Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"Son of Saul" (2015)


"Khartoum" (1966)


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"The Last Legion" (2007)

"The Last Ship: 3rd Season" (2017)


Friday, June 30, 2017

"Megan Leavy" (2017) Movie Review

Mr. P.s Grade: A-

Based on the true story of decorated U.S. Marine K-9 Dog Handler Corporal Megan Leavy, this movie chronicles a troubled teen who eventually joins the Corps.  Now with purpose in life, the Marine is part of a unsung group of heroes that saves lives by locating IEDs and explosives.  It is a giving of oneself for others at its finest, but it is particularly highlighted by a female heroine figure in a male dominated profession like the military.  Movie could have omitted the one-night stand implications to advance plot.  Possible social engineering of the military and politicization of bringing her dog, Rex, home with a U.S. senator, but if these are intended by the directors they are overshadowed by a well-deserved recognization scene at the end where Corporal Leavy is honored.  A scene showing Rex's burial after his death could havr advanced the movie further as the audience was connected with the main character's passion for her combat dog.  Thank you, Megan, for your service fighting the evils of our time and fighting the threats to our freedom!

"1911" (2011) Movie Review

Grade: A/A+

"1911" attempts to accurately depict the end of 2,000 years of monarchy and the rise of the Republic of China.  Heroes Huang, Sun and fellow revolutionaries manifest the virtues of patriotism and laying down one's life in the face of overwhelming odds.

Sun keeps his word as a modern statesman by eventually resigning his presidency.  Huang settles to raise a family.  Both characters experience character development through the movie and grow; however, the audience should have seen character development in ordinary people like the father who died and left a note for his unborn son and the woman at the beginning and end of the movie who was beheaded as a heroine figure.  Also, Huang's love needed deeper interweaving into the plot as a heroine.  All these are needed for a higher grade rating.  The European investment bankers should be commended for their actions, albeit with economic motives, and with econmic motives mutually beneficial for those involved.

Finally, a non-politically savvy audience could have easily mixed this revolution with the Communist revolution in China in 1949(?), so clarity is needed there.  At the end of the movie, it was stated that the Communist Party was inspired by the 1911 Revolution.  These two revolutions are not to be confused!  The rise of the Republic was inspired by freedom and principles of democracy, but the rise of Communist (the People's Republic) is built on violent Marxism and centralized dominance.

On an unrelated note, the acting was excellent, and this was the first time I've seen Jackie Chan perform a more serious role.  The fight scene onboard the ship was definitely a tip of the hat to Jackie's martial arts background but with just the right tone.

Monday, June 26, 2017

"Warlords" (2010): Movie Review

Mr. P.'s Grade: A/A-

Based on the true story of the life of General Pang before he was mysteriously assassinated in 1870, the movie's three main parts provides reflection for military ethics:

1) Even after betrayal by another general, Pang returns to battle his enemies by joining 2 other leaders thus demonstrating virtues of honor and loyalty.  A blood pact is formed among the 3 such that when one harms the other, that one deserves death.

2) After victoriously taking on a force of 4000 with a mere 800, Pang and his blood brothers demonstrate their courage in the face of overwhelming odds.  Yet they are victorious after a few men lead a suicidal front line charge.  The suicide unit provided a glimer of hope for victory.  Later, however, in the next great battle with more troops and fresh supplies, the issue of killing 4000 combat troops that surrender was depicted.  Pang said that they were soliders, and his army only had food for themselves, so he wanted to kill them all.  But if just war doctrine means that surrendered soliders are noncombatants as part of jus in bello criteria, then an alternative to mass killing surrendered soliders should have been examined.  One of the blood brothers protests to keep his word, but 2 of the brothers overrule him, not without resentment on the protesting brother's part.  This forms the backdrop to the final scene.

3) Pang betrays his brother's by pursuing an illicit relationship with one of their mistresses, and she is later killed as a threat to the blood brotherhood.  I was grateful that physical intimacy scenes were not needed to advance the plot.  She bears a Cross around her neck that was found off of a dead solider.  Pang also has one of his blood brothers killed.  The movie's thesis is that political motives led to the eventual death of Pang, aided by the surviving blood pact brother.  By the end of the movie, Pang asks the other blood brother to quickly kill him as he lay dying by gunshot wounds.  This request seems a redemptive value and growth in one of the main characters, Pang.  With this, he seems remorseful displayed honor to his word.

As a side note, Jet Li's acting was superb.