Tag Archives: History

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then Bigfoot

10 Feb

‘The Man Who Killed Hitler, Then Bigfoot’: FBI has work for a senior with experience

 

Image result for the man who killed hitler and then

As far as freaky, gonzo film titles go, it’s pretty tough to top “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot.” The film lands on streaming platforms Friday and was shot in part locally – out in Turners Falls, where the emerging director behind this era-hopping fantasy hails from.

Does it live up to the audaciousness of the title?

Well, yes and no. Checkboxes are checked and the film is bolstered quite vividly by the gorgeous cinematography of Alex Vendler with visual effects help from Douglas Trumbull, whose credits include “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) and “Blade Runner” (1982). Of course, the big draw is current Academy Award nominee Sam Elliott (for “A Star Is Born”) as the legendary man of the title, Calvin Barr, who gets it done during WWII. When things kick off we’re somewhere in the late ’70s in a podunk town, with Barr driving a classic boxy Ford LTD or the like that a band of punks want to take from him. Good luck. They get the drop on Barr initially, but this grizzled old vet with can-do valor and battle-tested brawn isn’t quite over the hill. In teasers we flash back to the younger Barr (a handsome Aidan Turner) as a multilingual infiltrator dressed up as an SS officer crisscrossing Germany on a quest to take out der Führer. We go back and forth until midway in, in the ’70s now, an FBI agent (Ron Livingston from “Office Space”) comes a-begging for Barr to saddle up and take out Sasquatch. Steve Austin must have been tied up.

The why’s a wispy WTF, something about being infected with the mother of all plagues with the creature isolated in a 50-mile dead zone north of the border (no life left but plants, we’re told, even though we see a stag once in); Barr’s the only one immune to the virus, and the only hope to take down the mangy beast. 

I’m not sure which quest is the more improbable onscreen, but writer-director Robert D. Krzykowski embraces them wholeheartedly, splicing the timelines together in nearly cohesive fashion. This first-time film is clearly a passion project, and you can bet Krzykowski is a massive Sam fan. (But then again, who isn’t?) 

Elliot and Turner, good individually, don’t seem to be the same human – the connection between icy wartime assassin and affable backwoods gent just happy to spend time with his pooch is more than decades and worlds apart. No matter. “The Man Who Shot Hitler” is a high-quality spectacle though, if it weren’t such a mashup of history, myth and a revered, drawling thespian, it might not draw our eye. A definite curio for the curious.

The Better Angels

21 Nov
Braydon Denney plays a young Abraham Lincoln, although he could be confused for a young Calvin Klein model

Braydon Denney plays a young Abraham Lincoln, although he could be confused for a young Calvin Klein model

There’s little debate as to which U.S. president is the defacto favorite of Hollywood. Abraham Lincoln wins, whether it’s John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln, starring a fresh-faced Henry Fonda, or Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, which earned Oscar gold for Daniel Day Lewis. Then, there’s also the silly, senseless Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. For the life of me, I can’t think of one resonating picture about George Washington and that famous cherry tree. When it comes to presidential hagiography, it’s Honest Abe who gets the lion’s share of celluloid exposure.

Considering all the previous Lincoln biopics, A.J. Edwards’s The Better Angels is another creature entirely. As certain as there’s black and white — and we should mention that the film is shot entirely in black-and-white — it’s about a 13-year-old Abe without ever really mentioning the lad’s name. It would be unfair to callBetter Angels plotless, though it unfurls in arcane wisps and etherial shards that you really can’t call linear. But through Edwards’ careful guidance, the flick still manages to paint a visceral and comprehensive collage. One might label it a historical record in dreams, something that the trippy visualist Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven, The Tree of Life) made an art form, and, interestingly enough, he’s one of the film’s producers and worked with Edwards on To the Wonder.   Continue reading

The Butler

15 Aug
Cambridge Day, Charleston City Paper and Here and Sphere

‘The Butler’: He serves eight presidents, and as a tale of black experience in U.S.

By Tom Meek
August 14, 2013

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In the wake of the George Zimmerman trial, you couldn’t ask for a better movie – or I should say movies – to help carve out a common understanding in the middle of the racial divide. No matter how you took the Zimmerman decision, Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” delivered an air-tight version of the same story with the same tragic end, the main difference being that the shooting took place before an audience of cellphone cameras, leaving no wiggle room for conjecture as to what happened between two men in the dark. But also, and more to the point, the “based on real events” docudrama tapped eloquently into the plight of the young black man struggling to succeed in a society reticent to give him a fair shake based on the color of his skin.

081413i Lee Daniels’ The ButlerTo underscore that, and for anyone who’s of the mindset that we’re beyond the Civil Rights era and affirmative action and that opportunity is out there for all to take on equal terms, sit through “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and see if you still feel that way. Perhaps the best way to describe “The Butler” is as a short, painful history of the black man in America. The film centers on one, who grew up basically a slave in the early 1900s and went on to serve eight presidents as a staff server in the White House.  Continue reading