THE YEAR THAT WAS 2017 ON LLOYD MARKEN WORDPRESS

669

Following on from last year I’m doing a quick recap of stats for 2017 which I always find a little interesting. This year the site has seen a few changes, a lot of posts now refer to reviews I’ve had published elsewhere and don’t include screenshots or gifs from movies which may attract views. I don’t know. My stats have gone through the roof due to the large interest shown to a post I did on the movie The Founder which I think got placed on a site by WordPress that increased traffic to the post. At the same time I haven’t engaged with my fellow bloggers or sought to grow my blogging community and so you’ll see number of likes has decreased as a result. All I can say is I enjoy my current blogging community and the size of it and am grateful for their continued interest and I want to remain able to keep up with them semi-regularly and so don’t worry a lot about getting new followers. Always nice to grow though. I have some plans for 2018 but I had some plans for 2017 and not all of them came to fruition so we’ll just see what happens.

The United States retains the crown for most views this year, the United Kingdom comes second place after barely coming in third last year with Autralia now in third place. Congratulations to Canada who remains in fourth and has cracked over 1,000 views for the year. It was hard fought but Germany cracks the Top 5 this year. Spain, Brazil and France all fall out of the Top 10 this year. A post I wrote about a good man I knew who passed away saw an uptick in views from his homeland of Malaysia and one of his favourite countries in the world Japan. Goodbye Kelly Chen, you will are so obviously missed by so many far and wide. I’m particularly touched to see my post has resonated with those who knew him best. Any mention of Taika Watitti sees an uptick in New Zealand view. Congratulations to Indonesia and India who cracked the Top 10 this year, hope you’re enjoying the blog.

 

Related image

Top 10 Most Views by Country

  1. The United States of America                                                                               9,126 Views
  2. The United Kingdom                                                                                              2,339 Views
  3. Australia                                                                                                                   1,848 Views
  4. Canada                                                                                                                      1,057 Views
  5. Germany                                                                                                                      166 Views
  6. Japan                                                                                                                            163 Views
  7. Indonesia                                                                                                                     120 Views
  8. New Zealand                                                                                                               113 Views
  9. India                                                                                                                             100 Views
  10. Malaysia                                                                                                                         92 Views

 

stats 2017

 

Out of 105 posts published for the year the following 25 got the most views. In 2015 the blog started to grow with 1,609 views, 333 visitors, 23 Likes and 30 comments. In 2016 the blog received 5,673 views, 3,206 visitors, 546 Likes and 751 comments. In 2017 this grew to 16,767 views (more than a third of which were for The Founder Review), 11,891 visitors, 1,240 Likes and 1,707 comments. This was helped in no small part thanks to the support and interest from my fellow bloggers.

Related image

Top 25 Most Viewed Posts 2017

  1. Ray Kroc…What An Asshole                                                                                5,992 Views
  2. Goodbye Kelly Chen and Thank You                                                                    303 Views
  3. Minor Roles That Had A Major Impact – Lucy From Going In Style               187 Views
  4. Extras Who Add A Little Something – Kathy Larson and Missy Wolff           141 Views
  5. The Appropriately Titled Jack Reacher: Never Go Back                                    131 Viewstime jack nothing reacher
  6. Review of Young Australian Filmmaker Shorts Available on Scenestr         127 Views
  7. Extras Who Add A Little Something – John B. Destry                                         112 Views
  8. Minor Roles That Had A Major Impact – Dr Lamar from Gattaca                     89 ViewsRelated image
  9. Minor Roles That Had A Major Impact – Stephanie from The Naked Gun      89 Views
  10. Star Character Actors: Stephen Tobolowsky                                                         85 Views
  11. Best Dressed Award Season 2017 Part I                                                                 85 Views
  12. The Mystery Blogger Award Nomination                                                               84 Views
  13. The Seven Ages of Clint Eastwood                                                                           80 ViewsImage result for honkytonk man clint eastwood
  14. The Long Overdue Film About Jadotville                                                               76 Views
  15. Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine                                                                             72 Views
  16. You Can’t Keep A Good Kong Down Even If You Should                                     72 Views
  17. Star Character Actors – J.T. Walsh                                                                            71 ViewsImage result for j.t. walsh young
  18. Over 1,000 Views for The Founder Review                                                            70 Views
  19. Major General John Cantwell – Hero, Veteran, Human Being                            69 ViewsImage result for major general john cantwell
  20. La La Land: A Modern Musical                                                                                 68 Views
  21. The Seven Ages of Harrison Ford                                                                             67 ViewsImage result for harrison ford WITNESS
  22. Spider-Man: Homecoming and Atomic Blonde Reviews Available at Buzz    66 Views
  23. My Favourite Films of 2016                                                                                       65 Views
  24. Minor Roles That Had A Major Impact – Jaguar Owner from Speed                 64 Views
  25. The Perspective of the Girl on The Train                                                                64 Views

As you can see the posts about extras and characters actors were very popular so I hope to bring them back in a way in 2018. Also I really liked the idea of doing the Seven Ages posts but unfortunately the time needed and the titles that have to be seen makes that challenging. Going through all the posts and figuring out what got most likes will simply take too long but please continue to like my posts if you like them because it is always a thrill for me when I see those little icons below the post. A lot of my posts were about reviews published elsewhere this year which seem to attract attention mostly from my long time core readers. Thank you very much for supporting me in these new ventures, it has meant a lot and I think also shows my editors that I do have an audience that I bring along with me. It really is appreciated.

For Your Consideration

Now it’s time for some shameless self-promotion where I point out reviews I’m very proud of from that year that you might want to check out. In going over the 105 posts for the year there were many I’m pleased with and glad found an audience but citing them seemed redundant. They are a time and place and people either read them then or will discover them later. Some of the posts I do on here now have become more personal whether it is me remembering BIFF or describing a recent holiday to Newcastle. 20171001_110615There are some reviews I’m proud of and some reviews I’m not. Yet again they either found an audience or they didn’t, people seemed to like the Tom Hanks Top 5 over at Heavy and had lots to say about my review of Dunkirk. My review for Queensland Ballet’s Raw and Hidden Figures at Scenestr will always have personal significance for me and I worked really hard for them to be good. I felt energised when writing about The Go-Betweens: Right Here than I was when writing about Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I enjoyed my list of Best Films for 2016 Image result for eye in the skyand look forward to doing one for 2017 once the bulk of Oscar releases arrive here in Australia. Come on Ladybird! I should take this opportunity to mention that 20th Century Women and Nocturnal Animals would have easily made the 2016 list if I had seen those movies at the time. I’m humbled to see the review of The Siege at Jadotville was met with approval from someone who’s father had served at Jadotville. If from my small corner of the internet someone has learnt a bit more about the Irish at Jadotville or the strength of Major General John Cantwell then that makes me very proud. In the end though I just want to say cite two pieces. The first is a review I did of the movie Fences, I just like my review which mentions something about one of my grandfathers. Image result for fences movieThe second… Many years ago I worked with a young man on the set of a film being shot on the Gold Coast named Vigilante. He passed away earlier this year and while I didn’t know him very well I was struck by thoughts of how he had lived his life. Not just personal career achievements but the measure of the man was in how he had treated others and enriched their lives. This is a legacy to aspire to and I tried to put into words my memories of him in a post. I would urge people to take a look if they haven’t. His name was Kelly Chen.

Well that’s another bunch of stats for another year. I would like to take this moment to thank you all for your continued support Pete, Cindy, GP, Don, Vinnie, Jay, Sean, Paul, Allen, John K, Michael, Jet, Eddie, Alex, Paol, Jordon, John R, SJS, DB, Emma, The Film Blog guy, Jersey Dreaming, Robin, Eric and anybody else who takes the time to read these posts. It would be helluva lot less fun without you all.

-Lloyd Marken

20171015_144640

 

 

 

THE LONG OVERDUE FILM ABOUT JADOTVILLE

Related image

Outnumbered and outgunned, forced into a defensive siege or a last stand against the odds. The Battle of Thermopylae. Battle of Camaron. Rorke’s Drift. The Battle of Long Tan. Black Hawk Down. Every country has a one legendary action of a small force fighting to the death against a much larger one. The modern Irish Army will turn 100 years old in 2022 and its battle of such status should be recognised as the Siege at Jadotville, Congo in September 1961. 86 Irish soldiers have died in the service of the United Nations since 1960 including at the Niemba Ambush in the Congo on the first deployment of Irish UN troops there, in Cyprus, Sinai, Lebanon, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Eritrea, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Liberia, Chad, and Syria. Make no mistake though their Rorke’s Drift though is Jadotville and Netflix has seen fit to finally make a movie about the siege there which lends itself to film storytelling so easily.

No expense has been spared by the streaming service, location shooting appears to have taken place in Africa and Ireland, a lot of effects are done practically and some work has gone into the computer generated imagery. It’s true in the old days they would have hired out a jet trainer for a film like this but I guess on the budget they had they’ve done everything they can to respect the story of these men and try to do it justice.

A lot of runtime sets up the politics of the region and era; the Congo is mineral rich having gained independence from Belgium and in particular in a breakaway region of Katanga. The United Nations went in to restore peace and stop the country from falling into a client state of the Soviets or the Americans. Diplomats in high offices wanting to make their mark started moving chess pieces, promises were made and phone calls to far lands requested many things. Mark Strong as politician Conor Cruise O’Brien is particularly smarmy and Emmanuelle Seigner is particularly effective as Madame LaFontagne who tells the arriving Commandant Quinlan the UN are not welcome here and Guilaume Canet as French mercenary Rene Faulques who shows him.

As interesting as the political stuff is for causing anger and setting up how the Irish ended up in that field alone and in danger it is not what we’re here for.

The Irish Army had been in existence for a little less than forty years. Career soldiers and officers within in had never seen combat with no wars being fought since the Irish Civil War following the struggle for independence from the British. Irish soldiers who had left and fought for the British in World War II returned in 1945 to be dismissed from the military and disqualified from any state based employment for seven years. The first rotation of Irish troops in the Congo were a blooding for the Army, men from the second rotation prepared not sure of how they would go under fire for the first time from 17 year old privates to the 42 year old Commandant Pat Quinlan.

Image result for siege at jadotville

As the UN put into effect an operation to enforce peace and route anti-government troops and mercenaries from the country, Quinlan’s A Company was dispatched to mining community Jadotville. Commandant Quinlan with a force of 150 took one look around his compound and decided their position was tenuous. He ordered digging in fortifications and requested reinforcements (of which none would ever come). Across the field Rene Faulques who had served in World War II, Indochina and Algiers led a Katangese force of 3,000 to 5,000 prepared to lay siege.

The Siege at Jadotville is a real throwback to old war movies that your Dad loved to watch on a Sunday. Modern production values are there and dry Irish sense of humour bleeds through every now and again but the cast are mostly types not people, the soldier with glasses, the sniper (Sam Keeley as Billy Ready), the gruff old Sergeant (Jason O’Mara as Company Sergeant Jack Prendergast). Their emotive faces tell enough and Jamie Dornan acquits himself well as Commandant Pat Quinlan who as a person gets the most rounded out beside the exasperating political figures.

Here were Irish troops far from home with no national interests in the Katangese natural resources defending their turf against insurmountable odds. Asked at one point why he is there, the officer replies I’m a soldier and I follow orders. Dornan conveys well Quinlan’s courage in the field, need for decisive action and simmering rage down the radio to bureaucrats far from the danger telling him to settle down while he is under siege. Related imageThe old Irish humour shines through in one request via radio “We could do with some whiskey.” Every soldier at Jadotville says Quinlan was the difference between them living and dying over the six day siege. Historical reports put forward that the effective fire from the Irish caused the numerically superior Katangese force to almost route.

How much of the battle in the film is historically accurate? We know a helicopter did get through once with water supplies that were contaminated, we know the enemy used a Fouga Magister trainer jet fitted with bombs and machine guns and carried out air attacks. We know reinforcements were stopped at Lufira Bridge. Beyond historical accuracy the film revels in finding new ways to repel waves and makes the action well orientated and easy to digest to a lay person. It’s rip roaring fun, may not get across the confusion and desperation of such a bloody protracted action but it conveys well the heat of the region, the fear and bravery of the men and again and again supplies well staged spectacle. There is also one stunning statistic of the battle which I will not spoil here until you see the film.

The Siege at Jadotville was an extraordinary feat of arms by a smaller force against a larger one and that they’ve only recently been receiving the credit they deserve. In 2016 the Irish government awarded a Presidential Unit Citation to A Company, too late for some to receive it but certainly a worthy recognition finally for their actions. Better war films have been made but no braver men have existed, if this helps to get them more recognition then that’s a start and in the meantime watch this with your Dad, I think you’ll both enjoy it.

-Lloyd Marken

Image result for siege at jadotville