Movie A Day #333: Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich (2016, directed by Claudio Fah)


The year is 1944 and a group of Germany officials and military officers, all of whom are secretly opposed to the Nazi regime, are plotting to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  A group of American and British operatives, led by Captain Evan Blackburn (Sean Patrick Flannery), have been dropped behind enemy lines.  Their mission is to protect the man who has been chosen to lead Germany after Hitler’s death but, after the assassination fails, Blackburn and his men find themselves with a new mission.  Working with a group of Russian soldiers, Blackburn tries to prevent a group of Nazis from fleeing to Argentina with a cache of stolen good.

The plot of Beyond Valkyrie is rooted in fact.  In June of 1944, Hitler was nearly assassinated by a group of high-ranking Germans who hoped to replace him with a more moderate leader.  (Historically, it’s questionable whether the majority of the conspirators were truly anti-Nazi or if they just felt that Hitler was mismanaging the war.)  At the same time, as it became evident that Germany was going to lose the war, many Nazi war criminals did escape to Argentina, where the government of Juan Peron provided them with sanctuary from prosecution.  Some of the most notorious Nazis reinvented themselves as businessmen in both South America and the Middle East.  (Others, like Klaus Barbie and Reinhard Gehlen, offered their services to any government that would accept them.)

The true story is so interesting that it’s unfortunate that Beyond Valkyrie is such a bad movie.  Basically, consider it to be Inglourious Basterds with none of Tarantino’s style or Christoph Waltz’s smiling menace.  Beyond Valkyrie is a war epic on a budget, a very low budget.  Neither the weak script nor the cheap-looking CGI does much to add authenticity to the movie.  There are a few familiar faces in the cast, though none of them are onscreen for long.  Rutger Hauer provides what little dignity Beyond Valkyrie has.  Tom Sizemore looks like he’s still recovering from the weekend.  Stephen Lang picks up his paycheck.  Sean Patrick Flanery does the best he can but he’s stuck with all the worst lines.

One final note: One of the Russian soldiers, played by Andrew Byron, is actually named Tolstoy.  I waited for Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, and Dostoevsky to show up but they never came.

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The Detroit Film Critics Love Florida and James Franco!


Yesterday, the Detroit Film Critics Society announced that they had selected Sean Baker’s The Florida Project as the best film of 2017!

You can check out their nominees here and the winners below:

Best Film: The Florida Project

Best Director: Sean Baker, The Florida Project

Best Actor: James Franco, The Disaster Artist

Best Actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actor: Willem DaFoe, The Florida Project

Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Best Ensemble: The Post

Breakthrough: Jordan Peele, Get Out

Best Screenplay: Martin McDonagh, Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Documentary: Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

Best Animated Feature: The LEGO Batman Movie

Best Use of Music: Baby Driver

Here Are The AFI’s Top 10 Films of 2017!


The Big Sick

Yesterday, the American Film Institute named their picks for the 10 best films of 2017!

Traditionally, the AFI has been a pretty good precursor of what’s going to actually be nominated for best picture.  Usually, with one or two exceptions, the AFI Top Ten closely mirrors that best picture lineup.

(For the record, in 2016, Lion and Hidden Figures received Best Picture nominations, despite being snubbed by the AFI.  Brooklyn and The Revenant pulled it off in 2015 and, in 2014, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Theory of Everything were snubbed by AFI but were still nominated for best picture.)

So, what does that mean for 2017?  Well, it’s very good news for The Big Sick, Wonder Woman, and Get Out, all of which are genres that have traditionally struggled to get best picture nominations.  It’s also potentially bad news for both Mudbound and Darkest Hour, neither of which made the AFI’s list.

  • “The Big Sick”
  • “Call Me By Your Name”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “The Florida Project”
  • “Get Out”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Post”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Wonder Woman”

Here Are The 15 Semi-Finalists For The Best Documentary Oscar!


Yesterday, the Academy announced the 15 semi-finalists for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar.

I’ve seen quite  a few documentaries this year but I haven’t seen any of the films listed below.  Quite a few of them are on Netflix.  Abacus: Small Enough to Jail can be found on YouTube.  I have a feeling that An Inconvenient Sequel will win, just because Al Gore will probably trash Trump during his acceptance speech.

Anyway, here are the semi-finalists:

Abacus: Small Enough TO Jail,

Chasing Coral,

City of Ghosts,

Ex Libris — The New York Public Library,

Faces Places,

Human Flow,

Icarus,

An Inconvenient Sequel,

Jane,

LA 92,

Last Man in Aleppo,

Long Strange Trip,

One Of Us,

Strong Island,

Unrest

 

The Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Get In With Get Out!


Today, the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics announced their picks for the best of 2017!  After picking up awards from many of the other precursors, Get Out has finally been named best picture of the year.  While it’s always debatable how much weight these various groups carry with the Academy, Get Out can use all the help it can get to become one of the few horror films to ever receive a best picture nomination.

​Best Film
Call Me by Your Name
Dunkirk
Get Out – WINNER
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director
Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk – WINNER
Jordan Peele – Get Out
Dee Rees – Mudbound

Best Actor
Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread
James Franco – The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour – WINNER

Best Actress
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – WINNER
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird
Meryl Streep – The Post

Best Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project
Armie Hammer – Call Me By Your Name
Jason Mitchell – Mudbound
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – WINNER
Michael Stuhlbarg – Call Me By Your Name

Best Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige – Mudbound
Tiffany Haddish – Girls Trip
Holly Hunter – The Big Sick
Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird – WINNER

Best Acting Ensemble
Dunkirk
It
Mudbound
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – WINNER

Best Youth Performance
Dafne Keen – Logan
Sophia Lillis – It
Brooklynn Prince – The Florida Project – WINNER
Millicent Simmonds – Wonderstruck
Jacob Tremblay – Wonder

Best Voice Performance
Will Arnett – The LEGO Batman Movie
Gael García Bernal – Coco
Michael Cera – The LEGO Batman Movie
Bradley Cooper – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Anthony Gonzalez – Coco – WINNER

Best Motion Capture Performance
Andy Serkis – War for the Planet of the Apes – WINNER
Dan Stevens – Beauty and the Beast
Steve Zahn – War for the Planet of the Apes
Taika Waititi – Thor: Ragnarok

Best Original Screenplay
Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani – The Big Sick
Jordan Peele – Get Out – WINNER
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor – The Shape of Water

Best Adapted Screenplay
Hampton Fancher & Michael Green, Story by Hampton Fancher – Blade Runner 2049
James Ivory – Call Me by Your Name
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber – The Disaster Artist
Aaron Sorkin – Molly’s Game
Virgil Williams and Dee Rees – Mudbound – WINNER

Best Animated Feature
The Breadwinner
Coco – WINNER
Despicable Me 3
The LEGO Batman Movie
Loving Vincent

Best Documentary
City of Ghosts
Faces Places
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Jane – WINNER
Step

Best Foreign Language Film
BPM (Beats Per Minute) – WINNER
First They Killed My Father
In the Fade
The Square
Thelma

Best Production Design
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049 – WINNER
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Wonder Woman

Best Cinematography
Roger A. Deakins – Blade Runner 2049 – WINNER
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom – Call Me by Your Name
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Dunkirk
Rachel Morrison – Mudbound
Dan Laustsen – The Shape of Water

Best Editing
Baby Driver – WINNER
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
Get Out
The Shape of Water

Best Original Score
Blade Runner 2049 – WINNER
Coco
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

The Joe Barber Award for Best Portrayal of Washington, DC:
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Last Flag Flying
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Post – WINNER

Music Video of the Day: Snow (2010, dir by Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall)


As I sit here writing up today’s music video of the day, the temperature outside is plunging.  When I woke up this morning, it was 40 degrees outside.  Tonight, it’s 33 degrees and getting colder.  This weather may not be good for my asthma but at least it finally feels like Christmas around here!  Best of all, it might snow tonight.  My plan is not to sleep tonight.  Instead, I’m going to sit in front of a window, write, and look for snow.

Living in Texas, I’m lucky if I get to see snow twice in one year.  It snowed back in January.  Didn’t last for long.  It looked something like this:

Photograph taken on January 8th, 2017 by Erin Nicole. This is what we consider to be a lot of snow in Texas. Stop laughing at us, Canada.

Anyway, Snow is not only what’s on my mind but it’s also the title of today’s music video of the day!  Snow was the first track off of The Chemical Brothers’ seventh studio album, Further.  All 8 of the tracks featured a video directed by Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall.  Snow‘s dreamlike video features Jenny Godding swimming.  Intentionally or not, it reminds me a good deal of Irene Miracle’s surrealistic swim in Dario Argento’s Inferno.

Jenny Godding is also featured on the cover of Further.

Enjoy!