Films viewed in 2011

Archive for the ‘War’ Category

265. Valhalla Rising

In War on September 23, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Dir. Nicholas Winding Refn

In 1000 A.D., a mute warrior named One Eye escapes torture and captivity, and begins a journey into the heart of darkness.

MY TAKE

If you’re ever in the mood for a quiet, existential, bloody and brutal epic, Valhalla Rising should hit the spot. Mads Mikkelsen plays the silent and vengeful hero at the centre of it all, who accidentally discovers the New World when escaping captivity. The pacing is unorthodox and the unhelpfully chaptered narrative is challenging, but the film does slowly go somewhere. Call me conventional, but a good hearty howl of “freedom” wouldn’t have hurt.

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201. Cross of Iron

In War on August 30, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Dir. Sam Peckinpaw

A squad of German soldiers fight to survive Soviet attacks and dogmatic commanders in a chaotic and lethal environment.

MY TAKE

I imagine a lot of people reacted to Sam Peckinpaw doing a WW2 film the same way I did to John Woo doing one – it’s going to be insane. But where I thought Woo’s Windtalkers was too much, Cross of Iron shows restraint and depth. Certain scenes and characters clearly influenced Tarantino, but the film otherwise feels under-appreciated. Americans also hate not seeing themselves directly in a film (especially about WW2), so I’m sure that didn’t help.

162. Centurion

In War on August 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Dir. Neil Marshall

A splinter group of Roman soldiers fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is decimated in a devastating guerrilla attack.

MY TAKE

Centurion opens with a great shot of a man walking alone in a snowy white abyss. The movie then catches up to that point of the otherwise chronological story only 20 minutes later. Aside from strangely this TV-inspired tease of a start, the film manages to portray some inspired epic moments and battles. I just never buy the the beautiful female warriors these films keep inventing.

158. Paths of Glory

In War on August 20, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Dir. Stanley Kubrick

When soldiers in WW1 refuse to continue with an impossible attack, their superiors decide to make an example of them.

MY TAKE

Paths of Glory might be the first Stanley Kubrick film that I’ve loved after seeing the first time. Of course it’s not as challenging as something like A Clockwork Orange, but all the elements at work here from the technical achievements to the atypical storyline had me relishing every frame. There are still a few early Kubrick films I haven’t seen, but now look forward to watching them more than ever.