Wednesday, December 4, 2013
A couple weeks ago Mack and I went to yet another movie I knew nothing about. I read the brief synopsis that was written on the pass but that was it so I knew it was going to be a war movie about a true story and I knew that there would only be one survivor (hence, the title) but nothing more. I did find out prior to being allowed in to the theater that this was not going to be easy to watch. The powers that be passed around forms to anyone who had a child younger than 17 with them. They explained that a good portion of the movie would contain graphic violence and the parents would need to sign and turn in the forms. I guess they were to release the studio from any responsibility. If you’ve read any of my prior posts regarding minors allowed in this type of movie, you know that I’d like to go in to full-on rant mode here. But! I won’t. I’ll talk about the movie instead.
I keep trying to decide if Lone Survivor would be considered entertainment. I classify entertainment as a getaway from the real world. This was definitely that but not in a good way. Don’t get me wrong. I think this movie was very well made. Peter Berg is the director and I am a huge fan of his work. I was so drawn in to the film that my muscles were knotted by the time the credits rolled through. But entertaining? I don’t think so. Especially knowing that what we saw really happened. Why, then, would I recommend this movie to anyone? Because it’s just that good. And because a story like this should not be forgotten.
For those of you who don’t already know what this movie is about, it tells the story of the SEAL team that was sent in to a mountainous region behind enemy lines in Afghanistan to complete reconnaissance on terrorist Ahmad Shah and his men. The team was discovered by local shepherds and the SEALs made the decision to let them go instead of killing them. This compassion led to their demise. Apparently the enemy was not as kind.
Even though we knew from the very beginning which soldier made it out alive, I still wanted to protest as each of the others was killed. I do that sometimes. I can’t help it. It’s one thing though when the story is fiction. Each death in this film was a blow to my heart. It didn’t help any that, at the beginning, we got to see them as more than SEALs. We saw the individuals and heard about their home lives. We saw the camaraderie and competitiveness. They weren’t just blurbs in the nightly news anymore. These men were humanized for us. Would the movie have been as good without that? I really don’t think so. This made them more important to us.
Once the fighting starts, it stays tense through most of the rest of the movie. The guys got no rest. They were heavily outnumbered and though they were trained, and trained well – they’re SEALs for goodness’ sake – for combat, there were just too many bad guys. Now, my pain tolerance is somewhere in the medium range so I can’t even begin to imagine what their poor bodies went through. And yet, they plowed on. In the movie G.I. Jane, Viggo Mortensen’s character quotes the following from D.H. Lawrence: “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” That was these men! If they did feel self pity it definitely was not shown. One of the men, Lt. Michael P. Murphy, made the ultimate sacrifice. It’s shown a little differently in the movie than what I found reported on the Medal of Honor home page for Lt. Murphy but the point was made. This man put his body in harm’s way in an attempt to ensure the safety of his brothers. His death was the hardest for me.
The light at the end of the tunnel came from the Afghan man and his village. I would love to meet this man. It is one thing to have a basic belief but another still to have such a strong code of honor that you will give everything you have to protect a complete stranger knowing that it will not bode well for your future. If that doesn’t make sense to you now, go see the movie. I was absolutely horrified that, according to the movie, nothing was immediately done by the US soldiers to help the villagers. I wanted to grab hold of the young boy and the man and drag them both out of there. I completely understand why the soldiers did what they did but it didn’t make it any easier.
I feel as if I’m getting too in depth so I should probably wrap this up. All the actors were good. We even got a brief cameo by Peter Berg. The story was well told and I hope it was as close to the truth as they could possibly get. I haven’t read the book yet but I hope to do so before this film is released in January. To say that Lone Survivor is violent is understating things a bit but they kept it real. It wasn’t sensationalized in any way, shape or form. There was actually less cussing than I thought there would be. They used all the good ones but, for what they were going through, it was kept to a minimum. I’m not going to break it down any more because I don’t think young children/teens should see this. I know I don’t want my niece to see it. It’s too much for her right now. Yes, she watches scary movies but reality is a little harder to deal with. I do think she should see it at some point in her life. I think everyone should (when they’re older!!!). These men gave their lives for us. Surely we can give them 2 hours of ours.
The only reason I would go see this again when it’s released is so I can contribute to the numbers on opening weekend. It really was that hard for me to watch. Despite this, I encourage all of you to go. Just remember, you know from the title what’s going to happen. This is not really a feel good, skip on your way to the car afterward kind of movie. Mack and I sat a couple seats down from a Veteran. I didn’t realize this until he and his wife were leaving. I wanted to run up and hug him (because I’m a huggy person) and hold tight for a bit but I figured that would be a tad inappropriate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Thank you to those of you who have served, are currently serving or have plans to do so. Your sacrifices have not gone unappreciated. You are loved and thought of and prayed for. To those of you serving overseas...come home soon.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
If you liked the movie Red, go see Red 2. What? Oh! You want more than that? Okay. I went to see this with Mac, her mom and a co-worker of mine and Mac’s. We’ll call her Witten. We all loved Red 2 so that’s four fors so far. Still not enough? Fine then.
Red 2 opens with Frank and Sarah living a life of normalcy, much to Sarah’s chagrin. Enter Marvin who, much to Sarah’s delight, throws those plans all out of whack. Well, in a round about way. Someone wants them dead and they would very much like to stay alive. Loyalties and animosities are questioned but, in the end, it’s just a whole lot of fun. Since this isn’t coming out until July 19th, I’m keeping the details to a minimum.
Bruce Willis returns as Frank Moses, ex-CIA agent. He would like nothing more than to settle down and take care of (read: Protect) Sarah for the rest of their lives. That ideal alone makes his character fun to watch. I have been a huge Bruce Willis fan since Moonlighting (I mean the re-runs, of course) and I have yet to see him in anything that disappoints. Frank never really loses his over-protective tendencies but he does finally let Sarah fly on her own and the results were entertaining, to say the least.
Mary-Louise Parker is Sarah Ross. I couldn’t have picked a better actor for this role. Stereotypically speaking, she doesn’t look like the type of person who would want to have anything to do with spy games or assassinations. More the former than the latter. Granted, I’m sure that quality is what would make someone a perfect spy/assassin. She stole the scene on several occasions which must be hard to do with Bruce and John in the picture. She’s so very deadpan a lot of the time and I love that kind of humor.
John Malkovich is Marvin Boggs. Oh John, I love you so. Don’t ask me to explain my admiration because I just can’t. He’s another actor that you either like or you don’t. I definitely like. Marvin interrupts Frank and Sarah’s peaceful existence early in the movie. You won’t have to wait long for the action to start. Trust me on this. Yeah, I know you don’t know me but still… Marvin can be just as low key as Sarah so it’s fun to watch the two of them together. And Marvin is a tad eccentric which makes the plot that much better.
Helen Mirren is the last actor who gets her own paragraph. The rest have to share. So sorry. Helen is Victoria, an assassin hired to kill Frank and Marvin. If you saw the first movie you pretty much know how this is gonna turn out. Or do you? Helen seems to be such a classy person that, like Mary-Louise, it’s hard to imagine her doing some of the things she does in this film. She should be at home sipping tea and eating crumpets, right? In one scene we see her oh-so-calmly kill a couple of people while dressed to the nines. Her…not them. Classy, huh? I have to say that though I loved her throughout the movie, my favorite action scene with her involved her shooting from both sides of the car during one of the chases. Unrealistic, you say? Maybe, but who cares? It’s a movie.
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung Hun Lee, Neal McDonough and Anthony Hopkins round out the main cast of characters. I liked Catherine in this but questioned, early on, why she keeps getting brought in on sequels. Then I looked it up and discovered that this is only the second time that’s happened. Whoops. Catherine plays Miranda Wood, a somewhat ex-love of Frank’s. Yikes! Byung brought the antagonistic humor that this film needed. He is another one of the assassins hired to kill Frank and Marvin. He also used to work with Frank until things went sideways. Interesting. Anthony Hopkins is Bailey, a scientist who has been locked away for years because of something he knows. Both sides are in a race to uncover his secret. Anthony is, as always, entertaining. Ending the list of actors is Neal McDonough as a ruthless CIA agent. He is a good bad good guy. Make sense? No? Go see the movie. I think you’ll like him too. I think he was deserving of more recognition in the ad campaign. Let me rephrase. I think he should have been included in the ad campaign. And on the poster. And the official website (which totally blows, by the way). Sadly, I forgot my notebook the night of the film and I can’t remember/find on-line the name of his or Byung’s character so it appears I am under-appreciating him also.
Because my niece is older now and watches more movies with cussing I tend to not pay as much attention anymore but I really don’t recall a lot of “words” being tossed around. I remember at least two but that’s it. It sadly surprises me that there are writers who have figured out that you don’t have to have a movie full of obscenities and still have a hit. Sadly, because films with lots and lots of expletives seem to have become the norm. Okay, I’m off my soapbox now.
There wasn’t much, if any (Sorry again. If I’d only remembered my notebook), drinking or smoking. Also, no sex or nudity. This was a straight-up action film. They didn’t have time for that. Whoops! I just read another review and was reminded of the fact that there WAS nudity. It just didn't show everything. Fortunately for any ladies watching the film, Byung Hun Lee was the actor involved. He's very not difficult to look at.
There was violence but that’s no surprise. I am happy to announce that it’s not disgusting violence. I mean there’s no gore and blood spray a la the movie 300, etc. People are shot/stabbed/blown up and then we move on. I don’t mean that to sound as if I’m okay with death. Not at all. I’m just reporting the facts as I see ‘em.
If I had to make any complaints about the movie they would be as follows. The beginning was kind of choppy. It jumped around quite a bit. Once they get to Moscow it evens out so hang on until then, okay? The other thing (and this always cracks me up) is the way people shoot each other. If someone has just thrown themselves behind something (say, a wall or car) to avoid being shot why do the shooters always insist on shooting high only? Chances are pretty good the shootee is going low. Shoot down, people! Also, how can someone be renowned as a crack shot and still miss the main characters? Yes, I realize that if he killed a main character it would mess up the movie but come on! At least wing one of ‘em.
Again, if you liked the first movie, you’ll like Red 2. If you like Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and the rest mentioned above, you’ll like this. If you haven’t seen the first movie, why not? Go see it and then watch the sequel. It won’t do to watch them out of order even if you are my niece who likes to do such things. PT (my niece) will be 16 this year and despite that, I don’t think I would recommend this movie to her. She is still at an impressionable age and some of the violence is just so nonchalant as to make it funny. I don’t want that for her. You know what your children can handle. Please note that this movie is rated PG-13 for a reason.
I’m going to visit family in a few weeks for the anniversary of my 29th birthday and I’m taking the original movie with me in the hope that dad will like it and will want to go with me to see the sequel. If not, I’ll go again by myself. All alone. Sniffle. Or maybe I’ll talk Mac, Mama Mac and Witten in to going with me again. I don’t think it would be a hard sell for at least two of them.
P.S. There’s nothing after the credits. Go home OR go see another movie so you can stay out of the heat. Unless you like heat. In that case…enjoy!
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Olympus Has Fallen…again. Or so I thought. If you agree, I ask that you go ahead and drop that thought at the door and give White House Down a chance. Yes, there are several similarities but so many more differences that if you let the first movie go you might enjoy this one. I have to admit that I didn’t expect much from WHD other than an entertaining couple of hours. It was definitely entertaining but wait…there’s more!
White House Down is about John Cale, a Capitol policeman who dreams of joining the Secret Service and is forced to fulfill those duties while on a tour at the White House with his daughter.
I will try not to compare this too much to OHF but I have to at least say this. I questioned some of the military judgment/decisions in OHF and I did the same for WHD. Why on earth would the powers that be not change any and every method of logging in to the country’s weapons program if the President is found to be incapacitated or believed to be dead? And I would really like to know if a pilot would, in real life, do what the pilot in the movie did. It’s probably hard to answer that question because it would very likely depend on the person. They would have to decide which they would be more able to live with; obeying orders no matter what or going with their conscience. I can’t even begin to know what my decision would be.
For those of you who may think that I went to see this just because Channing Tatum is in it, I’d like to say you’re wrong. There were other reasons too. But, since we’re already talking about him, Channing is John Cale, ex-soldier, ex-husband, not-so-reliable (but trying) dad and Secret Service wannabe. I know he doesn’t sound promising but he gets his right place at the right time moment or twenty. He’s most definitely an action hero in WHD but he’s also a dad who loves his daughter and dang if he didn’t make me sniffle a time or two because of it. I really liked him in this movie. He hit several parts of the spectrum with his acting. Okay, so he didn’t quote Shakespeare but it wasn’t that kind of movie.
Joey King is John’s daughter, Emily. She was almost perfect for this role. We first see Emily as the sullen tween and then as a know-it-all. Pretty soon though we get to see her bravery in the face of many MANY dangers and finally not only how smart she truly is but that she’s also self-sacrificing. And she is one tough cookie! Every one of her emotions come across on the screen and I’m hard-pressed to be able to think of anyone who could have done it better. Something that happened to her reminded me why I get so fed up with the media nowadays. Is it really necessary to put people in harm’s way just to scoop the story? I can tell you right now that hope I will never want/need information so badly that I don’t mind that people are hurt because others are determined to report it. In the movie, Emily has a video blog on youtube. While doing a little extra research this evening I came across a link to the vlog. Click here to check it out.
I’m going to wrap up the actor/character descriptions with Jamie Foxx. He would be another reason I wanted to see WHD. I just really like him. In this film he gets to be the President of the United States. Nice! What I love about this role is that he’s not infallible. We see that he’s got a few quirks and we laugh and love him for them and then move on. He even comes across as a tad nerdy a couple of times. Sadly, he played a big role in my least favorite scene. He had to make a horrible decision and look a much-loved (by the audience) person in the eye while he did it. Once again, I don’t know what my decision would have been so I can’t judge his.
For those of you craving lots of action and explosions you should be satisfied with WHD. It’s almost realistic too. Channing’s face does, in fact, get a little bloody but not as much as it would have if this had been real. But who, in their right mind, is going to mess up Channing’s face? I mean, come on! Also, for those of you who are wondering if they snuck some romance in on us the answer is a resounding NO! If you’re expecting even a little mush then this is not the movie for you.
What else can you expect from this movie? Let’s see:
Sex/Nudity – Not really. We saw a thermal image of a couple engaging in intimate relations but that’s it. Channing does keep most of his clothes on. Sorry ladies. You’re going to have to just enjoy the fact that he strips down to just a white tank top. Okay, so he’s wearing pants and shoes too but you get my point.
Drinking/Drugs/Smoking – Here’s where I should have paid better attention. I don’t recall seeing any of that.
Cussing/Swearing – Yup. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be though. I only recall one F-bomb and a couple GDs. The favored word was synonymous with poo. Sorry folks. Still trying to keep my posts at least PG.
Violence – Well, yeah. Of course. People die from gun shots and explosions but there wasn’t any gore. The director didn’t sensationalize the blood and wounds and I was very okay with that. Once again, national landmarks are damaged but I think we’ve gotten to where we expect that. It’s just not an action movie until either New York, California or Washington DC get blown up in some way, shape or form.
If you’re a Channing Tatum fan, you’ll like this movie. If you’re a Jamie Foxx fan, you’ll like this movie. If you like all action all the time, chances are pretty good you’ll like this movie. I plan on going to see it again after its release. Unless you’ve got a big screen TV this is definitely best enjoyed at the theater.
Finally, I only have one thing I’d change about the ending. Someone should have called his/her spouse to let them know that he/she was okay. But I’ll let it slide this time.