Review: Dunkirk

The man who gave audiences Memento, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, The Prestige and Interstellar returns to take audiences back in time to a small, but not insignificant chapter in the history of World War II.

Nazi Germany has enveloped 400,000 French and British soldiers to the beaches of Dunkirk and the possibility of escape is practically perilous in every direction. Pinned to just one location, the enemy takes their time picking off their forces and destroying whatever hope of escape in their wake. Land, sea and air, the Allied Forces are in a bind, and the British government at the order of Prime Minister Churchill has little alternative but to requisition and commandeer civilian water craft to travel across the channel and bring their boys home.

Christopher Nolan’s take on these accounts is segmented into three perspectives on this account of history. The Mole follows a young French and British soldier navigating the beaches trying to find someway back home; The Sea features a father and son and a friend in their sea vessel crossing the channel upon hearing the order to rescue as many men as they can; The Air follows two fighter pilots soaring through the skies above the madness, shooting down German fighter planes bent on sinking anything that floats. These three perspectives all tie together to illustrate the power of the human instinct of survival. These three perspectives are the crux of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.

dunkirk-poster

Image by Warner Bros. and Syncopy

Nolan told this story in three parts; I will describe this movie in three words: elegant, explosive and unyielding.

Going into this movie, I was concerned that Nolan’s take on this war story would be too clean and that might hinder its appeal as a war movie when compared to a classic war dramas such as Saving Private Ryan, The Hurt Locker or last year’s Oscar winning Hacksaw Ridge because those movies truly captured the essences of war; the gore, the graphic imagery, the bloodshed, the need to illustrate that war is hell upon seeing it unfold all around the characters for the audiences to witness themselves. Dunkirk was my boom or bust movie of the year and after seeing it, in IMAX which is the way it was intended to be seen, this movie went BOOM! A loud, resonating BOOM upon the senses that did not let up in the slightest!

My concerns going into this movie? Decimated as I watched it unfold before my eyes! Just because Nolan didn’t go excessive on bloodshed, doesn’t mean he hindered this movie; you don’t need blood or grandiose practical effects to illustrate the horrors of war! Every time a bullet fired, I jumped. Every time I saw a bomb go off or a missile or a torpedo down a ship, I was jolted. Every time a dogfight happened in the sky, I held my breath! Every time the situation became more and more dire in these three arcs, the tension just kept building and building and the suspense was as remorseless like the wind and rain in a hurricane! Nolan just brought his strengths as a filmmaker and storyteller to depict a “back against the wall” situation where individuals had to use whatever resources they could to see tomorrow and the need for bodily harm or horror was not necessary in the slightest to accomplish that.

What’s more impressive about Dunkirk is that the enemy’s presence is felt rather than seen. From the first frame, audiences see the little fliers floating from the sky onto the soldiers saying “We surround you!” you don’t see the enemy, but the presence of danger is felt every second and the tension of this film feeds off that tension for strength.

Nolan intended for Dunkirk to be seen as a story of survival and he wrote and executed this core aspect of the picture with extraordinary distinction! The focus of Dunkirk was never about winning, it was about bringing these soldiers home from extreme danger and knowing that in surviving, they were victorious! I had my doubts whether or not he could pull this off but with this powerful script, impeccable execution, the stunning cinematography of Hoyte van Hoytema, the awesome music of Hans Zimmer giving this picture atmosphere where dialogue is scarce, the sound effects, Lee Smith’s editing which came together beautifully as the film went on, Nathan Crowley’s production design, Dunkirk is an outstanding achievement in filmmaking and should become the crown jewel in Christopher Nolan’s body of work so far.

This movie isn’t so much about the actors but what the actors do in the film, in these roles. The collection of Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, Kenneth Branagh, James D’Arcy, Cillian Murphy and Harry Styles all do a solid job with the parts they have been given, but the true star of the show is the suspense and the tension that fills up the screen when all of the technical aspects behind the camera come together.

Dunkirk is elegant is how it is shown and heard on screen but the subject matter is brimming with explosive technical execution, resulting in an unyielding cinematic experience that should not be missed! It is the most phenomenal experience I have had this year at the movies!

Movie of the Week: Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan has been one of my favorite filmmakers for years. Whether it is Memento, his prolific Dark Knight trilogy, the ingenious Inception or the spectacular Interstellar, his movies always incite discussion, excitement and fervor among fans, critics and students of cinema. This week, Nolan’s newest project Dunkirk arrives in theaters, attempting to live up to the legacy and adhere to the expectations Nolan has set for himself. In the throws of WWII, 400,000 soldiers are trapped on a beach in Great Britain and the enemy is closing in ready to finish them off. With no way out, there is only one path toward victory: surviving the ordeal before them.

Director and Writer: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Barry Keoghan, Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, Damien Bonnard, Jack Lowden and James D’Arcy

What am I expecting to see?: It is true that I have been looking forward to Dunkirk, because I am a fan of Nolan’s films, but I believe this is the biggest boom or bust movie of the year because of a multitude of reasons. For starters, as far as war pictures go, this looks clean compared to a film such as Hacksaw Ridge, also I’m unfamiliar with the story of this battle or campaign and it’s significance in World War II. Nolan also claims that this is a survival story but the fact that it is set in war time with war iconography is something I cannot wrest away. I’m looking to be educated and surprised by Dunkirk; it has much to prove.

 

Tom Hardy is a web-slinging anti-hero!

A few weeks ago, Sony Pictures announced that the Marvel character and Spider-Man antagonist Venom would be featured in a standalone spinoff set to arrive in theaters sometime next year. The fan-favorite character has already made his big-screen debut in the disappointing blockbuster Spider-Man 3, portrayed by Topher Grace, but this project is seen as an opportunity for Sony to get the character right and potentially usher in a new anti-hero universe based on Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.

News has broken that names have now been confirmed to sign on for the spinoff. Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer will direct and Oscar nominee Tom Hardy is set to star in film.

Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, the latter of whom worked on 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, wrote the script for Venom. Plot details are being kept in the black but Hardy, who is said to be a Venom fan, will play Eddie Brock, the character who first became Venom.

Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing along with Amy Pascal.

The internet is calling this casting a coup and I can’t help but agree. Hardy is an excellent actor who is a year removed from his first Oscar nomination in The Revenant and has starred in action and drama movies a plenty including Inception, Warrior, has a superhero movie under his belt already portraying the sinister Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, rode through the wasteland in Mad Max: Fury Road and will star in the upcoming Dunkirk; I can’t help but be impressed by Hardy’s body of work thus far and I look forward to seeing him give life to this tragic and deadly character. Venom is set to snare an audience on October 5, 2018.

It’s Official! Daniel Craig is done as 007!

Image by The Sun

I took an interest in the James Bond film franchise in high school. I believe I have seen every Bond film from the Sean Connery era, Pierce Brosnan era, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and I believe I have seen the George Lazenby Bond flick only once. Anyway, I found out that Daniel Craig would be the next in line to get the license to kill in high school and I have respected his performance as James Bond from Casino Royale, to Quantum of Solace, to Skyfall to Spectre, even though half of the Bond films of his time weren’t exactly up to snuff. After Skyfall, I started to hear whispers that Craig was considering relinquishing his role as Bond even though he was being looked at for one or two additional films. I was hoping he would return but alas he has chosen to walk away from the role of James Bond.

Insiders said Craig turned down a £68million ($99 million) offer from MGM studio to return as Bond for two more films following last year’s hit Spectre. The sum included endorsements, profit shares, and a role for him working as a co-producer.

So that’s that! The Bond films of his time were hit and miss but he did a fine job as Bond in my opinion and I wish him well in his endeavors after making this decision. Now MGM studios have to begin work on who is to replace him as the next James Bond. Here are actors who have been speculated to become the seventh actor to portray James Bond:

Tom Hiddleston

Image By Sachyn Mital, via Wikimedia Commons

Idris Elba

Image by AP

Henry Cavill

Image by Eva Rinaldi, via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Fassbender

Image By Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons

Colin Farrell

Image by Kristen

Tom Hardy

Image by Josito Montez

Damian Lewis

Image by Eyes Wide Ciak!

It’s should be interesting to see how this plays out. Until it does, the world will have to wait and see who takes up the mantle of Agent 007.

May the Force Be With You Alden Ehrenreich!

When you see a particular actor or actress occupy a role for so long, give the role an identity that the world will recognize forever, then step down, only to have a new face give a new young actor or actress take the mantle, no doubt that the new kid will have very impossible shoes to fill. It has happened before. Case and point: Mel Gibson was the original Mad Max Rockatansky for George Miller’s original trilogy, only to have Tom Hardy wear the Road Warrior’s skin in last year’s acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road. Another case and point: the young trio or Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner and Alexandra Shipp as the new incarnations of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, succeeding James Marsden, Famke Jannsen and Halle Berry. Alden Ehrenreich now has big shoes to fill.

Image by Las VegasNV Blog

The 26 year old California native, known for his roles in the recent Coen Brothers flick Hail, Caesar!, Blue Jasmine, and Stoker has landed the role of Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars Anthology series based on the origins of the man who would captain the Millennium Falcon. He will succeed Harrison Ford who has held the iconic role since the first Star Wars film and he recently jumped back into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The directors of THE LEGO Movie, Christopher Miller and Phil Lord have been chosen to direct the upcoming origin story and the screenplay is accredited to Jon and Lawrence Kasdan.

I’ve only seen so little of Alden Ehrenreich’s work but from what I understand this was an extensive search and he must have convinced someone that he had what it takes to shoot first. The Star Wars Anthology film on Han Solo is set to arrive in theaters on May 25, 2018.

2016 Oscar Predictions Part III

Image by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Image by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Buckle-up and here we go! We’re out of the technical achievement woods and now focus is upon six of the biggest categories of the night! Let’s begin!

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • Alicia Vikander-The Danish Girl
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh-The Hateful Eight
  • Kate Winslet-Steve Jobs
  • Rachel McAdams-Spotlight
  • Rooney Mara-Carol

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Alicia Vikander-The Danish Girl

Image by Focus Features

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • Christian Bale-The Big Short
  • Mark Ruffalo-Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance-Bridge of Spies
  • Tom Hardy-The Revenant
  • Sylvester Stallone-Creed

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Sylvester Stallone-Creed

Image by MGM

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

  • Cate Blanchett-Carol
  • Brie Larson-Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence-Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling-45 Years
  • Saiorse Ronan-Brooklyn

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Brie Larson-Room

Image by A24

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

  • Bryan Cranston-Trumbo
  • Matt Damon-The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio-The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender-Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne-The Danish Girl

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Leonardo DiCaprio-The Revenant

Image by 20th Century Fox

Best Director:

  • Lenny Abrahamson-Room
  • George Miller-Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu-The Revenant
  • Adam McKay-The Big Short
  • Tom McCarthy-Spotlight

I predict that the Oscar will go to: Alejandro González Iñárritu-The Revenant

Image By Focus Features (Wikimedia submission), via Wikimedia Commons

Best Picture:

I predict that the Oscar will go to:

Image by Participant Media

Chris Rock will host the Oscars on February 28th. The full list of nominees can be found here. Click here for Part I of my predictions and here for Part II. I will be blogging throughout the ceremony, so be sure to check my social media outlets.