Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 Oscar Best Picture Of The Year Movie Reviews
In this article I will review the 9 films that have been nominated for Best Picture of the year, in no particular order and with spoilers.

1. The Artist- I had read a lot of good reviews of the film before I saw it in the movie theaters and to be honest I really wasn’t sure what to think about the film before I sat down and watched the film. I t was the year 2011 and I was going to watch a new silent film. (I had seen old silent films in the past and wasn’t sure how it would work in the present time.) The idea of the film is simple enough, a boy on the way down the film industry meets a girl that is on her way up and it is all because of a new invention in the movies, a film with sound. What I really like about the film was the dog, Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier, who plays the male’s lead dog in this film. In every scene that the dog is in, the dog becomes the comedy of the film. After watching the film, I was thinking that I had just seen an idea of a film that might not translate to the modern audience. If you like silent films then I think that you’ll love this one, if the idea of a silent film is new to you then please see this if it plays in the Korean theaters. I loved it because it told a great story and I never really knew what was coming next and by the end of the film, I was happy that I had seen a great film that need to be seen. Grade: A

2. The Descendants Now with George Clooney either I have loved his films (Up in the Air, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Ocean 11-13, O Brother, Where Art Thou?)Or I have really hated them (The American, The Ides of March, Letherheads, Michael Clayton, The Good German) I have very rarely had him in the middle. SO going into this film I knew that it had great word-of-mouth and that the film was directed by Alexander Payne. I loved his film “Sideways” and was looking forward to seeing this film. It is basically about 2 paths that Matt King (George Clooney)has to take. We are shown that his wife is now in a coma and will not recover and that the machine keeping her alive will be turned off. It is discovered that she had an affair and that Matt knew nothing about it. The 2nd part of the film is that Matt is the sole trustee of sole trustee of 25,000 acres of untouched land on the island of Kaua’i, passed down from his ancestors. The trust will expire in seven years, and the family has decided to sell the land and Matt has to decide who to sell the land to.The rest of the story I will leave unspoiled for you. What I really liked about this film was the way that George kept dealing with these 2 main issues and how it is affecting his 2 daughters in this film. I really believed that this was his family and that he was trying to keep it all together and he really was not sure how to do it. The more I watched the film, the more I believed what I was seeing. The magic that was in the film “Sideways” was also in this one and when it was over I was really glad that I had watched this film and I understood why George is getting serious Oscar talk for his role in this film. Grade: A

3. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close- When I first saw the preview of this film the trailer screen had the words, “This is not a film about September 11th, it’s a film about the days after.” I had no idea if I even wanted to see this film because of all of the anger that I still feel for almost 3,000 people killed on that day. I then decided that the film had a shot of getting the best picture nomination and that well. Why not see the film? After I watched the film, I was glad that I watched it. The film is a simple one, it is about a child who has no idea why his dad died on that day and how he has to live with it. The film never states it but it is implied that the son has some special needs and it was his father that truly understood how to deal with him while his mother at first is shown that she doesn’t know how to handle him. The child finds a key in his father’s belongings a year after the event and decides that this is there last adventure together and that he must find the mystery of this key. The journey of this key is what makes this film from a good one into a great one. You see a child trying to make logical sense of insanity and you see that he really isn’t doing a good job with it so he must go on this last treasure hunt that he thinks that his father set up for him. Along the way he meets a man only called the “Renter”, it is the scenes with him and the voice messages from his father on September 11th that left the audience with a hit that they did not see coming. The film ends with the adventure complete and the boy tries to go on without his father. Please see it when you get the chance. Grade A

4. The Help- Now I had heard that this was a small film that had made a lot of money by the time I got around to watching t and I hadn’t read the book about the film and I knew it was about the 1960’s in The Sothern part of the USA. I knew the history of that era so I really wasn’t sure what I was going to see but after I saw it I am sure glad that I did because it was a great film about stupidity and injustice. The idea of the film is very simple, a College Graduate returns home and want to write a book about the maids in the 1960’s but instead of one story she gets many and when the book becomes a huge best seller, then the film really takes off. I kinda had the feeling about how the film was going to end and when it ended in that manor; to me it was the only way the film could truly end. It made the film from a good one into a great one. If you are unfamiliar about the USA history of this time then this film will definitely educate you to what was going on in that part of the world. Please see it when you get the chance. Grade A

5. Hugo- Sad to say once again a lot of people saw something in this film and I sure wasn’t one of them. I found the film to be a complete waste of viewing and it just never clicked for me. If you like the director’s prior films then this one will be a surprise, I guess I was just expecting a better story that what this film delivered. Grade F

6. Midnight in Paris- Now with being a critic for many years I have come to realize that there are directors that I like and there are some that I just do not like and sad to say Woody Allen has always been one who’s films I have never understood why so many critics seen to like. So when I heard that this was his most popular film in years I decided that I was going to get a copy of this film and watch it to see if I would like this one. Well sad to say, to me it was the same old reason that I hate his film, a plot that went nowhere, too many stories trying to mix together and once again a smug director thinking that he is actually clever by some of his little trademark trick that I saw throughout this film. If you like his film I think that you are going to like this one, if you are like me and you don’t, then this film really won’t change your mind about him. The only time I smiled thought this film is when it was over and the credits rolled. Please pass on this film. Grade C-

7. Moneyball-Since my favorite sport in the world is baseball, knew he story of Billy Bean before I went into this film and I knew what the Oakland A’s had achieved since he became the General Manager of them. I knew the term “ Moneyball” and what it meant. So when I went to watch the film, I really wasn’t expecting that much. This soon became clear to me that I was wrong about my first thought about this film because the more it watched this film, the better it got. I must admit that I though the casting of Jonah Hill was a huge mistake but while I was watching the film it became real clear to me very fast that he was exactly what the film needed. The scenes where he and Brad Pitt work together to make “Moneyball” work were great and I can’t believe that Hill could actually act. So I wasn’t that much surprised when Hill was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The film is a great look at the attempt of a few men to try and change how players are scouted. Please see it when you can. Grade A

8. The Tree of Life- As I said earlier there are directors that I like and some that I hate and then there are some who I just don’t quite understand and sad to say The director of this film, Terrence Malick has always been one of them. I really had no idea what to think about this film before I saw it and after I saw it, I still had the same idea, I really never could grasp what the director was attempting in this film. After I watched it and wanted to get more opinions about this film and when I read that one of the actors in this film, Sean Penn, had the exact same questions that I had about this film, I knew that I want the only one. I have heard rumors that there was a 6 hour cut of this film and maybe this film need to be one day restored back into that cut because I really did not get where this film was ever going. I hope that his next film will be better because I can see no reason why this film was nominated for Best Picture. Please pass on this film at all cost. Grade F

9.War Horse- As I kept watching the many previews for this film, I couldn’t help but wonder would I actually like this film? After his last 2 films, Tin Tin and Indy 4, I was wondering had the director, Steven Spielberg, lost his way. I am happy to report that the director not only made a good film, he made a great one. As this reviewer has stated in the past that he is a history major and a former US Army soldier, I take a very hard look at historical films and look for their accuracy. Sometimes the lack of accuracy doesn’t bother me (Gladiator) or the total lack of the truth (Braveheart) will really turn me off on a film. I kept thinking about that before I went in to see the film and wondering what I would see in this film. I can say that I saw a film that I, historically, that I actually could believe in. The idea of the film is very simple, a boy learns to train and love a horse. World War one has started and the British need all horses for the war effort and his horse is sold and the horse goes to war. For the rest of the film I was reminded of this fact, of the million horses that were sent abroad from the UK, only 62,000 returned, the rest dying in the war or slaughtered in France for meat. World War 1 had a massive and indelible impact on the male population of the UK: 886,000 men died one in eight of those who went to war, and 2% of the entire country’s population. The film is shown through the Horses reaction and to what happened to him. The bells scenes made that fact very clear to me in the film. My favorite part of the film is when the horse is trapped in barbed wire and a German and British Soldier both work together to free the horse. The sheer lunacy of this moment in the War made me believe in the film more, the film then takes you where usually dramas will take you, so you won’t be surprised by it but you might actually like it. The ending was pretty easy to see coming but after the adventure of this film, this is the way that this film had to end. After the film was over, I realized that I would want to add this film to my collection and to show it to people who need to see that great films are still being made in 2011. Please see it when it plays in South Korea. Grade A+

And if I had my vote it would be for “The Descendants’ based on these 9 films. Please try to see all of these films on DVD, VOD, or at the local CGV.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The top 10 conservative movies of the modern era

By Nile Gardiner

Two years ago I produced a list of the top 10 conservative movies of the last decade, which sparked a good deal of debate among film fans on both sides of the Atlantic. I’ve produced a sequel, a list of the ten best conservative films of the last half-century, from the 1960s onwards. I plan to eventually write a list of the top ten conservative films of all time, where the likes of On the Waterfront (1954) and High Noon (1952) will certainly be leading candidates for inclusion.

As I noted in my 2009 post, this is a list of cinematic treasures that have “advanced a conservative message, ranging from strong support for the military and love for country to the defence of capitalism and the free market. These are all brilliant movies that conservatives can be inspired by, and which are guaranteed to offend Left-wing sensibilities in one way or another.” I include four films from my first list: Master and Commander, Black Hawk Down, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Pursuit of Happyness.

These are movies that I believe can and will inspire conservatives and conservative leaders. They are not necessarily made by conservative film-makers, however, and the majority of directors on this list are not known for their political views. Some ideologically liberal directors have made great conservatives movies. Steven Spielberg for example is a politically liberal figure who consistently makes films that advance conservative values. The second film on this list, Zulu, was directed by Cy Endfield, who was wrongly blacklisted during the McCarthy era and forced to work in exile abroad in Britain.

In recent decades Hollywood has been a bastion of liberalism, but at the same time its studios have produced and distributed some major hit movies that have a conservative outlook or message, not least because, as Gallup has found, conservatives significantly outnumber liberals in the US population as a whole and form a major part of the cinema-going public. Witness the recent success for example of Sandra Bullock's The Blind Side, a film that grossed more than $300 million for Warner Brothers in 2009.

Below are films that conservatives can be taken to heart in both the United States and Great Britain, movies that celebrate conservative values, the defense of the free world, deep-seated patriotism and individual liberty.

1. Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, 1981)

Chariots of Fire is one of the greatest British films of all time, and a truly conservative masterpiece. It received seven Academy Award nominations in 1982, winning four including Best Picture, Score (by Vangelis), Original Screenplay and Costume Design, and also went on to win Best Film at the BAFTAS. Ben Cross and Ian Charleson played the athletes Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell who competed for Britain in the 1924 Paris Olympics, both winning gold medals, in the 100 Metres and 400 Metres respectively. The superb supporting cast included Sir Ian Holm, Sir John Gielgud, Nigel Havers, Patrick Magee and Lindsay Anderson. Chariots of Fire exudes patriotism, tradition, faith, honour and sacrifice in a magnificently inspiring motion picture that captured the hearts of cinema goers all over the world. Produced by David Puttnam, Chariots led a renaissance of British cinema in the 1980s, including a string of major hits including Gandhi, A Passage to India, The Mission, and The Killing Fields. In accepting his Oscar, the film's writer Colin Welland famously declared "the British are coming" – and how right he was.

2. Zulu (Cy Endfield, 1964)

Arguably the most influential war film of the modern era, Zulu is a magnificent tribute to the tremendous bravery of the 140 British soldiers of the 24th Regiment of Foot who defended the small mission post at Rorke’s Drift, Natal, in the face of thousands of Zulu attackers during the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879, winning 11 Victoria Crosses in the process. At the same time the film honours the great courage of the Zulu impis, who died in the hundreds during the battle. The film featured a breakout performance by a young Michael Caine, who brilliantly played Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, alongside Stanley Baker’s Lieutenant John Chard, stunning cinematography by Stephen Dade and a rousing score by John Barry. Made in the dying days of the British Empire in Africa, Zulu was strikingly old-fashioned even for its day, in its heroic depiction of the British warrior ethos at the height of the Victorian era. Zulu is one of the only films of the modern age that chose not to condemn or vilify Britain's imperial heritage, but instead highlighted the extraordinary courage of the men who fought and died in defence of the largest and most benevolent Empire the world had ever seen.

3. Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg, 1998)

Steven Spielberg has made some of the best and biggest movies of the last four decades: Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Schindler’s List to name but a few. His finest film though is Saving Private Ryan, inexplicably overlooked for Best Picture at the 1999 Academy Awards in favour of Shakespeare in Love. His soaring tribute to the bravery of American soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy in June 1944 was a powerful reminder of the huge sacrifices made by an earlier generation in the defence of freedom. It is a reminder that the defence of liberty comes at great cost. It should be essential viewing for every US president as he takes office. It is a truly humbling film that depicts the horror of war in unflinching detail while illustrating the magnificent courage of those who laid down their lives for the United States on the European battlefields of World War Two.

4. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Peter Weir, 2003)

Peter Weir’s unashamedly old-fashioned and visually stunning adaptation of Patrick O’Brian’s novel is one of the greatest odes to leadership ever committed to celluloid. Australian director Weir has made many terrific films, including Gallipoli, Dead Poets Society, The Year of Living Dangerously, and Witness, but Master and Commander was the pinnacle of his career so far. Nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, it should be essential viewing for any Commander-In-Chief. Russell Crowe delivers a immensely powerful performance as Jack Aubrey, Captain of HMS Surprise, a British warship that hunts and ultimately captures a far larger French adversary during the Napoleonic Wars. Set in 1805, it is an epic tale of heroism and love for country in the face of incredible odds, and a glowing tribute to the grit and determination that forged the British Empire. Needless to say, it should be shown at the next EU summit by the UK delegation for the benefit of Nicolas Sarkozy when he gets on his high horse and starts lecturing Britain about French superiority.

5. Rocky (John G. Avildsen, 1976)

Sylvester Stallone has been one of the most successful conservative movie stars of his generation, and rose to fame in the 1977 Best Picture winner Rocky. Made for less than $1 million, Rocky was the underdog that went on to beat All The President’s Men, Taxi Driver and Network at the Oscars, with Stallone nominated for Best Actor for his performance as humble boxer Rocky Balboa who rises from poverty to become a world champion. The film sparked five sequels, culminating in the terrific Rocky Balboa in 2006, and the series has pulled in more than $1 billion at the US and worldwide box office combined. Produced largely on location in Philadelphia (out of the reach of the powerful film industry unions), and featuring a dynamite score by Bill Conti, Rocky was an incredible success filmed in the space of just 30 days. Conservative to the core and deeply patriotic in outlook, the Rocky films are a celebration of American values and individualism, and have come to embody the nation’s tremendous fighting spirit and love of liberty.

6. The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino, 1978)

The Deer Hunter came away with five Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actor, and is one of the most iconic dramas of the 1970s, alongside the likes of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Alan J. Pakula’s All the President’s Men and William Friedkin’s The French Connection. But in contrast to several other major Vietnam-themed films of the time, which include Apocalypse Now and Coming Home (and later Platoon and Full Metal Jacket), it cannot be described as an anti-war treatise. Michael Cimino’s visceral masterpiece was attacked upon its release by some critics for its portrayal of the Vietcong as a sadistic, brutal enemy, with its infamous Russian roulette sequence featuring Robert De Niro, John Savage and Christopher Walken as American prisoners held by the North Vietnamese. It even prompted a walkout at the 1979 Berlin International Film Festival by delegations from a number of Communist countries led by the Soviet Union. It is undeniably patriotic, with the film ending with a moving and unforgettable rendition of “God Bless America” sung by the film’s main characters, including a young Meryl Streep. A truly great film, The Deer Hunter is an American epic that three decades on still packs a powerful punch.

7. The Killing Fields (Roland Joffe, 1984)

Despite the huge destruction wrought by Communism in the 20th Century, disappointingly few films have addressed its evils. A notable exception was Roland Joffe’s searing The Killing Fields, the story of American journalist Sydney Schanberg (played by Sam Waterston) and his interpreter and fellow journalist Dith Pran, set against the backdrop of the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The film’s harrowing depiction of the Cambodian genocide between 1975 and 1979 is simply unforgettable, conveying the full horror of Pol Pot’s savage killing machine and inhuman forced labour camps that wiped out up to two-and-a-half million people. Pran’s character, played by Oscar winner Haing S. Ngor, was himself a real-life survivor of the Killing Fields. The British film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning three, as well as the BAFTA for Best Film. The Killing Fields is an uncompromising portrait of a brutal Marxist tyranny, and a warning to the world never to allow this kind of barbarism to be repeated.

8. Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott, 2001)

Sir Ridley Scott’s searing depiction of the ill-fated US raid on Mogadishu in 1993, which left 19 American servicemen dead, was released just months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States and the launch of the War on Terror. Based on the book by Mark Bowden, it won Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Sound, and Scott was nominated for Best Director. Many critics enthusiastically dubbed Black Hawk Down an anti-war film, and it is in some respects a cautionary tale about the perils of nation-building. But I regard it above all as an extraordinarily powerful and deeply patriotic tribute to the heroism and bravery of the US military, faced with overwhelming odds in a hostile city dominated by brutal Somali warlords, a story of incredible sacrifice and camaraderie in the heat of battle.

9. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Peter Jackson, 2001, 2002, 2003)

All three parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy were breathtaking pieces of cinema – The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and finally The Return of the King, which won Best Picture at the 2004 Academy Awards. J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of Lord of the Rings, was a devout Catholic and conservative, and a close friend of C.S. Lewis at Oxford. His vision of a mighty battle between good and evil in the realms of Middle Earth was brilliantly transferred to the screen by New Zealand director Peter Jackson, perfectly fitting a post 9/11 world where the forces of freedom found themselves pitted against a barbaric enemy. A two-part prequel to the trilogy - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again – will be released in December 2012 and December 2013.

10. The Pursuit of Happyness (Gabrielle Muccino, 2006)

This Will Smith classic, based on the autobiographical bestseller by Chris Gardner, is one of the most compelling, heart-felt tributes to the free market and the value of individual responsibility ever made. Smith plays an impoverished entrepreneur from a humble background in 1980s San Francisco who through sheer determination and strength of human spirit defies all odds to become a stockbroker with a top investment firm, before making his fortune. Smith’s character embodies the can-do spirit of Reagan’s America, and rejects the welfare state in favour of the capitalist ideal, while bringing up a young son on his own. The Pursuit of Happyness is an inspiring and often deeply moving tribute to the American dream, and one of the great conservative movies of this generation.


The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010)

The King’s Speech thoroughly deserved its Oscar success last year, sweeping the major awards for Best Picture, Director, Actor and Original Screenplay. As I wrote after seeing the film on its opening night in Washington: “Anyone who doubts the Special Relationship is alive and well in the hearts of the American people should see this film in a US theatre and listen to the rapturous applause it receives. The King’s Speech is undoubtedly one of the best British films since Chariots of Fire, with stunning performances from Colin Firth as George VI and Geoffrey Rush as his unconventional Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Tom Hooper’s period drama is a hugely inspirational and moving film that is a triumph for British cinema. It is also deeply patriotic in its portrayal of a stammering, shy monarch who ultimately overcomes tremendous odds to lead a nation at war in the face of a totalitarian enemy.”

Honourable Mentions

These films didn’t make the final list, but deserve recognition for their contribution to conservative values, ideals and principles:

Dirty Harry (Don Siegel, 1971); A Bridge Too Far (Richard Attenborough, 1977); Who Dares Wins (Ian Sharp, 1982); Uncommon Valor (Ted Kotcheff, 1983); Rambo: First Blood Part II (George P. Cosmatos, 1985); Field of Dreams (Phil Alden Robinson, 1989); Henry V (Kenneth Branagh, 1989); Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986); Shadowlands (Richard Attenborough, 1993); Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994); Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000); We Were Soldiers (Randall Wallace, 2002); Tears of the Sun (Antoine Fuqua, 2003); Hotel Rwanda (Terry George, 2004); The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson, 2004); The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006); United 93 (Paul Greengrass, 2006); Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone, 2006); Katyn (Andrzej Wajda, 2007); 300 (Zack Snyder, 2007); The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008); Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood, 2008); The Blind Side (John Lee Hancock, 2009); 5 Days of War (Renny Harlin, 2011).

Friday, January 06, 2012

Movie Review. The Flowers of War (simplified Chinese: 金陵十三钗; traditional Chinese: 金陵十三釵), previously called Nanjing Heroes and 13 Flowers of Nanjing.

The film is based on the novel The 13 Women of Nanjing by Geling Yan, and has been selected as the Chinese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.

As I have said in many prior reviews that I am a History teacher and I have a very bad habit of looking at these type of "Historical Dramas" and either really loving them or just flat out dismissing them due to the historical half-truths and lies that are shown in the film.

I knew that I was going to have a heck of a time with this film because it was made about an event that I have studied from many different sides and that is the 1937 Nanking Massacre.

(Now I am going to ask if you have no idea about what happened back with the historical story before you go see this film then please read this link. I never want to hear another story like I heard after I saw Titanic, when a 18 year old girl stated to her friends, 'I didn't know that the Titanic sank!"

For the rest of the review I will assume that you now know about this event.

With a cost of about US$ 94 Million, this will be the most expensive Chinese film ever made and the fact that it was directed by Zhang Yimou (2002 Hero, 2004 House of the Flying Dagger and 2006 Curse of the Golden Flower, were 3 of his previous films that I really loved), I was looking forward to seeing this film. (Please remember about the dialogue of the film, it was shot about 40% in English and the rest in Mandarin Chinese, So when it comes to Korea you might have a heck of a time trying to follow the film without English subtitles.)

I was ok with the film for about the first 8 minutes and then I saw a clear sign of the Chinese Propaganda start to enter this film with the Heroic Chinese soldier stand against the Japanese and I felt that every time the film went to him, I should have stood up and heard the PROC (Peoples Republic of China) National Anthem. I felt that this really hurt the film and took away from the story.

(Now to clarify a point here in the film, Prior to the outbreak of the war, Germany and China had close economic and military cooperation, with Germany helping China modernize its industry and military in exchange for raw materials. More than half of the German arms exports during its rearmament period were to China. Nevertheless the proposed 30 new divisions equipped and trained with German assistance did not materialize when Germany withdrew its support in 1938, because Adolf Hitler wanted to form an alliance with Japan against the Soviet Union. Link to why Chinese Troops are dressed like Nazi soldiers in this film. (I did notice a few reviews of this film confused about this point and I wanted to give a reason why they were dressed in this way.)

To me, the film could have been the next step of China's entry into the world cinema stage but fails on a few reasons that I let other peoples voices speak.

From Twitch

In the end I am left conflicted by THE FLOWERS OF WAR. On the one hand it is an impressively staged war drama and a frequently exhilarating experience, from which I honestly feel many viewers can get quite a lot. On the other hand, it is a blinkered, unbalanced and frustrating portrayal of the Japanese that makes no attempt to explain, question or even understand their behavior. Because of the film's narrow perspective on this particularly troubling chapter of history, it is very difficult to recommend, despite its many strengths. What can be said with some certainty is that THE FLOWERS OF WAR will reach a wider audience than many of China's other recent militaristic dramas, but it is unlikely to win the Chinese Film Industry many more supporters in the long run.

From Leo in Canada

This movie stumbles upon a extremely sensitive topic in Chinese history, and should be treated seriously.

My great Grandmother's village during wartime was ransacked by the Japanese army with her barely escaping. Being a Chinese Canadian, I almost walked out of the theatre half way through the movie the moment I saw prolonged rape scenes of children.

Yes, during the Nanking massacre, Chinese children and even infants were raped and slaughtered like animals. Yes, Chinese women were raped repeatedly and bayoneted between the legs. Yes, it was a dark and inhumane time in Chinese history. But that does not justify the over exaggerated yet artistic camera work on prolonged rape and murder scenes of children and Chinese Women.

It seems the director was trying to evoke a certain emotional reaction by referencing random scenes from fiction films like grindhouse, yet falls flat with plot holes such as when Chinese soldiers lined up to be killed in a row, or the ludicrous storyline for 2 women to be wandering outside the church, then gang raped and killed by the Japanese soldiers.

I’m unsure if the director even have a clue as to why events of Nanking took place. Before the Japanese even arrived in Nanking, The KMT pulled out of Nanking with soldiers looting, killing and beheading other Chinese believed to be CCP officers, leaving locals (or what’s left of them) to fend for themselves, yet in the film, they’re branded glorious heroes. The CCP during this time were hiding in caves and could only use guerrilla warfare against the Japanese. When the Japanese surrendered, Chairman Mao refused payment from the Japanese for war crimes (hence no proof of what happened in Nanking), and he even thanked them for weakening the KMT in order for the CCP to rise in power.

All in all, what I felt after walking out of the theatre was disgust for the director's lack of sympathy and respect for real history, while capitalizing on utilization of high end camera work for scenes of rape, pedophilia and brutality.

In a nutshell, these 2 voices state why this film should have been a great one but ultimately fails in the end of it.

The actual historical event was horrific enough but to make it into a fictional story with obvious PRC or CCP tie-ins to make the Army look more heroic that it actually was, to me is an insult to the victims and actual survivors. The director had an excellent chance to tell a story that needs to be told and sad to say, this film will will not satisfy anyone's search for the real story of Nanking.

Readers, it is my recommendation that you pass on this film and find other films about this subject that go more into the detail of "Hell on Earth" back in 1937.

Grade. C-