Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies!
Starring: Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner, Marie Gruber, Johann von Bülow, Anton von Lucke, Cyrielle Clair, Alice de Lencquesaing
Director: François Ozon
Genres: drama, family relationships, grief
Synopsis: Takes place in the aftermath of WWI. A German soldier, Frantz, who was killed in battle leaves behind 2 parents and a fiance. The fiance lives with the parents and together they grieve. One day a mysterious stranger is found at the grave of the soldier. Who is this stranger and who was he to Frantz?The parents and fiance are so fresh in their grief that they cling to the stranger as he keeps Frantz’ memory alive.
Impressions: Does a wonderful job of depicting the strain between French and German people after the war. Paula Beer, who plays the fiance, steals the show as far as I’m concerned. I’m reminded of a line from the Sting song, “Children’s Crusade,” “Poppies for young men, death’s bitter trade.”
Etc.: German movie in German and French language with English subtitles
Awards: 7 other wins and 35 other nominations
Centurion (2010) aka The Ninth Legion (in the UK)
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, Liam Cunningham, David Morrissey, Riz Ahmed, JJ Feild, Dimitri Leonidas, Imogen Poots
Director: Neil Marshall
Genres: action-adventure; 2nd C. Northern Britain
Synopsis: The Picts in 2nd Century Northern Britain, keep giving the Roman Empire trouble, as the Romans “own” this area as part of their empire. The Powers Tha’ Be in Rome send The Ninth Legion in the crush the rabble-rousers and find it is quite a challenge.
Impressions: Better than I thought it would be. Fassbender is in prime physical form as the main character and he needs to be! He’s put through his paces here in human endurance. Dominic West has a decent but too-short role. The rest of the cast blends into obscurity except for the lovely “wretched wench” trying to survive on her own out in the sticks. Very aggravating that her hair always looks perfectly coiffed. Sorry, no-way, no-how in those conditions.
Etc.: filmed in UK, France, and the US, Based on an historical event. Grueling weather conditions were endured in the making of the movie. Norwegian army snowmobiles had to be modified to allow the cast and crew to access some of the more remote, snow-covered locations in the Scottish Highlands. Lots of gruesome scenes of violence.
Awards: 1 other nomination
Slaughterhouse Rulez (2019)
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Finn Cole, Hermione Corfield, Michael Sheen, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Margot Robbie, Jamie Blackley, Isabella Laughland, Tom Harries, Jo Hartley, Kit Connor, Jassa Ahluwalia, Max Raphael
Director: Crispian Mills
Genres: action comedy, supernatural horror, co-ed boarding academy
Synopsis: Finn Cole’s character is the poor kid who gets sent to the upper-crust academy that the UK leaders go to and quickly finds that all is not well under that shiny reputation. It seems the new Head of the School is good buddies with a fracking company, and a deal with the devil, if you will has been struck to frack back in the woods of the campus. The fracking equipment unleashes unholy beasts from the pit, and faculty and staff have to try to stay alive.
Impressions: I’m starting to look at the team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as the modern day (yet comedic) duo of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in the old Hammer Films monster movies. They’ve done Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and the more recent The World’s End (2013) which I covered last week. The film is geared more towards the sense of humor of younger people, lots of cheesy jokes, kind of hokey-looking monsters. Wonderful cast, although nobody really gets developed as characters other than the few main kids. Great to see Finn Cole again (after loving him as Michael in Peaky Blinders and also the TV series, Animal Kingdom.) There appears to be a political message about these old prestigious schools with their adjacent property selling out to polluters.
Etc.: UK made film; First film to be released by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s production company, Stolen Picture. Filmed at Stowe School near Buckingham. The film’s Director Crispian Mills and Cinematographer John de Borman are both former pupils at the school.
Tokyo Story (1953)
Starring: Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama, Setsuko Hara, Haruko Sugimura, Nobuo Nakamura, So Yamamura, Kuniko Miyake, Kyôko Kagawa, Eijirô Tôno, Shiro Osaka
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Genres: drama, family, post WWII Japan
Synopsis: older couple who live in the countryside have grown children who live in the big city. They decide to pay a visit to their kids. It doesn’t take them long to realize that their visit is more a bother than a pleasure for their kids. Only one family member welcomes them with open arms, and she is the widow of their son who was killed in WWII 8 years previously.
Impressions: very slow-paced; the acting is good; seemed long and may have been better viewed in 2 parts; good chance to see what the daily lives of people in Japan were like back in 1953 (just a few years after the war ended!) Good reflection of real human nature when it comes to elderly parents and their adult children
Etc.: Japanese film with English subtitles, black & white film
Awards: 3 other wins
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn
Director: Mel Gibson
Genres: action, WWII
Synopsis: Dodd is a young man of character who grew up with a dad who never recovered emotionally after fighting in WWI. Dodd wants to do his part in the war but that doesn’t include taking up a rifle and killing. He wants to be a medic and he takes a lot of heat from all directions for his moral stance. He does get his wish to be in a major combat zone on Okinawa as a medic not carrying any weapon.
Impressions: Based on an actual hero named Dodd. Garfield does a wonderful job with the role. He has an exceptional supporting cast. Hugo Weaving as Dodd’s father is a standout performance.
Etc.: Many scenes of extreme graphic war that may trigger soldiers and veterans and haunt non-veterans and parents and loved ones of soldiers.
Awards: 2 Academy Awards, 114 other nominations, 52 other wins
The Mountain (2018)
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Jeff Goldblum, Denis Lavant, Hannah Gross, Udo Kier, Annemarie Lawless, Eléonore Hendricks, Amy Stiller, Larry Fessenden, Buddy Duress
Director: Rick Alverson
Genres: drama, psychological/psychiatric themes
Synopsis: A repressed young man in the 1950’s whose mother is permanently locked in a psychiatric hospital is raised by his domineering father that teaches figure skating at the local ice rink. When father passes away, seemingly by serendipity (or is it?) one of the psychiatrists who treated his mother at the hospital with a monstrous technique called lobotomy happens by at the yard sale and invites the young man to travel with him taking “before” pictures of the soon-to-be lobotomized patients. From there, things really start mindbending. Think David Lynch.
Impressions: Watching “The Mountain,” the dread that began to build was palpable, as it was clear that things were heading somewhere that would culminate in a major event. Goldblum as the doctor “curing” patients by scrambling their brains was genuinely chilling, as he is such a congenial, charismatic character on the surface. The director is brilliant in how he pulls this thing together. Tye Sheridan as the repressed young man plays the role expertly! The creep vibe on the movie is very high, so beware.
Etc.: It was selected to be screened in the main competition section of the 75th Venice International Film Festival; male frontal nudity; graphic scenes of medical procedures
Awards: 1 other win, 1 other nomination