Tag Archives: WWII


Director: David Leveaux
Runtime: 108 minutes
Language: English

Mostlyindies Grading:

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Dear God, is Jai Courtney gorgeous. The Exception opens with a scene that wouldn’t be amiss in soft-core gay porn, in which Courtney is shown shirtless, pecs to the wind, lying in the dark as if in wait. And my, does the camera love him! In these days in which men can now flaunt everything while doing a full frontal, Courtney reveals so much jaw-dropping masculine beauty I had to stop the movie for a moment and take a breath to recover. Yes, he’s that distracting. No, don’t look at me like that and then roll your eyes; the man is a gentler version of Tom Hardy. And wouldn’t I want to see the both of them–

Okay, getting ahead of myself, and this is a simple review of The Exception, a movie by a director unknown to me, David Leveaux, who adapted the story from an Adam Ladd novel The Kaiser’s Last Kiss –itself a title that screams ‘historical romance!’. So, we have Courtney, all clothed in military garb being whisked off to protect the Kaiser of Germany (Christopher Plummer, having the time of his life, and has an actor been associated more with films on or around Nazi Germany than he? It’s as if though producers, while throwing out potential actors for their movies, saw this one, a war movie set in Nazi Germany and immediately thought, “Ha! Well, well. there’s that actor, Plummer. He’s been doing this since Sound of Music. He can basically phone it in by now. Send him in. No need for an audition. But give him the good one, and leave the asshole role to Eddie Marsan. He already looks like he could kill your children without as much as batting an eye.”).

It seems the Kaiser might be surrounded by spies, and why wouldn’t he? This was war in Europe, and Europe was crawling with spies trolling for intel. But wouldn’t you know, as it happens in a historical romance, Courtney’s SS Captain Brandt crosses paths with an exotic little beauty Mieke (Lily James, fresh off of Downton Abbey) who’s a maid in service of the Kaiser’s household. The flirtation between these two is not something we can call subtle — you’d have to be dead or delusional to not see it happening between your own eyes — but yes, it happens, and why does the plot give so much time to a simple chambermaid if it doesn’t have something up its sleeve? Because it does, and if you see the picture you’ll catch it as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face, but it works perfectly well because, historical romance = potboiler. Meaning, don’t be looking for any historical accuracy here even when there actually was a Kaiser, and his wife (Janet McTeer, who’s good but doesn’t have much to do but act perpetually worried/harried), and Marsan’s Himmler. [However, look closely at Marsan’s chilling portrayal of Himmler during a dinner scene when he talks about experiments made to children. Even in fluff like this, it’s still completely nerve-wracking, that such things were actually done to innocents.]

So with that in mind, I will say that The Exception is a very, very old fashioned war movie. I could easily see actors from the actual time period who could have performed this piece of nonsense without batting an eye. Crawford did it a couple of times at the end of her MGM tenure, Bergman did it as well. Now, Courtney is no Bogart or MacMurray — there is a scene in which he looks so completely vulnerable and naked — did I mention he shows a lot of skin here? — in a way I haven’t seen movies treat their male leads, usually all self-composure and alpha-male tendencies. Courtney’s role is much different: he’s stoic when he needs to, but is incredible sensitive and disarming. No wonder Lily James takes control of what becomes their relationship and basically becomes its pilot, leaving him with the role of protector. So, there you have it, a total crowd-pleaser, the type of movie the characters of Their Finest would have created, and it all ends well. Because in romance, you can’t ever deliver a good story and not have the two romantic leads not end in each other’s arms, can you?


Brian Cox visually dominates the screen as Winston Churchill, which last week ended its run at the Quad Cinema.

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Director: Jonathan Teolitzky
Runtime: 104 minutes
Language: English

I doubt that Brian Cox will get anything even close to an Oscar nod for his portrayal of a man the UK has labeled “the greatest Briton who ever lived”. From the moment he appears on screen, in what seems to be a fevered dream, standing on the edge of n English beach as the waters roll up to the shore glowing a deep crimson, Cox as Churchill visually and aurally dominates the film and does not let go. Not wanting to make the mistake he made in the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War Churchill balks at the plans General EIsenhower and Bernard Montgomery, England’s Field Marsh to the plans they have for D-Day. They, on the other hand, see him as something of an old coot who may be past his prime and may not have the insight needed to win the war, and largely ignore his calls for caution. As Churchill’s political and inner life unravel, so does his marriage to Clementine (Miranda Richardson, really drawing a fully fleshed out character from her pat scenes) who herself sees a man imploding into nothing. As with all docudramas and biopics this one takes its liberties to draw out the inner conflicts of one of the most famous and celebrated personages of England’s recent history, and while on occasion it veers dangerously close to schmaltz — for example, when a secretary, played by Ella Purnell, makes her own small mark in a speech that moves Churchill — it always remains fairly true to the historical figure and the man in equal measure. Now, if only we could have our own, and not this mess of a leader, all would be well in the nation.

Cburchill is still playing in theaters, but look for it soon on Netflix and other VOD platforms.