Overlord (2018)

Overlord (2018) – IMDB

Overlord is an interesting hybrid of war and horror genres. It’s nothing entirely new, the idea of Nazi experiments being hellishly realized. Call of Duty Zombies and Frankenstein’s Army have toyed with this idea among others. Can’t say any are classics with possibly Dead Snow being close candidate. (COD Zombie could be great if transitioned from video game to the moving pictures screen. Even better, Wolfenstein. Yes, please.)

The first 10-15 minutes when the troops had to jump from the burning, airborne plane soaked my attention. It was intense and had a great start for our heroes’ journey to destroy a tower. I forgot I was watching a zombie horror until an unnatural discovery in the woods reminded me it was not just a WWII film. I’m not going to say it was a problem, the tonal shifts, movies have accomplished this before, thanks From Dusk Till Dawn. Overlord feels more grounded and has a sense of a realistic approach to war. Not what I was expecting, thinking I was in for something that had some camp/less seriousness or a more self aware identity; a more traditional B-movie. Meaning they played more with the topic of the movie, experimented more with the “Thousand Year Reich” idea. Like don’t just show me how nasty Nazis were, show how nasty their creations were; guess I’m saying I was looking for various types of monstrosities on screen. But what is on screen is fun, that is, once we clock in enough time to see it. It does feel like it took awhile to get to why we all pressed play in the first place. Even then I’m not sure if the payload was satisfactory. With that said, and without spoiling, there is a moment when a neck is dislocated and thrust backyards. Very unexpected and satisfyingly grotesque!

The french madame who befriends our fellow soldiers is a real BADASS. She is confronted by a pesky annoyance late in the movie and she handles it like an exterminator fed up with eradicating vermin.

Some moments like the one above impressed me, others left me bored or wondered the characters’ decisions if they actually had to go that route.

To sum up, I had mixed feelings about the latest trek down Hitler’s dream of his invincible army of darkness. Don’t expect this to be anything like Kung Fury or any of the above mentioned titles, this outing is a little more serious in tone. Perhaps I will enjoy the movie more a second time viewing sometime in the future knowing now what happens. Maybe Overlord will gain a cult following, time will tell.

Hell to Eternity (1960) – IMDb

via Hell to Eternity (1960) – IMDb.

Over at my grandfather’s  I’m scanning his book collection which consists of WWII stories and other knowledgeable information on the war. Now he is someone who watches a lot of History Channel or Military Channel and anything in between on WWII to the point my grandma comes in the room and asks him “did Hitler win the war yet?” Among his historical book collection, he pulls out a book titled Saipan by Guy Gabaldon. My grandfather showed me the book was signed by Guy and they even had a few pictures together. I became interested and so I edged my grandpop to tell me more. Certainly, this was an offer he couldn’t refuse, he began to tell me it was about a young man who fought in the pacific and persuaded hundreds of Japanese civilians and soldiers to surrender single handedly. Now that is a great wartime story. After I found out Saipan was made into a full feature length film, knowing me, I located it on Amazon and purchased a copy for my grandfather and I to watch.

To rewind a little, Guy Gabaldon was born in Los Angeles, CA. At an early age he was orphaned and then was raised by a Japanese family who took him in in the 1930s and he even began learning their language and customs. Once 18, he was sent to fight for the U.S. on Saipan in 1944, an island off of Japan. Hell To Eternity starts with build up then the rest is shipped to the islands for the war where marines were getting killed left and right, fortunately Guy knew Japanese and used it to his advantage by communicating with the enemy. This was most helpful when he surprised the Japanese leader and told him to call off the attack or else he, the leader, would be shot. He told Guy that the order was already given, so regardless if he was killed or not the orders would be carried out. Guy takes the general out to call his men off and turn themselves in. Now, if you know Japanese custom, this is dishonorable and you would take your life for your country. The general conveys the message to his troops who are battered and starving and explains to Guy it wasn’t a pretty sight seeing his troops surrender. After hearing their leader’s command they submit and the general takes his life overlooking his several hundred men. Guy Gabaldon courageously turned in 800 hundred Japanese. An amazing, unheard of story I found inspirational and eye opening.

The movie is shot in black and white but the movie moves at a decent pace. Actually, some real WWII footage was used for the landing on the beach. Hell to Eternity is not all that violent but there is blood and many gunshot wounds. Wonderfully shot, the explosions and fight scenes are a great depiction of what happened on Saipan, so no need to worry about boredom. The story, though, is truly the main feat. Everything from seeing Guy’s new found family being sent to an American-Asian camp (who my grandfather even remembers at a young age nice Japanese neighbors being forced to move away) to delivering the unarmed, Japanese soldiers. I found myself relating to this movie, but in a sense of trading and receiving culture. I’ve grown up all over the place and my grandfather is Mexican and I’m Caucasian, and yet we’re very alike. Also, see below picture, right is Guy Gabaldon and left is the actor who portrayed Guy, Jeffrey Hunter. This is like SO Hollywood, getting a white man in Hispanic shoes, no bash though, Jeffrey did a fine job. Culture is everywhere and if we can set everyone’s differences to the side the world would be a more happy place. Family knows no color. I enjoyed this movie and I am happy it’s in my collection already. Do yourself a favor, dig up this classic and give it a watch.

The Imitation Game (2014) – IMDb

via The Imitation Game (2014) – IMDb.

This new preview clip of The Imitation Game, the upcoming biography ...

Upon watching The Imitation Game I found myself liking the movie very much. A man named Alan Turing is a bit of an awkward person who was not popular in school. He is a genius and not at all normal. Alan didn’t succeed at making friends, however, where he was unsuccessful his mind and bold honesty will take him far. Actually only until he was 41, sadly, besides that he left his footprint in history. And that ladies and gents was Christopher. Mr.Turing was hired by the secret British service for his brain to solve the enigma and help win the war, with a hand full of other crossword enthusiasts and mathematicians. He left us with a sort of digital brain that will later lead to more important research. This contraption he made was named Christopher, a machine that could decode. This machine’s purpose was to crack Hitler’s enigma which was, at the time, said to be unbreakable. The codes were hidden Nazi plans and if the codes are cracked, Britain not only would save lives but would have a better chance of winning the war.

Whenever I watch a movie that has one small line: Based on True Events or along that matter, I can’t help but look at it like a dog listening to a high pitch sound. Is Hollywood serious about this or are they trying to make another dollar by attracting the masses by entertainment? Unfortunately, that is part of the case. After watching the entertaining Imitation Game, I looked up some reviews, a lot were like me who enjoyed the movie but others were heavy on how frustratingly inaccurate it let itself become. Apparently, the  Polish created the first enigma in the 1930s and then the Germans took it and made their own improvements. Alan Turing didn’t work on his machine alone but had help by others, plus people who were part of the decoding team weren’t even acknowledged in the movie. Among other hiccups, the other reviewers detailed it better but it doesn’t hurt to do a little research (if only Hollywood did). Does Hollywood believe there are no other historians out there who would crack their movie and find their lies? There are facts in history that be found by a click of a button or whipping out your phone. Hollywood likes to remember history a certain way which sacrifices historical accuracy for entertainment (Pearl Harbor). I think it’s funny how some historical fiction gets more history right than a movie based on an actual event.

Regardless of the history, although important, this is a good flick. I must mention the writing first, which is smart and very fun. There was a lot of word jugglery that made sense for each person and will leave you chuckling at perfect moments throughout the story. “Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.” The movie touches upon many subjects: Machines, Man, Secrets, Lies, Truths, and what makes us think differently. Some subject matter went deeper than expected, like accepting the people who are not ‘normal.’ The performances weren’t hail worthy, except maybe Benedict Cumberbatch, but they all succeeded what they set out to do. Matthew Goode’s (Watchman)  character, a womanizer, stood out to me as a calm, cool person who you had earn his respect before he accepted you. But as cast in all, they all had good chemistry. 

The Imitation Game is worth a watch for it’s entertainment value, and a couple historical nods. With a brisk pace and a high prduction, you can find yourself in enjoyment. And most importantly, stay different my friends.