Monday, January 19, 2009

Based on a True Story – “Defiance"

It was Daniel Craig that brought me to this movie, and the same applies to you, I believe.
But actually it’s quite a touching story, for it is true. It truly happened during WWII, in a forest in Poland (or you can say, in nowadays Belorussia, whatever…).

A group of Jews, leading by one heroic Tuvia Bielski, were hiding from the Nazi and fighting against all kinds of enemies (Nazi of course, plus winter, hunger, wolves, etc.) for survival. Such a story could be found in almost all countries, nations, races, just everywhere in the world. What makes this “Defiance” a nice piece is that it did not try to make the hero “too heroic”. He had desires, he had darkness inside, and he was weak, scared and even out of control sometimes. You will definitely not see such things in the portrait of a hero in any Chinese or Soviet movies. Although it is quite normal to Hollywood movies in recent years, it’s still good to see a well-balanced job here.

OK this movie is not 100% “fair” anyway: it surely left no mercy to Nazi, even the Soviet. And it simply “ignored” the fact that the youngest (and the only one currently alive) Bielski brothers, Aron, was charged for fraud in Florida, yr 2007.

BTW the story actually reminds me of Ghengis Khan: Both leaders here were hiding from the enemies in the forest, together with their fellows; both were good fighters with genius in strategy; both had the charisma of a born leader; both killed their own fellows for the sake of the whole group of ppl (Ghengis Khan killed his own half-brother, for the latter grabbed the food that was supposed to be distributed to the women and children in the family. In that sense, what Tuvia did in the movie looks just like a mirror to the great Mongol Emperor.) The difference is, no one dares to show any “dark side” of Ghengis Khan in any movie or drama, for he is basically the God to most Mongolians…

P.S. The actual Bielski brothers were all famous of their handsome, while in the movie they did not look so… Neither did I see much military training scenes in it, hence those women just “suddenly” knew how to use weapons like heavy machine guns (trust me, it’s not that easy…). Another miracle by Moses?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Bedtime Story – “Bedtime Stories”

When you see “Adam Sandler” in the leading role’s position, you can predict what kind of movie you will see – Nonsense, funny, harmless, happy ending, just like junk food. And that’s exactly what you should expect for a “Christmas movie”. To add sth more, even the narrator (a.k.a., Adam’s father Marty, in this movie) sounds so much like Santa Clause!

But the writer seems just satisfied with fulfilling all the “Golden Rules” for a Christmas movie (such like no disaster, no death, no RA content, good guy gets the girl finally, etc.), and forgot the basic things for a movie – the story. We understand that they have to make a “mission impossible” to happen, but can’t they just make it happen in a more reasonable way? Even “Home Alone” series did it better than this one. Especially the last 20 min, the story goes wild like a wild horse, making the whole movie a real “bedtime story”, where you can change anything as your wish.

I cannot see any progress in acting from Adam Sandler here. Actually we haven’t seen that for the recent several years already. How far can he go in this way? Even Ben Stiller made some step further in “Night at the Museum”! (No wonder he got a sequel…)

Nothing quite impressive from the supporting roles, just the pubbing daughter of the big boss seems like a clone of Paris Hilton. Rob Schneider guest shows as two small roles, so we can see the two kings of comedy together again. The little nephew and niece are very cute, hope they got some more chances in the future.

From the movie posters and trailers I knew that they will have some “imagined” scenes where Adam is in the shoes of cowboys, Ben-Hur, Star Wars, etc. But in the movie all these scenes appear to be just B-class productions. (They even mistook the amphitheatre to be in Greece! Or maybe it’s just another feature of a bedtime story?) Quite disappointing.

Now I have more reason to expect the coming “Inkheart”. At least, Brandon Fraser is much more professional in such kind of topics.