7:30 PM, 13th February, 2015
Full-on, and as the corpses pile-up apparently nihilistic, at a superficial level this World War 2 combat pic has much to offer ‘shoot-’em-up’ action-movie fans. Our Sherman tank crew of five is led by ‘Wardaddy’ – Sergeant Don Collier (Pitt). Private Norman Ellison (Lerman) is the green replacement with no combat experience who is initially roughly treated but is taken under Collier’s ‘wing’. The combat is brutal and unflinching where the Nazi troops have no apparent redeeming features. But neither are our crew shining examples of ‘civilised’ Geneva Convention soldiery, meting out brutality, including summary executions of some prisoners. But there is a pause within the action for a grotesque dinner with two German women in an occupied German village, which highlights the plight of civilians surrounded by the savagery of war. The focal action occurs when their Sherman tank is damaged and stranded on a key road. Rather than ‘bailout’ and retreat, our crew decide to remain and face an advancing battalion of hundreds of crack Nazi SS troops.
‘Over the top’ in its wholesale battle-field slaughter, at first sight Fury might resemble such ‘popcorn’ movies of the past, where (usually American) heroes mow down legions of Germans with impunity. However the camaraderie, sacrifice and humanity displayed by the five, reveals a strong underlying moral compass. While the carnage of Saving Private Ryan’s D-Day Omaha Beach was a moving hymn of respect to the sacrifice of a generation, this movie essentially attacks the savagery of war itself.
9:54 PM, 13th February, 2015
Arriving in frosty Manitoba to interview a YouTube sensation for his podcast, self-important L.A. poser Wallace Bryton (Long) is pissed off to discover his freak of the week is dead. Desperate to make his trip worthwhile he responds to an ad at a local bar that promises him stories beyond his wildest dreams in exchange for some personal assistance. He meets Howard Howe (Parks), who tells him about the time he was lost at sea only to be saved by a walrus named Mr Tusk, and how he longs to feel that bond again…
After receiving mysterious phone calls for help, Wallace’s podcast partner (Osment) and girlfriend (Rodriguez) attempt to track him down, teaming up with a disgraced (and in many ways disgraceful) French-Canadian detective (played by an unrecognisable Johnny Depp) along the way.
Kevin Smith’s movies have come a long way since he finally moved on from mid-budget studio pap that buried his career through much of the noughties. Much like his previous film Red State, Tusk has managed to retain the trademark sharp conversational dialogue that put Smith on the map and create the sort of bizarre genre story that characters in his earlier films would have only talked about. This tale of love and respect between man and Walrus is guaranteed to be the strangest movie you will see all year.