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English on my mother's side - Russian on my father's. I'm a lethal combination of drama and tragedy when I write.

‘Wonder Woman’ Contains The Greatest Moment In Superhero Film History | moviepilot.com

Totally agree 100%!  Definitely the best scene of the movie.

Superhero movies are stuffed full of iconic moments, but ‘Wonder Woman’ just smashed them all in a sequence that is soon to be historic.

Source: ‘Wonder Woman’ Contains The Greatest Moment In Superhero Film History | moviepilot.com

Suite Française (Movie Review 2014)

3 Kernels

Currently streaming on Netflix is Suite Française a 2014 movie set in occupied France in 1940. It’s based on a novel written by Irène Némirovsky, a Jewish author, born in the Ukraine but lived and worked in France. Irène died in Auschwitz during the war, but her handwritten manuscript had later been discovered and finally published in 2004. The movie was released in the UK and subsequently premiered in the U.S. only on Lifetime. Thankfully, Netflix picked it up, giving us the opportunity to watch the story unfold.

Michelle Williams plays Lucile Angellier, the wife of a prominent and rich man who is a prisoner of war.  She lives with her mother-in-law, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, who is more intent on collecting the rents from her land tenants than caring about the impending German invasion.  It’s obvious that the relationship between the two is strained.

When the Germans march into their town and settle into homes to carry out their duties, Lucile and the Madame are assigned Lieutenant Bruno von Falk (played by the dreamy Matthias Schoenaerts who apparently learned German for the role). He settles in, behaving more like a polite gentleman rather than an overbearing and cruel occupier. Lucile, though she attempts to stay away from him, becomes intrigued by his personality as their interaction continue. Even though he’s the enemy, he’s a fascinating human being who she discovers is more than a soldier doing his duty. He’s kind, musically inclined, and writes music.

Since he appears to be as intrigued by Lucile, an unspoken admiration builds between the two until a passionate but interrupted moment occurs between them. Unfortunately, war is war, and these two people are on opposite sides of the conflict – the conquered and the defeated. When the war brings her to the decision to take a huge risk on behalf of one of their tenants, it threatens to destroy their love.

The film is well acted. A few scenes show the senseless cruelty and brutality of occupation and the difficult choices the Lieutenant must make in performing his duties. It’s an interesting study, too, in human behavior of the townspeople by the actions they take to stay on the good side of the Germans in implicating others. Loyalties are split. It also raises the question of what would you do in such a situation? Could you fall in love with the enemy?  Would you trust his love while you act treacherousy against his country and cause?

Is there a happy ending? Well, based on the unfortunate situation, love everlasting isn’t in the stars for these two people.  At the end, the narrator states that words of love were never spoken, but it became obvious they were shown by each other’s actions.

My Cousin Rachel (Movie Review 2017)

Rachel4 Kernels

“Rachel, my torment. “

Do not expect to have a definitive answer at the end of the movie if Rachel is good or evil. You will leave pondering that question for some time and for good reason. She is an intriguing character, tormenting you as you sift through the lies and innuendos to find the truth.

I came into this movie unfamiliar with the outcome never having read the original novel by Daphne du Maurier.  Clueless as to the ending, I was quite satisfied as I left the theater asking the other four patrons around me, “did she or didn’t she?” Their responses I shall keep silent.

If you’re a period movie junkie, no doubt you’ll be running to watch this suspenseful tale of a very different kind of woman.  She, too, is a wonder woman of sorts, as you’re dragged along wondering about her motives through the entire film. It borders on the Gothic melodrama with enough suspense to keep you guessing.

It begins with the narration of Ambrose Ashley’s cousin and how he takes in Philip to raise him after his parents die.  Ambrose is like a father to him, but he becomes ill and goes to Italy to “take in the sun.” (This is England, you know, dark, gloomy, rains a lot, has gray clouds, etc.).  Ambrose writes often and eventually announces he has met a woman named Rachel, who he marries.  When Philip receives a disturbing letter from his cousin, asking him to come to him, he leaves. By the time he arrives, his cousin is dead and Rachel has left. Thinking that she had inherited his estate and land, he is surprised to discover that his cousin left everything to him in an unchanged will, which he will inherit upon his twenty-fifth birthday.

Rachel finally arrives in England. Philip, determined to confront her on the allegations she may have poisoned his cousin, discovers a very different female than he anticipated. With a charismatic personality and beauty, he falls desperately in love to the point of obsession. He rewrites his will and leaves everything to Rachel — his inheritance, the estate, and all the family jewels.

The relationship between the two individuals unfolds in a strange way.  The insinuation constantly lurks that she plans to kill Philip because she’s always brewing strange cups of tea that taste disgusting. Philip’s godfather warns him about her rather questionable character, but he refuses to believe anything until they begin to have contentious periods after she allows him to make love to her.

The film slowly unfolds but it is needed to build up the questionable suspense as the characters’ personalities are revealed and begin to interact. Beautiful daytime landscapes and candlelight in the evening add to the authenticity of the times.  It feels period perfect in the sense of costumes and scenery, but it’s difficult to come to a clear conclusion of who Rachel is underneath the black veil.

It is fresh on the Tomato Meter with a fine performance from Rachel Weisz (as Rachel) and Sam Claflin (as Philip).  Though some reviewers term it as a romance, I disagree with that analogy. There is no romance.  He loves her but there’s no reciprocation on her part.  It’s a questionable relationship between two very different people whose personalities don’t blend together in love. Instead, there is obsession and suspicion that makes for a surprise ending that you do not see coming.

 

 

 

Wonder Woman (Movie Review 2017)

WW4 Kernels

Dust off your knowledge of Greek mythology and enter into the world of the Amazons – a tribe of women warriors. Greek mythology, per DC Comics, tells us the Amazons were created by the gods to protect mankind from Ares, the god of war. They ride horses, wield swords, are skilled archers, and have no qualms in defending themselves with brutal force.

The story begins with Diana, a young girl, who is yet to understand her powers, as she is raised on the island of Themyscira by her mother and queen. Beautiful aquamarine waters surround the mountainous location, shielded and hidden from the real world. It’s here that Diana learns her warrior skills, even though her mother would prefer she remains clueless about her true origin.

As she grows into a warrior, World War I, the war of all wars, rages outside their shielded world until a pilot crashes his plane through the barrier at their idyllic location. Saved by Diana from drowning, she brings the handsome pilot, Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine, to her mother. The ladies force him to confess as he is wound up in that glowing lasso of truth. Discovering that the war rages, Diana is convinced that the evil Ares lives and needs to be destroyed so mankind can be saved. Of course, is mankind worth saving? Are we inherently corrupt and a lost cause? Diana, believing it’s her duty and destiny, leaves the island with the pilot to kill Ares and end the war.

Diana is clueless when she comes in contact with a man and life outside her world. It’s a dirty and ugly place, and the clothes of 1917 don’t work for a warrior woman. Carrying around her sword and shield is a real pain. Steve tries to keep her powers under wraps but finds it hard to control a woman with a cause.

Kudos to Gal Gadot, the wonder woman Israeli actress who did a stunning job with a physically difficult role as the warrior woman.  It does make me wonder if she did all her own stunts or another wonder lady took her place. I cannot think of anyone better suited to play the role as she is both fierce and soulful. The other women of the island are all buff, young, and gorgeous in their outfits, with skills that make my aging body look pathetic.

Of course, the story is a struggle of good versus evil, and the prime purpose is the destruction of Ares by Wonder Woman. Along the way to her final mission, she manages a rather brutal encounter with the German army on the battlefield. The sad realities of the war are reiterated, which we should never forget. Though it was supposedly the war to end all wars, it did finally end after 8,528,831 military deaths worldwide (including a few of my distant cousins), not counting the casualties of civilians. If we had superheroes in the world such as Diana, perhaps these staggering statistics could be avoided. The reality, of course, is that we do not. Our imaginations continue to create these saviors of mankind to satisfy our need for salvation from ourselves.

The movie overall was good. Since I’m not a comic book superhero junkie by any means, my only complaints about these types of tales (even Superman with handsome Henry Cavill in his tights), is that the final battle between good and evil drags on and on and on. They throw everything in the book at each other, as well as throwing each other around like rag dolls that result in no cuts or bruises.

So how does Wonder Woman finally win the battle against the evil Ares? Well, realizing who she is in the scheme of the universe and choosing love over hate. Thankfully, we still make movies where superheroes win over evil. If we start writing stories where evil wins over good, we’re a doomed society.

In closing, I can say, that I felt a bit puffed up as a female at the end. Kudos to our gender! We can be pretty badass without blaming it on PMS.

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