War

Fantastic Fest: Cold Steel

Editor’s note: This film was originally featured as part of our Fantasia Fest 2012 coverage, but it’s also playing Fantastic Fest, so we’re bringing it back. Mu, a young hunter with a staggering talent behind the eyepiece of a sniper rifle, saves an American pilot shot down by the Japanese in WWII-era China. When he returns to his village with his wounded new friend, he finds a trio of Chinese soldiers stirring up trouble in the local tea house and insulting the lovely widowed owner; something he cannot abide. His intervening actions land him on a prisoner transport, but when that transport is attacked by Japanese snipers, Mu demonstrates his lethal abilities to get them out of their dangerous predicament. He is immediately given a choice: enlist or be shot. Assigned to an elite sharpshooting corps, Mu becomes a local hero for his valor and the success rate of his team’s missions. This however also lands him in the crosshairs of a ruthless Japanese sniper. Cold Steel, in a rifle shell, is an affable wartime actioner reminiscent of, but certainly not beholden to, Enemy at the Gates. It was directed by long-time editor/John Woo collaborator David Wu, whose similarity in sensibilities hits you right between the eyes…particularly in the action department.

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Criterion Files

First is a precarious position to be in, for in retrospect you stand in for the entire legacy (or, at least, for inaugurating the legacy) of the thing itself. It’s tough being the first, and can be burdensome. And of the first ten movies that were admitted into the Criterion Collection, there are some confounding choices. The Lady Vanishes (Spine #3), for instance, is a great film, but hardly amongst Hitchcock’s best (or even his best British work). It’s an…interesting choice for the first Hitchcock film in the DVD collection that would come to define 21st century cinephilia. But then again, way back in 1998, whose to say that the Criterion Collection had any idea the reputation it would cultivate? Criterion’s choices for its first two releases, however, are pitch-perfect. Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, the film that defined his legacy and had a greater influence on world cinema than even his Rashomon, sits prominently at Spine #2. And Jean Renoir’s anti-war, prewar masterpiece, Grand Illusion, sits deservedly in Criterion’s #1 spot, with the weight of important classic and contemporary cinema resting comfortably on its shoulders. Grand Illusion may admittedly not have the empirical evidence of definitive influence of Seven Samurai (in other words, it has yet to be remade into a Western). But that is perhaps to its benefit. While Kurosawa made tens of samurai films, Renoir never made another movie quite like Grand Illusion, and the film still occupies a singular place in the history of war cinema – […]

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #80): “A Quality of Mercy” (airdate 12/29/61) The Plot:  A zealous officer is anxious to kill, kill, and then kill. The Goods: Deep in the jungles of the Pacific theater of World War II, a Lieutenant (a very, very youthful Dean Stockwell) joins a ragtag bunch that’s used to hunkering down, waiting things out, and opting for comfort over protocol. Lieutenant Katell is a fire-breather, a young gun who claims that he has experience killing, but probably doesn’t. He has an axe to grind against an enemy he knows nothing about except that they’re the enemy. Thus, instead of moving around a small encampment, he wants to cut through it and kill everyone with a Japanese uniform. That is, until The Twilight Zone intervenes.

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Gregory Peck personally assures you that this will be the most exciting film you’ll ever see, and he just might be right. The Guns of Navarone is a standout in the Men On a Mission world of wartime sabotage, using its cast (Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn et al) to the fullest extent of their abilities while creating a crew more likely to cut each others’ throats than the enemy’s.

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In WWII, Dr. Seuss worked for the War Department creating educational cartoons for troops. They just happened to include some fantastic racial stereotypes, bare-breasted ladies, and dirty double entendre.

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The simple answer is ‘yes.’ The complex answer is also ‘yes.’

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War! Politics! Insults! Absurdity! The greatest comedy group of all time makes their funniest movie.

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Steven Spielberg has selected Noah Wyle to lead the resistance against those evil alien bastards.

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oldasspotemkin

It may be the case that the movie is influential only because it was one of the early ones to the party, but more than that, it’s influential because a talented creative mind had the foresight to see what could be done with moving pictures and to did it.

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The Objective

A CIA spook and a team of Special Ops drive deep into the Afghanistan desert to find a religious leader who may have stolen nuclear warheads or in possession of something far more dangerous.

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Waltz with Bashir

Waltz With Bashir opens on an animated, rain-soaked street to the sounds of growling. What follows is a real-life documentary and quest for answers.

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One way to make things more tolerable is to knock back a few while watching the movie. Who knows… maybe after a few beers, Robert Redford’s sermons might make more sense.

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Like its predecessors, this film fails more out of boredom than message. Actually, a more appropriate title for Lions for Lambs could be Lamenting for Liberals.

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This is Robert Redford’s seventh film as a director. Lions For Lambs is not his worst, but it is certainly not his best.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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