Category Archives: War

Not every movie contains a moment that deserves to be called priceless, but Gavin Hood’s “Eye in the Sky” has a great one. It comes well into the drama, which focuses on several sets of military and government personnel trying to decide whether to launch a drone strike that will almost certainly result in civilian casualties. While the prospective targets are Al-Shabaab militants in Nairobi......
There is no doubt that Tina Fey has enriched our lives. She wrote Lindsay Lohan’s last watchable (and best) star vehicle, 2004’s “Mean Girls.” Her Liz Lemon on the sitcom “30 Rock” gave us the perfect upgrade on swear-word substitutes with “Blerg!” Her scathingly brilliant Sarah Palin impression on “Saturday Night Live” helped save the country from four years of the real thing in office. Sh......
This Danish movie opens with a scene of high tension that soon situates the viewer exactly where he or she would never want to be. In Afghanistan, a group of Danish peacekeepers is scouring a patch of barren land, walking in a narrow, evenly-spaced line. The better not to get blown up by a land mine. Their work is methodical. The soldiers are in constant contact with their base, and its com......
“Son of Saul” begins with a long, unbroken shot of mesmerizing intricacy. The year is 1944 at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Saul Auslander (Géza Röhrig), a member of the camp’s Sonderkommando—prisoners forced to help the Nazis exterminate Jews, thereby delaying their own deaths for a few months—walks toward the camera from far off in the woods before finally coming into focus i......
The filmmaking craft of “Beasts of No Nation” is vividly apparent, and its emotional power is undeniable. Why, then, does it feel dubious in certain ways, and perhaps troubling for the wrong reasons? The film’s director, writer and cinematographer,Cary Joji Fukunaga, is a master of imaginative and dynamic images; he proved as much in “Sin Nombre,” “Jane E......
When he came home to the United States after his second tour in Vietnam, Ronnie “Stray Dog” Hall discovered that he wasn’t wanted here, so he did an 11-year tour in Korea, where he was shocked to discover that everyone liked him. He started a family and returned to the U.S. After some years, he left his wife, married another woman and now realizes that he’s bored wit......
Anchored by an extraordinary performance from actress Alicia Vikander, James Kent’s “Testament of Youth” bears comparison to many other superbly mounted costume dramas backed by the BBC, but this one has a special distinction: it chronicles the horrors that World War I inflicted on a generation of young English people from a woman’s perspective. Though the war was followed by a slew of book......
The little boy at the center of “Little Boy” pulls a stunt repeatedly which, ostensibly, is intended to be poignant. Eight-year-old Pepper Flint Busbee (Jakob Salvati) sticks out his fingers, scrunches up his face, squints his eyes, screeches with all his might and wills an object to move. Maybe it’s a glass bottle. Maybe it’s a mountain. But sure enough, through the power of magic or trick......
Russell Crowe’s directorial debut “The Water Diviner,” about a man trying to find three sons who disappeared at the battle of Gallipoli in Turkey 100 years ago, is a film divided against itself. It wants to be both a mournful and skeptical antiwar picture and a rousing adventure with splashes of buddy comedy, romance and borderline swashbuckling. Crowe, who also stars as w......
Film directors are prone to say that much of their work is done by the time they choose the perfect players to bring their characters to life. I doubtWoody Allen lost much sleep once Cate Blanchettagreed to step into the lead of “Blue Jasmine” or that Alejandro González Iñárritu wrung his hands much after Michael Keaton consented to do “Birdman.” Screenwriters also benefit from expressive a......