Films in Focus

Films in Focus: Wunderland

Translated simply as Wonderland, Wunderland harkens back to the cold, wintry days of Christmas 1944, when the Germans launched a last gasp winter offensive aimed at splitting the Allied armies in two and striking towards the English Channel. As the Germans make one final push in the West, US Army Lt. Robert Cappa and his platoon of 2nd Infantry Division soldiers have been ordered to hold a vital road junction against the German onslaught. Cappa and his men must find their faith and strength to stand against their enemy in the epic fight know as “The Battle of The Bulge.” Starring Tom Berrenger, we aren’t sure if this will make a full theatrical release later this year or is destined to go straight to video based upon our first impressions. Have a looksie and decide for yourself.

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Films in Focus: No Better Place to Die

Tom Hanks and Dale Dye on the set of Saving Private Ryan

Sounds as if Dale Dye has finally gotten his wish. According to the web site, We Are the Mighty, US Marine, military historian and actor, Dale Dye, is teaming up with none other than screen legend, Tom Hanks, to create a feature film that retells the story of an American airborne unit in Normandy during the D-Day operation.The movie is centered around the defense of La Fiere Bridge by elements of the 82nd Airborne (“All-American”) and its pivotal role in the early stages of the Normandy campaign.

Dye had been shopping around the story/script for quite some time leading many to believe he would never get the proper backing to film the tale. Now, with Hanks in his corner, it appears as if the story will come to fruition, although no director has been named nor a producer. For more information on the news release, visit We Are the Mighty.

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Films in Focus: Hurricane

Hurricane OFFICIAL 2018 Teaser (Iwan Rheon, Milo Gibson, Marcin Dorociński)

The affecting, true story of the Polish pilots in the Battle for Britain, fighting for their own country above a foreign land…The BRAND NEW OFFICIAL Teaser Trailer is finally here for #Hurricane Starring Iwan Rheon, Milo Gibson, Marcin Dorociński 🎬

Posted by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment on Wednesday, February 7, 2018

There seems to be no shortage of WWII-themed movies coming to the fore, with the recently released Dunkirk, Churchill and Darkest Hour perhaps taking center stage, demonstrating renewed interest in the greatest conflict in human history. But now comes Hurricane, the  true story of the Polish pilots who comprised 303 Squadron, ex-pats who were fighting for their own country while defending a foreign land during the Battle of Britain. Produced by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, expect Hurricane to scramble some time this summer.

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Has Forces of Valor Gone AWOL?

Well, its the last day at the Nuremberg Toy Fair and thus far we haven’t heard a peep from Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand. That doesn’t necessarily spell doom and gloom. Far from it. It could very well mean that they are so busy that they haven’t found the time to post any of their latest introductions online. So, rather than contact us and hear the same old story of not learning anything new, we would prefer that you contact them directly and perhaps get it firsthand. Oh, and if you do learn anything, please be good enough to share it with us and everyone else.



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Films in Focus: The Exception

If you were ever wondering what happened to the German Kaiser after World War I, then you may want to check out a feature film entitled The Exception. The Exception is a 2016 romantic war drama film directed by David Leveaux (in his directorial debut) and written by Simon Burke, based on the 2003 novel The Kaiser’s Last Kiss by Alan Judd. The film stars Jai Courtney, Lily James, Janet McTeer and Christopher Plummer. The plot is a fictionalized account of the last few days in the life of exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II (Plummer), where a German soldier (Courtney) tries to determine if the Dutch resistance has planted a spy to infiltrate the Kaiser’s home in Holland during the onset of World War II, but falls for a young Jewish Dutch woman (James) during his investigation.

In 2014, Egoli Tossell Film announced that development on a film adaptation of Judd’s novel had begun. Principal photography lasted six weeks in 2015, across Belgium. The film held its world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival in the Special Presentations section. The film received a limited release and video-on-demand release on 2 June 2017 through A24 and DirecTV Cinema in the United States. The film was released on 2 October 2017 in the United Kingdom through Signature Entertainment.

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Films in Focus: The Unknown Soldier

The Unknown Soldier (Finnish: Tuntematon sotilas, Swedish: Okänd soldat) is an independent 2017 Finnish war drama film directed by Aku Louhimies. It is the third film adaption of the 1954 best-selling Finnish classic novel of the same name by Väinö Linna, a book considered part of national legacy, and the first one to be based on its manuscript version, A War Novel (Finnish: Sotaromaani). The previous two film adaptations were released in 1955 and 1985.

Described by critics as gritty, forlorn, honest and realistic, the movie follows a machine gun company of the Finnish Army from a frog perspective during the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1944. It is the most expensive film produced in the Finnish language with a budget of 7 million euros.

The film premiered domestically on October 27th, 2017, as a part of the official 100th anniversary of Finnish independence program, breaking the opening weekend record for a local-language film. The international premier was on November 23rd, 2017, at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.


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Films in Focus: Journey’s End

There seems to be no shortage of war films in recent years, although most are either skewed towards WWII, the Gulf Wars or more modern settings around the world. Enter RC Sherriff’s Journey’s End, the seminal British play about WWI. Set in a dug out in Aisne, France, in 1918, it is the story of a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope, variously awaiting their fate in the face of overwhelming odds. Look for Journey’s End to storm the ramparts later this year.

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Films in Focus: Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero

Meet up with Stubby, a 9-year-old veteran of the canine species. He has been through the World War as mascot for the 102nd Infantry, 26th Division. Stubby visited the White House to call on President Coolidge. November 1924

Ordinarily, we wouldn’t included animated movies in our Films in Focus section, however, this time around we are going to make an exception. Sergeant Stubby (1916 or 1917 – March 16th, 1926) was a dog who was the official mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment (United States), assigned to the 26th (Yankee) Division during World War I. He served for 18 months and participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and once caught a German soldier by the seat of his pants, holding him there until American soldiers found him. Back home, his exploits were front page news in major newspapers.

Stubby has been called the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be nominated for rank and then promoted to sergeant through combat, a claim having no official documentary evidence, but recognized in connection with an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution.

Sgt. Stubby is the subject of an upcoming animated film due to premiere in April 1918. What follows is a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the film along with the film’s first teaser trailer.

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Dunkirk: To Fight Another Day

Dunkirk is a 2017 English language war film written, co-produced and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. Set during the Second World War, it concerns the Dunkirk evacuation. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film is an international co-production between the United Kingdom, the United States, France and the Netherlands.

Nolan wrote the script, told from three perspectives – the land, sea and air – to contain little dialogue and create suspense solely through details. Filming began in May 2016 in Dunkirk, France, and ended in Los Angeles, United States, where it also began post-production. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot the film on IMAX 65 mm and 65 mm large format film stock. The film made extensive use of practical effects such as employing 6,000 extras, assembling boats that had participated in the real Dunkirk evacuation, and using genuine era-appropriate planes for aerial sequences.

Dunkirk had its world premiere on July 13th, 2017, at Odeon Leicester Square in London, England, and is scheduled to be released in the United Kingdom and United States on July 21st, 2017, in IMAX, 70 mm and 35 mm film.

That said, we have in stock a number of scale aircraft that appeared on both sides of the ledger, all of which have come to symbolize the immense struggle at the port city of Dunkirk some 77 years ago. Feel free to peruse our selection which can be found here:

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Films in Focus: Darkest Hour

Earlier this year, we reported on the imminent release of Churchill, a feature length film which covers the impact British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had on WWII during the 96-hour run up to D-Day. Today, we learned of another film based on the life of Churchill entitled Darkest Hour, which takes a more macro look at the Prime Minister, from his appointment just prior to the German invasion of France and the Low Countries to his defeat at the polls following the conclusion of the War in Europe in mid-1945. Darkest Hour is slated to open some time this November. 

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