roc

Rome, Open City

Although one certainly cannot dismiss the impact of World War II on the United States, it’s an order of magnitude more shocking to witness the devastation  wrought across Europe. For all our suffering, we could come home to a country that remained largely untouched by large-scale conflict. Those in Europe, however, were already home.

lwar

Oh, What a Lovely War

Richard Attenborough directs this farcical yet horrifying send-up of the grueling First World War, based on an absurdist stage musical written by Joan Littlewood. On August 4, 1914, Germany declared war on and subsequently invaded Belgium, a declared neutral in the escalating conflict between France, Russia, and the allied countries of German and Austria-Hungary. Europe…

splash

Back to the World

I’m back on The Cultural Gutter. Queue up the montages of civil unrest and warfare set to Buffalo Springfield and “All Along the Watchtower,” because Back to the World is a look at Joe Haldeman’s amazing 1974 “Vietnam War in space” novel, The Forever War.

hsnt03

Heroes Shed No Tears

Most folks cite the slick gangster film A Better Tomorrow as the breakout film for both director John Woo and actor Chow Yun-fat. And that is, in part, true. It was the film that made them both household names (Chow far more than Woo, at least at the time, when the name of a star…

30004

300 Spartans

The film strives for historical accuracy almost to a fault. If you don’t have a passion for history and for Greek (or Persian) history in general, then this film could seem a little draggy in spots, I suppose. It adheres tot he historic accounts almost tot he point of becoming a docudrama. Boredom never occurred to me, though, and I found the whole thing a thoroughly rousing adventure.

intrusion16

Intrusion: Cambodia

If I tell you there’s a movie starring Richard Harrison, Anthony Alonzo, and Tetchie Agbayani, do you look at me quizzically and shrug, or do you start to shake with giddy anticipation?

ultifeat

Ultimax Force

In retrospect, I cant believe it didn’t happen more frequently. I mean, combining the obsession with ‘Nam movies with the obsession with ninja movies — that just seems like common sense