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Posts tagged with ‘WWII’

Kate Winslet Caught in the Act

Kate Winslet giving advice on how to phone sex in Extras.

This seems like a fitting post, especially now that she’s finally won an Academy Award for best leading actress in ‘The Reader’.

For most of us however, Kate Winslet’s greatest contribution to mankind must be that single most iconic scene from the film: ‘The Titanic’. For since then, any man or woman, setting foot on a boat or ship, will always be plagued by the irresistible urge to stand at its bow, with arms stretched wide and open.

Phone Sex

But it is her appearance in the comedy sit-com called ‘Extras’, that’s pure comic genius and just as memorable. ‘Extras’ revolves around Andy, a struggling actor with aspirations of one day making it big. But in the mean time, he has to make do with the actor’s equivalent of breadcrumbs: playing as an extra in the shadow of stars.

In this particular episode, he’s been given a small role as a German foot soldier in a movie about the Holocaust. The films lead role of a devout nun is played and portrayed beautifully by Kate Winslet. But in between takes – and still dressed as a nun – she freely exalts her advice on how to talk dirty on the phone to one of her colleagues in need. But then, she takes it a bit too far and gets caught.

Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds Trailer


While I still have to see the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Brad Pitt hasn’t been sitting still. He’ll soon be starring in the next Quentin Tarantino installment: “Inglorious Basterds”. This one takes place during WWII. It’s about a secret handpicked American army unit dropped in German held France. Their mission? Strike fear, terror and do some really, really bad things to the occupying Nazi’s. Having seen the trailer, it looks like a typical Tarantino with lots of his signature dialogue scenes mixed with plenty of gore to go.

I only hope it’s a lot better than his last film: “Death Proof” from the Grind House experiment. There was so much dialogue in it about nothing, I almost fell asleep. The other half of Grind House, Planet Terror, was, on the other hand, so over the top, it was actually quite fun to watch.

But if Tarantino’s latest film is anything on par with Kill Bill, it will be worth the wait.


Halina Reijn in Valkyrie, the film

It can’t be easy creating a film based on a well known historic event. Especially if the audience already knows how it will all play out. For it to succeed therefore, it has to in a way focus less on the historical facts. Instead, it should offer us the story behind the events, even if that story may not be historically accurate. It may even be pure fiction. Case in point is the ‘Last King of Scotland’ were the rule of Idi Amin is seen through the eyes of Dr.Garrigan, a fictional character. The people we meet in this film are engaging. And even though some liberties have been taken to what actually happened, the story does give us a clear picture of how a popular and charismatic boxer turned into one of the world’s most feared dictators. Valkyrie in this sense takes a different approach and unfortunately doesn’t deliver.

As a matter of fact, I found the documentary ‘Stauffenberg, the true story’, which recalls the most famous assassination attempt on Hitler, to be a lot more interesting then the film itself. The film felt more like a remake of the documentary where the details have been replaced by cinematographically rich scenes. While the documentary did a good job of explaining the back story and the character behind Stauffenberg, Tom Cruises portrayal of him felt very cardboard like.  

Other than a few hollow words said here and there, the film doesn’t really bother explaining us why Stauffenburg would risk his life and that of his wife and three children to commit a potentially treasonous act. It tells us nothing of the respect he commanded amongst his men or the suffering he had to endure after he was crippled. It simply conveys the events as they happened and we just have to accept that. The film lacks depth.

This is in total contrast to for example ‘Der Untergang‘. Despite us already knowing what happened in the last days of Hitler’s rule, it succeeded by focuses on the characters and conveying the sense of claustrophobic despair the soldiers and staff underwent in the final days of the Third Reich.

If I had to name one positive thing about this film, then it was the secretary, a role played by the Dutch actress Halina Reijn. Even though her role was small and hardly had any lines in the film, her screen presence said more about their dire situation then all the  dialogs put together. It was one of the few characters one could actually care about.

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