Review: The Eichmann Show

“When we first arrived here, they did not believe us. They said such things were not possible. So we stopped speaking about it… Now they listen.”

This is the final statement from Mrs Landau, as she reveals the concentration camp tattoo on her arm to Leo Hurwirtz. This is the scene that encapsulates the entire drama of both the film, and the true reality of Holocaust denial that existed until long after the war ended. The Eichmann Show perfectly captures how the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the most prominent architects of the Final Solution, opened the eyes and ears of the rest of the world. 

The film follows Martin Freeman as Milton Fruchtman, an American producer, and Leo Hurwitz (portrayed by Anthony LaPaglia), a director blacklisted by the McCarthyites, as they pursue an international broadcast of Eichmann’s trial which they intend to be a masterful exploration of the nature of evil exacerbated by the power of television. 

Archival footage of the actual trial was combined with the drama, perfectly encapsulating – and demonstrating to the viewer – just what was at stake with this trial, both in real terms and for Hurwitz and Fruchtman. Hurwitz’s obsession with Eichmann’s refusal to admit guilt and inability to acknowledge the evil he had perpetrated certainly aided in illustrating how little power to shock the atrocities committed by the Nazis have lost over time. 

The use of clips from the trial of witnesses recalling the horrors that they had witnessed, combined with an intensely powerful script remind us that without knowing the truth, one cannot prevent such atrocities from recurring once more. 

Review: Fateful Choices by Ian Kershaw


The Second World War is a conflict that has shaped all of our lives and will go on to shape lives for generations to come. Looking at ten key interconnected military-political decisions that determined the course and outcome of the war – all of them taken in a period of about eighteen months – could have had the effect of romanticising the war, as much TV history has done. Instead, Kershaw focuses on strategic choices faced by the various actors, and the way these were affected by the tides of war, showing the reader that very little about the war was inevitable, and rather open-ended.

The book is split into ten chapters:

1. Britain’s agreeing to fight on after the defeat of France.

2. Germany’s deciding to wage war on the Soviet Union.

3. Japan’s appropriating the colonies of countries at war with, or already defeated by, Germany, and allying itself with Germany and Italy.

4. Italy’s deciding to invade Greece.

5. America’s providing aid to England.

6. The Soviet Union’s ignoring all signs that Germany was about to invade it.

7. America’s intensifying its assistance to Britain by an “undeclared war” on Germany.

8. Japan’s attacking the U.S.

9. Germany’s declaring war against the U.S.

10. Germany’s putting into operation the Final Solution.

No one could possibly have predicted any of these. One of Kershaw’s greatest triumphs is getting inside each of these decisions and showing how natural and right they came to seem to those who took them; history is not always pre-ordained, it just seems that way.

The Second World War was one of rapid movement, in which sweeping change transformed the strategic situation virtually overnight. For instance, the German advance across the Low Countries in the first half of 1940. The Wehrmacht had swiftly disposed of Poland as the Polish cavalry charged against German tanks. So, the shocking ease with which the Germans overwhelmed the Danes, Norwegians, Belgians, Dutch and French, and significantly demolished the BEF, proved just how superior the Nazi forces were; achieving more in a couple of weeks than the Kaiser managed from 1914-1918. Noone was prepared for the German raz de marée and its complete destabilisation of the old strategic balance.

If there’s one thing that Kershaw can do, it’s expose the contingency in the making of history.

Eighties Films

Yes, folks. That’s right. I’m doing this. Sit back and enjoy as I divulge to you the greatest films you will ever see. ‘The greatest films ever, Chloe? Bit of a bold statement, isn’t it?’ I hear you ask. No, no it is not.

***Little disclaimer***: They’re in no particular order because they’re all fantastic (although I do have a few faves).

1. Grease 2



There isn’t really much of a plot. All I can say is that there’s a lot of singing about sex. Just do it. You’ll hate it so much you’ll love it. Also, Didi Conn (Frenchie) makes an appearance, so you have to watch it out of love for her anyway.





2. Dirty Dancing



Call me biased all you want but who doesn’t want to see a shirtless Patrick Swayze in a lake? 

For those of you who have spent your entire lives under a rock, Dirty Dancing is a story about a babied teen – whose nickname is Baby coincidentally – and Johnny (a dance instructor) falling in love. Looking back now, it’s pretty weird that Baby is meant to be 16 and Johnny is meant to be in his thirties. But when you watch it you don’t even consider the weird nature of that. Grey and Swayze are fantastic. Not to mention the amazing soundtrack. I won’t say anymore.



3. Risky Business



Tom Cruise’s parents go on holiday, he has a free house and things escalate. That is all that I’ll say. You have to watch it. Oh, and don’t forget this scene.






4. The Breakfast Club



Where do I even start? A film about every stereotype in a high school coming together, emulating in one of the best dance scenes in a film you just don’t expect a dance scene. It’s just heartwarming. It’ll make you laugh and it’ll make you cry. One of my all time favourites.





5. Can’t Buy Me Love


YOUNG PATRICK DEMPSEY. His name is Ronald and he’s the biggest nerd going. A popular girl goes out with him, betting with her mates that she can make him cool. They fall in love.  Another film trying to show that you don’t have to be restricted by your stereotype. And who can forget this scene… THE LAWNMOWER SCENE.





6. Die Hard

Bruce Willis in his prime. John McClane is my favourite police officer of all time. He’s so badass. YIPEE KI YAY. Also, this may sound weird, but all of the Die Hard films always get me in the mood for Christmas.





7. Stand By Me


Four boys go on a hike to find a dead body. Despite being an adaptation of a Stephen King novel, it’s heartwarming rather than gruesome. It’s about the transition from boy to man – or innocence to wisdom – and captures the vulnerability of masculinity and relationships. Another one of my favourites.





8. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

You’ll watch this film, and the first time will probably dream of having a day out like this. You can’t help but love Ferris’ charm and feel for Cameron’s pure anxieties.

Just. Watch. It. Even if it’s just for this scene.





9. Pretty in Pink



Another one of John Hughes’ brilliant and heartwarming coming of age films that tries its best to reject stereotypes. I love John Hughes. And I love Duckie.





10. Say Anything


I know that the name of this film is Say Anything, but I am not going to say anything about this film (I’m funny, right?) except that I never thought it was possible to fancy John Cusack… then I watched this film and fell in love with him. You think it’s over, but it’s not. It’s just not. In fact, Lloyd Dobbler set expectations too high for men. It’s his fault. Everyone blame Lloyd.



11. St Elmo’s Fire

Now, thist-elmos-fire-movie-poster-1985-1020191845s. This is my favourite film. It just breaks my heart every time, while making me laugh and cry. It makes you think and it makes you feel. It takes you on a journey into adulthood while emphasising the importance of maintaining relationships and retaining a part of your adolescence. If Rob Lowe and Demi Moore’s scene at the end of the film doesn’t make you feel things, are you human?



12. Top Gun


Tom Cruise. Val Kilmer. Need I say more?

Maverick and Goose are sent to Top Gun school for aviators where Maverick and Iceman become rivals. Does that make sense to you? WATCH IT. Oh, and don’t get too attached to any characters…



These are just some of my favourites from the eighties – I don’t want to bore you because I could go on all day. Here’s a list of some more:

  • Scarface. Say hello to Al Pacino’s little friend (no that is not a euphemism) .
  • Cocktail. Yes, more Tom Cruise.
  • Sixteen Candles. Because you can never have enough Molly Ringwald.
  • Footloose. Because Kevin Bacon gets angry and dances in a warehouse.
  • Mannequin.  Just because Kim Cattrall is a goddess.
  • The Lost Boys. Kiefer Sutherland and Cory Feldman in one film. It’s a dream.
  • Dead Poet’s Society. Oh Captain, my Captain. Robin Williams at his finest.
  • Some Kind of Wonderful. The right people get together for once.

The Godfather

Mario Puzo’s novel, The Godfather, has sold over 21 million copies and spent 67 weeks on the bestseller list. The novel about New York’s most powerful organized crime family, the Corleones, is eternally greeted with open arms and enthusiasm; it’s impact still deeply entrenched in pop culture.

For the most part, reviews of the novel were positive and ranged from “fun fiction” to “shockingly believable.” Hal Burton of The Saturday Review wrote “…a staggering triumph…the definitive novel about a sinister fraternity of crime.”

And while most did hail the quality of the novel, some criticized Puzo’s glorification and romanticisation of the criminal characters, stating that he them too likeable. In a 1996 interview with the Associated Press, Mario Puzo addressed his portrayal of the Corleones, admitting that “with their emphasis on honor and family, I made the Mafia more romantic than the thuggery or buffoonery of the real thing.” 

The film version of The Godfather was released in 1972 and was an astounding success. In fact, a negative review is difficult to find. Vincent Canby, in his New York Times review from 1972, wrote that “Coppola has made one of the most brutal and moving chronicles of American life designed within the limits of popular entertainment.” That review was one of the least enthusiastic I’ve come across. Most were along the lines of “From the ‘I believe in America’ speech to the final shot…this is near flawless film-making. ‘The Godfather’ is one of the greatest American movies” (Kevin A. Laforest, Montreal Film Journal). Even all the reviews submitted to commemorate the film’s re-release for its 25th Anniversary in 1997 showed the film had not lost any of its appeal. These were all equally positive, and often even more so. Somewhat ironic that perhaps like revenge, The Godfather may be a dish better served cold for all its heat and passion – it never seems to go out of style.

Now, perhaps I may be biased considering that The Godfather is my personal favourite trilogy of all time, thus meaning that I may overlook negative comments and reviews… But… Nah. It’s just timeless. 

The Godfather Part II was released two years after the original and the reviews for the second instalment actually paint a different picture than those of the original. Although mostly very positive, hailing this film as the greatest sequel ever made, in general they tended to be mixed. Roger Ebert (one of my personal foes, although he knows nothing of my existence) of the Chicago Sun Times wrote in his review in 1975, “The stunning text of ‘The Godfather’ is replaced in ‘Part II’ with prologues, epilogues, footnotes, and good intentions.” Ebert gave the film 3 stars. SO rude. However, Ebert later added the film to his “Great Movies” list, stating that in conjunction with the original, it is a must see.

There was one review – by Dan Jardine of the Appollo Movie Guide – that I think perfectly illustrates the feeling The Godfather Part II evoked in many people. He wrote “The mother of all sequels: a film at once both greater and lesser than its predecessor.” Many know exactly what Mr. Jardine means – feeling a deep connection with the first installment of this trilogy, its characters, its music, its mood, one can only deepen the feeling by revisiting these people and those places.

And then there was The Godfather Part III. Yes, it is the least-looked upon of the trilogy and many thought it a huge disappointment, including myself. However, my least favourite reviewer Roger Ebert gave this film 3 1/2 stars and found it to be superior to Part II. He makes the very valid point that in comparison to Part I and II, Part III is mediocre. On its own merit, however, The Godfather Part III is far from a bad film.

Positive and negative reviews aside, the trilogy holds an impressive legacy. Together they received 28 Academy Award nominations and won 9, including the Best Picture Oscar for the first two films. The Godfather was the top grossing film of all time for three years running. Part II was the first sequel to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture and the first picture ever to receive 5 Oscar nominations for acting. Parts I & II are both on the American Film Institute’s list of “100 Greatest American Movies of All Time,” listed at #2 and # 32, respectively. Both I and II are on Roger Ebert’s list of Great Movies and was voted #7 on TV Guide Magazine’s list of “50 Greatest Movies on TV and Video” (August 8-14, 1998), The Godfather, Part II took top honors on that list, ranking #1. The Godfather was voted the “Greatest Film of All Time” by the readers of Entertainment Weekly; its sequel placed 6 rankings behind at #7. Both Parts I & II are on Time Magazine’s “All-Time 100 Best Films” and IGN FilmForce lists The Godfather as the #1 “Top Drama of All Time” with Part II as #7 on that list. And on and on – it is, in fact, difficult to see any “great films” list, whether by a fan or an established “expert” where one or both of these films is not listed or mentioned.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll be aware of how much I like to make lists of my favourite films and therefore how much of a #saddo I am. But fun lists aside, you cannot deny the legacy and greatness of this trilogy. 

Mona Lisa Smile

”You can bake your cake and eat it too!” says the reassuring slogan that distills the comfy revisionist feminism of the film and is repeated empathically enough to qualify as the defining mantra of the film. Mona Lisa Smile preaches both disruptive female self-empowerment and the dream of being swept up and away by Prince Charming.

Julia Roberts plays Katherine Watson, a free-spirited UCLA graduate who goes to teach Art History at the snooty all female Wellesley College in 1953, shaking up the place enough to be deemed subversive by the Wellesley thought police. The insistence with which she presses her mildly progressive agenda makes her a kind of academic Hillary Clinton. And in her art history classes, she challenges her students to do more than simply identify paintings shown in slides.

Why is an original van Gogh a work of art and reproduction is not? she asks. And where does a do-it-yourself, paint-by-numbers van Gogh fit into the scheme of things? The appearance of a Jackson Pollock canvas of abstract expressionism on campus stirs up ripples of controversy.

But Katherine’s biggest mistake has nothing to do with notions of arty aesthetics. Arriving at Wellesley, she is appalled to discover that almost all of her students have no ambitions beyond settling down with Mr. Right. Her rebellion culminates with an indignant slide show of vintage magazine ads displaying perky wives reigning like queens in their immaculate kitchens.

Making some interesting appearances are Marcia Gay Harden as the world’s prissiest (and weepiest) teacher of elocution and poise, Juliet Stevenson as the discreetly lesbian school nurse with progressive ideas about birth control, and that empress of hauteur, Marian Seldes, playing the intransigently starchy college president. Dominic West, as a carnivorous-eyed professor of Italian who sleeps with his students, gives the movie a shot of testosterone.

But the main girls are Kirsten Dunst, Juliw Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ginnifer Goodwin. Each plays a specific type:

  1. Kirsten Dunst plays Betty Warren, a vicious, overprivileged archtraditionalist hellbent on marriage, who attacks Katherine in the college newspaper.
  2. Julia Stiles plays Joan Brandwyn, Katherine’s protage who finds herself torn between marriage and Yale Law School. 
  3. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Giselle Levy, a wised-up rebel who sleeps around and almost loses her bearings. 
  4. Ginnifer Goodwin plays Connie Baker, the house wallflower who can’t believe it when a boy asks her out. 

These women bring life to perhaps one of the most underrepresented minorities in film: the intelligent woman. However, the screenwriters ensure that the film is left open to interpretation by the audience as their writing ensures that both sides of the plot are made to appear right: there is no shame in being a wife, just as there is no shame in being a self-empowered woman, just as long as your intellectual potential is fulfilled. 

Best Chick Flicks Part 5

50 First Dates

Adam Sandler sets his heart on romancing Drew Barrymore, but she has short-term memory loss so can’t remember anything that happened the day before. So every morning, he has to woo her again. (Rob Schneider antics make an appearance).


Notting Hill

Hugh Grant is a  bookstore owner in Notting Hill, London, whose mediocre existence is thrown into quite the romantic turmoil when famous American actress Julia Roberts appears in his shop. Long story short: they attempt to reconcile their different lifestyles in the name of love.


Bride Wars

Since they were little girls, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway have been planning every aspect of their future weddings.When a clerical error causes a clash in wedding dates, they discover their inner demons and their lifelong friendship is a possible casualty.


Mona Lisa Smile

Julia Roberts plays a UCLA graduate hired to teach art history at  all-female Wellesley College in 1953. Determined to confront the outdated mores of society and the institution that embraces them, she inspires her students to challenge the lives they are expected to lead.


The Princess Diaries

Anne Hathaway finds out that she is the heir apparent to the throne of the small European principality of Genovia. The film follows her journey towards the throne with her strict grandmother Julie Andrews giving her “princess lessons”.

Best Chick Flicks Part 4

She’s The Man

Any fan of the Bard will love She’s The Man, which was based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Duke wants Olivia who likes Sebastian who is really Viola whose brother is dating Monique and she hates Olivia who is with Duke to make Sebastian jealous who is really Viola who fancies Duke who thinks that she is Sebastian…Confused? Never fear, Channing Tatum will cure that.


Bridget Jones Diary

At the start of the New Year, Renee Zellweger decides it’s time to take control of her life and start keeping a diary. Attempting to improve herself, she’s torn between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. (Meanwhile, us normal people are just sat here in bed dreaming about being stuck between those two).


First Wives Club

Reunited by the suicide of a college friend, three divorced women seek revenge on their husbands who all left them for younger women. Featuring Goldie Hawn in a white leather pant suit, Maggie Smith as what can only be described as the social queen of NYC, and a cameo from a young Sarah Jessica Parker, what more could you possibly want?


13 Going On 30

A 13 year old girl sick of the social strictures of school transforms into a grownup overnight. But adulthood  isn’t as easy as it looks. Jennifer Garner plays a fantastic 13 year old in a 30 year old body/life. It also features hunky Mark Ruffalo, if you needed more reasons to watch it.


Love Actually

Nine interconnected stories all examine the complexities of love. Featuring Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Martine McCutcheon and Martin Freeman (amongst many others), this is the ultimate Christmas film.