Monday, 01 October 2007 |
Why does Mel Gibson get to play iconic heroes in the movies? Because
when he’s on he can knock the ball out of the park, that’s why. Gibson
delivers the goods again in the Revolutionary War-action flick, “The
Patriot.” He plays Benjamin Martin, a farmer in South Carolina, who has
seven kids. That’s because that’s how many Gibson had in real life
himself at the time.
Benjamin was a veteran of the French and Indian War, as it was called
in America. The British called it King George’s War, for King George
III. Those seven years, from 1756 to 1763, involved some of the
bloodiest hand-to-hand combat in the world at that time. It was during
this war that the American soldiers learned to fight from cover and use
the Europeans’ style of fighting in the open in sheer numbers against
Despite his oldest son’s desires, Benjamin keeps them all out of ...
Friday, 06 October 2006 |
Although the setting for this war/rescue melodrama is unusual—Nigeria
during its civil war—the story is overall the same old thing. Don’t
come to this film looking for anything out of the ordinary, don’t
expect anything other than stereotyped characters—you won’t find them.
Director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “King Arthur”) is proficient
with action scenes and gets reasonably sturdy performances from his
cast. But lead Bruce Willis plays Lt. A.K. Waters in a standard Bruce
Willisian manner: he squints, he clenches his teeth and moves as though
all his muscles are permanently flexed. There’s no looseness or
naturalness to his performance—he’s mostly rather dull.
In his commentary track, Fuqua claims he was striving for realism, and
so cast the Nigerian characters with real Africans, many of whom had
fled the Nigerian Civil War. But then he shot the whole film on
highly-recognizable Hawaiian locations (the island of Oahu) and depicts
the insurgents following our little ...
Sunday, 01 October 2006 |
Columbia was certain they had one of the biggest hits of last summer in
the aerial action movie “Stealth.” It had attractive leads, one of
whom—Jamie Foxx—had just won a Best Actor Oscar. It was full of special
effects and explosions, the ideal summer movie.
But hardly anybody went to see it.
Now it’s available on DVD in the Blu-Ray process Sony Home Video is
pushing so hard. But if all they have to push is the likes of
“Stealth,” the format will never take off with the public. Perhaps
Sony’s approach is exemplified by the sole extra on the “Stealth” disc:
we see director Rob Cohen. Then we see lots of quick clips from
“Stealth” and other sources, accompanied by noise, hammering music.
Nothing is pointed out, nothing is demonstrated, nothing is explained.
The most obvious and easiest form of demonstration would have been to
show the same scenes in standard definition ...
Monday, 01 May 2006 |
In 1993, what a Black Hawk helicopter was and the significance of one
being downed was virtually unknown. “Black Hawk Down” depicts the
harrowing events of October 1993. During a well-planned seek and
capture mission in Somalia, one of the powerful Black Hawk support
helicopters is shot down. As groups of soldiers head to the crash site,
things proceed to go horribly awry, and the separated group of lost and
confused Rangers try to make their way back to base while fighting off
vengeful mobs of highly armed native militia.
“Black Hawk Down” is a gripping, frequently terrifying illumination of
little-known recent history. It frequently plays like an update of
"Zulu Dawn" as the scattered soldiers are besieged by thousands of
furious, machine gun toting Africans. Moment-to-moment reality is the
focus here, and the well-chosen settings and atmosphere of human
confusion only amplify the believability of the enacted events. The
storytelling and focus ...