REVIEW: The Eagle [2011]

“Please help me regain my father’s honor” The case of Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle is one of preconceptions and a desire to sound important on behalf of critics. With below average notes across the board and an almost universal slamming of lead actor Channing Tatum, the biggest surprise to me watching was how much I […]

REVIEW: Battle: Los Angeles [2011]

“You got a silver star and my brother came home in a body bag. I get it.” Stock up on Dramamine, brush up on your Hooked on Phonics, dust off the ol’ Stars and Stripes, and prepare for some Marine Corps action as alien invaders decimate all but one platoon—Oorah! I can just picture the […]

REVIEW: Le roi de coeur [King of Hearts] [1966]

“The mackerel likes frying” When you have a war film that doesn’t actually show battle or that makes light of the whole concept altogether, it generally means the filmmakers have some underlying commentary to report. The best way to push such motives is through comedy/satire, playing on the tropes of morality and mortality with humor. […]

REVIEW: Край [Kray] [The Edge] [2010]

“I’ve never seen you smile. It suits you.” World War II is over and Siberia still holds its Russian prisoners with nowhere to go. They have stayed in a prison camp without guards, living the best way they can in a logging community that survives on its single train. Ignat (Vladimir Mashkov) is a war […]

REVIEW: לבנון [Lebanon] [2009]

“Man is steel. The tank is only iron.” The First Lebanon War began in June 1982 when the Government of Israel launched a military operation against the PLO and their Syrian and Muslim Lebanese allies. Rather than tell that story in a broad, war epic way, writer director Samuel Maoz decided to encapsulate the fear, […]

REVIEW: The Way Back [2010]

“Nature is your jailer and she has no mercy” I have never seen classic, 70s Peter Weir such as Picnic at Hanging Rock. I haven’t even seen 80s Weir for that matter. The few I have had the opportunity to catch, however—The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society, Master and Commander—all enthralled, making me realize this […]

REVIEW: Restrepo [2010]

“You look up, you say your prayers, and you move on” It may be the label of the outpost built while under heavy fire in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, but Restrepo still stands for the man from which it was named. A young soldier enjoying life, Juan Restrepo is seen in the opening minutes as a […]

REVIEW: Joyeux Noël [Merry Christmas] [2005]

“No, you’re just not living the same war as me” Back in 1914, war wasn’t fought through technology and computers, missiles being sent to destroy lives as though a video game victory—no, it was battled in the trenches, feet away from the enemy, watching for the glimpse of an eye to shoot. Military leaders and […]

FILM MARATHON: Terrence Malick #4 – The New World [2005]

“At the moment I was to die, she threw herself upon me” There is no way to mistake a Terrence Malick film for anything but. His use of score as a character rather than background, the hitch cuts in scenes as though only a few frames are removed, ultra short vignettes right out of a […]

FILM MARATHON: Terrence Malick #3 – The Thin Red Line [1998]

“The only things that are permanent is dying and the Lord” Pure, unfiltered, raw emotion. That is what’s front and center in Terrence Malick’s adaptation of James Jones’s autobiographical novel The Thin Red Line. The term itself may describe a thinly spread line of defense holding position in war, but I think the metaphor towards […]

REVIEW: Centurion [2010]

“A man without his word is no better than a beast” Writer/director Neil Marshall has style and hopefully will continue to bring it forth on cinema screens for years to come, if he decides to travel back to America or not. Many lesser auteurs would have taken that Hollywood payday and looked for another to […]