Film Review: “Midway”

Starring: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson and Luke Evans
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 138 minutes

I haven’t seen the 1976 war epic, “Midway,” but unfortunately I’ve seen the 2019 “Midway.” Even though I haven’t seen the 70’s dramatization, I’m sure it’s still better than Roland Emmerich’s bombastic vision. Whereas the Jack Smight film had star power like Charleton Heston and Henry Fonda, Emmerich decided to see which one of the Jonas Brothers was available, what unheard of actor Ed Skrein was up to, and if Woody Harrelson could do some work for pennies on the dollar.

“Midway” is about one of the most pivotal battles in the Pacific Theater during WWII. This update begins with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, before it slowly transitions to the formulation of the Battle of Midway. The nitty gritty of this film, the abundance of characters, is at the core. Going over all the characters in this movie would be pointless, since the majority, while being real-life heroes, are forgettable. That’s because their heroics are delivered by wooden actors or are shifted into place in front of the camera so they can deliver some cliché dialogue and unnecessary exposition. This is the kind of movie that’ll make you appreciate “Dunkirk” if you weren’t a fan of that movie.

The big question though, for people interested in watching this film, is whether or not it pays tribute to the brave men and women who fought in the Second World War. Kind of, minus the brave women part. The only time we see women, they’re bothering their brave significant others or saying “I’ll go powder my nose,” as a euphemism for crying over the potential loss of their husband. “Midway” is the kind of movie you could compare to Michael Bay’s “Pearl Harbor” because of the way they both handled their subject material. It reaches a few gimmicky crescendos, plucking at the American heart strings, but not enough to be sappy, but slightly enough to honor the real heroes during this battle, especially towards the end. Throughout we’re introduced to characters that don’t matter or whose deaths should mean something, but it’s handled so haphazardly that you’re more likely to question who died, rather than mourn their loss.

I think my biggest complaint with this movie is how pandering it is to Chinese audiences. There’s been a lot of talk in the mainstream lately about China’s influence in sports and pop culture. The biggest finger pointing has been towards the NBA and Disney, who can’t be blamed for obeying the almighty dollar, who has commanded them to submit to Xi Jinping. “Midway,” Emmerich, and Lionsgate seemed to have committed the ultimate sin in this regard. Their intent ultimately feels disingenuous because they’ve decided to tell a tale about American perseverance, while bending the knee to their Chinese financiers. I think theatergoers expecting nothing, or unaware of China’s influence on Hollywood, will be pleasantly surprised by “Midway,” and may even have a positive reaction. I feel like most people will have the same problems I had with it. “Midway” has so many ethical and moral problems, that ultimately, any good intentions are torpedoed.

DVD Review “China Beach: The Complete Series”

Actors: Dana Delaney, Michael Boatman, Robert Picardo, Concetta Tomei, Marg Helgenberger
Directors: Mimi Leder, John Sacret Young, Christopher Leitch, Michael Fresco
Distributed by: Time Life
Run Time: 3553 minutes

Series: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

I remember when “China Beach” originally aired on TV but I never watched it and still haven’t till receiving this DVD set. The show was considered groundbreaking television and I have always been interested in it. It is now celebrating its milestone 25th anniversary and is finally being released on DVD thanks to StarVista Entertainment and Time Life for the very first time as a complete series on any format! This 21-disc collector’s set features all 62 episodes with over ten hours of exclusive, never-before-seen bonus features. I have to admit, the show is definitely quite intense and it was definitely worth the binge viewing. I am not sure that I would watch it again anytime soon but I still enjoy it.  Fans of the show will definitely want to pick up. This complete series release would also make a great gift for this holidays season!

Official Premise: From the moment China Beach debuted in 1988, with its iconic opening credits set to the Supremes’ “Reflections” as its theme song, it was hailed as groundbreaking television. In an era of testosterone-driven war movies, China Beach delivered a unique perspective: the Vietnam War through the eyes of women! Never before released on DVD or VHS! You can now own the entire TV series with this deluxe collector’s edition housed in a beautiful display box. Includes 268 classic hit songs as they were played in the original broadcast.

“China Beach: The Complete Series” is well delivered in a deluxe collector’s box, featuring metallic printing and original artwork and logo treatments from the series. The packaging also includes keepsake China Beach dog tags that can be removed from the set and worn. Inside there are special liner notes penned by Dana Delany, Robert Picardo, series creators John Sacret Young and William Broyles, Jr., and series writers Lydia Woodward and Carol Flint and a collectible 32-page book. Also included are three original, complete scripts, with reproduced covers sporting autographs from the entire cast and key production personnel. Also included will be five 8″ x 10″ color photographs of the original China Beach cast and the recent reunion. Fans are going to dig these extra goodies. I think they would have been happy with just the complete series…and I haven’t even got to the special features yet.

So like I mention there are ten hours of specially-created bonus features included on this release. To start, there is footage and behind-the-scenes stories from the 2012 Cast Reunion. There are  new interviews with key cast and crew. There are a ton of great featurettes including “Voices Of War: The Real China Beach”, which is a documentary about the real China Beach/My Khe Evac Hospital and “Inspired By War: How It All Began”, which focuses on the origins of the program. There are audio commentaries on four episodes from Dana Delany, John Sacret Young, director Rob Holcomb, and writers Lydia Woodward and Carol Flint. There are three roundtable discussions with cast and crew, as well as  rare behind-the-scenes footage from the final China Beach episode and more. They really delivered for the fans here and this is quite the release.


“China, IL” New Animated Series Premieres on Adult Swim Sundays

Did you catch the premiere of “China, IL”, a new animated series on Adult Swim? An all new epsiode “Dean vs Mayor” premieres Sunday, Oct. 9 at midnight (ET, PT) on Adult Swim. Check it out it rules!

Show description:
Frank and Steve Smith are brothers who teach in the history department of a state university in China, IL. They also happen to be legends in their own minds who will often sacrifice facts, lessons and syllabi for the sake of being awesome. China, IL, created by Brad Neely, is a reverse Animal House where the teachers are crazy and the students just want to learn.