Universal via Everett Collection
Lone Survivor isn't a film for the faint of heart. It's a film that beats you down and only lets you up for a few precious moments before the credits roll, but that emotional throttling is what helps make the film such a powerful experience.
Peter Berg's Lone Survivor tells the story of Operation Red Wings, primarily focusing on a group of four Navy SEALs who are sent to the mountains of Afganistan to capture or kill a member of the Taliban. The plan goes wrong, and the team has to fight for their lives to escape the enemy-infested area. The film does a marvelous job of ratcheting up the tension before collapsing into its main action sequence, one that is as thrilling as it is unsettling. The long sequence brings forth memories of the infamous D-Day opening of Saving Private Ryan, except this film's fire-fight stretches out the violence like a medieval torture device. The langourous scene is, at times, hard to sit through. Each moment slips by in coiled tension. It's undoubtedly uncomfortable, and the film makes a point to never make the violence fun or enticing. The action isn't consequence-free, and every bullet fired carries weight, making the scenes brutal and unrelenting because of it. The film takes on the aura of a horror movie that wants you to feel every second that ticks by, and director Berg makes sure that a pressing hopelessness starts to weigh on the viewer just as it does on the soldiers.
Mark Wahlberg is plenty capable as Marcus Lutrell, a member of the SEAL unit that is sent on the mission. The supporting cast plays its parts admirably by believably infusing a diverse set of personalities and values into the soldiers, while still keeping them in tune with the same military culture that governs much of their thoughts and actions. There's a great scene where a difficult decision has to be made, and the viewer gets to see the different directions to which some of the character's moral compasses are tuned. Sometimes the right thing can mean different things to different people when the risk of death is on the table. The real standout in the cast is Ben Foster, whose SO2 Matthew Alexson swirls with barely contained fury. He is darkly intense and has electric screen presence that really starts to manifest when the bullets star flying and things become dire.
Universal via Everett Collection
For all the good will that the film builds up in its first and second act, the final third of the film hits some snags as history demands that the story take itself to a different location, sacrificing some of the tension that it has built up. In the last 30 minutes of the film, there are some odd tonal choices that don't gel with the tension brimming in the first half. A comedic scene involving a language barrier stands out in particular.
The movie makes a point to steer clear of any political judgment, and it doesn't try to lay blame for the botched mission on any one head. And while the film never outwardly states and opinion on the conflicts that America found itself embroiled in during this time period, the searing brutality depicted in the movie highlight that no one should be subjected to the pain that these men were faced with. Made abundantly clear is the soldiers' willingness to drop everything and serve their country the best way they know how. Lone Survivor tries to honor the soldier, but not glorify war.
The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips.
Lone Survivor is at its best when it makes you feel the worst. It gives soldiers their due reverence by showcasing the true terror of the battlefield, and while the film does start to sag a bit in its third act, it's still more than worth the experience in order understand the consequences of war, and its toll on the people in the trenches.
Since photo shoot manager Jay Manuel, runway diva coach Miss J. Alexander, and fashion photographer Nigel Barker were fired from America's Next Top Model last week, we haven't been smiling with our mouths or our eyes. Though it's hard to imagine what the next season sorry, cycle will look like without them, on Tuesday Tyra Banks tried to assure viewers that their dismissal is for the best.
“We reached a point, where were feel the show needs a new boost,” she told Access Hollywood at the 2012 Matrix Awards in New York. “It’s very difficult because I love my guys, they’re my guys ... They’ve been there since the beginning of the show.” Banks added that there's a chance we might see them on ANTM again. “My partner Ken Mok and I have projects we’re developing, and we’re a family, it doesn’t end,” she said.
Banks also bemoaned their departure on her Facebook page, writing, “To my Nigel Barker, Miss J, and Mr Jay: Thank you for all of our years together on America’s Next Top Model! Working with you is always an absolute pleasure. Excited for what the future holds for us. XOXO, TyTy." Hopefully one of them will open up about their real thoughts on "TyTy" soon, because the only good thing to come out of this is the potential for bitchy backstage gossip.
Tyra Banks Fires Almost Everyone from 'Top Model'
'America's Next Top Model': Why it Needs Nigel
Do We Really Need The Reality Results Show?
Tyra Banks, executive producer, host, and mastermind of America's Next Top Model, the world's highest budget cable access show, has cycled through so many hosts, lackeys, and sidekicks that she is a wrongful termination suit waiting to happen. But there was a trio of regulars we thought would never leave the show: photo shoot manager Jay Manuel, runway diva coach Miss J. Alexander, and noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker. Guess what? They've all gotten the boot.
Their contracts have not been renewed for the next "cycle" of the CW show, which will be its 19th. The CW confirms to Hollywood.com that the trio of ANTM personalities will not return to the show.
The CW also delivered this statement from Ken Mok and Banks, who both serve as executive producers on the show: "Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander have been an integral part of the ‘America’s Next Top Model’ brand and they helped turn this show into the household name it is today. They have been amazing assets to the show and will always be a part of the ‘Top Model’ family. We will continue to actively work with each of them on future projects."
The current "British Invasion" edition of the show is doing horribly in the ratings, dropping nearly 50% in the 18-to-49 demographic that advertisers crave. I admit that even I stopped watching. Maybe Tyra thinks that the show's long-standing formula needs a shake up or she's trying to save herself some dough by getting rid of expensive long-time employees and bringing in some cheap new blood. (If that's the case, I'll say mean things about the girls pictures for pennies on the dollar!) Maybe Tyra has just finally given into her own ego and will be planning the shoots, doing the makeovers, taking the photos, judging the panel, yelling at the girls, writing the Tyra Mail which never quite rhymes, picking up the wet bikinis lying by the pool, and booking the limos to panel all on her own. Still the show will be nothing without Jay Manuel's florescent hair and condescention, Miss J.'s dismissive critiques, or Nigel's stern level-headedness (and rather handsome face). Sure, we've seen Janice Dickinson, Paulina Porizkova, Twiggy, Nole Marin, André Leon Talley, and plenty of others come and go, but the J's have been around since Season One and Nigel since Season Two. They were as much a part of the show as Tyra's fivehead. They will be missed. Because she is the best, or the most fabulous, here is a compilation of Miss J's most hilarious moments. How are you gonna replace this, Tyra?
[Image via Wenn.com]
Tyra Banks: Harvard is "Hard on Purpose"
Our Favorite Gossip Girl Celebrity Guest Stars