Movie Review: Dunkirk (no spoilers!)

dunkirk-poster-8

Dunkirk is unlike any other film I’ve seen. Once you’re past the advertisements and the lights dim in the theater, you’re no longer sitting on your tush in the air conditioning. The room around you becomes frigid, you begin to breathe through your mouth, the adrenaline builds up within you, and you’re there, on that beach, for one of the most thought-provoking two hours of your life.

Disclaimer: All thoughts are my own and are not endorsed by anyone other than myself.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk is the story of, frankly, the British evacuation from the French beach of that name. With German bombers flying over to try and annihalate the 400,000 British and French soldiers on the beach and hundreds dying daily, the outlook for them is pretty bleak.

Image result for dunkirk stills

The most interesting thing about this film is the lack of dialogue. I don’t think there are a hundred lines in the whole movie. Most of the experience is in what you see and what you hear.

My favourite film genre is war, so naturally I’ve seen a lot of the classic war films. This one definitely stands out in a couple of ways:

  1. The colors. Most war movies have a theme of brown, green and black (very warm colors). This one was a lot of grey and blue, which made it feel very cold. That and all the water on screen had me walking out of the theater freezing to death.
  2. The music. If you go and look up the soundtrack, you’ll find that there is a ticking noise in the background of every piece. This ticking noise did not cease for the entire film, giving a sense of urgency (time is running out).
  3. The characters. I only caught the names of two of the characters (Peter and George). In addition to these, there was the infantry soldier (I later found out that his name is Tommy – nice allusion to Tommy Atkins!), his friend, and two pilots. It was incredibly realistic in the way that you recognised them by face, not name.
  4. The kind of intensity. There was little to no blood or gore in this film (I only remember seeing blood once). Yet, it was as riveting as Band Of Brothers (a slightly more intense HBO series. Rated TV-M for a reason) without being as violent as that series is. I think the most deaths happen by drowning, which was true. More soldiers drowned trying to get away than those who were bombed on the beach.

Image result for dunkirk stills

There are genuine Spitfire planes in it, not just CGI. Also, the music is by Hans Zimmer – also a reason to go and see it. And if you’re a One Direction fan, I believe Harry Styles plays a character in it. I’m not a 1D fan, so I didn’t catch that until I went and read the Wiki page did extensive research.

All in all, Dunkirk is one of the best films I think I’ve ever seen, and if you can watch it in IMAX, you should. That wall-to-wall screen just throws you into it.

For those who are a little more sensitive or under 13: You can find the full content advisory as to exactly what’s in it here – I highly suggest doing this. There aren’t any unwarned spoilers. Another thing I would advise is to not watch this movie alone or at night – I am over 13 and went with my brothers, my mum, and my granddad to a matinee.

Verdict: GO SEE NOW! 

Advertisements

Book Review: Mara, Daughter of the Nile

Wow. Two posts in two days! I’m on a roll!

I apologise for the scrambly review yesterday – I was a bit too excited to care whether I used too many exclamation points or not. Now, I am sane (though no less adoring of that film) and ready to review the novel I have just finished reading – Mara, Daughter of the Nile.

Precautionary statement: This review will likely contain spoilers. For a total surprise, skip this post altogether.

Book Reviewsteeplechaseblog.wordpress.com

Specifications:

Author: Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Published: 1953
Pages: 279
MSRP: $6.99

Not a bad price for an extremely compelling historical novel.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile is set in Ancient Egypt, during the rule of Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BC). In it, Mara, a slave girl yearning for her freedom, is employed by one of Hatshepsut’s agents to get information on the queen’s half-brother, Thutmose, who may or may not be trying to take the throne. But as she is carrying out her missions for Lord Nahareh, another lord approaches her. His name is Lord Sheftu, and he is an agent for Thutmose. He wants to restore whom he believes is the proper ruler onto the throne of the Black Land, who is none other than Thutmose. All Mara wants is her freedom and possibly some gold, so she accepts the offer, realising a bit too late that she is now a double-spy caught in what could become a fierce revolution. She also realises that she loves Lord Sheftu, despite his cold attitude toward her. When her duplicity is discovered, Mara must make the choice – help the cause she originally was supporting, or help Sheftu and all the rebel friends she has met.

(my description)

The thing that made this read special was the extremely descriptive writing. I felt ported immediately into a time I hadn’t known more than sterotypes about just from the way the words flew off the pages at me. An example of the author’s writing:

The innkeeper closed the door behind them, his broad face wreathed in smiles. He was a hulk of a man, vast of girth and guileless of countenance, dressed in a rumpled shenti and huge copper ear hoops. He pattered ahead of them, the earrings bouncing and his paunch preceding him, through a tiny entryway and into a large square room which was smoky with torchlight and smelled of beer and roasting meat.

Not only do I see a pudgy, sweatily good-natured man, I also see a dark, stale, loud room with plenty of ill-to-do characters guffawing within. I felt like I was in the story, not just reading about it, and the author definitely knows the techniques of foreshadowing and contrasting.

Pushing past the blaringly obvious hist-fict genre, I’d say this story is 50% romance and 50% adventure. There’s enough action scattered between the romantic scenes to make the story thrilling and gritty, yet enough romance and intrigue balancing out the excitement to give it direction.

The characters are likeable when they ought to be and abhorrable when they need to be. In the same way that I loved Nekokh, the cynical riverman who ended up being my favourite character, I hated Sahure, the wily juggler who was meant to be disliked. I loved Innani, the Syrian princess that fit in with the Egyptians as much as a bird fits in with fish.

Content: There is a lot of historical drinking (after all, it’s not like noblemen drink water), numerous mentions of false gods (this is Egypt) and likewise using their names as exclamations or expletives. I don’t think it’s appropriate for children, persay, but tweens and older should be able to 1) fully understand the plot and dialouge, and 2) understand that anything that seems funny nowadays is cultural. Plus, the reading level is pretty high.

From a religious standpoint, this book is a useful tool for understanding Egypt from a Biblical perspective. The most blaring example of this is in what Egyptians thought about darkness. They mention several times in this book that “the darkness is laden with evil spirits” (not an exact quote). Think about the plague of Darkness for a minute…

I think my favourite chapter was chapter 18, which is undoubtedly the most exciting chapter. You know I’m a thrill-seeker…;P

Overall, I give this book a 9.5/10. The best word to describe it is intriguing, I think.

The verdict:

YEA!

{Tess}

Movie Review: The Fate Of The Furious

Precautionary statements:
This review will contain major SPOILERS. If you don’t plan on watching the film, or if you are the kind who likes to know everything about a flick before watching it, then this is the review for you.

This review also will get rambly at parts, so stay with me. I have a lot to say about it.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

fd_f8gwp_620x350_mlp_v2_lg

Yesterday, courtesy of my wonderful mum, I went to see The Fate of the Furious. I hadn’t been to theater since The Peanuts Movie, so I was pretty excited…but a little turned off by the previews, I might add. Seriously, it was a 3-2-1-1: three sensual movies all rated R, two beat-sheet action films, one really creepy horror film. Seriously, no one needs to see movies about playboys, mummies coming back to life, lifeguards who obviously aren’t doing their jobs, or anthromorphic apes fighting humans. Apes have the wrong anatomy to ride horses, anyways!

But there was one film I actually did want to see. How many days is it till Dunkirk comes out?! Look forward to a review for that this summer :).

After kind of being shell-shocked by all the evil previews, I was quite relieved that the film finally began. If you want a rundown on the plot, go Google it. 😛

I went into this film without having seen any of the previous films or a true action movie (National Treasure doesn’t count, does it?), so I was eager to see what would befall my adventure-loving spirit.

Content-wise, this movie is pretty good for PG-13. There is a good bit of swearing, but certainly less than Band of Brothers. I really don’t see that as a problem when the ones watching it know not to imitate, i.e, anyone over 13. Frequent uses of the “Big Five” swear words, plus a couple of British ones (we’ll get to that!). There is only one scene with racing party girls (you know, the one’s at the beginning and end of those car-racing games at the arcade), and it barely lasts thirty seconds. I was forewarned, and you can be too – look away when you see the first one. When you see an engine out of your peripherals, then you can look back.

Action. Sooooo much awweesommme acctionnn. I have a weak spot for things blowing up and big brawls and whatever, so I was really excited. Seriously, cars began to drive themselves. Seriously, whoever has a GPS in their car needs to tear it out. That’s terrifying to think that your car could be one of the ones that Cipher hacks to fly out of the parking garage onto the convoy carrying the nuclear football. Or one of the ones she controls to chase said convoy. And the part where they have Dom trapped in the grappling hooks? AWESOME. Until he hoses them and flips all their cars. 😥

The story of this started right after the movie started. There was no fiddling around waiting for something to happen. Seriously, Cipher was introduced in the third scene. But the previous two weren’t unimportant either – for someone who hadn’t been following these characters for seven movies, I liked Dom the minute I saw him. And when he agreed to race for his cousin’s (or was it his nephew’s?) car, I was like, “Yay! A race!” The Cuban N2O won after all. I would never have thought of throwing the car in reverse to avoid the rapidly flaming engine. He won, but threw the car into the ocean. And gave his cousin/nephew (I can’t remember which) his ’70s Impala. Wicked!

The characters of this film were the kind that you liked on sight. I loved Dom and Letty the moment they leaned over the engine, Luke Hobbs the minute I saw he was a family man, Deckerd the Brit the minute he began to trash talk. Well, my like for Deckerd may have been because he was British. And that he didn’t get riled up when Luke told him he was going to beat his blank like a Cherokee drum.

f8castbar

Left to right – Deckerd, Rhodes, “Mr. Nobody”, Roman, Cipher, Dom, Letty, Tej, Ramsey, “Little Nobody” Eric, and Luke.

My personal favourite out of these characters was Letty. I loved to see a combat-boot-wearing, kick-your-rear kind of woman who’s not catty, who’s sensitive but not flowery, and believes in Dom no matter what everyone else says. She didn’t over-wear her makeup. She wasn’t a throw-in because the team needed a girl to make the sexist activists happy. She wasn’t an advocate of feminism (finally!) She was an honest-to-goodness good character, and her attitude toward the others was something that should have been modelled long ago.

Letty is on the team because she wants to help. She isn’t trying to “show everyone what girls can do” or “show the men that she’s just as good as they are”. In fact, she’s the one who supports Dom in everything he does. Even when the rest of the team is convinced that “Dominic Toretto’s gone rogue”, she still believes that he knows what he’s doing. Which pays off in the end, because he did sort of know what he was doing. It was when his son got involved that things got complicated. Whoa, spoilers. :P.

I have to say that my favourite scene was when Deckerd gets Baby Toretto, later named Brian, out of the plane. It is extremely funny.

I found out from my mom that the reason they named the baby Brian was to commemorate a cast member who died in a horrible car crash. That was a nice way to remember him without CGI (I was shocked to find out that you could do that!).

Some people say that this film is unrealistic, but hey, isn’t every movie? I really think this flick was fun, action-packed, and awesome. If you’re not touched by swearing, then I would suggest that any action-loving person go see it.

I’m sorry this was sort of scribbly, but with a movie as free-flowing as this one, I figured the review ought to be the same way.

Final verdict:

YEA!

(for good characters, non-stop action, and visual appropriateness. AND BRIAN TYLER DID THE MUSIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

{Tess}