Movie Review – Dunkirk

Dunkirk_067Nolan did it again

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.’ (IMDb) (106 min., by Christopher Nolan)

I got the opportunity to see this movie before it came out thanks to my work and Canvas Selects and I wanted to share my feelings of this movie right here as soon as possible. Needless to say I loved it. It was simply a masterpiece of cinema.

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The entire movie you’re enthralled by the images and the sounds that surround you and takes you to this particular moment in history. It was filmed in Imax and Nolan also wanted it to be seen like this and I do believe it gave an extra dimension to the movie. As with his other movies, this one is filled with little details that may be a bit overlooked if you see the movie at home. In Imax you can see the movie in its entire glory.

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Nolan takes us to one of the most well-known part of the second World War, where more than 400.000 men were trapped between the ocean and the incoming German forces. Basically, waiting like sitting ducks for transportation back home. For more than a week the soldiers were waiting, finding a way home and trying not to be killed by German airplanes in the meanwhile. With the forces at home not willing to put in a lot of effort, preferring to keep their boats and planes for the oncoming battles, the generals and soldiers were always looking for a way to get home, to get away from the planes. In the end, it came onto a few planes and a lot of fisher- and pleasure boats to get their soldiers back to Great-Britain. It was a massive undertaking, and the soldiers were helped by a lot of civilians. 

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The story is told from three perspectives with three different duration times. The Air on the one hand, where we follow a few planes during 1 hour. One of the fisher boats that we follow for 1 day. And off course we follow 3 soldiers finding themselves together on the beach. We follow them for 1 week. These stories are not told chronologically, but rather are mashed together, building up the tension and giving us a sense of urgency that the soldiers must have felt at the time.

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The way the story is told is not really standard, but it doesn’t take you away from the story at all. Rather it takes you and pulls you even more into the story, as you meet characters in one storyline further in time and then see them come back in another storyline but earlier in time. (Are you still following?) Knowing how he turns out and what this specific character goes through and then seeing him still hopeful at the beginning of the week in another storyline, shows us how impactful this specific event was to the mindset of a lot of soldiers and how gruesome this was.

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But the movie isn’t all about the story. There isn’t really one main character that you follow the entire movie. But rather a few characters we follow in each story line. You could argue that Tommy (played marvelously by Fionn Whitehead) is the main character because we follow him the most, but the story is carried by all the characters, giving us all different glimpses into this event. We have several characters all going through something different and all trying to survive. Because this is a story about survival, about getting away. There isn’t a lot of fighting. The entire movie is based upon these soldiers being stranded and finding a way of the beach, being bombarded, never knowing when the next boat will come and if they will be able to get on it. It’s a study of how far a person will go to survive and what it’ll take to get out there. It’s more of an emotional and movie piece, than an action or war movie. 

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What is most remarkable about this movie is that there isn’t that much dialogue at all. This being a war movie with a lot, and I repeat a lot of explosions, the emotions here are all in the little details on the faces of the actors, on their actions. Here we have to applaud everybody, all the actors because they are all so strong in their own way. They toned down their acting and it felt so much more real for it. Fionn Whitehead (Tommy) acts so subtly as one of the soldiers we follow on the ground. Trying to survive, but never forgetting who is and always trying to help others. Aneurin Barnard and Harry Styles (yes, the one and only) are remarkable as his companions. These three stick together to survive even though they are all from different battalions.

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Mark Rylance plays Mr. Dawson who takes matters and his boat in own hands, not wanting the Navy to take it away. He sets off with his son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) and George (Barry Keoghan), a boy from their village, to go to Dunkirk to pick up soldiers. This trio of men have such a good chemistry, never faltering even when they see the carnage ahead. But they keep it real. They are afraid and it is life changing, but they show it in such a way that is just remarkable and show the strength of the characters and the actors themselves.

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In the air we have Tom Hardy, one of Nolan’s favourite actors, putting up a great piece of acting. Here he plays Farrier, one of the pilots charged with going to Dunkirk to protect the soldiers from German planes coming to bombard them. We mostly only see his eyes, but they give so much of his emotions that you only need one flicker of his eyelashes to know how he feels. As he was restricted to his plane and could only act in a closed-of space, it’s just remarkable how much emotion he can bring over. The same thing can be said of Jack Lowden, playing Collins, his colleague in the air.

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Needless to say that Christopher Nolan is a crack in picking the right actors for the right part and giving them enough direction, yet freedom as well, to give their best performance. By choosing to work with a lot of young (inexperienced) actors and more seasoned actors in the ‘supporting’ roles, Christopher Nolan is at his best.

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Reuniting with his favourite DOP, Hoyte Van Hoytema, he brings us a beautiful movie. Filmed in Imax, for the first time also in handheld, the movie is a pearl to be seen. Never have I seen so much detail, so much colour. Never have I had the feeling of really being in the action. It took my breath away. The story, the characters were supported by the images and here you see why Christopher Nolan and Hoyte always work together. Because they click. Because it works. The action scenes, at sea or in the air, are so craftily filmed that you feel like you’re right there with them. The way the use colour to give an aura of doom or relief is just so well done. I could go on and on about this and about the beauty of this film. 

Photographer: Anders Rosqvist, www.rosqvist.photo

And the music. Hans Zimmer is also at his best here. With a ticking clock every time something bad is going to happen. With the music drowning out, the sounds drowning out, you feel that something is coming up. This paired with a little flicker of emotion on the faces of one of the actor, and your stomach will be turning because you know it’s bad. Whatever is coming, it’s bad. The music, the images and the story are so well incorporated, so well tuned in on one another. It’s just an entire sensation from begin to end.

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This movie is a true spectacle and one you must watch in Imax if you can, just to be able to see all the details, all the little emotions, to truly feel the movie. Because it’s a sensation. From beginning to end, you sit on the front edge of your seat and Christopher Nolan takes you by the hand and leads you towards 1h40 min. of pure suspense, action and despair, 1h40 of pure emotion. While you might feel a bit lost in the story at the beginning, it soon all clicks in place and you will see a movie like none you ever saw before. If one can call a movie someone’s masterpiece, then this is definitely the case right here. Christopher Nolan has outdone himself.

9.5/10 stars.  Definitely go see it, you will be blown away!

Movie Review – The LEGO Batman Movie

TLBM_02I’m Batman

A cooler-than-ever Bruce Wayne must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to rule Gotham City, while discovering that he has accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who wishes to become his sidekick.’ (IMDb) (by Chris McKay, 104 min.)

I actually liked this movie a lot. I already read everywhere that it was really enjoyable and for every age out there, so this was perfect. And I just feel like they took everything they learned and everything that was a success with the first Lego movie and just made it a lot better.

I must say that because we already knew Batman as a character (from other stories) and from the first Lego Movie, we already had a step into this story. We didn’t need to be introduced to the character, which made it easier to immediately step into the story.TLBM_04And it was such a fun story. If you know Batman, then you know he’s a loner and here this is taken to the next level. He doesn’t express his feelings to anyone, preferring to work alone and never letting anyone in. And here it all starts, because the Joker feels underrated. He doesn’t feel hated. Batman even lets him know that he doesn’t need him, but soon notices that without the Joker, there’s not much for him to do.

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And the story goes on from there and I won’t go into anymore details here, just go watch it. I think I enjoyed this movie because of Batman and how his character was just enhanced in this film. Everything we knew from the other stories, just got bigger and worse. Giving us a another view on the character.

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But he wasn’t the only interesting character in this film. Robin was a cute, lightly superactive orphan, looking for someone to adopt him and when Batman adopts him (without knowing, because off course he was engrossed in his own life), Robin is over the moon and slowly starts pushing into Batman’s life, his heart, and off course into ours as well. You just can’t but fall in love with him. He’s too cute.

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Then we have Barbara, a strong female character, showing no mercy and trying to work with Batman, instead of asking his help. In our world, every strong female character is an affirmation of what we all can do, of what we’re capable of, but also it shows that we are all stronger together. And we must not forget about Alfred. Here he gets a bigger role than we are used from him, getting into the fight and the action. This is a real treat to see his character in a more active role.

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The amazing graphics and images are just amazing. There are songs that are incorporated in the storyline, none as great as the song from The Lego Movie, but they added to the story and were a nice change from the action and fighting. What I especially liked were the little winks to the past Batman stories… When Alfred tells Batman he has seen this ‘stage’ again and all different stages he goes through, we see short, little snips of past Batman movies and series in the background, to underline that he always gets in this mood. A nice addition and one I think is perfect in such a movie as The Lego Batman Movie.

7.5/10 stars… Definitely go check it out.

Movie Rewatch: The Incredibles

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by Brad Bird

A rewatch for me

‘A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.’ (IMDb) (by Brad Bird, 115 min.)

I decided to rewatch this movie this weekend because I was feeling nostalgic and I forgot how much fun this film was. I wanted to revisit it, before the second one comes out next year. The action, the characters, the music, the images… these all show how good Pixar is at making a good, heartfelt family film. Because in the end that is what The Incredibles is.

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It’s the story about a family living beside each other, not knowing each other, being stuck in a routine. This is especially hard for them because they are superheroes and they don’t seem to fit in anywhere. It’s a universal story, which is the reason why this movie had so much success and is still, to this day, loved by so many people.  

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I liked everything about this movie and especially now, looking back at it being a bit older, I got so much more out of it. I was just so excited with every action point, every up and down in the story, the characters, the images, the music. It was just so great. They used a lot of little nods to James Bond, to the classics Westerns and to other action movies.

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This is a movie that can be enjoyed by adults and children, at any age actually. Because anyone can get something out of it and enjoy it. The story is easy to follow, and yet when seeing it now, there are so many little things that I now picked up, that I totally zapped on when I was a kid. I think this is really important when making a family film. It has to have a lot of different things for everyone to enjoy. 

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The graphics also make me think of those classic graphic novels. They use simple, yet powerful lines. Not going into too much detail, but staying focused on the most important lines and their functionality. Which is great, because you don’t get lost in all the details of the images (like it sometimes is the case with Inside Out, so many beautiful details), but you get to focus on the story and on the action that is portrayed.

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I really would highly suggest that you see this movie again really soon, if only to prepare yourself for the sequel that has been announced. This should come out in our cinemas in summer 2018 and I can’t wait to see it. First, for the trailer and any sneak peeks they can give us, but especially for the entire film. We have waited so long for a second film and now we’ll finally get one.

8/10 stars. I’ll definitely rewatch it really soon, and then again and again until the second one drops in cinemas.

Movie Review – A United Kingdom

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by Amma Asante

A tale of love, courage and perseverance

The story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his loving but controversial marriage to a British white woman, Ruth Williams, put his kingdom into political and diplomatic turmoil.’ (IMDb) (by Amma Asante, 111 min.)

I was so utterly surprised by how much I liked this film. I knew I would love the story, because it is a well-known story of love and of courage and of two people fighting for each other and for the country they care so much for. But the way this movie was made, the way this story was told was just so beautiful, that I couldn’t stop watching and kept rooting for them to succeed.

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There are still some things about the story, about the film that bothered me a bit. At the beginning of the film I wasn’t connected to the characters. I just didn’t believe in their love. It felt a bit pushed and not real. Not because of the actors, because they were great, but I felt it was pushed a bit too quickly. I think the film would have benefited from it if they put in 10 more minutes of them falling in love with each other. Because now it was too quick for my taste. I had the feeling that the director, Amma Asante, wanted to get to the ‘juicy’ part, to the real story of this film.

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Which made it a bit harder for me to connect to the characters. I did find that Rosamund Pike was perfect as Ruth, a young woman falling in love and leaving everything behind and pack all her belongings to go off to Africa. She portrays Ruth perfectly. You feel with her when she starts her life in Africa and feels the racism and the difficulties to fit in there, which she also faced in England. The fears and the difficulties to learn the language, to make his people love her and accept her, became real and made the movie so much better towards the end. Their love became so much more apparent and real towards the end of the film. Actually from the moment he left to go back to England and she stayed behind in Botswana. 

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David Oyelowo was great as well. He has already played in so much of my favourite films, that it came as no surprise that he portrayed Seretse so well. You felt with him, with everything he went through. When he got the news that he was banned from his country and from his pregnant wife, that just hit me in the heart. He was vulnerable, yet so strong because he didn’t want to give up on Ruth. You could feel his love for his country, but that he also wanted to do the right thing, even if he knew that he would be met with a lot of resistance. There were so much emotions going through me while watching this. 

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This is a great example of the perfect combination of great acting, gorgeous images and the right use of music. If only the beginning of the film wasn’t pushed so much and didn’t go by so quickly, I think this would have been in the top 5 of my favourite films of the first half of 2017. I will be checking out Amma Asante’s next film, because I do feel she evolves with every story she tells and she knows how to put her land on film in such a beautiful way. Can’t wait to see what she brings out next.

7/10 stars.

Movie Review – Logan

Logan_05perfect end to this series

may contain small spoilers

In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.’ (IMDb) (by James Mangold, 137 min.)

This was such a treat and one I wasn’t expected at all. I laughed, I cried, I shrieked in horror and I felt pumped by all the action scenes. Needless to say this movie left me with a lot of feelings and that, for me, is usually a sign that it was a great movie. To me anyways.

I wasn’t very familiar with the history of Logan and this specific Comic. I knew it existed, but for me it didn’t fit in my world of the X-Men. It was different. It told a much darker story, with an older Logan and I wasn’t ready for that. But now, seeing Hugh Jackman getting older and taking on the same role over and over again, his character not aging, but him, as an actor definitely getting there, I felt ready for this story. And apparently so did Marvel and the world.

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It was the right time to tell this story and to show us this part of the world. It does give us an entire new character to get to know and love, and probably follow, in Laura. And on this they played well. Because we still have the fierceness from Wolverine, but she’s different in a way. I found her part really interesting and I can’t wait to see what else she will bring to this world.

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I found the entire story interesting. It was a bit weird at first to hear them talk about their friends and colleagues in the past tense, but they gave us enough time to get used to it, before throwing us into the story and the action. And when the action started, man, it didn’t stop.

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I found the new, older, less improved, less perfect Wolverine a real treat on screen. He had so many layers and with his sickness, his dark thoughts, his job, the way he handles this kid that stepped into his life, he became a much more interesting character to follow. The way he handled all kinds of situations and the way he dealt with death in this film, showed me a Logan worth saying goodbye to. Because this movie is a goodbye. Don’t get me wrong, (no spoilers); but I cried several times in this film.

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Every character got their beautiful goodbye in this film, their final scene in this world. And it touched me. It was like saying goodbye to characters that grew with me, that made me grow to the person I am today. So when the credits rolled, it was like a gigantic chapter of my life got to an end and I turned the last page of this book.

The end was bittersweet. Saying goodbye to old favourites and welcoming new characters, new possibilities… 8/10 stars. Definitely earned.

Movie Review – Hacksaw Ridge

Another interesting WWII tale

HR_03‘WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.’ (IMDb) (by Mel Gibson, 139 min.)

This movie came as a total surprise to me. I didn’t know I would like it so much. The story itself interested me, but I was a bit afraid it wouldn’t touch me. That they would focus more on the fight and not his story. But I should have had faith in Mel Gibson and his storytelling.

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Because he tells everything. We meet him when he’s a little kid. We see him growing up, trying to cope with his father who has Post-traumatic Stress Disorder after the First World War and who is the only one from his group who came back to America. Needless to say, that when Desmond told him he would go to war, he freaked out. Completely.

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But the most important thing here, is that Desmond didn’t fire a shot at all. Because of his faith he can’t touch a gun and certainly not fire one. He wanted to go to war to help others, to save them, to be of service and become a doctor.

It’s a very long film, but the entire story is just so compelling that you just don’t see the time pass by. You’re so enthralled in the film and in this story, especially at the end, that when the movie is over, you wish there was more.

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The most important reason I think that is, is off course Mel Gibson’s way of filming. He’s a master of images, of long historic tales with grand endings. The images are brilliant, the music adds to the feeling of the film and his direction of his actors is just on point.

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Again here the movie is carried by Andrew Garfield. He’s just perfect in this movie. Just like in silent, he takes this out of the normal-role and takes it even more out of this world. He is Desmond and his accent is just so believable. The way he carries himself and goes through everything at training. Never throwing his friends or comrades under the bus. He’s just a brilliant actor and I can’t wait to see what he’ll play next.

8/10 stars… I’ll definitely be watching this one again.

New Trailer Reviews (#3)

 

Tulip Fever

Tulip, Art and The Netherlands…

Being from Belgium, I’ve known a little bit about the history of the Netherlands and their beautiful flowers, the Tulips. Here, this movie will give us a combination of what they’re known for the best: Tulip and art. Now, this story does remind me a little bit of ‘The Girl With The Pearl Earring’, working with a similar story (painter falls in love with his subject). But with Alicia Vikander and Dane DeHaan, I can’t expect anything but greatness. These are highly talented actors and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the story.

Colossal

Anne Hathaway is a kickass Monster

Now this one seems interesting. Anne Hathaway gets her chance here to put her comedic talent to use in an action movie. It seems an interesting story, another twist to a genre overly present on screens nowadays. It seems dark and funny and I can’t wait to see what turn this story will take. I hope it doesn’t take itself too seriously or too funny, but that they easily find the perfect combination. This is a must-see for me.

The Defenders (Netflix)

Netflix Latest Marvel Story

I’m just not convinced. I’m not… You can say what you want, but they don’t seem an interesting match to me. The fun thing about the Avengers is that they are all so different and their differences make their combination interesting. Daredevil, Jessica Jonas, Luke Cage and the Iron Fist are all broody, dark people and I’m afraid they will all be mushed together. I’m just not sure about this one.

The Dark Tower

Another Stephen King Adaptation

Sometimes I get the feeling they don’t know what to film anymore. They keep picking up other stories that already have known success. This one seems  rather interesting, but I’m a bit scared that the trailer looks too good to be true. Knowing Stephen King and his Fantasy stories, there will be a lot of background and story you’ll have to know before understanding the entire world and I’m afraid the movie won’t be long enough to be explained logically. Either it will only be explaining the world to set everything up for the next film (if there is one). Or it will be more action and we’ll be guessing how the world works. I’ll definitely check this one out, but I’m not entirely sure whether I’ll see it in cinemas or at home. One thing I am excited about seeing is Matthew McConaghey as a bad guy. That must be so interesting.

Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan tackles a War story

This is one of my more anticipated movies of all time! Okay, of 2017. I mean Christopher Nolan who tackles the story of Dunkirk, what could go wrong. This can’t be any more than perfection. I can’t wait to see how he brings this story to life and if you look at the cast (except of Harry Styles, I mean, Euhm what the hell?) this movie will be brought to life by some amazing actors. I just… I can’t put my thoughts and emotions on paper, because I’m so excited! I’ll definitely check this one out in cinemas.

What do you think? Are any of these films on your watchlist? And which ones will you be seeing in cinemas?