Revolution in Kiev, Ukraine

Ilya Varlamov shows the world what happened in Kiev between January 22 to 23.

I came to Kiev. I came to see for myself what is happening here. Of course, an hour after arriving at Maidan, you begin to understand that everything what you’ve read in dozens of articles, saw in TV news reports is total crap. In the upcoming reports I will try to, as objectively as possible, to sort out this new wave of Kiev revolution.

Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers (2001) is a 10 part mini-series about the Easy Company (506th Infantry Regiment) in the US 101st Airborne division and their mission in the second world war. They start out in England, with a mission to parachute behind enemy lines in Normandie, in the early hours on D-day. They continued though France, including the Siege of Bastogne, and made their way though Holland with Operation Market Garden, later entering Germany and finally Austria.

They performed a number of extraordinary missions during the war, but one of the most memorable was the liberation of a German concentration camp. There were some very strong images from the camp, and the viewer is thrown directly into the very same place where the story plays out. The feeling of being authentic and knowing that this has actually occurred is overwhelming and disgusting to say the least.

This is a remarkable and very strong story about friendship and about ordinary people achieving extraordinary things together. The portrayal of Major Winters leading the company from D-day and rising in the ranks during the war is excellent. The character development of all main characters is done well you can clearly see the difference between the people in episode one and the very last one.

The actors have done an amazing job telling the story in a honorary and authentic way. The following quote is from a war veteran on the IMDb boards:

I am an 80 year old combat veteran (88th Inf. Div. Italy).

I watched BOB on the History Channel. I was so overwhelmed, indeed a bit panicked by the authentic nature of 90+% of the uniforms, signs, noises (I take exception to the sound of incoming artillery).

I cannot believe I’ll watch it again. It’s too much. Too real.

One of the most powerful images however, is that the real people behind these characters talk about what happened in the beginning of each episode, with an epilogue at the end of the series. Seeing the real Major Winters talking about what he has experienced during the war, gives a remarkable depth, and puts the characters to life in a completely different way. It is quite similar to what The Fourth Kind tried to do, but actually succeeding. The fact that is was indeed real, was of course the main success factor.

This is frankly on of the best movies/series ever created.

Score: 10/10 (Totally ninja!)

Green Zone

The Green Zone is the common name for the International Zone of Iraq — a 10-square-kilometer area in central Baghdad, Iraq, that was the center of the Coalition Provisional Authority and remains the center of the international presence in the city[1]. This movie is a political conspiracy thriller set in the beginning of the Iraq war and the politics surrounding the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Roy Miller, played by Matt Damon, is the leader of a team searching for WMD’s at strategic locations around Iraq. These locations came from from a well-protected and highly regarded source in the US army, but after several operations without success, Miller starts to question this intel and begins digging. He finds an ally at the CIA which pushes him in the right direction and gives him the means and authority to execute his plans to capture the Iraqi General, Al Rawi, who is believed to be the key to the whole war.

The first few minutes of the movie felt like being on the battleground in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — There were the same weapons, clothes and similar enemies. After yet again coming to terms with the Green Zone not being a Bourne movie, it could be enjoyed for what it truly is.

The movie is suprisingly fast-paced, and gets going immediately and holds the viewer in its grip right until the very end. There are plenty of hand-held shaky camera scenes, which most of the time enhanced the experience, making the terror and drama more intimate and real.

There was a scene where there was a sniper in a tall building were shooting at the team, which immediately brings a similar scene to mind — in Lebanon, there is the exact same scenario, however, since this is an American movie, there is no fear and everything always goes as planned.

Since this is a movie about the Iraq war and the controversies surrounding it, there are lots of facts thrown in there (like former president Bush holding a speech) and fiction are interweaved to make the story more real. Even though the movie is a fiction, having real facts and people brings a whole new dimension to the genre itself.

To conclude, if you go in expecting to see a Bourne blood-bath, don’t bother, but if you are expecting a combination of politics and moral dilemmas, you are in for a treat!

It is said that the movie is supposedly based on the novel Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a journalist for The Washington Post.


Lebanon (2009) is a Lebanese war movie set in 1982, right in the beginning of when the real 1982 Lebanon war started. The story is about a tank crew accompanied by paratroopers and their journey in their mission to searching a bombed and broken city with desperate people fighting for their lives, and their children.

The characters soon find themselves in a nightmare situation where they don’t know who to trust or what to do. People are dying everywhere and the human psyche shows its true face, and their humanity is stretched to the limit when forcing to make horrible decisions and do unspeakable actions.

One of the first thoughts I got in the beginning of this movie was the immense feeling of claustrophobia. The portrayal of the tank crew was excellent when they struggled with the dangers and morals of war, and between themselves. The “external” group of paratroopers did not break up much of the human dynamics of the tank crew, except for the major in charge.

There were some parts where the movie lost its momentum and became a bit stale. It picked up quite well though and was joy to watch, but somehow there was this feeling of the director trying to make this an “artsy” movie. While that is totally fine, it felt a bit forced and unnatural, but don’t let that deter you from watching this excellent movie.

The Hurt Locker

I recently watched The Hurt Locker, a story about an elite bomb squad in the middle of a war in the middle east. Danger is everywhere, and a bomb can be hidden where you least expect it.

This is a decent movie, but did not quite meet the high expectations of an Oscar winner. It was slow and too emotionally disconnected at times, even though there were a couple of amazing scenes as well. After reading some reviews online, many people claim that there were an enormous amount of inaccuracies in the display of the US soldiers.

As for recommending this movie, you should absolutely see it, but make sure not to have too high hopes for it, even though it is an Oscar winner. If you can see past the errors in military protocol, it has a decent entertainment value.

Tropic Thunder

I finally decided to watch Tropic Thunder, after having it has just been laying there gathering dust.

This is the story of a bunch of actors, creating a movie based on a book about the Vietnam war. What may in the beginning appear as a normal day of shooting, could wind up being something completely different — and lethal.

I really enjoyed the comedy and the satiric elements of the whole Hollywood industry. Not to mention the scene where the war between HDDVD and Bluray was debated.