Rosenstraße (3 1/2 Stars)


This film is based on a true story. In 1943, after the defeat of Stalingrad. The tables were turning for the Nazis and it was the beginning of the end. However, that did not deter the Nazis from their persuing of the ‘Final Solution of the Jewish Question’. The Nazis rounded up the remaining jews from Berlin, from this group approximately 1,800 were housed in Rosenstraße (Rose Street). There was something special about this group, because they were an inter-marriage. The majority of the men were married to German or Aryan women. This had to some point protected the men from being deported earlier. Although they were still subjected to the rest of the Jewish laws, such as having to give up their jobs, being refused entry to the cinema and being forced to wear the Star of David – marking them clearly as a Jew.

This round up would have almost certainly marked them to go to the East, almost certainly to a death camp, such as Auschwitz. However the wives of these men did something remarkable, the never divorced their husbands, even though it would have been incredibly easy for them to do so. Even more, when their husbands were taken, they found them in Rosestraße and they waited – day and night, they waited. Faced with opposition against the regime and their plan to remove the Jews from Berlin, what will they do?

This is a lovely retelling of the story, seen through the eyes of one of the women who helped save her husband. Although, it must be noted that this is a fictional retelling, and whilst the event did occur – it did not occur exactly as how it did in the film. It is very much worth reading about it.

The film also gives the sense and the hope that it was seemingly relatively easy to get the Nazi’s to back down, simple stand in the cold for a week, resist the fear of standing in front of a machine gun and voila, you will defeat the Nazis. It was not that easy in reality – the regime was big and thousands of people who protested and resisted against the Nazis were sent to Concentration Camps and killed, such as outspoken members of the Church and he White Rose group to just name a few.

It does pose an interesting question though, if faced with an injustice such as a stranger losing their husband because of their religion or whatever the reason – to see his deportation. Would you, a stranger, stop and say this is not right. Would you help fight to right an injustice even if it was not an injustice against you. Or would you walk past Rosenstraße and go about your day?

Snow White and the Huntsman (3 1/2 Stars)


Another Gebruder Grimm, this time a retelling of Snow White. The thing I loved about this one is that I think it is a much more realistic story. Gone is the 1930s housewife Snow White of the Disney cartoon franchise. This is much more medieval in approach and is grittier. Even the true love has a dark past and a darker more ruggish character. Honestly this film deserved more than 3 1/2 stars, but sadly I took a full star off because of the leading lady…Kristen Stewart.

The cinematography was great, the sweeping background to the film was beautiful. The costumes were stunning. I particularly loved the Evil Queen Ravenna’s (Charlize Theron) gold dress. It was exquisite. The acting was great…apart from Kristen Stewart. She cannot act, she looks mostly dull and boring and disinterested – which is interestingly the same character she plays on the red carpet as well. It spoilt the whole film. There has been rumour that there will be a prequel to this film, one without Kristen Stewart in and I very much look forward to watching that because I think it will be even better.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (3 1/2 Stars)


Cineworld has really annoyed me with this film. The first week it was released they were showing 36 showings of it A DAY. I get that the demand was there and that Star Wars has a really big fan base, but did it really need 36 showings a day? There were so many films I wanted to see in December that I couldn’t because they were but on limited runs and really obscure film times (like 10am) because of this film. So I’m not going to have to wait until they are released on DVD. Even now, over a month later Star Wars has 11 screenings today. Great…but the showing I went to, and I only went to it because there was nothing else I could watch for the next four hours because of Star Wars, had me and two other people. So Cineworld why is the demand for the film has died down, does it still need 11 showings a day?!

Anyway I shall actually review the film now. There has been a lot of criticism for the two youngest cast actors (John Boyega and Daisy Ridley), but personally to me most of the actors in Star Wars appear quiet wooden, Carrie Fisher is another example. I even found Harrison Ford to be quite wooden and I generally rate him; but I think it has part and parcel to do with the Star Wars charm. It is very formulaic, very much good will triumph over evil. I’ve watched all the films, but I’ve only watched them once years ago, so I wouldn’t say I am a hardcore fan, FAR from it. To me this movie, was something I had seen six times before. It wasn’t any different. It’s worth a watch, but it’s like Halloween, and however many there are of that franchise…it’s the same thing respun. It’s something you can switch off to and watch for two hours, to me it’s not going to excite or inspire me.

The one thing I will say about Star Wars though, is that opening. The music sequence and the ‘In a Galaxy a long, long time ago…’ and then the yellow writing. It’s so iconic and so inspiring and it does really get you into the vibe that you are going to see a great movie. Unfortunately you are not, but I do really like the opening.

I don’t think it’s better than Avatar which was the biggest grossing film of all time prior to this film. I think I’d rather go and see Avatar again, than the Force Awakens.

Harry Price: Ghost Hunter (3 1/2 Stars)


It wasn’t enough for ITV to launch just one supernatural thriller with the Midwinter of the Spirit, it also has to have a period drama in the form of Harry Price: Ghost Hunter.

The title for this one is sadly not as a catchy as Midwinter of the Spirit and I think they could have come up with something better. The set was absolutely beautiful and I did love the costume set. Rafe Spall, who took the lead as Harry Price also gave a wonderful performance. His performance however was marred by the lack of material and script to work with, which wasn’t all that brilliant. The twist in the storyline though I was not expecting and did find that rather refreshing. The addition of Cara Theobold as Sara Grey, the housekeeper was welcoming. This has been left open for the potential to have this as a pilot leading to an extended drama. I’m not adverse to seeing it being made into a drama but without Tom Ward who played Edward Goodwin; I do think considerable work will need to be done on the script to make it viable for at least another couple of episodes. I didn’t have a strong impact of Downton Abbey did in the beginning, but then again Harry Price does not have a big cast of great actors behind it. With a little nurturing and encouragement though I think there is potential to make it a watchable series.

The Dressmaker (3 1/2 Stars)

Kate Winslet never ceases to be anything but spectacular and this film is not acception. Her acting talent is a joy to watch and she is amazing. She is also very beautiful and like a modern day Marilyn Monroe. I’m not one to like to draw attention to beauty but Kate Winslet is stunning and prove that a woman with a fuller figure is definitely sexier than size zero any day.

The film itself is somewhat weird. I will divide the acting talents of those on the hill vs. Those below the hill. Those on the hill play their roles brilliantly and they were superb. However those beneath the hill will comical and not as brilliant as the rest of the cast. I can liken it in some way to American Ultra. Half the cast is serious acting which has moments of humour. The rest of the cast is being comical in the attempt to carry into the drama. I felt it just didn’t work and in some ways spoilt the film. I get that it was suppose to be a dark comedy film and it was funny and morbid in nature. Just the somewhat comical nature of those beneath the hill seemed at odds with the rest of the cast. It’s a shame they didn’t gel these two groups of actors together a bit more. If they had I think this film would have merited a higher rating. It’s a shame really because I do feel I am being generous with the rating, and there were certainly elements of the film that warranted a higher rating. There were also sadly elements that I felt just didn’t work in the overall film.

The World’s End (3 1/2 Stars)

Gary King (Simon Pegg) is a middle aged dead beat alcoholic who attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. During one meeting he retells the best night of his life…a failed attempt to complete the Golden Mile pub crawl in his hometown, where a fellow AA member remarks about the fact it was never completed. With the idea fresh in his head…Gary sets off to find his friends (who are not in successful jobs) to complete his quest to recreated his best night but fulfill the mission he failed to complete years before. However, all is not as it seems in the village of Newton Haven, as some of the regular publicans and residents fail to remember the gang, which disheartens Gary. Is it simply a case of time passing…or is something stranger occurring in the village?

This film is strangely formulaic to Hot Fuzz and I was a little disappointed with Oliver’s Character, as I normally love Martin Freeman. Setting those little complaints aside I did find the film funny and there were particularly some brilliant lines of dialogue in the film which more than made up for the sameness from Hot Fuzz. I wouldn’t say it was as good as Hot Fuzz, which I am always happy to watch when I catch it on Netflix or the telly. I probably wouldn’t rush to watch this one repeatedly, but there was some witty banter. I just thought the Simon Pegg and Nick Frost magic was missing in this film and the addition of Eddie Marsan, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine just wasn’t as brilliant as I hoped it would have been.

The Last Witch Hunter (3 1/2 Stars)

I wasn’t expecting much from this film going in, the advert made it look ok, but the job of the advert is to make most films look like you want to see it. I thought it would be ok for an advert and then at best below average. However I was pleasantly surprised. The film is somewhat original in storyline, although it does have flashbacks of Sleepy Hallow and Constantine.

It centres around Kaulder (Vin Diesel) who is a witch hunter in the midst of destroying a coven of witches who have sent the Black Death to kill the race of Humans. In the process of killing the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht), Kaulder is cursed to an immortal life, with the Queen’s dying breath. Skip forward 800 years later, witches are allowed to life but only because of a strict law enforced by Klauder and the humans. However it seems the status quo is about to change with the murder of Kaulder’s Dolan, a priest who records and collects the story of Kaulder.

The film is good, the special effects in it, I thought were nice and I particularly like them. I thought Chole (Rose Leslie) was a great sidekick for Kaulder and had a bit of a bite too her. She plays a character similar to her Game of Thrones character, which I liked. I think she’s great in that alternative strong female who can look after herself character. Would I rush out to see a sequel…or hope they make one? Probably not. I think it was great as a one off but I don’t think it is strong enough to make a franchise out of it.

Free Fall (3 1/2 Stars)

This film is currently on Netflix (Amazon). Marc Borgmann is following in the footsteps of his father and becoming a police officer. He’s living the dream when his pregnant gilfriend moves in with him and they begin setting up home for the arrival of their child. Only whilst at the academy a fellow trainee, Kay Engel and Marc begin to develop a friendship, which quickly changes when Kay, who is gay makes an advance on Marc. Marc at first rejects Kay, but his feelings begin to turn. Conflicted Marc begins to struggle with his love for his girlfriend and unborn child and his love for Kay and it’s implications.

This has received quite negative ratings and only grossed just under $600,000, I’m not sure why because I think it is a good film. I thought the storyline was better than the recent Doctor Forster which has been on the BBC and somehow seemed more realistic than the BBC. Maybe that was become Doctor Forster was so much more of a drama, and I was very much away I was watching tv. This film was much more subtle and to me reflected more of a fly on the wall documentary style drama and much more realistic than Doctor Forster.

Berlin 36 (3 1/2 Stars)

Currently available on Netflix (Amazon). Berlin 36 is a fictional story based on the real life story of Gretel Bergmann (Karoline Herfurth) and Dora Ratjen (known as Marie Ketteler, played be Sebastian Urzendowsky).

The 1936 Berlin Olympics is approaching and the Americans increasingly unhappy about the treatment of Jewish citizens in Germany and their ban from competing within the Olympic Games have threatened to boycott the games. In order to ensure America come to the Olympics Gretel Bergmann, one of the top female high jumpers is recalled from Britain to complete in the Olympics for Germany. The only problem, Gretel had fled Germany to go to Britain to escape Nazi persecution because of her religion. Now with the threat that her family who remain in Germany, Gretel must return and complete.

Whilst I admire the Americans efforts in suggesting a boycott if Jews are not allowed to complete, I really like seeing the reverse side of that decision. Although it was a noble effort by the Americans, you cannot help but feel for Gretel who must return from security to return to her homeland that has declared she is no longer a German citizen to compete for the glory of a fatherland she is not allowed to belong to. It must have been absolutely terrifying.

Equally heartbreaking if the story of Marie or Dora as she was really known, who for different reasons than Gretel is a prawn in a Nazi game which she’s little benefit for her.

The Intern (3 1/2 Stars)

Whilst I have given this film a mixed, lower rating than perhaps it ought to have got; because I did really enjoy it. I just found it to be a run of the mill film – which is why I didn’t give it a higher rating. It’s predictable, it doesn’t really add any surprises to what you would have expected from the trailer. I enjoyed it and I got a few good laughs from it, it was a nice film to wind down too. However I wasn’t wow’d by it – which is why I didn’t feel it warranted 4 Stars.