Monthly Archives: August 2011

Paragraphed Movie Reviews: War

The Hurt Locker: A-
Definitely very well done. Suspenseful and intense the whole way through, for a non-military individual this was an enjoyable movie for me. Casting fairly unknown actors to play the three leads added to it’s authenticity as you actually felt you were watching American soldiers rather than actors playing soldiers.

Inglourious Basterds: B-
Drawn out and lengthy. I felt there was a lot of film fluff in the movie that did little to further the plot. It was both jumpy and extended at the same time. I’ve never really been a huge Tarantino fan and he certainly didn’t win me over with this one. As is most of his work, Basterds was a little over the top and unbelievable.

Defiance: A
I love a good war movie, and this one was absolutely fantastic. Daniel Craig is phenomenal as the oldest Beilski brother, leading refugee Jews out of the Nazi’s way. He sets up temporary settlements for his people in the forests, moving and starting from scratch every time they are discovered. The Beilski brothers clash over how to handle their responsibilities and are ultimately confronted by the German army.

Schindler’s List: B
Liam Neeson is terrific and Ralph Fiennes is terrifying in the true story of Oskar Schindler. The movie is a bit long, but is nonetheless a fantastic retelling of one of World War 2’s finest men. Schindler was personally responsible for saving the lives of hundreds of Jews by employing them in his factories rather than shipping them off to concentration camps.

We Were Soldiers: A+
For me to hand out an A+ to a movie it has to be absolutely amazing, and We Were Soldiers is that caliber of movie. Mel Gibson is tremendous as Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore of the 7th Cavalry Regiment during the Battle of Ia Drang. The movie captures the true atmosphere of the Vietnam War and retells the story in a way that does the American soldiers true justice.

The Great Escape: A-
Although a bit lengthy at nearly 3 hours, The Great Escape is a very entertaining once it gets going. Steve McQueen is fantastic as the cocky American officer and his motorcycle stunts (performed by McQueen) at the end of the movie are breath-takingly enjoyable. If the movie had been made in 2011, the Nazis would have been more evil, the heroes less interesting and the movie would have been much, much louder. As it is, The Great Escape is highly enjoyable and definitely one of my favorite wartime movies.

Behind Enemy Lines: C+
I think I’ve type-casted Owen Wilson into the frat-pack actor that it took me a while to get into him as a military man. And if you can’t buy him in that role, this movie won’t change your mind. Wilson’s character here is probably the worst Navy pilot to be stuck in enemy territory and the only reason he isn’t killed is because the villains are somehow even more incompetent than he is.

The Pianist: A-
It always surprises me that a sick freak like Roman Polanski can turn out a great movie and believe me, The Pianist is a great movie. Dark and foreboding, but fantastic nevertheless. It’s a story of terror and loss, but amidst all the devastation and destruction, something beautiful continues to persevere.

Platoon: A-
Martin Sheen had Apocalypse Now and his son has Platoon. Having actually served in Vietnam, director Oliver Stone is able to depict an infantryman’s strife more accurately than any before him. He doesn’t glorify war as many movies do and Charlie Sheen stays mostly out of the way of great performances by Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe.

Black Hawk Down: B
Black Hawk Down accurately re-creates the disastrous US military raid in Mogadishu, Somalia. Using a true ensemble cast, the movie follows several different story lines and several groups of soldiers engaged with unfriendly forces.

The Dirty Dozen: B+
Another older film in which Lee Marvin is put in charge of 12 soldiers convicted of rape and murder and is instructed to train them to infiltrate a German chateau and eliminate as many officers as possible before they are killed. The movie is smart, funny and well-paced. There are amusing moments throughout and you almost forget that the guy you are rooting for are some of the most despicable criminals imaginable.