Hacksaw Ridge

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This is the true story of Desmond Doss a consciensious objector who enlisted during WW2. His faith did not permit him to bare arms and kill the enemy. He did want to help in a non combatitive role as a medic. He like many Americans was angry with the Japanese when they bombed Pearl Harbour and didn’t want to stand by and do nothing. His family life had been one of violence due to his alcohilic father who beat him, his brother and their mother. The alcoholism brought on by his experience in WW1 where he lost many friends. He did not support his sons going to war, but was helpless to do anything about it. He did not want his sons going through what he went through.

Desmond despite his fathers views joined up to become a medic. His views are not popular with the rest of the brigade and they sure make it tough for him. Eventually Desmonds views push the high ranking soldiers to start court martial proceedings. He does make it to war however and heads to Japan with the rest.

We see long and gory battle scenes on Hacksaw Ridge, which are not for the faint hearted. Mel Gibson as you can imagine doesnt hold back when trying to show the true horror of war. We see grown men who were once cocky and arrogant feel fear for maybe the first time. They are like children as they realise that war is worse than they could ever imagine. Desmond has to go head first into the barrage of gun fire with nothing to protect himself. He has to remain cool as he treats those who are in eccrusciating pain, fear and in in shock from what they have seen and felt.The cast all put in great performances and you can see why Andrew Garfield has been nominated for an Oscar. He is brilliant as Doss as he shows the mans strength against all odds, his anger, love and how he copes with war. Hugo Weaving as his angry father is superb and steals many of the scenes. This is a man ravaged by war at a time when PTSD was unheard of, with alcohol and violence his only coping mechanism. Vince Vaughan who plays Doss’ Sgt pulls away from his usual comedic roles. This is your typical sgts performance seen in many war/soldier films, such as Officer and a Gentlemen and Full Metal Jacket. The difference is that Vaughan is able to bring a soft side to the role as he fears for Doss’ physical and mental well being. The whole cast make this a very special film and a great tribute to the war hero depicted.

Mel Gibson has returned to the main stage and despite all the controversy over the years he has been welcomed back by Oscar. His direction really makes this film one that should be seriously considered in many Oscar categories, but sadly La La Land will dominate.

9/10

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Silence

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In the current world a third of the population consider themseves to be Christian. In modern Japan the christian population stands at 2 million which is about 1%. Considering that Christianity is the most followed religion it seems strange that Christianity hasn’t reached Japan in a bigger way. Budhism and Shinto are the most followed religions although modern day Japanese are not strict followers and only really take religion on special occasions.

I start like this because Silence is about the spread of Christianity in Japan. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver play Portuguese  priests searching for father Ferreira who is believed to have turned his back on christianity. The two priests hope that they find Father Ferreira still in the cloth and still dedicated to God. They take a Japanese man with them to guide them. He reminds me of Golem because is a snivelling wretch of a man, with no back bone and little faith. Not the best guide, but a major part of the story.

The priests arrive in a village and are greeted as gods by the christian community. The community are at great risk as they are persecuted in Japan and risk their lives following the religion. The two priests have to hide away and hold secret sermons hoping to spread the word. They are awaiting information on their friend, which comes after time. 

They part ways in order to stay safe from the leaders. Each time their guide betrays them before asking forgiveness. You see the leading christians suffer great pain as they refuse to turn their back on god. This creates great turmoil for the priests as they see followers suffer while they hide away. It is not long before Andrew Garfields character is caught and pushed to extremes in order to rock his faith. He finds his friend father Ferreira who tries to show him that Japan will not accept Christianity. I will not spoil the ending, but you see who comes out on top.

This is a great film although slow at first. Andrew Garfield is brilliant here and looks like he has a great year in film coming up.The cinematography is beautiful and the scenes are wonderful. The suffering seen is not over the top, but it is hard hitting. I am not religious although I have a great deal of respect for religion. I dont understand the importance of spreading the word to the point of death and suffering. You cannot force people to believe in a religion and cannot tell them their belief is wrong. I think religion is personal to you and for you to follow without placing pressure on others.  I imagine many think differently. I love a film that makes you think and this is cetainly a film that does that.

Martin Scorsese has made many great films. This film shows that he is not all about the Gangster genre and can make beautiful films, without extreme violence and a film that makes you question and think. I think nominations if not awards will follow this film over the next few months.

8/10

The Amazing Spiderman 2

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I have always loved Spiderman at the cinema and on the TV screen. I remember watching the 60’s version when I was little. I would like to make it clear that I watched the film in the 90’s, not when it originally came out. The concept of a man being bitten by a spider and then being able to do the amazing things that a Spider can do is brilliant. Its amazing that a super hero has come out of a creature that so many people fear and hate and would squish without a second thought, but will look on in admiration when their powers are shown through super human feats. Here are some spider facts for you…

Arachnophobia is the fear of Spiders. It is one of the most common fears in the world. It affects approximately 10% of men and 50% of women. The severity of the fear can vary.

The largest spider is the Giant Bird Eating Spider and the Huntsman spider is the world’s largest spider by leg-span.

The strongest material in the world is considered the silk that Spiders create. Scientists haven’t been able to recreate this design even with all the technology we have today.

Spiders are near sided so they aren’t able to see items that are far away from them.

Jumping Spiders are able to jump up to 50 times their own length. This is possible due to increasing the amount of blood pressure found in the back limbs.

Spiders help the environment by eliminating volumes of insects that would otherwise be around in your garden and other locations.

Spiders use hydraulic power to propel themselves upwards.

http://www.spidersworlds.com/facts-about-spiders/
http://insects.about.com/od/spiders/a/10-Fascinating-Facts-About-Spiders.htm

There are some pretty amazing facts there and don’t worry I wont be adding pictures and I have left out some of the horrible stuff. I think Spiderman is lucky that he hasn’t taken on all the powers of a spider because it would mean he would have to liquidise his food, eat his own webs after tidying them up and boy if there was a Spiderwoman then he would be in serious trouble.

The film itself is definitely worth watching and the effects are pretty “Amazing” ‘and very well used, particularly the slow motion effects during battle scenes. They add a real sense of drama and danger during the film. I really like Andrew Garfield as Spiderman and I like the way they have made his character quirky, fun and in many ways quite arrogant when rescuing people from danger. We still see the sadness from his past where those close to him have died and left a hole in his life, which is very important to the story line. I have seen all the Spiderman films and I love the different ways they have been interpreted. I have very little knowledge of the comic books, so I cannot say whether they run true to the story, which is probably best because I know how annoying it can be when directors choose to change things and move away from how things should be.
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Emma Stone plays Gwen Stacy who is a very strong character and not a whimsical side line to Spidermans heroics. She is a strong woman with her own goals who will not just go weak at the knees at the sight of him, which is pretty refreshing. It is a true love story and not a simple infatuation and Peter Parker/Spiderman really needs her in his life as she has the knowledge and ability to help him. Emma Stone brings about a very emotional performance in this as well as portraying a very heroic woman.
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Dane Dehaan seems to have really exploded onto to our screens in the last two years with his performances in Place Beyond the Pines and Kill Your Darlings. His performance in this film is just as good although I think he may have to break away to stop himself being stereotyped so young. Again he plays a young man full of angst and anger at the way he has been treated by his father and feels bitter about his life and the illness that will definitely kill him. He plays Harry Osborne who is friends with Peter Parker and now the new leader of Oscorp, which means that everything he could wish for is his apart from the most important thing, which is his health. The friendship between the two men is not very believable and the strong bond doesn’t make a lot of sense as they have barely seen eachother during their adolescents. They do have a connection in terms of feeling rejected by their parents who both worked for and ran Oscorp before they died. I just didn’t feel the bond between these two and if time permitted it would have been nice to see their friendship grow again. Harry can live, but needs Spidermans blood to do so, but this could be fraught with many dangers.
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Jamie Fox is cast as Electro, a character I have never come across before and again having not read the comics I am not sure if he is a made up. I thought he was a strange choice of actor and this was a strange film for him to choose. I just didn’t feel he was a great character and I don’t think it suited Jamie Fox to play him. The basics of this character is that he is this geeky guy who no one takes any notice of and through a freak accident he becomes Electro and now he wants to be noticed and take revenge on the human race and Spiderman. I just wasn’t a great fan of the performance and I think the character could have been a better adversary to Spiderman. He was almost like a sidekick to Harry by the end.
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Sally field is always brilliant and again she doesn’t disappoint as Aunt May. You can see how much she cares for Peter and the anguish she feels about his father and her husband Ben. Peters Uncle. You also feel her pain as she tries to keep hold of Peter a man she has brought up from a young boy. There is the feelings of anger when Peter tries to find out about his parents when it was Aunt May that worked so hard to bring him up when in her eyes his parents abandoned him. This a very strong character and a strong performance.
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The plot is pretty simple and its all about how Peter copes with being a superhero as well as normal guy with all the problems that come along the way. He is trying to live two lives and it’s not quite working out, leading to an on/off relationship with the love of his life Gwen Stacy. There are many adversary’s and one that is created by the end of the film. Spiderman wins the day as always, but at what cost? . He has to use his intelligence with help from Gwen to defeat the baddies and become a hero to the people. There are many ups and downs and some tragedies along the way. There are also some surprises for Peter as he searches for the truth.

It is a very long film, but at no point to did it go into a lull and the majority of the performances were very good. I really enjoyed the action and really enjoy Garfields take on Spiderman which I admired in the first film. This definitely a better film than the first with a lot more going on. Those who follow the comics might be a little annoyed that parts do not follow the comic books and i’m sure there are bits that I know little about, not having read the comics that will annoy you as well. Sometimes it is great not to be an expert and just sit back and enjoy the film. There is sure to be a third film in the coming years.
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7/10