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PCR #457 (Vol. 9, No. 52) This edition is for the week of December 22--31, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Valkyrie"  by Mike Smith
A Very Fanboy Christmas  by ED Tucker
The Flaming Lips: Christmas On Mars  by Terence Nuzum
Favorite Topics Of ‘08 .... From First To Worst .... Arena Football Died? .... Nfl Picks .... Sports Talk Sports Awards! .... .... ....  by Chris Munger
Merry Christmas .... .... ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
Thanks And Thoughts .... Show Us!! .... Passing On .... In Case We Missed You .... Coming Next Year .... The Year That Was: Part Ii .... Top Movie Quotes .... I Leave You With This .... And The Oscar Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh and Bill Nighy
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 2 hours

Germany. 1944. As World War II progresses on, several officers of the German Army are beginning to question their leader, Adolph Hitler. Many feel that Hitler is taking the country the wrong way. They feel that his creation of the SS has put their beloved country in a bad light around the world. It is time, they feel, “to serve Germany,” not Hitler. Among these officers is Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who has just returned to Berlin following a brutal battle in North Africa that cost him an eye and seven fingers. The Colonel knows that with other axis armies falling it’s only a matter of time before the US and its allies triumphs. The solution: kill Hitler.

Based on a true series of events, “Valkyrie” is a fast paced action film that, in spite the fact you know their plan will fail, has you rooting for the good guys throughout. The film is the second collaboration between writer Christopher McQuarrie and director Singer, the first being “The Usual Suspects,” which earned McQuarrie an Academy Award. Focusing on the best known assassination attempt on Hitler (there were a total of 42) and the plans behind it, the film flows quickly, powered by the strength of the performers. Cruise, who already delivered a great performance this summer in “Tropic Thunder,” is at the top of his game here. And he has to be as Singer has surrounded him with some of the greatest character actors working today, among them Branagh, Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Terence Stamp. Throw in Eddie Izzard, who looks like a young Tony Curtis behind his spectacles, and you have a first rate ensemble.

Singer keeps the film moving, allowing the viewer to follow along as plans are made and carried out. He is helped out by perfect period recreation courtesy of production designers Lilly Kilvert, Patrick Lump and Tom Meyer.

In my holiday film preview from last month I made light of a Nazi war film (there are three scheduled) being released during awards season. “Valkyrie” certainly believes to be there. Truly one of the year's best films.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give “Valkyrie”  

This week's movie review of "Valkyrie" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.