12 STRONG (2018)

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A film by Nicolai Fuglsig

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peña

The story of 12 men from the special forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. They team up with an afghan war lord and under a new captain to taken down the Taliban .

Chris Hemsworth Capt. Mitch Nelson, never been in a war, but did his training is going to lead 12 men to Afgannistan . They  were the first American troops to set foot in Afghanistan after 9/11. Hal Spencer (Michael Shannon) the most experience, Sam Diller (Michael Pena) the joker, plus a weapon expert Ben Milo (Trevante Rhodes) and the rest of the gang. Nelson gets his orders from the Colonel Mulholland (William Fichtner) and Lt. Col. Bowers ( Rob Riggle). Their mission is to invade northern Afghanistan through Uzbekistan with the help of the Uzbek warlord General Dostum (Navid Negahban), who has his own reasons for taking on the Taliban. Dostum and his men, Nelson and his team must capture the Afghan city of Mazar-Sharif. well despite their training the American is going to ride horses in oder to get where they are going because of the rough terrain. 

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Director Fuglsig here has shown what war can be a dark place where a blood bath is going to take place. Here is 12 men who are on horses against tank and heavy artillery survived this ordeal. Amazing or pure luck. Everybody underestimate Nelson is the dynamic here and he had little experience in the field. Not only he made a promise he will come back to his wife but tells the colonel he can do it in 21 days before the snow comes otherwise they are going to be stuck there. Not the big film here but the purpose of it is entertaining and surprising that those 12 men has survived this ordeal on horses. The film here is design to make you feel good.

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DARKEST HOURS (2017)

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A film by Joe Wright

Cast: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas

During world war II the new prime minster Winton Churchill (Gary Oldman) has this big decision to make to negotiate peace with Hitler or fight until the end.

Here is a great film by Joe Wright and did he ever nailed it. Some how Dunkirk the film of Nolan and this film are connected beautifully well. The problem is some of the member of the parliament wanted to negotiate peace but Churchill wanted to go to war, he did not see peace negotiation with Hitler and that was smart. He wanted to fight until the end. Hitler here was this madman who was killing and taking countries left and right however Winston knew that negotiate with a madman is not going to end well and it was a sign of weakness. Oldman here has the perfect role that fits him like a glove and what a beautiful performance. Kristin Scott Thomas is terrific in the role of Clementine. My favourite scene is when he goes in the subway and have a talk with the people in the train. Although he had a trade mark smokes cigar, love his whiskey and champagne. In the darkest hour Churchill was at his best. Just imagine the pressure he was under. A terrific film here not to be missed.

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LA PROMESSE DE L’AUBE (2017)

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A film by Eric Barbier

Cast: Pierre Niney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Didier Bourdon

English title : Promise at dawn 

From his difficult childhood in Poland to his adolescence under the sun of Nice, to his aviator’s exploits in Africa during the Second World War … Romain Gary lived an extraordinary life. But this eagerness to live a thousand lives, to become a great man and a famous writer, it is to Nina, his mother, that he owes it. It is the crazy love of this endearing and eccentric mother who will make him one of the major novelists of the twentieth century, to life full of twists, passions and mysteries. But this boundless maternal love will also be his burden for life …

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From 1920’s Poland in Mexico in the 1950s, from the airfields to the African desert, from pre-war France to London under the bombs, Eric Barbier exploits all the fantastic aspects of the life of Romain Gary to immerse ourselves into the world of Romain Gary. The beautiful chemistry of Gainsbourg and Niney works here it is like ballet it is flows trough their veins. To top it all off beautiful performance between the two. Romain’s mother eccentric and monstrous with incredible energy and strength of character adored her son to death. She wanted him to be somebody. Maybe she pushed him too hard or sometimes suffocate him by her love but she dictated his life at times a bit controlling. There are double promises here that both has to hold. Romain has seen her mother humiliated and he wants to avenge her. The cinematography and the decor are outstanding from Poland, to Africa, Nice France, and England the director has nailed it on the dot. The film offers a eulogy of will, tolerance and heroism with melancholy and humour. Did either of them hold their promises? Well you will have to see this beautiful film.

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INSYRIATED (2017)

INSYRIATED (2017)

A film by Philippe Van Leeuw

Cast: Hiam Abbass, Diamand Bou Abboud, Juliette NavisLiiL

Syria at war, countless families remained trapped by the bombing. Among them, a mother and her children stand along , hidden in their apartment. Courageously, they organize themselves from day-to-day to continue living despite shortages and danger, and in solidarity, gather a couple of neighbors and his newborn. Torn between fleeing and staying, they face each day with hope.

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This film illustrates a contemporary drama: the Syrian civil war, begun in 2011. But here, there it shows that war has also murders and other betrayals. All the victims here are facing a present danger with an invisible enemies never the less very present. Ok the tile: the notion of “family” is misleading since all the characters that are sheltered in this apartment are not next of kin, There are neighbors with an enfant, and a maid plus others stuck in an apartment fearing death every day. In the mix there is the woman who holds the family sort of speak together, but she is also stubborn she won’t leave. You see war is a bitch, it opens the doors for criminals to do whatever since there is no police. There are loaders also very present. The director shows an extraordinary sense of space, whose power of immersion goes beyond the mere effect of claustrophobia, since it also makes it possible to better represent the link that can exist between these characters, the support that they have for each other and the grief that goes along with it. You only see the courtyard a bunch of time here but the sound effect is excellent here you hear the explosion, airplanes , helicopters, etc…. it has realism into it. You feel what the characters fell. The facial expression here are priceless and all the actors have done a beautiful job here. Like I said war is a bitch and the innocent victims here will pay a huge price. In fact I see Syrians next to where I live coming in my country they were about a thousand living in the street on the outskirt of Paris . My government does not know what to do with them some has sought asylum had got it. the others got back to Syria or others country. It is an estimated 6 million Syrians spread out though Europe. A terrific film here not to be missed.

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HHhH (2017)

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A film by Cédric Jimenez

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Stephen Graham, Mia Wasikowska, Céline Salette

The explosive rise of Reinhard Heydrich, a fallen soldier, trained towards Nazi ideology by his wife Lina. Himmler’s right arm and leader of the Gestapo, Heydrich became one of the most dangerous men in the regime. Hitler appointed him to Prague to take over the command of Bohemia-Moravia and entrusted him with the task of devising a definitive plan of extermination. Two young soldiers, Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik. One is Czech, the other Slovak. They both joined the Resistance to free their country from the German occupation. They trained in London and volunteered to accomplish one of the most important secret missions, and one with the most risky: eliminate Heydrich. For the Resistance their comes first above all. On May 27, 1942, the fates of Heydrich, Jan and Jozef rocked  the course of history.

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Adapted from the homonymous novel by Laurent Binet, Goncourt Prize in 2010, HHhH (Himmler Hirn heisst Heydrich, or The Brain of Himmler is called Heydrich) returns to a little known but essential episode of the Second World War. The operation Anthropoid whose mission is to send two young Czechoslovak paratroopers trained in London to prepare the assassination of Reinhart Heydrich, one of the worst leaders of the Nazi regime. Vice-protector of Bohemia-Moravia played a major role in the organization of the Holocaust and was in charge of the control of the Einsatzgruppen (mobile extermination units entrusted with the task of eliminating real or imaginary opponents in the Third Reich) . Cédric Jimenez turns to a radical and uncompromising historical thriller. Opposing the frightening rise of a being without faith or law to the heroic bravery of young people ready to do anything to save their country. They even connected with a couple of girls there and had a moment of passionate love before they went into battle. However they knew there was a small chance that they were going to get out  alive. Courageous yes. Heroes most definitely those are the heroes of our times. Actually they had the balls to go through with it, in doing so they rocked history forever. Here is a shocking film with a brilliant performances by the actors especially Jason Clark. To all those who fought in WWI And WWII My hats goes to you and Thank you.

Jack O Connell/JAN KUBIS, Jack Reynor/JOSEF GABCIK

THE WALL (2017)

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A film by Doug Liman

Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, John Cena, Laith Nakli

Bitter, subversive, and violently fierce and armed with a super 8mn camera running about 90 minutes here is a film by Doug Liman which operates as both a genre exercise like  Phone Booth and Buried, while angrily commenting on American foreign military involvement. And yes Doug Liman can deliver a smart gut punchy war film that is a little gem. Of course some of you might have trouble with the ending. A film by distributor Amazon Studios.

Centering on two American soldiers, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena, who become trapped by an Iraqi sniper near a small compound and partially destroyed cement wall. Everything in this film is not explain wand you will have questions but that is one thing that I like in this film. Taylor-Johnson is very outstanding  as the panic-stricken soldier who is also dealing with a potentially life-threatening bullet wound. While his follow soldier is hit spends most of film with his face down in the dirt but is still kicking and a live but you do not know how severe are his injuries. The cinematography is exceptional here due to the fact it is film in the desert where the sun is scorching hot . Although it is shot outside it is going to feel claustrophobic due to the fact that one soldier is behind the wall and can’t get out and leave. Here (France)  the film is in 18 theatres but the response so far is good.

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CESSEZ-LE-FEU (2017)

CESSEZ-LE-FEU (2017)

A film by Emmanuel Courcol

Cast: Romain Duris, Mathilde Courcol-Rozès, Arnaud Dupont, Céline Sallette

English: Cease fire (translation of the title)

1923. George (Romain Duris) , a hero of the 1914 war fleeing his past, has for four years led a nomadic and adventurous life in Africa when he decides to return to France. He finds his mother and his brother Marcel, a war invalid walled up in silence. Unable to regain a place in this post-war period when life went on without him, he meets Helene (Céline Sallette)  a sign language teacher with whom he forges a tormented relationship …

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It is to pay tribute to his grandfather that Emmanuel Courcol, who is the first feature film and who is known mainly as co-screenwriter of the films of Philippe Lioret, had the desire to address this Historical period. 1914-1918 is the first “modern” war, infamous for the physical consequences it has left the soldiers. On the other hand, few specialists have studied the psychological consequences of this type of conflict, what is now known as “post-traumatic stress disorder” due to the impossibility of returning to civilian life. The opening scene Has this raw realism that is enough to account for this bloody horror. Then everything calms down. We are in 1923, five years after the end of the war. One discovers a Paris where people are moving on and forgetting the war. The money of the wealthy flows freely, the carelessness of this new society, has an insolent luxury of the hideous and above all the arrogance of the new generation that is spreading  out everywhere. For Georges, a wounded, ex-soldier  and lonely man who no longer finds his place in this world which he does not recognize, it is unbearable. So he goes to Africa, well for some reason I will not mention he see the film he goes back to France. Georges’ brother did not recover well from the war. There George meet this free-spirited independent  woman who is maybe going to be good for him or not. Emmanuel Courcol is showing us an elegant and sober look on a painful period of our history. He also paints a precise picture of a contrasting period, magnified by the illuminations of Tom Stern, who transports us from the trenches but in France and Africa as well. There are superb colourful costumes as well as a beautiful scenery of the countries. Very good for a first film, I will give you a warning some of you will not like this film. This film is about relationship and the soldier coming back home not knowing if they are going to be integrated  in society again.

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