Tag: holocaust


In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “This is a perspective of the war and of concentration camps that I don’t think I have ever seen depicted before.”

The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again.   But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.

Wolves 1
“You think the Americans will come and save you?”

World War II and everything that comes with it have inspired probably thousands of movies at this point.  The History Channel is basically the World War II Channel and interest in the subject seems to be as strong as ever.  I think that’s because it’s the kind of story that is almost stranger than fiction.  Adolf Hitler is a villain that would seem too over the top an implausible if he was a work of fiction, while Churchill and FDR have become these larger than life figures that seem too noble to have ever actually existed in real life.  Yet there they all are, in our history books.  The Holocaust is also something that is so evil, so atrocious, so impossible to comprehend, that there could be a million movies made about it, and the full impact will never be felt by people who didn’t live through it.  Which is why movies like Naked Among Wolves are still so effective and so important.

In 1943, German Jew Hans Pippig (Florian Stetter) is arrested along with his father for spreading Bolshevik propaganda and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp.  While his elderly and frail father succumbs to the harsh conditions and dies almost immediately, Pippig is taken under the wing of some comrades and taught the ways of survival in the camp. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #8. Schindler’s List (1993)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
Schindler 1
“I know you have received orders from our commandant, which he has received from his superiors, to dispose of the population of this camp. Now would be the time to do it.”

Whenever I see list of greatest movies of all time, or greatest albums, or greatest anything, I’m always suspect of the quality of that list if I see too many recent releases on there. When it comes to making the list of the greatest whatever, I think things shouldn’t even be eligible until their 20 years old. 10 at the very least. Not because I think older things are better by definition, but because I think we need a little time for these things to settle, to gain enough context and perspective to see how this latest thing really fits in with everything that came before it.

When The Dark Knight came out in 2008, it skyrocketed to number one on the IMDB top 250. It has since slipped to number four and I assume it will slowly but surely slide down to where it belongs over time. When I looked at the AFI Top 100 that I’ve been using for this countdown throughout 2015, with only one of its top 10 made in the last quarter of a century, it immediately had a little more credibility with me. And when the single movie made in the last 25 years is something as phenomenal as Schindler’s List, that credibility is pretty hard to question. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #91. Sophie’s Choice (1982)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.


“When I could finally see again, I saw the first rays of daylight reflected in the murky river. This was not judgment day. Only morning; morning, excellent and fair.”

The term ‘Oscar Bait’ gets thrown around a lot, always as a negative, and almost always deservedly so. But sometimes, something that reeks of Oscar bait can tick all of the required boxes, but instead of coming off as pandering, it comes off as prestigious Oscar bait in all the right ways. Overly melodramatic, big showcase performances, heart string pulling manipulation, and of course, the Holocaust. You get all of that that in Sophie’s Choice, and you also get a pretty amazing movie.

It’s post WWII Brooklyn, and Peter MacNicol’s Stingo moves into a boarding house where he hopes to write the great American novel. Through his ceiling, he hears the alternating sounds of banging and brawling from the couple who lives upstairs. A couple who he soon meets, made up of Polish immigrant and Holocaust survivor, Meryl Streep as Sophie, and cocky, brash research scientist Nathan, played by Kevin Kline. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Room 237 (2012)


If you’ve ever seen Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, you probably thought you’d seen a pretty good (but kind of overrated) horror movie about a dude going nuts, a son who can read minds and a wife who tries to keep this crazy family together.  If you’ve never seen Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, you probably just know it for the iconic sight of Jack Nicholson cutting his way through a door with an axe before delivering his demonic take on “Here’s Johnny”.  Whatever you think this movie is about, all I have to say is, you’re wrong dummy, stop being so dumb you big dumbo.  Because Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is obviously about the genocide of the native American Indians, faking the moon landing and Nazis.  So many Nazis.

For Room 237, director Rodney Ascher assembles a group of obsessives who have their own interesting takes on what The Shining really means.  It’s an impressive effort from Ascher, because it couldn’t have been easy finding time for them to record their thoughts on the movie in between long, sustained bouts of picking peanuts out of their own crap.  To reiterate, these guys are pretty nuts.

Through voiceover, five nut bags are given the chance to tell their story and give their interpretations of The Shining.  We never see them, only hear their voices.  Maybe their respective mental institutions allowed tape recorders but not video cameras.  As they draw their dangerously long bows in making connections between their wack job theories and The Shining, Room 237 meticulously shows the portions of the film they’re referring to.  Even with zoom ins, slow motion replays and sometimes even frame by frame presentations of their “proof”, every one of those theories comes across as more unlikely than the last.

None of that is to say however, that Room 237 isn’t fascinating.  Watching a few seconds of The Shining broken down and analysed in the most intricate detail, to show you all the (possible) references to the Holocaust is amazingly compelling.  Somehow, something as simple as showing that a chair that’s visible in the background of one shot is missing when the camera cuts back to the same shot seconds later, is really interesting when backed up by the ramblings of a mad man.

And while I love a playful romp about genocide and the Holocaust as much as the next guy, these theories are pretty tame next to the assertion that The Shining is actually Kubrick’s admission that he helped fake the moon landing.  The best proof of which is that in one shot of The Shining, we see a key ring that says “ROOM No 273”.  If you rearrange those letters and ignore a couple, it says “moon”.  Wow, I just got goose bumps typing that.

Whether you love The Shining, think it’s just an OK horror and that everyone should just settle down, or have never even seen it, Room 237 is really entertaining.  The crazier the wing birds and their theories get, the more entertaining it is to listen to them clutching at straws to their barely there connections.  I can’t wait for Ascher’s follow up, when some wackadoos pull apart City Slickers 2: The Search for Curley’s Gold, to prove how it’s all a prescient allegory for the Global Financial Crisis and 9/11.

Directed By – Rodney Ascher
Written By – Rodney Ascher