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.
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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.
The Canadian star has come a long way since he sealed his place in pop culture with his role as time-travelling Marty McFly in Back To The Future and his career has gone on to span more than five decades.
Fox started as a child actor on TV and later became a poster boy for the 1980s with a role in hit show Family Ties, as well as his star turn in the time-travel franchise and parts in popular movies such as 1985's Teen Wolf.
He turned back to TV in the 1990s with a lengthy stint on hit sitcom Spin City, before bowing out to spend more time with his family following his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease. He has become an active campaigner for other sufferers in recent years and been lauded for his extensive charity work.
To mark his landmark birthday and celebrate his stellar achievements, WENN has gone back in time to dig up 10 fascinating facts about the fantastic Mr. Fox.
- Fox was not the first Marty McFly in Back To The Future - Eric Stoltz was originally cast in the role, but was replaced by Fox after four weeks of filming at the request of director Robert Zemeckis
- In his early career, Fox landed a role in longrunning TV show Family Ties which had originally been ear-marked for Matthew Broderick, who was unavailable
- Fox met his future wife, actress Tracy Pollan, while working on Family Ties. They married in 1988
- The actor is father to four children, Sam, 22, twins Aquinnah and Schuyler, 16, and Esme, nine
- He has released three books telling his life story - Lucky Man: A Memoir (2002), Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (2010)
- The high school he attended in British Columbia has a theatre named after him
- He won a Grammy Award last year (10) in the Best Spoken Word Album category for his audio book, Always Looking Up: Adventures of An Incurable Optimist
- Fox's list of awards include five Emmys, four Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards
- Last month (May11) he became an Officer of the Order of Canada for his charity work.
It looks like the entertainment world is starting to rebound from last Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
The 53rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards have been rescheduled for Oct. 7, three weeks later than the original date of Sept. 16. Ellen DeGeneres will still host the television awards ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Perhaps in need of an escape, moviegoers headed to theaters this weekend.
While business on Friday was slow because of memorials and candlelight vigils, Paramount's baseball drama Hardball starring Keanu Reeves grossed $10.1 million for the three days starting on Friday. Ticket sales in New York alone were particularly strong.
"I looked at Hardball on Friday night and the screen average in L.A. was $2,000 and the number two market was New York at $1,800 (per theater for Friday). And usually that's the normal pattern," Warner Bros. distribution president Dan Fellman told Martin Grove.
Ticket sales by key films were approximately $61.2 million, up about 29 percent from the comparable weekend last year's total of $47.4 million.
These actions signify much more than the fact that Americans are ready to be entertained again. Hollywood--and the nation--seem to be ready to begin the healing process and do what it takes to return to a "normal" life.
Television networks are leading the way.
Back to Normal. Sort of.
Rosemary Keenan, a spokeswoman for The Late Show with David Letterman told The Associated Press that taping would resume Monday at the Ed Sullivan Theater in midtown Manhattan. The show, along with other late-night entertainment shows, stopped taping after the attacks on Sept. 11.
"Both the mayor and the president have asked America to get back to business," Keenan said. "Therefore, we will be back on the air Monday night."
CBS' Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn will also resume taping on Monday in Los Angeles. The show, however, will not include Kilborn's comic monologue and is eliminating its satirical news segment.
Conan O'Brien's Late Night and Jay Leno's Tonight Show will begin taping Tuesday.
Broadway producers, meanwhile, have said that all 23 shows did, in fact, go on Sunday night after a moment of silence.
Lending a Hand
Plans are also underway for networks to help in relief efforts.
After airing non-stop commercial-free news coverage in the days following Tuesday's attacks, major networks are talking about the possibility of airing an industry-wide telethon Friday to raise money for relief and recovery from the terrorist attacks. According to AP, the show would last two or three hours and would be broadcast on as many cable networks as possible.
George Clooney and Jim Carrey have reportedly agreed to participate; other performers have not been confirmed, but organizers don't believe it will be difficult to get cooperation.
In fact, many artists have shown a great willingness to help by paying tribute to the victims of this week's terrorist attacks at concerts and donating to different relief funds.
At a concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Friday, Madonna led a prayer for peace and pledged proceeds from Thursday's performance to disaster victims and their families.
The Backstreet Boys also asked audiences to observe a moment of silence for the victims at a concert on Wednesday and announced it was donating $1 from each concert ticket to a relief fund established by the tour's sponsor, ClearChannel.com.
Other artists such as Sade, Earth, Wind & Fire, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Robert Clay Band have agreed to donate $10,000 from their respective concerts on Sept. 12. Singer Dave Navarro will have mobile units for blood at his upcoming shows in Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga., on Sept. 15 and 21.
Even Vivendi Universal, parent of the Universal Music Group (Interscope, Geffen, A&M, Island Def Jam) said it will donate $5 million to relief efforts.
The "King of Pop" Michael Jackson also announced plans to put together an ensemble recording to raise $50 million for the survivors and families of victims of Tuesday's attacks.
The song, "What More Can I Give?" is currently being recorded and will feature Destiny's Child, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake of 'N Sync.
"I believe in my heart that the music community will come together as one and rally to the aid of thousands of innocent victims," Reuters reported Jackson as saying. "There is a tremendous need for relief dollars right now and through this effort each one of us can play an immediate role in helping comfort so many people."
Closer to the heart of the tragedy, soprano Heidi Grant Murphy, baritone Thomas Hampson, the New York Choral Artists and The American Boychoir will join the New York Philharmonic in a Sept. 20 memorial concert for victims of the terrorist attack.
At the urging of Mayor Giuliani and the commissioner of cultural affairs Schuyler G. Chapin, New York's theaters and museums opened their doors Sunday.
At Lincoln Center, the New York City Opera is also working to arrange a benefit in October.
Actress Tracy Pollan, married to Michael J. Fox since 1988, is four months pregnant, People reports. This will be their fourth child. They already have a 12-year-old son, Sam Michael, and 6-year-old twin daughters, Aquinnah Kathleen and Schuyler Frances. No word on whether they are expecting a boy or a girl.