Greetings from Spockgirl Musings, where logic rules, but the frailties of
human nature, genetic inadequacies and hormonal imbalances wreak havoc.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Passchendaele and Gunless...

Movie Reviews:

There haven't been that many movies of note out for a while, but there are a few that I thought might be cool but haven't heard anything good about. Some that I just haven't bothered to watch yet are: Hot Tub Time Machine, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and The Last Airbender. I did watch Prince of Persia and Just Wright some time ago, but never got around to writing reviews.

I have this thing where I can't watch a war movie (or any type of drama) on its own. Basically I have to watch that one first and then watch something else, like say, a comedy, or flat out action movie. I understand why this has to be, but not why I can't not do it. This becomes rather troublesome when there aren't that many decent movies to watch. So last Saturday, I watched "Passchendaele" and "Gunless".

Passchendaele is a little known WWI movie written and directed by (and also starring) Paul Gross, a Canadian, about a little known WWI battle involving a small group of Canadian troops. This movie packs a lot of punch and every once in a while will zing you. It touches on many things including: family, love, conscription, patriotism, racism, snobbery, shellshock, and more. The colour and tone of the movie at first threw me for a loop, but as the movie progressed I understood why it was done in this manner. I felt that the main battle sequence at the end of the movie was one of the most real and visceral that I recall having seen in a while. This is almost what I had envisioned trench warfare to be, except in my mind, in other battles, there was also more blood and bodies... but there is plenty enough here. Two sequences stand out: the troopline marching along a ridge at sunset with their silhouettes mirrored in the water, and the main battle sequence at the end of which the camera pans up for a bird’s eye view. I am quite surprised that I made it almost to the end of this movie without tears. I highly recommend that you also watch the special features for background of the battle and of the effort behind the scenes as well.

So... to follow that, I watched Gunless, also starring Paul Gross. I remember perhaps the first time I saw him was in a tv show called "Due South" in which he played a mountie who ended up working in the states for some reason. I have only a vague recollection of it. Anyways, in Gunless, he plays an American gunfighter who ends up in small town Canada. This ain’t no Silverado, but it is however a shamelessly funny western.  Yes it makes fun of Canadians, but I think we have a general tendency to laugh at ourselves moreso than at others. The supporting cast is well-cast, and includes Dustin Milligan as a super-cutie pie mountie, Tyler Mane (who played Sabretooth in X-Men) as a soft-hearted blacksmith and Callum Keith Rennie (what else would he play but the bad-ass). Oh, and Sienna Guillory as the trying to be independent frontier-woman. As to be expected in a movie called "Gunless", there are some bits that are just dumb, but you can't help but laugh. Oddly enough on this one, I also recommend watching the special features, which will provide some extra laughs, and more importantly, highlights of the beautiful location it was shot in. I’m quite surprised that more location scouts haven’t found the amazing variety of landscapes and microclimates we have here in this province.

Perhaps I did a little too much flag waving here? Why not.


DaveO said...

"Gunless" reminds me of a TV show that aired in 1991, about a bordertown (may even have been it's name) out in the western US and Canada. Mountie on one side, US Marshal on the other. Independent Frontier Woman in between.

Studied Passchendaele in a class entitled 'Art and WWI,' or something to that effect. How does this movie compare to more widely known movies such as Remarque's "All's Quiet..." and "Paths of Glory?"

Spockgirl said...

I think there was a TV show called "Bordertown", but I never watched it. At least I don't recall... I do not remember if I watched "All's Quiet on the Western Front", but did not see "Paths of Glory". I have written a little bit on the blog explaining my lack of memory and the way my memory works... ie ... it sucks. I only remember bits and pieces of my life.