Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Miracle at St Anna |
Actors: Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, Omar Benson Miller, Pierfrancesco Favino
Director: Spike Lee
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
From award-winning filmmaker Spike Lee comes Miracle At St. Anna, the story of four black American soldiers who are members of the US Army as part of the all-black 92nd Buffalo Soldier division stationed in Tuscany, Italy ... more »
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High hopes for St. Anna
zx2781 | Denver, Co. USA | 02/11/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I had wanted to like this movie so much. As much as I wanted to like Windtalkers. Both had potential to be really great but were unable to rise above an absolutely juvenile and cheesy script. I am an avid WWII buff and I give alot of license to war movies and don't pick them apart for their accuracy or lack there of but this one not only insults the viewer but the legacy of the 92nd/Buffalo.
The Good : Absolutely beautiful cinematography. If you could mute the sound (dialogue) one might think they were watching a pretty decent WWII era movie. Battle scenes were shot well. Uniforms were pretty dead on accurate and the weapons were accurate although Thompson SMGs and 1911 .45 caliber HGs did not have 100 round clips......
The Bad : Awful and embarrassing dialogue embellished with overacting which made it almost comical. Obligatory nudity. Soldiers using language and phrases that would be used only today. A German louspeaker that blares Axis Sally's propaganda for several square miles over the battlefield and is audible to all. Fragmented story with a total lack of cohesion (like this review). My favorite is the commanding white officer (Nokes?) stating that the Germans were going to cause a race riot by piping in the propaganda. I think that those valiant soldiers were more interested in staying alive and protecting their comrades than starting a race riot in Italy under fire. But then again this shows the mentality of Spike Lee and the writer.
The Ugly : All white officers and soldiers portrayed as bigoted haters. In one instance the commanding officer refuses to believe members of the 92nd crossed the river so does not send supporting artillery strikes. His reasoning for this is "He is lying".
This same commanding officer condescendingly orders a black soldier to get him water. The black soldier spits into the canteen before giving it to white officer. Not only does this lower the mentality of the movie several notches but also slanders the memory of those brave men of the 92nd/Buffalo that fought for their country.
This movie had potential, unfortunately it was executed by someone who was unable to deliver. It is filled with contemporary language, modern topics of discussion, poor acting, and endless preaching about the evils of America. Spike Lee had scolded Clint Eastwood for not having any African Americans in Iwo Jima and had wanted him to rewrite history. Well, Spike has done that with this movie.
A gawdawful mess, compounded with racist stereotypes
David C. Read | Glendale, CA USA | 02/21/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The bloated, convoluted WWII flick makes no sense whatsoever. Nothing that is happening ever makes sense militarily or tactically, and the plot is silly nonsense.
For none of the above reasons, however, would I bother to review this dreck. What greatly troubles me is how Spike Lee, a black man, depicts the black soldiers in this movie: cowardly, undisciplined, mutinous, hypersexual, superstitious, ignorant, contentious, sloppy, etc. What gives? If a white man had made this movie and drawn the black characters this way, he would be widely derided as a racist, and rightly so. Why in the world would Spike Lee perpetuate these sorts of racist stereoptypes about soldiers of his own race???
This garbage deserves swift oblivion, and Spike Lee needs to do some serious soul-searching."
Disjointed & Insulted
G. Teslovich | 03/24/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
(1.) Disjointed storytelling with poorly constructed flashbacks (everyone's currently popular cinematographic technique to showoff cleverness).
(2.) Stereotypic characterizations with sophomoric scripting.
(3.) Cheaply constructed military & war effects e.g. military uniforms that look as if they were cleanly pulled out of museum storage each day; cigarettes & munitions that last forever despite long term isolation from supply support.
(4.) Worst of all was that the important story of black WWII infantry was turned into preachy propaganda & simplistic absolutes that do not permit the audience to be thoughtfully educated but instead to be insulted as if they were moronic simpletons."
Good story, Worst possible execution
Alexander M. Walker | Chicago, IL USA | 03/03/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Plainly speaking: I'm not a fan of Miracle at St. Anna. While I believe that Spike Lee's self-described "untold story of courage and brotherhood" deserves to be told - I don't think Spike Lee should have been the one to tell it. He shouldn't have been let anywhere near it. If you trust the dialogue spoken by the characters within, James McBride's source material was racially polarized before Spike got anywhere near it. Allowing Spike Lee to emboss it even further with his own brand just makes the film all the more intolerable to watch - ironic really, considering how forcefully Lee and McBride hammered the film's message of intolerance into our skulls with each and every frame.
Spike Lee still hasn't learned that you don't win support or - as Lee was aiming for - regret by preaching at the audience. But Spike Lee doesn't preach, I'd be lying if I described his approach in such lofty terms as "preaching". Spike Lee condemns. Spike Lee damns. For the two hours and forty minutes of this filmmaking atrocity, if you aren't a black man who served in WWII Spike Lee wants you to feel horrible.
That's a lot of people.
Spike Lee takes the story of the U.S. Army's all-black 92nd Infantry division as they find themselves under siege from the relentless Nazi troops and the incompetence of their own white commanding officers. The story would have been fine had Lee (and McBride) insisted on the overboard abrasive racial conflict which pervades every moment of the film.
The film's plot, as stated by both McBride and Lee in the Extra Features, was to illustrate how these black soldiers, deprived of key human rights at home, went abroad and found the citizens of a foreign country to be more accepting than their own country. On this note, I agree with Lee and McBride as to the importance of such a theme being shown on film. These men were unsung heroes performing a duty under the most incredible circumstances. When a solider can't even rely on his own artillery to provide him with support - where can he turn? In Miracle at St. Anna you turn to a group of people undergoing the same oppressive regime you've lived under for years.
The idea behind the story resonates strongly with audiences of every age and race. The problem with St. Anna wasn't the underlying message. It was Lee's overt message which threatened to drown out all else.
Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, and Omar Benson Miller take the stage alongside more notable actors like John Turturro, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and John Leguizamo who all take backseat in honor of the 92nd Infantry's notable legacy. Of the former four actors mentioned you might have noticed that none of them are really household names. The more film-minded folk in the audience will certainly recognize their faces - but the fact remains that Spike Lee drove the point home even with casting. Message over substance. Derek Luke and Michael Ealy save the film from devolving into an incomprehensible mess void of any real redeeming quality. Providing steady performances and elevating a near-worthless script, Luke and Ealy offered the only beacon of hope throughout the entire film. Whereas Laz Alonso, who we see at the film's beginning and end masked as an older version of himself, gives us nothing but a laughably horrible run for our money.
If I didn't at least value what Lee and McBride were attempting to do for these unsung heroes I'm not sure I could have made it all the way through. The opening scene is just so horribly executed (worthless makeup and acting) that I was tempted to click it off. Slight regret.
Blu-ray Extra Features:
"Deeds Not Words" Featurette
Spike Lee, James McBride and a handful of veterans from WWII (all black, of course) recount their stories of discrimination and hardship during their service. The featurette is easily more interesting than the movie itself despite being only a fraction as long. Even having to endure Lee's prodding questions and McBride's zealous "Spike Lee turned my book into a movie" puppy dog eyes doesn't hurt as much when there're real people with meaningful experiences to be recounted.
"The Buffalo Soldier Experience"
We're treated to a documentary in History Channel form concerning the famous regiment of the army known as the Buffalo Soldiers. Yet again, the extra proves itself more valuable than the feature film it accompanies by giving meaningful testimony from living soldiers. This may be the first DVD or Blu-ray I've watched where the main feature looked worse in comparison to its supplementary materials.
If you like Spike Lee - you already know it and if so you think his suffocating style to be anything but. In which case the film is critic proof to you and you, assuming you read this, disagreed with my negative slant on the director. For the rest, you can sleep sound without ever having watched Miracle at St. Anna there's nothing here worth noting. Sure it has a purpose that we ought respect but the purpose was outdone by Spike Lee's inability to put political outrage aside and film the feature as a solid period piece war epic. Talk about ruining a good concept."