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Monday, 01 October 2007 |  Written by Darren Gross  | 
300 It’s the year 480 B.C. The Persian empire has spread throughout Asia and parts of Greece, gobbling up territory after territory in a quest for imperial domination. King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) sends a messenger and escort to King Leonidas of Sparta (Gerard Butler), requesting that he make a token gesture that he will yield to the empire’s mighty power and allow Sparta to become part of the empire and relinquish his sovereignty. Leonidas responds by slaughtering the messenger and his retinue and prepares for war. Unfortunately, the important Carneian Festival is about to begin and the high-priests (called Ephors) that the Spartans look to for guidance will not condone the use of the military on a warlike action. Leonidas, finding a way to circumvent their instructions gathers an army of 300, made up entirely of his personal royal guards to venture to the coastline and there hold off the Persian army at Thermopylae ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Letters From Iwo Jima “Letters from Iwo Jima” is, in one regard, unusual: it’s an American film about a war in which the U.S. was involved, but told from the “enemy” point of view. This has been done occasionally in the past, as with the classic “All Quiet on the Western Front.” But this time, the movie is entirely in the language of the other side, in this case, Japanese. This is not unique—there have been American movies in Spanish, Yiddish, even the created language Esperanto—but this time, the film was made by a huge American studio, Warner Bros., and was directed by a prominent American actor/director, Clint Eastwood (who directed only). He was directing “Flags of Our Fathers,” which deals in large part with the battle for the small but strategically important island of Iwo Jima from the American point of view. But as he was preparing it, he began to wonder about the other side. ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Battle of the Bulge The real Battle of the Bulge started on December 16, 1944 during one of the coldest winters in France. Though the movie has the battle beginning on that date, other than place names and a few names of important military personnel, the movie version of the battle veers widely astray of actual events. In fact, Dwight D. Eisenhower, himself a World War II veteran and past President of the United States, took particular umbrage with the movie’s presentation of the battle. Several historians have stepped in and pointed out the various inaccuracies of the film. The German Tiger Panzers seen in the film were actually American tanks made after World War II. Likewise, the American tanks were ones that were used hardly at all during the war. Historical inaccuracy can be a burden to Hollywood—they’re after excitement and thrills. While the battle took place in snow and mud, the filmmakers didn’t want to try ...
Editor's rating: 
Thursday, 01 March 2007 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
U-571 One of the most popular espionage subjects that originated in World War II was the German Enigma machine. Using the device, the Germans were able to send and receive coded messages without fear of the Allied Forces being able to understand them. The Germans used codes in World War I as well—most armies did—but the Enigma machine was cutting-edge tech at the time. Where the first codes were based on language and could be broken within hours, the Enigma machine created code based on mathematical equations that resulted in days and weeks of code-breaking skills. The time consumed was too large to allow the Allies any chance at acting on the intelligence they gleaned from breaking the codes. During World War II, especially in the North Atlantic area where the German U-boats were wreaking havoc with the shipping lanes, cutting off aid and supplies to Great Britain, opportunities arose to capture the Enigma ...
Editor's rating: 
Monday, 01 January 2007 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Jarhead Anthony Swofford’s nonfiction book about his time of military service as a United States Marine became a bestseller, speaking to a whole new generation of warriors who had seen the horrors of the battlefield. “Jarhead” was filled with cynicism and outrage about the way the war was conducted as well as what the military personnel had to carry out. After listening to several military men talking about their time in the service, I quickly realized that Swofford’s objections weren’t unique. Where Swofford’s book pulled the reader in and delivered a message, though, “Jarhead” the movie lacks closure and depth to some degree. We are introduced to individuals, young men in the United States Marines who were trained to be fierce warriors who would make a difference against Saddam Hussein, who was built up to near-monster status. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Anthony Swofford, the main protagonist and first-person narrator. Gyllenhaal’s look is severe and ...
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