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T-34 (2018)

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I’ll give you another chance.
You choose and prepare a Russian tank crew.
On a designated day at the shooting range,
you show your science, to my cadets.
You won’t have ammunition. Just your skill.
If you die … you die as a soldier on the battlefield.

I thought it was time again to watch a realistic WWII war movie. One that focuses on heroism and the urge to survive. A film where you almost can smell the war and experience the despair, as if you were in the middle of it. Not a movie that shows experimental creatures (like in “Overlord“) or Nazi Zombies. I have to admit that after seeing the trailer for “T-34” (yes, yes, I know I always claim to avoid trailers), I was very curious about this film. The trailer looked phenomenal. And I wanted to see if the entire film was peppered with such spectacular images. Or was the trailer again a summary of the best phases of the film? Believe me. The film is unparalleled from start to finish and keeps you glued to your screen.

 

 

Euh. A Russian movie.

When it comes to Russian-made films, I need to confess that I don’t know much about that. To be honest, my knowledge is limited to the clichés known about this enormous country. But in hindsight, I really have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by it. The film didn’t have such an old-fashioned and woolly appearance, but it looked highly qualitative with extremely perfect footage and solid acting. You could say this film has true Hollywood blockbuster allures.

 

 

Big applause for the T-34.

The movie is about the T-34. A Soviet tank that was used en masse against the invasion by Germany in the former Soviet republic. This medium-sized tank, which was provided with thickened armor, was initially unable to cope with the better-made German panzers. However, they had one advantage: the large caterpillar tracks made them tactically very mobile and the infamous mud pools were no problem in the winter period, while the German armored brigades got stuck in it. So the film is a tribute to this legendary tank that helped defeat Nazi Germany.

 

 

Those slow-motion images were impressive.

If you like action-packed war films and want to see how ruthless and cruel a tank battle can be, then you should definitely watch this film (but I am convinced there are other wonderful films that tackle this subject). The confrontations between German tank brigades and Russian lieutenant Nikolay Ivushkin (Alexander Petrov) and his crew are ultra-realistic and impressive. The close-up images in the T-34 with its limited movement space, are breathtaking and have a claustrophobic effect.

You can feel the nerves rushing through your own body. Just as the crew, as they realize they can expect a fatal hit any time. You can almost smell the sweat of fear. And it’s the images that leave a huge impression. The slow-motion images of the all-destructive grenades going through steel and concrete, look really exquisite. It all has a very high PC game vibe and perhaps this technique was used a bit too much. But it was entertainment of the highest level.

 

 

Prisoners of War.

But not only the tank battles impressed me. The part about Nikolay’s captivity in a German concentration camp was also excellent. The scene where the train, crammed with “Prisoners of War”, arrives at the concentration camp in the rain, I found impressive. The despair, despondency, and hopelessness were contained in that one image with the train where dead people fall out of the wagons, the moment the sliding doors open.

It’s here that Nikolay is picked out by camp commander Klaus Jäger (Vinzenz Kiefer) to fix a captured T-34 and make it ready for battle with a crew chosen by Nikolay. The intention is that their Russian tank becomes a target during tank practices by the Germans. What Klaus Jäger doesn’t know is that they also found ammunition while removing the dead bodies. And that’s the impetus for Nikolay to escape during such an exercise and after that trying to reach Czech Slovakia.

 

I loved to play “Tank Battle” when I was a kid.

When I was young I loved to play the board game “Tank Battle”. “T-34” reminded me of this repeatedly. Only the board game was a bit more peaceful compared to this movie. “T-34” is extremely ruthless and shows how heroism makes the impossible possible. And amidst this war violence, there’s even room for some romance between Nikolay and the Russian translator Anya (Irina Starshenbaum) whose privileges in the concentration camp are invaluable for Nikolay and his companions.

I kept asking myself just one thing. What impact did such a grenade (that bounces off the armor) have on the crew in the tank? Is it the air pressure? Or the decibels? Because I can imagine that must be a lot of noise. As if you are sitting in a bronze clock and someone hits it with a heavy sledgehammer. It’s just a futile question about an otherwise excellent and impressive Russian film.

 

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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Alita : Battle Angel – Fast Paced Action-Rich Combat Scenes

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While I’m learning name, do you have one for me?
Alita.
It’s a nice name.
I love it!

I was really looking forward to this movie “Alita: Battle Angel“. A cyber-punk setting and unparalleled computerized images that are perfectly injected into a real-life environment. Of course, you know Alita (Rosa Salazar) is the result of a hard-working graphic designer who has been sweating for hours behind his computer screen to project a graphic shell onto a real-life person. However, it didn’t bother me. Alita seemed like a lifelike person. Even though she had those unnatural large Bambi eyes. I admit that at the beginning, my eyes always wandered down to her derriere to see if there was such a sweet little wagging tail. But eventually, how strange it might sound, I thought the end result was quite meager. Poor in terms of atmosphere and narrative.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

Cheesy father-daughter story.

Maybe my expectations were a little too high. Or was it the cheesiness of the father-daughter story? There’s the all-consuming grief after the loss of a daughter. A search for a surrogate daughter to appease this sorrow. And that causes Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) scouring the dump of Zalem (the last air city that immediately reminded me of the movie “Elysium“) for discarded cyborg parts, so he could construct Alita. He’s a kind of Frankenstein. But this time using non-human parts.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

Oh no. The romantic part.

Or maybe it was the romantic part. The last thing I needed. Really. The moment Hugo (Keean Johnson) came into the picture, I already knew that this rebel-looking hunk would make a romantic connection with this artificial being. And I really didn’t feel like witnessing romantic frivolities that make young teenage girls float. The only thing you aren’t sure about is the outcome. A happy ending? Or a catastrophic one?

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

The visuals are tremendous.

The only thing I regretted afterward, was that I hadn’t seen it on the silver screen. Probably it will all have been bigger and more impressive. Because frankly, the visuals are really amazing so to call (Not so hard when you see the budget they had). Great eye for details. A city that looks like a run-down anthill where metallic constructions stand next to remnants of the past. And a whole bunch of futuristic technologies and vehicles.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

Past-paced, action-rich combat scenes.

And also, the action-rich combat scenes look great actually. Swirling images in slow motion and impressive choreography you might say. Especially the fight in the bar with Zapan (EdThe transporter refueledSkrein), the skirmish in an alley after she followed Ido and the underground fight with Grewishka (Jackie Earle Haley) appealed to my imagination. And finally, there are also the Motorball competitions. Action-packed, fast-paced and mouth-wateringly brought into the picture. It immediately reminded me of the old film “Rollerball” from 1975.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

Impressive visuals, poor story.

But despite all the graphic power and hard action, I found it overall disappointing and moderate. Even though the fighting was extremely solid in terms of views, it was too safe and colored inside the lines. Perhaps because they were aiming at a young audience. But most of all I missed a solid and clear story. The so-called Great War was mentioned, but they didn’t do much more with it. The flying cities were also a complete mystery to me. There was no explanation. Beware, I had the same thing with “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets“. Also, a visually overwhelming film where the story is difficult to understand. This last film is also based on a comic, just like “Alita“. I can imagine that fans of these comics can empathize better with the story. But my biggest annoyance was that at the end I realized that I had watched a lengthy intro to the sequel that is probably already on the table at Twentieth Century Fox. And I hate sequels. Good advice Fox. Provide the continuation with a touch of humor, because that was missing too here.
Conclusion: a film that looks magnificent with a not so impressive story.

 

My rating 5/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Finally Official – ‘Matrix 4’ Is On The Way With Original Cast

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“Lana is a true visionary, a singular and original creative filmmaker”

This time it’s for real! This is not a drill “Matrix” fans. Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich has confirmed, the computer generated world of ‘The Matrix’ will be returning to the big screen. The original cast will be reprising their roles, while Lana Wachowski will be sharing co-writing duties with Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell. Lana will also be directing the future installment, with no word as of yet if her sister Lilly Wachowski will sign on. But chances are, that may change once things get further underway. Toby Emmerich released an official statement on the project, here’s what he had to say:

“We could not be more excited to be re-entering ‘The Matrix’ with Lana. Lana is a true visionary, a singular and original creative filmmaker, and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in ‘The Matrix’ universe.”

Though Plot details haven’t been worked out. Lana Wachowski shed some light as to the direction we can expect:

“Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now. I’m very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends.”

Keanu Reeves is set to return as Neo with Carrie-Anne Moss reprising her role as the infamous computer hacker, Trinity. How this will all work has yet to be revealed, considering both characters met their demise at the end of the current trilogy. There’s is also no word yet on whether  Laurence Fishbourne will return as the rebellion  leader, Morpheus.

Production is set to begin 2020

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Underwater | Official Trailer – HD

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Horror

Release Date:

January 10, 2020

Director:

William Eubank

Cast:

Kristen Stewart, T.J. Miller, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie

Plot Summary:

After an earthquake destroys their underwater station, six researchers must navigate two miles in the dangerous, unknown depths of the ocean floor to make it to safety in a race against time.

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