Movie Review #8254 CHURCHILL.
Biopic sliver covering the days immediately prior to the D-Day invasion of World War II, told from the perspective of one Winston Churchill.
The man was pinned with failure at Gallipoli and obviously very keen not to be so again so the friction between him and Eisenhower and Montgomery over battle plans for Operation Overlord as it was known, is explored with much depth.
Also investigated is his relationship with Mrs Churchill as she attempts to bring reason to a mind skewed with fear of repeating failure. Sporting a bullying personality, Churchill attempts to steamroller all and sundry into adopting his plan but when it takes the intervention of royalty to bring him to his senses, he finally realises just what is at stake.
Whether this is the way it happened I dunno but it makes for an interesting couple of tense hours albeit somewhat tedious in parts. Brian Cox is an adequate Churchill with Miranda Richardson his long-suffering spouse, Clementine (almost didn't recognize her!). James Purefoy does a great turn as George VI, who is the only one Churchill will acquiesce to in the end.
One for the art house crowd especially those with an interest in WWII history but I think the garden-variety moviegoer will find it all a bit overbearing. 7/10.
Movie Review #2985 DUNKIRK.
Long awaited, much anticipated rendering of the British Army's evacuation of its expeditionary force from France in 1940.
Told from the perspectives of a soldier on the beach, a Spitfire pilot, a naval commander & a civilian boat skipper, it is powerful in its simplicity, much like The Battle of Britain from 1969. The depictions are as authentic as you're gonna get apart from a few Dunkirk buildings which looked more 1960s than 1940s and I believe the Spitfires were quite real as opposed to CGI.
Harry Styles of boy band One Direction heads a cast that boasts a mixture of heavy weights in Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy spliced in with a bunch of unknowns some of whom I'm sure won't be unknown for too much longer based on performances here.
Not overly long, it wraps up with all of our central figures surviving the fray and doesn't tug on heartstrings by dispatching any of them. It also avoids the shock elements of war depiction a la Saving Private Ryan and Hacksaw Ridge, bringing a straightforwarded-ness that enhances the proceedings by not requiring the customary blood-and-guts-ism of previous outings.
No real standout performances however Messrs Branagh and Rylance do bring a dominating screen presence as did the One Directionist.
Strongly recommend as historically informative as it is entertaining so to coin a phrase, its a 9/10 from me.
Movie Review #777 THE SHACK.
Long awaited movie version of William P Young's novel of the same name sees Sam Worthington as Mac, a grieving father who is invited to spend time at the shack where his daughter was brutally murdered.
Thing is the invite is from none other than God himself, portrayed as an older African American woman and beautifully played by Octavia Spencer. He also encounters representations of Christ & the Holy Spirit thus completing his weekend with the Trinity and as a result, finds himself sending plenty of missiles their way in order to make sense of his grief.
However he find his preconceptions ultimately and vigorous challenged by all three and has to confront his fears and grief in a way he never thought possible. There has been some criticism of The Shack for its representations and I wonder whether some folks try to take the allegories far too literally.
For me I could see the conceptualists behind the story and found it to be a beautiful commentary on forgiveness and very nicely answers questions like 'why does God allow....'. Mr Worthington sometimes slips into his native strine accent however I have to say this is about the only blip, if it can be called that, in an otherwise masterful telling of one man's journey to peace from a tragedy that would be every parent's worst nightmare.
Pretty much avoids too much sentimentalism but does occasionally spill into a little mushiness, not that that is necessarily a bad thing in this case. Strong performances from the leads and in particular, Sam W who delivers a raw and heartfelt portrayal. Overall 9/10.
Movie Review #7284 WONDER WOMAN.
Yet another dalliance from the superhero genre people, this time an advance on the corny 70s Lynda Carter TV vehicle.
True to the original, Diana is raised on Paradise Is, unbeknownst to her the daughter of a god and who rescues this poor beggar accidentally warping from WWI to her idyllic paradise and can't believe his luck.
I mean how would you like to end up on an island full of Amazons? Following him back to WWI, we get all the usual fish-out-of-water gags before embarking on a secret mission to end the war by extinguishing the main German protagonist, who also just happens to be an escaped bad god from Diana's world.
More CGI heroics are afoot with a few oddities thrown in e.g. the American Indian on the team infiltrating the baddies' lair alongside the Brit and Scots contingents and a phantom-of-the-opera-ish femme fetale.
Hammy fair at best and overly long but nonetheless not the worst superhero outing ever (think Green Hornet!) and Wonder Woman is a sight to behold in her satin tights, fighting for her rights.
Worse things to do on a holiday weekend evening, 6.5/10.
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.