Weekend Roundup: Netflix’s Daredevil + MSPIFF 2015 Reviews: Secrets of War & The Dinkytown Uprising

Happy Monday everyone!

So it’s been a pretty packed weekend for me but thankfully the weather is practically Summer-like, which definitely adds an extra spring in my step. It’s the opening weekend of MSPIFF too, so I’ve watched a couple of films including Clouds of Sils Maria which was nominated for a Cannes’ Palme d’Or and a Best Supporting Actress win for Kristen Stewart. My review of it will be up tomorrow, but today we have two film fest reviews from Josh. But before we get to that, I just want to give my brief thoughts on Netflix Original Series Daredevil that premiered this weekend:
NetflixDaredevilI actually never saw the Ben Affleck version, but even from the trailer/clips I could surmise that it’s awful indeed. I have to admit that initially I was skeptical of Charlie Cox casting, as he’s such a cute face, and that isn’t exactly a glowing recommendation when you want to play a bad-ass vigilante. But y’know what, right from the get go, my doubts were erased. The British actor is quite convincing both as the blind lawyer + the vigilante.

My hubby & I have only seen 4/13 episodes so far but boy, this is definitely NOT a PG-rated Marvel adaptation. The words ‘dark & gritty’ have been used to describe a lot of stuff but it’s definitely no hyperbole when it comes to this show. In fact, it’s hyper-violent and bloody, I had to avert my eyes during the last 5 minutes of episode 4! But I like the meticulous & slo-burn pacing, the benefit of releasing all the episodes at once is that each episode doesn’t have to be ‘all-action-all-the-time’ and we actually get some character development by showing flashbacks of Matt Murdoch’s past, as well as more time with the secondary characters such as Matt’s BFF & partner in law Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson). They also have two strong female characters, Karen & Claire (Deborah Ann Woll & Rosario Dawson, respectively). I like both of them in the role, especially Dawson who’s always effortlessly appealing. But one thing for sure, people who love R-rated action and fantastically-choreographed fight scenes would NOT be disappointed.

So in short, I’ll definitely keep watching! I might do a review once we get through all 13 episodes. How about you? Did you see it?


MSPIFF15reviews

Secrets of War (Oorlogsgeheimen)

SecretsofWarFusing two well-known stories and thereby hitting dual-genre notes, Secrets of War is a quality picture. The first, and more successful, of the film’s two stories: the ways a friendship between two newly-adolescent Dutch boys, Tuur (Maas Bronkhuyzen) and Lambert (Joes Brauers), is tested, first by a girl, Maartje (Pippa Allen), they both like, and then by World War Two, something neither child initially understands. The second story, an anti-war treatise, is slightly less successful than the first, but it still relates the ways war tears apart uninvolved lives. 

All three young actors are very good, especially Allen who convincingly shows us her secrets long before the screenplay has her tell them to us. But Secrets of War’s scene stealer is Loek Peters, who plays Tuur’s father. Peters (and the other grown-ups in Tuur’s family) is the vehicle through which director Dennis Bots and writer Karin van Holst Pellekaan show the tragedies of World War Two, but they never let him speak all that much, which means he has to communicate the gravity of the situation non-verbally. Thankfully, he does just that.

SecretsofWarStill1

SecretsofWarStill2

Pellekaan’s screenplay and Bots’ direction is excellent for the first three-fourths of film, but it slips a little in the final act, when events are rushed, perhaps in an effort to speed to conclusion. A slower, more character-driven approach to the finale would have cemented the picture’s emotion and thereby helped deliver its themes.

The missteps near the end of Secrets of War do not ruin the film, however. It is still well worth viewing.

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The Dinkytown Uprising 

A documentary about a lengthy 1970’s neighborhood protest against a Red Barn fast-food restaurant entering a beloved Minneapolis community, The Dinkytown Uprising is interesting and entertaining. Interspersing modern interviews of former protestors with on-the-scene 1970 video showing the actual rallies, the film effectively informs the viewer about the protests, the protestors, and their links to the Vietnam War. It makes us care about each of the protestors, as well, ensuring that we remain interested throughout.

DinkytownUprising2 The Dinkytown Uprising is, in other words, a good film.

But it isn’t perfect, mostly because director Al Milgrom’s secondary goal is to connect the 1970 Dinkytown protests with modern efforts to preserve the historic neighborhood. More than that, it seems Milgrom wants us to agree that the neighborhood should be protected. Here he stumbles, mostly because he never draws a direct link between the picture’s informative intent and its persuasive efforts. The director might have benefited from a closer look at larger corporations’ modern efforts to enter the neighborhood. Given that he doesn’t do so, the few times he intimates concern for the community, it feels out of place with the rest of the film’s content.

DinkytownUprising1Still, while this flaw is significant, it is not debilitating. The skill with which Milgrom combines interviews, narration, and found footage is impressive. And overall, his picture succeeds.

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So what did you watch this weekend? Thoughts on Daredevil or any of these films?

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54 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup: Netflix’s Daredevil + MSPIFF 2015 Reviews: Secrets of War & The Dinkytown Uprising

  1. Nice reviews Josh but those two movies just doesn’t sound that interesting to me.

    I got through 6 episodes of DareDevil and I’m loving it, somehow a lot of the elements reminded me of the Batman Year One project that Darren Aronofsky was going to make before Nolan took over the Batman films. The funny thing is that a lot of things that happened in the show were very similar to the Ben Affleck’s film (the first 30 minutes of it anyway), the problem with the film was that it became cartoonish after about 30 minutes in; the villains were very cartoonish and the writing and directing were just atrocious. The show corrected everything that went wrong with the film, I like that they kept the look and feel from the film though. It’s very gritting and dark. I hope they rest of the episodes will be as good as the ones I’ve watched.

    Besides binged watching DareDevil, I watched Jurassic Park 3D and Man of Steel, was in the mood for a superhero flick after watching DareDevil.

    1. Hey Ted, I have a feeling you’d like the dark + grittiness of Daredevil. The villains are genuinely scary too, which is always nice to see. D’Onofrio’s downright terrifying, esp what he did to that Russian guy, sheesh!

      Oh I thought you hated Man of Steel?

      1. Oh yeah I thought Fisk aka Kingpin has more personality than the cartoonish film version, I’ve never read the comic DareDevil so I don’t know if it’s faith adaptation or not, but for sure he’s a frightening villain. Somehow I got very uncomfortable while watching that scenes where he had dinner with the lady from art gallery, who played Superman’s mom in Man of Steel! I somehow get the feeling she might say something wrong and Fisk would just kill her right there. I’m curious how she’ll fit into the Kingpin’s world. Maybe she’ll become his wife and be as evil as he is.

        I didn’t really care for it when I first saw Man of Steel, I decided to give it another try. I still feel the same, it’s great for about 40 minutes but then Zack Snyder unleash his inner Michael Bay and the film just fell flat with non-stop and boring action scenes.

  2. Thanks, Ted. I’m not sure how you would feel about Secrets of War, were you to see it, but the documentary is going to have a hard time finding an audience outside of the cities. It’s very localized.

    1. I’m curious about Secrets of War, and Dinkytown would be interesting to see as I live here in MN. I have no knowledge of its history whatsoever tho.

      1. I didn’t know the history either. It’s a pretty fascinating protest, though. A bunch of college students getting together to occupy condemned buildings about to be rebuilt as a massive, national fast food restaurant. The restaurant was the excuse they used, but by their own admission, they were really protesting much larger societal issues, and using this small local complaint as a launching pad. It’s not the best documentary ever, but I think you’d like it, Ruth.

    2. I might give Secrets of War a rent since it’s about a local town but to be honest with you, I don’t really like Dinkytown. The only time I’m there is when I go eat at my favorite Chinese restaurant, other than that, I tend to stay away from that area of town. LOL.

  3. Sounds like a good weekend. I am keen to see Clouds of Sils Maria, and I might give Daredevil a go once Mad Men and Game of Thrones finish in a couple of months. I didn’t watch much…I persuaded my wife to watch Star Wars for the first time. She didn’t hate it, which I guess is an achievement of sorts!

    1. Clouds of Sils Maria was excellent, my review of it is up tomorrow. Yeah, too many shows too little time! Who knows when I’ll ever get to watch GoT though I really want to. Ahah, Star Wars! I did see that years ago w/ my two brothers, it’s enjoyable enough but I can’t imagine being so obsessed w/ ’em.

  4. I steam-rolled through Daredevil over the weekend and I have to say, I totally loved it. You’re right about the Affleck movie adaptation of it; don’t go near it. Stick with this one. Marvel/Netflix have done a wonderful job here. It’s dark and gritty and the fight scenes are glorious. It’s an exciting time for the Marvel ‘Verse heroes, especially when a series like this isn’t too afraid to let a little darkside in. As for the end of Ep4, I know exactly what you’re talking about… :O

    Loved Charlie Cox, too. Like yourself, I wasn’t sure about him in this role, but he completely won me over.

    1. Hello there V! Glad you’ve enjoyed Daredevil too, seriously Marvel’s been killin’ it w/ their screen adaptations. Sheesh, that ending of Ep 4 I literally had to leave the room, my hubby told me that the Russian dude won’t have to worry about having a headache ever again, yikes!!

      Charlie Cox has such a cute face but somehow he pulled it off! I’d be crushing on him too if I hadn’t been so preoccupied w/ this French actor I just discovered. I doubt you’ve heard of him tho.

      1. Haha, no, he certainly won’t have to worry about headaches again! I particularly enjoyed one of the following scenes… The one where they’re hosing down the car. 😀

        Who is this French actor? Tell me, I’ll Google image the feck out of him.

            1. Toldja!! I’m seriously obsessed, V. I’ve watched Not Another Happy Ending a dozen times in a week + started watching BORGIA where he plays a VERY naughty Juan Borgia, oh la la!!

                1. Yeah it’s on Netflix too, so definitely get on that V, so we can both drool over him together. His character is described as a sexual predator so I can’t wait to see all the naughty things he’ll be doing on that show! I’ve only got 2 eps so far and we’ve already seen plenty of Stanley from behind [catch my drift?] 😉

                  1. I’m on it Ruth! Starting tonight I am on the hunt for Stanley’s derrière. 😉

                    I was almost going to say you’re a bad influence on me, but that would be a lie because I love it. A sexy influence sounds better.

                    1. Ahah, well it’s in episode 2 I believe when his naughty-ness is um, on display 😉 He doesn’t appear much in ep 3, 4 and 5, but I think he’ll make an appearance again after that. I’m a sexy influence eh? Well I just want to spread the word, it’d be a shame to keep such yummy discovery to myself, now that would be greedy 😛

    1. It’s worth watching Drew! I don’t know if you’re into superhero stuff like I am but this one is genuinely dark & actually character-driven for a change. As for Clouds of Sils Maria, well if you love Binoche, you won’t be disappointed!

        1. Stay tuned for it today. I think you’ll love the film, it’s rare to see such a well-developed, female-centric dramas these days and this one definitely fits the bill!

  5. I’m with Ted re: the Daredevil movie. I actually liked Ben Affleck’s physicality in the role, but don’t blame him for the results. Poor as they were, as Ted and others have noted. Filmmakers really dropped the ball, or were just plain lazy in trying to translate it with any authenticity (à la the various forms of The Punisher the studio has attempted). Look forward to checking out the Netflix series.

    1. Hey Michael! Yeah it’s too bad they butchered the movie adaptation of Daredevil as the character itself is pretty cool! Seems that TV is where it’s at though as they can expand the story and focus on the characters much deeper.

  6. Well of course i have to watch Daredevil for my dear Deborah 😉

    But in all seriousness i’ve only seen the first 3 episodes so far but im enjoying it. I look forward to the rest of the show

  7. Looking forward to your review for Clouds of Sils Maria.

    I’m at ep. 7 of Daredevil so far. I kinda feel I’m getting spoiled with all these great comic book adaptations … and Avengers is coming soon! 😉 I also really like the two strong female characters, both actresses are great in their roles. The action is cool too, that corridor fight scene was something I had to rewatch right away.

    1. It’s up later today 😀

      I hope to watch one episode tonight and hopefully finish all 13 by end of this month. I’m actually not that excited for Age of Ultron. I mean I’ll watch it and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it but I’m just not super gung-ho about it. I’ve been enjoying a whole lot of indies thanks to MSPIFF!

  8. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    The more I see of Marvel’s ‘Daredevil’ clips. The more I flash back to an ABC series from the late 1960s titled ‘Longstreet’. It starred James Francuscus as a suddenly blinded insurance investigator in New Orleans. Aided by his martial arts instructor, Bruce Lee. And a sonar sensing walking stick.

    The show took an odd turn for the worse when Longstreet applied for a pistol and carry permit.

    My question remains that same as for Fox’s ‘Gotham’. “If life is so hard and dangerous in Hell’s Kitchen and Gotham City. Why stay?

    1. Hi Kevin! I haven’t heard of Longstreet, but it’s got Bruce Lee in it? Oooh I have to see if there’s a clip of that show on Youtube. Wasn’t he also on the TV version of Green Hornet?

      Ahah, well they stay so that we can see ’em fight crime, Kev, otherwise there’d be no show 😉

      1. jackdeth72

        Hi, Ruth:

        Bruce Lee started out in television as Kato. Britt Reid (Van Williams) driver, sidekick and back up on ABC’s ‘The Green Hornet’ and definitely the reason for the show’s short lived success!

        Bruce was also in the James Garner film, ‘Marlowe’ (1969). Where Bruce appears briefly as a henchman tearing apart Marlowe’s office before meeting an untimely end. Before branching out on his own to be the absolute Master of medium budgeted, well cast, ‘Chop-Socky’ Kung Fu flicks.

        Bruce also ran a Martial Arts Dojo in L.A. to help pay the bills. And some of more notable students were Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Jim Brown and Robert Culp.

        1. Marlowe sounds good! Hey perhaps you could review that in the future? 😉 I like James Garner so I should give that a watch. Wow I didn’t know Bruce trained Steve McQueen, very cool!

    1. Hey Mel! Well, I do like comic-book movies, and Charlie Cox is pretty cute 😉 But yeah, the violence is a bit too much for me. Yes my hubby loves it, so we’re hopefully gonna finish all 13 eps this month.

  9. Hi Josh! How’s the teaching job? Glad to see you here on Ruth’s site. You have great taste. I loved your reviews and I had heard nothing about either one. I’m interested in Secrets of War. Thanks!

    1. Cindy, I think you’d like Secrets of War, really. It seems like your sort of flick.

      And the job is good. When the students are in the building, I am reminded that I love teaching. A lot. When they aren’t and I’m doing the other stuff we do, I am reminded how much I miss being at home with my own kids.

      1. Well said. I could never be an administrator. So often, in my experience, other parent’s children “loved” me more than my own! If you have time, please do stop by and visit a post or two. Kind regards, Cindy

        1. I’ll find time at some point.

          And nope. Never going to be an administrator – this year my assistant principal is good work friend – we were on the school board together for a time, before he became a principal, when he was still a teacher. I initially served as his mentor for all things board related. Since we were friends first and he knows he can trust, I occasionally get a peek at what his life is really like. So very much with which I would never want to deal.

  10. I want to check out Daredevil, but first I need to watch season 1 of Bloodline (with Kyle Chandler and Ben Mendelsohn) and season 3 of House of Cards. 😉

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