Tag: movies

Movies: Letters from Iwo Jima

So a post on Digg about the top war movies had me interested in one to watch. The movie was mad back in 2006. Yeah about ten years behind the times on this one.

But the movie in essence showed the Japanese side of the conflict over the island of Iwo Jima.

I mean we’re all familiar with this iconic photo of a group of U.S. Marines raising the United States flag on Iwo Jima:


But this time as I said, the movie portrayed the  OTHER side – namely Japanese Imperial Army soldiers and sailors. It’s at about the time in 1945 where we’ve pretty much smashed the Imperial Navy and their air capabilities. So it’s at the very end of the line.

Anyhow elements of the movie begins with the arrival on Iwo Jima of one of the Generals who trained in the United States named  Kuribayashi.

General Kuribayashi’s  first act is to stop a Japanese Lieutenant from ordering his men to dig ditches on the beach. It is here we meet one of the main characters in the story – a Japanese Imperial Army soldier named Saigo, a Baker by trade who has some issues with the Japanese tradition of honor.

Now I’ll say this – the movie gives just a shallow view into the horrors of World War II but it is utterly horrific. In one part a Japanese medic is ordered to treat an injured American soldier named Sam. The leader of the group can speak some English and he learns the injured man’s name, where he was from. But in the morning Sam has passed away but the leader finds a letter and can read it – he reads it to his troops. It’s a letter from Sam’s mother – detailing the goings on back home in Oklahoma. One of the Japanese troops says to his squad mate “That’s a letter like one I’d get from my mother.” and how he was taught that American’s were savages. This dialog really got to me:

Baron Nishi: [reading the letter from the mother of Sam, the dead marine] And always do what’s right because it’s right.

Lieutenant Okubo: Shall I finish him off?
Baron Nishi: No. Treat him.
Lieutenant Okubo: But, sir…
Baron Nishi: Okubo, you would expect the same, wouldn’t you? Endo, treat him.
Medic Endo: We are low on morphine as it is.
Shimizu: Sir, the Americans would not treat a wounded Japanese soldier.
Baron Nishi: Son, have you ever met one? Treat him.
[Shimizu is lost for words]

Baron Nishi: This is a picture of me and my horse champion.
Sam: [Sam smiles and chuckles] No kidding. Oklahoma, it’s where I’m from.
Baron Nishi: Takeichi.
Sam: Sam.
[Both men shake hands]

This part is important BTW and we’ll return to it.

Later in the film when the battle begins we see a machine gunner in a Japanese pill box have his arm blown off. And let me tell you that was pretty grotesque with spurting blood and all.

And you have this wacko Lieutenant urging Saigo to go up and take the machine gunners place. Nope, that’s not happening.

And one thing that stunned me, it was all CGI but the U.S. naval ships pounding the crap out of Iwo  Jima was impressive. Now I know what the huge guns on ships are used for, to soften a target.

A bit later we find out Shimizu isn’t a Japanese spy sent to root out anti-Imperial thought, but an elite soldier who crossed his commander.

And at the very end, Saigo and another troop surrender to the American Marines. At first you feel good when the leader of the group offers Saigo and his friend water, and treats them humanely. But then the Marine group needs to move on and they leave two of their mates behind to guard the Japanese troops.

It’s at that point that one Marine says to another “We’re sitting ducks out here” and the other says “I know how to take care of this and shoots Saigo’s friend and then Saigo realizes quite late I might add that he’s about to die. He backs away and raises his hands but the Marine shoots him anyhow.

Two things I took out of this movie – we were bigger bastards than the Japanese ever imagined possible.

And two – we are the savages the Japanese back then were taught about. Of course I’m sure if you ask the people o Manchuria they’d say the same of the Japanese.


Movies: Deadpool

So the movie I alluded to in a prior post – it was Deadpool. We just had to see it. I had seen a clip on YouTube of Ryan Reynolds talking about how the concept came out 11 years ago and how a pre-production trailer had leaked out thereby causing Fox to commit for the full movie.

In short – it’s sort of a love story and one in which shit blows up pretty frequently. Plus Deadpool is a funny character. And the movie had it’s cheesy spots – the animated birds and things toward the end was too funny.


Saw it: Star Wars The Force Awakens

Went to the 11:35PM showing at Showcase Cinemas in Warwick/E.G. RI. Actually it is at the intersection of Division Rd. East Greenwich and Quaker Lane, Warwick.

Anyhow the movie was directed by one J.J. Abrams. Known for the latest Star Trek movie as well as a few other goodies it was obvious he was directing this one.

Spoiler alert – stop reading here if you don’t want to know.


Movies: Chappie

Ok, so I know I’m behind the curve and the movie may not appeal to everyone.

But it’s cool. The plot of the story is the police start using humanoid robots for law enforcement. They have shells that are impervious to bullets etc. But they can’t tolerate say an RPG or similar. So unit 22 is about to be sent to be crushed.

But the lead programmer on the robots – he creates an artificial intelligence and uploads it to the unit 22 robot.

The story is all about Unit 22 or Chappie learning about his world. In the process the robot figures out how to transfer consciousness from robot to PS4, to USB stick, and finally human to robot.

Enjoyable two hours.

Movies: The Lazarus Effect

So I noticed the movie “The Lazarus Effect” was recommended on Amazon. So I rented it.

It’s basically a modern twist on the Frankenstein story – except they reanimate first a dog, then a human. And once they bring the human back, oh boy. Everybody dies. Except of course the demon, and of course one of the dead, her former boyfriend that she killed, she brings him back. So two damned demons.

I sort of love movies like that. Part of it has to do with the fact that we’re coming damnably close to being able to bring people back from the dead and extending human life.

It’s just in this particular movie it had the religious gobbledygook. The character who becomes evil incarnate is Zoe. Shed’s a good Catholic girl don’t you know. And before her reanimation she keeps having these nightmares about a burning hallway and people trapped behind a door, their charred hands reaching under the door.

She draws the videographer into this scene – and there’s a little girl, Zoe as a child. When the videographer first gets drawn into the nightmare she notices little Zoe has something in her hand. The second time – she finds out what the girl has – a book of matches. Zoe set the fire. That’s why she kept having the nightmares.

And what person is the one to die during an experiment but Zoe, the Catholic girl that has a lot for which to atone. Hence hell, demon spawn, etc.

Fun movie – even if it is flash cuts from light to dark all the time. Seems Demon Zoe likes to do her dirt in semi or complete darkness.

So watch it if you must. But keep in mind the major themes of reanimation and religious idiocy.

Movies: Selma

So last night I watched the movie “Selma”. Of course I watched it online. Yes, it was a reviewer copy of the movie.

The movie begins with a group of black children in a church coming down a set of stairs and then a horrifying boom happens and bits and pieces flying everywhere. This was the Birmingham Church bombing. I cannot believe how horrible and despicable the then white minority and yes they were the minority – not the black people in Alabama were. But the white folks had a lock on the political and law enforcement sphere and used it to repress and abuse the black community.

The movie focuses on the march from Selma, AL to Montgomery, AL  but also focuses on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. President Johnson and the then racist prick of a governor of Alabama, George Wallace.

And you have images in the movie of white cops murdering black people. Just outright cold blooded murder. And the vote suppression was something fierce. Toward the beginning of the movie a black woman goes to register to vote in what I believe was Selma. She slides the application forward and says “It’s all right this time.” to which the clerk replies “I’ll say when it’s all right.” The clerk then asks the woman to recite the preamble to the Constitution. Then to say how many county  judges there are in Alabama. So the woman answers “67” and then the clerk says “Name them.” while the next scene shows the clerk using a big old DENIED stamp on her application.

Now let’s move forward – officemate and I had a discussion about policing. He lays blame for the murder of a number of black men by police recently to some degree on the victims of police for not respecting authority of the cops. I explained that until cops stop racist policies, it’s never going to change and that no respect for authority is due to police. I told him to go look up the Milgram experiment and the Zimbardo Prison experiment on Youtube.

But it goes further than that. Even today we see voter suppression with Voter ID laws. They just don’t want black and Latino people to vote. That’s what it is, nothing more. It doesn’t eliminate fraud in elections, it doesn’t make elections more secure – it simply represses the vote.

And Governor Wallace, that smug son of a bitch got his comeuppance – an attempted assassination left him crippled for the rest of his life. Ha!

And of course President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Which by the way Republicans were hell bent on repealing recently.

So when you hear white politicians talk about Voter ID, and how there’s no need for federal oversight of elections in the deep south anymore – you’re listening to a racist prick talk. That’s what it is, all code word for racial bigotry.

Movies:: Netflix: Christopher and His Kind

So last night a recommendation popped up on Netflix, Christopher and His Kind. Now I’ve watched another movie about Chris and Don and it was cute and all.

But this movie took place in Berlin in the early 1930’s. First I must say Isherwood’s sexual romps in Berlin, and we only saw a small part of it must have been incredible. I’m going to have to out and get the book now. And I have to say the guy who played Caspar was pretty hot.

But the thing that struck me, there’s one scene in there which must have happened in Berlin prior to the atrocities committed by the Nazi’s in greater Germany. In one scene jackbooted thugs are marching through the streets with torches held high. And then I thought – sort of what our military must look like when it marches into a country. Then there were the scenes with Juden painted across shop windows. Now that wasn’t very smart since they were the commercial underpinning of the economy.

But the book burning – there was a strand of anti-intellectualism in Nazi Germany at the time. And I know that quite a few scientists high tailed it out of Germany in the early 30’s so in essence Germany suffered a brain drain which meant they’d never conquer the atom, plus the expenditure on feeding, housing and equipping an Army gets pretty expensive over time. Just look at the U.S. – we spend a nominal half a trillion dollars every year on military expenditure. There’s a reason many of the founding fathers of the United States feared a standing army.

But all in all a fairly interesting movie, enough so it makes me want to buy the book.

Movies: Django Unchained

As is always the case for a Tarantino movie it starts off interesting and then the blood shed starts. It’s underlying theme is a story of bonds, both those of love and those of brotherhood and respect.

But the amount of blood and general opening of a can of whoop ass is spectacular. There’s the next to last scene before Django blows up the Candieland mansion. The part where he’s on the stairs with the two black women and says to them “Tell Miss Laura Goodbye” And the women look at him puzzled and he repeats himself and they say “Goodbye Miss Laura”. And then DJango blows a bitch away. Too funny.

And the funny part is, at the beginning where Dr. Shultz and Django meet Mr. Candie I said “They’re all gonna die. Every last one of them.” I was so right.

Movies: Lincoln

Ok before I launch just go out and see the latest movie “Lincoln”

Outstanding performances by Daniel Day Lewis as President Lincoln, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln and even Tommy Lee Jones as Rep. Thaddeus Stevens.

Movie spoiler – it picks up in 1865, the forth year of the U.S. Civil War. By this point in time the north is taking the lead and a peace is eminent and reconstruction can begin.

It focuses on the life, as gleaned through historical record, of the decision to push the 13th Amendment and to negotiate a peace with the Confederacy.

The political push-pull is extremely interesting. Not only that back in the mid 19th century the Republicans were actually the progressive party. Imagine that. Now of course it’s the complete opposite.

The focus on one Representative, Thaddeus Stevens a supporter of ending slavery for the past 30 years of his career in the House, we find out WHY he supported it near the very end of the movie.

One other thing, the political environment back then was almost a contact sport. I love it!

We thought we’d catch the 7:05PM show on Friday evening. By the time we arrived it had been sold out. There was a 9:45PM and 10:15PM showing but even the 9:45PM was sold out. So we got in on the 10:15PM showing. It’s a fairly long movie, some 150 minutes (2 and a half hours) but well worth watching.

And it I’ve heard folks say the timing of this was delayed to counter the fact that the Republicans were actually the good guys back in the mid to later 19th century. But I think it’s perfect timing what with the threats to secede by the likes of Texas and a handful of other states. Even here in RI we got 4,550 signatures to secede and I bet I know where they all came from, the towns of East Greenwich and part of North Kingstown. They think their shit doesn’t stink.

Online Movies

So a friend turned me on to a new movie site, it’s ssupload. Ignore the soft core porn ads and just browse the movie categories. Some will require certain common plugins.

Anyhow I’ve watched:

Blow – very interesting story.
Live Free or Die Hard – Good expansion of the Die Hard serial.
Breaking and Entering – Interesting little story
300 – Wow, the allegory is pretty powerful there.