Films in Focus

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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Films in Focus: 13 Minutes

Produced in 2015, “13 Minutes” (German: Elser – Er hätte die Welt verändert) is a German drama film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel that tells the true story of Georg Elser’s failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in November 1939. The title of the film is drawn from the fact that Elser’s bomb detonated in a venue that the Fuhrer had left just 13 minutes before.

It was screened out of competition at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. It was one of eight films shortlisted by Germany to be their submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, but it lost out to Labyrinth of Lies.

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Films in Focus: Top Gun 2 – Promise of a Premise

Yesterday, actor Tom Cruise leaked word that he and director, Jerry Bruckheimer, were working on the sequel to Top Gun, the 1986 box office smash hit that helped propel Cruise to stardom and give US Navy recruiting a kick in the pants. Little is known about the plot for Top Gun 2 or where it will be set. However, since its now 30 years later, we can likely presume that Cruise’s character, Pete Mitchell, is a flying instructor at the Naval Flying School, and that a younger, fresher face will almost certainly sit in the cockpit this time around, defending the world from whatever is thrown our way. With territorial disputes around the world, and tension rising in a number of geo-political hot spots, it wouldn’t be difficult to presume the enemy could be Iranian, North Korean, Russian or Chinese, flying the latest stealth aircraft or perhaps piloting them remotely with the aid of UCAVs. And, with the Grumman F-14 Tomcat long since retired from the Navy’s active duty roster, and the new Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) aircraft carrier completing its testing and sea trials, its more than likely that whomever is taking on the central role this time around is doing so from the cockpit of a Joint Strike Fighter embarked upon our pride of the fleet. Whew! That’s a lot of speculating going on, but one not without its merits.

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Where Eagle(moss) Dares

Eaglemoss 1:43 scale US Studebaker US6 (M16A) 6×6 2-1/2 Ton Truck – CIAB (Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade), Northampton, England, April 1944 returns to stock this July

We were pleasantly surprised to learn today that a cache of Eaglemoss 1:43 scale military vehicles was uncovered by one of our distributors. While several vehicles were already in stock and available for general sale, quite a few long out-of-stock vehicles were purportedly unearthed, and should be back in stock some time this summer. Vehicles of note that are returning to stock include:

EM010 – German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. L Medium Tank – 16.Infanterie Division (Motorized), Voronezh, Russia, 1942

EM014 – US Army Dodge WC 63 6×6 1-1/2 Ton Truck – 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion, Arracourt, France, 1944

EM031 – US Studebaker US6 (M16A) 6×6 2-1/2 Ton Truck – CIAB (Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade), Northampton, England, April 1944

EM044 – German Sd. Kfz. 15 Horch Command Car – 4.Panzer Division, Radzymin, Poland, 1944

EM045 – US Army GMC CCKW 353 6×6 2-1/2 Ton Workshop Truck – Vehicle 3, 3886 Transport Company, Advance Section Communications Zone, Cherbourg, France, 1944

EM055 – German Sd. Kfz. 251/8 Krankenpanzerwagen Armored Ambulance – schwere Panzer Abteilung 501, Sidi Bou Zid, Tunisia, 1943

Big and beefy, look for this hard-to-find US Army GMC CCKW 353 6×6 2-1/2 Ton Workshop Truck to roll in this summer

Also, soon-to-be-available are EM080 and EM081, a Sd.Ah.116 Tank Transporter and a Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf. G Medium Tank from the 14.Panzer Division respectively, which we believe were intended as gifts for subscribing to the partworks series. Neither vehicle comes with an acrylic case, but they do serve as nice supplements to the series, and an attractive set when paired together.

Although no case is included for either model, EM080 and EM081 make a handsome set, particularly when displayed together


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Films in Focus: T-34

Every so often, I’m left scratching my head trying to figure out the hows and whys of a conundrum rather than the simple because. Earlier today, we stumbled upon what looks like an intriguing teaser trailer for a film entitled T-34, which is a Russian film that is apparently being ported over to the English-speaking world. Although the visuals look first-rate, we’re not quite clear about the story line other than to say it is based upon a “legendary story” that apparently pits a lone Russian T-34 tank against a swarm of German infantry and panzers, battling it out for control of a small town on the Eastern Front in the dead of winter. Have a look at the accompanying trailer and perhaps you can help us decide whether its a film that deserves everyone’s attention..

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Films in Focus: Star Trek Discovery

Over night, the first trailer dropped for the upcoming series Star Trek Discovery, which will air this fall on CBS All-Access. Frankly, the teaser looks quite good, and explains the timeline as it relates to the Star Trek universe. According to the trailer, Discovery takes place ten years before the Original Series, Star Trek, which aired on CBS some fifty years ago, and before any mention of Captain Kirk or Commander Spock. Enjoy!

According to CBS, “As an added bonus, Star Trek: Discovery has expanded its original series order from 13 to 15 episodes—which means even more sci-fi goodness in Season 1.

CBS All Access has also announced that Star Trek: Discovery is getting its very own after-show, called Talking Trek.”

Eaglemoss, the makers of the highly successful Star Trek starships series, is purportedly hard at work replicating several of the ships seen in the upcoming series and will integrate them in their range once they are approved by Paramount.

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