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Dunkirk

Dunkirk is a war film based on the events that took place during the Dunkirk evacuation during World War 2. The film was written, produced, and directed by renowned director Christopher Nolan, who is known for his other work such as The Dark Knight, Interstellar, and Memento.

Dunkirk is a portrayal of the three different perspectives of the famous evacuation, namely, see, land, and air. Although there is very little dialogue throughout the film, much of Nolan’s skill comes to bear as he tells a story through visuals and a powerful musical score.

The film was highly reviewed by critics and filmgoers alike, with many praising its direction, screenplay, and cinematography, and being cited as Nolan’s best work to date, as well as one of the best war films of the modern era.

Dunkirk received eight nominations at the Critics’ Choice Awards, of which is won for Best Editing. It also received a further eight nominations at the British Academy Film Awards, taking home the award for Best Sound.

At the 90th Academy Awards, the film received another eight nominations, including those for Best Picture and Best Director, and won Best Sound Editing, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. It’s a moving depiction of the acts World War 2, and is sure to give film lovers a good 2 hours of entertainment before they get back to enjoying the real slots NZ have to offer.

The Story

The story starts on a bleak beach in 1940, with thousands of Allied soldiers standing in vast lines on the beach, waiting to board the passenger ships that have come to pick them up. We are then introduced to Tommy, a British private who is the only survivor of a German ambush.

After making his way on to the beach, he meets another soldier, Gibson just before Germans dive-bomb the beach in an attempt to kill the waiting soldiers. With many being wounded, Gibson and Tommy see the opportunity to take a wounded soldier on board a hospital ship.

The ship is destroyed by more dive-bombers, but the two soldiers manage to get off before it sinks into the bay. With only one military ship available for transport, the British government calls for civilians to begin making their way across the English Channel. We are then introduced to more characters as each of their stories is broken down and timed into a converging point during the film.

We follow a civilian man, his son, and his son’s friend as they cast off to reach France in order to evacuate soldiers, and come across a stranger floating on a wreckage in the middle of the sea. In the sky, we meet the pilots of three Spitfires as they make their way across the English Channel and encounter German planes before their leader is shot down.

By the end of the film, over 300,000 soldiers have been successfully transported off of the beach by the hundreds of civilian boats that make the rescue journey.

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A Star is Born

Well known actor Bradley Cooper makes his debut as a director (and also co star) with this sensational feature film, a well told story of love and dreams. This is now the fourth film version of this story, the previous having featured acting greats such as Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand as the star the story revolves around.

And Lady Gaga has herself made an amazing film debut in a difficult role, a role that highlights and focuses on the actress’s skills in detail. This risk taken by Cooper on the inexperienced Lady Gaga really pays off, and takes this movie to great levels.

Using original songs from Lady Gaga, Cooper has kept the compelling storyline but managed to infuse a new life into this thrice told story, while himself being an amazing presence on the screen. Cooper additionally spent a year and a half taking voice lessons, and this shows in his singing performance in the film.

Set for release in October 2018 at cinemas, this is a must see movie that outshines other recently released films – and has the ingredients to be a massive hit. This movie is a future classis, to watch so take a short break from your online betting NZ thrills and make a mem to visit a movie theatre in October.

The Story

We first meet Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), addicted to drugs and alcohol, Jackson is an amazing artist who is selling out shows but struggling with his addictions and the emptiness of the lifestyle he is living. Jackson stumbles across Ally (Lady Gaga) singing at a local bar while he is again out drinking. Though Ally is covering an Edith Piaf song, and is not an experienced artist like Jackson – she impresses him and he falls for her almost immediately.

Ally is a simple girl, with no dreams of super stardom – she is quite content with her bar singing gig and paying her bills with these earnings. She still lives with her father, who is a pessimist who believes luck is not on your side when it comes to finding fame and fortune – even if they are super talented like he believes his daughter is. In the end Ally makes the decision to trust in Jackson and leave with him, despite knowing he is an alcoholic – because he believes in her.

A great scene in the first third of this movies is Ally singing her song Shallow – it has a huge build up and the understanding if these two people meeting randomly and Ally having such a lucky journey to stardom is impressed upon viewers.

We learn more of Jackson’s abusive childhood, an alcoholic father who used to give his young children, we start to have an understanding of his lifestyle. Jacksons elder brother seems to be the only reason he made it out of childhood alive, but Jackson does not want his elder brothers help as an adult. The performance by Cooper as an angry jealous, broken person who only lives to hear his love sing is riveting – and sure to win him awards.

Though Lady Gaga gives a solid performance in her role as a new star, Cooper is the one who steals the whole show – both as director and co-star.

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Mission Impossible: Fallout

Films need to be pretty amazing to get rated a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, especially when they are not an original film but part of a franchise – but the latest Mission Impossible in the series has managed to impress even the most jaded reviewers with its slick and fast paced storyline and great action scenes.

With its great blending action and attention to every technical detail possible, this film has the perfect action film rhythm that makes the viewer feel like they are part of the film and immerses you in the film. Add to the slick film work, the great script and even better performances by some top actors means that this is one all great action film that is a definite must watch.

Director Christopher McQuarrie has made a direct sequel to the previous Mission Impossible film, with the narrative being explained and all details given in the beginning – so no misunderstanding about the direction of the film will occur. McQuarrie has cut any fat and unnecessary bloat from the film, leading straight to action and by the end of the movie you feel like you too have fought this battle.

The Story

A mysterious group calling themselves the Apostle threaten the world with their mission to create chaos – no other objectives for these bad guys. They strongly believe that suffering and war leads to peace – so they will usher in the next peaceful age. They have an inside person at the IMF, and using him the have attained weapons grade plutonium to create dirty bombs.

Enter Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) – tasked with getting the plutonium back, but with a ghost from the past haunting his every move. Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) is that ghost, the villain from the previous Mission Impossible movie – who did not kill Hunt when he could have.

Hunt is sent on his mission to find the hidden agent in the IMF by his boss Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) but he is also given a sidekick by Hunley’s boss Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett). The Brutish, thug is August Walker (Henry Cavill), sent along by Sloan to have one of her own men on this mission as she does not trust Hunt or Hunley.

The new team mates head off to Paris, along with Hunts usual sidekicks – were the action starts fast but stays consistent, not fading away or being unnecessary to the actual storyline. While you do not have to focus on the plot to enjoy the movie, there is an actual plot that works and is interesting!

The Mission Impossible kind of action film does not bring to mind great acting performances, more great action scenes – but Fallout offers a way better than average acting performance from all those involved. The realness of the actors is allowed to show through on screen, with cruise showing his age and not being as physically tough as Cavill’s new brutish spy character.

Though there seems to be a sequel to every movie these days, and it can be hard to get really excited about another sequel – Fallout really pulls out all the stops. Mission Impossible: Fallout offers a great action movie to those who love that genre, Though not as big a thrill as winning a horse racing betting site, it is one of the top action films released this year – go see it!

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Crazy Rich Asians

Directed by John Chu, Crazy Rich Asians was released in the US on 15 August 2018.  The film is based on a novel written by Kevin Kwan.  Crazy Rich Asians has an excellent cast that includes Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Nico Santos, Lisa Lu, Ken Jeong and Michelle Yeoh.

The story begins with Rachel (Constance Wu) and Nick (Henry Golding) a young couple living in New York.  Their relationship becomes serious and when Nick is invited to Singapore to attend a wedding he takes Rachel with him.

Rachel has not met any of Nick’s family and what she does not know is that his family is extremely wealthy and that Nick will inherit a fortune.  The family also holds some sort of celebrity status in Singapore.  When Rachel meets the family she soon realises that she is not their first choice for a wife for the most eligible bachelor in Singapore.

Meeting the Family

Rachel understandably nervous now makes a few mistakes and soon finds out that Nick’s mother Eleanor does not like her.  Rachel is invited to attend the bride to be’s bachelorette party where she is embarrassed by a so-called friend who had previously dated Nick.  Rachel is treated very badly, which of course only makes her more endearing to the audience.

Astrid, Nick’s cousin who is also at the party befriends Rachel and confides in her that her husband has been unfaithful.  Meanwhile Nick confides in his friend Colin that he wants to propose to Rachel.  Colin is happy, but is worried, as he knows that Nick’s family are not happy with Rachel.

Things Do Not Go Well

Nick gets to hear about Rachel’s bad experience and he tries to make up for it by taking her to his family.  Unfortunately things do not go well and Eleanor tells Rachel that she does not believe she is good for her son.  Rachel is understandably hurt and decides to leave Singapore.  Her friend, Peik Lin convinces her to stay and does an amazing makeover on her.  Rachel attends the wedding, but once again things do not go well, making you think she should have stayed home and played online blackjack instead!

Nick’s mother and grandmother tell Nick that Rachel was born out of an adulterous affair and they tell Nick that he if forbidden to see Rachel.  They do not want him embroiled in a scandalous affair.  Rachel is hurt and runs out of the wedding.  Nick tries to stop Rachel even after his family threatens to disown him.

Rachel decides to go and stay with Peik Lin.  Rachel’s mother, Kerry, arrives and tells Rachel why she left her husband and explained that he was abusive.  Rachel finds out that it was Nick who asked Kerry to visit Rachel and she decides to meet with Nick who then proposes.

Rachel and Eleanor meet where she tells her that she has decided not to accept Nick’s proposal as she is afraid it will mean his being disowned by his family and his relationship with his family will be damaged.

Rachel decides to leave and you will have to watch the film to see if there will be a happy ending.

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Dances With Wolves

Dances with Wolves is a western film that was released in 1990. It was directed by Kevin Costner, who also starred in the film, and it won seven Academy Awards and a Golden Globe award for the best drama. It has as almost many wins as those who are successful in Bendigo Cup betting behind it, and when you watch it, you’ll see why.

John Dunbar, a Lieutenant in the Union army is sent to the frontier.  When he arrives he finds the post deserted and in bad shape.  He decides to stay.

He begins to restore the fort and writes in a journal every day.  His only friend is a wolf who he names Two Socks, because of his two white feet.

Dunbar Meets The Sioux

One day he encounters a Sioux man, Kicking Bird, trying to steal his horse.  He manages to chase the man.  Later a group Sioux Indians return once again to steal his horse.  Dunbar plans to visit the Sioux village and meets a woman on his way.

She is hurt and he takes her with him to the village.  The Sioux are wary of him and the warriors are ready to attack.  Kicking Bird persuades them not to.  After their first encounter the chief, Ten Bears and some of the Sioux begin a series of visits with Dunbar.

The woman, Stands With A Fist, was found by the Sioux and adopted when her family were killed in a raid and she acts as translator when the visits happen.  His relationship with the Sioux grows and he is given an Indian name, Dances With Wolves.

He also falls in love with Stands With A Fist who he also marries.  Dunbar aids the Sioux when the Pawnee attack them and helps them with firearms.

The Danger

Dunbar warns Ten Bears that the white man will soon be coming and that they should move their camp.  He also realises that he has left his journal at the outpost and will need to return to get it back as it contains evidence of the location of the Sioux.

When he gets back to the fort the US soldiers take him prisoner and because he is seen as a deserter he will be transported to Fort Hays to be hanged.

The Sioux find out what has happened and plan to rescue Dunbar when he is being transported.  They are successful and he goes back to the camp with them.  Dunbar realises that as long as he is with them they are in danger, as the US soldiers will continue to search for him.  Together with Stands With A Fist they decide to leave to ensure the safety of the Sioux.

It is a beautiful story adapted from Michael Blake’s novel and was applauded for including advice from Native Americans.  The film also incorporates the Lakota language and the actors were coached by a professional and this all added to the authenticity of the film.  It was filmed in South Dakota, which is known for its beautiful landscapes.

This is a wonderful love story as well and will appeal to adults as it does contain some violence and may not be good for sensitive viewers.

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Gone With the Wind

Gone-With-the-Wind

Gone-With-the-Wind

Gone with the Wind is based on Margaret Mitchell’s novel. This film was released in 1939 and is a historical romance set in the Deep South during the Civil War. This story centres on Scarlett O’Hara, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and her pursuit of her love interest, Ashley Wilkes.

Ashley is married to Scarlett’s cousin Melanie Hamilton.  Scarlett is played by Vivien Leigh, Rhett is played by Clark Gable, Leslie Howard plays Ashley and Olivia de Havilland plays Melanie.

The Love Triangle

The film is set on the plantation, Tara in 1861, long before the Internet, TV’s and Cox Plate betting was around, and Scarlett is most upset that Ashley has decided to marry his very “plain” cousin Melanie.  Scarlett’s plan is to get Ashley back by throwing herself at him at a huge family gathering despite warnings from her Father and servant Hattie.

Scarlett and Ashley find themselves alone together and Scarlett throws one of her famous tantrums.  What she does not know is that Rhett Butler is witnessing her outburst.  Rhett is from a rich Charleston family and is the so-called black sheep of his family and becomes fascinated with Scarlett.

To spite Ashley Scarlett decides to marry Charles, who she does not love, but he later dies during the war.  Scarlett goes to visit the Hamilton’s, her motive being to see Ashley.  While here she runs into Rhett who wins a bid at an auction to raise funds to dance with Scarlett.

Scarlett continues to pursue Ashley and they even share a passionate kiss.  The war continues and Atlanta is besieged.  Scarlett calls on Rhett for help and together with Melanie and her baby they return to Tara.

Scarlett’s Disappointments

On returning home she finds that her mother has died and her father has is not doing well.  Scarlett vows to keep her family together in spite of her home being invaded by the Union troops.   More sadness awaits Scarlett as her father is killed while riding his horse.

Ashley returns and goes to live at Tara where Scarlett tries to persuade him to run away with her.  He confesses his love for her, but says he cannot leave his wife.

Scarlett accepts Rhett’s marriage proposal.  They have a daughter named Bonnie.  Scarlett continues to wait for Ashley and no longer wants anything to do with Rhett.  Scarlett and Ashley are later seen by Ashley’s sister, India, embracing and because India has an intense hatred for Scarlett she begins to spread rumours.  Rhett gets to hear the rumours.

Poor Melanie who thinks that Scarlett is nothing but good to her takes Scarlett’s side and refuses to believe anything bad about her.

Rhett and Scarlett argue where he forces himself on her, but the next day he asks for her forgiveness and says that he will give her the divorce that she has been asking for.

Scarlett says that divorce would be a disgrace and she refuses.  Scarlett finds out that she is pregnant and she tells Rhett and they argue and she falls down the stairs losing the baby.

Watch this wonderful film to find out if there is a happy ending…

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Blood Diamond

Blood Diamond was released in 2006 and is set during the Sierra Leone Civil War of 1991 – 2002.  The film is directed by Edward Zwick, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, and Jennifer Connelly.

This film is not for the faint hearted as it shows the violence of this war with its many atrocities.

Blood Diamond refers to what is also known as conflict diamonds, these diamonds are mined in war zones and are then sold and profits used to finance conflicts and where the warlords committing these atrocities profit from the money.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

Meet the Characters

In the film we meet Solomon, played by Djimon Hounsou, who is struggling to provide for his family.  His dream is to send his son Dia, played by Caruso Kuypers, to medical school.  His dreams are dashed by the violence in his country.

Solomon is spared from the conflict, but is forced to pan for diamonds.  His son Dia is taken from him and is forced to join the conflict as a child soldier.  He is brainwashed and given a gun and forced to fight in the conflict.

The film depicts the horror of this country and we see bandits getting rich with smuggled diamonds, rather than with money won from something legal, like wagering with some online betting.

The Pink Diamond

Solomon makes a discovery of a huge pink diamond, but he is forced to hide the diamond when the camp is raided.  Danny Archer, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Solomon find themselves incarcerated together.

Archer was caught trying to smuggle diamonds into Liberia.  When Archer finds out about the diamond he gets himself and Solomon free.

Archer leaves the country for his home South Africa, where he is involved in some dodgy activities and his employer a corrupt Afrikaner forces him to go and find the pink diamond.

Archer intends to steal the diamond and use the money to fund his escape from his employer.  When Archer returns to Sierra Leone he promises to help Solomon find his family in return for finding the diamond.

A Touch of Romance

Maddy Bowen, who plays a journalist, is looking for evidence of the illegal diamond trade and Archer promises to give her the story.

Solomon’s son is released but because he has been so badly brainwashed he refuses to acknowledge his father.

A whole lot of conflict and fighting ensues as the search for the hidden diamond continues.  Archer’s employer turns out to be one of the bad guys and adds intrigue to the story.

This film highlights the plight of conflict zones in Africa, and the corruption that continues due to the greed of warlords and corrupt governments.  We see the true friendship of two men caught up in a civil war and their struggle to protect their family.

There is also a bit of romance thrown in. The plight of child soldiers is also highlighted.  The film offers vivid pictures of the violence and is not appropriate for children.

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The Book Thief

The Book Thief is based on a novel written by Markus Zusak and adapted into a movie with the same name.  It was released in 2013 and is a World War II drama.

How it Begins

The story is narrated by Death who tells us the story of a young girl Liesel Meminger.  Liesel and her brother are sent to a foster family in Munich.  While travelling there her brother dies and is buried next to the train tracks.

It is here that Liesel steals her first book, “The Grave Diggers Handbook” which has fallen out of the gravedigger’s pocket.  Liesl arrives at her new home and meets her foster parents.

She makes friends with Rudy and they become fast friends.  At school Liesel is ridiculed because she is unable to read, but her foster father, Hans helps Liesel to read.

Liesl “Borrows” Books

The film takes place during the height of Nazism in Germany, long before the advent of betting sites, and it is at a book burning ceremony that Liesel is seeing taking a book from the fire by the mayor’s wife.

Rosa, who does laundry for the mayor’s wife asks Liesel to drop of the laundry and it is here where Liesel realises that she had been seen taking the book.

Liesel is allowed to go into the library and is allowed to come and go as she pleases but the mayor discovers his wife’s secret and is not happy about the intrusion in his home.

Max the Jew

We are introduced to Max Vandenburg, a Jew, who has to escape and finds refuge at the Hubermann’s home.  Max and Liesel become great friends.  Max stays in the basement of the Hubermann’s home, but soon falls very ill.

Liesel helps Max regain his health and reads to him.  Although Liesel has been banned from the mayor’s home she has been climbing in the window to “borrow” books.

There is of course the constant worry that the Nazis would discover that Max is being hidden in the basement.

Rudy however finds out Liesel’s secret and he is sworn to secrecy.  Of course the bully of the story Franz threatens Rudy to reveal his secret and Rudy goes to great lengths to protect Liesel and her family.

The Book Thief also shows the way the Jews were treated when Hans comes to the rescue of his friend Lehman who is taken away by the Nazis because he is a Jew.

Hans is now a target and this has put his own family in danger.  Hans is later conscripted and has to join the army.

The Book Thief is a wonderful story that gives a glimpse into the life of a group of people living under Nazi tyranny.

The cast is well chosen and deliver excellent portrayals of their characters.  The story is a combination of humour, sadness and moments where you find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat.

This is a must see, not only for World War II enthusiasts, but also for anyone wanting to enjoy an excellent well-acted historically themed movie with a rich storyline.