Movie Review: Dunkirk

Producers: Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Plot: As the Allied troops are stuck at Dunkirk France the people of Britain gather together the boats and ships they have and sail to France to rescue the soldiers stranded on the coast of France.

I am going to say something that is probably going to get me castigated but I am going to say it anyway. Dunkirk could have been better. When I compare this movie to others of a similar genre there is something missing in this movie. And I want to say that it’s the comradeship. Watching this movie I see an attitude of wanting to be out of the war expressed by the soldiers. The sense of purpose, of why they are fighting against the Nazi forces, doesn’t appear in the soldiers rather it is in the older men, the civilians those who came to save the soldiers they know why they must stop the Nazi forces.

That is not to that there isn’t some good scenes in the movie, some of the best takes place on the small boat with the father, his son, and the son’s school friend.

But overall I didn’t enjoy this movie. I am going to give it three stars.


Balcony closed

I am going to be watching a few movies on the weekend and write a review but for now the balcony is closed.

Movie Review:  Meet John Doe

Priducer:  Frank Capra
Director:  Frank Capra
Writer:  Robert Presnell, Sr.
Cast: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan, Spring Byington, James Gleason, Gene Lockhart, Rod La Rocque, Irving Bacon, Regis Toomey, J. Farrell MacDonald, Harry Holman, Warren Hymer, Pierre Watkin, Sterling Holloway, and Harry Davenport

I find that there is “nothing new under the sun” case in point Frank Capra’s marvelous movie is about fake news.   

Ann Mitchell (Barbara Stanwyck) furious that she is loosing her job after the newspaper she works for has been purchased and informed that she still must write one last column for the paper writes a fictional account of an unemployed “John Doe” who disgusted by society’s ills threatens to commit suicide on Christmas Eve in protest.  

This letter causes an uproar amongst the city’s elites who demand that something be done about this horrendous affair.  The rival newspaper claims that it is all a fraud and demands proof.  When Ann Mitchell is brought before the owner and the editor she admits that she made it all up.  

Pointing out that this would be a great way to sell more papers by having a column “written” by John Doe exposing the ills of society the owner agrees seeking to use the column for his own means.  But they need a patsy.  And in walks a perfect one Long John Willoughby (Gary Cooper) a former baseball player and tramp looking to earn some money to fix his arm so he can go back to playing baseball.  

Ann Mitchell starts writing the columns and even gets John to read a speech on the radio.  But being convicted by his friend “The Colonel” (Walter Brennan) he runs away and rides the rails with “The Colonel” until they come to a small town where he, John, is recognized as John Doe.  There he learns that regular people inspired by his speech are going out and helping their neighbors and have set up “John Doe club”.  

These clubs spread across the country and the owner of the Newspaper that started all of this plans to use them as a means to run the country and get his own political agenda into the government.  When John finds out about this and threatens to expose them he responds that he is prepared for that contingency and will ruin it all.  John’s reply needs to be seen to be appreciated.

This is a great family movie and one that can bring up good conversations regarding what newspapers, indeed any news organization, owes to the people who rely on them for what is the news and what is happening in the world.  

I give this movie five stars.  

Movie Review: The Red Pill

Producers:  Evan Davies, Cassie Jaye, Nena Jaye, Anna Laclergue
Director: Cassie Jaye

The Red Pill, based on that famous quote from The Matrix:

You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

was Cassie Jaye’s film on the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM). Jaye who was an ardent feminist and a director of feminist documentaries believed that she was investigating a hate group.

  However, after actually meeting both men and women who are involved in the MRM she comes to realize that what the movement is more about is looking at issues facing men and boys such as male suicide rates, workplace fatalities and high-risk jobs, military conscription, lack of services for male victims of domestic violence and rape, higher rates of violent victimization, issues concerning divorce and child custody, disparity in criminal sentencing, disproportionate funding and research on men’s health issues, educational inequality, societal tolerance of misandry, circumcision and men’s lack of reproductive rights.

As she investigates the group and it’s issues she begins to rethink her views about feminism and what it represents and who exactly is the patriarchy.  

My main problem with this film isn’t the subject rather it seems to meander a bit and at times I wasn’t sure what was going on.  But the film does bring up important issues and shows the way the MRM is protested against.  

This is not a family friendly film.  There is profanity, you see a circumcision done to a baby.  So be aware. You can find this film on some streaming services with the exception of Netflix.  I give this film three and a half stars.  

Movie Review: Thor Ragnarok.

Producer: Kevin Feige
Director: Taika Waititi
Writers:Eric Pearson,Craig Kyle,Christopher Yost
Cast: Chris Hemsworth,Tom Hiddleston,Cate Blanchett,Idris Elba,Jeff Goldblum,Tessa Thompson,Karl Urban,Mark Ruffalo,Anthony Hopkins

Plot:  Thor has been scouring the nine realms trying to locate infinity stones having no luck.  He has been captured by the fire demon Surtur who reveals to Thor the prophecy of Ragnarok where Surtur will destroy Asgard by placing his crown into Odin’s eternal flame.  Surtur also reveals that Odin is no longer in Asgard.  Thor escapes taking Surtur’s crown with him in an effort to prevent the Ragnarok prophecy from coming true.

When Thor returns to Asgard he finds Loki, who everyone thought had died, pretending to be Odin.  Thor forces Loki to take him to Odin.  When they arrive on Earth, because why would Loki hide him any where else, Dr. Strange snatches both of the Asgardians and after he questions Thor about why they are on Earth he sends both Loki and Thor to where Odin is.  Once they arrive Odin reveals that he is dying and that his daughter, Hela, whom he has kept imprisoned will be released and that she will destroy the nine realms.  

And as Odin dies Hela is released she destroys Thor’s hammer, and chases Thor and Loki as they run back to Asgard she throws both off Bifröst Bridge to die in space.  Once she arrives at Asgard she kills the warriors three and enslaves the population by ressurecting the dead warriors that once followed her along with Fenris the giant wolf she rode into battle.

Thor has not perished in space but has tumbled through a wormhole to land in a junkyard planet where he is captured by a drunken scrapper who takes him to become a gladiator in the Grandmaster’s games.  There he finds that the champion of the games is none other than the Hulk and that Loki has been there weeks before he arrived.  

And go see the movie if you want to know how it ends.  

This was a very enjoyable movie much better than the second movie, there was quite a bit of humor and slapstick mostly with Thor and Loki.  The only complaint that I heard from a person who also watched it was that it lacked emotional depth.  After all Thor had just lost both his father and the source of his power and there didn’t seem to be hardly anything in the movie that examined this aspect.  And I think that is a valid point.  

Yet despite that most would say that this is an enjoyable movie and I would agree with that evaluation.  I don’t know that I would see it twice but I definitely would spend a matinee price to see it.

Lots of violence, so keep that in mind, and Hulk naked, rear view which really didn’t need to be there.  I am giving this three stars out of five.

Movie Review: The Foriegner

Director: Martin Campbell
Producers: Jackie Chan, Wayne Marc Godfrey, D. Scott Lumpkin, Jamie Marshall, Arthur M. Sarkissian
Writer: David Marconi
Based on The Chinaman by Stephen Leather
Cast: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Ray Fearon, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Stephen Hogan, Michael McElhatton, Katie Leung, Simon Kunz, Dermot Crowley

Plot: Jackie Chan plays Ngoc Minh Quan an elderly (60 year old) business man who while taking his teenage daughter, the only family left to him, to a dress shop in London looks in horror as her life is taken away from him by an IRA terrorist bomb.   Determined to get justice for his daughter he bothers the police every day even offering them money if they will only get the men responsible.  Rebuffed by the police his attention becomes focused on an Irish Deputy Minister Liam Hennessy, played by Pierce Brosnan, who boasts of his supposedly former ties to the IRA, and at the same time condemns the bombing.  Quan confronts Hennessy in his office insisting that he knows who did the bombing, Hennessy denies it and has Quan escorted out of his office.  Quan leave, but as he leaves he created a bomb out of household chemicals and plants it in the bathroom of Hennessy’s office.  It exploded harming no one but shaking up Hennessy.

This is where we learn that Quan was a former special forces commando and he is going to put all his training to work in order to get Hennessy to tell him who the terrorists are and where they are.  What follows is a cat and mouse game where Quan slowly but surely shows Hennessy that he can’t be stopped.

This is the first serious movie that I have seen Jackie Chan in as typically there is a bit of humor in his various martial arts movies.  Not in this one.  He plays a man with nothing left to lose, a man whose reason for living has been replaced by revenge and he will go to any extreme to achieve it.  

Also Jackie Chan plays it realistic in this regarding the fighting scenes.  He isn’t slugging it out and winning against fitter and younger men.  Instead he uses cunning and stealth because he knows that is what would work. 

Both Chan and Brosnan play well against each other.  And I can’t say which was the better actor in this both brought their A game to the film.  If you get a chance to see this definitely do so I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

This is rated R and so it isn’t appropriate for the younger audience.  Definitely adults.  I give this four stars out of five. 

Movie Review: All the pretty horses

Producer:  Robert Salerno, Billy Bob Thornton
Director:  Billy Bob Thornton
Writer:  Ted Tally
Based On: All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Cast:  Matt Damon, Jesse Plemons, Penélope Cruz, Henry Thomas, Lucas Black, Ruben Blades, Robert Patrick, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Míriam Colón, Bruce Dern, Sam Shepard

Based upon one of the most popular books by Cormac McCarthy ‘All the pretty horses’ tells the story of three young men (Matt Damon, Henry Thomas, and Lucas Black) in the 1940’s who after hearing all the tales of cowboying in Texas leave their home to cross the border and work on a ranch in Mexico.  

The youngest of the three youths, played by Lucas Black, is only 13 years old and is separated from them soon after they enter Mexico.  The two young men hire on with a wealthy rancher ( Ruben Blades), and Matt Damon proves his worth by breaking the wild horses he owns.  He also romances the rancher’s daughter (Penélope Cruz) much to the ire of her father.  He throws them in jail, where they meet up with their thirteen year old companion who has killed a man.  

This is what I would call a ‘New Western’ it has the elements of what a classic western contains but with a more modern feel.  There is a slight distopian feel to this movie a despair at a loss for the way of life that can’t be brought back.  

I do like this movie even if it does evoke a schadenfreude feeling in me and I am giving it three stars out of five.  

Shout out to W W Sorrells for suggesting this movie to me.

Movie Review: Arsenic and Old Lace

Producer:  Frank Capra, Jack L. Warner
Director:  Frank Capra
Writers:  Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein
Cast:  Cary Grant, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre, Priscilla Lane, John Alexander, Jack Carson, John Ridgely, Edward McNamara, James Gleason, Edward Everett Horton, Grant Mitchell, Vaughan Glaser, Chester Clute, Edward McWade, Garry Owen, Charles Lane, Hank Mann, Spencer Charters

Plot:  Poor Mortimer Brewster, (Cary Grant), all he wants to do is marry the love of his life, (Priscilla Lane) and take her to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon when he finds out the secret that his aunts (Josephine Hull, Jean Adair) have been keeping in the basement.  Seems the aunts have taken it upon themselves to reduce the population of older lonely men in town the upshot being there are twelve graves in the basement of their house.  

Throw into this mix the aunt’s brother, who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt, and insists on blowing a bugle as he runs up the stairs yelling “Charge!” And Mortimer’s psychopathic brother, Jonathan, (Raymond Massey) whose brought his own personal plastic surgeon with him. Dr. Einstein, (Peter Lorre) a neurotic quack who can only operate while intoxicated.  How Mortimer survives this menagerie and learns the best news of his life is what makes this film one of my fifty must watch movies.  

Frank Capra’s dark comedy is truly one of the best examples of the genre and rarely matched by similar movies labelled as such.  Cary Grant is perfect as the much put upon Mortimer.  Josephine Hull and Jean Adair play the sweet deadly old ladies to the tee, having that “surprised by all the fuss” look upon themselves most of the time.  Raymond Massey’s performance is on par with Grant’s playing the cold craziness that he does so we’ll.  All in all a great movie with just the right touch of sinister to make this the perfect movie for a Halloween movie night.  

This gets five stars out of five.

Movie Reviews

So I am thinking about doing what I would call my fifty great classic movies.  Many of these are from what is called the golden age of Hollywood.  But it won’t be exclusive to that era.  So I am formulating a list and will take suggestions.  Stay tuned.