Search results for ‘Hurt Locker’

The Hurt Locker

September 7th, 2010 — 01:25 am

The Hurt Locker* * * * *
The Hurt Locker
– rm – This movie is not about your typical US soldier in Iraq. It is about a young man who may not yet have been successful in life or in relationships but who finds himself very good at what he is doing in the Army. In this case it is in finding and detonating bombs that are left at the roadside to blow up US vehicles and soldiers, or are hidden in the ground or strapped perhaps to unwilling suicidal bombers. The movie focuses on one such soldier, played by Jeremy Renner, and his small group of comrades. He is smart, courageous but capable of being emotionally affected by what he is doing. If anyone had any doubts that a woman could capture the realism of a raw combat zone, Katherine Bigelow, who brilliantly directed this movie, has certainly shattered any such misconceptions. As the days scheduled to remain in Iraq are counted down for this group of soldiers, the viewer can smell the acrid air, feel the sand and most of all sense the almost continual apprehension. It may be hard to believe that in our voluntary army, some soldiers choose to be in this place but this film will make it hard to forget those that do. (2009)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama, War

Eye in the Sky

May 2nd, 2016 — 07:32 pm

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.55.01 AM*****

Eye in the Sky-rm

Not since the Hurt Locker have we seen a film, which provides a deep emotional insight into an aspect of modern warfare in which the United States is involved. In this case it is a U.S. drone pilot ( Aaron Paul) working with Colonel (Helen Mirren) and a British Lieutenant General (Alan Rickman) across the pond, who are about to direct a drone missile strike at a group of terrorists who are strapping on explosives for a planned suicide bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. Collateral damage must be taken into account and high-level government officials in both countries are asked to weigh in on this process. What is the right thing to do? It becomes clear that firing this missile could be an extremely important event in the war against terrorism by eliminating one of the major leaders as well as saving many innocent lives from the impending terrorist attack. All of this might depend on whether a  nine-year-old girl is able to sell all her baked bread and thus leave the street outside of where the terrorists are located.

We know that modern warfare has changed forever when the commanding pilot of a strike airplane is actually taking his or her eight-hour shift in the pilot’s seat in a shed in Texas where the sophisticated controls and video screens are set up to fly a drone thousands of miles away, which is locked and loaded with deadly missiles. On top of all this, we learn that smaller drones in the form of little birds can be flown to hover over a target to get more intelligence and they can even be in the form of flying insects which can be dispersed to get a closer look. This is no longer science fiction but it is a story that could be ripped from today’s headlines.

As this film unfolds, the viewers are challenged to decide whether they would pull the trigger to kill an innocent child, who we have come to know and see, in order to save many other adults and children in the near future. Also we have to consider the propaganda implications if we kill one civilian versus if the terrorists kill many  civilians. These are the choices to be made.

When our military men and women make these types of decisions they are often doing them based on what they have experienced in real combat zones. The late Alan Rickman, in his last role, playing the veteran lieutenant general delivers a line which we believe will live on in movie history as he tells a well-meaning woman politician, “Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war.”

We are sure that Director Gavin Hood (who gave himself a small part in the film) had a very large budget for this film, which he put to good use. There are realistic special effects and we felt we were side by side with the struggles that are made by modern-day warriors. The film is carefully constructed, enlightening and thought-provoking . It will take you on an emotional roller coaster and is well worth seeing. (2016)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Action, Drama, War

American Sniper

January 31st, 2015 — 10:57 pm

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.57.50 PM***

American Sniper –rm   After being shut out at the box office last week because it was sold out we finally got in to see this film. It has already grossed over 217 million dollars (so they really didn’t need our money) on a budget of 59 million dollars to make it. The film has been nominated for an Oscar as best picture and Bradley Cooper as best actor as well as receiving nominations for sound, sound editing and best adapted screenplay by Jason Hall. (It was adapted from the book by the sniper himself Chris Kyle) It is directed by Clint Eastwood. We tend to side with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association who decided that this film didn’t make the grade for any Golden Globe Awards. In our opinion we just didn’t make any emotional connection with the character as depicted in the movie. Yes, we were genuinely touched at the end of the film when there were actual movie clips of the funeral tributes to this war hero who died as a civilian in 2013. (Sorry about the spoiler but you probably knew this already and it won’t take away from the movie). He had an unusual skill with a long range rifle and he cared about his buddies. Chris Kyle had more than 160 “kills” which is the most by far in the history of the United States military. He volunteered for extra tours of duty (actually having 4 tours and he had over 1000 days in a combat zone) despite the pleading of his wife (played by Sienna Miller) that she and their children needed him. He could have spent more time at home training other soldiers. Perhaps the writers and filmmakers try too hard to stick to the exact story presented to them and don’t use the poetic license that a good fictional drama can explore when they develop a character. It was interesting to us that we felt the same way about the movie Unbroken (see our review) which was another recent movie about a real life war hero which stayed close to the  facts without very much depth.. It also didn’t move us although our admiration for the man especially as shown in the book was tremendous. Compare this to what we think is one of the greatest war films to come out in a long time, The Hurt Locker (see our review). This was fictional drama perhaps based on real events, but the main character is a composite. In our opinion this allowed the writers and director to explore subtle themes and find ways of bringing about an emotional attachment with the audience. In the the American Sniper, as in most war movies today, the combat scenes were very realistic. The sound was fantastic (does deserve the potential Oscar acclaim ) and the music with a lot of drums and included one composition credited to “the man of all seasons,” the director Clint Eastwood, was quite effective. There were the requisite expensive special effects, which likely made it just like it would really be if we were there. Sometimes all the smoke made it hard to see who was shooting who and we couldn’t tell the bad guys from the good guys but maybe that is the way it is in some combat situations. But without a strong connection to the main character we can’t put this film near the top of our list. (2015)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Biography, Drama, Thriller, War

Zero Dark Thirty

January 8th, 2013 — 11:44 pm

****

Zero Dark ThirtyZero Dark thiry

The last time Director Katherine Bigelow and Screenwriter Mark Boal collaborated they made the Hurt Locker which was one of the finest war  films we have ever seen. Since the subject matter this time was the story of the tracking down and killing of Osama ben Laden, it seemed like a natural for them to duplicate their great work.  They ended up doing a very good  job but in our opinion it wasn’t a “repeat”. They initially tug on our emotions by starting the film with frantic phone calls coming from the doomed World Trade Center on 9/11. We then are exposed to the United States  waterboarding suspects who might lead us to Osama ben Laden. This element while uncomfortable to watch, may not be telling the complete story in regard to how key this was to what was to come. The film centers around Maya (Jessica Chastain) a CIA agent who doggedly persists when all the other CIA honchos have their doubts including Leon Panetta CIA director (James Gandelfini)  We are told in the credits that she is a real person who can’t be identified since she is still an active agent. It is too bad that we couldn’t know anything substantial about her other than to watch her determination  despite no one believing her. Nevertheless Ms Chastain carries the film with her riveting portrayal of this American heroine. There also was a great deal of mumbo jumbo on the radio, agents talking back and forth, numerous Arab names mentioned as suspects or people who might have known people. You were never really given enough information to appreciate who they were and what role they played. We also never really get to know the numerous CIA agents, Bureau Chiefs, operatives or whatever. Even the Navy Seal team stays a team and they all blend together in their military fatigues and being viewed through night vision goggles. We will admit that the 2 hours and 40 minutes did go by quite quickly and it was exciting to watch the attack on the compound. It was quite authentic and you felt and thought you were there.  If the real Maya ever writes a memoir, we will be sure to read it and get to know what she was really like and how she brought about the slaying of this dragon. (2012)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Action, Drama, History

Avatar

September 6th, 2010 — 08:06 am

Avatar* * * *
Avatar
– rm- We didn’t see this film until after it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture as well as many other awards. We stand by our prediction that Hurt Locker will earn the award for best picture. Avatar and director/writer/producer James Cameron deserve awards and acclaim for the technical accomplishments in the use of 3D, computer generated animation and special effects. The “out of this world” flying, at times gigantic, horse/dragon like creatures were very impressive although their continued presence for much of the movie was not our cup of tea. The appearance of the avatars as well as that of the people who were being visited or we should say the natives of the land that was being invaded was also quite creative. All their facial features were completely non-human as was the presence of their tail and many of their mannerisms, but yet their behavior was all too human. It was most of the humans who were engaging in the inhumane actions. While the plot was somewhat simple, familiar and predictable, it was the symbolism and important themes that raised the value of the film. One could not help but be reminded of the experience of the native Americans or the native inhabitants of so many other places that have been invaded by intruders seeking to plunder their land. There was a green theme with a spiritual love of nature. Also clear was the presence of strong, good women who possessed both strength of character and strength of purpose. Some of the scenes with helicopter like gun ships setting this very special countryside aflame with bright orange fire explosions with the background radio chatter of the invading forces were reminiscent of scenes from the Viet Nam War and perhaps some later day events. It is probably fair to say that this is an anti-war film. Some might say it is anti-American and others might feel it is not a fair depiction of the real good guys. It certainly is cutting edge and may be the beginning of a new genre. (2009)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Action, Drama

Our 2009 Academy Award Nominations

January 16th, 2010 — 09:04 am

Although we have not seen all the possible contenders we decided to draw up our abbreviated list for Academy Nominations with our projected winners. We have combined best picture and best director awards since we are not quite sure how to make that distinction. Our choices are listed in order of our preferences with 1st choice in bold.
(Published day before Golden Globe Awards)

Best Movie and Director

The Hurt Locker- Katherine Bigeloe
Precious –Lee Daniels
Inglorious Basterds – Quentin Tarentino
Julie and Julia – Nora Ephrom
Invictus – Clint Eastwood

We found this was an easy winner although all great films

Best Actress

Merly Streep ( Julie and Julia)
Gaborney Sidibe (Precious)
Carey Mulligan (An Education )
Helen Miren ( Last Station )

The Pro takes it from newcomer but it is close call

Best Actor

Morgan Freeman ( Invictus )
George Clooney ( Up In the Air )
Ben Foster ( The Messenger)
Jeremy Remney ( Hurt Locker)

Almost too close to choose winner

Best Supporting Actress

Mo’Nique (Precious)

Easy winner

Best Supporting Actor

Christopher Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) – Michael’s choice
Woody Harrelson ( The Messenger ) Susan’s choice

Best Foreign Film

Red Cliff- John Wo

We haven’t seen that many but this was good

Comment » | Uncategorized