Review of the movie “Fury”

DVD - Fury

Following in the footsteps of “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Band of Brothers”, this 2014 release is another “hyper-realistic” WW2 movie. It features an American Sherman Tank crew during the final stages of the Battle of Germany. The Allies might well have been winning the war but their armoured forces had to contend with the almost impervious Tiger Tank. Imagine the effect on the morale of the Sherman’s crew when they could be obliterated at 2000 metres whereas they had to approach the Tiger at 500 metres to ensure that they could penetrate the Tiger’s armour.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Main picture: DVD

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Review of the DVD documentary entitled “Churchill”

DVD cover of Churchill

This DVD provides one with the reasons why this man is held is such high regard by the British public & why he is rightly regarded as the epitome of dogged determination & a pillar of strength in Britain’s hour of need.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Unlike most politicians who, if one strips away their political deeds usually conceived in smoke filled rooms, are nothing more than empty shells. Churchill instead was the epitome of the courageous & audacious soldier whose acts of bravery drew people to themselves.

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Review of the movie “War Horse”

Cover - Warhorse

Summation: Delightful saga of the four–legged equestrian type

Rating: 5 out of 5

The real name of the leading character of this enthralling saga will probably never be known despite appearing in an award winning movie. The reason is obvious: it is a head-strong stallion.

As a foal, a neighbourhood boy is entranced by this majestic creature. Fate intervenes. His father, an inebriated nere-do-well of a man, unbeknown to his son, is also enthralled with him. This occurs at an auction where the impecunious fellow is supposed to purchase a regular stout-hearted work horse. Instead reason vanishes as he bids way past his financial means, a veritable fortune much more than his modest income will allow for this veritable race horse, the very antithesis of what he requires.

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Review of Anonymous – the DVD

Cover - Anonymous

Summation:  Revisionist history of Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare

Rating: 4 out of 5

If you are one that prefers one’s historical facts and characters to be a facsimile of reality, do not switch on your DVD player. How is this for some revisionist history: Shakespeare is a an illiterate inarticulate actor who battles to thank the actors and audience at the closure of a play and a young queen Elizabeth who has a number of sizzling affairs the product of which is an illegitimate son, Edward, who is adopted by a nobleman.

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Review of the Movie – The Kingdom – on Blu-ray

Cover - The Kingdom

Summation: Action packed movie with religious and political undertones

Rating: 3 out of 5

Being set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, one would expect that there would be a clash of cultures as well as religion. Being the heart of Wahhabi territory, one can imagine that religious fanaticism would be a factor and so it proves to be.

A cabal, a terrorist cell, attacks an American compound where foreigners are forced to live in order to avoid contact with Saudis as much as possible. During the middle of a baseball game, they strike, killing 100 American citizens.

The Saudis are intent on identifying the perpetrators for the simple reason that they are fellow Saudis. As the Wahhabi’s despise the West and believe that by even being present on holy Muslim soil, is heresy, they target both the Americans & the Saudis for allowing the American in Saudi Arabia.

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Elizabeth – the Movie

Cover - Elizabeth

Summation: Lush production highlighting the intrigue, politics and religious conflict during this era

Rating: 5 out of 5

This was certainly not a carefree period for a monarch to reign in England let alone a woman. By breaking with the Catholic Church when the Pope would not grant him a divorce, King Henry VIII had formed the Church of England. This had caused a rift with the Catholic Church. Queen Mary 1, Elizabeth’s half-sister was fiercely Catholic whereas Elizabeth was just as committed religiously but as a Protestant. As such Mary despised Elizabeth and attempted to convert her to Catholicism. Mary’s advisors, chiefly the Duke of Norfolk, attempted to have Elizabeth executed for treason. Mary agreed to her being send to the Tower but relented and instead put her under house arrest. Before she can again be convinced to execute her, Queen Mary 1 dies of ovarian cancer.

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Afghanistan: The Great Game DVD

Cover - Afghanistan - The Great Game

Short heading: Hugely informative & very topical

Rating: 5 out of 5

Rudyard Kipling, the great British poet & novelist, introduced this extant term into mainstream consciousness. It referred to the strategic rivalry & conflict between the British & the Russian Empires for supremacy in Central Asia.

In comparing three “invasions” of Afghanistan viz the British in mid-19th century, the Russians in the 1978 & the Americans in 2001, Rory Stewart, the producer is guilty of disambiguation. Strictly speaking only the initial British forays into Afghanistan fall within the accepted definition of the Great Game.

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The Men who Built America – DVD

Cover - The Men who America

The chronicle of the rise of the Titans who built the key pillars of Industrial America

Rating: 5 out of 5

This History Channel documentary deals with the key individuals who single-handedly built the key pillars of Industrial America – steel, railroads, oil, finance & ultimately the motor car.

Prior to their rise, America which was recovering from the devastating effects of Civil War, was still not industrialised but within 30 years of unbridled capitalism, was converted into a worldwide power house & incipient super power.

In spite of their reputations as the poster children of uncaring capitalism, the motto should read “honour to whom honour is due”. Not to be held in thrall but rather as an acknowledgement of their achievements while recognizing their frailties. This quintet comprised Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, JP Morgan & Ford. Their signature trait was an intense focus

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Patton [The Movie]

Cover - Patton

Summation: Unrealistic battle scenes using non-period weapons

Rating: 3 out of 5

If there is one thing I cannot abide about historical re-enactments is when they are phoney. In this case they were phoney in every sense of the word from the use of the same non-period tanks to represent both the German & the American tanks. Furthermore the battle drills of the Germans in their attack on the Americans in Tunisia displayed an amateurish attempt at non-martial tactics. Underwhelming & unconvincing.

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Zero Dark Thirty

Cover - Zero Dark Thirty

Summation: Graphic but realistic depiction of what it took to find Osama bin-Laden

Rating: 5 out of 5

Doubtless there will be many more movies of this genre but the graphic scenes of torture & the female operative’s – Jessica Chastain’s – first exposure to the horrors of torture will always be etched on my mind.

STARK, GRIM & GRUSOME

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