Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds Grudgingly Join Forces in Unlikely-Buddies Comedy

 

The Hitman's Bodyguard,  Film Review,  Ryan Reynolds, Tsuwayuki Saotome, Elodie Yung, Samuel L. JacksonThe Hitman’s Bodyguard

Film Review by Kam Williams

Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds Grudgingly Join Forces in Unlikely-Buddies Comedy

World-class bodyguard Michael Bryce’s (Ryan Reynolds) services were in great demand when a Japanese tycoon (Tsuwayuki Saotome) was executed on his watch. That botched operation ruined not only his professional reputation but his romantic relationship with Interpol agent Amelia (Elodie Yung). In fact, his career took such a hit that a couple of years later we find him homeless and reduced to chauffeuring clients around in a beat-up jalopy for a fraction of his former fee.

A shot at redemption and at winning back the object of his affection arrives when Amelia surreptitiously approaches him for help protecting Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). He’s the key prosecution witness in the trial underway at the International Court of Justice of Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), an Eastern European dictator accused of committing genocide.

Amelia has determined that there’s a mole inside of Interpol who has compromised Kincaid’s safety. So, the only hope of getting him to court alive is by hiring someone outside the organization.

Trouble is Darius is no altar boy, but a vicious hit man who has murdered hundreds of people. Despite being disgusted by the assassin’s grisly resume, Michael grudgingly agrees to escort him from a British prison to The Hague where he’s scheduled to testify in less than 24 hours. In return for his cooperation with authorities, Darius bargained for the release of his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) who is herself sitting behind bars for slitting a guy’s throat in a gruesome bar fight.

The Hitman's Bodyguard,  Film Review,  Ryan Reynolds, Tsuwayuki Saotome, Elodie Yung, Samuel L. Jackson

That is the point of departure of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, an unlikely-buddies comedy directed by Aussie Patrick Hill (The Expendables 3). Superficially, the film unfolds like a high-octane, action adventure where a pair of protagonists prove to be impervious to harm from bullets, explosives, pyrotechnics or boat and car crashes .

The production works primarily because of the palpable screen chemistry generated by veteran thespians Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. However, it does help immeasurably that each of these indestructible characters has been somewhat humanized by their vulnerability to a fetching love interest.

The Hitman's Bodyguard,  Film Review,  Ryan Reynolds, Tsuwayuki Saotome, Elodie Yung, Samuel L. Jackson

But the guys mostly exchange lighthearted barbs while having a close brush with death every other minute or so as they negotiate their way through a neverending gauntlet of bloodthirsty goons.

An eye-popping, stunt flick chock full of implausible fight and chase scenes orchestrated in accordance with the laws of cartoon physics. 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity

Running time: 118 minutes

Distributor: Summit Entertainment                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Source:  Baret News

 

Demonic Doll Haunts Yet Another House in Prequel to “The Conjuring” Franchise

 

Annabelle: Creation

Film Review by Kam Williams

Demonic Doll Haunts Yet Another House in Prequel to “The Conjuring” Franchise

Annabelle: Creation is the fourth film in a horror franchise that previously featured The Conjuring 1 and 2 as well as Annabelle. Because this prequel is set in 1952, well before the events which transpired in the others, one need not be familiar with those pictures to thoroughly enjoy this one, provided you like having the bejesus scared out of you.

The stand-alone screamfest trades in all the staples of your generic  haunted house adventure, ranging from a spooky disembodied voice singing a cappella, to involuntary levitation, to a victim leaving nail marks in the floor as she’s dragged down a darkened hall by a mysterious force. The movie was directed by David F. Sandberg, the Swedish wunderkind who made an impressive debut just last year with the low-budget thriller Lights Out.

As the film unfolds, we find dollmaker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his reclusive, bed-ridden wife, Esther (Miranda Otto), passing their days in a ramshackle, Victorian mansion sitting on a mountaintop in the middle of nowhere. They’re ostensibly still shaken by the loss of their daughter Bee (Samara Lee) who was hit by a car over a decade ago.

Annabelle: Creation,  Film Review,  David F. Sandberg, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Samara Lee, spine-tingling

That might explain why the inconsolable couple has decided to share their humble abode with a half-dozen orphans. The homeless girls are being chaperoned by Sister Charlotte  (Stephanie Sigman), a God-fearing guardian grateful to get a roof over their heads.

  The waifs are pretty much given free rein of the place, except for a direct order from Mr. Mullins to steer clear of Bee’s bedroom. But that injunction proves too tempting for Janice (Talitha Bateman), a curious kid suffering from polio.

Of course, she ventures inside and unwittingly unleashes a host of demonic forces doing the bidding of Annabelle, a doll Samuel had originally made for his dearly-departed daughter. It isn’t long thereafter that all hell begins to breaks loose.

Annabelle: Creation,  Film Review,  David F. Sandberg, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Samara Lee, spine-tingling

Director Sandberg proves particularly adept at ratcheting up the tension. In fact, the spine-tingling flick delivers innumerable heart-stopping moments along the way, though they come more from jolting sounds and abrupt edits than from investment in the simplistically-drawn characters.

Ask if they’ll sell you a ticket for half a seat, since you’ll never bother to sit back during this edge-of-your-seat thriller.”

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for horror violence and terror

Running time: 109 minutes

Production Company: New Line Cinema / Atomic Monster

Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

 

Source:  Baret News

 

 

Evocative Anime Chronicles WWII from Hiroshima Native\’s Point-of-View

 

In This Corner of the World

Film Review by Kam Williams

Evocative Anime Chronicles WWII from Hiroshima Native’s Point-of-View    

On August 6, 1945, President Truman took to the radio to announce that “the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base.” Truth be told, only about 15% of the 140,000 people killed by the blast were Japanese soldiers. Nevertheless, the history books have routinely ignored the fact that the vast majority of the casualties were civilians, in favor of crediting the Manhattan Project, a top secret scientific project, for the mammoth explosion hastening the conclusion of World War II.  

In This Corner of the World,  Film Review, Hiroshima, perspective of a young woman, Suzu Urano, Rena Nouren, Yoshinasa Hosaya, 1933, World War ll 

  If you’ve ever wondered what it might’ve been like to live in Hiroshima before it  was vaporized, submitted for your approval is In This Corner of the World, an evocative anime presented from the perspective of a young woman born and raised in the ill-fated city. The poignant tale covers over a dozen years in the life of Suzu Urano (Rena Nouren), an aspiring artist with a vivid imagination.

The story unfolds in 1933, when we find her dream of drawing as a vocation frustrated by her having to work in the family seaweed business. That hope grows even fainter after the outbreak of the war when resources become rationed and just finding pencils to doodle with proves to be an exercise in futility.

In This Corner of the World,  Film Review, Hiroshima, perspective of a young woman, Suzu Urano, Rena Nouren, Yoshinasa Hosaya, 1933, World War ll

The plot thickens when she is courted by Shusaku (Yoshinasa Hosaya), a sailor from a neighboring seaport called Kure. After they wed, she relocates to the city, and resides with his family for the duration of the hostilities.

That means she’s away from her hometown on the fateful day that it’s blown to smithereens. Nevertheless, she’s deeply affected, as so many people and places dear to her heart disappear in an instant.

A timely morality play, indeed, given the dire apocalyptic threats currently being traded between the unhinged leaders of America and North Korea.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for mature themes and war images

Running time: 129 minutes

Production Studio: Mappa / Genco

Distributor: Shout! Factory

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Gunslinger Defends Planet from Extinction in Adaptation of Stephen King’s Sci-Fi Epic

 

The Dark Tower

Film Review by Kam Williams

Gunslinger Defends Planet from Extinction in Adaptation of Stephen King’s Sci-Fi Epic

Laurie Chambers (Katheryn Winnick) is understandably worried about her 11 year-old son’s recurrent nightmares. After all, Jake’s (Tom Taylor) becoming increasingly convinced of Earth’s imminent demise.

The Dark Tower,  Film Review, Kam Williams, Stephen King, Superheros, Katheryn Winnick, Tom Taylor,

So, she takes him to a shrink who misdiagnoses the visions as delusional and has the kid committed to a mental health facility. Truth be told, Jake is indeed psychic and has  accurately forecast an impending extinction level event.

The planet’s only hope of averting an apocalypse rests on the shoulders or, more precisely, on the trigger fingers of Roland Deschain (played by Idris Elba with that trademark gravitas). He’s the last in a long line of gunslingers from another dimension who’ve been locked in mortal conflict with forces led by Walter Padick (capably played by the terminally-suave Matthew McConaughey), an evil sorcerer on a quest for infinite power. World domination is attainable should he reach the Dark Tower, the nexus between time and space located in a parallel universe called End-World.

It’s not long before these mysterious figures from Jake’s dream begin to materialize on the streets of Manhattan. After Walter’s minions murder his mom, the boy is rescued by Roland. The two soon escape through a portal to Mid-World where the epic battle to preserve life as we know it is set to unfold.

The Dark Tower,  Film Review, Kam Williams, Stephen King, Superheros, Katheryn Winnick, Tom Taylor,

That is the engaging point of departure of The Dark Tower, an ambitious adaptation of Stephen King’s magnum opus of the same name. The sci-fi series was inspired by “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” a poem written by Robert Browning back in 1855. King also credits Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Clint Eastwood’s Spaghetti Westerns, and the Legend of King Arthur as major influences.

The Dark Tower took a rather circuitous route to the big screen. The story was originally optioned by J.J. Abrams in 2007. Ron Howard subsequently acquired the rights in 2010. However, the picture was ultimately written and directed by Nikolaj Arcel, whose A Royal Affair was nominated in 2013 for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category.

This movie marks the great Dane’s first foray into English , which helps explain why he sought help with the screenplay from a trio of scriptwriters, including Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman (for A Beautiful Mind). The final production’s pretty skittish, yet engaging enough to establish the franchise and leave you eagerly anticipating a sequel.

The best sci-fi Western since Cowboys & Aliens!

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for action, gun violence and mature themes

Running time: 95 minutes

Production Studio: Sony / Media Rights Capital / Imagine Entertainment/ Weed Road

Distributor: Sony Pictures

Source:  Baret News

 

It’s Halle Berry vs. Hillbillies in High-Octane Chase Thriller

 

Kidnap

Film Review by Kam Williams

It’s Halle Berry vs. Hillbillies in High-Octane Chase Thriller

Karla (Halle Berry) is a stressed-out single-mom waitressing in a diner when she’d rather be spending more quality time with her young son, Frankie (Sage Correa). In fact, today, he’s patiently waiting right there in the restaurant for her overtime shift to end.

Kidnap, Film Review, Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Jason George, Chris McGinn, kidnapped son

After she finally gets off, the two drive to an amusement park for what promises to be a fun-filled afternoon. Trouble is, she’s in the midst of bitter custody battle over Frankie with her vindictive ex-husband (Jason George). That explains why she wanders a few feet away for a little privacy when she gets a call from her divorce attorney.

Unfortunately, it’s enough of a distraction to afford a lurking kidnapper (Chris McGinn) an opportunity to pounce. Next thing you know, Margo’s dragging the kid to a waiting getaway car with her husband Terry (Lew Temple) at the wheel.

Karla frantically rushes into the parking lot where she drops her cell phone before spotting a suspicious Mustang GT with tinted windows and no license plates peel rubber. At that point, her maternal instincts kick in, and she decides to pursue the perps despite the fact that she’s driving a relatively-sluggish, Chrysler Town & Country.

What ensues is an extended chase scene that lasts the rests of the movie. So unfolds Kidnap, a low-budget variation of Baby Driver directed by Luis Prieto (Pusher). Although the plot arrives riddled with comical holes big enough for Karla to drive her minivan through, the picture nevertheless proves pretty compelling thanks to a combination of heart-pounding action and the protagonists convincing embodiment of pure desperation.

It’s Halle vs. hillbillies in a high-octane showdown where there’s never a doubt about whether “Mommy Driver” will prevail.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for violence, profanity and scenes of peril

Running time: 95 minutes

Production Studio: Well Go USA Entertainment /Gold Star/ 606 Films / Lotus Entertainment

Distributor: Aviron Pictures

Source:  Baret News

 

Standup Comics Entertain Troops Stationed Overseas in Inspirational Concert Flick

 

I Am Battle Comic

Film Review by Kam Williams

Standup Comics Entertain Troops Stationed Overseas in Inspirational Concert Flick

  For over 50 years, Bob Hope served as emcee of the USO tour traveling overseas to entertain the troops. From World War II through Operation Desert Storm, Hope never hesitated to put himself in harm’s way. The well-received shows proved to be pretty popular back home, too, where they aired periodically on NBC.

I Am Battle Comic,  Film Review, Jordan Brady, Bob Hope,  Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Battle Comic, George Lopez, Dave Attell, George Wallace

Jeff Capri, Slade Ham, Don Barnhart, Jordan Brady, and Bob Kubota  © Brady Oil Entertainment

Although no longer televised, an altruistic band of talented comedians have continued to venture to war zones in the wake of Bob Hope’s passing. Their unheralded efforts are the subject of I Am Battle Comic, a combination concert flick and documentary directed by Jordan Brady.

The inspirational film was shot on location in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain, and stars 14 standup veterans, including George Lopez, Dave Attell and George Wallace, to name a few. While it’s certainly fun watching them perform onstage before very grateful audiences, what’s far more rewarding is the behind-the-scenes footage of them bonding with the soldiers.

Jeff Capri, Slade Ham, Don Barnhart, Jordan Brady, and Bob Kubota in a Film Still from I Am Battle Comic © Brady Oil Entertainment

Jordan Brady  © Brady Oil Entertainment

For instance, we witness Lopez stick around after a show to sign an autograph for anybody that wanted one, over 1,000 in total. Then there’s Bob Kubota, who explains that he’s actually anti-war, and isn’t there for those who started or profit from the conflict. Rather, he wistfully recalls the satisfaction coming from receiving a letter from grateful parents thanking him for lifting the spirits of a son who’d been down in the dumps for eight months.

The picture also features funny archival footage of Bob Hope and Robin Williams. Still,  what’ll probably stick with you longer than any witty one-liners are sobering moments like a weeping private’s heartfelt reflections on his service and a comic’s visit to an infirmary to chat with wounded warriors.

A moving concert flick that’ll make you laugh while bringing a tear to your eye in appreciation of our soldiers’ selfless sacrifices.

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

Running time: 89 minutes

Studio: Brady Oil Entertainment

Distributor: Monterey Media

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Claustrophobic Docudrama Revisits ’67 Riots through the Prism of Infamous Interrogation at Algiers Hotel

 

Detroit

Film Review by Kam Williams

Claustrophobic Docudrama Revisits ’67 Riots through the Prism of Infamous Interrogation at Algiers Hotel

Detroit’s ’67 riots broke out in the wee hours of July 23rd, in the wake of a police raid on an unlicensed bar where folks had been toasting a couple of vets who’d recently returned from Vietnam. Word spread like wildfire through the black community that the cops had arrested all 82 people they found inside, and it wasn’t long before mobs began looting and firebombing stores all around the ‘hood.

Detroit,  Film Review, Riots, Vietnam, 1967, rebellion, Motor City, Michigan National Guard, speakeasy, civil unrest, Kathryn Bigelow

The rebellion would last five days and result in over 1,000 injuries and 7,000 arrests, while also claiming 43 lives. In terms of property damage, about 2,500 businesses were destroyed and hundreds of families were left homeless.

The insurrection was quelled by the Motor City’s police force in conjunction with the state of Michigan’s National Guard as well as federal troops from the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions. While the arrests at the speakeasy ostensibly served as the flashpoint for the civil unrest, the revolt was really the result of long-simmering frustrations with the poor quality of housing, employment and education in the ghetto.

Detroit,  Film Review, Riots, Vietnam, 1967, rebellion, Motor City, Michigan National Guard, speakeasy, civil unrest, Kathryn Bigelow

Directed by two-time Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow (for The Hurt Locker), Detroit revisits the ’67 riots by telescoping tightly on events which unfolded at the Algiers Motel on the third night of the rebellion. The picture features an A-list ensemble that includes John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, John Boyega, Will Poulter, Jacob Latimore and John Krasinski.

The trouble started when a sniper seemed to be taking pot shots at the police stationed a block away from the Algiers. Truth be told, it was just 17 year-old Carl Cooper (Jason Cooper) firing a harmless starter pistol.

Nevertheless, reasonably assuming they were under attack, officers returned fire before storming the hotel’s three-story annex. Emptying the rooms, they found a dozen guests,  two 18 year-old white girls and 10 black males, including members of The Dramatics, The Motown group whose biggest hit was “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get.”

Detroit,  Film Review, Riots, Vietnam, 1967, rebellion, Motor City, Michigan National Guard, speakeasy, civil unrest, Kathryn Bigelow

The guests were herded into a first-floor hallway where, over the next several hours, they were threatened, humiilated and sadistically beaten during a prolonged interrogation being directed by Patrolman Krauss (Poulter). The white females were stripped naked, and called “whores” and “[N-word] lovers.”

No gun was ever found, but by the end of the torture three black teenagers lay dead: Cooper, Fred Temple (Latimore) and Aubrey Pollard (Nathan Davis, Jr.). Newspapers reported that they were snipers who died during an exchange of gunfire. But autopsies revealed each had been shot from behind at very close range.

Detroit is very difficult to watch, since it’s basically a searing snuff flick which forces the audience to witness the deliberate persecution of innocent civilians at the behest of a racist redneck with a badge. Riveting revisionist history setting the record straight in a way which will undoubtedly resonate with the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity

Running time: 143 minutes

Production Company: Annapurna Pictures / First Light

Distributor: Annapurna Pictures

Source:  Baret News

 

Freed Kidnap Victim Adjusts to Reality in Touching Character Study

 

Brigsby Bear

Film Review by Kam Williams

Freed Kidnap Victim Adjusts to Reality in Touching Character Study 

Brigsby Bear revolves around an age-old premise that’s tough to establish and maintain convincingly, namely, the plight of a sheltered protagonist blissfully unaware of reality. Four films come quickly to mind which succeeded at plausibly presenting just such a plotline.

Brigsby Bear, Film Review, Mark Hamill, Claire Danes,Kyle Mooney, Utah

In Room (2015), we witnessed a little boy being imprisoned with his mother in a shed by the rapist who’d fathered him. In Life Is Beautiful (1997), we found a concentration camp internee doing his best to shield his young son from the horrors of the Holocaust.

In Being There (!979), Peter Sellers played a gullible gardener who learned everything he knew about the outside world from TV. And in The Truman Show (1998), Jim Carrey was an orphan who had no idea that he’d been adopted by a corporation that turned his life into a reality show.

Brigsby Bear, Film Review, Mark Hamill, Claire Danes,Kyle Mooney, Utah

  Now we have Brigsby Bear, a worthy addition to the challenging genre. The movie marks the impressive directorial debut of Dave McCary, who’s been writing for Saturday Night Live since 2014. The picture stars SNL’s Kyle Mooney, who co-wrote the script with Kevin Costello.

As the film unfolds, we’re introduced to James (Mooney), a 25 year-old very content to be still living at “home.” The overgrown kid religiously tunes in to Brigsby Bear, a sci-fi series revolving around a crime-fighting superhero full of energy and optimism.

Brigsby Bear, Film Review, Mark Hamill, Claire Danes,Kyle Mooney, Utah

James has a good excuse for his stunted growth. Truth be told, his supposed parents, Ted (Mark Hamill) and April (Jane Adams), are actually kidnappers who abducted him in infancy. And they secretly produce Brigsby, the only program that ever comes on their TV.

They’ve managed to discourage James from venturing outside the house by filling his head with lies about the air being so toxic that he’d perish without a gas mask. So, he’s freely frittered away his future not only watching all 736 Brigsby Bear episodes, but visiting a fake chatroom devoted to the show.

Everything changes the day James is rescued by the police and returned to his birth parents (Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins) in Cedar Hills, Utah. Understandably, the adjustment to real-life proves problematic, since he remains obsessed with Brigsby to the point that he talks about it incessantly to anyone who’ll listen.

He’s lucky to find a couple of sympathetic souls in an actor-turned-detective (Greg Kinnear) and Spencer (Jorge Lendeborg, Jr.), one of his teenage sister’s (Ryan Simpkins) friends. They agree to help make a Brigsby Bear movie which just might enable James to find some closure on the sordid opening chapter of his life.

A poignant character portrait capable of catapulting Kyle Mooney from SNL support player to bona fide matinee idol!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for drug use, teen partying, mature themes and brief sexuality

Running time: 97 minutes

Production Studio: 3311 Productions / YL Pictures / The Lonely Island / Lord Miller

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Source:  Baret News

 

Besson Adapts Comic Book Series Novel into Hallucinogenic Sci-fi Spectacular

 

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Film Review by Kam Williams

Besson Adapts Comic Book Series Novel into Hallucinogenic Sci-fi Spectacular

In 1997, Luc Besson released The Fifth Element, a visually-captivating sci-fi adventure which netted four Cesars, including Best Film and Best Director. A couple of decades later, Luc is back with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, an even more innovative, outer space odyssey, if that’s possible. The groundbreaking extravaganza is based on “Valerian and Laureline,” a comic book series written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mezieres.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Film Review, Luc Besson, Pierre Christin, futuristic tale, Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne

The futuristic tale is set in the 28th Century, and stars Dane DeHaan in the title role as a time/space traveling military officer for Alpha, a city with a thousand planets. Straitlaced Major Valerian patrols that universe with Laureline (Cara Delevingne), a Sergeant well-versed in virtual reality operations.

He also happens to have a crush on his relatively-rebellious sidekick, although she routinely rebuffs his romantic overtures. And they report directly to Commander Arun Filitt (Clive Owen) who, in turn, answers to General Okto Bar (Sam Spruell) as well as Alpha’s Minister of Defense (Herbie Hancock).

The film unfolds on Mul, a utopian paradise inhabited by a peaceful species of bald, bejeweled, barely-clothed creatures. It isn’t long before their carefree frolicking is irreversibly disrupted by an unprovoked attack on the planet by an unknown army of hostile aliens.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Film Review, Luc Besson, Pierre Christin, futuristic tale, Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne

The picture abruptly shifts from this devastating apocalypse to a serene scenario worlds away where we find Valerian and Laureline relaxing on a sandbar and soaking up rays. He awakens from a bad dream, a subtle suggestion that everything that we’ve just witnessed might’ve merely been a figment of his imagination.

It would be criminal for me to spoil your cinematic experience by divulging any further developments. Suffice to say that the protagonists proceed to embark on a breathtaking, intergalactic roller coaster ride worth way more than the price of admission.

  Along the way, they cross paths with an array of colorful characters ranging from a space age pimp (Ethan Hawke) to a solicitous stripper with a heart of gold (Rihanna). But people mostly serve as distracting interruptions in this eye-popping, special f/x-driven spectacular to remember.

All I can say after watching it is, “Wow!”

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for action, violence, suggestive material and brief profanity

Running time: 137 minutes

Production Studio: EuropaCorp

Distributor: STX Entertainment

Source:  Baret News

 

World War II Epic Recreates Flotilla’s Heroic Rescue of Stranded Allies

 

Dunkirk

Film Review by Kam Williams

World War II Epic Recreates Flotilla’s Heroic Rescue of Stranded Allies

When Hitler ordered an all-out assault on the Western Front in the spring of 1940, the vaunted Maginot Line proved to be no match for the pulverizing German blitzkrieg. The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France all fell in a matter of weeks, and the rapid collapse proved particularly problematic for the Allied forces.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dunkirk_2017/pictures/#&gid=1&pid=h-137211

By May 26th, about 400,000 British, French, Polish, Belgian and Dutch troops had been driven to the sea at Dunkirk, a port located along the northern coast of France. The retreating soldiers soon found themselves stranded on the beach, since there weren’t enough military naval vessels to mount a rapid, full-scale evacuation.

The logistical nightmare left most of the beleaguered, battle weary men in dire need of a miracle, as they’d basically become sitting ducks for Nazi artillery.and Luftwaffe bombs. At 7 pm that evening, the desperate British prime minister decided to issue an urgent appeal to private boat owners to join the rescue effort.

By dawn, over 800 hundred vessels had been pressed into service. The improbable flotilla included everything from speed boats and yachts to tugboats and fishing trawlers to ferries and ocean liners.

For the next nine days, they negotiated their way back and forth across the U-Boat infested waters of the English Channel. And although about a third of the ship would be sunk by the enemy, the altruistic patriots managed to save 338,226 troops. 

Leave it to Winston Churchill to put a positive spin on such a devastating military defeat.which claimed the lives of 68,000 Britain soldiers and left the country in fear of an imminent invasion. On June 4th, he took to the floor of the House.of Commons  to deliver a rousing speech assuring the alarmed citizenry that there was no doubt that Great Britain would ultimately prevail.

“Whatever the cost may be,”he said in a stirring summation, “We shall fight on the beaches… We shall fight on the landing grounds… We shall fight in the fields and in the streets… We shall fight in the hills…” concluding, “We shall never surrender!”

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dunkirk_2017/pictures/#&gid=1&pid=h-137211

All of the above has been chronicled in unique fashion in Dunkirk, a visually-captivating, World War II epic directed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan, the best British director besides Alfred Hitchcock never to win an Oscar, has made a string of memorable movies that includes Memento, Inception, Interstellar and the Batman trilogy, to name a few.         

Here, he’s found a novel way to recreate the historic evacuation. Instead of having the docudrama revolve around a single protagonist or a single unit, he has deftly interwoven a half-dozen or so discrete storylines highlighting the different perspectives of a number of unsung heroes. Whether on land, by sea or in the air, many among this patriotic band of brothers survive, but some do make the ultimate sacrifice in the valiant stand against the unspeakable evil spreading across Europe.

Shot in 70mm, Dunkirk is an instant classic worth the extra investment to catch on an IMAX screen. An inspirational tribute to Britain’s Greatest Generation that just might be Chris Nolan’s best picture yet!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for intense battle scenes and some profanity

Running time: 106 minutes

In English, French and German with subtitles

Production Studio: Syncopy

Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

Source:  Baret News