Browse Tag: grenades

Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge (2016): Mel Gibson

Ten years and loads of tabloid covers passed between Mel Gibson’s previous directorial output Apocalypto and Hacksaw Ridge. Hollywood essentially blacklisted him for a decade partly for his deeply anti-Semitic remarks following a DUI arrest in 2006.

Hollywood, like America, loves second chances, and Gibson got one with this story of a man who went to war without fighting.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A conscientious objector and Army medic holds onto personal beliefs and saves dozens of lives without firing a shot during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

Continue Reading

RECAP: Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down (2001): Ridley Scott

October 1993 was a bad time for Somalia. Beset by self-proclaimed president Mohamed Farrah Aidid and, at the time, the world’s worst famine, which he evoked, Somalia, and especially its capital Mogadishu, needed help.

The United Nations sent peacekeepers who were handcuffed to oppose Aidid. The United States sent many of its best soldiers. Those soldiers spent a long period searching for Aidid to no avail. Then, one afternoon, they learned of a meeting of two of Aidid’s top people in the city, and perhaps they could capture them.

That afternoon became one of the worst military results for the US in Africa.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: In a mission to capture a vicious warlord in war-ravaged Mogadishu, an American black hawk helicopter crashes, and American soldiers spend the worst night of their lives trying to save the men trapped inside it.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Aliens

Aliens (1986): James Cameron

Aliens picks up where Alien left off, at least for Ellen Ripley, who wakes up 57 years later. Aside from the main character and the location, about everything else differs between the two movies.

First off, the director. For some reason or another (scheduling, conflicting ideas, offended spouses?), producers chose not to bring Ridley Scott back to the franchise. They went with hot director of The Terminator James Cameron.

From Scott to Cameron, from horror to action, from small cast to large, from ship setting to terrestrial setting, Aliens is about as different from its predecessor as a sequel gets. Does it work?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Ellen Ripley returns to fight the aliens that nearly killed her on a distant world called LV 426, this time with plenty of firepower and a host of marines.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Predator

Predator (1987): John McTiernan

Arnold, the jungle, muscles, aliens, grenade launchers: it gets no better than Predator.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An alien hunter haunts the jungle tracking America’s finest soldiers. Continue Reading

RECAP: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman (2017): Patty Jenkins

It took 76 years, but in June of 2017 Wonder Woman, a canon comic book character, finally got a feature film to call her own.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Formed from clay, on an island of immortal women, Diana Prince leaves her world to fight the last war against Ares, the last god.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line (1998): Terrence Malick

Hollywood loves to double up its tentpole movie themes, and 1998 was no exception. The more celebrated, more revered, more watched, more beloved Saving Private Ryan is a classic of the war genre.

This is the other movie. The Thin Red Line was longer and more beautifully shot, its cast of characters was larger and its moralizing stronger. But was it better?

Malick left a 20-year gap between his 1978 Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line. About every male actor in Hollywood expressed interest in appearing in his return.

Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Sheen, Robert Redford, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mickey Rouke, Viggo Mortensen, Bill Pullman, and Gary Oldman: all these guys performed for the movie and DID NOT make the final cut.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: American soldiers discover, even on a beautiful island, that war sucks.  Continue Reading