Tag Archive: nazis


There is so much going on this past few week, I have no idea where to start.

I am finding myself angry about a number of happening. Since I try to go with one topic at a time, let me start with on that hasn’t made much notice.

Many of us have heard about the increasing violence against the Jewish community. There were attacks every day of Hanukah. It takes a lot of guts to find the different looking people in your area and attack them. (sarcasm).

But that wasn’t the worst story I read. Newsweek reported that Dennis Prager, a conservative radio host, stated that Anne Frank held no wisdom for him. That would be fine if it weren’t for the fact he ridiculed her age and the fact that Frank was a secular Jew.

Prager himself was born into an orthodox Jewish family in New York. After college, he left his orthodox faith but maintains those practices he deems important. He also worked to help Soviet Jews emigrate to the US. So I was surprised by his comments about Frank.

Anne-Frank-school-desk-Netherlands-photo-album-1940

Picture from Britannica.com

It is true that Frank’s family was secular and that she was 16 when she wrote the diaries.  Despite everything that happened, Frank still believed in the goodness of people. Was that naive of her? Was it ill advised despite all of her experiences?

I don’t know and I am not going to judge Frank if she was wise enough. She was living through a situation that I can not imagine. She dealt with the stress of being in hiding from people who wanted to kill her because of an ethnic identity. The fact that she felt hopeful after being in hiding and knowing the outside world was dangerous is amazing to me. She chose to look at the world with the feeling of faith in mankind to always want to be better.

There is something I would like to give to Mr. Prager as a reminder. Nazis didn’t care if you were orthodox, conservative, or liberal. They didn’t care if you were an observant Jew, a passover and Yom Kippur Jew, or a fallen away Jew. All that mattered was that if you were a Jew, you needed to be eliminated. Maybe that was shut up in the ghetto, sent to a camp, or simply dead in a trench the Jews were forced to dig.

As we see increased violence towards the Jewish population, now is not the time to pick each other apart. Maybe Prager did this because currently because it is en vogue to criticize teenagers who take a stand against evil. Maybe he considers this young girl inconsequential because of her age and secular religious habits. All I can say that it takes a small man to disparage a young person to make him feel better about himself. Almost as small as the people who have to kill those who are different from themselves.

 

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

In this day and age one of the things that fascinates me is how you can watch movie streaming. I am amazed by the movies that produced by companies such as Amazon and Netflix and Hulu.

I have talked about other programs that I have watched but I was able to find DVD formats for those movies.

Guernsey Literary and Potato peel pie society largeposterThis time around, I watched a movie through Netflix because I wanted to see this movie while it was still freshly out.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published in 2008 and became a book club darling immediately.

The story is told through letters as a British writer that is trying to find her way at the end of WWII and a return to whatever is normal.

It is what some might call a gentle read even as it deals with the occupation of the island of Guernsey during WWII.

When I saw there was a movie version, I was quite excited. I really enjoyed the book despite my vow to stop reading stories about WWII. It was quick moving tale while telling a compelling story about survival during the pain of war.

I was not disappointed.

The movie opens with four people coming home after a night of eating and drinking. They are walking home and know they are beyond the curfew hour. German soldiers are out, demanding papers. They want to know why the group is out and, suddenly, they come up with a name.

In creating a literary society, the group realizes they need reading material and so need reading material are found. That is how they get started and connect with Juliet, our London-based writer.

Guernsey mtg with SidneyJuliet is in the middle of a book tour regarding her light-hearted columns printed during the war. And she is still in shock from losing her apartment during the blitzkrieg. But she also must write another book for her publisher and is intrigued by the island’s story of survival during the occupation. So she decides to go there and learn more.

I enjoyed the movie for both its simplicities and intricateness. The movie is beautifully shot and Lily James as Juliet is always lovely from simple sweaters and dresses to her gorgeous evening wear. But we are also telling a tale of the occupation and what happens to those people. How lines are crossed for love or collaboration or the birthing of calves.

This movie does not include car chases or gunfire. There isn’t any swearing or sexuality. Instead, there is the terror of always having to act in a certain way or face dire consequences. That to me is more insidious, more frightening.

guernsey-dance-scene.jpgGood movies don’t happen because of one person. James is supported wonderfully by Michael Huisman as Dulsey, Tom Courtney as Eben, Katherine Parkinson as Isola, Penolope Wilton as Amelia, Glen Powell as rich American Mark Reynolds, and Jessica Brown Findlay as the mysterious Elizabeth. Each takes on his or hers various quirks to make the story interesting and the characters familiar to us.

We know these people. We learn of their struggles and slowly come to understand them in the way that Juliet does. It is a movie you can watch with girlfriends or the husband. If the kids happen to walk in, you won’t have to shield their eye. That’s always a plus.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Lately, I have been reading books and watching movies about the Holocaust. What saddens me the most about this time period is the absolute hatred for Jews that seemed to go beyond hating Jewish Bolsheviks, it went beyond the desire to have a pure Aryan race. It was an evil that went beyond the need to be right no matter what.

I saw this in The Book Thief, I read about it in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. In the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva I see the long term effects of being a Holocaust survivor – whether it is you or a family member.

XMen Days of Future PastHowever, this past weekend the husband and I went to see X-Men: Days of Future Past. Suddenly, we were right back in a holocaust of those who are different. I know the title sounds like some horrible grammar rule gone crazy but the story requires that you suspend disbelief at all costs.

As the movie starts, we see a world in which mutants are hunted down by giant robots called Sentinals. But as with any campaign to eradicate one group, it stops being about only those creatures and includs anyone who aids them or are related. We see piles and piles of bodies and bones in a darkened world in which Sentinals have the ability to use any skill from any mutant.

They were created by a scientist named Trask who used DNA and other tissue from Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). It is at this point that Professor X/Charles (Patrick Stewart), Magneto/Erik (Ian McKellan), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and Storm (Halle Berry) find a lone surviving group of mutants who can escape the Sentinals on a regular basis using a form of time travel.

That is when Charles and Erik come up with a crazy plan to send Charles back in time to talk to his younger self. When it is deemed that Charles would not make the trip, Wolverine goes in his stead. This is when things get really strange as Wolverine eventually meets up with a younger Charles and Beast, plan to break Erik out of prison (it’s complicated), and stop Mystique.

I found this to be an interesting movie, slow only in a few parts, and yet able to laugh at itself. The acting is top tier by the key players of Jackman, Stewart, McKellan, Michaeal Fassbander, James McAvoy and Lawrence. The special effects for this movie are outstanding. My favorite moment has to be when Quicksilver stops an attack during the prison break scene to the soundtrack of Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce. That might be the last time we have a good laugh but it is a fascinating scene.

It is a dark movie that I would not recommend for kids under the age of ten because I don’t think they are going to understand the total context of this movie. We live in an age where scary things happen but not like this in which neighbors and family members might turn you in for being ‘different.’

Nazi Germany would have never happened without the fear of wondering if you would be next to disappear, to be marched to death camps, or killed before your family’s eyes. Especially if you had spent the last several years watching this happen to neighbors and friends or anyone who disagreed with the powers that be.

The X-Men have always had the Holocaust as an undercurrent, that those dark times could and will return. It is that fear which permeates the movie, making it compelling and terrifying all at the same time.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

I Remember Every Detail

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

“You played it for her, you can play it for me.”

 

That line and many others come from Casablanca which opened in theaters seventy years ago this week. The movie was released just a few weeks after the war opened on the African front, which explains the map sequence at the beginning of the 1942 film.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

If you have never seen the movie, the story is this: A man runs a tavern and secret casino in Casablanca. Every day more refugees from Europe come to the French colonial city in Morocco hoping to get the necessary papers to leave the county, a stop away from America.

 

One night a famous resistance leader comes to the club looking for such papers for himself and his wife. But what the husband does not know is that his wife and the club owner have a past that occurred during the time everyone thought the leader was dead. The owner has papers everyone wants but the question is what will he do with them as the Germans are breathing down his neck.

 

It is a movie you can watch with your teens but be aware that there are no car chases or crash sequences. There are innuendos about sexual favors and two murders occur on-screen. Dialogue runs this movie and the great lines seem never-ending.

 

“This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

 

I always wonder if a creative person knows they are writing or working on perfection as they do it. The Epstein twins may not have thought they were doing that at the time. This was just another movie they were writing when the studios put out hundreds of movies a year.

 

There are great legends connected to this movie such as Ronald Reagan originally being cast as Rick. Personally, I do not think he had the right amount of dark disappointment to play the casino owner. Bogart, with his string of gangster roles, displayed a man who hid his heart with a layer of toughness.

 

Admit it, you guys. Once you have seen Bogart perform in just about any movie, you want to be as cool as all that. This role defines that elusive male who is tough but able to be so crazy in love that years later he is still angry at the woman who got away. And instead of taking that anger out on the world, every now and again he performs an act of kindness that allows young love to continue on to the new world.

 

This was Bogart’s first truly romantic role. He was given a partner who gave him everything back that he dished out. I am not sure if I ever saw Ingrid Bergman more beautiful, more glowing than in this movie. She is a woman who appears divided between two men of similar standards. She is willing to go to extremes to protect the man she loves but we are left guessing who that man is for the majority of the movie.

 

“Round up the usual suspects.”

 

Perhaps the best judge of any movie is whether or not you would watch it again. Some movies make me feel embarrassed that I ever liked them. When I watch Casablanca I want to be there in the hot and dry African city – going to the club every night, attending Resistance meetings, and looking as stylish as Elsa did in every scene.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Break Out the Old Ones

Family Movie Night

Do you ever get on a kick to watch certain types of movies?

 

I have had weeks in which I only watch movies based on Jane Austen books or Jack Black movies.

 

Sometimes, the only thing I want to watch is musicals or animal stories or something I know will make me cry my eyes out.

 

Lately, I have wanted to watch nothing but classic movies. I am talking about movies that were made during the 40s and 50s with actors who brought a certain something with them to the silver screen.

 

 

Movie Poster image from IMDb.com

Case in point – the other night we watched Casablanca (1942). Our 14-year-old stopped to watch the movie with us. I kept saying things like “look, there is Humphrey Bogart. He was a great actor.” Or “look, there is Sydney Greenstreet. He was one of the best character actors around, in his day.”

 

I made him wait for Ingrid Bergman, one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the planet. I wanted him to hear her voice and look at her face to see that glow that only Bergman possessed.

 

But more importantly, I wanted him to hear the script with lines that are ageless. We know the color of Ilsa’s dress when the Germans invaded Paris. We know Rick has a heart despite his front of disinterest. We know that Claude Rains plays the captain with an air of insouciance. 

 

He is shocked to find there is gambling going on at Rick’s just moments before he is handed his winnings. The Germans sing their anthem proudly until the French citizen comes back strong, even those women willing to go out with German soldiers.

 

There are strong moments throughout that remind me what made this movie making so great. Moments that are presented by strong actors such as Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Paul Henreid and S.Z. Sakall.

 

It makes me think about current actors who are just as good. My mind lists quality people such as George Clooney, David Strathairn, Holly Hunter, Jodie Foster, Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, and Richard Gere. I think of Angelina Jolie, one of the few Hollywood stars that still glow. Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush and Brendan Gleeson get me excited. Alan Rickman has been thrilling in performances for over 20 years.

 

Pamela Anederson is "Barb Wire," Image from IMDb.com

Could I see a re-make of Casablanca? I could and there have been remakes of this movie. My favorite is Barb Wire, a so-bad-it-is-good Pamela Anderson vehicle set in a post-apocalyptic world. Good idea, poor execution. I could see a number of men – or women – pulling off the role of Rick.

 

Directed by Michael Curtiz, this movie is a wonderful balance of fear and hope, of passive behavior and aggressive assertiveness.  I enjoy watching Victor’s continued show of strength and Major Strasser’s determined path for the Furher.

 

Next classic movie I plan to watch is Rear Window (1954) starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. The director is Alfred Hitchcock.

 

Do you have a favorite classic?

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Most of the time, I write about movies that the whole family can see together. In fact, I can tell you exactly what our family watched this last week.

If you have not seen the 2003 version of Peter Pan, you really must. It is beautifully photographed and fully realized emotionally. Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook is a vision to behold and his acting is superb. Jeremy Sumpter makes a fine Peter.

But that is not the movie I am talking about this week. There are times that adults want to watch a movie that is meant for adults.

I am not talking about ‘X’ rated flicks but movies that have adult storylines, context, language and violence. This week, my inner adult wanted to watch Inglourious Basterds directed by Quentin Tarantino. The misspelling is all Tarantino’s work, who refuses to divulge why he did it.

This “R” rated flick is one I would consider a fantasy in which the bad guys get what we always wanted to do to them. The Nazis are perhaps the easiest villains to portray without offending anyone, their particular brand of malevolence being the most vile in all of history.

The story is set in Nazi-occupied France. We are first shown a French farmhouse where a family is interrogated about Jewish families in the area. The interrogator is Col. Hans Landa, the Jew hunter. He says he is doing a job for Hitler but like anyone else he wants to be the best at his work.

Then there are the Basterds, a group of Jewish-American soldiers led by Lt. Aldo Raine. His commission is to get rid of Nazis, anyway possible. Because Raine is of Apache heritage, he wants scalps of every German his unit takes out. His goal is 100 scalps. The unit becomes feared and well-known in a short manner of time.

Years pass and one young German soldier has attained fame for his record number of kills as a sharpshooter. Goebbals has filmed a movie about his exploits and plans a big Paris premiere. The Basterds are aware and make plans to take out the leaders of the Third Reich, including Hitler. What none of them know about is the owner of the cinema and her own plans.

This is not an easy movie to watch. There is disturbing violence, gun battles and swearing. Brad Pitts and Christopher Waltz put in brilliant performances. Both men have a cause, both men believe they are right. But it is a movie that rankles.

There is constant tension as people try to weigh what they say so that they do not rile anyone and lose their life in the process. It is the act of always being on a highwire.

That is life under occupation by the enemy, is it not?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle. Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know your family’s recent selection by dropping a line to momgoestothemovies@sbcglobal.net. You can also ‘friend’ me on Facebook.