moment of relief.
The real damage is starting to make itself known to us and them. Whilst Michael the one we believe will become unstable is the level-headed soldier who makes it back home. Where he finds the woman Linda (Meryl Streep) both he and Nick have fought over. A Woman who knows she has the attention of two men who hope to return and love her. One to marry (Nick) whilst the other (Michael) to have an affair. There’s real sexual tension between Michael and Linda and at the same time respect for Nick who has yet to return. Throwing into that, Michael is still adjusting to civilian life, something that takes real-time happen. The film gives him that time, we see a changed man, no longer a reckless man who will flip, more thoughtful, but still there is moment when you can see the damage his time in Vietnam have done to him.
There’s a need to reunite the gang who have now been apart for so long, with a maturer Michael he seeks out Steven who appears to have no returned from the war. Only his wife knows where he is, leaving her in a state of constant shock, no longer the happy bride we saw early, now with a child left in the care of the larger family. WE later find him in a veterans home, we are shocked to see he has become one of the many wounded to come home, hiding his shame, unable to the man who Angela may have wanted, we don’t know for sure.
The mission is not complete until Nick is safely back at home, return to Vietnam to find the awol man in what has become one of the most iconic scenes in cinema, and one of the most dramatic changes in characters, transformed from the level headed to the disturbed, now adapted to live on the edge of live on a nightly basis, a form of survival, it could even be said it was an addiction, needing the thrill of being on the edge of life every night, relying on luck to save you.
A tender film that sees a group of friends who are torn apart and brought back together again in ways they did not imagine. Filled with breathtaking scenes and imagery, the world can be a beautiful place, yet within it there are dark places where you can return with new perspectives on life. Even those back home who never went out there feel the pain from those who return. An incredible that shocks you to your core, and brings you to your knees at times. It could be seen as another great film for just De Niro, yet the supporting cast have so much to give, no one is left behind. Something not to be missed.
- The Deer Hunter (1978) (feelthefilms.wordpress.com)
- Heaven’s Gate – “Drone” (Stereogum Premiere) (stereogum.com)
- The Deer Hunter (myoldaddiction2.wordpress.com)
- Heaven’s Gate: three and a half hours of heaven (telegraph.co.uk)
- Guitarist John Williams to retire (artsjournal.com)
- Heaven’s Gate: the bomb that almost destroyed Hollywood (telegraph.co.uk)
- Christopher Walken joins Jersey Boys (bbc.co.uk)
I knew this was a controversial film even before I viewed The Killer Inside Me (2010) a crime thriller set in the 1950′s. Knowing that a police officer had a relationship with a prostitute before killing her and that was all really.
A real move and clever fit for Casey Affleck as Lou Ford a county deputy sheriff in Texas who is first sent to give a local prostitute Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba) her marching orders, not wanted in the county. But she proves too much to resist for the unhinged deputy who begins a racey relationship with her, that is more just casual sex, becoming more heated in the bedroom with heavy violence, something he can not pass up easily. Still the marching orders must be carried out, pressured by the king of construction in the area Chester Conway (Ned Beatty) who sends his son Elmer Conway (Jay R. Ferguson) to seal the deal and get her moving. Before this even happens we see the darker side of an already has shown how violent he can be in the bedroom, blows up in our faces as he turns the violence up to the extreme, killing Lakeland in such brutal form on-screen, something to which we are not acustomed to, always reinforced by the negative impact soon after, unlikes the non-chalant attitude that Ford has.
Staying cool and calculated throughout, even when the case into the deaths that night could be turned on him, he talks himself out of whatever detective Howard Hendricks (Simon Baker) who won’t give up on this line of investigation. Even when a young and very innocent Johnnie Pappas (Liam Aiken) who is drawn into the investigation, before hanging himself, Ford admits the crime with gloating ease to the sure to be dead-man walking.
With another woman in his life, Amy Stanton (Kate Hudson), it seems that Ford can have his cake and eating it. An explosive and very sexual relationship which matures. Still able to be violent sexually to her, something they both enjoy. This is too good to be true, admitting to the audience through narration, Ford finds her to be almost the same as Lakeland, having sex with two women with one body. We also have disturbing flashbacks to a a childhood which explains his actions in the film. It doesn’t make them right, just explained, we see a man who has to live out what he was meant to do, to kill on a serial scale, evading his colleagues detection for so long.
The violence in this film is beyond what an audience expects, not toning it down, we see how a confused childhood, stripped of any real innocence can create a serial killer with these sexual tendencies. Not a film that is easy viewing for anyone, it’s a dark thriller in the wide-open spaces of 1950′s Texas, a place where you wouldn’t expect this crime to happen, especially from a deputy sheriff, trusted by all he knew, letting them down with his lies.
- ITV4 Kills It With The Killer Inside Me (boxchatter.wordpress.com)
- “The Killer Inside Me” at the Tribeca Film Fesitval (somecamerunning.typepad.com)
- ‘Interstellar’ News Update: Casey Affleck Joins Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ (latinospost.com)
- Hipster Netflix Gems: The Killer Inside Me (exquisitesportstalk.wordpress.com)
I wanted to watch this to see Audrey Hepburn‘s final screen role that was made for her but took her whole career to finally be cast in, that of an angel, a stroke of genius really by Steven Spielberg when making Always (1989). Starting career in the 1940′s as a fictional princess in Roman Holiday that saw her win her only Oscar. I am not really a fan of her work my perception of her is a woman with her head in the clouds, away with the fairies, a dreamer. And that is the attraction to her, which I never will be drawn to, yet in this almost cameo role as a guiding angel to dead pilot Pete Sandich (Richard Dreyfuss) after dying from rescuing his friend and fellow fire-fighter pilot Al Yackey (John Goodman). When Pete leaves in a fireball that consumes his plane he leaves behind his frustrated lover Dorinda Durston (Holly Hunter).
It does draw some very pale similarities with Ghost (1990) released a year later to more successful result, with Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Swayze, that’s another film altogether. What we have hear is another Spielberg film that really pulls out all the stops to make you cry, full of schmaltz which is synonymous with his work. At times I was trying not to laugh at how cliché the film was, all before the heartbreak of the death of Pete’s death which takes the film to another level and solidly into the plot of the film, that sees the dead Pete becoming an inspiration to another still living, by the angel Hap (Hepburn) dressed head to toe in pure white (now dated) yet her presence takes this film to the level of what she has always personified in film, an angelic and innocent quality of beauty that has given her the wisdom that what feels like centuries of time. She’s not trying to be a godly figure with the casualness of Morgan Freeman‘s God in Bruce Almighty (2003). Her lack of physical presence is spread through the film’s duration in the mission she gives to newly dead Pete.
Sent down to inspire a young pilot we met before Ted Baker (Brad Johnson) who joins the pilot school lead by Al (Goodman) who is training pilots to work with fire-fighters, the lighter side of the film, which also grounds the film, in the form of John Goodman who brings Dorinda out to join him. It’s almost predictable what is about to happen, it doesn’t matter though. Focusing on Pete who has to suffer with overwhelming pain seeing his lover fall for another. Not able to let her go, whilst he has to encourage a pilot who is more than rough around edges and with a possible John Wayne impression.
It’s incredible how the difficulty that the relationship between Dorindai and Pete torn apart by death, can relate to others that are ended by the death. To imagine that our loved ones who have passed on, have come down as ghost to inspire others, and eventually say goodbye and move on themselves. Who knows if this is really true regarding the afterlife. It’s the journey that the dead and living have to go through to finally move on that makes this work, filled with all the usual magic touches including a cheeky one at the very end that is a brave move to share with the audience.
Even though it’s full of the classic Spielberg of the 1980′s I am glad I took the time out to view Always a film that’s main attraction was a few scenes with an actress I don’t really care about. A moment in cinema that personifies an image that could easily have been missed. Whilst telling a tale that comforts an audiences spiritual side mixed with heaps of romance to make it more worthwhile.
- The Amazing Audrey (mrcsays.wordpress.com)
- Audrey Hepburn: A Style Icon (foxtrotphilosophy.wordpress.com)
- Roman Holiday (1953), review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Simply…Unforgettables: Roman Holiday (2/10) Movie CLIP – The Mouth of Truth (1953) (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
- Audrey Hepburn Is Sabrina Wall Art (classicfilmstars.wordpress.com)
- Audrey Hepburn Box Office Hits 1953 – 1981 (boxofficechampions.wordpress.com)
It took me a few minutes to work it out before I knew for sure I was watching sa remake of the noir classic High Sierra (1941), For the remainder of the film I was looking at how different I Died A Thousand Times (1955) was in comparison to the original film. Of course it wasn’t uncommon at the time of it’s release, It took 2 attempts for Hollywood to get The Maltese Falcon (1941) the third time around. All that was really different apart from the obviously fresh cast, is that the scenery looks far better in colour than in the grainy black and white. You shouldn’t throw this film to the dogs because of that, with Jack Palance in the title role of Roy Earle, the role owned by Humphrey Bogart 14 years earlier. It seems pointless to go over the plot that see fresh released Earle take on the biggest job of his life, teaming up with a bunch of idiots, dutifully played by Lee Marvin and character actor out of his depth Earl Holliman who is suited to lighter roles.
It’s obvious that at the time Warner Brothers was desperate for a winning film, with television eating away at their superiority in entertainment. To take a winning formula of a film and replay it with a new cast. Both Palance and Shelley Winters own this film as she starts to come into her own during the 1950′s. I can understand why High Sierra was remade, but almost scene for scene, and word for word. I wonder how many others will crop up in my viewing?
Taking a page of post civil war history and twisting it around to gives us a turn in the west with a bunch of ex-confederates officers who could have faced a life on the run from the army. After being surrounded they do what’s right and give up to Clanton and his troop, going easy on them after President Lincoln pardoned them all into civilian life. Among them is the two infamous James Brothers (Jesse) (Lawrence Tierney) & Frank (Tom Tyler) and also the Younger Brothers. There is no focus on their later lives of crime outside that of the film. Focusing more on the detective agency that has taken advantage the worn torn states involved in the conflict. Lead by the greedy Matthew Fowler (Robert Preston) who saw his biggest catch of confederate criminals pardoned. Something he wont let go, holding the soon civilian major responsible, something that they were entitled to by presidential pardon. This means nothing to him who sends him men into overdrive. First placing Clanton on trial for murder before he escapes to a life of crimes with his Confederate friends, a band of criminals who carry out robbery after robbery. With the likes of Walter Brennan who really shines in the role of ‘Doc’ Butcher Living in a town with a beautiful sympathiser in the form of Lily (Claire Trevor) who is more connected to Fowler than the gang are lead to believe.
A fast-paced film that never gives up on the action, every one of the cast gives their all in this middle of the line western on a small budget pulls out all the stops and explosions. You can see a cast who are about to all go onto bigger and better films, you could say they are killing time but that would be cruel when we have a film with the heart that has no clear winners, all breaking the law at times, it’s the conscience of a few that wins over the real crooks of the peace, taking advantage of a bad situation. Loosely using historical fact that isn’t really taken advantage of, just a backdrop for another guy who believes he runs the territory.
- President Lincoln Writes Son Robert Todd Lincoln: “Come to Washington.” (abrahamlincolnandthecivilwar.wordpress.com)
- My Darling Clementine (myoldaddiction2.wordpress.com)
- President Lincoln Would Like to Give Hooker a Corps to Command (abrahamlincolnandthecivilwar.wordpress.com)
I was expecting far more from director David Fincher when it came to The Game (1997) who has a strong track record in the directors chair. However I felt this was far short of the dark and compelling Se7en (1995) which really disturbed me at times, complete with dried out detectives and a mentally disturbed Kevin Spacey. Turning to this film which feels more like an extension of Gordon Gekko in an elaborate game for his birthday that turns banker Nicholas Van Orton‘s (Michael Douglas) life upside down after he signs up to take part in The Game which at for most of the film makes for a laughable series of predictable events. All at the expense of his brother Conrad Van Orton (Sean Penn). The pair of them are not the most likeable of brothers, and on their own, you just don’t really care about them,
To see a banker robbed, nobody really cares, especially at the moment as the world is coming out of recession. Still there aren’t many jobs that make silly money. It would be more engaging as a film if the protagonist was in a middle class job and went through the same problems, becoming more relate-able to an audience. The casting of Douglas in the role is not too much of a leap for him, becoming typecast as a rich successful guy, I can’t really imagine him in anything but those roles.
The concept of the film that really starts to take shape in the last 20 mins, where in fact the experiences of Nicholas Van Orton, take on another level. Are our own lives a construction of a company, are those that we know, just actors being paid for a job? Something that was more successfully achieved by The Truman Show (1998) with the added prophetic message of reality TV it was a whole different and more entertaining film and still holds up today. Where as this which is not half as dark as it should be, or as clever, opening up to being predictable leaves the audience cheated. Especially in what feels like a cobbled on ending to please the distributors more than anything. As we see Nicholas Van Orton jump to his death, which could easily have been a perfect ending to a more satisfying conclusion to a poor film we are giving a sense of un-wanted relief. I was left frustrated by how these events which changed the bankers behaviour to become a torn man on the edge of life. It’s as if Fincher was playing it safe after the dark ending in Se7en which leaves you disturbed and considering the actions of the three men out on the open road when all is revealed.
Another long awaited film, and probably the definitive film of the Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday legend in Tombstone (1993) which shows how far the historical research has brought us since the last telling of the legend almost 30 years previously in Hour of the Gun (1967) which itself was a opened up the tale beyond the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral that was seen as the ending of the legend.
Opening with the Earp family on the move from Dodge City to Tombstone to make their fortune in the gold-mining town. Wyatt (Kurt Russell) tries his best to avoid any offers of work as a peace officer, wanting nothing more than peace in his own life for his wife and family. So we found them at the apparent end of their career as law enforcers.
Much to their misjudgement on arriving in Tombstone, Arizona they are faced with trouble and the real law, the cowboy, complete with red sash on their belt, whilst the official law can do very little to bring any law to those who suffer with the carnage that ensues. It’s not long after they have a stake in a casino that the call to public office by one of the Earp brother Virgil (Sam Elliott) who has never worn the badge but has always stood by his other brothers in their fights. This is the beginning of a bloody struggle to bring law to the town and surrounding area that is plagued by cowboys. Seeing what we already knew would happen but in a very different order, a new take on the legend that is surrounded by an authentic town that doesn’t shy away from the cliché’s of the western genre, instead embracing them and a few nods to the past generation of cinema. As we see both Charlton Heston (Henry Hooker) make an on screen appearance, whilst an older Robert Mitchum narrates this legendary tale. The genre has changed, but not forgetting it’s roots. Complete with a scene-stealing Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday as ever on death’s door, now more than ever thanks to the great make-up that ensures that we see his suffering, so much as it is inflicted upon himself. Kilmer really eats up the script and spits it out again with his delivery of lines and the gun play making him Earp’s right-hand man out of the duty of friendship and nothing more.
A violent film that does blows all the others Earp films out of the water and throws them aside to give us a brutal take on what it was like. Using guns and brute strength to bring law. Faced once again by the Clanton Brother Ike (Stephen Lang) and Billy (Thomas Haden Church) yet there is no threat from their father/family, that is replaced by the threat of the cowboys who own the town. We found the classic Gunfight at the O.K. Corral is placed whap-bang in the middle, before a trial that never happens.
And so begins a violent second half that sees the Earp family thrown into a world of trouble, with Virgil shot in the arm and Morgan (Bill Paxton) sent to his death. Whilst Wyatt’s home life is far from desirable, with an Opium addicted wife and a secret lover, the performer Josephine Marcus (Dana Delany) who had her eyes on him the minute she stepped off the stagecoach. The cowboys are fighting back with all they have. And so with Earp, Holiday and his reformed posse of cowboys who go on a mission to bring down all they found with a red sash hanging from their belts. Something new to the filmed take on the American legend.
Not the most recent, but far more entertaining take on the legend that the biographical Wyatt Earp which had different intentions as a film, about the man, not the legend as such. Whilst other films have built into them their own take to make the legend more real to a new audience, from John Ford’s My Darling Clementine (1946) that moves the famous gunfight to the end of the film, and depicted it as Earp once described it to him. Each take brings something new to the legend, be it the performances, the direction and the information available.
- Wyatt Earp Legend Crashes and Burns (darkgovernment.com)
- America’s Most Famous Vigilante Wasn’t (thedailybeast.com)
- Movie Review – Wyatt Earp (1994) (fernbyfilms.com)
- Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (shoaibgarana.wordpress.com)
- Treasures of Tombstone (photogenicfood.com)
- Tombstone (myoldaddiction2.wordpress.com)
- Did Wyatt Earp carry a Buntline Special? (historynet.com)
- Doc Holliday items bring high bids at Harrisburg Wild West auction (pennlive.com)
- Wyatt Earp was a prostitute-loving con man and not the hero vigilante as he is portrayed in movies, new book claims (dailymail.co.uk)
- Wyatt Earp (myoldaddiction2.wordpress.com)
Please support the New Mills Lantern Parade that takes place at the end of the New Mills Festival every year. I was lucky enough last year to see this awesome collection of creativity come to life on the last Saturday of the two weeks of festivities. The team who organise this are really passionate about all of this, the Lantern Parade is the icing on the top of two fantastic weeks. Please donate here and make it happen!
With a growing love and appreciation for British cinema, I could pass up the chance to watch this romantic classic, directed by the great director David Lean to bring us this gem Brief Encounter (1945) one of the early affairs of cinema. Told from the point of view of the guilt ridden Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) on arriving home from having ended the love affair that brought her alive with Dr. Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard) the prefect gentlemen who she meets at the station only weeks before with a piece of grit in her eye. If only she hadn’t gone outside?
And so begins a tender love affair between two married people who happen to meet in a platform cafe whilst waiting to leave for home. It all happens so gently as the feelings inside them both are realised. Its the stuff films used to be made and should be treasured forever.
Set mostly in fictional train stations throughout London, where most of the action happens. A location where people meet and say goodbye to one another, and where romances blossom out of nothing but accidents on the platform. Making for a classic to be repeated time after time in films made after.
The positively English middle class couple embark on something they know they shouldn’t be doing, making the film right for how it deals with subject matter, an affair at this time by a married people was then and still is frowned upon, and they know it themselves, making the audience really sympithise with them. Adding to that the real love they feel for each other that today looks so innocent. Constantly fighting their emotions to be together and what they should really do. With Howard’s gentlemenly performance of the doctor with massive heart that steers him in the direction of Laura a housewife is during her days spent in town shopping and watching films seems to have more purpose in life whilst her passive husband Fred Jesson (Cyril Raymond) is at work and children at school, what has she to do all day, but let her mind wander. Wander into a more exciting life on the edge with a stranger who sweeps her off her feet.
Spending their time in a public place where so much goes on they can be lost in the crowd. The one station that is focused on is filled with colourful characters that define an image and time in Britain, away from the horrors of war, to a safer world where anything can happen.
For a while now I have been watching films not really being inspired to make a piece in response until I viewed this film and the war memorial scene where Laura sits and smokes for hours before a policemen asks how she is. The ariel image is so empty, filled with only Laura and the memorial above her for company. This is something to look into for a possible project. Now I am really glad to have seen Brief Encounter.
- Brief Encounter (randomfilmmusings.wordpress.com)
- Saturday Night Cinema: Brief Encounter (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Nothing lasts really. (spfilmjournal.wordpress.com)
- Arsenic & Ambiguity in David Lean’s Madeleine (1950) (moviemorlocks.com)
I remember the breath-taking trailers for this epic sci-fi film, based on David Mitchells book Cloud Atlas (2012) which spans time and indeed space. At the time of release it was also seen as a mixed bag, over-long and complicated to really understand. A cast of credible actors playing multiple roles across the different times. From as far back as the beginning of the slave trade to a future where humanity has had to abandon our planet. Connected with a thread that takes a while to really understand what is really going on. It’s far more complex to understand than Inception (2010) which does blow your mind but is easier to understand.
At first we are given a riddle of an introduction that we again slowly understand as the characters in their own times seek out the truths and goals. It’s hard to really explain all the strands on their own as they are all interconnected with one another. Each so very different in style but not in tone, seeking out a truth or freedoms that they want so much.
Beginning with the slavery era that sees Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess) who first signs a trade deal for slavery begins a long journey of self discovery when he sails home when he meets and frees a slaves who returns the favour by saving him from a killer doctor, played by a very versatile and somewhat overworked Tom Hanks who is top form at times in this film.
Whilst further forward in time a fascinating strand that sees the strands of the film start to really connect is with a homosexual composer Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw) and Vyvyan Ayrs (Jim Broadbent) who together compose music that felt into the seventies in Halle Berry‘s first prominent strand. These two are a great match as they work together until one piece which they fight over leads to Frobisher leaving and spending the remainder of the film as a recluse composer, never able to really complete his work.
Whilst in the seventies where find Halle Berry a reporter who investigates a nuclear power plant for a paper , uncover a plot buy oil companies, putting her life and her lovers (Isaacs Sachs (Hanks) in real danger. A strand that sees some real danger and comedy.
However the real comedy comes in the more contemporary and very British strand where Broadbent really shines as a publisher who is committed to a home by his brother Denholme Cavendish (Hugh Grant) out of pure revenge for past mistakes. What ensues is a surreal nursing home escape that takes the edge of the serious tone of other strands
Before moving into the distant future in Neon Seoul where we follow a rebel automaton who is destined to spend her existence in a service as a slave to the consumer. A future that we maybe facing ourselves as we spend more and more time looking after the needs of others on the high street. However just one Yoona-939 (Xun Zhou) who goes on one of the longest journeys to become a free person from a otherwise programmed destiny to do something more profound, leading rebell forces in hopes of revealing the truth of their present to the masses who are oblivious, just enjoying themselves.
Ending in an apocalyptic future with again Hanks and Berry in a future where most of the Earth has been lost, only a few islands of tribal life, whilst others lives surrounded by fluid like technology. Together they have their trials to conquer. For Hanks’s Zachry a tribal man troubled by spirits who hold him back to live a cowards life. Whilst Berry’s Meronym searches for the last hope for the human race, that comes in the form of Yoona-939 ‘s teachings that are later understood as the Human race is dying out.
Of course this is all I can understand from the first sitting, far from being the complete picture of what is a complex film that needs more than one viewing for it all to sink in. And thats the draws you in, as much as its a visual feast for the eyes, these characters are connected in ways which go beyond a comet-like birthmark to indesribable emotions and connections. Wanting to succeed in life, not giving up on their goals and reveal the truth to the world. With so many characters, and such a small cast in comparison gives a rich film, at times its not clear who’se playing who, which adds to the mystery. As the credit role we see the subtlties of how the directors – the Wachowski Brothers and Tom Tykwer have crafted this film, breaking it down to its strands, doing it any other way would be impossible to direct and produce, each leaving their mark on a multi-layered film.
It seems now that cinema is starting to tackle novels that are fighting the traditional adaptation route to film, such as this and Life of Pi (2012). Still this is rare as they take so long to make that we will rarely see them in our screens, needed to be understood before filming can even begin. Of course with Clod Atlas multiple views will be needed for it to really sink in and be understood, with many tales involved, this is sci-fi for the masses at it’s best, pushing you to really think and concentrate for the duration of a film.
- Cloud Atlas (2012) (themoviecrew.wordpress.com)
- The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 3 – History on the Screen, Cloud Atlas and Breaking Bad (obsessiveviewer.com)
- The Wachowskis’ Next Film, “Cloud Atlas,” Has An Amazing Five-Minute Trailer (buzzfeed.com)
- Fun Trivia Facts For Cloud Atlas (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- FlixChatter Review: Cloud Atlas (stclaircinemaclub.com)
- My Queue Reviews: Cloud Atlas (2012) (andthosewhocant.wordpress.com)
- Cloud Atlas – Review (stockfilm.wordpress.com)
- Cloud Atlas (legallybod.wordpress.com)
- Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell (friendlyfilmfanreads.wordpress.com)
- Review: Cloud Atlas (2012) (antaesthetic.wordpress.com)
I watched this purely on recommendation alone. I had never encountered Ray Milland‘s work, until I watched A Man Alone (1955) which is anything but routine, instead like the lone man who walks into town the film stands alone and proud to be different. Spending the first half hour with very little dialogue, a very brave move on part of Milland that sees Wes Steele (Milland) start out in the desert, having just put his horse out of it’s misery, to later found the remains of a stagecoach raid, complete with 5 casualties. We are left to make our minds up as to what he is thinking, as he examines the scene before letting the horses lose.
We catch up with the horses as they arrive in a town where Steele later arrives to a world of trouble that he can’t seem to escape. A town that wants to hang him for the stagecoach incident and a murder at the bank. All of which he is innocent except a shooting of the deputy sheriff in self defence. The two crimes were organised and committed by banker Stanley (Raymond Burr) and his henchmen Clanton (Lee Van Cleef (Minus his moustache)). Together they create an atmosphere of hysteria and a mob mentality, wanting an unknown man to the town to be brought to justice.
Whilst all along Steele finds himself in the home of the Sheriff Gil Corrigan (Ward Bond) and his daughter Nadine Corrigan (Mary Murphy) who comes to love the stranger in her house who proves his innocence through his character and the nursing of the ill sheriff who has stronger connections to Stanley than we first knew.
The actions of the stranger are at the heart of this film, not all strangers in town are the dangerous killers we are told about. Not letting gossip and idle talk guide our judgement. This is the foundation of a strong community, not that which we find in A Man Alone who has to fight for his freedom and innocence. A stylized film that has a lot to say, with very few lines of dialogue, the visuals are more important here to move the plot forward.
- Ministry of Fear (1944) (potomacvideocenter.com)
It’s a classic film for the boys Objective, Burma (1945) made at the tail end of WWII we are thrown into a group of marines on the edge of Burma lead by Captain Nelson (Errol Flynn) who has to lead a troop of Paratroopers who are the first line of men in an attempt to reclaim Burma from the Japanese who took it months earlier, something America wont stand for or let happen again.
And boy don’t we see the determination on their faces throughout this war film. The build up to the mission is brief, allowing for the majority is spent in the Japanese riddled jungle. The orders are clear, to destroy a radar outpost, which is quickly acted upon and feels all too easy as they mow down the enemy with ease before laying the TNT ready to make a literal blow to them. Giving the audience back home something to really celebrate.
The success doesn’t last long as the enemy is soon on their tail, making for a more exciting film, the fight for survival begins. Hoping to make it to a clearing in the jungle to be picked up from a make-shift run-way for planes. Sadly the planes can’t land due to enemy fire. They have to move on, complete with and older journalist Mark Williams (Henry Hull) who believes he is up for the challenge that is more easily met by men in their twenties and thirties. Like other journalist out in the field wanting to bring home a story for those back home, the mothers who are waiting for their sons to return home. At first he rises to the challenge but as they face more and more adversity.
What makes this worth watching is that fact that through out it all, in the hostile jungle they carry on, standing their ground. They lose half the troop to the ruthless Japanese, a sad fact of war, making this a more engaging film for all to watch and get back behind our heroes in territory that will be won back at any cost.
I’ve been waiting for what seems like an age, well ok a few years to see this modern quirky classic which brings together some of Hollywood‘s finest, away from the brightness of a polished film to the world of Wes Anderson in The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). Which sees a dysfunctional family in the Anderson world reunited under the guise that their father is dying.
Following a brief history of all the Tenenbaums we are brought bang up-to-date with the events that see the self-estranged father Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) wanting to finally do right by his family. Knowing his ex-wife Etheline Tenenbaum (Anjelica Houston) has been proposed to by her accountant Henry Sherman (Danny Glover) something must be done to get him back into her and the families life.
Just what under-hand scheme will Royal pull to get back into the family home and see his grown-up kids who resent him for very different reasons. Children who are all prodigies in their own way. Filled by actors who are outside the norm of what they usually play. Such as Ben Stiller‘s Chas Tenenbaum with fantastic head for figures, who bought his fathers house at a young age, but was later shot in the hand with a bb-gun. All the sibling’s have very different stories and reasons for hating their father.
It’s not laugh out loud kind of fun but quiet and quirky funny with some special moments that makes this film quickly move from point to point without going too far in one direction losing sight of what Royal is aiming to do, to be reunited with his family. Even if it means lying to them all before coming into his own. Whilst other actors just rolling along for the ride, fitting into Anderson’s world such as comic actors Owen Wilson and Bill Murray who understand this world more than the others who are flexing their acting muscles outside of the norm that Hollywood produces. It’s a real breath of fresh air, that combines the real world with one that is antiquated from a bygone era that takes on a new life that works and is believable.
What we see is a dysfunctional family who eventually come together, all having their own issues to overcome, never do they overwhelm the film, but have their place in equal portion, it’s a family being treated fairly, whilst the father who is larger than life with his long-time friend and one-time assassin Pagoda (Kumar Pallana) who just seems to hover amongst all the madness that ensues, the only constant that keeps things calm. Making it worth the wait to watch this modern classic that doesn’t overwhelm but keeps you warm inside.
- The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) (thephiphenomenon.wordpress.com)
- The Royal Tenenbaums (blogworldcinema.wordpress.com)
- The Royal Tenenbaums (criticoffilm.wordpress.com)
- The Royal Tenenbaums (catfilms.wordpress.com)
- The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) (jamesdoingfilmapp.wordpress.com)
- The Royal Tenenbaums (nataliaperezflores.wordpress.com)
- The Royal Tenenbaums (averykumpas.wordpress.com)
- The Royal Tenenbaums (myoldaddiction2.wordpress.com)
- The Royal Tenenbaums: A pictorial study (girlcommaworld.wordpress.com)
- The Royal Tenenbaums (angelavelazquez.wordpress.com)
I was really looking forward to finally sitting down and watching Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) that depicted the the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 8th 1941. However I only remember the brutal attack that set the military base up in flames and destruction in the splendid fashion that only Hollywood can do. On seeing it from the beginning I now take away a much different experience that sees fact overriding the fun that films of this sort can bring. Of course there is an honesty with such events as this that brought America into WWII. Almost two thirds of the film is spent with the top brass of the military, Navy, Air-force and the politicians on both sides of the attack. It kind of suck the fun out of the build up having far too much build up. 20th century fox did however make the good decision to have two directors, one for the U.S. (Richard Fleischer) and another for Japan (Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda) which gives a really personal perspective and understanding of both sides.
I wish I could say more about this film but after the 2/3rds build up with ageing actors and a bunch of newcomers that we are yet to really know, I can’t really say much. Beyond that after the building (necessary or not) we are given a real visual feast of explosions, and displays of bravery on part of the Americans who tried to fend off this impossible attack that seems to come out of nowhere. It’s a prime example of when the balance between fact and creative licence need to be redressed. At the end of the day, it’s a piece of entertainment, which can be used to educate an audience. However there are too many characters to really know whose who. Unlike the more recent Pearl Harbour (2001) which focused more on the human side of the attack and they dealt with it. Ignoring all the build up for what is important to the audience, the event. The rest can be found in the pages of history.
After being stuck in what seemed like the 1950′s for my film viewing recently, I needed to be pulled almost bang up-to-date with something that I had been finding the right time to watch, which this time was Argo (2012) this years Oscar winning film, after being snubbed in all the major categories bar the really important one – best picture, which is won. Somehow after getting up from it, I would have gone for Life of Pi (2012). I can see how it won however, the old Hollywood loving itself number which they pull out every-so-often. And it allowed actor/director Ben Affleck to still pick up one of those trophies. I could spend the review trying to argue why it shouldn’t have won, in place of Ang Lee‘s masterpiece of storytelling, but that argument has probably been had by now.
Instead I’ll focus on why it won beyond the point I just made which is blinding the obvious as C.I.A agent Tony Mendez (Affleck) is given the job of providing the best worst option of rescuing 6 hostages from Iran in the 1980 when Iranian and American relations were at their worst when America was offering asylum to one of their leaders. Add to that the coup they helped to pull off with the U.K. years before didn’t really help matters.
The idea that Mendez brings to the table is as crazy as it gets, to set up a fake movie, complete with crew as a cover-up in order to get the 6 U.S workers out of the country to safety. At first the idea is seen as a joke, the only joke that is serious enough to be given the green light. Allowing Mendez to fly off to Hollywood and set up this fake film. Which sounds odd when you think about it. (I could go on forever explaining the falseness of the film, when films are just illusions). Where he meets make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) who finds the idea exciting, believing he will fit right in. Knowing that if they are to pull this off they need a fake crew and production company. All the back-story and material to make this all seem real. Even going as far as having a script reading at a convention. There is a clear counterbalance between the madness of the idea and the political tension that leans to madness in Iraq, needed to ease the situation. Turning then to find a producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) who would be mad enough to go along with it all. I’m not sure why Arkin was nominated for his supporting role which was more deserved by Bryan Cranston who had more screen-time and was with Mendez the whole way on the operation.
Once the plan is set-out and in motion in Hollywood, it’s time to head over to Iran to meet and train the hostages in order get them out with plausible stories, knowing their aliases inside-out and back to front. There’s a leap of trust that needs to be made by all of them, something that comes easier to some rather than others, especially Joe Stafford (Scoot McNairy) who first persuaded them to leave the U.S. embassy when the riots began. his judgement is questioned when he fails to trust what is essentially their last hope to exit the country alive. If we didn’t have this tension the film would lose its attraction and become predictable. The rest of the hostages are more willing whilst still scared, especially when they go on a location scouting trip where things really heat up for the team.
The sense of danger is always there, even when we don’t see it, we feel it in the other scenes making all the more believable. The look of the film with the blend of new and archive footage is not that of seamless, instead an acknowledgement that this really took place, just being adapted slightly for the screen ratio. Whilst other footage is sewn more seamlessly to create the atmosphere of the time. Of course theirs a sense of nostalgia which goes with any film set in another period, mainly in the fashions and the set design. It all works perfectly.
Why did this win the best picture Oscar then? It was because Hollywood was part of a successful C.I.A mission and they wanted to celebrate that fact, It’s also a fun film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s not too flashy and not too dark. Even with Affleck in the lead role he doesn’t come across as he owns the picture and no one else can touch it It’s about the hostages and how there were saved, giving them ample time. Whilst its competitors which I saw had their strengths, Life of Pi in the art of story telling and the use of C.G.I, whilst Lincoln was a superb depiction of Abraham Lincoln’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) to abolish slavery and end the civil war, it was too long and taxing on the audience with all the speeches which can overshadow the grand and classic performances. Whilst I never saw nor was interested by Zero Dark Thirty, the discussion of torture may have hindered any real prospect of getting that all important award. Leaving it between Argo and Life of Pi for me.
- Ben Affleck’s Argo and the White-Washing of the Mexican-American (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- Ben Affleck Movies: ‘Argo’ Actor to Lead David Fincher’s Adaption of Acclaimed Novel ‘Gone Girl’ (designntrend.com)
- Throwback Thursday: Argo Movie Review (jrr4267.wordpress.com)
- Mini Reviews- ‘Cloud Atlas’, ‘Life of Pi’, ‘Argo’ (filmfanperspective.wordpress.com)
- Argo (2012) (filmoanalysis.wordpress.com)
- Argo (krisguico.wordpress.com)
- Ben Affleck in line for Gone Girl film (guardian.co.uk)
- Argo (2012) (instrublog.wordpress.com)
- Argo (galileo333.wordpress.com)
- Argo (sixdegreesofmariotestino.wordpress.com)
The third and final film that Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper made together, 12 years since they were last seen together in Ball of Fire and Meet John Doe (both 1941). I wish I could say more about their on-screen chemistry they have. What I saw in Blowing Wild (1953) however I can see that sparks flew between the old lovers Jeff Dawson (Cooper) and Marina Conway (Stanwyck) when they meet once more in oil rich Mexico. With old friends Ward ‘Paco’ Conway (Anthony Quinn) and Dutch Peterson (Ward Bond) who get on like a house on fire. Both Dawson and Peterson have now teamed up in hopes if striking it lucky in what becomes bandit country, destroying their chances in that land leaving them both to fend for themselves, what could easily become another The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) unless they found more stable work. Which is harder than it looks.
They eventually bump into old friend Paco who changes the direction of the plot completely to what could be a stable life. Having already made it rich with many claims, all making money for him and his wife Marina who has a love hate relationship with him. And a harsh reminder of Dawson’s past, something he’s not wanting to revisit willingly. Whilst for Marina who will do anything to go back to him.
Throw into the mix a Sal Donnelly (Ruth Roman) a woman who wants to get out of the country, but takes her time in leaving, always turning up around Dawson when he least expects it, always being a gentlemen to her, wanting her to leave the country himself, out of harms way from the bandidio’s who will do anything to reclaim the land that is being taken by the oil tycoons. I was surprised to see what I thought was nothing more than an actress who is in a few supporting roles that we rarely see today. Myself not having seen her since The Far Country (1954).
Sparks start to fly as emotions run high between lusting ex lover Marina who will do anything to have Dawson back in her life. But it’s too late, he’s moved on. Paco knows what is going and begins to crumble under the realisation and the pressure being put on him by the bandidio’s who want money from him. Becoming highly explosive (literally) as the climax begins, leaving everything to play for with Marina who will do anything to have Dawson. A solid romantic film that has something for everyone, it’s not heavy of the romance which is left to Roman to provide, whilst the greed with the oil is taken care of by Quinn in a rare all American role. Whilst Cooper is just good ol’ reliable Cooper who stands strong amongst everything that goes on around him, not giving in easily to his heart this time, wanting to focus on anything but.
- Meet John Doe (myoldaddiction2.wordpress.com)
- Frank Capra – Meet John Doe (mrmovietimes.com)
- Barbara Stanwyck’s Career… in Advertising! (moviemorlocks.com)
- Remember the Stanwyck (thefilmexperience.net)
- The Westerner (mrmovietimes.com)
- Stanwyck / Cagney in THESE WILDER YEARS (aurorasginjoint.com)
- Ball Of Fire (myoldaddiction2.wordpress.com)
- Completely Unscientific Favorite Stanwyck Movie Poll Results (paulascinemaclub.com)
A routine mid 1950′s western for Randolph Scott who in his final hours as town Marshal Calem Ware (Scott) has to stop one more group of men from turning the town back in time to a state of lawlessness. It’s not an easy task for a man who is ending his time as Marshall, wanting to hang up his gun and ride off into the sunset in A Lawless Street (1955) where his past comes back to find him in a different point in his life. In the form of showgirl and estranged wife Tally Dickenson (Angela Lansbury) who herself didn’t expect to find him in town.
When men start to arrive trying their luck to gun down Ware and fail we start to learn whose behind all these attempts on his life are the men who want to re-open the gold mines and have fortunes beyond their wildest dreams. We are never really told why they were closed down. They could have fuelled the crime in Medicine Bend, or the Gold just rand out, all that is left to our imagination.
When one gunfighter Harley Baskam (Michael Pate) arrives to try his luck on the marshal he wants more than his partners are willing to give. They soon give in and the fun really begins as Baskam takes out the marshal in what seems to be an easy shoot-out. Leading to a few days of lawlessness, they buying out of bars in the town, extreme gambling, its a town gone mad.
Little do they know that Baskam’s lucky shot on the marshal wasn’t so lucky, only scratching him. Taken off by his friend Dr. Amos Wynn (Wallace Ford) who nurses him back to health. Whilst over at the theatre estranged wife who had just been reunited with Ware is wanting to leave him once more. Not wanting to share the life of a law-man and the danger that follows him. Soon having a change of heart wanting to be with him once more when she hears of his survival.
A standard mid 1950′s western that has real potential to be so much better, but plays it safe most of the time. The casting of Lansbury in a western is all wrong, even with a pretty face that seems older than her years just doesn’t work for me. Scott as always gives his best throughout in this film, which is yet another film that is part of his decline before being rescued by Sam Peckinpah to end his career on high.
Not all commanders of submarines have to make such hard decisions as Lt. Cmdr. Barney Doyle (Glenn Ford) found out when he was sent to seek out and destroy the carrier that lead the invasion of Pearl Harbour. Now with the added news that Doyles wife and daughter are among U.S. prisoners on another ship close by, action has to be taken in Torpedo Run (1958).
A decision that no officers would take lightly in the face of action and the enemy. At first oblivous to their whereabouts, hoping they had fled to higher ground in Hawaii to avoid capture. Sadly this failed as we later find out much to the disappointment of Doyle who really needs his executive officer Lt. Archer ‘Archie’ Sloan (Ernest Borgnine) by his side during this difficult time during his command of the sub.
They eventually run into the Japanese ship in enemy waters, with another close by with the P.O.W’s close by. There is no hesitation in mind, the enemy has to be destroyed, even with U.S. civilians on-board. A tougher than usual decision that would more than likely kill Doyles family with a few torpedoes.
This is the crux of the film really, the action of killing his family in the lie of duty and war. Dealing with the aftermath of that act, which takes a mighty toll on the officer. Thankfully Archie is there to support him. The crew sympathise with their commanding officer. Both leading men give strong performances throughout. At times the film is quite tense when their ship enters enemy waters, especually around Tokyo Bay which was rarely entered by the U.S. during WWII. A solid film at the right running time too, as to not out stay it’s welcome with the audience.
- Glenn Ford on theRealNews: Zimmerman’s Acquittal Exposes the American Psyches’ Racist Reasoning (punkonomics.org)
- Glenn Ford / William Holden / Texas (myfavoritewesterns.com)
- War Movies over Memorial Day Weekend (tonyalehman.wordpress.com)
I too hadn’t heard of the Bechdel Test which was a tongue and cheek discussion devised by Alison Bechdel as Kermode does a better job of explaining than me. He’s not the only person to discuss the lack of women in lead roles in film today, especially coming out of Hollywood which are releasing more male heavy films. It was thought a few years ago with films such a Bridesmaids and Sex in the City there was going to be an increase in female orientated films. Sadly that didn’t come to pass. I read an article which again discussed this issue, the lack of females in film.
Just what is it that makes females so unmarketable to a wider audience? Is the subject matter too niche for a male audience, or is it that the profit margins are so healthy? I’m leaning towards the latter myself. Looking at today’s crop of actresses, I can think of more the established ones who have been around since the 1990′s who made romantic comedies which gave them work and position of power and standing to make more films, most importantly longevity.
Basinger at Wesleyan says that old studio system would find and groom young actresses, giving them roles in films that over time would build into a body of work, making stars out of them and a career. With the loss of that, the market has become more competitive, relying on agents and the profitability of the actresses last film, their track record. Plus the fact its easier to market a male orientated film.
The subject matter of female orientated films are more talky, more emotional, and about personal issues. May not be my preference, but there is an audience out there just not as big as the money makers want it to be. It seems now that actresses who once used to fight it out in films like All About Eve (1950) now take on more male roles in films like The Heat (2013). Do we really want to see women act like men, instead of being more natural in feistier films which have more substance? Only time will tell what audiences want and get from Hollywood who are more bothered about the the homogeneity of the blockbuster with so many explosions and C.G.I. sequences etc. to bring in millions of billions of dollars.
A little late in coming, delayed by my time at work. The wait to view A Field in (2013) all the better. One of the most anticipated British films oft the year, having a multiple release, in cinemas, on DVD and Blu-Ray, and of course of TV nearly 2 weeks ago. It’s thought that the experiment of multiple release was a success, giving the audience the choice of how to view this independent film. Of course the model wouldn’t work for a bigger budget film that relies more on the takings it takes in cinemas. Hopefully it will be rolled out for smaller films here in the U.K.
Now onto the film itself set during the English Civil War, a subject that is rarely used in film today. I am personally more aware of the American Civil War, due to my passion for Westerns. That aside the action is not within the conflict, instead following a coward Whitehead (Reece Shearsmith) who is saved from certain death by his commanding officers by a band of soldiers who themselves have fled the conflict. Its a reunion of Wheatley’s best actors who appear together in this black and white spectacular. First walking across the vast fields of the English countryside on their way to an ale house, an idea of Richard Glovers un-named character, which the others go along with. Until they come across a beautifully crafted stake in the ground where a rope takes them to the last and most fierce of all men to grace Wheatley’s world; O’Neil (Michael Smiley) who takes control with his own ideas of how to treat the coward in the gang of men. Now the visual feast really begin. Already having our minds opened to what is possible just by being in a field, nature is very important to the style of the film creating the surreal world that we enter when we sit down to view this trippy piece of work. Something that could blow the mind if you were not to blink. There are times when the visuals take over, making no sense, injected by the magic mushrooms they all take sending us into a world madness.
Ben Wheatley has produced a real experimental piece, moving the action from a contemporary setting to what is a far off memory in our countries past. A real break from his other films that have been intense in terms of the violence. Here the direction has moved to be more visual, playing with our perception of reality, what is possible with the fabric of film, without being too clever. No flashy C.G.I has been used, only where necessary to create the illusion of the hallucination that Whitehead experiences. At times it feels as if time itself is being manipulated, slowing it down to see what is possible.
- Ben Wheatley dares to be different with the release of A Field in England (metro.co.uk)
- A Field In England’s mix of vivid dreams and magic mushrooms is brilliantly baffling (metro.co.uk)
- Preview: A Field In England (visualbinge.wordpress.com)
- Review: A Field in England (thepopcornmuncher.wordpress.com)
- Film Review: A Field in England – Ben Wheatley’s glorius low-budget Civil War drama (independent.co.uk)
- A Field In England (2013) (justoutsidetheframe.wordpress.com)
- Film Review | A Field in England (thejournalist.ie)
- Wheatley ‘overwhelmed’ with reaction (bbc.co.uk)
- Is Ben Wheatley’s ‘A Field in England’ The Finest British Movie of 2013? (contactmusic.com)
- Review: A Field In England (cihannarin.com)
Billed as the film that introduced Gregory Peck into the world of film, and what an opening, with a cast of unknowns, most of who we still don’t really know Days of Glory (1944) is a strong war film set in war-torn Russia, as a group of guerilla soldiers fight off the Nazis as they make their way across the vast country. Another country who will not give up easily to the will of the invading force.
It’s obvious now that the rest of the supporting cast are in place mainly to support Peck who bright-eyed and bushy-tailed enters straight into the leading man role with real passion that we have come to know and love over the years. Looking over his long career he made close to 60 films, far less than some of his colleagues. Either through choice of his own or the studios that wanted him. We see a man of courage and of course great looks that allow him to fit in with ease with the cast. Opposite Tamara Toumanova as the love interest who gets caught up in the conflict. We first meet her long after we have met the rest of the guerilla group who had finished another mission.
Having been made and released towards the end of the war the action is actually quite brutal for its time when they hit the field of action fighting the oncoming tanks as they engage and retreat. You really start to care for these characters and their cause for freedom from the oppressive Nazis who have no right to be there. There are times when the action could easily go anyway for the group.
Made at a time when the U.S. were actually allies and getting on, a chance to show their support for their allies as they were fighting off the Germans. There are no loose ends in this film, the brother sister relationship and lovers are the focus away from the action outside. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from in a country that is occupied, your life is affected, forcing you to fight or give up. None of these gave up without a fight.