The Last Legion (2007)

I didn’t expect much from The Last Legion but I like movies set during the Roman Empire and this was said to tell the pre-history of King Arthur which sounded interesting and so I watched it. I wasn’t aware that Colin Firth is in this movie. If I had realized it I wouldn’t have watched it. That could only go wrong. He is not plausible as a Roman general and the fact that he seemed to make fun of the role didn’t really help much. Pairing him with the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai made matters worse. Chemistry wise it didn’t work. And how did Ben Kingsley end up in this? That it was historically inaccurate didn’t bother me so much or let’s just say, it didn’t matter anymore.

The movie is set in 460 A.D. The last Roman emperor, a boy of 12 years, Romulus Augustus (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), has just been crowned when the Goths invade the city. He is sent to Capri with his mentor Ambrosinus (Kingsley), part druid, part warrior. They are rescued from Capri by the loyal general Aurelius (Firth) who is helped by three male and one female warrior. After realizing they have been betrayed by senator Nestor, they flee to Britannia to look for the Ninth Legion which is located so far away from Rome that it might hopefully still be loyal to the emperor.

While there is hardly anything supernatural happening with the exception of the emperor finding Excalibur, there are a lot of fighting scenes, some romance and most of all the well liked topic of a very few highly dexterous warriors against a lot of far weaker opponents.

While I’m still not sure the movie was intentionally funny, I didn’t mind watching it because it made me laugh quite often. It may very well be that with another main actor it wouldn’t have been funny but at possibly much more decent. I think this is easily Colin Firth’s worst role.

While it was based on the novel The Last Legion by Valerio Massimo Manfredi it felt as if it had been adapted from a comic.

Watch it if you like action-adventures and if you are extremely keen on movies on the Roman Empire and don’t mind historical inaccuracy. I wouldn’t rate it higher than 2/5.

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Help Wanted – We are Looking for Some War Movies

As I wrote in a recent post I get quite a few requests, either via comments or e-mail, from people looking for a movie. Sometimes I know what they are looking for right away but often it is too difficult as all they remember is just a tiny moment and the rest is forgotten. I know how frustrating it is when you are looking for a movie that made an impression but you cannot remember the title that’s why I decided that I will from now on post the requests  for the movies I couldn’t find. It is quite possible that one of you knows them and can help.

Below you find scenes and mini summaries from movies. If you know any of them, please leave a comment. It would be really great if we would mange to find these movies.  

Movie I

Recently I watched a foreign language WW2 film on netflix, takes place on an island, there’s an orphanage, soldiers are Russian… young boy conflicted about who to protect….can’t remember the name of it….anyone

Movie II

I’m looking for the title of a short movie. A boy is watching through a fence, a german soldier throwing gas cylinders into the gas chambers. The soldier watches the boy every day and he ends up killing him,but the day after a new boy is watching. It is an American movie, one of the boys is a well known actor, and there is no dialog in the movie.

Movie III

Can’t find the best movie yet, and its called the honestnes. A good world war movie with kids that are running, and taking care of themself. I hope someone has it, and I would love to c it one more time.

Movie IV

Does anyone know a movie about an East German Orphanage with some German (Wyrwolf – Hitler Youth) living in the forest? Two Russian soldiers come to see how the orphanage is managed and they try to get the last German resistance youths into the orphanage. There is a bit of a battle. It’s a very good movie. It WAS on YouTube but I can’t find it for the life of me. Thanks in advance

Movie V

I am 53 years old and when I was about 7 I remember watching a movie
set during world war 2. British movie, 2 scenes I remember, a british
boy sitting in his bedroom making paper airplanes and one flies out
the window, his mother tells him he cannot go outside to get it. The
boy does go outside to collect his airplane, bombers fly over and drop
bombs, one of which lands on his house killing his mother, leaving
this kid on his own. I don’t think this movie is set in England, I
think it is set in either Egypt or Africa. This movie has plagued me
for years as I never saw the end of it and don’t know what happens to
the kid. Can you help? Do you know of this movie or have you seen it?

Movie VI

A soldier was killed in action during a firefight. While all the other solders of the platoon/unit were taking cover, one soldier ran out into the line of fire and, for a solid minute, searched the dead soldier. His comrades were yelling for him to come back and he wouldn’t. Finally, he found what he was looking for and took cover. Come to find out, he was trying to find the wedding ring of the fallen soldier to take back to his widow.  The movie I am looking for is an actual action/war movie. The movie is not centered around this premise. The scene described is a small part of the movie and not mentioned much (if at all) after the scene happens.

Movie VII

I have a request. My father, as a child, has seen a movie. And he can only remember a part of a plot. There was a wounded paratrooper (my father claims he was black) and a small boy. They become friends and the soldier makes a figurine or a doll made of chair leg.
My father was watching that movie in 60s in Poland.

I sure hope that we manage to find the one or the other of these movies.

Does any of these descriptions and snippets sound familiar?

Triage (2009)

“It’s complicated to be a survivor. Sometimes you have to place your faith in magic.”

Triage is a movie by Danis Tanovic, the director of No Man’s Land, another really great war movie. It is based on the eponymous novel by Scott Anderson.

What happened to Mark (Colin Farrell) in Kurdistan? He and his best friend David, both war photojournalist who have covered many wars, have flown to Kurdistan together in 1988. They want to cover an offensive that will take place in a few weeks. While they are there, they stay at a forlorn mountain clinic and watch how the doctor (Branko Djuric), at the end of his wits, with nothing else to do for the badly wounded, shoots them one by one. This affects Mark deeply. Later when he is back home he will still see the pictures of the tiny colored slips the doctors puts on the men. The color indicates how far gone they are and if he will have to shoot them or not. It’s part of the triage.

David’s wife is pregnant. The baby is due any day and he would like to go back. But Mark never wants to stop. There is always something more to cover, other shots to take. They quarrel and David finally decides to leave Mark and return on his own.

This is told in flash backs and it isn’t how the movie begins, the movie begins with a badly wounded Mark slowly regaining consciousness. He is at the mountain clinic. They found him near a river. He has no clue what happened to him. After he has recovered he returns home and finds out that David has still not arrived.

Mark’s wife Elena (Paz Vega) is quite shocked to see him in such bad shape and covered in wounds. Plus he is limping and the limp gets worse until he collapses one day. He is brought to a hospital and they find a piece of shrapnel in his head. Only that has nothing to do with the limp. Elena begs her grandfather, a Spanish psychologist, to come and help David. Together, they will reveal, bit by bit, what has happened to Mark and why David isn’t home yet.

I liked this movie a lot. I found the cast very interesting. Colin Farrell is astonishingly good in the role of a traumatized man who is afraid to find out the truth. Paz Vega in the role of his Spanish wife is very well chosen too but the most astonishing part is played by Christopher Lee as Elena’s grandfather. A really great role.

The movie has a lot to say about photojournalists who cover wars. The way, they always maintain a certain distance with the help of the camera. That’s a reason, the movie argues, why so many get shot. They simply forget that there really is a war going on around them.

The movie also shows nicely how a trauma can bring on amnesia and trigger symptoms like paralysis. It was very suspenseful and fascinating to see how the truth was uncovered.

Among the many good movies on war and journalism, this is one of the best, one of the most thought-provoking. Fans of Colin Farrell will watch it because of him, those who doubt he is a good actor, may end up being convinced of the contrary.