Maybe Spike Lee should have used a five-part mini-series to tell the story of “Da 5 Bloods.”
This film, released recently on Netflix, is about four veterans who return to Vietnam decades after they fought in the war. The men who go to the country include Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis) and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.).
They journeyed to the country for two primary reasons. One is to return to the place where their friend and fellow soldier Norman (Chadwick Boseman) died to collect his remains and bring them back to the States. The other reason is to collect gold they found and buried there when they were soldiers. Joining them on this journey is Paul’s estranged son David (Jonathan Majors).
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Da 5 Bloods’ falters due to storytelling”
If you want to talk about turning point battles in American history, Midway is easily one of the most important. The results allowed the United States to bounce back at a critical time in the Pacific Theater, considering what happened months earlier in Hawaii.
The portrayal of the battle here, though, leaves a bit to be desired.
The film is the second major portrayal of the battle. In fact, it shares the same name, too, as the year 1976 also saw a movie titled “Midway.” Like that picture, the 2019 version, directed and produced by Roland Emmerich, begins before the battle.
Pearl Harbor is attacked and in the ensuing months, officials in Washington and the Pacific are trying to organize a response as sailors and airmen are anxious to fight back. The film follows key figures in the lead up to Midway as they try to outwit the Japanese military, such as Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Lt. Edwin Layton who worked intelligence.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Midway’ is stuck in mediocrity”
Collaborations between Director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg have been OK. But this latest one… Oof.
In their new team-up, Mark Wahlberg plays James Silva, the head of a special operations unit under the leadership of the CIA. The story picks up with the team at United States embassy in a country that is never specified throughout this feature. The audience soon learns that the unit is there because there is an informant named Li Noor who has a computer drive with the location of nuclear weapon materials.
That informant, played by Iko Uwais, wants something in return, though: asylum in the United States. As a result, the team take the informant on a 22 mile trip to an airfield to get him out of the country and reveal where the materials may be. However, Noor is a target in the country, making the journey dangerous for the CIA team.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Mile 22’ is an awful action picture to end the summer”
A man who seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders at one point is explored in “Darkest Hour.”
The movie takes place in 1940 with the German military invading countries and pushing back the forces of Great Britain and France. With new leadership needed, Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) is brought in as a Prime Minister who is ready and willing to defend the island nation.
As Churchill enters office, he faces a massive problem with German forces surrounding the British at Dunkirk. Meanwhile, at home, Churchill has to deal with politicians including Viscount Halifax (Stephen Dillane) and Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) pushing back against the new prime minister’s plan for war and opting to negotiate with Adolf Hitler.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Oldman’s Performance Energizes The Historical Drama In “Darkest Hour””
Three actors with plenty of great performances under their belt come together for a road movie that’s not perfect, but definitely enjoyable in “Last Flag Flying.”
The story is told from the perspective of Larry ‘Doc’ Shepherd (Steve Carell), a former member of the U.S. Navy whose son is killed while serving as a Marine in Iraq. Taking place in 2003, early in the Iraq War, Doc is traveling to meet with military officials to see his son’s casket and make burial arrangements.
On the way there, though, Doc decides to reunite with his friends from the Vietnam War for support. Those two friends include a bar owner named Sal (Bryan Cranston) and the Rev. Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne). Together the three eventually meet with officials and make an arrangement to bury Doc’s son in his hometown in New Hampshire, rather than at Arlington Cemetery.
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Like Director Christopher Nolan’s other films, “Dunkirk” is a well crafted film. However, it’s not on the same level of his other great pictures.
As the title implies, “Dunkirk” is about the evacuation of British forces in early World War II after Germany invades France. The film opens with British troops preparing to evacuate across the English Channel before the German military has a chance to reach them. As this is taking place, the film also gives its focus to members of the Royal Air Force who did battle with the Luftwaffe to help the escape as well as a group of citizens who assisted in the rescue of soldiers from the battle field with their private vessel.
The picture develops by showing the hardships of the soldiers who were constantly under threat of the Luftwaffe while also displaying the bravery of citizens who helped the soldiers with their own ships.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Dunkirk’ Is Technically Marvelous, But Lacking In Other Areas”
The “Planet of the Apes” franchise that was resurrected in 2011 concludes in marvelous fashion with “War for the Planet of the Apes.” This recent installment isn’t just one of the best movies of this summer, but one of the best films of the entire year so far.
The film’s setting is 15 years after the initial incident where the leader Caesar led a group of intelligent apes away from San Francisco to create their own home. Through a series of events since then, especially those that took place in the 2014 picture, the apes are now in a battle for survival with the remnants of human military personnel.
The film picks up with Caesar (Andy Serkis) extending the olive branch to the military, with the hope that peace can be reached. However, it’s soon learned by Caesar that it’s impossible after the military, led by a man simply known as Colonel (Woody Harrelson), strikes with a devastating attack on the apes’ home. As a result Caesar goes on a quest for revenge while also trying to ensure his peoples’ survival.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Latest ‘Apes’ Film Is A Compelling Piece Of Cinema Worth Seeing”
“Hacksaw Ridge,” a movie that tells the story of a conscientious objector during World War II. The character, Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) refuses to use a firearm, regardless of the situation. “Ridge” is a powerful war drama that offers a look into a man’s conviction. Even under immense pressure, Doss never uses a firearm and Garfield sells this aspect very well.
What’s built in the first half pays off in the second. Doss’ hard-lined refusal to use a firearm, but ever present desire to serve his country in any way he can, is put to the test in immense ways. The wartime sequences of the film are especially intense, showing both the horrors of war and Doss’ continued resolve.
John Erick Dowdle
“No Escape” stars Owen Wilson who plays a father relocating his family to an undisclosed county in Asia for a new career opportunity. Upon arrival, Wilson’s character Jack, his wife Annie (Bell) and their two daughters make their way to a hotel and, despite some reservations, settle in to their new home.
The peace of the first few moments with the family is quickly shattered, though, as a revolution begins and rebels with anti-western motives start attacking the hotel. The film then follows Jack and his family’s attempt to get away from the hostile city and find safety.
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After a few stumbles like “Jersey Boys” and “Hereafter,” Clint Eastwood has once again found his directing groove with “American Sniper.”
Real life Navy SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle’s life is explored in the film, which mainly focuses on Kyle’s four tours of service in the military during the Iraq War. While the movie gives a full look at what Kyle experiences in battle, there is also a view of how it affects him when he goes home.
The movie transitions back and forth between Kyle’s life overseas and how it affects him when he returns to his family in the states and has to deal with post traumatic stress disorder.
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