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Beirut (2018)


Beirut (2018)

Beirut looked intriguing to me because the always dapper Jon Hamm was finally given the main lead in a serious film.  He has always been likable in every role that I have seen him.  Of course, his boost to stardom was in the leading part in the Mad Men (2007-2015) series.

The film is about a hostage situation that summons a former U.S. diplomat back to war-torn Beirut in an attempt to save his old friend.

The movie was directed by Brad Anderson and the noteworthy cast includes Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike, Mark Pellegrino, Dean Norris, Shea Whigam, Douglas Hodge, Larry Pine, Ben Affan, and Mohamed Attougui.

The filmmakers did a superb job creating a believable Beirut in 1982 and thereafter.  The not-so-peaceful Middle East was very apparent in the movie.  There was a sort of gloomy undertone to the film and this gave the movie a much darker feel to it.

It was nice to see Jon Hamm in a leading role carrying a film.  He brought a level of class and finesse to his character that made the movie exciting, where it otherwise may have lacked with someone else playing his part.

Rosamund Pike did a good job in the movie.  However, I felt like her character could have been developed better.  She is a strong actress, but this film did not allow her a strong presence.  I felt like her performance in Hostiles (2017) and Gone Girl (2014) were far better than her performance in Beirut because she was able to give those other characters more substance.

Beirut is not a movie that you are going to want to watch over and over again because of the subject matter.  However, it is a well-made, above average film that is worth the watch.

I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

12 Strong (2018)

Lone Survivor (2013)

American Sniper (2014)

The Kite Runner (2007)

Chappaquiddick (2017)

The Post (2017)

Lincoln (2012)

Captain Phillips (2013)

Darkest Hour (2017)

No Escape (2015)

American Assassin (2017)

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The Best Movies of 2014


The Best Movies of 2014

 

Below is my list of the best movies that I have seen that were released in 2014 (even if some were made in 2013).  I have included trailers for each movie.  I would love to eventually write a review of each of these films and talk about why I enjoyed them so much.  But for now, just know that I highly recommend all of these movies.  I will continue to add to this list if I see any more movies from 2014 that are worthy of this list.

 

American Sniper (2014)

Fury (2014)

John Wick (2014)

Gone Girl (2014)

Nightcrawler (2014)

Interstellar (2014)

Still Alice (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

The Imitation Game (2014)

Unbroken (2014)

Exodus: Gods & Kings (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Dumb and Dumber Too (2014)

Neighbors (2014)

Non-stop (2014)

 

Good movies that did not make the cut were:

This is Where I Leave You (2014)

The Equalizer (2014)

The Judge (2014)

The Gambler (2014)

Sex Tape (2014)

Let’s Be Cops (2014)

22 Jump Street (2014)

Sabotage (2014)

3 Days to Kill (2014)

12 Strong (2018)


12 Strong (2018)

Besides what I saw in the trailer, I was not aware of the true story that this film depicts.  How was this not more widely publicized?

12 Strong is a true story about 12 Special Forces soldiers sent on a covert operation in Afghanistan, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  They are the first boots on the ground.  The group teams up with an Afghan leader, and together on horseback, they try to take down the Taliban.

The movie is based on the book “Horse Soldiers” by Doug Stanton.  It is directed by Nicolai Fuglsig.

The noteworthy cast includes Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Navid Negahban, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill, Austin Stowell, Rob Riggle, William Fichter, Fahim Fazli, Numan Acar, and Taylor Sheridan.

12 Strong is the best war movie that I have seen since American Sniper (2014).  It is done in a similar style as Lone Survivor (2013).  It is an amazing untold story that everyone should know about.  It tells the story about America’s immediate response after the 9/11 attacks.

This is easily Chris Hemsworth’s best film.  His role as a soldier was quite believable.

Michael Shannon and Michael Pena also give very likable performances.

The flow to the story was very fluid.  I credit the film quality to the unknown director Nicolai Fuglsig.  A film with such epic proportions cannot be easy to direct.  Especially one this good.

The convincing sets and realistic battle scenes make you feel like you are watching on the battlefield.  It is a war movie, so there is a lot of quality brutal violence.  The special effects are good, but not overdone.

The story itself, was what was most surprising to me.  The U.S. sends twelve men into Afghanistan to respond to the 19 terrorists that took out the World Trade Center.  The covert operation sees those twelve men joining forces with Afghan soldiers on horseback to try to systematically takedown the Taliban.  Horses against tanks, rockets, and other heavy artillery.  Who would’ve thought?

That is fascinating to me.  It’s the 21st century.  The greatest country in the world is attacked with their own planes.  And, their response is on horses in the desert.  Reading that out loud sounds pretty harsh.  But, that is why this is such an interesting and incredible story.  This is not me talking down about the story it all.  That is me praising it.  If you have not seen it and it sounds interesting to you, go see it now!

I rate this movie a on a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

Lone Survivor (2013)

American Sniper (2014)

Fury (2014)

Unbroken (2014)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

The Pianist (2002)

We Were Soldiers (2002)

The 15:17 to Paris (2018)

The 15:17 to Paris (2018)


The 15:17 to Paris (2018)

The legendary Clint Eastwood took a big risk casting the actual people that his film is about to star in it.  This concept immediately sparked my interest enough for me to be really excited about seeing The 15:17 to Paris.

I intentionally did not watch much of the trailer for this film, nor did I read anything about it.  This is because I vaguely remembered hearing about this story, watching the news and reading about what happened after this event took place, not too long ago.  I did not remember a lot of what happened and I did not want to spoil the movie by knowing all about it beforehand.

With all of the vile stories of terrorism and mass-murder we hear happening all over the news in this crazy world that we live in, it’s nice to recognize the heroes that fight back against the evil that is unleashed around them.  That is what The 15:17 to Paris is.  It is a story about the ones that fought back to try to protect their fellow man because they were not about to go down without a fight.  This movie is the story of three friends who grew up together and how they happened to be on a train to Paris at the time of a gruesome terrorist attack aimed at everyone on board.

The movie was based on the book by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Jeffrey E. Stern.  It was produced and directed by Clint Eastwood.

The cast includes the three men the film is about: Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos.  The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, P.J. Byrne, Thomas Lennon, Tony Hale, Jaleel White, and Steve Coulter.

I heard that initially the MPAA rating system wanted to make the movie rated R.  This upset Eastwood and he had to raise a big fuss to win the PG-13 rating.  I’m not sure if any scenes were cut from the film to achieve the PG-13 rating, but I found no reason that there should’ve been an R rating.  There was hardly any swearing, no nudity, and only some violence.  The violence was not excessive and was very necessary to tell the story accurately.  Nothing else warranted an R rating.  Could it be a way of censoring Eastwood’s film so less people could see it?  That will likely never be revealed, but I wouldn’t put it past Hollywood for pulling a move like that.  Good old Clint!  Always fighting for what he thinks is right.  He doesn’t care if Hollywood doesn’t back him.  He has built an astounding career on getting his movies made no matter what.  In a lot of ways, he is that powerful protagonist character that he has portrayed on screen so many times.  I think he felt that this story needed to be told and he wanted the perspective of the real people to make it more accurate.

The film is not going to win any awards for its acting.  These three men are not actors.  These are real people.  Realizing this fact while watching the movie actually made it more powerful.  It made me approach my view of the movie in a different way.  It doesn’t matter that the dialogue was not delivered by seasoned actors.  This is an obvious detail in Eastwood’s vision.  It simply matters that their story was told.  Who better to tell it than the real people themselves?

The 15:17 to Paris depicts an incredible true story of heroism and courage.

The movie is not loaded with action and special effects.  It sheds light on a story that a lot of people didn’t pay much attention to.  It reminds us of the good in people.  Humanity in helping others because that is the right thing to do.  These men didn’t think twice about their own safety.  They just did what they had to do.

I watched this film two nights ago and I have thought about it since.  The more that I think about it, the more I like it.  You are not going to leave the movie in awe.  However, it will make you contemplate what you saw.  Maybe you will be more grateful for what you have.

 

I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

American Sniper (2014)

Lone Survivor (2013)

World Trade Center (2006)

Captain Phillips (2013)

12 Strong (2018)

United 93 (2006)