Sisu is if you took Mad Max Fury Road and John Wick and asked the question “what if it took place during near the end of World War II?” You would get Sisu a movie that admittedly shares a lot of the same elements as John Wick but still manages to be a complete blast.
Jorma Tommila plays Aatami Korpi a solider who is now a miner and is feared among many rival soldiers some people calling him “immortal” which is quite accurate because this guy picks apart this group of Nazis one by one. Tommila gives a very intimidating performance and really captures the atmosphere the film is going for quite well, the cinematography when combined with the location are very beautiful and makes for some very interesting action scenes. We get to explore around the many battlefields, it has this eeriness to it that is actually quite effective.
The action scenes are quite fantastic, filled to the brim with gore and lots of pretty strong kills that really make the film a very entertaining ride. The action during the last 10 minutes or so does get a little too silly but I guess it does fit the whole “this man is unbeatable” idea, outside of Aatami Korpi the other characters don’t get much in the way of development. The main villains are Bruno Helldorf played by Aksel Hennie and his subordinate Wolf played by Jack Doolan. The performances from Hennie and Doolan are both very good, the characters however are just ultimately higher ranked Nazis. They aren’t that much different from the ones they are leading, except just lasting much longer in the movie.
Overall Sisu thematically might not have a lot going on as it is very straightforward and honestly tells you from the trailer what you are getting, but it is very fun film that is really solid. It’s not going to reinvent the action genre but it is yet another solid one from this year.
Of the two Guy Richie films that have been released this year The Covenant and Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, The Covenant is by far the better of the two.
While The Covenant is not based on a true story the movie does state that there have been situations where interpreters have put themselves on the line of danger to save injured sergeants. First and foremost the performances from Jake Gyllenhaal who plays John Kinley and Dar Salim who plays Ahemd are both quite fantastic here, the bond between is truly fantastic and while yes it’s a cliched question in movie the whole “how far would you go to save someone who saved your life” thing works here.
The first two acts are very well done especially when it comes to atmosphere that truly is thrilling and I really have to say for a first time directing a war movie Guy Richie does a really good job of nailing down the atmosphere of war, it might not be up there with some of the greats such as Hacksaw Ridge, 1917 or All Quiet On The Western Front. But it honestly doesn’t need to be, Richie made the atmosphere his own and made it quite interesting.
Unfortunately The Covenant does suffer from two major flaws the first being the third act, while it isn’t awful as it does keep some thrilling moments which were previously in the first two acts. It doesn’t have a whole lot of development unfortunately, we are introduced to some characters who get about 7 minutes of screentime and then are pretty much never seen again. The action scenes during the third act are nowhere near as thrilling as they were than the first two acts, it turns into an action scene you would expect from over the top action movies. Which yes I get there’s going to be action scenes but I can’t help but feel like that it takes away from the quietness and atmospheric feeling that was in the other two acts.
Lastly there’s the messaging of the movie, while the movie does have a very good intentioned message that interpreters are important and should be talked about more (which I agree with) when it comes to the War in Afghanistan, it honestly doesn’t explore all that much about the interpreters. Outside of Dar Salim’s character Ahmed we aren’t given a whole lot of information about interpreters and how important they are, it’s only at the end of the movie where some text shows up and then the credits show army soldiers being buddies with interpreters. It’s a shame because I do think the topic of interpreters gets very overshadowed and nowhere near as much attention as it should.
With that said I do think The Covenant is a solid movie with some really strong acting and Guy Richie trying to do something a bit different with the war movie genre. There’s a lot to like about this one.
When you take a look at the war film genre you often don’t see too many anti-war films, it’s a type of film that I really appreciate it because it has an entirely different perspective plus it really shows the tragedies of war. Plus how nobody really wins at the end, two most recognizable ones are Come and See and All Quiet On The Western Front. All Quiet On The Western Front is based off of a 1929 book of the same name written by Erich Maria Remarque, the book was later adapted into a 1930 film of the same name which would go on to win best picture at the Oscars. Fast forward to 2022 and we have a new adaption that is just as powerful and meaningful as the 1930 film from all those years ago. For starters as soon as the film begins the film immediately grabs the viewer’s attention with its cinematography there’s so much attention to detail here which only adds to the gory and disturbing battle shots that show up in the film later on. The cinematography also has this perfect war like atmosphere that truly hits home the point of how terrible war really is, it hits all the beats necessary to get the viewer into a state of terror and tragedy. The performances are absolutely masterful with every sense of the word, especially from Felix Kammerer who plays Paul so well that it’s truly captivating, the very beginning really captures this well. With Paul and his friends being sent out to war, some of his friends not knowing truly how serious war really is and only hits them harder and harder when they see lives being taken. The film isn’t afraid to show how war mentally effects the people involved and how it can really kill you on the inside as well, it can completely lead people to many states such as completely shock and trauma which we the viewers get to see a lot with Paul and the others. We see the differences of how the soldiers have to survive and hopefully get to go home to their loved ones where as the generals don’t really have the same worries, I mean sure something could happen to them but they are normally very well guarded where as soldiers like Paul have to fight to survive. The film does a fantastic job of showing this by cutting back and forth between the chaos on the battlefield and dialogue scenes of the generals, a lot of this is really shown at full force during the final act of the film where Felix Kammerer’s performance get’s even more powerful. It completely blossoms into this brutally honest performance that still has not left my mind since I saw it a 2 weeks ago, it’s truly one of the best performances of the year and one that will leave you with goosebumps. The film itself is a brutally honest one, it doesn’t sugarcoat anything it’s a film that lays out the tragedies of war and tells the viewer that in the end nobody really wins during a war. Lastly there’s the atmosphere of the film which combined with the cinematography is truly striking, there’s so many scenes that capture the horror of war and add so much terror to it. Overall All Quiet On The Western Front completely nails the message of the book and the original film, it’s definitely hard to watch but it’s a very necessary watch that truly hits all the right notes.
All Quiet On The Western Front is available on Netflix.
Medieval can be pretty much summed up with the creative process that went into the title of the movie. Dull, uninteresting and is no different from other movies within the genre, outside of a few admittedly pretty neat kills and the acting that has it’s moments. There’s truly nothing new at all here, a lot of it just feels like a giant checklist that they made sure to accomplish while filming, but completely forgot to make the movie investing. The movie is actually based off of a true story, the story of Jan Žižka a Czech mercenary from the end of the 14th century. This should have been something rather simple to turn into a film but for whatever reason it didn’t happen here. Ben Foster is definitely the standout but that’s really not saying much when even he couldn’t entirely save it. It also doesn’t help that the pacing is atrocious with a 126 minute running time that you quickly start to feel.
I went to the “Regal Mystery Screening” which basically the premise is that it’s a movie that hasn’t been released yet, when I saw the Apple TV+ logo pop up on the screen I knew immediately what it was going to be. The Greatest Beer Run Ever tells the crazy true story of John “Chickie” Donohue during the Vietnam war the guy decided to go deliver his friends who are fighting in the war beer in Vietnam to show that his town supports them. It’s a truly interesting story that that I found quite fascinating, the movie does a decent job of telling the story. Zac Efron is truly great here, while it did take about 20 minutes to get use to his performance (it comes off as annoying during the first 10 minutes) after that he delivers so much charm to his performance, Russell Crowe plays Arthur Coates a photographer/journalist during the war, while he doesn’t get a huge part up until the third act he still quite incredible. He really puts in a lot of power and emotion that really sells his part, speaking of the third act that’s by far the strongest part about it. During the third act Donohue learns a lot about the great horrors of war, such as politicians/the government lying and witnessing civilians being killed. There’s some very powerful moments here that are truly fantastic and actually made me shed a tear, what is a bit baffling however is how the majority of the movie plays out as a comedy. Sure there’s some war stuff in between the comedy, but those particular scenes are played for laughs unlike the ones in the third act. I completely understand what the movie was trying to go for here, but I don’t think it balances out all that well. For what the comedy is there are some pretty decent jokes here that did get a few laughs out of me, to be completely fair though I would imagine it would be sort of a challenge to make a movie about a guy going to Vietnam to deliver beer to his friends without using comedy. So it’s not necessarily the comedy that’s the problem it’s mostly some of the jokes not being very funny and the third act being far more interesting in comparison. Overall The Greatest Beer Run Ever is a decent movie about a pretty insane true story, I definitely think the movie could have elaborated more on Donohue’s change from being pro war to questioning what is going on during wars, as it does feel like the movie ends right when we are about to get some more information on that.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever releases tomorrow on Apple TV+
Benediction has a lot of strong parts about it, for starters the acting is very well done from everyone involved Jack Lowden as Siegfried Sassoon was quite fantastic, the end of the film is truly powerful and leaves with a very strong note in hand. The direction from Terrance Davies is very raw and quite powerful as well, the best part about the film is the film’s exploration of Sassoon as a poet and him as a person. Which leads to some quite fascinating moments that truly capture the 1920s during World War I, what mostly helps it feels like Davies’s direction feels a bit personal here. Which isn’t a first time occurrence as he sometimes does put some personal type elements in his autobiographical films, whether that be camera angles that really standout and are up close, parts of the writing that instantly connects the viewer to who the film is about in this case Sassoon, or the very raw acting that completely builds some of the strongest moments in his films. The pacing and the running time do slow the film back a bit, however it isn’t nearly enough to stop this film from being beautifully done and told.
Sniper The White Raven might not be the best war movie out there, but when it comes to capturing realism it’s quite great. The color of the film is this ash gray color to it that feel really powerful, making some of the single shots quite haunting yet beautiful to look at the same time. The film is based on a true story which the movie does a pretty decent job of telling it, at times it does drag on a bit clocking in at almost 2 hours. The writing has some very strong moments that capture the realism of war, there are moments when the movie falls a little short but it isn’t enough to stop this movie from being a decent showing!
Sniper The White Raven releases on Friday in theaters and on all VOD Platforms.
I’m not sure if I have said this before but one of my favorite parts of history I like learning more about is World War II, there’s so many stories that haven’t been told yet or haven’t been told enough. Operation Mincemeat is one of the most bizarre World War II events that is also one of the most popular deception missions in history, despite that however there’s only ever been two films made about it. The first film “The Man Who Never Was” a 1956 film that came to be because of a 1953 book of the same name. Then there’s film Operation Mincemeat which tells the bizarre story of a successful British deception operation of World War II to disguise the 1943 Allied Invasion of Sicily. What they did was, British Intelligence obtained the body of a dead man who died of rat poison (Glyndwr Michael), dressed him as an officer of the Royal Marines and placed items on him identifying as the fictions captain acting major William Martin. The film itself follows the events very well and truly makes for a very interesting film, the performances all around are fantastic particularly Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen who really gave some raw performances. The writing was quite strong as well, with many moments that really complimented this bizarre story very well. The only main criticism here is I do think some of the romantic drama scenes were a bit too long and weren’t really needed, it feels a bit out of place considering the plot of the film but they aren’t enough to hurt the film to the point where it becomes very noticeable. Lastly there’s the direction that remains quite strong from beginning to end, it really captures the bizarre nature of the film even if a lot of it is more in the background. We still feel the bizarre nature through everyone involved working behind the scenes of the event, overall Operation Mincemeat is a very solid film that tells a bizarre World War II story and how it came to be. I highly recommend checking this one out!
Munich: The Edge Of War tells the true story of Hitler preparing to invade Czechoslovakia and the government of Neville Chamberlain wanting seek a peaceful solution fine enough. The main issue is the constant switch in tone, for some reason the movie decides to add humor into it which given the subject matter is most definitely not a good idea to do. The performances are all pretty well acted George MacKay, Jeremy Irons and Jannis Niewöhner being the standouts and the production of the film is actually quite impressive. The writing unfortunately is just not strong enough, there’s moments where it feels very weak and is begging to be rewritten and then there’s times where it’s actually very solid. Munich: The Edge Of War also could have shaved off at least 10 minutes as well, overall it’s not terrible history buffs will definitely get something out of this. But then again you could also look up the information on Wikipedia.
Moffie is a powerful and meaningful war coming of age film. It’s a movie about a young man struggling to accept himself while he’s in a very torturous environments in this case being in a war and battlegrounds. When you take those two elements together it truly creates something haunting and emotional all at the same time, Kai Luke Brummer does a fantastic job in the leading role, he absolutely delivers on every single level and gives a beautiful performance that really leaves a huge impact on you. The use of coming of age story during war and other dangerous situations is really well done here, you can feel Nicholas’s pain and how he is trying to manage it. Moffie also has very beautiful writing, directing and filming as well each feel as authentic as possible and make this film unique in it’s own ways! Moffie is definitely going to be a hidden gem of 2021, check this one out when you can!