Yes my people, Gman here with another instalment of film reviews that I hope will have the desired effect of getting you out of where you are and into a cinema to watch hopefully what I'm writing about.

With this in mind let's see what has caught my attention........

War Horse (2011)

12A, 146 min 

Ok, before I go any further, let me point out the obvious. This film is about a horse. I have no real love for animals except for when they are on a Restaurant menu or smothered in gravy on my plate! (what!! who ever said that I was a veggie!!!)

Anyway, I digress......
Before you had the film called Warhorse, you had the play based at the National Theatre which is very successful (see above picture of Joey the puppet horse).

The film is an adaptation of the play and it tells the story of a farmer called Ted Narrocott who is a well decorated Boer War Vet who is now a farmer who drinks to forget his war experiences and rents his farm from a wealthy Landowner who he clearly doesn't get along with, which causes the farmer to go to the market/auction to buy a work horse but sees a tremendous thoroughbred and sets his heart on buying it against the advise of all around him.

During the bidding the Landlord also sees the horse and wants it too, so the bidding war begins between the two.  Bidding goes from 2 Guineas‘(?) to 10 finally ending with the farmer bidding a kings Ransom of 30g's which suffice to say, wins...but what does he win?

Ted has a young son who loves the horse and sets about training him he names the horse Joey. Now the work that Joey learns to do will in the long run save his life and in some cases the lives of those he comes into contact with...

So…Joey Has to learn to plough a field just like a shire horse which results in the field being ploughed but the crops fail and dad decides to sell Joey (the horse) to the Army so that he can pay the money that he owes his landlord because in paying of the odds for Joey it leaves him short in paying his landlord (still following?)

The son decides to enlist in the army in the hope of bringing Joey back, thus the adventure begins...Joey meets and gets involved in all sides of the war (British and German) plus he also gets involved in giving companionship to a French girl and her grandfather (who comes into the story near the end but I won't tell you any more so as not to spoil your viewing pleasure.)

Now I’m acutely aware that my writing ability isn't developed enough to convey the brilliance of this film without spoiling your viewing pleasure and I don't appreciate you the reader concurring wholeheartedly with my previous statement (I’m trying my best with my limited ability) I will also state that I haven't seen a single written review that does this film any remote justice. That is because this is a film about emotion and not words.

I am a man of age and I like doing manly things i.e., watching football, having claim to a mate who was a professional World Champion Boxer and I was part of the junior armed services (ok, Boys Brigade but we wore a uniform so I’m tuff people!) but this film broke me.  Spielberg is a master storyteller bar none.

Now I know that the main character in this film is a (cgi-ed) horse, but remember Bambi and Simba were cartoon characters but we still felt some emotion when their parents died (can imaginary characters die?)  When you're thinking about this film think "Black Beauty" meets "Saving Private Ryan".  This film isn't just good, it’s a masterpiece that deserves "you' to watch it. 

When the film ends I feel relief in that I can pull myself together and breathe normally without the convulsions (I know it sounds dramatic but…please…. give me a little artistic licence eh!) 

I've now seen War Horse ‘the movie’ but I would also like to see War Horse ‘the play’ to see if it would create the same emotional effect.  In concluding, Warhorse is amazing…go see and be amazed. 


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

18, 158 min 

Ok, let's go back to December 26th 2011 Boxing day and I’m walking to the cinema counter only to be informed that I cannot see this film due to "Pass issues" so I go over to Pound land and drown my sorrows on 4 bottles of water for a £1 (about 60 cents if you're my only overseas reader!)

But, I digress....

I remember going to see the original trilogy last year and banging on my ears thinking "it's all Dutch to me!" not realising that the actors were not speaking in Dutch but rather Swedish.  Before the film there were the books (which based on my inability to write much less read, I haven't come across).

So now to the Hollywood version…

The director of this future classic is none other than David Fincher, the man who brought us "Se7en" and "Fight Club" to name but 2…The story starts with Daniel Craig playing the role of Mikael Blomkvist an investigative journalist who has been discredited due to writing a true account of an unscrupulous Financier but due to the story lacking in legal evidence to back his points, Mikael's reputation and less importantly his account is in ruins.

Broke, Mikael is asked to help out Henry Vanger (Christopher Plummer), the head of a wealthy family in their quest to finally find out what had happened to his Niece 40yrs ago.

Mikael's "bit on the side" girlfriend who also happens to be the boss/his boss at an independent magazine encourages him not to take the job but he is given the chance to earn up to 3x's his current salary and the evidence to bring down the man who ruined him in court.

Of course Mikael chooses to accept the mission (no I’m not drifting into Mission: Impossible speak, I’m just clever with words & fings like dat… sniff).  Thus starts the Swedish version of the popular Board game of my youth called "Whodunit"

To help with his investigation, Mikael asks for an assistant and his employers give him Lisbeth Salander (played by Rooney Mara) who is "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” (hence the name of the film). 

Ok, so a few years ago you saw the original trilogy so why would you see this remake? because put quite simply, it's better. The lead girl is covered in Tattoos and is very antisocial due to her upbringing but is played with such warmth and passion you will only warm to.

There are some very brutal scenes which my good friend Josie said and I quote "Its 2 hrs 40 and I didn't even contemplate going to the toilet or needing popcorn at any stage which in my book means gripping!. It’s quite painful to watch in places and quite brutal! She has to get an Oscar for her part, she just has too!"

Josie's assessment isn't an exaggeration and maybe I wouldn't have included Lizbeth's "treatment" in the film but let's not get the lines blurred, I’m no director more a popcorn eater and an amateur reviewer.  Even saying that, I do think actors seem a little too quick to "get ’em out for der lads" (have you seen the new Steve McQueen film called "Shame"? The Male lead's nickname in this film should have been Moby!!!)

But, I digress.....

Nudity aside, this is a fantastic film that excites me (excuse the pun) on so many levels.

Level 1: The director also did "The Social Network" so understands how to make computers and typing look compelling and from my perspective my dream is to have a few chosen people all working on a website exposing hidden facts that are relevant to society.

Level 2: The amazing apartments! People come to my home and the often query why do I live in such squalor!!!??? To which I reply, "because I’m broke!"

Conclusion, a future classic and already looking forward to "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and "The Girl Who kicked The Hornet's nest"

Go and see what all the fuss is about...... @gmanzen "what's the 411?" Soon there was you know it makes sense........

Article by Gman / 16th January 2012


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