Full Review: JOURNEY’S END (UK 2017) ****

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Journey's End Poster
Trailer

Set in a dugout in Aisne in 1918, it is the story of a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope, as they await their fate.

Director:

Saul Dibb

Writers:

Simon Reade (screenplay), R.C. Sherriff (novel) | 2 more credits »

 

JOURNEY’S END about soldiers (Officers and enlisted men) during an offensive in the trenches during the First World War is a story that is already too familiar to us.  Still, it is a story that needs repeating, to remind the world of the futility of war and that orders coming down from the top brass would ultimately be executed often to the death by the men of lower ranks, who has loved ones and families back home.  JOURNEY’S END is based on the 1928 play and filmed two years later by James Whale which starred Sir Lawrence Olivier as Cpt. Stanhope now played brilliantly convincingly by Sam Catlin.  The updated screenplay be Simon Reade is by no means flawless, (words like a person needing to be sorted’. the word never used at that time; an offbeat change of scenery back to England for the reading of a letter) but serves the fiilm’s purpose.

The film begins like any war film.  There is news of the war and word of fighting in France against the Germans.  Things get real only when the audience can put a face to the goings-on.  The face in this case belongs to green 2LT Laleigh (Asa Butterfeld) who wishes to join the battalion of his old school mate Cpt Stanhope who used to be his house monitor and good friend of him and his sister.   Stanhope is found to be changed due to the strain of war.  In the trenches are Lta Osborne (Paul Bettany)  veteran who is the most stable of the lot and apparentlythe one who keeps everything together.   

When the men are ordered to attack the Germans in two days time in an effort that seems pointless, casualties increase and things come to a boil in this realities tale of men caught in the war apparently to fight in what they believe for their country. It is made clear at one point, that the assault is to take place at 5 pm so that the higher ups can discuss the results over dinner.

Despite the film’s seriousness in tone, Reade’s script is not devoid of needed humour, which is provided by stiff faced Toby Jones as Mason, the men’s cook.  If not describing his cutlets as new in shape or the yellowness of the soup to entice the blandness of his meals, the on running jokes on the meals are nothing short of hilarious.

The narrow trenches emphasizes the claustrophobia of the location complete with mud rats though only one is shown) and worms oozing out from the mud during a meal.  To Dibb’s and the production designer’s credit, the film never feels like a play.

Though one might wonder at the film’s aim, it is clear that Dibb’s message is that one is never to forget that human beings are the ones fighting the war, and there are casualties on both sides as the end credits remind both sides of the millions that have died in WWI.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPX-kajacyc

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TIFF 2017 Movie Review: JOURNEY’S END (UK 2017) ****

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2017. Go to TIFF 2017 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Journey's End Poster RC Sherriff’s Journey’s End is the seminal British play about WW1. Set in a dugout in Aisne in 1918, it is the story of a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope, variously awaiting their fate.

Director:

Saul Dibb

Writers:

Simon Reade (screenplay), R.C. Sherriff

Stars:

Sam ClaflinPaul BettanyAsa Butterfield

JOURNEY’S END about soldiers (Officers and enlisted men) during an offensive in the trenches during the First World War is a story that is already too familiar to us.

Still, it is a story that needs repeating, to remind the world of the futility of war and that orders coming down from the top brass would ultimately be executed often to the death by the men of lower ranks, who has loved ones and families back home.

JOURNEY’S END is based on the 1928 play and filmed two years later by James Whale which starred Sir Lawrence Olivier as Cpt. Stanhope now played brilliantly convincingly by Sam Catlin.

Things get real only when the audience can put a face to the goings-on. The face in this case belongs to green 2LT Laleigh (Asa Butterfeld) who wishes to join the battalion of his old school mate Cpt Stanhope who used to be his house monitor and good friend of him and his sister.

The narrow trenches emphasizes the claustrophobia of the location complete with mud rats though only one is shown) and worms oozing out from the mud during a meal. To Dibb’s and the production designer’s credit, the film never feels like a play.

The message is clear that that human beings are the ones fighting the war, and there are casualties on both sides as the end credits remind both sides of the millions that have dies in WWI.

JOURNEY_S ENd

Happy Birthday: Paul Bettany

paulbettany.jpgHappy Birthday actor Paul Bettany

Born: May 27, 1971 in Harlesden, London, England, UK

Married to: Jennifer Connelly (1 January 2003 – present) (2 children)

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Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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captain_america_civil_warCAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (USA 2016) ***
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Daniel Bruhl, Frank Grillo

Reveiw by Gilbert Seah

Judging from the box-office successful but critically panned BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, audiences love to see their super heroes battle one another – never mind the reason, never mind who wins, and never mind anything else. In this latest Marvel superhero movie, there are lots more of the same. It is a dream come true for current action fans as there is a full 15 minute action fight scene during which two factions of super heroes battle it out with each other.

The film begins with establishing the reason for the formation of the two factions. It is a world disaster in which innocent people are killed in Nigeria following a criminal being pursued by the Avengers. As a result of the collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps, one led by Steve Rogers aka Captain America (the handsome hunk Luke Evans) and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s Ironman (played by Robert Downey Jr.) surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

This is an AVENGERS film despite the Captain America title. Other Marvel heroes on display here include Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Winter Soldier of the film title (Sebastian Stan), Falcon from the IRONMAN films (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye with his arrows (Jeremy Renner), Vision (Paul Bettany), Spider-man (Tom Holland) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) the latter two providing most of the humour in the film. But the script by a multiple of writers includes many one-liners that only Marvel fans will find funny, or whoever is in the mood. But the one-liners are quite mediocre and no match compared to those found in other action films like the DIE HARD or TERMINATOR films.

So there is one faction led by Ironman with Spidey, Faclon and Spider and the other by Captain America, Winter soldier and Hawkeye. There is an extended fight scene between the two leaders as well but no one really comes out the outright victor. The heroes use their powers like Spidey his web, America his shield and Hawkeye his arrows.

The film running at almost two and a half hours is surprisingly short on both story and character development. The script contains lots of repetitions on the need to control the Avengers i.e. to substantiate the rivalry between the two groups. All this tends to be a tad boring after a while, not to mention that the matter is never resolved at the end and the film set up for a sequel.

Not much is demanded in the acting department for an action film of this nature except for the actors to look good. And they all look very bulked up or pretty as the case may be. This reviewer never liked Robert Downey Jr. as an actor (in Sherlock Holmes, IRONMAN and other films) or in person for his wise-cracking smart-ass attitude. So, the best line in the film delivered by Black Widow to him: “Are you incapable of letting go of your ego for one Goddamned second?” gave me a big smile.

CAPTAIN AMERICA is a film that would delight action Marvel fans, but those serious in their taste of cinema – might want to take all this with a pinch (or rather, heap) of salt.

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