‘Come and See’ Review: Carrying The Burden of Survivor’s Guilt

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To call Elem Klimov’s final film Come and See one of the finest of war films would not be enough in order to describe what the experience of watching it would feel like. There has never been a more raw, more horrifying depiction of pure evil onscreen, one that ever made you feel like you were a part of everything that unfolded as the war kept going. Make no mistake, this is not an easy film to watch, but you’ll never come out from watching Come and See feeling like you’re the same person again – if anything it stays with you the moment it finishes, and provides one of the most visceral of any cinematic experiences that you can imagine.

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‘Da 5 Bloods’ Review: A Potent, if Indulgent Affair from Spike Lee

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After watching BlacKkKlansman, the images that Spike Lee brings you at the film’s end stick with you. In many ways, Da 5 Bloods is as perfect a follow-up to said film as one can imagine, now starting with the hard-hitting footage of history leading up to the Vietnam War. As these bits of history lead into a story about African American veterans coming back together, Da 5 Bloods makes itself out to be Spike Lee retaining that sense of urgency – even at the cost of some pretty evident self-indulgence on his own end. Yet there’s still something worth looking into as Spike Lee doesn’t ever let go of that same energy as he continuously finds ways to adapt it into the days coming by.

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‘1917’ Review: A Faceless, if Harrowing War Experience

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This WWI film directed by Sam Mendes is a visceral theatrical experience, one that feels ready to place you on the battlefield, whether you are ready or not. It’s also one that I was feeling skeptical about because it has also been way too long since I was last wowed by a mainstream war film from recent memory, but the idea that Sam Mendes were to make one to look as if it were in one continuous long take became the most intriguing selling point for me. And for every bit as it is the film’s main selling point, 1917 doesn’t seem to have all that much to offer beyond that. Which isn’t to say that the film is bad, but where it peaks in the technical department it seems to be lacking elsewhere.

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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp – Review

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A prime example of everything that a war film should be all in a little less than three hours. Something that, ironically, feels hard enough for Hollywood to capture so it was up to directing pair Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger of Britain to make The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp amidst the Second World War. Many of their typical trademarks are present in here as always but their names as always are synonymous with quality. But something like The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp shows a different spin on the war film, for it also blends elements of romance and comedy. This sort of humanistic angle on a war film is one thing that makes such films as powerful as they are and even if it weren’t Powell and Pressburger’s best film, it surely will go down as one of them for nevertheless it still stands as one of their most beautiful works to date.

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Darkest Hour – Review

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I remember when I watched Atonement in a history class, and it was a rather awful experience. Beyond the often noted tracking shot taking place on the battle of Dunkirk, I also found the whole film to be indulgent and frustrating – and the romance to be contrived. I recalled that experience because watching Darkest Hour, the first thing that I was thinking about was that this movie was tailor made for that exact same history class because the teacher did not care in the slightest about his own students. Darkest Hour just felt like that movie for history class that you ended up sleeping through and it was the reason you ended up failing your assignment, because you were supposed to write an essay about what you were watching and yet you couldn’t help but doze off because you felt nothing.

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Dunkirk – Review

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Christopher Nolan’s films are loved and hated in equal measure, for he’s already established a dedicated following that has blown him up to the heights of being one of the greatest filmmakers of his time – and at the same time he has also established a crowd of detractors who renounce the praises of his fans. Personally I’ve found myself in the middle, for he was once a filmmaker I loved as I was getting into movies although his work after The Dark Knight I have already found for myself had not held up nearly as well as I remembered. It was one among many reasons I was skeptical coming into Dunkirk, for I was only worried that I may have soured on Christopher Nolan far too much with his most recent films not doing particularly much for me as he once did – only to find myself in for a pleasant surprise. I saw another side of Nolan that I’d also want to continue in his future films, for it felt refreshing to watch as I was seated in the theater.

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The Beguiled – Review

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In the same year where Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood have formed a name for themselves through the iconic Dirty Harry comes something of a much slower, more melodramatic pace in The Beguiled. But unlike their usual pairing this wasn’t an action film, just a slow-moving wartime drama. If anything had come out from watching what it was that The Beguiled had presented though, it comes from how this transition had proved more on behalf of Clint Eastwood’s end as an actor given as he would already have been made a more recognizable name from the fact he was made a star from western films or action films. In The Beguiled, a more refined side to him is shown and the results from this rather unexpected Seigel-Eastwood collaboration are at the very least, extremely pleasing. Maybe in some extent it’s from the point of view I’m less interested in, but nevertheless it was nice to see another side to Clint Eastwood here.

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Black Book – Review

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Paul Verhoeven’s return to his own homeland after the years he had spent in Hollywood churning out satirical classics have only proven all the more rewarding after he brings out Black Book. Being his first film to have been made in the Netherlands since The Fourth Man, Black Book brings back that touch he had made for himself during said years as he now brings said touch with eroticism and satire to the setting of WWII. In his own homeland, Black Book also holds the honour of being voted as the best Dutch film ever by the public and while that may be a stretch because I’m not so sure this would be amongst my favourite Verhoeven works, but I’ve grown up a proud apologist for his work and naturally it would mean a lesser film (minus two particularly bad films) is more impressive for many other directors’ best. With Black Book, Verhoeven satisfyingly retains this consistency.

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Allied – Review

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There’s a certain Robert Zemeckis that I really miss seeing and it was the Robert Zemeckis that seemed he knew how to bring a good time for audiences when he made films like Back to the Future and a childhood favourite, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. There was a period afterwards where he just seemed to pander to a more serious crowd and while he hasn’t churned up anything nearly as vomit-inducing as Forrest Gump it seems afterwards he just toned down and aimed for a more serious approach that carried so little joy. If it hadn’t been clearer with his 21st century work, then it comes clear once again with Allied. Zemeckis continues an ongoing streak of disappointment.

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Inglourious Basterds – Review

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Quentin Tarantino’s movies always have had a delightful knack when it comes to their writing and callings towards older films but if Pulp Fiction were not proof enough that both can add perfectly to create something that feels so fresh, there comes Inglourious Basterds jumping at greater reach. Of the many films that Quentin Tarantino has made over the years, two films remain to be the ones that contain everything that show his own cinematic fascinations at their very most: Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds. A certain power under Tarantino’s eyes is exhibited at some of its fullest in Inglourious Basterds – the very most he’s managed to achieve since his sophomore feature.

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