HTF REVIEW: "Uprising" (highly recommended)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Dec 19, 2001.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein


    "We will live our lives with honor and we
    will die by honor -- Jewish honor
    I have a feeling that not many of the other
    fine review sites have given this new release
    by Warner Home Video the attention that it deserves.
    I wanted to be certain I did. Uprising is an
    original TV movie made for what appears to be one of
    the cable networks (due to the nudity and graphic
    violence portrayed). I had never heard of it until
    I received a screener from Warner Brothers about
    a week ago.
    I wanted to review this film, because I have
    great interest in the Holocaust period. While
    there are some fantastic documentaries available
    THE LAST DAYS), it is encouraging to see more
    programming slowly surfacing. While many of us
    still patiently await the release of Spielberg's
    Schindler's List, the masterpiece film about
    a man who saved 1100 Jews, I think audiences will be
    just as inspired by Jon Avnet's Uprising, a
    powerful story of Jews saving themselves. This
    is a remarkable film featuring a powerful cast.
    This is the true story of a large group of Polish
    Jews, who starting in 1940, built a resistance known
    as the ZOB (Jewish Fighters Organization) and fought
    against the invading Germans upon the Warsaw ghetto.
    Led by Mordechai Anielewicz (Hank Azaria), the ZOB
    take such dangerous duties as smuggling arms and
    explosives, and even infiltrate the Aryan side of
    the city. Though they lack the cooperation of
    Jewish Consulate, Adam Czerniakow (Donald Sutherland),
    it is the growing atrocities by the Germans that bands
    this underground group together.
    The story remarkably tells the story of Jewish
    heroism through characters such as Tosia (Leelee
    Sobieski), and Yitzhak (David Schwimmer). These
    are people whom the Germans refer to as a "small
    group of bandits" who held off German military for
    longer than the entire country of Poland.
    In 1943, as the Germans proudly marched into
    the Warsaw ghetto singing songs, it is this band
    of Jews who held their ground through days of
    battles that ultimately shamed Major-General
    Jurgen Stroop (Jon Voigt).
    Warner has done an incredible job of presenting
    this movie in a handsome 2-disc Collector's set.
    Packed in a large cardboard case, an insert slides
    out and opens up to a 3 panel gatefold that
    holds the 2 discs in plastic housing.
    The film itself looks and sounds great. Presented
    in enhanced widescreen, the picture looks very clear
    and clean throughout. The 5.1 Dolby Surround sounds
    excellent -- especially in the many assault scenes
    that make up the 3rd hour of this film.
    There are 2 feature-length commentaries: one with
    Director/Co-Writer Jon Avnet and the other with
    stars Hank Azaria, David Schwimmer, Leelee Sobieski,
    and Jon Voigt.
    Disc 2 is packed with Special Features that
    begins with Breaking down the wall, a
    post 9/11/01 behind-the-scenes documentary on the
    making of the film. Director Jon Avnet wanted to
    make this film because this is the very first
    Holocaust film that tells the story of Jews fighting
    back rather than resisting. There are interviews
    with all the major actors (Azaria, Sobieski, Schwimmer,
    Sutherland) who reveal the spirit of the characters
    they play.
    Resistance is an extraordinary historical
    look at the 1939 Jewish ghetto resistance. Using
    archival footage, still photos and with interviews
    from surviving resistance fighters, we get a
    first-hand look at period and lives this film
    was based upon. What I found to be astounding was the
    fact that the Jews of this period wanted the memory
    of what was happening to them to be preserved. They
    documented everything around them and hid them in
    milk containers and buried them underground. The
    documentary also looks at the strength of film as a
    propaganda machine the Germans used in gaining
    support for Jewish extermination. This is a powerful
    documentary that is even more moving than the film
    itself as it shows the reality in pictures and words
    from the people that survived it.
    Rounding out the Special Features is a Cast
    and Crew filmography, 2 trailers, and enhanced
    features for your PC DVD-ROM.
    Final Thoughts
    It bothers me that this title is going to be
    overlooked by most, and ultimately overshadowed
    by Schindler's List, when it makes its way
    to DVD in a few months.
    Although this was never a major theatrical release,
    I am surprised at just how well made this was for
    a television release. It's a powerful fact based
    saga that thrives on the spirit of the Jewish
    heroism in the face of death. It was the spirit of
    their deaths that shaped a new generation of Jews.
    Rent this -- purchase this -- but above all, see it!
    2-disc deluxe set available Now for under $15
  2. Scott McGillivray

    Scott McGillivray Supporting Actor

    Sep 20, 1999
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    Sounds really interesting, Ron. I will have to give it a spin. When and where did it originally play on T.V.?

    Thanks for the "heads-up" on this title.
  3. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

    Jul 6, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Steve Tannehill
    It was an NBC miniseries that was first broadcast on November 4...six weeks to DVD release. If only HBO would be so quick with BAND OF BROTHERS.

    - Steve
  4. Tom Rhea

    Tom Rhea Second Unit

    Jul 31, 2000
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    I remember watching Hank Azaria's appearance on the Tonight Show to promote this movie and being really impressed with the clip they showed, but then promptly forgot all about it because right after Hank was David Lynch promoting Mullholland Dr. Thanks for the reminder.
  5. Ernest

    Ernest Supporting Actor

    Dec 21, 1998
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    Watched this DVD the other night and Ron is right on the money. Uprising is an excellent movie and the DVD looks very good with crisp surround sound in 5.1. This is a very powerful story that should not be missed.
  6. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

    Apr 10, 2000
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    I was really impressed with this TV-movie when I saw it on NBC last month. Enhanced widescreen and 5.1 tells me I should revisit it on DVD. Thanks, Ron!

  7. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

    Dec 29, 1998
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    The story intrested me, and I had had it on my radar screens for a while, as I am a big Leelee Sobieski fan. So I was pleasently surprised to see a DVD listed as streeting on 18 December 2001 at Image Entertainment well before teh show aired on NBC. I was busy working during the airing, and missed about a quarter of the production all told.
    This disc has been on order since I noticed it, and I am eagerly awaiting it. DVD Boxoffice has not shipped it yet [​IMG] and my new favorite local supplier sold out. Thanks for the review. I though everyone handled themselves well in the show, my bias for Leelee aside, she did well, and I was pleasently suprised at that "kid" from Friends. [​IMG]
  8. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter

    Feb 4, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Keith Plucker
    I had seen an ad for this and thought it looked interesting. I had no idea it was a 16:9 enhanced WS transfer. Will definitely pick this up. Thanks for the heads up.

  9. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

    Dec 11, 2000
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    Sounds interesting. I'll definitely be giving this a rental, if not a purchase.
  10. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Cool, I have to pick this one up next week. I remember my dad watching it last month and liking it I think(he like band of brothers a lot in WIDESCREEN!). If Wallymart doesn't have it tommorow(might pick up Mourlin Rouge in case not), then next week with my allowace after picking up Actraiser for the SNES from Funcoland.
  11. Stacy Huff

    Stacy Huff Second Unit

    Jul 13, 1999
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    I missed this one on television because I was still into the Band of Brothers miniseries, and to tell you the truth, I think it would have been too much war-time drama to handle at one time. I'm glad to know it is coming out (if it isn't out already). Thanks for the review, Ron, you just made a sell.
  12. Stacy Huff

    Stacy Huff Second Unit

    Jul 13, 1999
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    Or is that "made a sale"? Whichever, you did it.
  13. JohnN

    JohnN Agent

    Oct 8, 2000
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    Thanks for the review, Ron.
    I had noticed it in a store last week and saw some local advertising hype, but knew little about it.
    I will pick it up on my next shopping trip.
    Thanks, again. [​IMG]
  14. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

    Nov 2, 1998
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    I really second Ron's recommendation. The film is very intense, very powerful and very well-acted. It's also extremely engaging - it's three hours, but it certainly didn't feel like anywhere near three hours.

    The DVD also has one of the best anamorphic widescreen presentations I've seen from Warner Brothers this year.
  15. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

    Dec 13, 1999
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    I also agree with Ron. I just watched this movie on Saturday night and was deeply moved by the film. I had dreams about all night long. Great movie and great performances, but also very disturbing and depressing. Like someone already said, it is 3 hours long but does not feel like it. Now in regards to the quality of the dvd itself, I was also very impressed. Very clean picture and the DD soundtrack was very good. This one is definately worth purchasing for your collection.

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