Trailer Round-Up – 3/14/22

Deep Water

Agent Game

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Mothering Sunday trailer #2

Family Camp

Dakota

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent red band trailer

As They Made Us

Pleasure

Pleasure red band trailer

Moonshot


Which of these films are you excited to see?

Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 Conclusion

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the final post in the seventh annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon, celebrating movies released in years ending in “2.” This year’s blogathon contained films from throughout all of cinema’s history, from 10 years ago to 120 years ago! I would like to give a huge thanks to all of the participants and their creativity in their selections; we truly had a wide array of films in this blogathon. Here is the full list of entries:

Tranquil Dreams – Porco Rosso (1992)

Drew’s Movie Reviews – End of Watch (2012)

Various Ramblings of a Nostalgic ItalianThe Godfather (1972)

MovieRobA Trip to the Moon (1902)

Film MiasmaThe Case of the Bloody Iris (1972)

Plain, Simple Tom ReviewsNosferatu (1922)

Starry Traveler’s RoadThe Secret of Arrietty (2012)

Rhyme and ReasonThe Pianist (2002)

Drew’s Movie Reviews – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Tranquil Dreams – Drug War (2012)

No Ultimate Decades Blogathon conclusion would be complete with a few words from my co-host, Kim:

Thanks everyone for joining into the Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022. This year saw some wonderful choices and entries and it was great to read all the different choices of films that were released in a year ending with “2”. A huge thanks to my awesome co-host Drew for running this blogathon with me. It’s always a blast to do this especially when it also gives ourselves a chance to check out and/or revisit some fun films as well. Definitely looking forward to hopefully having another blogathon next year.

And with that, the Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 has officially concluded! I would once again like to echo Kim’s words and give a huge thanks to our participants. You are all amazing people and we appreciate your participation. And another thank you to our readers. I hope you have found a new blog or two to follow, they all deserve it. Lastly, thanks Kim for being my co-host again. I can not thank you enough for everything you do for the blogathon.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay positive. Stay weird.

Until next time, cheers!

Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 Wrap-Up: Drug War (2012) by Tranquil Dreams

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the final entry in the Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022! Today’s part 2 of the blogathon’s wrap up comes from my wonderful co-host, Kim! I’m sure she needs no introduction at this point so let’s get right into her review of 2012’s Drug War!


Drug War (2012)

Director: Johnnie To

Cast: Louis Koo, Honglei Sun, Yi Huang, Michelle Ye, Yunxiang Gao, Wallace Chung, Guangjie Li, Tao Guo, Jing Li, Hoi-Pang Lo, Eddie Cheung, Ka-Tung Lam, Suet Lam, Ting Yip Ng, Philip Keung

“A drug cartel boss who is arrested in a raid is coerced into betraying his former accomplices as part of an undercover operation.” – IMDB

With a filmography spanning from 1980 until 2020, Johnnie To is no doubt a Hong Kong director that has quite a few titles in his filmography which has been renowned especially in the action and crime area. Billed as his first action film entirely shot and film in Mainland China, Drug War is a 2012 action crime thriller that centers around a drug cartel boss that makes a strategic deal with the police officers to trade information and help out their police operation to stop a big deal going on between Uncle Bill and Bro Haha.

Drug War is led by Louis Koo as Timmy Choi, the drug boss that gets caught and tries to work the situation to his favor. Louis Koo has been thriving in the crime and action films in Hong Kong for a while and this role does give his character a pretty decent trajectory as his trust and where he stands constantly is put in question. He delivers a great performance to say the very least. Most of the rest of the Hong Kong cast appears only later in the film with some familiar faces like veteran actor who seems to find cameos in almost everything (it’s an exaggeration but it feels that way sometimes), Hoi-Pang Lo with some familiar faces like Philip Keung, Ka-Tung Lam, Eddie Cheung and Suet Lam. On the Mainland China cast, there are also some big names with Honglei Sun who plays Captain Zhang and the man running the operation with his main police officer Xiaobei Yang played by the talented Yi Huang. The whole operation also tags along a police car tailing this drug cartel from another police division where Wallace Chung and Yunxiang Gao make their appearance as well. It’s a packed cast for anyone that is familiar with Mainland China and Hong Kong films and that helps the whole film become really fun to watch.

With that said, Drug War’s shining point does also go to its script penned by three writers Ka-Fai Wai, Nai-Hoi Yau and Ryker Chan who has all been a part of scripting a lot of Johnnie To’s work. The script does wonders for the film as it creates the wild cat and mouse chase and almost musical chairs sort of deal as they play a game of pretending to be one side and then swapping over and playing the other side while using Timmy as the person to keep things in line hopefully. The whole situation becomes thrilling to watch especially as the deal starts to unravel towards the end and the big bosses, the smokes and mirrors and the loyalties all come into play. Nothing seems too far-fetched. Being a Johnnie To film, it does feel rather calm for the most part in the first half with a lot of the action taking place in the second half as the cops start to realize they have lost their grip on the situation.

There’s a lot to love about Drug War and while 2012 does have a lot of very good Hong Kong films released that year, notably Cold War and The Bullet Vanishes, and Johnnie To has done some grittier crime features like Election and Exiled and some action-packed ones like PTU and Fulltime Killer, Drug War stands out because it sets itself in China with different stakes at hand like the death penalty and having to deal with different threats and organizations. The whole film executes in a well-paced structure and it all fits together really well to create this entertaining and thrilling crime film experience.

Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 Finale: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) by Drew’s Movie Reviews

Beginning the blogathon wrap-up is me! My second and closing review of the Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 is the beloved 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Check it out over on Tranquil Dreams.

Tranquil Dreams

Welcome back to Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022. After almost 2 weeks, we are winding down with our finale posts over today and tomorrow. The first of the two posts is from my awesome co-host Drew with his pick of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Drew is diving into Steven Spielberg’s films over the course of 2022 so you should definitely make sure to keep checking his blog out to make sure you don’t miss any of those reviews (and all his other reviews and weekly trailer round-ups).

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Synopsis 
When E.T., an alien visiting Earth, gets left behind when his ship quickly leaves, Elliott (Henry Thomas) helps him contact his home world.

Review 
When E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial released 40 years ago in 1982, no one, not even Steven Spielberg, predicted that it would be the phenomenon that it has become. After finally viewing it myself, I can see why…

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Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022: The Pianist (2002) by Rhyme and Reason

Hello, friends!

We’re midway through the second week of this year’s Ultimate Decades Blogathon. Today’s entry is also the final participant before Kim and I wrap up the blogathon to close out the week. And our last participant is one of the most unique film bloggers I know: SG from Rhyme and Reason. I describe his blog as unique because he is the only blogger I know who combines his passion for poetry with his love of film. If you aren’t familiar, you can see what I mean below. Follow his site to keep up with all of SG’s poetic musings. Today, SG reviews 2002’s war film The Pianist.


What would you do were you hunted and hated?
What if your value were hotly debated?
What could you share with the Cain to your Abel
To sway them to see you as more than a label?

What if your neighbors were hunted and hated?
What if their murders were premeditated?
What would you wager with apathy reigning,
Invisible blood on your consciences staining?

What can be said to a world homicidal
Or to the sane few who decide to stay idle?
What can be done in the face of offenses
But pray and wait for them to come to their senses?
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MPA rating:  R

I find it hard enough keeping up with modern Best Picture contenders, so there’s still a vast number of nominees from decades past that I have yet to watch. When I finally get around to them, they often feel like films I should have seen long ago, and The Pianist is no exception. While its reputation may be dimmed by the distasteful scandal surrounding director Roman Polanski, it’s hard to argue with the quality of this story of survival, based on the memoir of Polish Jew Wladyslaw Szpilman, which won Polanski the Oscar for Best Director.

Adrian Brody won a deserving Best Actor Oscar as well for playing Szpilman, a Warsaw pianist whose life is irrevocably changed when the Germans invade Poland in 1939. Instead of playing classical standards on Polish radio, he is forcibly relocated to the walled Warsaw Ghetto, along with his parents and siblings, where money and hopes gradually dwindle. While occasional news of the Allies provides distant optimism, Szpilman is progressively stripped of everything he held dear – his home, his family, his career, food, housing, and any form of security – mirroring the relentless destruction of the city as the German occupation and the war drag on.

At first, I was a little disappointed at how passive Szpilman seemed as a protagonist. He often says he wants to “help” others’ plans, but more often, things happen to him, and he would have died many times over if not for the kindness of strangers. But I soon realized that this was the point and part of how Szpilman survived, since being proactive was a likely way to get killed. He acts as a spectator to the struggle of his city, often looking out a high window and watching events play out on the street below him, from Nazi cruelty to the efforts of Polish rebels. His passivity highlights the helplessness of those who could do little more than endure in the face of rampant inhumanity; the sane rarely have a solution when the world goes mad around them.

The Pianist can feel like one of those films one feels obligated to see, not just for its accolades, but for its important role of preserving history in all its ugliness. Films like Schindler’s List, United 93, or Grave of the Fireflies are not “entertaining” in the conventional sense, even if they present compelling stories. They can feel like slogs through suffering, especially since The Pianist is quite long at two and half hours, but the reality of what is depicted deepens them beyond a run-of-the-mill movie. Even if the style strives for objectivity, they become a vicarious window into documented tragedy which engenders more true empathy than a textbook or documentary ever could. In this case, it presented Szpilman’s harsh lived experience, which clearly meant much to Polanski who also survived a Polish ghetto as a child during World War II.

It’s hard to believe that The Pianist lost Best Picture to Chicago of all movies, which seems like a Shakespeare in Love-level steal to me. The period detail is impeccable, and the script is moving in its simplicity, from the irony of the Szpilmans rejoicing at the news that Britain and France have entered the war to the subtle heartache Wladyslaw squelches during a rushed reunion. Brody is at his best, especially during the piano scenes that he at least partially played himself (overdubbed by a professional pianist), and his interactions run the full spectrum of cruelty and kindness that is never limited by nationality or race. I rather wish that the film had included more details at the end, such as the fact that Szpilman went on to have a family of his own, but The Pianist is still a landmark Holocaust film that shows that the horror was not confined to concentration camps but extended to every moment of survival.

Best line: (Szpilman) “I don’t know how to thank you.”  (a kind German captain) “Thank God, not me. He wants us to survive. Well, that’s what we have to believe.”

Rank:  List-Worthy

© 2022 S.G. Liput

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Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022: The Secret World of Arrietty (2012) by Starry Traveler’s Road

As we move through week 2 of the blogathon, one of Kim’s personal friends and Ultimate Decades Blogathon regular shares her review of 2012’s The Secret World of Arrietty. Head over to Tranquil Dreams to check it out!

Tranquil Dreams

Welcome back to Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 as we continue with the second week of entries. Today’s guest is one of my own childhood friends who has slowed down on her blogging recently but always drops by with a review for the blogathon every year. Her blog, Starry Traveler’s Road now focuses on her every day things from opinions on certain societal things in Montreal to her crafts and other mom adventures and even shared some of her jewelry making progress.

This year she shares a review on The Secret World of Arrietty, a Studio Ghibli film. Remember to head over to check our her blog!

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Review: The Secret World of Arrietty (2012)

Despite all the chaos going through our lives, Bun Bun and I are back with a movie review! It was refreshing to just spend time together to reconnect. It is also fun to continue our yearly…

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