Recent Flickage

Downfall: Truly great film about the last days of the Third Reich in Hitler’s bunker (coincidentally, today is the 66th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland that kicked off the war in Europe). Bruno Ganz manages to actually make Hitler into a character, instead of a simple caricature of evil. The film evokes the feel and mood of Berlin as the Red Army closes in for the kill, while at the same time sticking quite painstakingly to the facts. I’ve read multiple accounts of the days portrayed in this film and I didn’t detect any changes to how things really happened, though I felt it could have gone even further showing the horrors of Berlin’s fall. It made a point of showing the roving squads of German soldiers executing “deserters” and “traitors”, for example, but shied away from the mass rapes that accompanied the Red Army’s advance. Really, the film is a character piece though and it succeeds admirably on that score. Recommended.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Although the title makes this sound like an extended and painful Saturday Night Live sketch, the film is actually a lot cleverer than that. More importantly, it’s hysterically funny. I haven’t laughed out loud so much at a movie in ages. I always liked Steve Carell on the Daily Show but he’s struggled to find the right vehicle since leaving it. This is the one that will surely make his career.

Four Brothers: This is a straight up revenge flick from director John Singleton. If you want a well-constructed action film and you’re willing to accept that lengthy gun battles with assault rifles can happen on the streets of Detroit without police interference, you’ll enjoy this movie. In the film the neighborhood saint who adopted four bad kids is murdered, and the multi-racial sons all come together to wreak bloody vengeance. There’s a nice twist at the end involving the henchmen of the chief baddy that I quite enjoyed (I’ll say no more lest I ruin it for people). Brainless but entertaining.

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