August 2005

Born On The Fourth Of July
Directed by: Oliver Stone.
Written by: Ron Kovic, Oliver Stone.
Actors: Tom Cruise, Kyra Sedgwick, Raymond J Barry, Willem Dafoe, Jerry Levine, Frank Whaley, Caroline Kava.
Released: 1998.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 144 min.
Drama, War.

Brief outline (of the whole plot):
Ron Kovic is a young patriotic man, he decides to volunteer in the Marines. He gets sent to Vietnam where he has to fight a dirty war. He gets shot and ends up paralyzed from the mid chest and down. His return to the American society gets difficult where he gets no credit for his efforts in the war, and where he later joins the anti-war campaigns.

Personal opinions
This is the second movie from Oliver Stone about the Vietnam war, (1: Platton, 3: Heaven and Earth).

The whole movie is a long depressing story about what happens to Ron. Aside from the part that he wants to do something for his country, Ron has a quest to try to stand out. From his youth where he tries to be the best in sports, he seeks the military, inspired by the recruiters inspiring lecture on the Marine Corps seeking the best. When he gets paralyzed and comes home he does not get any recognition for his sacrifice in Vietnam. In the end it seems he gets the attention and recognition he has tried to get his whole life when he is to appear on TV.

The movie is sort of a personal journey for Ron, where he starts out as a young man who perhaps believe too much in the propaganda by the government, to going to the complete opposite side hating the government and the war and where he feels that he has destroyed his life for no reason.

The sacrifice for Ron by going to Vietnam is immense: his body, his entire life gets affected and any possibilities of having a normal happy life.

It sets the focus on the bad treatment of military veterans, after the military has no use for them.

Perhaps the movie tries to bite over too much.

Bottom Line
It is a political movie, it is a depressing move - it will not cheer you up.
Rating: 7/10 (where 10 is the best).

War of the Worlds
Directed by: Steven Spielberg.
Actors: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin, Miranda Otto.
Released: 2005.
MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Length: 116 min.
Sci-Fi Action Thriller.

Spoiler warning for this review.

Brief outline:
Ray Ferrier(Tom Cruise) is a working class man living in New Jersey. He is about to look after his kids, while his divorced wife is going to Boston with her new boyfriend. Soon the sky is filled with massive thunderstorms, a bit later huge machines comes up from the ground where the lightning struck. The machines start killing people, and a frightening escape from these things starts for Ray and his kids.

Personal opinions
This movie adds some original content to the genre of Alien invasion. This movie is one of the better movies from Steven Spielberg.

It is a bit fun to watch.

Bad. Warning Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers and spoilers
During the movie you look at the clock and think how the heck are they going to defeat these things. Steven Spielberg is such a mainstream Hollywood movie maker that he would not have allowed the human race to get wiped out. How the Aliens die in this movie is very bad. They come from a billion light-years away and then die of earth bacteria, which humans have become resistant to during the evolution.

One problem with Aliens in movies is that they look so similar to things found on earth, they have two hand like things, something that looks like a head and so on. An Alien would probably look like something never seen before, like some sort of slime, or like movable foil.

It has the classical Hollywood trap “let no bad things happen to the hero/main characters”, it is fine to show virtually everybody else getting zapped, except the main characters miraculously never gets hit, or manages to swim to shore after a giant alien space ship comes up from the water and starts to zapp everybody. Even Robbie survives after joining the military, and as we see in the military unit gets wiped out.

It fires up under all the terror paranoia, that America is about to be attacked any minute, and possible some sort of critique of America, George W. Bush and the imperialistic politics. The Aliens are the imperialists. Except it gets a bit screwed up that it is Americans that gets attacked (Americans are normally the imperialistic attacker).

It seems a be a ripped from Matrix 3 where these giant machines are coming to attack the defenseless humans, except there are Aliens inside the machines. There is also the similarity of growing humans for food.

Bottom Line
It is a nice sci-fi movie, it is has some original points that have not been seen before.
Rating: 7/10 (where 10 is the best).

Red Dawn
Directed by: John Milius.
Written by: John Milius, Kevin Reynolds.
Actors: Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen .
Released: 1984.
MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Length: 114 min.
Action, Drama.

uh red dawn by W Blix.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
It is a quiet day in rural America at the height of the cold war. Suddenly, paratroopers land outside the local high school. The communists are invading America! It’s World War III and this time it’s personal. All that stands in the way of the red danger is the gang from Dirty Dancing.

Personal opinions
This movie works on many levels. It’s a fun “what if” that hypothesizes about a non-nuclear WWIII. It’s an entertaining action flick. And it’s fun anti communist propaganda for the whole family.

You get to see some popular actors when they were young in an unusual film about a serious subject.

The movie could have used a bigger budget. And the complete lack of female nudity is of course appalling.

Bottom Line
A must-see cold war movie!

Rating: 8/10 (where 10 is the best).