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.
Welcome to Pawnee, Indiana. We are located 90 miles from Indianapolis and we are the state's seventh-largest city. We are a city of kind citizens, green places, and a deep love and respect for the land. For the care and protection of these public outdoor spaces, we turn to the Parks and Recreation Department, headed by the honorable Ronald Ulysses Swanson. In order to ensure that the parks, pools, and public spaces of Pawnee remain in their tip top condition and able to provide good, clean fun for the citizens of Pawnee and their guests, the Parks and Recreation Department asks you to follow the following pertinent rules and regulations. Please and thank you, rest in peace L'il Sebastian.
So, you want to have a baby! Congratulations! Before you continue in your endeavor, please take a moment to acquaint yourself with the following:
10 Rules and Regulations for Choosing a Sperm Donor
1. Maybe you're frustrated in love. Maybe Mr. Right has become Mr. Elusive and dating has become a losing game. Maybe… you're seeking alternatives — like, an alternative family. Who needs a man when you are the best date you've ever had? Dating yourself has been the biggest thrill of your life; it's made you try catfish and pick up new hobbies. Heck, you've even gone skydiving (and you have the blog to prove it)! Sounds like you've made the decision to become a mom without first finding a partner. If this is the case, please see Rule No. 2.
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2. Head to the sperm bank. This is where you will decide on your sperm donor. We recommend you bring a friend for moral support. At the sperm bank, you'll be asked to state your preferences for your sperm donor. Yes, we know you want sperm. Can you be more specific? Oh, you don't have any other known requirements? Well, in that case, take a look at these binders, talk it over with your jumpy blonde friend, and come back when you're more prepared.
3. Picking a sperm donor is kind of like choosing a caterer for a wedding reception. You'll want to weigh your decisions carefully and enlist the opinions of friends with varying tastes. Both the herbivore and the carnivore can provid unique insight into your process! But, ultimately, you've got to go with your gut. If the mini calzones — I mean, a savory pastry delicate dough pocket filled with tomato sauce, cheese, and seasoned meat— really speaks to you, then say yes to the pastry!
NEXT: Document your sperm donor process.
4. Be sure to document your sperm donor selection process. Much like a hipster chronicling a roast that was more of a coy Dutch woman guarding a secret than a hunk of meat, you (and your hypothetical child) will want to savor these memories forever. So take out that iPhone and get Instagramming! If you need assistance with the app, please contact Tom Haverford, resident foodie.
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5. Umm... Going back to No. 3, maybe it's best to stay away from the mini calzones of sperm donors. The mini calzones may be new and fun, and Lord knows they are tasty in the moment, but these attractive morsels will only leave you hurting in the long run. It may be best to seek a donation from someone you know will not send you into toilet bowl-breaking bouts of regret in the following days.
6. Instead, go with the JJ's Diner of donors. Someone who knows your name, your preferences, and sends you home with free waffles. (Hey, Pawnee residents, JJ's now does event catering!)
7. So, you've decided to go with someone you know. But whom? Choose wisely and, in your process, steer clear of Douches (yes, with a capital D). Sometimes, graduates of Northwestern who studied semiotics and the narrative form in the digital age who seem perfect on paper will ultimate make your friend quote Bill Cosby while standing knee-deep in a kiddie pool of Jell-O on local radio. And really, who needs that?
8. And hey, having a baby can be scary! Kind of like hosting your very first public forum on Pawnee Commons. So, as with the latter, fake it 'til you make it. If you're scared, pretend to be someone you look up to. Try walking in the Fleetwood Mac sex pants (the garment, not the band) of your predecessor for inspiration.
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9. And when that doesn't work — because we all know it won't — just be yourself. Go ahead and call the man who recommends creating a topless park a creep, risking 30 citations for excessive rudeness. You are April Ludgate and you get s**t done! I mean, after all, who is having this baby but you and yourself?
10. Finally, take your time in choosing. Go through things systematically with color-coded binders, anatomy cartoons, and your best we're-not-lesbians-we-swear friend. "Let's do this!" Because, ultimately, what's more cuterus than your uterus?
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/NBC]
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