Posts tagged War on Terror
MOVIE REVIEW: Sand Castle

Wars transform the soldiers that participate in them.  Men and women in combat can be broken down, built up, or both in positive and negative ways.  Because the young tend to serve, their stories, and the films that tell them, can mirror a late-term version of the “coming-of-age” archetype.  The fingerprints of forced maturity appear all over the likes of “The Deer Hunter,” “Platoon,” “Jarhead,” and dozens of other films.  In all honesty, the trope is overused and over-familiar and that’s the first mistake of “Sand Castle.”

Read More
MOVIE REVIEW: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

There are commendable allegories bottled somewhere inside both Ben Fountain’s 2012 award-winning novel and Ang Lee’s adaptation of “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.”  However, knowing what we know now about “paid patriotism” since 2015, those morals, and any patriotic pride the fictional story’s grand setting can muster, have lost too much of their high ground to inspire.  It is difficult to invest in a reflective film wrestling with disillusionment when too many current audiences already enter with the same feelings about the War on Terror.  Disillusionment of disillusionment is a tough sell if the goal is the change minds.

Read More
EDITORIAL: Movies and the 9/11 impact

ANNUAL UPDATE: I'm here for an editorial on the anniversary of 9/11 to showcase a few movies, both serious and not-so-serious, that speak to that day whether as a tribute, remembrance, or example of how life has changed since that fateful day.  Enjoy!

Read More
9/11, Column, Editorial, SPECIALDonald Shanahan9/11, 9/11 films, 9/11 movies, Films based on 9/11, Movie based on 9/11, Films affected by 9/11, Movies affected by 9/11, 9/11 anniversary, War on Terror, Ghostbusters, Independence Day: Resurgence, Independence Day, The Walk, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Godzilla, Star Trek Into Darkness, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Man of Steel, Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down, Patriots Day, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Sully, American Sniper, Captain America: The First Avenger, Live Free or Die Hard, We Are Marshall, Hitch, National Treasure, Miracle, Million Dollar Baby, Ladder 49, Elf, Gangs of New York, Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 2, We Were Soldiers, Black Hawk Down, Behind Enemy Lines, The Last Castle, Pearl Harbor, The Patriot, Air Force One, Rambo III, Charlie Wilson's War, Jarhead, Courage Under Fire, V for Vendetta, The Sum of All Fears, Fight Club, Arlington Road, Munich, Syriana, The Dark Knight Rises, The Siege, True Lies, Pushing Tin, Turbulence, Executive Decision, Passenger 57, Airplane!, Cloverfield, War of the Worlds, Watchmen, Deep Impact, Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, King Kong, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Superman, Boyhood, The Fifth Estate, Snowden, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Source Code, Bridesmaids, Iron Man, Harold and Kumar Escape Guantanamo, Snakes on a Plane, Soul Plane, Anger Management, The Terminal, An Inconvenient Truth, Fahrenheit 9/11, 25th Hour, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, 13 Hours, Good Kill, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, A Most Wanted Man, Lone Survivor, Zero Dark Thirty, Act of Valor, Restrepo, Green Zone, Dear John, The Lucky One, Brothers, Taking Chance, The Messenger, Stop-Loss, Body of Lies, In the Valley of Elah, Lions of Lambs, The Kingdom, Rendition, Grace is Gone, The Hurt Locker, Home of the Brave, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Remember Me, Reign Over Me, World Trade Center, United 93, Big Trouble, The Time Machine, Serendipity, Zoolander, Men in Black II, Sidewalks of New York, City by the Sea, Collateral Damage, The Glass House, Hardball, Rock Star, Soul Survivors, The Musketeer, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Ocean's 11, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, New York, New York City, The Pentagon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Editorial, War movies, film commentary, movie commentary, social commentary, SPECIAL, ANNUAL, Donald Shanahan, Don Shanahan, Every Movie Has a LessonComment
MOVIE REVIEW: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

The subject of "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" is the tepidly-reviewed non-fiction book written by Mitchell Zuckoff about what transpired during the September 11-12, 2012 attacks on U.S. government facilities in Libya.  Zuckoff's book and the film is told from the point of view of the security contractors that worked for the CIA at that time.  The book sought to tell the harrowing story without siding with any politics.  Michael Bay's film cannot help itself from taking brotherhood-fueled sides and blow everything up.

Read More
DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: Motley's Law

51st Chicago International Film Festival special presentation

In this writer's opinion, documentary films are at their strongest when they merge two symbiotic pairs of traits.  A good documentary and its human interest story merges truth with its narrative.  Secondly, a good documentary merges its overarching message with art.  Any of those four ingredients alone are not enough.  In the documentary genre, a narrative without truth defeats its nonfiction purpose and the central message being delivered needs the artistic touch requisite to its chosen medium of cinema.  As long as it can achieve those two mergers, a successful documentary can take any subject and give it proper focus.

Read More
EDITORIAL: Movies and the 9/11 impact

UPDATED:  September 11, 2015 with updated and new movie inclusions (after original post on the 10th anniversary in 2011) and a new section of faded and relaxed sensitivity.  I plan to make this an annual post and study.

Read More
ADVANCE MOVIE REVIEW: American Sniper

Go right now to YouTube and play the trailer for "American Sniper."  First and foremost, THAT'S how you do a trailer.  That's how you tease a film, still name drop who you need to, and set the stage without giving a shred of your film away.  Second, after watching it, tell me you were surprised to see a name like Clint Eastwood's attached to a film with that kind of setting and tension.  You wouldn't be alone.  In many ways, "American Sniper" is new territory for Clint Eastwood will still retaining his signature hallmark of grit and heart.

Read More