Tag Archives: zero dark thirty

Top 10: Military Operations Hollywood Got Right

Hollywood certainly has a long history of glamorizing or fabricating military history, but WatchMojo has put together a list of the 10 most accurate military operations Hollywood has depicted.  Though WM doesn’t say so in their piece, I think they’re referring to the operational parts of these films (as there are parts outside of the ops in this films that are fictionalized).  It’s a fantastic idea for a list, and I was extremely interested to see what did and didn’t make the accuracy cut.  I have a tremendous respect for the men and women who put on a uniform and serve those who don’t, and I think their stories should be portrayed with as much attention to detail as any stories told.  In thanking them for their service, it’s the very least (the VERY least we can do).  One of the most memorable theater-going experiences of my life was seeing Saving Private Ryan at a small theater in WV, and scattered throughout the crowd were elderly men in full uniform.  Their presence there gave what we saw onscreen so much more weight, and I’ll never forget their faces afterward.Black Hawk Down

Jessica Chastain’s 10 Best Movies

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain is one of the most underutilized leading ladies in Hollywood.  I’m not sure why Chastain doesn’t get more vehicles, but when she does, she’s absolutely riveting.  She’s creating strong, complex characters in films like Molly’s Game, Zero Dark Thirty, and Miss Sloane.  She’s also been a critical part of some of the best ensembles in recent memory in The Martian, The Help, and Interstellar.  Chastain excels at creating layered characters that exude strength and vitality and her presence on the screen is the equal to any actress of her generation, so hopefully more quality opportunities will come her way as her career continues to progress. Continue reading Jessica Chastain’s 10 Best Movies

My Favorite Scene: Zero Dark Thirty (2012) “Bring Me People To Kill!”

After Kathryn Bigelow gets Detroit out this week, following The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, the woman really needs to mellow out and make a movie about animated ducks or something.  She is possibly the most INTENSE director about unflinchingly taking on controversial, contemporary issues working today, and my first sentence was flippant, because we need someone doing that.  Hollywood doesn’t really finance many message pictures anymore, any issue pictures, and that’s what Bigelow brings to the table.

Zero Dark Thirty is a controversial movie for a lot of reasons, not the least of which the graphic torture depicted (which happened), but also because it was made so soon after the killing of Osama bin Laden.  The “War of Terror” is so frustrating because it isn’t traditional warfare.  Our enemies don’t wear uniforms, adhere to a country, or even a single doctrine.  It’s more a war against a sick madness and how do you fight that?  The hunt for bin Laden was so important to Americans because he was the face.  He was the uniform, the symbol, the figurehead.  There are a lot of powerful scenes in the film but I like this meeting at the beginning with Mark Strong (tremendously underrated actor) painting the picture of frustration of the American people that this man had eluded the largest manhunt in history for a decade and sets the stage for everything to come.

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty

Detroit Trailer #2 (2017) “I Need You to Survive the Night”

A police raid in Detroit in 1967 results in one of the largest and most intense riots in United States history, leading to the federalization of the Michigan National Guard and the involvement of two Airborne Divisons of the United States Army.

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, you’d think director Kathryn Bigelow would want to make a comedy or a film about ducks, but instead it looks like she’s shining a light on another controversial subject.  That’s not a criticism.  Hollywood doesn’t take risks with films that might offend or challenge people very often.  After tackling the Second Gulf War and the hunt for Osama bin-Laden, Bigelow now highlights a forgotten chapter from one of America’s darkest periods.  The phrase “we live in racially charged times” could be applied to literally any decade of American history, but the 1960s were probably the most frightening and volatile.  Bigelow highlights the 1967 race riots in Detroit, and the film will vie with The Dark Tower for primacy during the first weekend in August.  Starring John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Will Poulter, and Algee Smith, Detroit opens in theaters August 4, 2017.
Theatrical Poster for Detroit

Killing Time: September 11, 2014 – 9/11 in Movies and TV

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Each generation seems to have a defining historical moment that changes them forever. The Great Depression, World War II, the Kennedy Assassination and Vietnam, Watergate and then….what? The kids born post-Watergate were defined more by the changing technological world than by tragic historic events. The closest thing we had to a, “Where were you when…?” moment was the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger or the verdict in the OJ trial. That changed thirteen years ago today. The events of 9/11 have altered the hearts, minds and lives of everyone. There’s a clear demarcation line between the way things were before 9/11 and how they’ve become post. Continue reading Killing Time: September 11, 2014 – 9/11 in Movies and TV