Some Films I’d Recommend

I’m hardly Barry Norman and thankfully I’m not Jonathon Ross but I do love a good film. Often my taste in films sits at around the 3 stars out of five mark on IMDB. In fact the running joke with Helen and I is that the worse review a film has the more likely we are going to enjoy it!

This week just gone I’ve watched quite a few films, once I’ve seen many times before and the rest were new to me. So, I thought I’d give each of them a write up from my perspective.

First up we’ll start with an old classic…

The Battle Of Britain

With names such as Laurence Olivier and Michael Cane starring in this wartime epic it couldn’t fail to be an enjoyable watch. Even though it was made in 1968 I can’t fault this film at all in terms of the manner is depicts a a point in the war when Britain was arguably at it’s weakest point. The bravery of our young fighter pilots is dramatically told without too much in the way of side story to distract from a visually compelling tale.

Of course watching this film is almost like watching a documentary, given the quality of the action footage and the fact we all know the outcome there is never a sense of uncertainty of the end result of the film. That said, for me there is never a moment when my interest wavered either.

I do love this film. Maybe it’s because I had  a granddad in the war who never liked to talk about it. He was a tank driver not a pilot but still I feel films like this fill in the gaps from those of us who had grandparents who didn’t like to talk about their awful experiences of war.

My verdict: 5/5

The Siege of Jadotville

A Netflix original and a film I’d never heard of. It came up on the recommended list after I’d watched The Battle of Britain and from the photo was clearly a war film. I was feeling pretty rubbish on a Sunday night so I started watching.

Basically it’s the telling of a true story of an Irish army regiment is the first ever UN peace keeping force sent out. They went to the Congo and were charge with protecting Jadotville. The actual story was buried by the Irish for decades after the vent of 1961 until the story was told in a book. This film tells that same story.

I wont’ give too much away and of course you can Google the actual historical events that the film depicts clearly. I urge you to watch first though and there are moment of complete disbelief at what went on and how the brave Irish soldiers were treated.

Well worth a watch.

My verdict: 4.5/5

Sand Castle

Another war film. I see a trend here. I was off work sick and took once again to Netflix and once again a Netflix original. This time set during the Iraq war and centred around an American reservist, who only signed up to make money for college, who was sent out there on a tour.

The lead role is played by Nicholas Hoult, a British actor who you may remember as far back as being the boy in About A Boy with Hugh Grant. It’s rather refreshing to have a leading role played by a Brit taking on an American character.

Essentially the story centres on him; from his really not wanting to be there and trying his best to get sent home to the action they get involved with an a fight over water. Having seen enough Iraq and Afghan war documentaries over the years it does a pretty good job of telling the story.

It lacks a little polish for me. It drags in places and doesn’t quite entertain as a film like this should. There is action, but limited and the quieter moments are forgettable rather than drawing you into the story.

A good effort and probably worth a watch if you like this kind of film but not one I’d likely watch again.

My verdict: 3/5

The Polka King

Yet another Netflix original and another true story. This one stars the brilliant Jack Black playing the part of Jan Lewan the Polish immigrant Pennsylvanian polka phenomenon.

The story centres on the polka activities of Lewan and the fact he fleeced millions of dollars from investors via a ponzi scheme. If you research the guy you realise just how much he took from people and the film somehow make you feel sorry for him. The sense is that he got into this by accident and it snowballed, then it just kept going until finally the authorities caught up with him and he was sent to prison.

For me it’s not one of Jack Black’s finest films. It’s mildly entertaining but more from the aspect you want to find out what happened to Lewan. The trailer hooked us in on this but in reality the film failed to meet expectations.

My verdict: 2.5/5

Thanks for reading and do let me know what you think of these films and any other you think I should check out.

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