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The Dunkirk evacuation can be seen as three distinct elements working to accomplish this overall goal. The mole, where thousands of soldiers were for a week trying to survive and escape their hopeless situation. The sea, where civilians spent a day sailing their boats to transport the troops. And the air, where spitfire planes could last for an hour before refueling. All have stories worth telling. And as three separate episodes of a mini-series, it could work. Instead, they're mercilessly inter-cut, with this confusing time-line preventing the otherwise willing and game audience from becoming properly engaged with what we're seeing. It works as a series of tiny moments of humanity. Not as a whole.
The entirety of this is using the snowball effect previously used well by Nolan in his third acts. This could become exhausting. However, there's time to breathe. Small victories that are celebrated(with whatever tea is available at the time. Not even kidding). There are no leads, merely characters that have more screen-time than others. No development, no one to get into? I disagree. They're all relate-able, trying to make it past the day. Or even just the second. This is tense, and you're never truly safe. It moves briskly, without rushing. This *is* indeed very loud, and those with genuinely sensitive ears may have to wait for the home release, despite that they'll lose out.
I recommend this to any fan of Nolan. 7/10
Halfway is a good start
This is found on my library's copy of Insomnia. It's an 17 minute interview with Christopher Nolan and Al Pacino. As it announces itself, it is: An unscripted conversation on a Saturday afternoon. Sipping tea, which is an... interesting sight, for both, perhaps especially the latter, who is calm as a breeze, in person and out of character. A lot of what is discussed isn't specific to this movie, rather, both talk craft, based on their experiences with other professionals in the business.
They go into trusting the work they are doing. Theatre versus cinema. Francis Ford Coppola, and his reaction to not getting an extra setup on a funeral scene(as you may know, there are a few of those in the Godfather trilogy). Rehearsal, talking through, story-boarding and the comparisons between those approaches. The relationships between cast and crew. Using your time right. Sidney Lumet would ask a lot, and it would pay off: Serpico is used as an example, and I would have to agree that you can see the effort put into it. Using an old-fashioned lens and distance between actor and camera. Projecting, not screaming, on stage. Trusting the face to express what they're thinking, on the silver screen. Tony Montana being Cuban. How Walter is played and what effect that has. What it adds to watch it more than once. The odd couple dynamic.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about the picture. 7/10
We're in the same situation here
This is found on my library's copy of Insomnia. It's 8 minutes long, and consists of film clips, interviews with cast and crew and behind the scenes footage. Brief, it touches upon a lot of topics, many of them only for a very short time. Everyone has something to add, and comes across as understanding the material.
They go into remaking the original. It starting as a whodunit which becomes a how- and why-dunit. Being Hitchcockian. His biological clock being messed up by the lack of nights. The ever-present light, things going on in the background. Conveying being tired without that rubbing off on the audience. How subjective the story is. Putting the viewer inside his head. Meeting Al for the first time. How he gives to who he works with. Casting Robin(RIP) against type. His choice not to go for a Peter Lorre, as it would have had to be consistent throughout. The psychological game between Will and Walter. Using the normal for creepy. Shades of grey. Following a man's conscience as his mind deteriorates through stress factors. Making disturbing features.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about the picture. 7/10
Help! Let me down!
This came on the DVD for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, along with the 4-minute Explore the Hive. It is 6 and a half minutes long. Note that it gives away a lot of what happens in it. It consists of film clips, interviews with cast and crew and behind the scenes footage.
It goes into: Jean Luc Godard saying "all you need is a girl and a gun" and that philosophy being followed to the letter. The series being about strong female bad-asses. Milla being at the heart of the franchise right from the start(at least Paul isn't deluding himself about that aspect). Her being cool, able to beat just about anyone. She's a strong character. Ruby calls her inspiring, saying she's similar to Alice in real life. She's a role model, helping others pursue their dreams, not be scared. There being several women who kick butt in a single movie. Claire being very human, not a zombie or a superhero. The sacrifice our protagonist is making by using the antivirus. Abigal being the mechanic who crafts creative weapons. Rose doing well at the wire-work in the wind tunnel, despite the pain. Rola from Japan, a joy, a fashion icon, just the nicest person: she seems sweet, which I base on a single brief clip, in which she smiles, genuine, warm. This isn't about a sidekick, a wife, she's the focus.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to see something like it. 7/10
This came on the first release, bare-bones DVD for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, along with the 6-minute The Bad Ass Trinity & The Women of Resident Evil. It is 4 minutes long. Note that it gives away a lot of what happens in it. It consists of film clips, interviews with cast and crew and behind the scenes footage.
It goes into: returning to The Hive, where everything began. Seeing it in a completely different way. The air intake tunnel being a real location, looking stunning whilst being physically straining for the performers. The killing room floor, one of the places that the Cube like floor-traps lead to. The glass corridor being one of the recreated classic sets, being done identically, from the same plans. It being visually interesting from the dust covering it. The control room being cleaner and a lot grander than the rest. The Red Queen being an AI helping to run the place. It being a poignant conclusion. This is a pretty solid amount of information for such a short featurette. It doesn't go in-depth, and is, indeed, fast-paced.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about its subject. 7/10
Best or worst: Yes
The ludicrously over-complicated and self-contradicting plot... is hereby retconned past the point of recognition. These have felt like a new person took over in each installment. This is a new level. We have obvious twists, and ones that are harder to guess, some of the time because they're preposterous. There's a convenient 48 hour countdown, which is vague, yet propels the "plot". Major characters are literally the exact opposite of what they were clearly established as. At the end of the previous... ugh, chapter.
If you turn off your brain, this is genuinely fun, in a lot of ways, more than the ones leading up to it. Not saying you should, merely putting out there what happens if you go with that option. There are people who will leave this with a headache. Not because of what I've gone into already: no, because it's filmed with hand-held, zoomed in, in the dark, using cuts of 1-2 seconds. To be fair, this is only true of action scenes. And there is a little bit of this that isn't that. The one-liners are pitiful. Ending? Nope, there's still sequel-baiting. If it's followed up on, the next will lack the core identity, which is about the sole thing consistent in these. Outside of Milla Jovovich, who is game as ever. This is a mercifully speedy 102 minutes, or, without credits: 98.
I recommend this to those who, as myself, can't resist their curiosity whenever Paul W.S. Anderson crashes a dozen cars, with its shameless nepotism, every few minutes deciding to go against everything that came before it and incredible stupidity. 6/10
The Director's Notebook (2007)
This is 19 minute long, and is the sole documentary on the DVD of The Prestige. It consists of film clips, interviews with cast and crew, and behind the scenes footage.
The Director's Notebook is 3 and a half minutes long. It's about the meta aspect of how the movie talks about magic performances in ways that it's also about the picture's effect on people. That it used science to trick people. Spiritualism versus religion.
Conjuring The Past is 5 minutes long. They go into the visual design. Casting actors not common to period pieces to make it more contemporary. Costumes.
The Visual Maze is 3 and a half minutes long. Discussed is the way the filming is loose, with long takes, only the crew knowing who the camera is on, and how challenging that is.
Metaphors of Deception is 3 and a half minutes long. In this as well as the novel it's based on, they used certain elements to engage and fool the audience.
Tesla: The Man Who Invented the Twentieth Century is 2 and a half minutes long. The man had to be a minor, though important, character, or he would be too big to cover in a single feature. In ways an underdog, many of his ideas were rejected, when today, he has been proved right. David Bowie(RIP) being the first and only choice for Nolan.
Resonances is 1 minute long. The director himself talks about what he hopes to achieve with the finished product. About the latter half of it is scrolling text that tells us important dates.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about the subject. 7/10
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Being a teenager is hard. So's making a good movie about that existence, and this is thankfully the exception. If you have superpowers, and you think you could escape your awkward, meandering high school(which this one is actually about, only took 6 tries... and 1 for the MCU) life, yet can't seem to make it, it's all the more difficult. Peter Parker(Holland, awed, spot-on) is struggling to balance it all. When The Vulture(Keaton, psychopathic and sometimes charming, complex, one of the franchise's great villains), a gun-runner, starts moving product made up of alien tech left over by fights involving The Avengers, our lead knows he has to stop him.
Spider-Man has finally gotten justice on the big screen. In a solo piece, I mean his Civil War scenes nailed it, as well. You'd think there'd be no way we could get into another adventure with the wall-crawler. 5 times in 12 years?! How to even make it distinct? For one thing, we're spared the origin everyone already knows. "With great power comes great responsibility" isn't said, it's communicated non-verbally, as it remains a major theme. The logically limited(how could you swing if there's nothing tall around?) powers are now enhanced by gadgets, without it becoming an Iron Man film. Tony(Downey Jr., witty, and funny in his discomfort with the role of mentor) doesn't take over. The trailers show most of the bits he's in, and he doesn't fight alongside the webhead. Humor is a focus, without it feeling desperate. The cast are likable, other than, of course, Flash, re-imagined as a rich kid. While Liz(Harrier, sweet, smart, driven) is no Gwen, she definitely isn't a Mary Jane either, and, hey, not every major female character needs to be that active in saving the day. Too Disney, Nickelodeon, excessive collateral damage(especially considering that Stark takes most of it in stride, despite what happened between him and Steve)? Some will think so, and I can see why.
I recommend this to everyone. Yes, you read that right. If you can enjoy any movie, give this one a chance. 8/10
High-tech but soulless
This is part of the Resident Evil Collection, which has the first four films in the series, with extras for all, though not quite in equal amounts. It's off the third in the series. The four chapters come to 31 minutes total. It consists of clips of the picture(and the first two), interviews with cast and crew, and behind the scenes footage.
Alice Vision/Pre-Production is 7 minutes long. It goes into the approach for this entry when compared to the first two, making it distinct from the by-this-point common city zombie piece, the Mad Max look(in part since there were a lot of kids who hadn't watched those...unlike today), how prepared Mulcahy came into it, opting for daylight not nighttime and contrasting the desert with the high-tech Umbrella facility.
The Big Bang/Shooting RE:E (yes, spelled like that) is 14 minutes long. They talk about the ups and downs of the heat, the choice of director, making the lab similar to a bunker, having Anderson on set and using his experience with the games, Alice's knives. I learned that I like Linden Ashby much more than I like his Johnny Cage.
Bigger, Faster, Stronger/The Undead Evolve is 6 minutes long. The Super and Desert Undead(and briefly, the Tyrant) are explored extensively, especially their look.
Vegas Visual Effects/Miniatures is 5 minutes long. It touches upon achieving grand scale via this type of FX. Paul acknowledges his luck in making this many, and in such a short time. He does say "it's not like we've been making the same movie over and over again", so he still doesn't have complete self-awareness.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about the flick. 7/10
Corporate Malfeasance (2004)
A combination of Microsoft and the US military
This is part of the Resident Evil Collection, which has the first four films in the series, with extras for all, though not quite in equal amounts. It's off the second in the series. 3 minutes long. It's made up of movie clips, interviews and behind the scenes footage.
They go into corporate control and morality. This is in part via the fictional Umbrella, known in the franchise as especially ruthless, and behind the zombiefying T-virus. The cast and crew do extrapolate that somewhat to the real world, as well. Not in great detail hard to do so within 150 seconds, after all. And herein, the one company also deals weapons, medicine, really, almost everything, especially within the also made up Raccoon City, is in their power.
They briefly touch upon the wish fulfillment of going up against something like that, and, though not taking them down, doing damage, and coming out as, well, closer to being the winner, of the two. One could argue that there isn't enough material here for its own featurette. I'm not sure where else it would fit, and it is something worth exploring, even if not for long. It's a major theme in these six.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about the picture. 7/10