REVIEW: TOLKIEN

Starring

Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite)
Lily Collins (MIrror Mirror)
Colm Meaney (Star Trek: DS9)
Derek Jacobi (Tomb Raider)
Anthony Boyle (The Lost City of Z)
Patrick Gibson (Neverland)
Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk)
Craig Roberts (Kill Your Friends)
Pam Ferris (Children of Men)
Laura Donnelly (Dread)
Genevieve O’Reilly (The Snowman)
Owen Teale (Game of Thrones)
Harry Gilby (Just Charlie)
Mimi Keene (Sex Education)

Nicholas Hoult in Tolkien (2019)As young children being raised by a single mother, Tolkien and his brother receive help from a local priest who must relocate them from their home to small apartments in Birmingham due to financial hardships. Their mother is supportive and loving, filling her sons’ minds with narrated stories of adventure and mystery which she recites by the fireplace at night to the boys. She is ill, however, and one day on return from school, Tolkien finds his mother slumped in her chair in an unusual position and upon touching her shoulder, discovers that his mother has died. The local priest returns again to try to find a local home or orphanage that will take the boys in.Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins in Tolkien (2019)A kindly rich woman is found in town who will support Tolkien and his brother with room and board while they continue their childhood education. There, Tolkien meets Edith Bratt, who lives in the same home into which he has been adopted and who loves music. She and Tolkien bond as friends because of their mutual passion for music, and the two attend local concerts and musical events.Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins in Tolkien (2019)When he is sent to school, J. R. R. Tolkien befriends a group of three fellow students, with whom he finds inspiration and courage. Their bond of fellowship grows with the years, as they experience life together. Meanwhile, Tolkien continues his relationship with Edith, with whom he falls in love. When the priest who has been supporting Tolkien finds out about their affair, he reminds Tolkien that she is not a Roman Catholic. He further states that as Tolkien’s legal guardian after the death of Tolkien’s mother, he forbids Tolkien from having a relationship with Edith until Tolkien is 21 years of age. The news is devastating to Tolkien, though he does not want to lose his financial aid from the priest without which he would be forced to withdraw from college.When WWI breaks out, the four friends all enlist for military service. The consequences of their loyal military service is devastating to them. Two of the friends die, and one is handicapped by shell shock and is no longer functional after the war due to his mental incapacity. Tolkien himself is gravely injured, though he is evacuated to hospital in England, and he remains unconscious for many weeks. When he awakens, he finds that Edith has been faithfully attending him on a daily basis while he has been in hospital never leaving his side. Deeply moved by her loyalty to him, Tolkien proposes marriage to her as his only true love. The two survive to older age when Tolkien becomes a professor at his old school teaching the young students now enrolled in his classes.Tolkien works well as a film showing the early years of the life of the titular writer. The actors nail their performances, and Tolkien fans will have a good time with it, despite some pacing problems. However, it doesn’t really offer enough for non-fans to get into the film, so it would likely be boring to anyone not interested in Tolkien or his work. Otherwise, it’s a good depiction of the life of one of the greatest writers ever.

REVIEW: KILL THE IRISHMAN

CAST

Ray Stevenson (Punisher Warzone)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Tony Darrow (The Sopranos)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Fionnula Flanagan (Yes man)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)
Laura Ramsey (The Covenant)
Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas)
Mike Starr (Radio Days)

In 1960, Danny Greene and his childhood friends Billy McComber and Art Sneperger are longshoremen at the Cleveland docks. Meanwhile, the members are exploited by corrupt union boss, Jerry Merke and the leadership of the ILA union urges Greene to run against him. Meanwhile, Sneperger can’t pay a gambling debt to Cleveland Mafia Capo John Nardi. In return for Sneperger’s debt being forgiven, Greene supplies Nardi’s crew with goods stolen from the docks. Merke finds out, demands a cut of Greene’s profits, and then sends an enforcer to kill him. Instead, Greene beats up the enforcer, then beats up Merke, throws the union leader out of his office, and is later elected union president. He improves the working conditions at the docks while continuing his dealings with Nardi.Greene’s corruption is exposed by the Plain Dealer newspaper and Cleveland Police Detective Joe Manditski, who grew up with Greene in Collinwood, arrests him. Bankrupt and facing prison, Greene plea bargains to lesser charges in return for becoming an FBI informant and being banned for life from organized labor. Greene is released and moves his unhappy wife and daughters back to Collinwood. Nardi gets him work as an enforcer for Hungarian Jewish loan shark Shondor Birns, and later helps pitch a deal to Mafia Capo Jack Licavoli: Greene will force the city’s garbage haulers to join the union Licavoli controls. Greene, McComber, Sneperger, and ex-Hells Angel Keith Ritson terrorize many into joining, but Greene’s friend Mike Frato refuses. Licavoli orders Greene to kill Frato, but Greene balks because Frato has ten children. Nardi tells him privately, though, that, “You wanted to play in the big leagues. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t wanna do.”As Greene prepare’s to kill Frato with a car bomb, he learns from the FBI that Sneperger has returned to gambling, and has become an informant for Manditsky. That night, Greene assigns Sneperger to set the bomb under Frato’s car and presses the detonator as he does it. An enraged Frato later shoots at Greene in a park. Greene returns fire, kills Frato, and is arrested for murder, but released after Frato’s driver tells Manditski that Greene acted in self-defense. Having had enough, Greene’s long suffering wife leaves him and takes the children. Greene sees his elderly Irish neighbor, Grace O’Keefe, being evicted. He intervenes, pays her rent, and she gratefully gives him her father’s gold Celtic cross to wear for protection. Greene begins to use his money and connections to help other Irish-Americans in need, and earns the nickname “The Robin Hood of Collinwood”.Greene wants to open his own restaurant, and asks Shondor Birns to help him. Birns arranges a $70,000 loan from the Gambinos, but Birns’ courier buys cocaine with the money and gets arrested. Birns and Greene argue over which of them should pay back the money; when Greene refuses to pay, Birns hires a hitman to kill him. Greene narrowly escapes, and later kills Birns with a car bomb. After Mafia boss John Scalish dies, both Nardi and Licavoli are considered for succession. Licavoli is chosen due to his closer ties to the Five Families and decides to charge Greene 30% “street tax” for doing business in Cleveland. Greene refuses to pay, crudely mocks Licavoli’s Italian heritage, and vows, “The Irishman’s in business for himself now.” An outraged Licavoli has Greene’s house blown up, but he survives. He then attempts to demote Nardi and take away his crew, only to have the latter join forces with Greene. Vowing to take over Cleveland together, Greene and Nardi start by organizing the murders of Licavoli’s associates, many of whom are blown up. Thirty-six car bombings occur during the summer of 1976, drawing national attention and humiliating Licavoli. After failing multiple times to kill Greene, Licavoli is forced to humbly ask Genovese boss Anthony Salerno to help him kill Nardi and Greene.Having learned of this from the FBI, Greene claims that he wants to leave Cleveland and buy a ranch in Texas, but needs to raise $2 million. Wishing to size up their enemies, Greene and Nardi travel to New York and invite Salerno to invest in the ranch. After they leave, Salerno orders his associates to hire professional hitman Ray Ferritto to kill them both. Nardi is killed in a car explosion, McComber dies in a bombing at the Cleveland docks, and Ritson is shot near his house. Detective Manditski lets Greene know that a master killer is after him. He offers Greene protection, but is told, “My enemies will be taken care of.” After a dentist’s appointment on October 6, 1977, Greene notices Ferritto driving by slowly, and accepts that he is about to die, giving his gold cross to an admiring boy. Ferritto detonates a bomb on the car next to Greene’s, killing Greene instantly. An epilogue, by Manditski, reveals that the investigation of Danny Greene’s murder led to the collapse of the Mafia, not only in Cleveland, but all over the United States.I’m not a big fan of biopics or mobster films like this.  With that said the film is more fascinating and entertaining than most others of it’s type. The actors are all good and well cast, especially Stevenson. He’s always been a cool action bad ass in films before but here he’s really given a chance to show off his acting abilities and range. His performance combined with Hensleigh’s better than average directing make the film one definitely worth checking out. Probably especially if you’re a fan of the genre.

 

REVIEW: THE SPY (2019)

Sacha Baron Cohen in The Spy (2019)

Starring

Sacha Baron Cohen (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Noah Emmerich (Jane Got a Gun)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Hadar Ratzon-Rotem (Homeland)

imagesIn Netflix’s new six-part miniseries The Spy, Sacha Baron Cohen plays Eli Cohen, an Israeli intelligence agent who spent years in the Sixties undercover in Syria under the name Kamel Amin Thaabet. It’s a big dramatic showcase for an actor best known for broad sketch-comedy characters like Borat and Ali G. While comic actors are generally better equipped to play drama than serious performers are to be funny, not everyone has the skill to cross that stylistic divide. But Baron Cohen couldn’t have found a role more well-suited to his gifts and career to date. The Spy is a thriller played entirely straight, but it also feels like Baron Cohen’s persona with vastly higher stakes. His specialty, after all, is to adopt a character like Borat, or like Who Is America? conspiracy theorist Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., and portray him out in the wild, opposite strangers who have to believe the character is real for the joke to work. If someone sees through one of Baron Cohen’s disguises, everybody just leaves and the sketch gets left on the cutting room floor, whereas Eli Cohen had to stay in character for months on end, with his life at stake if he slipped. But the basic principle is the same.MV5BNmJkYmNlMDEtMGQ4ZC00MjVmLWI3OTgtMzZjZTgwNzAxZTUzXkEyXkFqcGdeQTNwaW5nZXN0._V1_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_Created by Gideon Raff (whose Israeli drama Prisoners of War was remade here as Homeland), The Spy doesn’t dwell on the parallels between the careers of the two (unrelated) Cohens. Still, it’s hard not to see them, particularly once Eli goes from nervous rookie operative to a smooth operator who charms his way into the highest echelons of Syria’s government and society. And while there are times in Baron Cohen’s sketch career where it seems unlikely that no one is questioning the reality or a Borat or Bruno, he seems utterly plausible as Kamel, a wealthy importer/exporter who throws the best parties in Damascus.the-spy-feat-960x430It is, by design, a decidedly unflashy performance. Eli’s goal was to make powerful friends, but to do it by blending in rather than standing out. As his anxious handler Dan Peleg (Noah Emmerich) puts it, “Noticeable spies end up dead.” Baron Cohen is convincingly understated as both Eli and Kamel in a way that’s suited to the material, even if there are only brief flashes of a wider range. Most of those flashes come fairly late in the story, as Eli begins to wear down from years of being largely absent from the lives of wife Nadia (Hadar Ratzon Rotem) and the children he was able to conceive but not raise during his brief home visits, and from the constant danger that Dan keeps placing him in.The-Spy-Netflix-810x456Until those final chapters, The Spy is an effectively meat-and-potatoes espionage story, where the details of Eli’s mission are remarkable and taut enough to require little embellishment. But neither is there much in the way of the moral complexity you often find in this genre (including on Emmerich’s last TV spy role on The Americans). Eli never seems particularly conflicted about betraying all of the friends he makes as Kamel. There are occasional references to the idea that Eli, born in Egypt and darker of skin than many Israelis, is treated as a second-class citizen by the nation he is risking his life every day to protect — “You know what they see when they look at me,” he tells Nadia early on. “They see an Arab. That’s it. Jewish, yes, but just an Arab.” But Raff and his collaborators don’t dig too deep in that corner of their hero’s psyche. He is presented as a noble patriot who did his duty and missed his wife terribly, period.the-spy-2019-sacha-baron-cohen-netflix.The story is still enough to satisfyingly fill six hours, and Raff deploys some interesting stylistic touches along the way, like a muted color palette that occasionally creates the illusion we’re watching a black-and-white film from the period, or the way that Eli’s Morse code dispatches to Israel leap onto the screen so that we’re not just watching him tap on a telegraph machine for minutes on end. And Baron Cohen is ably backed by a supporting cast full of actors — including Emmerich, Waleed Zuaiter (as Syrian military officer and politician Amin Al-Hafez), and Alexander Siddig (as a Syrian official who is rightly suspicious of Kamel from the start) — whose presence in a show like this is less surprising than his own.Screenshot-2019-09-03-at-17.49.07-2The Spy won’t necessarily convince you that Baron Cohen will, like Robin Williams or Jim Carrey before him, prove to be just as potent at playing serious as he was going for belly laughs. But it’s a promising start if he wants to start disappearing into characters whose goals are more dangerous than a prank.

 

REVIEW: CROSS OF HONOUR (aka INTO THE WHITE)

Starring

Stig Henrik Hoff (The Thing)
David Kross (Boy 7)
Florian Lukas (The Polar Bear)
Lachlan Nieboer (Checkmate)
Rupert grint (Harry Potter)
Kim Haugen (Buddy)

Stig Henrik Hoff in Into the White (2012)On 27 April 1940, a Luftwaffe Heinkel He 111 bomber (1H+CT) is pursued near Grotli by a Fleet Air Arm Blackburn Skua (L2940) fighter. Three of the four German crew survive the crash: pilot Leutnant Horst Schopis (Florian Lukas), Unteroffizier Josef Schwartz (David Kross) and Feldwebel Wolfgang Strunk (Stig Henrik Hoff). They prepare then set off for the coast to rejoin the fighting. A snowstorm develops. They loose their supplies and encounter a hunter’s cabin. Two British airmen from the other downed aircraft, Capt. Charles P. Davenport (Lachlan Nieboer) and his air gunner Robert Smith (Rupert Grint), are heard to approach the cabin. They start to deal with each other in the cabin. An attempt in the morning, to set out for help, is abandoned when they start to get separated by the snowstorm.Rupert Grint, Stig Henrik Hoff, Florian Lukas, and Lachlan Nieboer in Into the White (2012)Norwegian soldiers set out as a patrol to look for the downed German airmen. They encounter Smith and Strunk skiing downhill. A Norwegian sniper fatally shoots Strunk and captures Smith. Portside, a Norwegian officer interrogates the Brits perceiving them collaborators. Davenport explains what happened and silences the interrogating officer. Shopis and Schwartz are prisoners of war in Canada; Smith and Davenport return to combat action. Davenport survives the war.Florian Lukas, David Kross, and Lachlan Nieboer in Into the White (2012)I really liked this movie. It doesn’t attempt to be a Hollywood blockbuster or anything like that. Just a good, smart, watchable film.

 

 

REVIEW: BARBAROSSA: SIEGE LORD

Starring

Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)
Raz Degan (Alexander)
F. Murray Abraham (Last Action Hero)
Hristo Zhivkov (The Passion of The Christ)
Antonio Cupo (American Mary)
Cécile Cassel (Foon)
Kasia Smutniak (Loro)

“Italy. 12th century AD. Northern Italy is ruled over by a German Emperor: Frederick I Hohenstaufen, known as ‘Barbarossa’. His dream is to conquer also Central and Southern Italy, thus reviving the ancient empire founded by Charlemagne. But in the North a young man from Milan has formed an army of 900 young men from different cities: the ‘Company of Death’. This young man’s name is Alberto Giussano. His dream is to defeat the Emperor and to regain freedom for the Northern lands.” The Emperor Barbarossa is out hunting when he is attacked by a wild boar, but is saved by a young boy. Rather, he is the boy’s Emperor, Frederick Hohenstaufen, better known as Barbarossa. With this the boy introduces himself as Alberto da Giussano, son of Giovanni; the grateful emperor gives Alberto his imperial dagger inscribed with his name.Rutger Hauer in Barbarossa (2009)A few years later, in the German city of Würzburg, Barbarossa is going to see Hildegard von Bingen, the great seër. He plans to marry for the second time. The seër says that the wedding is blessed. Then she says Frederick of Swabia’s name will be remembered for centuries, but to beware of water for it will bring his death. At the wedding, Henry, Duke of Saxony, is marrying a young French girl. The story cuts to Milan where Evandro calls over to the now grown Alberto and tells him to get onto his cart because they must reach the river before dawn. They reach the river and start to load their goods onto a boat there. Lodigiani soldiers arrive and say the merchants crossed through their territory in the night and now they must pay their dues. Evandro pulls a knife and slits the throat of the soldier next to him then Alberto and his companions slay the other soldiers but Alberto is in the fighting. His horse brings him back home where two beautiful women, the blonde Tessa and her brunette sister, sister Eleonora. The brunette kisses Alberto’s face while he is still unconscious.2barbaraossa-siege-lordTwo emissaries from Lodi come to Barbarossa to tell him that the city of Milan is trying to dominate them. Lodi has always been loyal to the Emperor and now they ask him for his help. Barbarossa says he doesn’t want to use any force right now on Milan. He says he will write a letter to Milan and the two emissaries will take it to them. A German emissary delivers the letter to Milan. He says that he comes in the name of the Emperor. Milan is warned not to attack Lodi on pain of being banished from the Empire. A cleric named Gerado throws the letter on the ground and steps on it. Gerado’s colleague, Siniscalco Barozzi is shocked at the behaviour of his friend and he asks the German emissary not to leave. Alberto is also shocked and asks Gerado what is he going to do now. Gerado says he will gather the army and attack Lodi. Alberto has a nightmare and awakens in fright from his deep sleep. His two brothers tell him that Lodi has been defeated. Barbarossa is furious that Milan attacked Lodi, but he really has no desire to fight. He says it’s as if Milan were trying to force him into fighting them. But Barbarossa’s charismatic and supportive new queen wants him to go to Milan and destroy that city. Barbarossa sets out for Milan.445776-16330-clp-950Tessa, Eleanora and father have dinner when Siniscalco Barozzi arrives, asking the father for the hand of his daughter Tessa. Tessa’s Father says that Tessa would make a good wife and he will put in a good word for him with her. Eleonora comes to tell Alberto that Siniscalco Barozzi wants to marry Tessa but she says that will never happen. Alberto says that they say she is a witch and jokes that maybe that is how she knows Tessa’s future. Eleanora is hurt and angry by the accusation so to pacify her, Alberto he shows her the large knife given to him by Barbarossa himself. Eleonora touches it and sees a vision of fighting. She recoils from the knife then she runs from the house. Tessa tells Eleonora that Ranero, one of Alberto’s brothers, says he wants to marry her and she returns his feelings. Siniscalco Barozzi reaches the camp of Barbarossa but The Emperor is not there so the scheming and cowardly Barozzi tells the substitute Rinaldo di Dassel that he has brought Milan’s oath of allegiance to Barbarossa. Rinaldo takes the money, but says that Barbarossa is still coming to attack Milan.maxresdefaultBarozzi returns to Milan to warn of the great size of the German army. In addition, they have a great many war machines. Barozzi implores the people to surrender Milan but they decide to fight, to Barozzi’s irritation. In Verona at the Adige River, a new bridge has been built to the satisfaction of the Germans. They start crossing the bridge, but soon heavy log rams are send down the river to knock the bridge into sections. German horses and soldiers are tossed into the Adige River. For Verona siding with Milan and killing many German soldiers, Barbarossa cuts off the ear of one of the Verona emissaries. Eleonora runs to tell Alberto that the Germans have destroyed the city of Brescia with more than one thousand dead. Alberto says they are still going to fight to save Milan. Eleonora thinks the battle has already been lost. As Soldiers from the cities of Parma, Cremona, Padua and Ferrara are sent to join forces with Barbarossa, the Germans are approach Milan. The bells are rung and the people come into the fort. There is a moat around the fortified walls of the city. The Germans come forward to the moat behind moveable wooden walls. They start pushing giant kegs into the moat water. The Milanese archers try to kill the men working on the kegs, but the German have hundreds of crossbowmen firing arrows into the Milanese archers. Then fire balls are thrown against the Milanese walls and the Milanese buildings inside. The Milanese fight back with their own fire balls launched at the keg bearers.BarbarossaBarozzi asks for volunteers to go out and collect food for the people inside the walls. Alberto raises his hand to volunteer, but Barozzi chooses his brother Ranero instead, who did not raise his hand to volunteer. Alberto tells Barozzi to leave his brother alone so Barozzi says then Alberto will go instead of Ranero. Shamed into volunteering, Ranero says he is going for he wants no man to say that he lacks courage. Barozzi wants Ranero to go to battle and die so he can have Tessa all to himself but Tessa, disgusted by Barozzi’s cynical manipulations, tells him that if Ranero does not return, she would rather die than be with him. The Germans then push their towers toward the walls of Milan. On the front of the towers they have tied the Millanese volunteers that went out in the fields to get fresh food for the residents of Milan. Orders are given not to shoot but Barozzi grabs a crossbow and shoots Ranero dead. Now others start shooting and most of the volunteers are killed. At night Alberto goes out and up to retrieve the bodies of his two brothers and swears vengeance for their deaths to his father. Eleonora tries to talk him out of going but he will not hear of it. Alberto slits the tent of Barbarossa and slips in, only to be confronted by Barbarossa who asks where he got his knife and Alberto says some time ago Barbarossa himself gave the knife to him. Out of gratitude for saving his life, Barbarossa lets Alberto go. As Alberto prepares to slip out of the German camp he sees Barozzi come into the camp.4275f89744278864da88c2fda68ec4e9_700x259Alberto returns to his father, but now the Germans are pouring through the gates, led by Barozzi whom Alberto wants to kill but he is captured before he can. Alberto and all the other prisoners are brought before the Emperor, who burns the Milanese flag. He then says that all of Milan will be razed to the ground and all the Milanese must leave the area before sunset. In Rome Barbarossa chooses the new Pope and now the Pope crowns he and his wife the Emperor and Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, respectively. As the Emperor and Empress leave the coronations, a man falls dead in front of them. The Empress demands to know what happened to the man. A man looks the body over and says the man died of the plague. Barbarossa and his new Queen make plans to flee. At the Pontida Monastery, men from Milan hold a meeting together in secret. The men are very pessimistic about their chances of ever defeating Barbarossa and rebuilding Milan. Alberto and his friend burst into the meeting and Alberto shouts that they can defeat Barbarossa if they can just stay united and that this time all the cities of Lombardy will unite against the Germans. Alberto comes to see Eleonora at her father’s house. Her asks her where Tessa is and Eleonora tells him she is dead when in fact Tessa has retired to a nunnery following the death of Ranero. Alberto plans to take Eleonora with him this time but Eleonora resists the idea saying that Alberto always treated her just like everyone else. Alberto apologizes to her.20090729083511Alberto and Eleonora come to visit with Eleonora’s sister-in-law when Barozzi and the imperial German soldiers arrive to collect the Emperor’s share of the local harvest. Alberto tells Eleonora that the Germans treat them like animals and says that it is time to stop running and form an army. In Rome Barbarossa’s men want to leave the plague infested city. His wife wants him to stay put, but Barbarossa sides with his men and says they are going home. Alberto tells his men that they will become the “Company of Death” and their motto shall be “Death or freedom”. Alberto and his men start rallying volunteers, soon gathering a large force of Lombard men. Eleonora goes to see Tessa in the nunnery. She tells Tessa of the rise of the power of the Lombard League and Tessa tells Eleonora to marry Alberto. Alberto again asks Eleonora again to marry him and this time she agrees however soon after, Barozzi comes to the nunnery to take the Emperor’s share of their bounty and to abduct attractive nuns. As Barozzi pulls off the veils of the nuns, he finds Tessa among them. He is ecstatic to find her but Tessa, aware that Barozzi killed her fiancé slashes his face with a dagger and runs to the roof of the nunnery. There she stands on the ledge threatening to plunge to her death. Barozzi begs her not to do it, promising to change his dishonest ways but Tessa fulfils her vow and throws herself to her death rather than be forced to marry him. Far away, her sister senses the death of Tessa and weeps for her. Barozzi and Eleonora are at the funeral. Eleanora approaches Barozzi and he tearfully tells her that he loved Tessa. Blaming Barozzi for Tessa’s suicide, Eleonora is unforgiving and slashes Barozzi’s throat, non-fatally wounding him.UntitledNews comes to Alberto that Eleonora almost killed Barozzi who has taken Eleonora to the camp of Barbarossa at Alessandria. There they plan to burn her at the stake. Alberto is enraged upon hearing the news. At The Empress is frightened by rumours that Eleanora is a witch while Barbarossa is upset because they have been trying for weeks to take the city without success. He tells his staff to double the digging of the tunnel. His staff tell him that the frequent rains have slowed the digging and the rivers around the city are filled up with water; if the rains continue the rivers will overflow and the whole camp will be submerged. In addition, the rain and mud are destroying the morale of the troops. The Empress goes to see Eleanora. She sees her right arm has been burned and asks what happened. Eleanora tells her that it is scarring from a lightning strike. The Empress is amazed. Eleonora’s cellmate screams that the woman is a witch and she runs to the cell door banging hard on it to be let out. The Empress leaves the cell still wondering how the woman survived. The tunnel is discovered when there is a cave in opening up a large hole to the sky. When Barbarossa learns of this, he orders that the war machines all be set on fire. They are retreating. Barbarossa says they will retreat to Pavia in Lombardy. His wife advises him to send a message to his cousin Henry the Lion to bring fresh troops for the German army to which Barbarossa agrees but the Empress has an additional request; to free Eleanora because she believes that is protected by God but Barbarossa refuses.barbarossarenzomartinellifotorutgerhauerAt the Mera River, Emperor Barbarossa and his troops arrive and Barbarossa asks his cousin Henry the Lion when he is going to give the army he promised him. Henry says that war is no longer a luxury that he can afford and he has no soldiers to give to Frederick, but he does have a small chest filled with coins with which Frederick can buy fresh troops. Possessed of great wealth already, Frederick growls that Henry is “useless” and leaves him behind. Barozzi arrives late to Eleanora’s burning but a masked woman is on the pyre which is set alight. He does not see her face but is told that she is Eleanora. Alberto and the men of the Company of Death prepare to attack the forces of Barbarossa and beforehand Alberto gives his men a speech about fighting for their freedom. In Legnano, to the North of Milan, The German army faces what they think is only the Milanese army. They are roughly two miles away on the plain and Barbarossa is sure of victory. He gives the order to take the Empress to Pavia for her protection. He then leads the charge. The cavalry retreats and the Germans face the secret weapons of the scythes. The wagons filled with scythe-wielding men cut the cavalry down. Now with the German cavalry weakened the Lombard cavalry attacks them. In the battle Barozzi kills Lorenzo, Alberto’s only remaining brother and attacks Alberto from behind, saying that he will send him to join his “whore in Hell.” Alberto rams into Barozzi who drops his sword and falls to the ground, his helmet rolling off as Alberto lands atop him. As Barozzi cries and pathetically begs for his life, Alberto avenges his brothers by slowly driving a stiletto knife into Barozzi’s throat, killing him. The Lombards win the battle. Found on the battlefield is a wounded Eleonora in full uniform. She tells Alberto that the Empress saved her life by substituting another woman to be burned in her place and moving the time of her execution so that Barozzi and the Emperor would not find out. Alberto gets his wife back.maxresdefault (1)The film ends with an onscreen text saying that three days after the Battle of Legnano, Barbarossa reappeared at the court of Pavia. No one knows where he was or what he did during those three days. Fourteen years later, he left for the Crusades. On a spring evening, in Anatolia, he waded in the waters of the Salef River and, just as foretold, he met his death in the water after being bitten by a snake. The audience is told “Alberto da Giussano lived a long life with Eleanora, and they had several children. The Company of Death was dispersed: the towns of the Lombard League had won their freedom.”

Barbarossa (2009)This is about the campaigns to conquer Italy of German Emperor Frederick ,whom the Italians called Barbarossa because he had a red beard.Its obvious that a movie of this scope would need a Hollywood grade-A budget and basically everything grade-A.They didn’t have it in this movie,they tried with second-grade actors like Rutger Hauer and a mediocre budget.Which means its not exactly cheap,some battle scenes are pretty decent but its also not exactly satisfying in size and scope of such events.If they had managed to bring to life such historical events,they would be worthy of academy awards.That said,its not bad as a mediocre medieval movie,but its just too small for the story it is undertaking.They could have limited themselves to a smaller part of the Barbarossa campaigns.Yet,for people who like medieval historical movies with battle scenes,its an OK effort.

REVIEW: MY ONE AND ONLY

 

Starring

Renée Zellweger (What/If)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)
Kevin Bacon (Cop Car)
Mark Rendall (30 Days of Night)
Chris Noth (Lovelace)
Molly Quinn (Castle)
Nick Stahl (Sin City)
Steven Weber (2 Broke Girls)
Eric McCormack (Will & Grace)
Robin Weigert (Deadwood)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Phoebe Strole (Glow)
Maury Ginsberg (Jessica Jones)

Renée Zellweger and Steven Weber in My One and Only (2009)In New York City in 1953, Anne Deveraux lives with her bandleader husband Danny, their 15-year-old son George, and Anne’s somewhat older effeminate son Robbie. After catching Danny in yet another affair, Anne leaves him and takes the children with her.Renée Zellweger and Chris Noth in My One and Only (2009)Anne embarks on a road trip across the United States, in search of a husband to fund a new life for her and her boys. George serves as the chauffeur. They first travel to Boston and Pittsburgh. Anne has a string of disastrous attempts at relationship. After finding that a former suitor now deems her too old to be of interest she becomes desperate and dispirited and chats up a man in a bar who turns out to be an undercover house detective. He takes her for a prostitute and charges her with solicitation.Renée Zellweger, Logan Lerman, and Mark Rendall in My One and Only (2009)Meanwhile, George meets with his father who comes into town on a tour. George asks him to take him back to New York but Danny turns him down because he is often on the road for his work. George concludes that Danny does not love him. George also learns that Danny had sent money several times, but Anne resolutely returned it each time.Renée Zellweger in My One and Only (2009)Running low on funds, Anne tries her luck in St. Louis where her sister lives. The sisters have a very strained relationship but Anne tries to make the best of it and takes a job at a paint store and becomes engaged to the owner. It turns out, however, he is mentally ill and already married. Anne is paid off by the man’s family for her trouble. As Anne readies to get on the road again, this time for Los Angeles, George informs her that he is staying with Anne’s sister, whom he’d already cleared it with. Anne and George argue bitterly and Anne, resigned, accepts his decision and leaves with Robbie, who now serves as the chauffeur.Renée Zellweger and Logan Lerman in My One and Only (2009)Near Albuquerque, mother and son get robbed by a couple they picked up for gas money. Robbie phones George to tell him what happened. In discussing it with Anne’s sister and her husband, George discovers Anne had left money with them for his board and care. He takes the remaining money and meets Anne and Robbie at a Greyhound bus station somewhere in the Southwest. The three arrive in Los Angeles and settle into a shabby apartment. Anne comes home one day to find Danny waiting for her. He asks if she still loves him and says he wants her and the boys to come back to New York. She replies, “I don’t know if I love you but I do know I don’t need you.” Danny then departs extending an open invitation to return if she changes her mind.Anne forges ahead and the family gets work as extras in a movie. Anne catches the eye of the movie producer and manages to get Robbie slated to try for a starring role. George thinks maybe his mother was right all along and everything will turn out fine. But that evening Anne gets a call and learns Danny has died of a heart attack. George flies back to New York to attend Danny’s funeral and gets Anne’s blessing to stay there and attend his former prep school on scholarship. Soon, however, he realizes he belongs with his family and returns to Los Angeles unannounced. George finds Robbie having difficulty with a scene in a movie. As he helps Robbie recite his lines, George is discovered as a talented actor. Robbie gives up acting and goes to work in costuming. In epilogue, George reveals that he is a contracted Hollywood actor and has changed his last name to “Hamilton,” which was his father’s real last name. He realizes that Anne, Robbie and he didn’t need anyone to take care of them, that they could take care of themselves and that they were going to be just fine.While maybe not the best film made itt certainly is better than most . No car chases, explosions, killings, drugs or sex nor foul language. No wonder it was a flop at the box office. Tis a pity as this is an exceptionally dramady. Good performances from the entire cast, down to the tiniest bits. Rene Zellweger was at the top of her game here. A Very authentic look of the film which makes it even better. An extra scene here and there would have helped with what was going on part of the time. A couple of scenes seem to jump as if there was something missing. The only unreal thing is the taxi driving up to the sound stage at the end. That couldn’t happen in real life. It’s a shame this didn’t have a broader release as no one saw it.

REVIEW: FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY

Starring

Florence Pugh (Black Widow)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz)
Jack Lowden (Mary Queen of Scotts)
Vince Vaughn (The Internship)
Dwayne Johnson (Central Intelligence)
James Burrows (Robin Hood)
Hannah Rae (Broadchurch)
Stephen Merchant (Logan)
Thea Trinidad (Dorothy and the Witches of Oz)
John Cena (Bumblebee)
Julia Davis (Four Lions)
Kim Matula (Dawn Patrol)

Nick Frost, Lena Headey, and Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family (2019)In 2002, in Norwich, England, UK, 10-year-old Zak Bevis is engrossed by the WWF (now WWE) King of the Ring pay-per-view event until his younger sister Saraya changes the channel to her favorite program, Charmed. The siblings wrestle, urged on by their parents Rick and Julia. Rick books the children for their first wrestling match where Saraya, initially reluctant to wrestle a boy, goes on to win as planned.Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family (2019)At 18, competing under the ring name “Britani Knight”, Saraya and her brother “Zak Zodiac” help their parents train prospective wrestlers while working toward their own promotion. Rick and Julia, struggling financially, ask WWE trainer Hutch Morgan to sign the siblings. He finally agrees to a tryout before a SmackDown taping at The O2 Arena, and tells Saraya to find a different name as they “already have a Britani”. The siblings receive advice from Dwayne Johnson, and Saraya adopts the name Paige from her favorite character on Charmed.Jack Lowden and Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family (2019)The two try out with several other wrestlers and are all belittled by Morgan. He ultimately chooses Paige over the rest, despite her attempt to have Zak signed as well. With her brother’s encouragement, Paige leaves for America while Zak continues wrestling on the British independent circuit, assisting his parents’ wrestling school, and tending to his girlfriend and newborn son.Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family (2019)Arriving at NXT in Florida, Paige has difficulty adjusting to the WWE style of entertainment – chiefly, the absence of intergender competition and the inexperience of her fellow female trainees Jeri-Lynn, Kirsten, & Maddison. Paige struggles with performing promos and Morgan’s constant belittlement. Morgan makes it clear to Zak that he will never be signed to WWE, and Zak falls into a depression. Paige discovers her parents are selling merchandise of her likeness without her permission and have booked her in a match against Zak scheduled for her Christmas break.Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family (2019)At an NXT live event and her in-ring debut, Paige is heckled by the crowd and freezes up, leaving the ring in tears. She decides to bleach her hair blonde and spray tan to look more like her fellow trainees, which only causes more friction between them. After failing an obstacle course, Paige lashes out at the trainees for gossiping about her when they were actually discussing Kirsten, who has been away from her daughter in order to give her a better life.Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family (2019)Morgan tells Paige that her brother’s future in WWE would only have been as enhancement talent and signing would have ruined his life, implying that it did the same to him. Morgan encourages Paige to quit and return to her family for a happier life. She travels home for the Christmas break. Just before the match against her brother, Paige tells Zak she is leaving WWE. Angry that she is giving up the dream he failed to achieve himself, Zak goes off-script, defeats Paige and then tells their parents her plans to quit, devastating Ricky. After the family find Zak in a drunken bar fight, Paige admits that Morgan declined to sign Zak to protect him and he needs to focus on what is important in life; his family and coaching children who look up to him. Paige changes her mind after Zak berates her for giving up on their shared dream, and she returns to Florida, resuming her original hair color and skin tone.Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family (2019)She drastically improves in training, befriending and encouraging her fellow trainees. Zak returns to training his parents’ students. Morgan brings the trainees to WrestleMania XXX, where Paige is booked in a suite with The Rock and learns she will make her Raw debut the following night against WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee, as recommended by Morgan. Paige makes her Raw debut and again freezes up, but Lee starts the match and unexpectedly puts the Divas Championship on the line. With her family watching on TV, Paige wins the match and the title, finally comfortable enough to say a promo, “This is MY house!”.Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family (2019)An epilogue explains that Paige remains the youngest Divas Champion and was an early leader in the ongoing Women’s Revolution, that one of Zak’s trainees, who was blind, became a wrestler, and pokes fun at The Rock’s movie career and Rick selling shares in the family business. The closing credits include footage from the family’s 2012 documentary and Paige’s debut match.Florence-Pugh-as-WWE-Superstar-Paige-in-Fighting-With-My-FamilyYou dont need to be a wrestling fan to absolutely adore this movie. Its more of a strong family themed movie and a heroic from nowhere to star sports flick. It has at least a half dozen laugh out loud moments, a few moments of stealthily wiping my watering eyes and the euphoric grand finally.