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When your survival comes down to two equally bad choices
Solid anti-war film told from the perspective of the Estonians who fought for the Germans and the Russians, blends the violence of battles with the emotional conflicts when your country is a pawn between two much more powerful neighbors. This film stands with some of the better war films ever produced but has it's own voice. I liked how the film switched sides half way through and told how, in these circumstances, the only "winners" are the survivors.
I would like to address other reviewers comments that this film is anti- Russian/Soviet propaganda. Outside of the Soviet political officer (who seem to be an Estonia communist rather that a Russian) and the mention that the Russians, after they invaded, sent large quality of Estonians to the gulags (a true fact), this seems to be the only negative reference to the Russians. And is it propaganda when the the actual plan of the Soviets was to conquer and turn Estonia into a Russian client state?.Are the reviewers actual trying to convince us that somehow the Stalinites were better than the Hitlerites? Or the somehow the Russians weren't equally as bad as the Germans? Estonians, at the time, forced into service against their will and having to choice between to bad two options did what they had to do to survive. And if they had to choose, would have with the attitude that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
The Invitation (2015)
A thriller for people who don't watch horror films
I'm not going to give a review of this film. I'll leave that to others who can argue whether it was worth watch or not. For me, I feel it was one of the best thrillers with a horror bent that I have seen in a long while. But here's the thing, I don't really like horror films, avoid them most of the time, unless I heard a good word of mouth from someone. That's how I found The Invitation.
After reading the reviews here, I would say the criticism falls in to two opposing camps. Those that thought it was thrilling, terrifying and well done movie and those who thought it was a waste of their time, slow and they saw all the punches coming.
I think the difference is this, the latter camp watches a lot of horror films, nothing surprises them, they are looking for all the little nuances of all the other horror movies they have watched and are comparing them to the film they are currently watching. They are two - three steps ahead of a conventional audience and thus, nothing surprises them. To these folks, I can understand why the film fell flat, it's clear if you put the movie under a microscope you can tell what's going to happen and naturally with the purposefully drawn out pace of this film, they get bored waiting for the payoff.
I, as well as the people who I have give / shown this film to, fall in to the other camp. We rarely watch films like this and therefore are willing to let it all play out without trying the guess what's going to happen next. It's certainly a creepy film and while we might imagine where it's going, we are willing to suspend our expectations and go along for the ride.
My advice, watch this if you enjoy the ride up on the climbing roller coaster without thinking about the plunge when you reach the top.
This Last Lonely Place (2014)
More overcooked than hard boiled
An interesting neo-noir that plods along with all your familiar noir characters: the morally compromised ex-military lonelier, the desperate guy with lots of money on the run from the authorities and/or mob and, of course, the reptilian femme fatale who telegraphs her long-term plan that nobody seems to ever pick up on, along with her expected black garter belt and nylons, natch.
Will keep you satisfied for a while up until the point you realize you've seen a similar plot in a much better film. OK, it's got a more fatalistic spin and I'm a sucker for aggressive hot brunettes wearing lingerie, so worth a look.
Get Out (2017)
Black Comedy of what White Liberals really think of Black People
When I originally heard about this film, I was told is was a horror film with a strong racial message. That to me was an immediate turn off. Fortunately, I had a friend who had a copy of the film and passed it on to me, I was pleasantly surprised.
Rather than some race based white-rednecks-in-the-woods hunting the first-to-die black guy cliché, it was a black (literally) comedy take of what liberal white folks actually think of black people. You know them, the self-righteous, soft bigot of low expectations, "I love and want to protect the negro because he's helpless and a victim" type who treat skin color (outside of whites) as a segregated group and assign stereotypical attributes to those groups based on what they classify them as, both physically and intellectually And in this film they really do want to "take care" of blacks, it's nothing personal mind you, just that your "blackness is cool and trendy" so we want a piece of it...after all we're your friends. Not a lot of biting social commentary as suggested but more a creepy fish out of water film until the last 40 minutes and then it starts to get freaky.
It's not really that original, sort of a flipped around version of The Skeleton Key blended with The Stepford Wives with a Guess Who's Coming To Dinner social structure. Worth a look, but I'd suggest you wait for the DVD.