The Great White Hype
Directed by: Reginald Hudlin.
Written by: Tony Hendra (screenplay), Ron Shelton (screenplay).
Actors: Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Berg, Cheech Marin, Jamie Foxx, Damon Wayans.
Released: 1996.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 90 min.
Comedy, Sports.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
The boxing promoter Rev. Sultan (Jackson) searches for a new opponent for the champ James “the Grim Reaper” Roper (Wayans). He searches and finds the only man, Terry Conklin (Berg), who have beaten the champ, but that was in amateur boxing. Conklin is not a boxer anymore, but plays in a rock band. He convinces him to start training. Sultan sees great market potential in this new fight since it is a black man versus a white man. Then the hyping of this new opponent can begin.

Personal opinions
This movie is categorized as comedy, but it is not a “boing, you got hit in the head, haha” kind of movie. Everything in the movie is comedy in the sense of irony and sarcasm towards how today’s sports is driven by money and people behind the scenes. If you think it is difficult to understand and be entertained by irony and sarcasm it may be difficult to understand this movie.

Good
It is a different movie from what Hollywood usually produces on the movie assembly line, and that is what makes it interesting to watch. Samuel L. Jackson is always funny to watch with his elaborate character.

Bad
Sometimes there is too little progress in the movie and it get a bit boring.

Bottom Line
It’s a different movie that has a lot of funny characters in it. The humor is twisted irony and not always the out bursting haha kind, but the silent grin a bit. For example the terrible overweight champ. It is watchable if you understand irony.
Rating: 6/10 (where 10 is the best).

After the Sunset
Directed by: Brett Ratner.
Written by: Paul Zbyszewski (story, screenplay), Craig Rosenberg (screenplay).
Actors: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson.
Released: 2004.
MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Length: 97 min.
Crime, Comedy, Romance.

Brief outline:
Two master thieves Max and Lola (Brosnan and Hayek) retires to an exotic Caribbean island after their final successful score. Then a cruise ship comes to this island, and on board there is a big diamond on display. They are now retired and will not try to steal it. Their nemesis an FBI Agent Stan P. Lloyd (Harrelson) are not convinced and tries to catch them red handed.

Personal opinions
This is the sort of movie that you watch a Sunday afternoon when it is raining and you got nothing else to do, it do not offer any out of the ordinary in acting or story wise.

Good
Possible spoiler: the best thing was the original ending, but if you see the tagline to this movie you may figure out what it is about. I did not know this tagline and it came as a bit of a surprise that lifted the movie a bit. There are the occasional funny one liner and humorous scenes.

Bad
The story is a bit thin, and you feel that you have seen this plot before in crime movies; the law that tries to catch thief. The movie lacks the intensity that a crime movie needs, that something that nails to your chair. The movie also tries to play on technology, Brosnan plays the master thief that has all these gadgets that he can use like driving a car with the cell-phone, but it is the same thing he did in James Bond.

Bottom Line
It’s a lightweight movie, it could be that the girls like it since it is with Brosnan and that it is adorable to watch the romance with him and Hayack.
Rating: 4/10 (where 10 is the best).

Der Untergang (The Downfall)
Directed by: Olivier Hirschbiegel.
Written by: Bernd Eichinger, based on “Inside Hitler’s Bunker” by Joachim C. Fest and “Bis zur letzten Stunde” by Traudl Junge and Melissa Müller.
Actors: Bruno Ganz, Corinna Harfouch, Juliane Köhler, Ulrich Matthes, Alexandra Maria Lara.
Released: 2004.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 156 min.
War, Drama.

Brief outline:
The movie is based on the historical event about Adolf Hitler’s (Bruno Ganz) final days in the bunker. The movie is true to history in the way it is strongly based on the accounts from Hitler’s secretary, Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara). The movie follows her as she gets picked as the secretary and to the end of Hitler’s life and the capitulation of the Nazis.

Personal opinions
This is a war movie from the perspective of the state leader; other war movies are often based on the men that have to fight in the war. The movie really portrays the insanity in the bunker good.

Good
Hitler is portrayed as really demented and out of touch with reality. He thinks that Berlin will be liberated from the Russian at any minute when his divisions retaliate when in reality those forces have been severely defeated. But it is not just Hitler that is out of touch with reality, the rest of the officers and the women try to ignore the reality and party the days away. Some of the officers tries to escape out of Berlin, and those left are afraid to disobey Hitler’s orders even how crazy they may seems. The movie gets out a lot of the grim sides of war and how sadistic these people were.

Bad
It may be a bit long. This is such a good movie that it justifies it.

Bottom Line
It is a really disturbing movie about one of the big dictators. It is highly watchable.
Rating: 8/10 (where 10 is the best).

Constantine
Directed by: Francis Lawrence.
Written by: Jamie Delano (comic book Hellblazer), Garth Ennis (comic book Hellblazer), Kevin Brodbin (story), Kevin Brodbin (screenplay) and Frank A. Cappello (screenplay).
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Peter Stormare.
Released: 2005.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 121 min.
Fantasy, Thriller.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
John Constantine (Reeves) is a chain smoking exorcist. He is stuck between heaven and hell chasing demons. He meets the female police detective Angela (Weisz) who is trying to figure out the suicide of her twin sister. Constantie is slowly dying from lung cancer and he is trying all he can to break the promise of going to hell by doing good deeds.

Personal opinions
The fun thing about this movie is that you get to see Reeves playing a pale broken down man. Even though he has lung cancer, he still smokes like there is no tomorrow, then he breaks down coughing. Other roles Reeves has been playing he is always the slick hot shot.

This movie is based on the comic, but I am not sure I like the comic to movie type of movies. It seems to become very unbelievable. There was a very high expectation for the movie, and that is probably the reason for feeling short changed.

Good
It is not all bad you get entertained in between. It is some entertaining fighting with the demons. The iron knuckle he uses with crosses on is just hillarious.

Bad
The computer graphics are a bit bad, the demons in hell seems very sterile. It is a lot of scorching going on, should not everybody be black of sot if there was a lot of burning going on.

There was also a little segment after the credits, not many are going to see that.

It is demons that are the bad guys in this movie, but the whole movie seems very close to zombie movies.

Bottom Line
If you like movies with the battle of good and evil you should see it. If Reeves is your hero you should see it. It is possible that the fans of the comic will love it or hate it. It could be that the tubegator do not “get” the movie.
Rating: 5/10 (where 10 is the best).

We Were Soldiers
Directed by: Randall Wallace.
Written by: Harold G. Moore, Joseph L. Galloway.
Actors: Mel Gibson and others.
Released: 2002.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 138 min.
War.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
In Vietnam in the valley that is going to be known as he Valley of Death Lt. Colonel Hal Moore (Gibson) and 400 soldiers are surrounded by 4.000 North Vietnamese soldiers. The movie is about the unfavorable battle that is ahead of the American soldiers.

Personal opinions
This movie is a tribute to the men that fought in the battle. With that as the starting point this movie can only show one side of the story. The nobility, their common acts of uncommon valor, and their loyalty to and love for the fellow soldier. It is based on the book by Lt. Col. Harold Moore (ret.) and journalist Joseph Galloway, “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young”, I have a hunch that the book is better than the movie.

Good
This is good as an action movie. You get a lot of crazy shooting and destruction.

Bad
It is a tribute to the heroes movie, and by that it does give a very one sided image. Nobody has any negative sides. All the soldiers are fearless killing machines; there is no fear to eat bullets. It just becomes too much, and it do not seem realistic. Some may think this is great stuff, but it more propaganda than a great portrayal of soldiers in combat.

Bottom Line
It is a good movie if you like over glorified heroism, and a hefty dose of shoot-em up war action. It is really good action. You have to be a patriotic American to be able to like this movie.
Rating: 5/10 (where 10 is the best).

Platoon
Directed by: Oliver Stone.
Written by: Oliver Stone.
Actors: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, Francesco Quinn, John C. McGinley, Richard Edson, Kevin Dillon, Reggie Johnson, Keith David, Johnny Depp.
Released: 1986.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 120 min.
War.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
The movie is the story of Chris Taylor’s (Sheen) tour of duty in Vietnam. It starts when he is fresh out of basic training and the other soldiers in the unit do no care much about him since he is a rookie. When they get to know that he is a college drop out that has volunteered because he do not think that it was “fair” for the underprivileged to do all the fighting, he gets known as a crusader. Two of the leaders of the platoon Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), a psychopathic veteran who gets high on combat, and Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe) are conflicting characters of good and evil, and this will also cause two fractions in the platoon.

Personal opinions
Platoon is highly inspired by Stone’s own tour of duty in Vietnam, and the main character Taylor is supposedly a portrait of him self.

Good
The fact that Stone has been in Nam gives him an advantage and he manages to give a lot of details on how it is to really be a grunt; the bugs, the heat, the fatigue, the fear. War offers a good deal of nastiness and Stone is not afraid of incorporating that into the film. The movie builds up to a horrific final battle. It is not a recruitment movie that wants to subliminal portrays war as something glorious. All the soldiers want from the moment they get to Nam is to go home alive.

Bad
Some critiques that the story is weak and that there is no plot. But it necessarily is not bad, it just makes it different.

Other
The film won four academy awards: best picture, best sound, best editing and best director for Stone.

Bottom Line
It is one of the heavy hitter war movies.
Rating: 8/10 (where 10 is the best).

Tears of the Sun
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua.
Written by: Alex Lasker (written by), Patrick Cirillo (written by).
Actors: Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, Tom Skerritt.
Released: 2003.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 121 min.
“War”, Drama.

Brief outline (all spoilers):
Lieutenant A.K. Waters (Willis) and his elite squadron of tactical specialists are sent on a rescue mission for Dr. Lena Kendricks (Bellucci), an American citizen by marriage. The democratic government of Nigeria has collapsed and the country is taken over by a ruthless military dictator. Dr. Kendricks refuses to leave the refugees she is caring for; and Lt. Waters is persuaded to take them along. The one rescue helicopter does not have the capacity to take all the refugees, and the refugees were never a planned to be rescued. Dr. Kendricks refuses to be rescued and leave the refugees to the faith of the government militia. Lt. Waters have to choose between following military orders or his feelings, and finally gets persuaded by the beautiful Dr Kendricks to escort the refugees to the border with the risk of their own lives. Can they possibly make it?

Good
Bruce Willis is always fun to watch. It is has some stunning scenes from the rain forest. The music is by the brilliant Hans Zimmer that has made music for a lot of other big hit movies like Black Hawk Down, The Last Samurai, King Arthur and The Thin Red Line.

Bad
This movie does not have the depth and passion that makes you get involved in the movie. It can not carry itself to the heights of the classic war movies. It may be very dramatic that a cold soldier have to suddenly has to make a decision with his hart and become a warm human, instead of being the “order following war machine” he is trained to be. It would for sure end his military career.

Bottom Line
It is ok to watch, but it is not a classic war movie.
Rating: 5/10 (where 10 is the best).

Full Metal Jacket
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick.
Written by: Gustav Hasford (novel), Stanley Kubrick (screenplay), Michael Herr (screenplay).
Actors: Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, R Lee Ermey, Ed O’Ross, Arliss Howard.
Released: 1987.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 116 min.
War.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
In the movie we follow Joker (Modine) as a USMC soldier. The movie consist of two parts the training and the deployment in Vietnam. During training we get to see how Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Ermey) drills them to become first class soldiers and killers. The second part begins in Vietnam, near Hue, at the time of the Tet Offensive.

Personal opinions
This is an excellent war movie. This movie comes out as very believable on how war probably is for a soldier. It does not try to make any elaborate filmatic schemes to glorify the fighting, but gives you as is; very cynical, brutal and uncivilized. It does not have any obvious political agenda to critique the Vietnam War or the reasons for the war. It is not a pro-war movie, even a lot of metal heads like this movie for the raw violence. It critic the war in the only way a movie can do, to portray the raw reality and that should be enough for the viewer to feel disgust against war.

Good
The movie is action packed and you never get bored. The movie also has a good share of dark humor when the Drill Sergeant Hartman gives the rotten soldiers a mouthful on the training. Hartman is really entertaining with all the name calling and rough talking. It also has a great share of uncensored war reality and shocking reality.

Bad
Some other people have complained about the acting, but it is not obvious.

Other
There are obvious parallels between Full Metal Jacket and Clockwork Orange. They deals with the transformation of men and craziness of the world. Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket has a parallel character in the Jail officer (Michael Bates). Joker (Modine) in Full Metal Jacket and Alexander ‘Alex’ de Large (Malcolm McDowell) in Clockwork Orange undergoes a transformation by a government institution in a ratter though way.

Bottom Line
This movie is really violent and unpleasant to watch, but it is a genuine war movie. It is one of the very best war movies.
Rating: 8/10 (where 10 is the best).

Apocalypse Now Redux
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola.
Written by: John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola, based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Actors: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms, Albert Hall, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, Harrison Ford, G.D. Spradlin.
“Released”: 2001.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 202 min.
War.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
Captain Benjamin Willard (Sheen) is an army officer who gets assigned a special mission. This mission involves crossing over into Cambodia, locate Colonel Kurtz (Brando) and then terminate him. Colonel Kurtz is a highly decorated officer, but he has gotten on the wrong side of the army by starting to conduct military operations without his superior’s approval. This loss of control of one of their high ranking officers is an embarrassment for the Army and he must be eliminated. In the movie we get to follow Capt. Willard on the mission up the river to Cambodia in a patrol boat. On the way up this river we get to experience insanity of the war and the people fighting in it.

Personal opinions
This (Redux) is a re-cut of the original Apocalypse Now epic war movie from Coppola. Coppola had his fair amount of things to deal with, first he had to fire Harvey Keitel who was playing Capt. Willard after less than two week, then the budget and time got out of control. The movie was budgeted to $10 million dollars, but ended up costing $30 million dollars.

(Possible spoiler)
The redux version includes two scenes that Coppola originally left out, the stranded Playboy models and the French colony. The Playboy scene is OK; it shows the lust for women in young men that have been only next to other men for a long time. The colonist scene is not so great, it is weird. You get out of the war rhythm, first you get the feeling of the men being in this hellish jungle war, and then suddenly they are sort of in the civilization again. Eating good food and being inside a house.

The movie most of all is a soul searching movie. It is about what is considered sane and insane combined with being in an insane war situation. (Possible spoiler) For example it is considered sane to when Killgore orders people to surf the waves while they are ordering aircrafts to strike the tree lines with Napalm. On the other side it is insane to setup military operations and kill the enemy inside the jungle without permission.

Good
The movie gives a more unbiased story of the Vietnam War. It is not a political statement in any direction and it is one of the most influential movies about the Vietnam War. It is more of insanity of men. The movie has a sort of voyage feeling of it, like the 2001: A Space Odyssey, sort of a war road movie.

Bad
Making a movie that is 202 min is a bit insane in itself. It is very long, you almost have to set aside a day to see it. The extra scenes in the Redux version contribute to this, and at least the Colonist scenes do not justify the extra time.

Bottom Line
It is not a typically shooter war movie, but it gives a good look into the insanity, madness and horrors of war.
Rating: 7/10 (where 10 is the best).

Saving Private Ryan
Directed by: Steven Spielberg.
Written by: Robert Rodat .
Actors: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel.
Released: 1999.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 170 min.
War.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
During WW2 the Army becomes aware that a mother of four sons will receive the death letters for her sons. It is decided that her last son alive shall be relieved of duty and sent home to his mother. We get to follow Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his team while they try to locate Private Ryan and escort him home.

Personal opinions
This movie is one of the more watchable movies from Steven Spielberg.

Good
The movie gives a very brutal and action packed portrait of the War. The fighting scenes are very breath taking and disturbing. The movie manages to give an emotional portrayal of the camaraderie that bonds soldiers in war together.

Bad
This movie is very critically acclaimed, but a thought in your head during all of the movie is that if the story is plausible. Even if it would be tragic for a mother to have all her sons killed, I do not know of any such policy to have soldiers withdrawn from the war and this was in WW2. It could possible be plausible that it could happen today, but this movie partials the 1940’s. In World War 2 the regard for the soldier’s life was much less prioritized and large causalities on civilians and military was expected in war. It was a different time and war was fought differently than today.

(Possible spoil)
The movie also idealizes the soldiers as heroes. A lot of soldiers get killed in the movie, but most of the main characters in the rescue team miraculously survives until the end, and then dies in a very heroic death. In the end this miraculous team is very low supplies of ammo, but still manages to single handed take out a company well equipped German company of 60 soldiers and two tanks. There is no limits what they can do, a lot of our hero friends die in the end, but that is only after they have been shot a couple of times.

Bottom Line
The movie gives value for you money when it comes to war action, but it has some shortcomings when it comes to the story.
Rating: 6/10 (where 10 is the best).

« Previous PageNext Page »