“The Ottoman Lieutenant” War and Romance

 

Wide sweeping vistas and a romantic musical score add to The Ottoman Lieutenant’s compelling war drama. It’s a moving and defiant love story, one that reaches audiences far and wide with a chance for women to revel in its forbidden romance. If you like sagas that titillate your imagination sending you back to an era that’s almost forgotten, then this is your cup of tea. Read more

“Bitter Harvest” Romance in the Midst of a Nightmare

 

One of the more incredible stories to serve as a romance, Bitter Harvest tells the tale of two lovers caught up in one of the world’s most evil genocides, the Russian Holodomor. Filmed in the Ukraine where it happened, the movie shows how Russia took over the country for their grain and starved its people to death during the mid-1920’s. Told from the perspective of two youngsters who grew up, married and were forced to separate under Soviet Russian control, the film becomes a heartfelt tribute to the terrible nightmare. Read more

“War Dogs”, Making Easy Cash the Hard Way

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Billed as a comedy with drama and based on a true story, War Dogs takes you into the world of selling guns during wartime. The film delves into profit making from the military and the risks the gun sellers take for chances of making millions. While a lot of Hollywood goes into the film, it does happen and it did happen this way, mostly. What adds high entertainment value to the movie comes from the acting by two of America’s better actors, Oscar nominated Jonah Hill and rising star Miles Teller. Read more

“War & Peace”, a Classy Production of a Classic

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The book “War and Peace” has been made into a movie several times with the most memorable being the 1956 version starring Audrey Hepburn. While that particular 3 hour plus film did a very good job of bringing the romance from the book onto the big screen, it’s now considered a relic compared to the production values that have followed. With that in mind the recent War & Peace produced by BBC for television gets some awesome cinematography and editing, but never equals the chemistry between the characters in the 1956 version. Now on Blu-ray, the 8 part miniseries tells Tolstoy’s 1424 page book in approximately 6 hours. Read more

“Turn: Washington’s Spies” Season 2, Secrets and Treachery

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Things are really starting to heat up in season two of AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies” in both the colonies and in London. The weekly series now on DVD continues the secrecy, concealment, spying, trickery, lying and deceit. You would think it was just another episode of “The Americans”. But, “Turn” takes place a couple centuries earlier and the characters here are vying for control of the United States. In some cases its spy versus spy while delivering some major information that could change the tide of the war. Read more

Painkillers, Fighting a Lost Cause

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The film Painkillers now on DVD changes direction throughout while setting up a far-out science fiction thriller that’s kind of just average. The opening and midway through get very intriguing, but beyond that its more of a run of the mill story that never really makes a whole lot of sense. The cinematography and special effects are good, the wardrobe department shines and there’s some twists in the film that are fun when revealed. Read more

Soldiers and Peacemakers, The Wars of Israel

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Sitting back and watching the documentary The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers brought back the memory of the history taught in my school years depicting the establishment of the State of Israel. But the information I received back then does not compare with what you will see in this film. Told by the late Yehuda Avner who witnessed the beginning of a nation through all the turmoil and frustration, you’ll see how the country evolved into what it is today. Now in Theaters. Read more

Run Boy Run, a Film of Courage

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Opening in theaters this weekend is the daring and courageous true story of a young boy who out foxed the Germans during WWII Poland for four years. The film digs deep into the heart of the young man who wouldn’t give up even in the face of death. If you see one foreign film this year, make it be Run Boy Run, it will stay with long after you have left the theater. Not enough can be said of the atrocities that took place in Europe during the most diabolical era of mankind that defined genocide and depicted man’s inhumanity to man. Read more

Tangerines, the Madness of War

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Bitter enemies face off in the film Tangerines, a war film set in Estonia. Set on a small scale the movie’s message gives it vast meaning. Extremely well-acted, directed and depicted, this heartfelt little production shows what other meaningful films do even better about the pointlessness of war. One of the five nominated Foreign Language Films at the 87th Academy Award a more than worthy to be among the best.

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’71, a Suspense Filled IRA War Thriller

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One of the most brutal wars comes to the screen and it does not involve the United States. In this film we get to see one day during the Irish Revolution between the Protestants and the Catholics. Most of us watched the news as the war dragged on for years, but up until now I haven’t seen a movie about the war so compelling as ’71. Not knowing what side to take in this fight shouldn’t matter here, it’s just the inhumanity that counts and the eerie gut wrenching window to survival for one man. Read more

The Imitation Game, a Captivating True Story

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Intriguing, suspenseful and compelling, the biography/drama The Imitation Game never allows a dull moment. The film takes some odd twists as it plays out taking its audience into the mind of Alan Turing, a brilliant man who shortened World War II and developed the forerunner of our modern day communications. Outstanding acting by leads Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley should get them attention for an Oscar. Read more

Fury, Hell in a War Zone

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Showing the violence, guts and destruction of WWII tank fighting, Fury punctuates the story with an explosive tale of death defying courage. Although fictional, the movie is based on the 2nd US Armored division and portrays extensive grisly combat using very realistic images. Explosive, gripping and pervasive the up close look is shattering and mind boggling. If you like war movies like Saving Private Ryan and Hamburger Hill, rush out to see this mind blowing war flick on the big screen. Read more

The Liberator, the Anatomy of a Chivalrous Man

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Taking a step back into the history of South America a docudrama on the life of Simon Bolivar, one of the continent’s most love emancipators comes to the screen.  The historical film The Liberator has very good production value, able direction and memorable acting.  Packed with pomp, circumstance, awesome vistas and action packed scenes, the movie delivers a spectacle of rebellion and adversity. Read more

“Simon and the Oaks” a Heartrending Story

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There have been many war stories coming from World War II some fiction and others based on fact.  Now out on DVD is a movie based on a novel by Marianne Fredriksson called Simon and the Oaks and it’s a tearjerker. Set in Sweden during the Nazi invasion, the first half of the film deals with Jewish discrimination. There are few films that deal with this Nordic country in conjunction with German occupation so it’s fascinating to see how Sweden’s people resisted domination. Read more

“Rise of an Empire” The Greeks Strike Back

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Not all sequels of movies work unless they were a blockbuster, had an unfinished story to tell and had characters that were likeable enough to warrant more screen time. In the case of 300: Rise of an Empire it had an uphill battle to capture all three of the justifications and it comes out on top.  With a graphic novelist like Frank Miller (“Ronin”, “Daredevil: Born Again”, “300”, “The Dark Knight Returns”, “Sin City”) in their back pocket, the filmmakers found a way. Read more