Posts Tagged ‘Apocalypse Now’

The Art Of Darkness – Apocalypse Now & Full Metal Jacket

Posted 17 Jun 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Apocalypse Now, USA, 1979

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Full Metal Jacket, UK / USA, 1987

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

pocalypse Now is considered by many to be the greatest war film ever made. “War is hell,” the cliche proclaims, but it seems to be entertaining hell. Along with other ghastly subjects such as murder and vampirism, war ranks among the most popular and commonly used subject matter of filmed entertainment, and no war has yielded more or better films than the one in Vietnam between 1955 and 1975. Whether detailing the effects of the war by studying its aftermath or getting right into the heart of the battles, the Vietnam War has proven to be a source of boundless interest for filmmakers and moviegoers alike. Perhaps it is the moral ambiguity of Vietnam that makes it the most interesting war for film adaptations, and no films illustrate this ambiguity better than Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) and Stanley Kubrick‘s Full Metal Jacket (1987). Read More

Armadillo

Posted 22 Apr 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Armadillo, Denmark, 2010

Directed by Janus Metz

Armadillo is a brutal, gripping look at war.

Danish director Janus Metz’s Armadillo has been criticized by some for its use of fiction film techniques in depicting the day-to-day lives of Danish soldiers stationed in Afghanistan; many of these detractors point to the very similar American film Restrepo (2010) as a model of documentary realism, seeming to indicate that the use of color correction and non-diegetic music in Armadillo makes it somehow less “real” than that film. Restrepo also had the advantage of an earlier U.S. release date and subsequent Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature, so Armadillo, which also features a small film crew embedded with a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan, became somewhat overlooked. However, it is largely because of the film’s post-production techniques that, for me at least, it emerges as the more gripping of the two films.

While Restrepo‘s directors, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, certainly deserve at least equal commendation for their bravery in making the film (they spent a year with their platoon, while Metz’s film covers only half that), it is precisely Metz’s more narrative-driven approach that draws the viewer in and makes his film all the more haunting. A viewer’s enjoyment of both films hinges to a great degree on their ability to be entertained by relatively unadorned reality, as much of the time spent outside of patrols and combat situations is whiled away in sheer boredom, so Metz is wise to present this reality with the gorgeous cinematography audiences have come to expect from fiction films. Whereas Restrepo‘s more traditionally documentary-style approach makes the experience akin to watching the news, Armadillo paradoxically feels more real because it is presented in the way most audience members have grown accustomed to seeing war: through the dark but beautiful visions presented in films such as Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) and Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987). Read More

Monsters

Posted 14 Dec 2010 — by contributor
Category Member Movie Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Monsters, UK, 2010

Written and Directed by Gareth Edwards

Gareth Edwards' Monsters movies i didnt getGareth Edwards deserves more critical acclaim for his visual effects work than his direction in this piece. Monsters boasts the kinds of creations that recall the beautiful imagery and craftsmanship of Jurassic Park – remember how stunningly real the billion-year-old creatures seemed back in 1993? Well, in 2010, Gareth Edwards made non-existent creatures palpable. So much so that you could almost feel them in the room, next to you, watching the movie, a credit to the eerie, luscious environment he created as well. Last year, District 9 and Avatar brought us just as lively creatures, but Gareth Edwards did it with only $200,000 (estimated) at his disposal, trespassing all over Mexico, and using locals and “non-face” actors; it’s safe to assume that most of the budget went to the FX department. But, regardless, it’s a feat, and one that deserves recognition. Read More