Monday, May 30, 2011

Empire of the Sun

Steven Spielberg, 1987 (8.3*)
Memorial Day War-a-thon film #19
Based on the autobiographical novel of British science fiction author J.G. Ballard, this is the wartime story of a British boy named Jim, played by a young Christian Bale, caught in Shanghai when the Japanese invade, eventually ending up in a Japanese POW camp, along with some other families and some American deserters, led by John Malkovich. The Americans befriend Jim and he becomes a flunkie, or employee, of them - really more like a hired servant - they are black marketeers and live better than other prisoners.

This has some unforgettable scenes - one a collection of British possessions rotting in a large outdoor field. My favorite is a flyer in a P-38 going past Jim on a watchtower in slow motion as Jim waves at the pilot in the middle of wartime action. Much of this actually happened to author Ballard when he was this age, he spent part of his youth growing up in a Japanese camp for captured Brits.

11 wins out of 24 nominations, incl. 6 Oscar nominations with no wins.. some wins were for cinematography, director, actor Christian Bale..


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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