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Review: Hurt Locker (2009)

December 31st, 2010 Comments off

For a movie billed as "near perfect" and a directorial performance considered a front runner for the Oscars, I was a bit disappointed in "Hurt Locker".

I caught Hurt Locker late night at my buddy’s on the first night of my Los Angeles vacation last February. Given that it was competing with drunken viewing of Olympic curling off his DVR on the other nights I spent during my vacation there, it should come as no surprise that Hurt Locker just didn’t stand up. The film had garnered a whopping nine Academy Awards nominations, so I was genuinely excited to give it a look-see. Unfortunately, the film just doesn’t do enough to warrant the awards season hype. This remains true as a complete this review almost a year later after watching it on DVR and gritting my teeth as it cleaned up at the 2009/10 Oscars.

The most notable nomination always is for Best Picture and Best Director. Hurt Locker took home both awards with Katheryn Bigelow becoming the first female Best Director award winner. It also took home the award for Best Original Screenplay (from embedded journalist Mark Boal, who spent part of 2004 with an Iraq-based bomb disposal unit), Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. While the three technical awards are more than well-deserved, even when up against the formidable technical accomplishments of Avatar, the three creative awards were probably less spot-on.

This is not to say that Hurt Locker isn’t very good or that it isn’t a film (this most certainly isn’t a “movie” like Avatar). I just take the position shared by veterans and military-aware reviewers that the film lacks authenticity and presents itself as “gritty” and realistic, even though the story is grossly ridiculous at times.

Read more of why I didn’t fully enjoy being stuck in the Hurt Locker. Read more…

Review: Generation Kill (2008)

October 30th, 2009 Comments off

I’m going to be playing a bit of catch-up, providing reviews of some of the TV series, movies and films I’ve watched over the past few weeks. As a reminder, I go through a lot as I watch ’em care of Netflix on my personal DVD player when working out on the elliptical at Equinox. Up in this post is Generation Kill.

Ed Burns and David Simon are two of my television heroes. Although I’ve not yet seen The Corner (their breakout 2000 drama), The Wire is the greatest series to ever appear on the telly. Generation Kill is the followup thereto.

The HBO miniseries is based on the 2004 book Generation Kill, written by Rolling Stone scribe Evan Wright. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Wright hitched a ride with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the US Marine Corps. During his two months with 1st Recon, he became ingrained with the troops and reported on Operation Iraqi Freedom and, more importantly, the soldiers who took part in it.

Burns and Simon took up the task of bringing Generation Kill to the small screen. Pairing again with the HBO team that helped bring The Corner and The Wire to fruition, the two moved from West Baltimore to West Baghdad in seven 70 minute episodes.

The series stars Alexander Skarsgård (as Sgt. Brad Colbert), James Ransone (as Colbert’s sidekick Cpt. Ray Person), Lee Tergesen (as the scribe, Wright), Jon Huertas (as ethnically confused Sgt. Antonio Espera), Billy Lush (as redneck Lance Cpl. James Trombley) and Stark Sands (as moral compass Lt. Nate Fick).

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