Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

15 April 2017

BEN-HUR: A BRILLIANT BIBLICAL EPIC REVIEWED FOR EASTER BY SANDRA HARRIS.

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28 January 2015

Sundance 2015 Review - Best Of Enemies (2015)

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Genre:
Documentary, History
Venue:
Sundance 2015
Director:
Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville
Cast:
Gore Vidal, Kelsey Grammer, John Lithgow

Two of American political history’s most arresting conservationists, will forever be heavy weight republican William F. Buckley and lizard-tongued liberal Gore Vidal. Now, whatever your political beliefs, one can neither deny the magnetism of either men, nor the balanced way in which they are dealt with in Best of Enemies. Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville strive to keep the field tight at both ends, focusing on what the outspoken gents’ televised 1968 debates meant for American politics (not to mention the development of news broadcasting as a whole) instead of simply digging up the past to settle an old score.

Buckley and Vidal’s debate came as the result of a kind of trifecta of issues; first, failing broadcaster ABC needed ratings, second, the Republican and Democratic party conferences were kicking off, and finally two desperately opposing writers were looking to cement their philosophies in the new age via TV. Unfortunately, the debates- there are 10 of them- don’t quite seem to ever deal with the issues at hand.

It’s about a clash of characters and ideals but its skimpy on the ideals. Vidal is an incredible wordsmith, but so is Buckley, the two spend so much time sparring (read; dick-waving) that the issues are left to the filmmakers to structure. And that’s where some problems can arise; too much context and arguably not enough info on what the two were actually supposed to be discussing leaves the viewer a little hungry for closure. As a whole the documentary is riveting, undeniably enjoyable, but one must eventually wonder whether it’s overly reliant on the fascinating intellectual deviants at its core.

Like Frost/Nixon without the political intrigue, Best of Enemies is a gripping piece of historical entertainment. It does however sport a line of such shattering incredulity, that it might just put Nixon’s now infamous ‘not illegal’ spurt to shame. John Lithgow and Kelsey Grammer narrate the diaries of Vidal and Buckley respectively, which is a fantastic idea given the two actors’ outspoken and parallel political views. There’s a host of charismatic and fascinating interviews, none least with Buckley’s own often hilarious brother, an excellent array of clips, and some really sparky editing. However the film never seems to quite articulate itself in the best way. The effects of the titanic duo’s verbal sparring on contemporary media is unfortunately ditched to a short credits sequence which is a shame as its one of the most striking parts.

As an introduction to the works of Gore Vidal and the processes of political commentary Best of Enemies is a blast, but it never quite manages to resonate or strike as hard as Vidal’s vocabulary. If you want to watch two very smart men be snide and snippy at an explosive point of zeitgeist, this is probably the best place to see it.

★★★
Scott Clark

19 December 2013

BFI To Release 1924's The Epic Of Everest

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Genre:
History, Documentary
Distributor:
BFI
Release Date:
27th January 2014 (UK)
Buy:The Epic of Everest (DVD + Blu-ray) [Amazon]

Following the world premiere of The Epic of Everest at the 2013 BFI London Film Festival and its critically acclaimed cinema release, Captain John Noel’s stunning official record of the 1924 Everest expedition,

When George Mallory and Sandy Irvine attempted to reach the summit of Everest in 1924 they came closer than any previous attempt. Captain John Noel filmed in the harshest of conditions to capture the drama of this fateful expedition. Now restored by the BFI National Archive, The Epic of Everest with a new score by Simon Fisher Turner, will be released in a Dual Format Edition (DVD and Blu-ray discs) on 27 January 2014.

Inspired by Herbert Ponting (The Great White Silence), Captain Noel recorded images of breathtaking beauty and considerable historic significance using specially adapted equipment. The film is also amongst the earliest filmed records of life in Tibet. But it is the brooding presence of the mountain itself that is the heart of Noel’s film, and his photography captures the magical play of light and shadow on an alien landscape which enhances the vulnerability, isolation and courage of the mountaineers.

The restoration – undertaken in collaboration with Sandra Noel, the director’s daughter – has transformed the quality of the surviving elements of the film and reintroduced the original coloured tints and tones.

The BFI commissioned a new score by Simon Fisher Turner which was released on LP/CD by Mute in October and has been voted No.1 soundtrack of the year by Mojo magazine.

Also included on the release are three documentary featurettes about the film, the restoration and the score, and an optional alternative musical accompaniment; the original 1924 score as recreated by Julie Brown, a specialist on film music and early twentieth-century concert music.


Special features

  • Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
  • Introducing The Epic of Everest (2013): Sandra Noel and Bryony Dixon (BFI National Archive) discuss the background and filming process
  • Scoring The Epic of Everest (2013): Composer Simon Fisher Turner discusses the production of the new score
  • Restoring The Epic of Everest (2013): Bryony Dixon, Ben Thompson (BFI National Archive) and Lisa Copson (Deluxe Digital) discuss the restoration process
  • Alternative score – the original 1924 score recreated by Julie Brown. Performed by Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra conducted by Andrew Gourlay
  • Additional musical pieces that accompanied the film on its first screening at the Scala, London in 1924
  • Original 1924 film programme (downloadable PDF, DVD only)
  • 30 page illustrated booklet with essays/contributions from explorer and writer Wade Davis, Simon Fisher Turner, Sandra Noel, Julie Brown and the BFI National Archive’s Kieron Webb, plus notes on the musical extras and full credits.
The Epic of Everest Dual Format Edition will be launched by the BFI and Caught by the River at Rough Trade East, Dray Walk, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL on Friday 17 January at 6.30pm. A FREE screening of the film will be followed by a Q&A with Sandra Noel and Simon Fisher Turner, hosted by Luke Turner of TheQuietus.com.
Open to all, no booking necessary – full details here: http://www.roughtrade.com/events/2014/1/305

11 November 2013

Film Review: How To Survive A Plague

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Genre:
Documentary
Release Date:
8th November 2013 (UK, Cinema)
DVD (tbc)
Rating:
PG
Director:
David France

How to Survive a Plague is a film that was only released in UK cinemas last weekend, but which won a number of awards during last year’s film festival circuit; including the Boston Society of Film Critics best documentary, as well as winning in the same category at the Gotham Awards. It was also nominated for an Academy Award.

The documentary – directed by David France, and written by France, T. Woody Richman and Tyler Walker – provides an overview of the AIDS epidemic in New York City during the 80s, as both the casualties and the heinous reputation of its sufferers grew to extreme heights. As NYC Mayor of the time Ed Koch did little to act on the sweeping infection, activist groups such as ACT-UP (Aids Coalition to Unleash Power) and TAG (Treatment Action Group), led a powerful campaign in order to gain access to medication that was currently being denied to AIDS victims. Their movement also sought to alter perceptions of New York’s LGBT community, whose identity was, and still is, inherently linked to the spread of the virus.

France’s How to Survive a Plague is a work that should be applauded for bringing to our attention a struggle that was so intensively ignored during its time – a period not too long ago, where sick people were turned away from hospitals due to the stigma attached to their illness, and politicians and presidents recoiled in fear and disgust. Praise should also be given to the activist groups featured here, for the ceaseless filming and documenting of their meetings and campaigns; without which this production would not have been possible, and the struggle of this marginalised group would have remained unknown to its audiences. What France’s film ultimately achieves is in showing how meaningful change can occur when people are willing to stand up to their oppressors - there is a revolutionary spirit on display here which often feels lost in the current Twitter-age.

How to Survive a Plague is an affecting snapshot of a period of history, which remains relevant due to the comparable problems posed to others in similar situations today – albeit most likely on a different continent. A must see for non-fiction fans.

★★★★

Sophie Stephenson


18 November 2012

Berserk: Egg Of The King On UK DVD And Blu-Ray (R2)

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If you where at last months Scotland's Love Anime in Glasgow and Edinburgh you would have seen this Anime, Berserk: Egg Of The King.A skilled swordsman who joins forces with a mercenary group named ‘The Band of the Hawk’, led by the charismatic Griffith, fights with them as they battle their way into the royal court. Manga Entertainment UK will be releasing this on DVD and Blu-ray on 24th December.

He trusts nothing but his own sword. He has no place to call home. The lone mercenary Guts travels a land ravaged by a hundred-year war. Moving from battlefield to battlefield, his skill and ferocity eventually attract the attention of Griffith, the leader of a group of mercenaries called The Band of the Hawk. Desiring Guts's power to help him achieve his goals, Griffith succeeds in recruiting the distrustful Guts by challenging him to a duel and defeating him.

As the Band of the Hawk fight together and their bond as a unit grows stronger, Griffith and Guts's bond deepens as well. With their continued success on the battlefield, Griffith achieves the first step toward his lofty goals: his band of mercenaries becomes recognized as a full-fledged army within the Midland Kingdom. Despite all their success, Guts begins to question his reasons for fighting for Griffith's dream, which, unbeknownst to Guts, is destined to bestow a monstrous fate on them both.

Pre-order your copy:Berserk - Film 1: Egg Of The King [DVD]/ Blu-ray + DVD Double Play / Collectors Edition Blu-ray

3 September 2010

Trailer For Mexican Western CHICOGRANDE

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source Twitch
To be honest Im not and never really been a western movie fan, ive tried and even the more modern day one I really cant get into but I can see how people love them like Felipe Cazals' western drama Chicogrande.
This movie has been chosen to open up the san sebastian festival and focuses on the American army during the Mexican revolution on pursuit of the legendary Pancho Villa. The trailer is actually in English but how much of the actual movie is in English is a good guess, trailer after the break....

Following the frustrated invasion of Columbus, Pancho Villa retreats, only to be injured in the leg by Carranza's troops in the city of Guerrero. The North Americans, on Mexican territory, launch a massive campaign to capture him dead or alive. Convalescent, Villa takes refuge deep in the mountains. Chicogrande, a young follower of Villa, is given the task of finding medical assistance and is prepared to give up his own life in the attempt.

15 November 2009

Shake Hands With A Devil Trailer

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After nearly 3 years on hold Shake Hands With The Devil will finally get an American release in 2010 and here's the trailer thanks to Firstshowing.
It was a way back in 2007 when this movie first came out at the Toronto Film Festival which followed with a cinema release in Canada itself, but thanks to Regent Releasing its getting a American release (no info on a British/Irish release yet). Movie Stars French-Canadian star Roy Dupuis (Jean-Paul Mercier in Mersine:Killer Instinct) as Général Roméo Dallaire whom the movie is based on, his autobiography of his time in Rawanda during the country's genocide killing in 1994. The movie also has Deborah Kara Unger (Silent Hill, Crash) as Emma a journalist who records General Dallaire's phlight in Rawanda. If you are old enough or can remember 1994 no matter what part of the world who come from it was a tragic and disturbing event which shouldn't have happened simply due to the west arrogance not to get involved more.
This movies story is one people should know about and like any world conflict should learn about it and make sure nothing like this should happen again. The movie has got stunning cinematography and 2 very good actors, so the movie should be checked out.
Shake Hands With The Devil is dorected by Roger Spottiswoode
(Under Fire, Tomorrow Never Dies, Turner & Hooch, The 6th Day) and written for the Big screen by Michael Donovan .
Synopsis IMDB -
Canadian Lt. General Romeo Dallaire was the military commander of the UN mission in Rwanda and this movie is personal and, all too true, story of his time there during the genocide of 1994. It is not quite as moving as the earlier Hotel Rwanda and is less geared to drama and emotional manipulation, but it is still grim and upsetting. The direction is slightly surreal and the acting is quite good, though I found Dupuis to be just a little too wooden (just a little over that line between stoic and wooden) in the lead role. It suffers a little from being virtually a one man show, with Dupuis lead character being the focus of virtually every scene but there is no denying the power and importance of this film.

Romeo Dallaire is a very brave, and equally honest, man and that is really what makes this film work. He is not afraid to show his human emotions and frailties, and this makes his courageous effort to save lives during The Rwandan genocide, at no small personal risk, all that more impressive. This film carefully documents the beginnings of the atrocity and fearlessly lays blame. Dallaires helplessness is enveloping and we feel his frustration in the face of ever-increasing shortages of men and equipment.