American Sniper misses the target (Robert Henderson)

Robert Henderson

American Sniper misses the target

Main cast

Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle
Sienna Miller as Taya Renae Kyle
Max Charles as Colton Kyle
Luke Grimes as Marc Lee
Kyle Gallner as Goat-Winston
Sam Jaeger as Captain Martens
Jake McDorman as Ryan “Biggles” Job
Sammy Sheik as Mustafa
Mido Hamada as The Butcher
Director Clint Eastwood

American Sniper

This is a frustrating film. Eastwood as the director guarantees that it is technically well made. It moves at a good pace, taken individually the action scenes in Iraq are dramatic and the subject (the role of the sniper) is interesting in itself and has novelty because it is not often extensively examined in film. And yet, and yet ….American Sniper has an emptiness, the sum of its parts being decidedly less than the parts. The film ends up teetering on the edge of boring.

The large majority of the film is devoted to Kyle’s four tours of Iraq, with much of that screen time devoted to sniping and house-to-house searches. Therein lies the first problem with the film as drama. The action scenes become repetitive because there is not that much difference from watching Kyle shoot one person from the top of a building and him doing the same thing to quite a few people. Similarly, the house to house searching has a sameness about it when the streets look the same and the outcome is always either dead bodies after an exchange of gunfire or the taking of prisoners . Continue reading

Film review – CitizenFour (Robert Henderson)

Robert Henderson

Film review – CitizenFour

Main people involved

Jacob Appelbaum
Ewen MacAskill
Edward Snowden
Director: Laura Poitras

This documentary about state surveillance revolves around Edward Snowden as interviewee and the journalists Glen Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill as interviewers . The interviews were primarily conducted in Hong Kong to where Snowden fled before moving to Russia. Continue reading

“Merry Christmas” – a film about the 1914 truce (France, 2005)

I personally find the 1914 Christmas truce on the Western Front remarkable for the following reason: using the famous image about the lamps going out across Europe, the Christmas truce can be viewed as the very last flickering of the dying pre-WW1-era. An era when borders were just lines on the map, when passports were limited to autocratic societies such as Russia (or rather, when autocratic societies were limited to places such as Russia). When money was worth its weight in gold and not in paper. When a word of honour still had weight. When the only contact most people in Britain had with the state was when they entered a post office. And when there still was – despite the rising nationalism and chauvinism – a strong sense of common European heritage. A large chunk of which being Christianity. Without it, the truce would not have happened. Continue reading

Film Review – Fury (Robert Henderson)

by Robert Henderson
Film Review – Fury

Main cast

Brad Pitt as US Army Staff Sergeant. Don “Wardaddy” Collier

Shia LaBeouf as Technician Fifth Grade Boyd “Bible” Swan

Logan Lerman as Private Norman “Machine” Ellison

Michael Peña as Corporal Trini “Gordo” Garcia

Jon Bernthal as Private First Class . Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis

Jason Isaacs as Capt. “Old Man” Waggoner[

Director:  David Ayer

Continue reading

Film Review: Starship Troopers

Film Review by Sean Gabb
Starship Troopers
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Tristar Pictures, 1997, 129 minutes

I have two qualifications for reviewing this film.  First, I broadly agree with the political, economic and social views of Robert A. Heinlein, on whose novel of the same title the film is based.  Second, I have never read that novel.  This gives me an advantage over those who have.  Screen adaptations of a favourite book nearly always disappoint.  Last Christmas, for example, I watched a BBC adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White.  I was horrified by the removal of the legal complexities that drive the plot smoothly forward through 500 closely printed pages, and their replacement by something about child abuse.  This kept me from appreciating what others tell me was an exciting television play.  Not having read Starship Troopers, I am better able to judge the film on its own merits.

This being said, I will organise my thoughts on the film under two headings:  the political shape of the Federation; the credibility of the Bug War. Continue reading

Film review – Transcendence (Robert

by Robert Henderson
Film review – Transcendence


Main Cast

Johnny Depp as Dr. Will Caster, an artificial-intelligence researcher.
Morgan Freeman as Joseph Tagger, a government scientist
Rebecca Hall as Evelyn Caster, Caster’s wife and a fellow academic.
Kate Mara as Bree, the leader of Revolutionary Independence From Technology (R.I.F.T.)
Cillian Murphy as Donald Buchanan, an FBI agent.
Cole Hauser as Colonel Stevens, a military officer.
Paul Bettany as Max Waters, Caster’s best friend.
Director: Wally Pfister Continue reading

Politically incorrect film reviews – The long walk to freedom (Robert Henderson)

by Robert Henderson
Politically incorrect film reviews – The long walk to freedom

Main cast Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela
Naomie Harris as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Tony Kgoroge as Walter Sisulu
Riaad Moosa as Ahmed Kathrada
Zolani Mkiva as Raymond Mhlaba
Simo Mogwaza as Andrew Mlangeni
Fana Mokoena as Govan Mbeki
Thapelo Mokoena as Elias Motsoaledi
Jamie Bartlett as James Gregory
Deon Lotz as Kobie Coetzee
Terry Pheto as Evelyn Mase
Dir: Justin Chadwick;
Cert 12A, 146 min Continue reading