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.
Jefferson Starship rocker Pete Sears is celebrating after the discovery of his custom-made guitar, which was stolen from a concert venue in Germany 40 years ago. The bassist's one-of-a kind instrument, crafted by Grateful Dead star Jerry Garcia's guitar maker Doug Irwin, went missing during a riot at the Lorelei Festival in 1978, and Sears had resigned himself to the fact he'd never see the axe he dubbed the Dragon again.
He tells Rolling Stone magazine, "It was always in the back of my mind... I thought it was sitting in someone's basement."
One of Irwin's colleagues posted a request for information about the missing guitar on the Grateful Dead's website forum in 2009, and last month (Apr13), a German musician came forward and revealed he was the new owner of Sears' stolen instrument.
He claimed he bought it between 1990 and 1991 from a studio musician in the Netherlands, who claimed it once belonged to the bassist of 1980s band Golden Earring.
The German agreed to part with the bass for $3,200 (£2,100) and shipped it to America for restoration.
Sears says, "It's an antique now, like I am. I just can't wait to get it back and hold it again."
Let's go ahead and file this news under the awesomely awkward category. Alexis Bledel is finally returning to our screens — but she’ll be dating her TV mother’s ex-boyfriend!
The actress — who is best known for playing Rory Gilmore on the long-running mother/daughter drama Gilmore Girls — has joined Fox's comedy pilot, Friends & Family, reports TV Line. The comedy is an adaptation of the 2007 British comedy series Gavin & Stacey, which followed the adventures of a couple — both of whom lived at home.
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But here’s where it gets good: Bledel is set to play Stacey, while Jason Ritter will fill the role as Gavin — her long distance boyfriend. That’s right, the same actor who just played Lauren Graham's love interest on Parenthood, will be canoodling with Lorelei Gilmore’s one-and-only daughter. Dun dun duuuun!
This will be Bledel's first regular role since her seven year run on Gilmore Girls. She was also one of the leads in The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants films and was last seen on three episodes of AMC's Mad Men.
What do yout think of this Gilmore Girls love triangle? Excited to see Bledel back on your TV screens? Isn’t Rory Gilmore just the worst? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below!
[Photo Credit: FameFlynet]
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Hilty currently stars in hit U.S. TV series Smash as an aspiring actress tasked with portraying Monroe in a new musical, and life has now imitated art for the 31 year old after she signed up to portray Lee, a part made famous by the late blonde bombshell, in a Big Apple theatre show.
The production will be directed by Tony Award-winning John Rando and the actress insists she is already having fun in rehearsals.
She tells Playbill.com, "I'm having the time of my life. John Rando is a genius, and I feel like we're having so much fun putting this play on. And, the whole cast is so fun. All the voices are amazing, and everybody is hilarious. I think it's going to be a really good show."
Hilty will hit the stage at The New York City Center for a limited-run, beginning on Wednesday (09May12).
James Franco adds another project to his already stuffed slate with Cherry, an indie to-be-directed by Stephen Elliott, who is best known as the author of "The Adderall Diaries" (which Franco himself optioned for an adaptation). Elliot will be making his directorial debut with the film, which he wrote for the screen with Lorelei Lee.
The story follows a troubled 18-year-old who moves to San Francisco, where she enters the porn industry and becomes involved with a cocaine-addicted lawyer, who will be played by Franco. Heather Graham returns to porn-centric pics years after her turn as the Rollergirl in Boogie Nights, as she'll play a former porn star-turned director who becomes a bit obsessed with the young girl (sounds kinky, don't it?). Dev Patel will portray the girl's best friend who also happens to be in love with her, while Lili Taylor will play her alcoholic mother.
The only part that hasn't yet been cast is that of the girl, who I assume is named Cherry. Not sure what direction the production is taking, but after being naked for most of Julia Leigh's contemporary Sleeping Beauty update, Emily Browning might be a good choice for the role. As for the film itself, it sounds kinda boring. I don't see how far a narrative like this can go, so my guess is that it's more of a character study than anything else. In those terms, it could be an interesting little flick, but I need to know more about it until I can get excited.