12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 6)

Holy shit, we’re already halfway through this silly series of mine. Time sure flies when things happen. So let’s get into it.

Some of you might recognize the movie from the image up above. Today we’re talking about “Overlord”, a 2018 action-horror movie directed by Julius Avery, and produced by J.J. Abrams. It’s about a group of American soldiers who fall behind enemy lines during World War 2, in an attempt to make a difference in the tides of war. This might sound familiar to some of you, as I have talked about this movie on the blog before… twice, as a matter of fact (and about a kajillion other times on twitter). So now I hear you groaning “Markus, how can a grim World War 2 horror movie possibly be associated with christmas?”. Well, strap in and make yourself ready for my reasoning.

What’s one of the most important parts of christmas? Bringing joy, right? Well, you know what brings me a whole lot of joy? Seeing nazi punks get blown the fuck up, shot to shit, absolutely annihilated, and other delightful synonyms for that situation. Sure, there are parts where our heroes are stuck or pinned down, struggling with their mission. But that just makes it even more satisfying and joyous to see them destroy god damn nazi assholes. Call me a sick son of a bitch if you want, but with our world being what it currently is, this kind of violent escapism is important, especially during the season of joy.

Have a good one.

The Great Villain Blogathon 2019: Wafner from Overlord

Well hello there, people. Hope you’re doing well. Today I will be going out of my regular review wheelhouse a bit. When it was announced that the lovely ladies of Speakeasy, Silver Screenings, and Shadows & Satin were hosting a blogathon about movie villains, I of course had to sign up. I actually took part in another one of these about two years ago, so I’m happy to join another one! So let’s stop it with the introductions and get into my pick for The Great Villain Blogathon 2019!

Last time I took part in a villainous blogathon, I went back a handful of years and talked about the T-1000 from “Terminator 2”. So this time I went for a more recent thing. And to give you a fair warning: There will be spoilers for the entire movie. So if you haven’t seen this movie and want to remain unspoiled, maybe go and give it a rental, watch it, and then come back.

Meine Damen und Herren… This is Wafner from 2018’s “Overlord”.

“Overlord” is a 2018 world war 2 action-horror film directed by Julius Avery and starring Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, and Pilou Asbæk. It’s about a group of American soldiers who crash behind enemy lines on the night of D-day to take out a nazi communications tower so that the landing on Normandy beach can happen. But as they make their way further into the compound, they find more than just nazi punks in there. To be exact, they find that the nazis are experimenting on the local population to try to create super zombie soldiers. Simple plot with a fun twist to it. Not revolutionary, but highly enjoyable. So how does Wafner (played by Pilou Asbæk) fit into this? Well, he’s a nazi captain that serves as the primary antagonist of the story. What’s interesting is that it takes about 20 minutes for us to even catch a glimpse of him, and even then it’s shrouded in darkness and at a distance. It’s not until the 33 minute mark that we finally get properly introduced to him, when he invades the private space of a French woman that helps to hide our heroes.

Wafner: “Do you hear zat?”. Chloe: “What?”. Wafner: “Sounds like our movie is failing at ze box office”.

Right in the first minute of his introduction he just gets under my skin. No, not because he’s a nazi, though that is certainly a turn-off. No, there’s just a certain creepiness to him. He’s not the over-the-top villain one might expect (yet), instead going for a more subtle and slimy creepiness, which is just perfectly delivered by Asbæk. And even though he does seem calm and composed, you can still sense that there’s a ruthlessness to him, which makes you not want to mess with him. Even when he’s captured later in the movie by our heroes, he has a way of getting under one’s skin.

Wafner: “Dood, you should totes inject me with zat”. Ford: “No nazi steroids for you”. Wafner: “Oh nein”.

What I like about Wafner is that he’s just a villain. So many movies these days try to give their villains actual depth, maybe even give them some qualities that we can sympathize with. And while I enjoy that to some extent, I prefer that they didn’t try that with Wafner here. He’s just a ruthless, smirking, villainous villain. He wants to create a super zombie army so the nazis can take over the world. As Wafner puts it “A thousand year reich requires a thousand year army”.

Eventually he manages to escape capture through cunning and deception. So he’s not just a ruthless nazi commander, but he’s also intelligent, which makes him an even more dangerous villain. But he doesn’t get away completely scot-free.

Gotta admire it when a guy can crack a smile even though half his fucking face has been blown off.

If he wasn’t dangerous enough already, he injects himself with the experimental super soldier serum, turning him borderline invincible. So you have an angry, ruthless, cunning, and creepy nazi captain that can’t be killed by conventional means. Makes for quite an intense finale. All boosted by Pilou Asbæk’s over-the-top yet excellent performance.

When asked what he likes to do during his spare time, an unusually reserved Wafner told us about his recent infatuation with making stop-motion films using the corpses of his enemies.

So that was a bit about Wafner from Overlord. He’s not particularly deep, but he’s quite intimidating and works incredibly well as a primary antagonist for this crazy genre hybrid. He’s an old school villain for the sake of having an old school villain, and I god damn salute that.
Once again I have to give a huge thanks to Speakeasy, Silver Screenings, and Shadows & Satin for letting me take part in this. I had fun. Plus, it gave me an excuse to rewatch one of my favorite movies of last year.
Have a good one.

Movie Review: Overlord (2018)

*Ron Perlman voice activated* War… war never changes. *Ron Perlman voice deactivated*.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Overlord”.

Set during world war 2, we follow a group of American soldiers as they land behind enemy lines in France to take out a nazi transmitter. But as they delve further into the complex, they discover some horrifying things that are unlike anything they have ever seen before. So now we have our historical action-horror plot. And I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Admittedly it’s a very predictable and straightforward plot that doesn’t do much to increase in depth, but that is also what I like about it. Don’t get me wrong, complex plots with twists and turns are great, but there’s something oddly refreshing about the simplicity of “Overlord”. It does slow down at a couple points to build on the characters, but that is just a plus for this movie as it gives the audience some room to breathe in between all the intense war stuff. So yeah, the plot is simple and predictable, but it’s also tense, badass, engaging, and just fun.

The characters in this are simple, but they’re also interesting and entertaining. First up we have Jovan Adepo as Boyce, who more or less is the rookie in the team.  A good kid who sees the horrors of WW2 and has to step up. But they play around with that pretty well here. And Adepo is great in the role. Next we have Wyatt Russell as Ford, the badass Corporal who takes no shit and is a little stern. Russell is great in the role. Next we have Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe, a French woman that our squad of heroes meet. She’s tough, she’s resourceful, and she’s willing to help the Americans stop ze nazis. And Ollivier is really good in the role. And then we have Pilou Asbæk in the role of evil nazi captain. I know his character has a name, but that doesn’t matter because evil nazi captain is all you need to know. A clear villain, no grey areas here. And Asbæk is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like John Magaro, Iain De Caestecker, Jacob Anderson, Bokeem Woodbine, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Kurzel, and it was really good. It uses a lot of heavy percussion to simulate the intensity of wartime, while also implementing some intense brass stings, trodding bass, some tense string work, and it all comes together to create some music that really helps the suspense and intensity of the movie go above and beyond.

The movie was directed by Julius Avery, and I think he did a great job with it. He captures the uncertainty and suspense of being within this situation. You’d almost think this would be a straight up intense shoot-em-up all the way through, but there’s a surprising amount of sneaking around as well, and I think that adds a lot of tension to the movie. That’s not to discredit the shootouts, because when the bullets start flying, it is some of the most intense and brutal action I’ve seen in quite a while. The violence here will please fans of war films, as well as fans of gory horror stuff. There are also a couple jumpscares here, and I think they work well enough. They may be predictable, but they’re not false, and they did still get to me. Good shit.

This movie very recently came out, but so far it’s been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Overlord” isn’t the most original movie, but it’s still one hell of a ride that I liked a lot. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Overlord” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Overlord” is now completed.

Came because of AC/DC, stayed for the HOLY SHIT, THAT’S BRUTAL.

Movie Review: Where Eagles Dare (1968)

Time to jump in the wayback-machine and review a “classic”. I only put quotations there to throw people off as to what my opinion could be, you’re gonna have to read it to find out what I think about it, you lazy bastards.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Where Eagles Dare”.

Set during the second world war, we follow a squad of British (and one American) soldiers as they make an attempt to infiltrate a nazi-filled castle and save an American general. So now we have our rescue operation. And is the plot any good? Yeah, I’d say so. What I like about it is that as they early during the movie get behind enemy lines, which helps give the movie an extra layer of suspense, since they have no real allies where they are, it’s all on their shoulders. There are also a few clever little twists and turns throughout, giving the plot a little extra unpredictability, which is something I really enjoyed. So yeah, the plot here is really good.

The characters here aren’t necessarily the deepest, but the few that we do have as our main leads I found to be quite entertaining. Richard Burton (R.I.P) plays Smith, a British army major with a few tricks up his sleeve. As we go through the movie we learn that he’s a tricky bastard who always seem to be one step ahead of everyone else. And Burton is great in the role. Then we have Clint Eastwood as Schaffer, an American lieutenant that has been assigned to Smith’s rescue squad. He’s basically an Eastwoodian stoic badass… which I have no problem with, as it creates an interesting contrast with the conniving Smith. And Eastwood is really good in the role. Then we have Mary Ure (R.I.P) as… Mary. She’s a British agent that the guys team up with during their mission. And she’s both intelligent and a badass. And Ure is really godo in the role. As for the other characters, they’re not really worth talking about, because they don’t quite have the same focus as the three I just talked about. But I can at least say that the supporting cast, containing people like Michael Hordern, Robert Beatty, Neil McCarthy, and Brook Williams, is great. ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Ron Goodwin and it’s pretty fucking great. It’s quite big and loud, opting for a more exciting a triumphant sound with no real subtlety in it. And it makes for some real ear candy as it helps add a lot of excitement throughout the movie.

This movie was directed by Brian G. Hutton (R.I.P) and I think he did a really good job here. I mentioned that the plot has a good amount of tension to it, but a lot of tension in this movie comes from Hutton’s direction, which really helps sell the frantic situation that our heroes have found themselves in. He also handled the action scenes very well, they’re really exciting.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Where Eagles Dare” is an exciting and very well crafted war movie. IT has a really good plot, okay characters, really good performances, great music, and really good direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Where Eagles Dare” is a 9,62/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Where Eagles Dare” is now completed.

Attacking a nazi castle? Is this Wolfenstein?

Movie Review: Mudbound (2017)

This movie is a fairly unique case. Mainly because it’s a Netflix original movie that somehow has gotten multiple Oscar nominations. Not saying that it shouldn’t have gotten the nominations, just saying that it’s very interesting. Anyway, let’s just get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mudbound”.

Mississippi, the 1940s. We follow the McAllans and the Jacksons, two families who live in close proximity to each other in a farmland. And throughout the movie’s runtime we see them have to deal with everything from the struggle of farming, to racism, to adjusting to life after being in a war. What we have here is a very rich and layered plot. Yes, it’s a fairly lengthy movie, and it does move at a fairly slow pace. But there’s enough payoffs and beautiful nuances to the plot here to make it all feel rewarding. The plot here is emotional, engaging, layered, and at times even disturbing. It’s absolutely fantastic.

The characters here are kind of like the plot in that they are quite layered and interesting. I will however not go too in-depth with each and every character as I feel that they’re best left experienced rather than explained… also, I don’t want to make this post too long and rambly. So here’s just quick overviews of the two central families and their most essential members (essential for the plot, that is). First we have the McAllans, featuring the likes of Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, and Jonathan Banks. They’re a white family who’s lived a relatively easy life until they move out to the Mississippi delta, where they have to start their new farm life. And they all get some really interesting development/moments throughout. Then we have the Jacksons, featuring Mary J. Blige, Jason Mitchell, and Rob Morgan. They’re a black family that kind of has to live with the McAllans, which of course leads to some solid drama throughout. And the Jacksons are an interesting bunch of characters. I will now also say that all the actors in this movie are running on all cylinders, there’s no weak link within the cast, they are all absolutely fantastic in the movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Tamar-Kali, and had I not done that research I would’ve just assumed that the score was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. The score here is at times reminiscent of the score from “The Assassination of Jesse James” in that it takes a dark, emotionally charged, and even kind of eerie. But it still has a very unique sound and it’s just overall great. And before you ask, the song “Mighty River” by Mary J. Blige is fucking great.

Based on a novel by Hillary Jordan, “Mudbound” was directed by Dee Rees who I think did a great job. Her direction is sweeping and confident, at times feeling like a lot of old school dramas while still feeling new and unique. I also want to talk about Rachel Morrison’s cinematography for a second, because it is fucking amazing. There were a good amount of shots in this movie that made my jaw drop. What’s also cool about it is that none of the shots felt like a “just there to be pretty” type of shot, all of the shots had a purpose while also being pure eye candy. Speaking of images, there’s some disturbing imagery at a couple points in this movie… just thought I’d give you that warning in case you’re a bit sensitive… I don’t judge.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. As previously mentioned, this movie has been nominated for multiple Oscars. Four of them actually, in the categories of Best supporting actress (Blige), Best adapted screenplay, Best cinematography, and Best original song.

“Mudbound” is a big and sweeping drama that shows that Netflix isn’t playing around. It has a fantastic plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic direction/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mudbound” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mudbound” is now completed.

I got nothing to put here. This isn’t the kind of movie you joke about afterwards.

Movie Review: Flame & Citron (2008)

Vive la resistance? I don’t fucking know.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Flame & Citron”.

The story follows two Danish resistance fighters known as Flame (Thure Lindhardt) and Citron (Mads Mikkelsen) as they battle nazis in Denmark during the second world war. But as they do their mission(s) of taking out nazi targets, they soon find themselves doubting their mission and who their allies/enemies might be. So now we have a pseudo-spy-drama set in WW2 Denmark. And it’s actually quite an enthralling plot, taking several interesting twists and turns while still keeping it fairly simple and straightforward. My only flaw with the plot is that the pacing drags a little bit at times. It’s not often it happens and it’s not a total deal-breaker, but it does bring it down a little bit. But overall it is a really good plot.

The characters here are flawed, layered, and quite interesting. Thure Lindhardt plays Flame, the titular resistance fighter whose mission it is to kill nazis. He goes through a lot of shit in this movie, portraying all kinds of emotions. And Lindhardt is great in the role. Mads Mikkelsen plays the other title character, Citron (AKA Lemon, but shut up), and as you would expect, he’s great in the role… he’s Mads Mikkelsen, he’s always great. Stine Stengade plays a woman that Flame meets and gets to know throughout the movie, and she’s great in the role. Christian Berkel plays a very important nazi here, and he’s great in the role. Overall it is a very well acted movie filled with solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Karsten Fundal and it is great. It’s dramatic, tense, slightly haunting, and just really beautiful. It really helped elevate a lot of scenes in the movie, whether it was adding tension or making something a little more emotional. Truly great stuff.

This movie was directed by Ole Christian Madsen and I think he did a great job here. His direction is surprisingly stylish for this type of movie, but it never takes away from more quiet and serious moments. And it does look really good, showing that there’s a good eye behind the camera. The movie also has a couple of action scenes throughout, and while they’re stylized in some ways, they aren’t the overly flashy things that you often see in Hollywood movies. They’re really exciting and badass, with the final big action scene being especially riveting.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Flame & Citron” is a pretty damn good historical thriller. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Like I said earlier, my only flaw with it is that the pacing slightly drags at one or two points. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Flame & Citron” is a 9,33/10. So while slightly flawed, it is still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Flame & Citron” is now completed.

We’re going to be doing one thing, and one thing only… killing nazis!

We got a trailer for “Dunkirk”!

Hi guys, how’s it going? First off, thanks for all the love on the announcement/milestone post yesterday, it really warms my heart! Secondly, we now have another trailer to talk about, so let’s do this shit!

So we now have an official announcement trailer for “Dunkirk”, a war movie directed by Christopher Nolan, about one of the most important battles of the second world war. Just that premise alone is enough to get me excited about it. Then you look at this trailer and it’s very minimalistic, but still very interesting and actually pretty intense. Then you also have a look at the list of cast members and see that this movie will star Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, and Kenneth Branagh. And for some reason we also get Harry Styles from One Direction, but whatever. But looking at all of these factors jsut makes the movie so intriguing and hypes it up quite a bit. “Dunkirk” is set for July 2017 release.

So what do you think? Are you excited about “Dunkirk”? And what’s your favorite Christopher Nolan movie that is not “The Dark Knight”? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

 

Movie Review: Saving Private Ryan (1998)

1280x720-DNE

War. Dirty, brutal, terrible… the is nothing good about it. Of course we have the PMC’s (Private Military Corporations) out there that disagree with me on that, but that is only because war is their only income. Okay, weapon manufacturers will make a few bucks from it as well… but that is not the point. My point is that war is not something that should EVER be glorified. With that said, here is evidence of that.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Saving Private Ryan”.

“Saving Private Ryan” is about a squad of soldiers led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) who after getting through the brutality of Omaha beach get sent further into France to find paratrooper Private James Ryan (Matt Damon). Which sounds weird considering Ryan isn’t even part of their squad, but the order came from higher-ups for propaganda purposes. And while that isn’t overly clear in the movie, it is still there… to raise morale (Greedy fucking American military). But even though the basic plot is simple, it is still a thoughtful, brutal and well-written plot that works in every aspect. It is all portrayed in a way where you believe it and just want to see how it unfolds. In otehr words… it is pretty great.

This movie is just full of acting talent everywhere. You can’t go ten minutes without saying “Hey, it’s *insert actor here*!”. But let’s just go on the most important ones. Tom Hanks (as per usual) is great in this movie. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering he is a great dramatic actor (Sidenote: Don’t believe me? Go watch “Philadelphia” and then come back). Next up (and the final one I am going to mention) is the character of Corporal Upham (Jeremy Davies). Now I hear your collective gasps and I will explain. Yes, Private Ryan is in the title, but he doesn’t show up until the third act of the movie. Instead I will focus on another (probably) young character who got a good amount of focus. Basically Upham is this young guy who have never really killed anyone before and Tom Hanks takes him under his wing(ish). Now I already liked Jeremy Davies as an actor after seeing him in shows like “Justified” and “Constantine”, but I didn’t know he was THIS GREAT as an actor. His character is pretty much a coward through the entire movie and he plays it fantastically. Hell, he plays the character well at all times. And I can mention that all actors in the movie were great. All of them.

The score was done by none other than John Williams. And as you probably know, he is one of the best composers of all time. He has made iconic scores, he has made emotional scores, he is just amazing. And he shows it here as well. Having emotional music when there needs to be emotional music and really intense battle music when there needs to be intense battle music. In other words… hell yeah, John Williams!

It is interesting how this movie was shot. I am not saying it does something incredibly unique like “Birdman”, but it is still a curious case. Spielberg is a director who is known for having very steady direction and camera work in his movies (Sidenote: Don’t believe me? Go watch “Jurassic Park” and “E.T.” and then come back). But in this movie he went for a more handheld style. No, it’s not the same as shaky-cam. I am not explaining the differences here, that is for another time. Anyhow, like I said, “Saving Private Ryan” is a rare example of Steven Spielberg going for a more handheld style. And I like it. It gives the movie a more gritty and realistic style, you feel like a fly on an exploding wall. And to add to that we have some of, if not the most brutal and shocking action scenes of all time. Limbs flying off, heads exploding… this isn’t traditional Spielberg. And while the brutality will be too much for some people to stomach, I feel like it just added to the movie and is part of why it is so great.

This movie is one of the most critically well-received movies ever(ish). On Rotten Tomatoes the movie has a 93% positive rating and is certified “Fresh”. On Metacritic it has the incredible score of 90/100. Roger Ebert also loved it, giving it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #33 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 5 Oscars in the categories of Best Director, Best cinematography, Best sound, Best sound effects editing and Best Film editing. It was also nominated for an additional 6 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Hanks), Best Original Screenplay, Best set decoration, Best makeup and Best original dramatic score. 

“Saving Private Ryan” is a brutal, gritty, thoughtful, dark movie filled with terrific performances, a terrific score, great direction/camera work, excellent action scenes and a beautiful ending. Time for my final score. God damn it, Jeff. Where is that son of a bitch? There you are, what took you so l- what the fuck happened to your leg? Nazis shot it off? Well do you have the envelope? Thank you! My final score for “Saving Private Ryan” is a 9,88/10. It does of course get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
49920178

“Saving Private Ryan” is now reviewed.

So much trouble for one guy? Damn…