Memorial Day War Movies

Saw all or parts of several classic war flicks yesterday and today. AMC was running a marathon. My thumbnail reviews:

Kelly’s Heroes. Four Stars. Uniforms and equipment are excellent. The Tiger Tank is awesome and the Sherman’s aren’t bad! Also, I love anything with Jack Bauer in it! ūüėČ

Big Red One. Three Stars. I think it tries too hard to be serious and artsy. Lee Marvin is too moody and the squad is too cute.

To Hell and Back. Two Stars. It looks like it was made in a training area (which is was) and just doesn’t have that “real” feel. You would think Audie would have said something to the effect of “This isn’t what it looked like!”¬† Murphey’s story is truly inspiring –the movie just doesn’t do it justice.

The Enemy Below. Four Stars. Good drama… one of first good movies of the German view.

Mr. Roberts. Four Stars. The best movie about the critical but sometimes dull job of strategic logistics. The acting (Fonda, Lemon, Cagney) is superior.

Heartbreak Ridge. One Star. I didn’t like it when it came out and it gets worse with age. I doubt its possible to make a decent about the invasion of Grenada.

Courage under Fire. Three Stars. A little hokey on the story but Denzel Washington is excellent and looks for all the world like a half dozen different armored cavalry colonels I’ve known. The night tank battle was nicely done.

Pride of the Marines. Four Stars. The true story of Marine Al Schmid who was blinded while winning the Navy Cross on Guadalcanal. A classic about why we have memorial day and why being a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine is not just another job. Reminds us all why today’s Wounded Warrior program is so important.

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Valkyrie Review

valkyrieSaw the movie today and I’ll start by saying I am NOT a Tom Cruise fan. But….It was well made, authentic, and enjoyable. Well worth your movie $. A word of caution however, this movie is history, so I was inclined to love it.

Having said that, I also brought along  my teenage daughter.  She agreed its a quality production, well acted, and good story well told. Also had a German officer student with me. He found the movie very true to the history as taught in Germany and as honored in the German army. He enjoyed the movie immensley.

Four personal observations from me:

1. Overall very little action of the Saving Private Ryan variety. Not really expected so not a big deal.

2. Given that we all know how it ends, the director, acting, and screenplay manage to keep the tension high, the suspense active, and movie moving at a crisp pace.

3. No major short-coming in terms of accuracy of the story or the on-screen details. Uniforms, equipment, and locations are particularly well done. The opening scene in N. Africa was the only “battle” scene and was well done. The uniform details¬† were particularly impressive.

4. Alot of information is crammed into a short movie with no loss of the essentials. However, it would have been nice if they could have developed the Stauffenberg character more thoroughly. They made the attempt by introducing his family and the potential effects of his actions on them. However, they didn’t develop fully the moral dilemma of German officers choosing between loyalty to country, conscience, and the oath they took to Hitler.¬† They also underplayed (ignored?) the religious/moral aspect of Stauffenberg’s motiviation.

I would give it 4 stars out of 5.

Published in: on December 31, 2008 at 2:58 pm  Comments (1)  
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