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Ed Zwick's WW2 flick DEFIANCE starring Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell and Liev Schreiber screens!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a couple of reviews from a recent test screening of Edward Zwick's DEFIANCE. The film screened in Colorado and we had not one, but two spies in the audience, both dug it and both end up calling it "a great movie." I'll let the spies explain themselves! Enjoy and beware of spoilers!

Hey Harry. Last night I saw a test screening for Defiance in Westminster, Colorado. Defiance is the true story of three Jewish brothers who hide a community of Jews in the Belarussian forest during WWII. It stars Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell as the three brothers. It was directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, Blood Diamond). There, now that we have the basics out of the way let's get to what was good and bad... The Good: -Zwick does a marvelous job with the pacing and style of the movie. The timing is appropriate, giving the viewer enough action, while still making time to portray the truly abysmal conditions that these people lived in. There is one scene in particular, which has members of the forest camp celebrating a wedding in a snow storm cross cut with the rebel fighters ambushing a Nazi convoy. -Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber give great performances as men who are thrust into leading all of these people. They are believable as brothers who have a long history and their struggle with what they must do is amazing to watch. The power struggle between the two of them, with Schreiber as the younger brother who must accept his older brother's position of authority, is perfect sibling rivalry, but taken to a level that is so much more. The fear they feel hiding in the forest, the rage they have at the murder of their loved ones, the responsibility of protecting, and feeding, all of these people in the forest, grates on these men, and leads to an inevitable break, with Schreiber running off to fight with the Russian army. -The story: Seeing how it is based on a true story, who knows how much really happened, but if half of what these poor people had to live through was true, then it truly is an amazing tale. The constant hunting by the Nazis, the survival through the harsh winters, escapes, ambushes, Russians, and tanks. It is thoroughly engrossing, and quite entertaining. The Bad: -For some reason, filmmakers feel the need to cram romantic interests into every possible place in films. I was alright with Craig's and Bell's love interests in the film, especially after the epilogue confirmed that they actually met and married the women they fall in love with in the film. But Schreiber's love interest feels forced, and very awkward. Here is a man who has just lost his wife and daughter, and not two scenes later, is groping some woman. It does not forward the plot, it does not forward either character, it is simply fluff. And it's unnecessary. -The climax: Most of the climactic battle sequence is great. There is actually one point where I wondered, "Can't these people catch a flipping break?", and not in the way that it was unbelievable what was happening. It was just that they were in a horrible situation. But then something very disappointing happens. It turns all Hollywood on us. In a very deus ex machina sort of move, the estranged brother returns at the last possible moment, when all hope is lost, to save his brother, and a happy family reunion ensues. That said, I don't know if this is actually how the events went down, but it seemed a little set up, for how hard the rest of the movie had been for those living in the forest. The Verdict: This is a great movie. Parts of it reminded me of The Wind that Shakes the Barley. The performances by the lead characters is strong and believable, the direction is powerful and guided, and the story is well told and incredible. An amazing film overall. Cheers, ~Wimpy

This second one is shorter, but slightly more enthusiastic!

So, Somebody came up to me on the street in Westminster, Colorado and dropped some tickets on me to see a new movie starring Daniel Craig. I thought he completely kicked ass in the last James Bond flick and I'm counting down the days for the next one. Anyway, this movie was called, "Defiance," and I kinda groaned inside when I realized it was about WWII – not that I've got anything against serious movies but I usually think these kind of things are better off on The History Channel. Well, I was wrong. This movie rocked me with all the right elements for me to claim it as a wonderful piece of work. It's the story of these three Jewish brothers who escape into the woods when the Nazis come into Poland. At first they only want to save their own ass but then they start fighting back and end up saving thousands of others. Three times in the movie I felt choked up and got pretty embarrassed, but then I looked over and saw my girlfriend was crying too. So that's a score for me... The important thing about this film? It's all TRUE! I definitely believe that this is different from the usual Holocaust films because it shares a gripping story about the other side of the horror that I don't think we really knew much about. Daniel Craig is totally different in this than Casino Royale. He's still major bad ass, though. Jamie Bell is in it, too, and he's even better in this than he was in Jumper. Need I say much about Liev? He's a true force in this. Also, there is some incredibly hot girl whose name I don't know... At the end the whole audience was cheering and clapping. No shit. I don't know how this one doesn't end up nominated for lots of Oscars. We shall see!
Readers Talkback
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  • June 22, 2008, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Yuk at shoehorned romance and family dilemmas

    by palimpsest

    That is all.

  • June 22, 2008, 4:42 p.m. CST

    I hope it doesn't go all ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF JEWS

    by palimpsest

    towards the end...

  • June 22, 2008, 4:43 p.m. CST

    I haven't even heard of this

    by kungfuhustler84

    and they're already screening it? Daniel Craig was a great bond, but he was also cool in Munich. Munich is such a badass movie.

  • June 22, 2008, 4:45 p.m. CST

    release date's mid December

    by palimpsest

    so someone's hoping for Oscar noms - either that or it's surprisingly festive.

  • June 22, 2008, 5:16 p.m. CST

    I'm with Bodet.

    by DocPazuzu

    Nr. 2 is a total plant. I mean, come on: <p> "I kinda groaned inside when I realized it was about WWII – not that I've got anything against serious movies but I usually think these kind of things are better off on The History Channel." <p> Translation: "I know this movie is about, like, olden stuff but there's guns and explosions and shit!" <p> "Three times in the movie I felt choked up and got pretty embarrassed, but then I looked over and saw my girlfriend was crying too. So that's a score for me..." <p> Translation: "You bring a chick to this and you're gonna get some!" <p> Fuck off, you miserable marketing ass-cock. <p> Still, I do like Craig and Zwick and it's an amazing story so I'll see it -- no thanks to the soulless motards who are pimping it for the studio.

  • June 22, 2008, 5:42 p.m. CST

    wow!

    by themovieslave

    better than I expected. But I am not that much looking forward to it. "The Last Samurai" and "Blood Diamond" were also big oscar-material movies and I did not like them. Zwick's not that good

  • June 22, 2008, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Trailer for this was lacking

    by barnaby jones

    So get it together marketing people !

  • June 22, 2008, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Zwick is an amazing direcotr. This movie could be "Glory"ous

    by Proman1984

    I had to. This really does look great though.

  • June 22, 2008, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Guees Hollywood doesn't realize there was a war with Japan

    by picardsucks

    Show some balls and portray the Japanese as the murderous butchers they were during that period or is it only that Nazi's are easy marks. Fucking pussies.

  • June 22, 2008, 6:17 p.m. CST

    Step 1: Jews vs. Nazis...Step 2: ?

    by c4andmore

    Step 3: Oscars

  • June 22, 2008, 6:17 p.m. CST

    dude made Last Samurai

    by theredtoad

    and cast Tom Cruise in the leading role.<p>anyways...

  • June 22, 2008, 6:26 p.m. CST

    SoylentMean

    by Holodigm

    they made a game. it's called Rainbow Six.

  • June 22, 2008, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Tom Cruise is the Last Samurai?

    by Han Cholo

    Well I've wrote a screenplay and maybe they'll shoot it one day. It's called The Last Nigga on Earth, starring Tom Hanks.

  • June 22, 2008, 7:03 p.m. CST

    SoylentMean, I said game

    by Holodigm

    Not a fuckin' movie.

  • June 22, 2008, 7:04 p.m. CST

    Oh wait......

    by Han Cholo

    They already shot that movie, except it was called I Am Legend, starring Will Smith. Same premise, though the theatrical version sucked balls. The DVD alternate version was better but the FX still sucked.

  • June 22, 2008, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Anyone who says...

    by Manatee

    "Jamie Bell is in it, too, and he's even better in this than he was in Jumper," is not a trustworthy source.

  • June 22, 2008, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Proof that Jews will never let us forget about WW2

    by ganymede3010

    Yes, the Holocaust was terrible, it was very wrong and horrible. I think Slavery was worst then the Holocaust however, but the only movie that I've seen that actually covered slavery was Amistad, and what a piss poor attempt that was. How many movies, specials, TV shows, do we have to endure that seems to elevate jewish suffering over other historical atrocities. Like how many movies have we seen of the Japanese cities after the atomic bomb ripped thousands of children from limb to limb?

  • June 22, 2008, 9:33 p.m. CST

    Craig, Schreiber and Bell, BROTHERS?

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Isn't Bell about TWENTY YEARS YOUNGER than the other two?

  • June 22, 2008, 9:34 p.m. CST

    "only good thing in Sum Of All Fears"

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    What about Jerry Goldsmith's BRILLIANT title theme?

  • June 22, 2008, 9:36 p.m. CST

    "Munich is such a badass movie"

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Ass-kicking Jews! If I get laid tonight, it's because of Eric Bana and Munich!

  • June 22, 2008, 10:15 p.m. CST

    I love Snow Falling On Cedars

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    A grossly underappreciated film.

  • June 22, 2008, 10:44 p.m. CST

    Who DOESN'T like Jerry Goldsmith?

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Any film fan who doesn't is a frickin' moron.

  • June 22, 2008, 11:17 p.m. CST

    Watched The Sand Pebbles recently...

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    ...and that's a GENIUS Goldsmith score. Nowadays, we have to settle for Steve Jablonsky...

  • June 22, 2008, 11:23 p.m. CST

    ganymede3010, the industry is run by jews

    by Prossor

    hence the pounding of the dead horse of showcasing the holocaust and forgetting anything else that might turn the spotlight away.

  • June 23, 2008, midnight CST

    Fucking Plants

    by Stollentroll

    ...trying to make shit look like a WWII epic.

  • June 23, 2008, 3:04 a.m. CST

    Ed Zwick is like Salieri in Amadeus

    by m_reporter

    The king of mediocrity.

  • June 23, 2008, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Warsaw Uprising

    by Prossor

    exiled polish government in london:hey chaps can you do a partisan uprising? <p> polish resistance: sure thing boss! but in order for it to work we'll need some outside help. <p> polish gov:hmmm... well those soviets are sure moving fast, why dont you ask em? i can't wait for us to come back and be a sovereign country again! woohoo! now if you'll excuse us we're having more tea and crumpets. <p> polish resistance:alrighty then! *ring ring* hey soviets wassap. say chaps no hard feelings about us beating you in the polish-soviet war k? if you dont mind we're going to do an uprising and it can only work if you guys help us! otherwise we'll be crushed even further under the nazi heel! <p> soviets:uh if you're doing this to get your anti-communist government then go fuck yourself. now if you'll excuse us we have nazis to fight and collect our zillions of dead. <p> polish resistanced: sweet! sovereign nation here we come! <p> later... <p> polish resistance: alright we have the nazis off their feet, now we just need to finish them off! quick soviet tanks come and help us! <p> soviets:hey dudes we just said we're not helping your anti-soviet government remember? <p> polish resistance:but i mean, cmon, it's nazis! hurry up! we almost got them! can't hold out longer! <p> [resistance does all the work for the soviets destroying itself while killing nazis. and soviets move in with all opposition destroyed. ] <p> polish gov: waaah! bitch and moan! they didnt help our valiant uprising! <p> soviets:fucking idiots.

  • June 23, 2008, 5:24 a.m. CST

    excuse my ignorance

    by chuffsterUK

    ...but i'm sure i read that Craigs character was,in real life,a murdering bastard guilty of massacres and potential war crimes?

  • June 23, 2008, 6:54 a.m. CST

    Zwick wicky

    by damnimgood

    While the premise to this sounds good, and I like the casting, I can't help but feel that it will ultimately go tit's up at the end. Zwick has a really bad habit of going over sentimental at the end of films, going so far as to trying to emotionally mug the audience in Blood Diamond and it sounds like he may have doen the same here. It's a shame as his movies all have some truly great work. I'll pass judgement on this when I see it though and hope that he's resisted!

  • June 23, 2008, 8:32 a.m. CST

    I want to see this

    by CherryValance

    I thought the trailer was really impressive, but I didn't read this article because it said "spoiler". :) I like the epic nature of Ed Zwick's movies. This should be good.

  • June 23, 2008, 12:10 p.m. CST

    God will someone please just give Ed Zwick

    by Series7

    An Oscar so he will leave us alone! God every movie he makes is just such bad Oscar bait, even the trailers are like, This movie deserves to win an Oscar. You should see this movie because it will be nominated for an Oscar. Also I'm sorry but Blood Diamond was crap. First off they stole the ending from Happy Feet, stole scenes from Rambo's 2 and 3. And half of the movie was, "WHERE's MY SON!" "WHERE'S THE DIMOND!" back and forth. It was laughably bad toward the end, especially Leo's lame death. <P> Also Daniel Craig playing a Jew again? Is it that hard to find a real Jewish actor? I mean they stole kids right out of Afghanistan to portray REALISM for Kite Rider? When some little Turkish or Italian kids would've been fine.

  • June 23, 2008, 1:38 p.m. CST

    the second review screams 'plant!'

    by Ray Gamma

    why do they have to patronise us with the impersonation of 'a dude who only wanted to see james bond kicking ass but was pleasantly surprised by a WWII movie that normally he'd say belongs on the History Channel'...? Fuck off. There's no need for this patronising shit. This movie might turn out to be great, but I don't need some studio-employed dickhead to try to talk down to 'us the average joes' in our own supposed vernacular.

  • June 23, 2008, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Funny that Craug plays a Jew AGAIN

    by Mattyboy122

    Since he kinda looks like a Nazi poster boy. Curious. Oh and Last Samurai sucked taint.

  • June 23, 2008, 4:11 p.m. CST

    Craig, oops

    by Mattyboy122

    No edit button!!!

  • June 23, 2008, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Craig should play Putin in the biopic

    by Prossor

    in 10 years time he'll be a shoe-in i can already picture it...

  • June 23, 2008, 7 p.m. CST

    "not that I've got anything against serious movies..

    by depalma25

    ... but I usually think these kind of things are better off on The History Channel." Um, okay. What kind of pussy are you?

  • June 23, 2008, 8:29 p.m. CST

    Three Things

    by TheGreatHomsar

    1. "The Last Samurai" is clearly Watanabe, and the movie never says that Cruise lives in the end. The Englishman says "I like to think he found peace..." Beautiful film, COMPLETELY undeserving of the bullshit talkbackers like to toss on it. 2. "Glory" is one of the best films of all time. It took a potentially dead-horse subject (slavery/racism=bad) and made it into a poignant, dramatic, moving war epic that stayed pretty darn close to historical accuracy. Hopefully "Defiance" will do the same in a Holocaust setting. 3. Daniel Craig's face is pants. Ugh. I swore I wasn't gonna do it. I really did. *retreats to self-imposed exile*

  • June 23, 2008, 9:40 p.m. CST

    FREE XIPHOS!

    by just pillow talk

  • June 24, 2008, 6:06 p.m. CST

    ganymede3010

    by spire_walk

  • June 24, 2008, 6:11 p.m. CST

    ganymede3010 "Slavery is worse than genocide."

    by spire_walk

    Okay, which set of Africans are more prosperous... African Americans or native Africans who were never slaves? </p> Hate to tell you, but Africa is a disease-ridden shithole, and as bad as slavery was, black people in America are a million times better off than "free" Africans. I can tell you which set of Africans I'd rather belong to.

  • Oct. 1, 2008, 3:31 a.m. CST

    Remember Naliboki

    by szopen

    The movie about bastards whose main activity was robbing and murdering civilians, including the massacre of 128 people at Naliboki.. I bet this isn't mentioned in the movie.

  • Oct. 2, 2008, 2:53 a.m. CST

    a disease-ridden shithole

    by Prossor

    to ba fair though the reason why Africa is that way after centuries isn't becuase the blacks are idiots or whatnot, it's because the rest of hte industrial 1st world uses it as their toilet/trash can/slave-puppet.