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.
We've all done this - imagined how a book would be played on the screen if there was a movie or mini-series about it. For a while, it looked like a lost form after the 1980s, but the mini-series has come back to life with Under The Dome. Here are other books that deserve that treatment or even possibly its own show, like Game Of Thrones.
Any Lee Child book
No. Jack Reacher doesn't count. There has to be someone who fits Reacher's description -- at least 6'2 with 250 lbs of muscle -- in Hollywood who can act. Tom Cruise looks like a horse racing jockey comparatively. When I read these books, I don't want to think of Cruise, so let's change that station and get something different. I even visualize Coby Bell, who played Jesse Porter on Burn Notice as a possibility.
The Dark Tower series
This has been in production purgatory, but as Game of Thrones showed, a series of books can make for VERY compelling television. Don't show it on the big screen in 2 hours; let it flow naturally on TV. Legions of Stephen King fans want to see the story of Roland Deschain of Gilead, the last Gunslinger as he chases the man in black towards the Dark Tower in a world that is very much like our own but also very, very different. Heck, I'm getting impatient again thinking about it.
The Rabbit series
John Updike's masterpiece series on the life of Rabbit Angstrom should be shown in a multi-part mini-series. It's about the course of one man's life as he goes through a loveless marriage and suffers a terrible loss. There was a movie, Rabbit, Run, with James Caan that came and went, but they could do about four hours per book, spread out over a couple of weeks. Updike was able to capture the mundane qualities of life beautifully and his writing was always something to behold.
Dean Koontz's book about Chris Snow who has XP and cannot be out in the sun and his trying to unravel a mystery surrounding a military compound. Combine this with the sequel, Seize the Night, and you have some gooooooooood TV to watch. There has been success in making a mini-series from Koontz's books; John C. McGinley played a truly terrifying serial killer in Intensity. They haven't had the same luck with translating them to the big screen. Both Phantoms and Hideaway sucked, despite some impressive star power like Ben Affleck and Jeff Goldblum appearing in them.
Caves of Steel
Apparently this Isaac Asimov book is in development as a movie. I think it would be a better mini-series to fully let the characters develop. Elijah Bailey and R. Daneel Olivaw are two really fascinating characters. For the uninitiated, the R in Olivaw's name stands for 'Robot'. Cool, huh? I hope they don't deviate from the storyline like they did in I. Robot.
More:Obi_Wan Kenobi's Lost Years Revealed7 Influential Debut Albums of the 1980's45 Jokes About Ben Affleck as Batman
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)