baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
I'm having a bit of fun listing all the films and series I've watched and rewatched in 2009. So far I must say that autumn has been more relaxed than spring (wherein April and May were a bit absurd).

The only downside is that I set an adjacent goal of writing a bit of a blurb about most of the films, but so far I'm not even half way. So I'd thought I do some mini write-ups about some of the films, and at least make some progress.


Any excuse to put up a picture of Cary Grant. Here from Only Angels have Wings


Paris is Burning

The film adapts a documentary style when narrating the last few days before the Allied liberation of Paris in 1944. Problem is that the film has followed in the footsteps of The Longest Day and other luminaries, and so all the parts are played by famous actors. You're left with the impression that Alain Delon, Jean Paul Belmondo and Leslie Caron all worked for the French Resistance - or more precisely you stop caring about the story and start actor-spotting instead.+++ )

Home of the Brave

The only times I truly dislike my work is when I have to watch bad films. And by bad I mean "films' that aren't even entertainingly bad, just plain awful." Home of the Brave is one of those. +++ )

Red River

John Wayne and Montgomery Clift drive cattle, while being manly men who quarrel over manly things - like, apparently, cattle. To be honest the film is very good, its just that it is a Howard Hawkes' action picture and I've never managed to engage with those (as opposed to his comedies such as His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby). +++ )

Only Angels Have Wings
+++ )

Hotel Rwanda

This was a rewatch, and considering the film's material not a very pleasant one. But one thing struck med then, and even more so now and that is the bitter irony inherent in the film's message.+++ )

-----
Films watched in 2009.
baleanoptera: (BoB Lewis)

From Ken Burns' The War


The Battle of Midway

During World War II director John Ford to a break from directing epic westerns starring John Wayne and devoted himself to making propaganda documentaries. The most famous of these was the twenty minutes long colour film The Battle of Midway:
video under cut )

The film is famous for its actual combat footage, particularly the way the camera shakes with the impacts of the blasts and how shots of the soldiers are predominantly close-ups due to the need to stick together during the bombardment. Both the shaky camera and the close-ups were later employed by Steven Spielberg in the Omaha beach landing in Saving Private Ryan, and later in Band of Brothers, particularly in the episodes Day of Days and crossroads. ++++ )

Ken Burn's The War

In Ford's The Battle of Midway the images tell the main story, but they are effectively complemented by the rhetoric of various voiceovers. A repeated phrase is how the soldiers are from this town, or that town or "any other American town". At one point the narrators says: "men and women of American. Here comes your neighbor's son", combined with mentions of the name of the various soldiers we see close-ups of. It all helps create a personal, intimate feeling that seems to confirm the film's claim that "this is our front yard". The reason I find this interesting is that Ken Burns in his documentary The War does exactly the same thing. ++++ )
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


A vintage WPA Federal Art Project poster from New York about tuberculosis. From 1941.

And I thought the swine flu scare was bad.

larger image under cut )

from Vintagraph
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
3:10 to Yuma

At one point in 3:10 to Yuma Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is beaten repeatedly in the face with a shotgun. The guy hitting him is enraged to the point that the others almost have to drag him away, and when they do we see dark blood trickle out of Wade’s mouth and down his chin.

And then....that’s it. )


Quo Vadis

This is one of those epic sword and sandal epics, with Romans in tiny skirts and women with anachronistic hairstyles. Since Quo Vadis is from 1951, the women sport 1950’s hairstyles – except the evil empress who looks like something out of sci-fi film. The men are very good at posing, the women’s breasts are very pointy, and the Technicolor is as garish and wonderful as the rest of the film. I cannot help it – I love these old films with their flim-flam approach to history and boasts of "A cast of thousands!"


The story is simple )

Francesco, guillare di Dio

If 3:10 to Yuma couldn’t decide when it wanted realism to apply and when it didn’t, and where Quo Vadis possibly went looking for realism in all the wrong places then Roberto Rossellini decides to approach realism from a completely different angel; by casting monks from Nocere Inferiore monastery as St. Francis and his brothers.The film deals with )

Where Eagles Dare

Where Eagles Dare doesn’t bother with realism. In fact Where Eagles Dare laughs realism in the face and then has Clint Eastwood shoot it with a sub-machine gun. Based on a book and script by Alistair McLean the film is supposedly set during World War II. To be honest it could be set during any war and any conflict, but I suppose the Nazis make for smashing villains. There is a plot – of sorts. Truthfully I cannot sum it up better than the film’s tagline:
They look like Nazis but . . . The Major is British . . . The Lieutenant is American . . . The Beautiful Frauleins are Allied Agents!
If you to that add a castle )
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
3:10 to Yuma

At one point in 3:10 to Yuma Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is beaten repeatedly in the face with a shotgun. The guy hitting him is enraged to the point that the others almost have to drag him away, and when they do we see dark blood trickle out of Wade’s mouth and down his chin.

And then....that’s it. )


Quo Vadis

This is one of those epic sword and sandal epics, with Romans in tiny skirts and women with anachronistic hairstyles. Since Quo Vadis is from 1951, the women sport 1950’s hairstyles – except the evil empress who looks like something out of sci-fi film. The men are very good at posing, the women’s breasts are very pointy, and the Technicolor is as garish and wonderful as the rest of the film. I cannot help it – I love these old films with their flim-flam approach to history and boasts of "A cast of thousands!"


The story is simple )

Francesco, guillare di Dio

If 3:10 to Yuma couldn’t decide when it wanted realism to apply and when it didn’t, and where Quo Vadis possibly went looking for realism in all the wrong places then Roberto Rossellini decides to approach realism from a completely different angel; by casting monks from Nocere Inferiore monastery as St. Francis and his brothers.The film deals with )

Where Eagles Dare

Where Eagles Dare doesn’t bother with realism. In fact Where Eagles Dare laughs realism in the face and then has Clint Eastwood shoot it with a sub-machine gun. Based on a book and script by Alistair McLean the film is supposedly set during World War II. To be honest it could be set during any war and any conflict, but I suppose the Nazis make for smashing villains. There is a plot – of sorts. Truthfully I cannot sum it up better than the film’s tagline:
They look like Nazis but . . . The Major is British . . . The Lieutenant is American . . . The Beautiful Frauleins are Allied Agents!
If you to that add a castle )
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)
The Dirty Dozen is one of those films that claim to be about World War II, but none of the historical events of this war is actually central to the films plot. I always feel that all The Dirty Dozen really wants is a war scenario, and it chooses WWII simply because it is easy, at the time of the film’s production already mythified and because the Nazis make great villains.The plot is simple.. )



Tora! Tora! Tora! is somewhat the opposite to The Dirty Dozen, in that it takes its strive for historical accuracy so to heart that it adopts an almost documentary style. The film is a Japanese & American co-production about the attack on Pearl Harbour.++++ )

My favourite scene in Amarcord is when the Fascists hold a rally, and as part of the celebration they run around the town all while talking to the camera about how glorious everything is. In the background is giant head of Mussolini that looks like something out of Monty Python cartoon. It all looks terribly silly and you find yourself laughing at the strange fascists. Then a quick turn of events later ++++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)
The Dirty Dozen is one of those films that claim to be about World War II, but none of the historical events of this war is actually central to the films plot. I always feel that all The Dirty Dozen really wants is a war scenario, and it chooses WWII simply because it is easy, at the time of the film’s production already mythified and because the Nazis make great villains.The plot is simple.. )



Tora! Tora! Tora! is somewhat the opposite to The Dirty Dozen, in that it takes its strive for historical accuracy so to heart that it adopts an almost documentary style. The film is a Japanese & American co-production about the attack on Pearl Harbour.++++ )

My favourite scene in Amarcord is when the Fascists hold a rally, and as part of the celebration they run around the town all while talking to the camera about how glorious everything is. In the background is giant head of Mussolini that looks like something out of Monty Python cartoon. It all looks terribly silly and you find yourself laughing at the strange fascists. Then a quick turn of events later ++++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)


Saints and Soldiers

Saints and Soldiers is a low budget film that tells the story of four American soldiers and one Brit who tries to get back to the Allies, after escaping the massacre of Malmedy. The film was made in 2003, and the aesthetics of the film makes me believe it was very much inspired by Band of Brothers. The fact that it takes place during The Battle of the Bulge intensifies the similarities. There is even a troubled medic as one of the main characters, but this medic is far more cynical than Doc Roe.The film, as the title suggests.. )

Young Lions

Somewhere in Young Lions there is the story of World War II, but it is one of those war films that uses WWII as a backdrop for moral reflection more than a historical re-enactment. At least I think that is the films intention. Sometimes it is hard to say.. Apparently Irwin Shaw... )

In Harm's way

In some sense this is "John Wayne does the Pacific", but the saving grace is that he does it well. Directed by Otto Preminger and starring pretty much everyone from Kirk Douglas, Dana Andrews to Henry Fonda, and is one of those solid pictures where you go "oooh..that was an interesting turn of events" or "Where have I seen this guy before?". I like those kind of pictures, and so I really liked In Harm's Way. The story starts with Pearl Harbour.. )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)


Saints and Soldiers

Saints and Soldiers is a low budget film that tells the story of four American soldiers and one Brit who tries to get back to the Allies, after escaping the massacre of Malmedy. The film was made in 2003, and the aesthetics of the film makes me believe it was very much inspired by Band of Brothers. The fact that it takes place during The Battle of the Bulge intensifies the similarities. There is even a troubled medic as one of the main characters, but this medic is far more cynical than Doc Roe.The film, as the title suggests.. )

Young Lions

Somewhere in Young Lions there is the story of World War II, but it is one of those war films that uses WWII as a backdrop for moral reflection more than a historical re-enactment. At least I think that is the films intention. Sometimes it is hard to say.. Apparently Irwin Shaw... )

In Harm's way

In some sense this is "John Wayne does the Pacific", but the saving grace is that he does it well. Directed by Otto Preminger and starring pretty much everyone from Kirk Douglas, Dana Andrews to Henry Fonda, and is one of those solid pictures where you go "oooh..that was an interesting turn of events" or "Where have I seen this guy before?". I like those kind of pictures, and so I really liked In Harm's Way. The story starts with Pearl Harbour.. )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


Max Manus is a film about the Norwegian Resistance fighter and saboteur by the same name. He was part of the resistance group based in the capital during the Second World War, and his main task was to plant bombs and blow things up - be it supply ships or registers used by the Nazi bureaucracy. The film based on his exploits premièred in Norway just before Christmas, and quickly became one of the highest grossing films in Norwegian history. We do love our history in this country - particularly WWII.

++++ )

Flammen og Citronen

Apparently Scandinavia is caught up in a trend of producing excellent films about WWII. This is fine by me. This is the Danish film Flammen og Citronen (it means the Flame and the Lemon, the aliases of main characters), and deals with the part of the Danish resistance that effected liquidations of Danes suspected to be collaborators. spoilers )

The Kingdom

Perhaps I should have known better than to watch a Peter Berg film about an FBI team investigating a terrorist attack on the American compound in Saudia Arabia – aka The Kingdom. But the mean fact is I had to. You see the Kingdom claims to fall under the banner war films, and therefore watching it was part of my job.

Thankfully The Kingdom isn’t one of those "so bad I want to stab my eyes out to avoid the pain" type of films. But it is a bit peculiar.+++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


Max Manus is a film about the Norwegian Resistance fighter and saboteur by the same name. He was part of the resistance group based in the capital during the Second World War, and his main task was to plant bombs and blow things up - be it supply ships or registers used by the Nazi bureaucracy. The film based on his exploits premièred in Norway just before Christmas, and quickly became one of the highest grossing films in Norwegian history. We do love our history in this country - particularly WWII.

++++ )

Flammen og Citronen

Apparently Scandinavia is caught up in a trend of producing excellent films about WWII. This is fine by me. This is the Danish film Flammen og Citronen (it means the Flame and the Lemon, the aliases of main characters), and deals with the part of the Danish resistance that effected liquidations of Danes suspected to be collaborators. spoilers )

The Kingdom

Perhaps I should have known better than to watch a Peter Berg film about an FBI team investigating a terrorist attack on the American compound in Saudia Arabia – aka The Kingdom. But the mean fact is I had to. You see the Kingdom claims to fall under the banner war films, and therefore watching it was part of my job.

Thankfully The Kingdom isn’t one of those "so bad I want to stab my eyes out to avoid the pain" type of films. But it is a bit peculiar.+++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (BoB Lipton)
I find these images more than a bit eerie, and quite fascinating:

Old photos from the WWII siege of Leningrad photoshoped and blended in with modern day images of St. Petersburg.


++++++ )
All images from this site.
baleanoptera: (BoB Lipton)
I find these images more than a bit eerie, and quite fascinating:

Old photos from the WWII siege of Leningrad photoshoped and blended in with modern day images of St. Petersburg.


++++++ )
All images from this site.
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)
First real sneak peak at the series The Pacific, aka the new WWII series by the team that made Band of Brothers. Due for release in 2010. Why, yes - I am excited.

As far as I know it is based on Eugene B. Sledge's book "With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa" which is pretty good as far as WWII-memoires go.

The Pacific )
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)
First real sneak peak at the series The Pacific, aka the new WWII series by the team that made Band of Brothers. Due for release in 2010. Why, yes - I am excited.

As far as I know it is based on Eugene B. Sledge's book "With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa" which is pretty good as far as WWII-memoires go.

The Pacific )

war cinema

Oct. 23rd, 2008 09:46 pm
baleanoptera: (BoB Roe Skulking)
Despite the insane workload I do love my current situation. The best thing is that I have an excellent excuse to watch movies. The worst part is that I have to watch movies. Particularly war movies. And if you’ve suspected that there are a lot of bad war films out there then I can assure you that this suspicion is correct.

The last one I dragged myself through was The Battle of the Bulge )

Memphis Belle )

The Thin Red Line )

war cinema

Oct. 23rd, 2008 09:46 pm
baleanoptera: (BoB Roe Skulking)
Despite the insane workload I do love my current situation. The best thing is that I have an excellent excuse to watch movies. The worst part is that I have to watch movies. Particularly war movies. And if you’ve suspected that there are a lot of bad war films out there then I can assure you that this suspicion is correct.

The last one I dragged myself through was The Battle of the Bulge )

Memphis Belle )

The Thin Red Line )
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)
I’ve watched a ton of films lately, but I haven’t posted about any of them – and I’ve pondered a bit why that is. Today, after finishing a far too thick and comprehensive anthology about film criticism I struck upon a possible answer. It’s all the film theories fault.

For instance this is what one theorist said in regards to romantic films (or genres of indeterminate space as he calls them. Don’t ask.):

[...]These genres rely upon a progression from romantic antagonism to eventual embrace. The kiss or embrace signals the integration of the couple into the larger cultural community.

I’ve come to suspect that theories like this work in direct opposition to my enjoyment of the film. I mean would you want to contemplate the integration in the cultural community when all you really want to do is watch Mr. Thornton kiss Margareth?

But at any rate, I’ve decided to get my act together, and actually write a bit about all the films I see:


Harakiri (1962)
poster )

Two things you should now about this film:

1. I think it is possibly one of the best films I have ever seen.
2. I’m a bit loathed to talk about the plot, because there are some twists and turns that really work best if you’re unspoiled.

The story starts with the ronin Hanshiro Tsugumo (played brilliantly by Tatsuya Nakadai) one day showing up at the house of the feudal lord Saito, and asking for a suitable place to commit Harakiri. While readying for his suicide Tsugumo starts to tell the lord his story, and slowly but surely we learn the reason behind his actions.
+++++ )


Ni Livor Nine Lives (1957)
poster )

This is a Norwegian film detailing events during the German occupation of World War II. I don’t usually watch Norwegian films, as they are often uniformly bad. (and if you think – silly me, how bad can they be, then picture a film containing a fifteen minuets long, graphic sex scene on top of live herring! And if you picture watching that film with your class and an extremely religious teacher then you have a bit of my embarrassed youth to go with) But back to Nine Lives, which has the distinction of being not bad. In fact it is very, very good.

It details the exploits of the resistance fighter Jan Baalsrud, who has the rather unfortunate fate of being on the run from the Nazis in rural North Norway. As a result of this he gets to swin across an icy fjord while being shot at, and in one particularly memorable scene cut of his own toes because they have become infected with frostbite. And that is just the first half of the movie. ++++ )
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)
I’ve watched a ton of films lately, but I haven’t posted about any of them – and I’ve pondered a bit why that is. Today, after finishing a far too thick and comprehensive anthology about film criticism I struck upon a possible answer. It’s all the film theories fault.

For instance this is what one theorist said in regards to romantic films (or genres of indeterminate space as he calls them. Don’t ask.):

[...]These genres rely upon a progression from romantic antagonism to eventual embrace. The kiss or embrace signals the integration of the couple into the larger cultural community.

I’ve come to suspect that theories like this work in direct opposition to my enjoyment of the film. I mean would you want to contemplate the integration in the cultural community when all you really want to do is watch Mr. Thornton kiss Margareth?

But at any rate, I’ve decided to get my act together, and actually write a bit about all the films I see:


Harakiri (1962)
poster )

Two things you should now about this film:

1. I think it is possibly one of the best films I have ever seen.
2. I’m a bit loathed to talk about the plot, because there are some twists and turns that really work best if you’re unspoiled.

The story starts with the ronin Hanshiro Tsugumo (played brilliantly by Tatsuya Nakadai) one day showing up at the house of the feudal lord Saito, and asking for a suitable place to commit Harakiri. While readying for his suicide Tsugumo starts to tell the lord his story, and slowly but surely we learn the reason behind his actions.
+++++ )


Ni Livor Nine Lives (1957)
poster )

This is a Norwegian film detailing events during the German occupation of World War II. I don’t usually watch Norwegian films, as they are often uniformly bad. (and if you think – silly me, how bad can they be, then picture a film containing a fifteen minuets long, graphic sex scene on top of live herring! And if you picture watching that film with your class and an extremely religious teacher then you have a bit of my embarrassed youth to go with) But back to Nine Lives, which has the distinction of being not bad. In fact it is very, very good.

It details the exploits of the resistance fighter Jan Baalsrud, who has the rather unfortunate fate of being on the run from the Nazis in rural North Norway. As a result of this he gets to swin across an icy fjord while being shot at, and in one particularly memorable scene cut of his own toes because they have become infected with frostbite. And that is just the first half of the movie. ++++ )

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