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Archive for the ‘2014’ Category

left behindWow, did that suck. I always wonder how actors who have an Academy Award for acting can fall so far from grace and end up in the worst movies ever.  It happened to Cuba Gooding Jr. and it has definitely happened to Nicolas Cage.  He has been suffering in movie hell for quite some time now.   The last decent films he was in were National Treasure 2 and Ghost Rider maybe?  Well after starring in Left Behind he is as close to rock bottom as you can get. Next stop for Cage, Sharknado 4.

Rayford Steele, played by Nicolas Cage (Season of the Witch,) is a pilot who has family troubles with his wife.  No, she isn’t doing drugs or is a drunk, no that isn’t it, he has a problem with his wife because she has fallen for another man.  His name is Jesus Christ.  That’s right she has found God and that has forced their college daughter Chloe, played by Cassi Thomson (TV Big Love,) to stay away at school and forced Ray into the arms of a loving stewardess named Hattie, played by Nicky Whelan (Hall Pass.) Ray has decided to skip his birthday weekend with his family because of an unplanned planned trip by getting a last minute call to fly to London that Hattie just so happens to be on.  About two hours into the flight, and while Chloe is at the mall with her little brother, something amazing happens, all of the children on the plan and select adults, including the co-pilot, all just disappear.  Chloe witnesses her brother disappear along with every other child and some selected adults at the mall.  At first they are clueless as to what happens but as time goes by Ray discovers that the people disappearing all are Christians and innocent children.  He begins to think the end of days have come and all the good people have been taken to heaven.

Oh this movie is rough and the only good things in it, for me, are all of the hot women in the film. Nicky Whelan, who I know as the hot Australian medical intern from the final season of Scrubs is gorgeous as the somewhat innocent but soon to be slutty flight attendant.  Also enjoyable is Cassi as the daughter who I have never seen before but she does a wonderful job of bending over a lot to show us her cleavage and I spend most of the movie thinking what she is doing in college to keep from going to heaven.  I am guessing its some kind of lesbian experience with an equally as hot coed. Here, enjoy some pictures of Nicky and then Cassie.

nickyw cassiet

There is no since of direction in this film.  It is a disaster film in the since that there are people in danger on the airplane and there is chaos on the ground that puts Chloe in danger, but we really don’t care about the people on the plane.  Within the first ten minutes of the flight we discover who all the scumbags are and who the good people are so when the good people get beamed to heaven we are left caring about a bunch of non-believers who for the most part, happen to be jerks, oh and one Muslim.

I thought this was one of those God type pictures where we get to find out all the rules about being saved and see Kirk Cameron show up and help us.  But that isn’t really the case either.  Even though we have the mother Irene, played by Lea Thompson (Back to the Future,) has a heart to heart with Chloe about being ready for what’s coming and how God got her to visit at this time.  Of course that doesn’t go over at all with Chloe who things it’s some kind of disease to believe in God.  Of course the opening of the movie has a photo journalist Buck Williams, played by Chad Michael Murry (House of Wax,) being accosted by some woman who thinks it’s odd he is always around disasters and starts to quote biblical scripture about the end of times.  Both this woman and the mom Irene come across as annoying bible thumpers who no one will listen too.  And when they turn out to be right we can’t even say gee I wish I listened to them because they were so obnoxious about it.  But to be honest, the people they were preaching too were just as bad.  Chloe verbally assaulted the woman in the mall and then yelled at her mother for what God was and wasn’t doing and not believing any of it.  When she went to the local church to ask someone what was going on she ended up screaming at someone who was in the church about believing in God and why she was still there.  Every conversation regarding God came off as negative before and after the event so it just doesn’t seem like a come find Jesus movie.

The disaster part didn’t have that much too it either.  In terms of the airplane the only issue was that they had a minor collision with another plane, that was pilotless and they had a hard time trying to find a place to land.  They tried to have some passenger on passenger violence, there is the one Muslim on the plane mind you, and the wife of a professional football player who thinks her husband came on the plane and took her daughter.  But none of it was really believable nor did I really care. Poor Chloe had a bigger problem trying to get home from the mall.  She was by the door of the mall when a driverless car rolled through the door and tried to run her over.  Then when she was in the parking lot she was nearly hit by a small pilotless airplane.  After being nearly shot by a jewelry store owner and visiting the hospital to see all of the new born children were missing she made it home to a home without a mother who also disappeared and instead of trying to come to grips with what is going on started to contemplate suicide.  So there is no real danger and no real stars so this really doesn’t qualify as a disaster.

The final insult of the movie does come at the end of the film.  After Ray finally gets a hold of his daughter she creates a run way on a road that was being worked on in the greater NY area so the plane can land.  The plane does land, everyone is safe and hugging each other when the look and see the New York skyline ablaze in an almost holy inferno.  So they saved the passengers only to have to live through seven years of darkness and hell on earth, the end.  That should make you feel good huh?

The picture of Nic Cage’s face on the movie poster aptly describes my look as I was watching the film as well.  Hell his expression could also describe his feelings about what is happening to his movie career.   He has the look of, “You mean to tell me all I can get is Sharknado 4?  And my character doesn’t even to get to have sex with Tara Reid’s character?  What’s the point?”  Indeed, what’s the point!

 

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herculesI vaguely remember this hitting the movie theater in 2014 thinking that maybe it would be fun to see. However that thought passed quickly and soon I forgot about this film and judging by the box office numbers I am not alone.  However I was working late tonight so I checked out my Amazon Prime account and this movie popped up in the included in Prime category.  So I watched it as I worked.  The movie is very simple and a good distraction from work of any kind but by no means should Hercules be confused with and epic adventure.

The legend of Hercules, played by Dwayne Johnson (Doom,) is actually just a tall tale as Hercules is actually a former soldier for Sparta who is now a mercenary.  He and his fellow men and woman, are asked by the Lord Cotys, played by John Hurt (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,) to help build up an army to defeat a warlord who is destroying the people under Cotys.  While Hercules believe these are good people, especially Cotys’s daughter Ergenia, played by Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.) Once the task is completed Hercules discovers that Cotys isn’t all that he seems.

When watching this movie I thought of two others that are similar in how they try to attempt to turn legendary tales into ordinary men doing heroic deeds, specifically the Arthur legend in the movies King Arthur and The Last Legion.  I am fond of these types of movies because I like to see a little real world history applied to legendary Gods or heroes.  I like them when they are really well done like King Arthur.  I enjoy them when are just ok like The Last Legion.  This movie Hercules is just ok, but I did enjoy it.  The movie based on a graphic novel.

The things I like about this film are the cast and the action.  Dwayne Johnson has become the action hero that I have been screaming for since the 80’s although most of his movies are PG-13.  He has done a wonderful job of creating an action movie career from his wrestling career.  In that regard he reminds of Arnold Schwarzenegger but since he started his movie career in 2000’s he is a toned down version of Arnold.  Plus he is nowhere near as invincible as Arnold is in his movies, which makes them more exciting.  I thought the rest of the cast had a good chemistry together especially the characters Autolycus, played by Rufus Sewell (Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer,) and Amphiaraus, played by Ian McShane (John Wick.)  The film did have the required hot female bad ass and that was Atalanta, played by Ingrid Bolso Berdal (Chernobyl Diaries.)  I would also like to say that John Hurt was a pretty good jerk and I am not used to that in his films.

I like the action in the film although there was nothing really special about it.  It was standard fair for battle scenes in ancient Greece.  Not over the top like the movie 300 but more in line with movies like Troy but on a smaller scale.  Though I will say that the special effects in the film were not the greatest and the wolves as well as all of the creatures described in Hercules’s 12 labors were poorly rendered which is kind of a bummer but not a deal breaker.

The story is the weakness for me because I had a hard time watching the subplot dealing with the death of Hercules family and that he might be the reason for it.  That never seemed realistic considering how the rest of the movie goes out of its way to show that he is a mercenary with a conscious and only goes after bad men.  This character trait does help set up the betrayal of Hercules by Cotys but to believe that he was capable of killing his family is not believable.  The third act of the story in which Hercules is betrayed by Cotys is also weak in that it throws in the King of Athens, Eurystheus, played by Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love.)  They use him to tie up the subplot but still seems forced, at least to me it does.

I hate to use my go to phrase when talking about an entertaining movie that isn’t particularly good but I will, it is a fun movie.  I would love to see Dwayne Johnson in a Rated R action movie just to see if he can remind me of the glory days of the 80’s action films with high body counts.  I don’t know if he can be in one considering his PG-13 audience from wrestling.  You can do a lot worse by watching this movie but it won’t sweep you off of your feet in epic style.

 

 

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ifrankensteinI went with a co-worker to see this in the movie theater completely blind having no idea what this movie was about other then what I saw in the trailers. I had no idea it was based, like all movies now a days, on a graphic novel.  Had I known this when I was in the theater it would having given me better context of the film and I may have enjoyed it more than I did.  Now if I was thirteen years old again I think I would have loved this movie as I believe that is the target audience for the film.

In this movie world, Frankenstein’s monster, played by Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight,) is roaming around the countryside after killing Frankenstein’s wife and witnessing his death as the good doctor hunted down the monster for revenge.  The monster discovers that he is being hunted by demons and is saved by gargoyles that were created by an Archangel to defend the humans from the demons.  Frankenstein discovers that the demons are trying to recreate the work done by Victor Frankenstein with the help of a medical doctor named Terra, played by Yvonne Strahovski (The Killer Elite,) to created thousands of vessels for the demons that are stuck in hell.  When Terra refuses to continue the work a demon prince named Naberius, Played by Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,) captures her and forces her to do so.  The monster must then bring the Gargoyle army to the demon’s hideout, save Terra, and have a final confrontation with Naberius.

The movie was written by Kevin Grevioux and Stuart Beattie who gave us the Underworld movies.  While those capitalized on the Vampire craze that happened in the early 2000’s, this movie was nowhere near as successful.  I would say that it was due to the writing because the tone of the movie was much lighter than that of the Underworld saga.  I would also say the content of the story, gargoyles (angels) versus demons, just isn’t as exciting as the whole werewolves vs. vampires shtick.  With all of the exorcist type movies a fantasy movie involving the same just doesn’t carry the weight that these characters should carry.  Also I felt that this movie was much more special effects driven then Underworld and that was to the detriment of this movie.  The gargoyles were pretty poor in design and at no time looked real with maybe the one exception of the Gargoyle Queen Leonore, played by Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.)  The demon designs had better special effects quality.  Not that was saying much.

The 13 year old me would have loved this movie because I would have looked past all of the poor designs and just enjoyed the ride that this move tried to give, which as a 13 year old I would have liked. The story was a basic revenge and save the pretty girl plot which I like those.  And while the Underworld movies could be considered a little jump scary for young kids, this movie was all action and no scares what so ever, which again the teenage me would have liked.

All of the actors I have mentioned did an admirable job with what was given to them. I have been a big fan of Aaron Eckhart even before his Dark Knight appearance.  Bill Nighy does a great bad guy.  I didn’t mention one of the gargoyles, Gideon, was played by Jai Courtney (Divergent,) and I don’t know what to think because there was nothing exciting about his performance but I didn’t think it was horrible.  This is the first movie I have seen him in and I know that I will get to watch him this summer when Suicide Squad comes out.  I only mention it because I believe the guys at Screen Junkies are not a fan because of their Honest Trailer of Divergent: Insurgent.  It’s quite humorous and I will link it here.

I really can’t recommend this movie for anyone over the age of 15 unless you have created a very sheltered home, and then you can bump it up to 18.  But while I don’t have a problem with the film its hard for me to tell anyone to watch it.  I won’t buy it but as long as I get to watch it for free with my Amazon prime account, I may let it roll on TV while clean or play a video game, if there aren’t any sports on, and I’m tired of my other movies, and TV shows…maybe.

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unfriendedI stumbled across this film late at night on the HBO network and since I didn’t have anything else to do because I was in a hotel room on a work trip I decided to watch it. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I wasn’t really paying attention to what it was about when it was in the theaters.  So I start to watch the movie and as it goes I begin to think things like ok…huh…that’s different…well…sure I guess that works like that.  The vantage point of this film is fascinating and at the same time agonizing and it wasn’t all that scary but I will give it an A for some originality but it’s not really very good.

Unfriended is a story about a young woman named Blaire , played by Shelly Hennig (Ouija,) and her four friends that are either online through Skype or summoned online on the one year anniversary of the suicide of their friend Laura, who is played in YouTube video by Heather Sossaman (Bunch of TV Guest appearances.)  Laura committed suicide after a video of her surfaces on YouTube called “Laura Barnes kill yourself,” that showed Laura at a party and losing control of her bodily functions while passed out drunk.  The five friends discover that a mysterious person has summoned them all online using Laura’s old Skype account and things begin to turn sinister as the person uses the account forces the five to answer questions online or be murdered.

The reason why I feel this movie is original and fascinating as well as agonizing and at some points aggravating is that the entire movie is shot in the first person as if you were Blaire sitting in front of your computer monitor on Skype and every other social media outlet.  At no point does the film pan out or show wide shots or anything else.  You are witness drama, death, and mayhem all as if you are skyping with your friends.  I thought this was an interesting idea for a horror film or any film really and it sort of works in that it does really look like you are on skype the entire time.  So kudos for making a unique film and making it work.  This film reminds me of the film The Blair Witch Project in that it is really the first film that was shot in a “found footage,” hand held camera style.  To my knowledge this the first major film shot like this.

However, because the film was shot like this the beginning of the film was incredibly boring.  I would say that the beginning would be ok since we get to see Blaire and her boyfriend Mitch, played by Moses Storm (more TV guest appearances,) almost have online sex which would be cool except Blaire looks like she is 16 and that’s just creepy for anyone over 18 to be into that, it wasn’t ok.  Anyway, the build up to the “scary” stuff is slow with a bunch of kids trying to figure out who is using Laura’s Skype and who is emailing them in Laura’s email etc., etc.  The build is slow because we are staring at a computer monitor for 30+ minutes.  It doesn’t become mildly interesting until another kid, who was invited after the chat started, ends up dead and the kids get freaked out.  Up to that point the movie goes from fascinating to boring really quickly.

I also question the character development for the film in that there is no one to root for out of any of the characters except for Laura’s unseen ghost.  All five of these friends of Laura are the main cause or had a hand in posting the video of her at the party which caused her to commit suicide.  I can’t remember but one of them may even be responsible for the video of her suicide being online.  The most exciting part of the film is when the ghost is making them all play the game “Never have I ever” and here you find out that all of them are basically fucking each other over figuratively and literally.  We even discover through this game and other things that our sweet Blaire not only cheated on Mitch with his best friend Adam, played by Will Peltz (Paranoia,) Twice, but she was heavily involved in the YouTube video of Laura.  And she is a child hood friend of her.  All of these people disserve their comeuppance.  So how good can a movie be when you are cheering on the ghost?  I mean sure some of us cheer on Freddy, or Jason, or Michael Myers, but there is history and their victims of over the top stupidity.  These five kids are just mean, and cruel.  I suppose that is the point of the film, don’t bully or the ghost of the bullied person may come back to not only haunt you but possess you and kill you in a way will make it look like suicide, but the delivery was not there for me.

As I sum up I will say that the film stars a whole bunch of young actors and actresses that are either in small films, have guest appearances on regular TV shows, or daytime Soap Opera, and its cool that they all got to star in a major motion picture.  And maybe that is the reason why you should watch the film because we know that Kevin Bacon and Jennifer Aniston got their starts in horror films so why not one or two of these kids get their large career started with this film.  It’s not horrible and the view point is original but it is weak on the delivery.

 

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exodus                Oh boy, religious epic films. I don’t know why they make them that much anymore.  I get it when it was the 1950’s and 1960’s when most of America was still afraid of going to hell.  Since most of America now believes God is about as believable and real as is The Simpson’s hometown of Springfield, religious epics are kind of pointless to make.  But every now and then Hollywood will kick out a religious film that has some action and is epic like with some drama.  This all means that these movies can be fun, huge and sometimes slow and that is the best way to describe Exodus.

Moses, played by Christian Bale (The Dark Knight,) discovers that while he believed he was Egyptian and had become a high advisor to Egyptian Prince Ramses, played by Joel Edgerton (Smokin’ Aces,) he is actually of Hebrew decent.  When this is discovered Ramses sends Moses into exile as opposed him to killing him and so Moses heads across the desert.  Over time he finds a wife and gets married and has children but seems lost.  While out on the farm he ends up talking to God and is told that he needs to save his people and take them to the Promised Land.

As I was watching this film I was asking myself, Why am I watching this?  Yet I watched all the way from beginning to end.  There was something compelling about the story even though I knew the basic concept of what was going to happen and the film itself was kind of ho hum. Yet Ridley Scott had my pulled in and I guess it has to be because of him that I was sucked in.  He is the master of the epic after all with films like Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, and Kingdom of Heaven.  He can do the epic and make it from anything to awesome to at least watchable.  So that has to be the reason why I watched it.

One thing that was very interesting was the decision to have God represented as a child in the movie.  I mean here is the guy (or girl if you wish,) that unleashed 8 plagues on the Kingdom of Egypt.  Not just the ordinary plagues of like rivers turned to blood, toads, boils et al.  But the mother of all plagues killing all the children of the families that didn’t have lamb’s blood on their door and I can’t remember the reason why the Hebrews had to perform this task but there it is anyway.  So here is the bringer of death and the representation is in 6 year old form.  Maybe it’s more terrifying I don’t know but it kept me in the film.

Christian Bale, or as he will forever be known to me as Batman, was probably another reason why I watched the movie.  My man crush on his Caped Crusader performance aside he has a wide range of skills so this was entertaining to watch him in this role.  I’m guessing if this film was made ten years ago this would have been Russell Crowes role.  But now he is Noah and not Moses.  At least in this film he is a younger man and I have always seen pictures and movies with Charlton Heston in them, as an old guy with shaggy gray hair.  So that was another change that made the film interesting.

I read that it did lousy at the box office and I believe it just because I don’t see a huge clientele for it.  It reminded me of his other old world epic, Kingdom of Heaven, it is ok to see once if you like history or are religious but not one that will cause you to sit down for 3 hours and watch it.  Unless there is a snow storm and you have no other options.  But it’s not the worst movie out there.

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the judge              One of the many reasons I am happy for the 2007 film Iron Man is because it gave us Robert Downey Jr. back. Back from the horrid waste land of young Hollywood stars and drugs and alcohol.  He is the reason why I saw this film and I am happy I did.  While it was tough to watch on an emotional level I thought the film was entertaining for a court room drama with some family drama thrown in.

Robert Downey Jr (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) stars as Hank Palmer, a very successful but morally questionable defense attorney in Chicago.  While in court he receives a voicemail telling him that his mother passed away and he heads home to a small town in Indiana.  While home he is reintroduced to his estranged family who he hasn’t seen since left after high school graduation and headed to college.  The main reason for the estrangement is because of his relationship with his father Joseph Palmer, played by Robert Duvall (Kicking & Screaming,) who has been a Judge for 40 years.  The pair are estranged because of the rebellious behavior of Hank and the way he was disciplined by his father both in and out of court.  The day after the funeral Hank and his father again get into a fight and Hank leaves vowing to never come back.  However, his brother calls him back home because it appears that during the night while out driving to the store, the judge may have hit someone and killed them.  This someone happens to be a convicted murderer sentenced to jail by Judge Palmer.

So I had said earlier that this was tough to watch for me and that’s because that while I had nowhere near the relationship with my father that Hank and the Judge had, I was at one point estranged from him as well.  Throw in that my father passed away in the spring of 2014 and at times this film was just a little too personal for me which is one reason why I liked this film so much.  The dynamic between Duvall and Downey Jr is excellent and at time the dislike and disappointment are palatable between the two.  Robert Duvall was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in this film.  The script was excellent at constantly giving Duvall’s Judge Palmer character subtle digs to voice about the immaturity and lack of faith and belief that his son is an honest lawyer.  The best scene that examines this dynamic is one of the climatic scenes in the movie when Hank, who is representing his father, is asking questions to his father about why he was so lenient on the man who would eventually be sent away from murder and his the Judge’s explanation was perfectly written and perfectly delivered.

While that scene is great for showing the family dynamic between father and son, it would seem to be really damning in the testimony against the father.  I know we are developing a story with a beginning and an ending but the trial, which is an important part of the film, would seem to suffer with this exposition at the end of the trial.

I loved what Robert Downey Jr. did in this role but to be honest with a slight variation, Hank Palmer is basically a non –comic book Tony Stark.  Junior is very good at the arrogant, sarcastic, funny, and narcissistic lead character.  The writing again was wonderful with his character not only with his interactions with the Judge but as well as his brothers Glen, played by Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World,) and Dale, played by Jeremy Strong (The Big Short,) as well as his high school sweetheart Samantha, played by Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring.)  The sarcasm of Hank’s character is directed at his older brother Glen who suffered from Hank’s immaturity in high school in a life changing way while Hank’s kindness and support and love is shown to his younger brother Dale who has a mental disability of some kind and Hank is very protective of him.  The one person who suffers the good and the bad from Hank is Samantha.  All around I enjoyed his interactions with the three of them.

There were two things that bothered me in the movie and they were both in the last 15 minutes of the film.  The first was the way the defense attorney handled the verdict.  Dwight Dickham, played by Billy Bob Thornton (Friday Night Lights,) is a rival of Hank because he lost a case to him earlier and made it very clear to Hank that while this isn’t personal he has every intention of making sure that the Judge pays for his crime.  Well when the verdict is announced and Dickham starts to leave the court and sees a grieving Hank he almost seems sad and regretful.  That seems to go against the entire context of the character up to that point of the film.

The second problem I had was that the movie had three endings and I do not know why it needed that many.  There were two times where the story could have ended and would have been fulfilling to the story and the characters involved.  I get that the final time and the ending did set up the idea of Hank taking over for his father in the future but if this was a different time I believe the ending would have been earlier.

That being said I really, really enjoyed this film.  I thought it was wonderful from beginning to end and I was mildly surprised that it only received one Academy Award nomination.  Although considering what they are nominating now a days maybe I shouldn’t be.

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Fury

I find this to be a wonderful movie. Then again I enjoy war movies so it kind of follows that I would enjoy this film.  I enjoy them if they are realistic, patriotic, and provide emotional engagement.  For me this movie checks all those boxes but does so in an atypical way.  I recommend this film if you enjoy action films of the military variety.

Sargent Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, played by Brad Pitt (World War Z,) commands a 5 man Sherman Tank crew, with the tank nicknamed Fury,  fighting in Germany towards the end of World War II.  He is in a constant struggle to try and not lose himself in the barbarism and brutality of the war while keeping his men alive.  He and his men are given a deadly mission behind enemy lines that will leave them out manned and out gunned and Wardaddy has to keep his men together for the fight.

So when I talk about realism in war movies I have to first say that no movie will ever come close to war.  I have friends and family that have been in actual battles in war so there is no comparison.  But I have been told that the opening battle scene in the 1998 film Saving Private Ryan is as close as you can get.  Fury has much the same style violence that does Saving Private Ryan.  What this movie does is introduce us to combat from the view of the guys inside the tank. The movie shows that while you are safer than the Infantry, gruesome things can happen while in a tank.  Here is a scene showing some of the action in the movie.

Another aspect of realism that this movie is very successful at is the concept that war makes good men do evil things.  I had a grandfather who fought in the war and my ex-wife’s grandfather did as well and neither one of them talked about the war.  In the extra features of the Blu-Ray the director had a relative in the war and he didn’t talk about it and the director, who also wrote the film, David Ayer wanted to find out why and this movie was the result.

From the opening scene this conflict is apparent as Wardaddy kills a German Officer brutally, takes a step back, stops and looks down almost as if he wasn’t the one who did it, and then gets back into his tank and starts barking orders to his men.  Wardaddy is constantly used as the picture of this conflict.  Often he is in the same scene with Norman, played by Logan Lerman (Noah,) giving this lesson.  Norman gets to see both the evil and the good of Wardaddy.  Right after the first battle in the scene linked above, Wardaddy drags Norman out of the tank and brings him to where the infantry have captured a sole surviving German soldier begging for his life.  Wardaddy wants Norman to shoot the soldier execution style because that is what they were sent here to do.  Norman refuses so Wardaddy drags him to the ground, puts the gun in Norman’s hand, and with his hand, shoots the soldier in the back.

However, I did night like two scenes, one associated with the one above, that emphasizes the brutality of war.  The first one actually involves Wardaddy and Norman again after their unit has taken over a small town and the both of them find two German ladies in an apartment above the town square.  Here we see Wardaddy’s soft side as he gives the ladies some food to cook as well as cigarettes to either smoke or trade for other goods.  Here Wardaddy, for lack of a better word, buries the War and tries to have a few moments of normalcy.  He gets hot water and cleans up and Norman even gets to have sex, by a willing German woman, mind you, and all four sit down to have a meal.  Suddenly the remaining members of Wardaddy’s tank unit come walking into the house with the purpose, it seems, to show the ugly American.  Particularly ugly is Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis, played by Jon Bernthal (TV’s The Walking Dead.)  Coon-Ass comes walking in and can immediately tell, somehow, that Norman and the younger German girl had sex, so he immediately stats saying horrible things to the German girl about how all soldiers share everything.  While Wardaddy puts an end to that harassment, Coon-Ass continues to be rude and disgusting to the girl.  While this is going on, Bible, played by Shia LaBeouf (Transformers,) and Gordo, played by Michal Pena (Ant-Man,) proceeds to ask Wardaddy why they weren’t invited to this little moment of piece.  Then they spend the next few moments showing why Wardaddy didn’t by explaining what they have seen in the horrors of war over the dinner table.

I felt that this entire scene was just over the top.  To me the only reason to show this scene is to show that we Americans can be ugly and brutal because of war as well.  But those three guys have been showing it the entire time with their treatment of Norman as well as their actions in the previous battles.  For me those three went from being sympathetic tragic heroes to thugs who I care less about.

The other scene that bothers me a little is one of the final scenes in the film.  Without giving up too much, the boys with their tank and three others are sent to a crossroads to hold it against an unknown number of troops.  Only Fury makes it to the crossroads, towards the end of the battle Norman is underneath the tank trying to dig in and hide (you can guess what has happened to the rest of the crew,) because it turns out that they were fighting against a group of German SS soldiers.   Wardaddy has been going out of his way the entire film to tell Norman how evil these men are and shooting them all on site.  Don’t worry SS soldiers were almost all evil and deserved these fates.  Anyway, Norman is busy digging in when one of these SS soldiers flashes a flash light under the tank and sees Norman.  Now the whole movie has been a build up to how evil they have been and unforgiving these soldiers are trained to be.  However, the SS soldier pauses, turns off his light, and then walks away.  So now we have two conflicting scenes at the beginning and the end of the movie, the ugly Americans shooting a captured German soldier in the back, and an SS soldier with a conscious, who decides not to shoot or capture an American soldier who helped kill several of his fellow fanatical SS soldiers in a fire fight.  Again the purpose of this scene seems to want to show Americans are just as evil if not more evil then the SS.  Mind you the SS soldiers were some of the most fanatical in all of the German Army and many of them were guards at the many Concentration Camps in Europe.  Why do we need to show that an SS soldier has compassion?  Chances are, especially after a life or death fire fight, they wouldn’t.

All of this being said I still enjoyed the movie a lot and have added it to my movie collection. If you like war movies then you will like it too.  The realism makes it a somber film and I don’t agree with the need to show the ugly American so much, but it is a patriotic film and Lord knows we should have a movie that makes us feel good about being American, ugly or not.

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