Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – 1964

Stanley Kubrick‘s 1964 anti cold war film gives you an uncomfortable reality check at how stupid humanity really is. However it also makes you see how hilarious it is that we’re all willing to absolutely decimate all life on earth in order to prove who’s country is more superior. To get an inkling of how the story unfolds I will give a brief explanation of what happens; the film first opens with a border line psychotic General Ripper (Sterling Hayden)  announcing his airforce base is in ‘code red’ and orders the base to seal itself off from the outside world. He then continues to put operation “wing attack plan R” into effect which gives him the power as a lower ranking officer than the president to launch a nuclear attack on Russia. As a result of this crisis an emergency meeting is called at Washington DC within the Pentagons war room. Within the war room are characters such as President Merkin Muffley, ex nazi Dr. Strangelove (both played by Peter Sellers) and General Turgidson (George C. Scott) along with many other important generals.

All these men put in the effort to try and stop the currently inevitable nuclear war from happening. Kubrick portrays all the big manly military men as babies with weapons, they’re all incapable of understanding the power these weapons posses however also the fact that they will inevitably set them off reaping havoc to come. One of the solutions we see in the film is a phone call between the US and Russian president which sounds like a little child apologising for accidentally breaking their neighbours window with their football when news reach them about the accidental launch. Kubrick isn’t afraid to exercise any ethnic stereotypes such as the Russian president answering the phone drunk and general Ripper claiming that all commies “never drink water, only vodka”. The film is designed to take the highest amount of mockery out of the cold war shenanigans as possible therefore anyone that takes this film seriously is extremely sensitive. A very famous quote in the film, which i personally love  myself upon hearing it, is “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the war room!”… oh the irony, do I have to say anything else?

A rather large Freudian essence hangs heavy over this film, and thats how deeply sexual but subtle it is, I think its brilliant if you ask me. For the whole duration of the films title credits we see a fuel plane refuel one of the B-52 bombers during flight however the fuel pump largely imitates a phallus going in and out of the opposing plane as it bobs up and down, side to side, from the turbulence. A lot of the Military General characters suck on a dong like cigar, the more they do it, the more war mad and frustrated they get. A comparison to this, the disabled ex nazi, Dr. Strangelove puffs on a very small cigarette that he can barely hold and I think that is done quite deliberately in order to give a little dig towards nazis and the incapable. Through adding a subtle sexual nature to the props, set design and dialogue it then reinforces the idea that all militarised men are sexually frustrated, testosterone filled war machines that can explode at any moment, depending on which way you take that reference. The whole film is saturated with subtle digs, hints and jokes and thats what makes it such a rich motion picture that is  understandably still known today.

Set design within this film can be explained as immense, the war room is one of the most memorable staged areas in film history. The giant boards with all the little lights and icons mapping out important information which overlooks an equally humungous round table mirrored by some overhead lighting. Stanley adds a nice touch to it during one scene were general Turgidson is reading out a statement and because the camera is from a far within the room he makes him sound just as distant, echoed and slightly muffled to add a true point of perspective for the audience.

The War Room

This now brings me to my most personal favourite scene in film history, Major Kong, the pilot on board one of the bombers, rides a nuclear warhead rodeo style down to earth and literally goes out with a bang. This scene alone has sparked countless pieces of artwork, graffiti and even tattoos! Overall if you’re interested in the rock stars of film directors and you want to delve into some anti war media thats up there with Ford and Wyler‘s work then you must give this a watch, heres the trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IutX5AGEYZc&t=72s

Written by: Charlie George Eve

The Iron Giant – 1999

This ‘children’s film’, and I say that loosely because myself as a 19 year old male still watches it occasionally, is the most inspiring, emotional and self expressive film of my childhood. Directed by Brad Bird and starring celebs such as Vin Diesel and Jennifer Aniston this animated film follows the story of a young small town boy who befriends a giant space robot which he then has to defend and hide from a government agent who’s out to destroy it. Upon landing on earth the iron giant eats and stomps his way through the small country side of a Maine village in the USA, he is then found by Hogarth Hughes just after biting down on some live wires and is saved by the boy which cements their friendship for life.

There is nothing fancy to this film in terms of animation or story simply because it doesn’t need it, its a clear story that gets the good old water works flowing. The film can be seen as a little message in a bottle towards stopping the cold war because its round about the same time as the whole world has gone a little nuclear bomb mad, the giant representing a large weapon and coming from an unknown land doesn’t help either. A certain quote in the film was used and became popular such as “you are who you choose to be” this said by Hogarth when he’s trying to tell the iron giant he’s not a deadly weapon of mass destruction, to then which the iron giant decides he wants to be Superman, which is a massive metaphor because of what he does towards the end of the film.

The Iron Giant with the Superman “S”
The Iron Giant and Hogarth

With the animated markets being constantly dominated by Disney it would have been hard for this gentle giant to catch on but as you can see it stole the hearts of kids all over the world, it certainly did of mine. Its better to experience an actual story without an ‘everything is fine happy go lucky the world is perfect’ song and dance sequence every five minutes in the film. All in all this animation picture is great for taking you right back into the welcoming arms of childhood no matter your age, it gets a 5 out of 5 from me…now if you don’t mind excusing me but I’m off to go watch it again for the 100th time this week.

The Iron Giant Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obLtyj8hfFk

Written by: Charlie George Eve

BRIGHT-est film on Netflix? – 2017

lastnight I tuned in to Netflix’s new original film ‘BRIGHT‘ (directed by David Ayer) and around five minutes into the film I realised that it is as if Men In Black and End of Watch had a baby and this gritty motion picture was produced. Respectively this could have been expected as the film ‘End of Watch’ was directed by the same person and it emanates a very similar story line, it being 2 police officers in LA trying to survive the night whilst being attacked by gang members. The ‘Men In Black’ feel to it may just simply come from the film involving Will Smith and alien like beings that we don’t see everyday on the streets of LA, being governed by some sort of task force, in this case being the LAPD. That being said, that definitely doesn’t make it a bad thing…

BRIGHT, written by Max Landis, is a film in which fantasy creatures live amongst each other and have done for thousands of years; the film includes: Humans, Orcs and Elves being the main races however other creatures can be seen throughout the film too such as: Fairies, Dragons and Centaurs. The story follows two police officers, Ward and Jakoby, who go about their duty as usual but stumble across some criminal activity way above their pay grade on a magical level which then spirals them into a night full of shootouts, classic cat and mouse chasing and one very emotional ending.

Elf

 

 

 

 

 

Orc
Human

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my opinion this film was designed to show us how very much like our world this fantasy world we watch on the screen in front of us is. It revisits some terrible periods in human history associated with racism which seems to be the constant theme throughout the film in order to give us a better understanding of what us as a race have done wrong and how it can be looked at through a different perspective, in this case a movie genre. We see reenactments of police brutality towards black people in our world that happened in the 80’s and 90’s in LA however it is the Orcs that are mistreat by society in the film. This can be seen with one of our main characters Jakoby, the first orc police officer ever played by Joel Edgerton. The orcs live in suburbs around Los Angeles portrayed as gang members and criminals, the Elves are seen as these corporate pigs that run the world, rich and full of power, and the humans are in amongst all this just trying to get by.

Side note: The UFC released some videos that mirror the same format they use when advertising new fights coming up on television and their Youtube channel. It features UFC commentator, Joe Rogan, and founder of the UFC, Dana White; they go on to explain how an Orc should never be allowed to fight in the UFC however they find themselves promoting a fight for the first ever human vs orc match up. Through the largely acknowledged company it brought a more real world touch to the film because we weren’t just seeing it as a ‘film trailer’, it was put forward as a real world problem and a new form of advertising that blew up on social media. I first seen this before coming across the actual trailer so when I heard of a human vs orc match up it brought a lot of confusion and interest which then caused me to seek out the trailer.

check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btnr3rsnQUU

The title of the film links back to a special type of race within the film known as ‘Brights’, these are beings that hold the power and capability of possessing a magic wand and being able to use one. Brights are usually elves however a human can be a bright too although its a one in a million chance, thus setting the main climax of the film revolving around a specific bright and a magic wand.

This film has unfortunately gathered a lot of bad criticism however its ratings are through the roof. Personally I thoroughly enjoyed the film and the theme was pulled of magnificently in a way that certainly changes the way you think about our modern day very political world. The way the story is told through dialogue and the set design is genius; political statements in the form of graffiti tags on the street walls such as “In the beginning God created all races equal, but elves are more equal” this sends a sudden real world realisation back home, and it hits hard. The cinematography keeps watchers down at street level and brings them into the conflict of that world and the characters rather than making us feel like we’re watching a movie. We feel what the characters feel and then relate to the problems on top of that which adds the final nail in the coffin when watching this film. I highly recommend it if you want to watch something that gets you thinking whilst you’re simultaneously sat on the edge of your seat.

BRIGHT Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EZCBSsBxko

Written by: Charlie George Eve

Bronson – Britains most violent showman? – 2008

Can YOU not find your claim to fame? Are YOU struggling to make a name for yourself? Well look no further, for just one life sentence in countless prisons across Great Britain you could make a star of yourself. At least this is what Englishman Michael Peterson did, better known today as Charles Bronson (renaming himself after the famous Hollywood actor) Britain’s most violent prisoner.

*WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD*

Danish director and writer, Nicolas Winding Refn, created an action biography telling the story of then Michael peterson, a young man who was sentenced to 7 years in prison for robbing a post office which then over time expanded into over 4 decades thanks to his new persona…Charles Bronson. He would spend his prison days assaulting prison guards and inmates, escaping occasionally and constantly giving verbal abuse.

The way Nicolas sheds light on this certainly dark story is through a theatrical sense, it begins with dead silence and nothing but visuals so you have no choice but to pay attention. Bronson then (played by Tom Hardy) gives a monologue to the viewers accompanied by shots of anything related to what he’s saying filled with awkward silences inbetween sentences and its really…really…immersive. The way the sound is captured and heard is as if you’re sitting in a cell with Bronson and he’s telling you it face to face; his words have a slight echo to it bouncing back off the cold claustrophobic walls of his prison cell. The introduction to the film then ends with a thunderous scene of Bronson, naked and covered in blood, fighting off prison guards in solitary confinement which is all wrapped up in a barbed wire bow by some eery music presented by ‘The Walker Brothers’ called ‘The Electrician’.

Take a look here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7llOzq_tfSw&t=174s

FUN FACT: Actor Tom Hardy was in contact with Charles Bronson throughout filming, learning from him and seeing what type of character he was. Check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RstefCPs3kU

Delving deeper into this theatrical approach to the telling of Bronson’s story, you regularly see Bronson on a stage in a theatre, again, telling his own story to an audience. Sometimes he’d be in makeup, sometimes another costume and its almost as if Nicolas has allowed his own character to direct the film and tell the story for him and the writers. Throughout the film it is most definitely obvious that Charles Bronson was a man to be feared with his random outbursts and hand grenade like personality but a lot of the time he would come across almost as if the man was putting on a show for anyone in the prison, over exaggerating feelings and actions in order to be more interesting. The film also dips its hypothetical toe into what it was like to be a prisoner in Britain back in the 70’s and 80’s along with some political movements and protests, some led by Bronson himself when he’d occasionally escape from being locked away.

I would highly recommend this film to anyone under the grounds that it has a very unique style to the story telling format, it highlights tom Hardy’s skill perfectly and even if you don’t like an action/crime film because its too loud and gritty, this picture steers away from that approach. Watch the trailer here and see what you think…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paa9knyJKrs&t=66s

written by: Charlie George Eve

Tenacious D in The Pick Of Destiny – 2006

Tenacious D, directed and written by Liam Lynch along with Jack Black and Kyle Gass pays a humorous homage to the history of Rock n Roll as well as a fictional account of how the non-fictional band “The D” came to be. The film has comedic skits around every corner as the two characters “Kage” played by Kyle Gass and “Jables” played by Jack Black pair off phenomenally. The devilish duo go on an epic journey in order to find “the pick of destiny”, an extraordinary guitar pick fashioned out of the devils tooth himself, currently held in the rock n roll history museum were they must attempt to break in and steal it. It is believed that whoever holds the pick gains God like talent with the chosen musical instrument the owner plays therefore the motive and conclusion of this film is set.

 

Strictly speaking in entertainment purposes of a film I would rate it with a five star ranking out of five, reason? The open mic night scene half way through the film; Tenacious D return to a shabby back street bar in one of Jables dreams were they were once booed off stage earlier in the film. The events of JB’s dream performance contain exploding heads, sexual moaning and a six-armed guitarist shredding it up on stage. Now because the film is a musical in a sense I cant ignore the fact that a lot of the story is told through the occasional outburst of rock music, there is literally a song brought in at the end whilst Kage and Jables are breaking in to the Rock n Roll history museum were the lyrics narrate everything the characters do to the finest detail, even their thoughts; the same style as an on stage theatre performance would but with heavy shouting and adrenaline inducing rock riffs.

Exhibit A

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit B

It should come as no surprise to people who have watched the film that it does not deserve a sophisticated or serious film review. When put in comparison against the vast amount of films out in the abyss that is Hollywood movie making it doesn’t stand a chance. At best the film makes you take up the good old air guitar one last time since childhood whilst you jam away with the two-man band that could easily spring up on an episode of Americas Got Talent. If you wish to sit back, have a good time and laugh with friends then this is the film for you, however if it’s an actual film you seek with detailed narrative and strong plot points then stay clear; the bearded man child and the balding rock god that is Jack Black and Kyle Gass will only make your stomach turn.

Written by: Charlie George Eve

Watch the trailer here: