Posted by rentfn (1267 posts) -

I know this is mostly a video game site, mostly?? Movies have been something I’ve always loved as much or maybe even more than video games. We are now in “Award Season” for movies. I’ve watched the Oscars each year as long as I can remember. Even though the movies I enjoy the most don’t get nominated, each year one or two things does and I get really excited. For the past few years I’ve tried to watch each of the movies nominated for Best Picture. This weekend I was able to watch three of them, here are their stories…

Zero Dark Thirty

I have to admit I wasn’t very excited for this movie. I wouldn’t have gone to see it in the theater if it wasn’t up for Best Picture. Kathryn Bigelow’s last movie was The Hurt Locker, which won Best Picture and Best Director in 2010. I was happy she won over James Cameron and Avatar. War movies are not my favorite genre so I didn’t have high expectations for this movie but I didn’t go in with negative thoughts either.

The main reason this movie didn’t appeal to me was because I think it’s a cash grab to make a movie about the raid on Bin Laden. I know they were working on another movie about him when they found out they had caught him they switched gears, that movie will be out in a few years as a sort of ‘prequel’ they say. Shouldn’t this movie be out in ten to twenty years to remember this victory in the war on terror??

The movie starts with a black screen and we hear real phone calls from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. I know this is used to set up what we are fighting for…but we already know. We’ve all heard the 9-1-1 call of the lady asking if she was going to die while the responder cries. We know what was taken away from us that day and I felt this was a cheap way to start the film.

From there on it’s the Jessica Chastain show. She has a brilliant performance as Maya a Central Intelligent Agent on the hunt for Bin Laden. The only back story about her character is given to us two hours into the movie. The CIA Director, played by James Gandolfini, drops a line about how she was picked out of high school to join the CIA. Up until this point we don’t really know why she is on this case. We know she has lost team members along the way, which fuels her passion to find the top target but I’m still not clear why or how she started the mission. I guess it wasn’t important.

The final thirty minutes of movie is the raid on OBL’s complex. This was done well and kept me on the edge of my seat. This was an action packed scene. It was well paced and held the tension the whole time. I didn’t know a lot of the details of the raid so I interested as it unfolded. They didn’t really lay out the plan in advance so we were along for the ride. When Bin Laden is shot they don’t make a big spectacle of it. There isn’t a large celebration, they continue with the mission. They don’t show a close up of the bullet as it kills him. In fact they hardly show his body. You get long shots of it and you see his beard. The troops were not sure going in on the mission if he was going to be there. It’s a bit after while they are packing up as many files as they can that someone mentions, ‘I fired the bullet.’

I liked the Hurt Locker more than this film. Although the raid was thrilling and fun to watch the rest of the movie really dragged in spots. Jessica Chastain was fantastic and deserves the nomination for Best Actress but the whole thing didn’t capture me like the last thirty minutes or The Hurt Locker did. This is a little long, check back tomorrow for Beasts of the Southern Wild and Silver Linings Playbook

#1 Posted by rentfn (1267 posts) -

I know this is mostly a video game site, mostly?? Movies have been something I’ve always loved as much or maybe even more than video games. We are now in “Award Season” for movies. I’ve watched the Oscars each year as long as I can remember. Even though the movies I enjoy the most don’t get nominated, each year one or two things does and I get really excited. For the past few years I’ve tried to watch each of the movies nominated for Best Picture. This weekend I was able to watch three of them, here are their stories…

Zero Dark Thirty

I have to admit I wasn’t very excited for this movie. I wouldn’t have gone to see it in the theater if it wasn’t up for Best Picture. Kathryn Bigelow’s last movie was The Hurt Locker, which won Best Picture and Best Director in 2010. I was happy she won over James Cameron and Avatar. War movies are not my favorite genre so I didn’t have high expectations for this movie but I didn’t go in with negative thoughts either.

The main reason this movie didn’t appeal to me was because I think it’s a cash grab to make a movie about the raid on Bin Laden. I know they were working on another movie about him when they found out they had caught him they switched gears, that movie will be out in a few years as a sort of ‘prequel’ they say. Shouldn’t this movie be out in ten to twenty years to remember this victory in the war on terror??

The movie starts with a black screen and we hear real phone calls from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. I know this is used to set up what we are fighting for…but we already know. We’ve all heard the 9-1-1 call of the lady asking if she was going to die while the responder cries. We know what was taken away from us that day and I felt this was a cheap way to start the film.

From there on it’s the Jessica Chastain show. She has a brilliant performance as Maya a Central Intelligent Agent on the hunt for Bin Laden. The only back story about her character is given to us two hours into the movie. The CIA Director, played by James Gandolfini, drops a line about how she was picked out of high school to join the CIA. Up until this point we don’t really know why she is on this case. We know she has lost team members along the way, which fuels her passion to find the top target but I’m still not clear why or how she started the mission. I guess it wasn’t important.

The final thirty minutes of movie is the raid on OBL’s complex. This was done well and kept me on the edge of my seat. This was an action packed scene. It was well paced and held the tension the whole time. I didn’t know a lot of the details of the raid so I interested as it unfolded. They didn’t really lay out the plan in advance so we were along for the ride. When Bin Laden is shot they don’t make a big spectacle of it. There isn’t a large celebration, they continue with the mission. They don’t show a close up of the bullet as it kills him. In fact they hardly show his body. You get long shots of it and you see his beard. The troops were not sure going in on the mission if he was going to be there. It’s a bit after while they are packing up as many files as they can that someone mentions, ‘I fired the bullet.’

I liked the Hurt Locker more than this film. Although the raid was thrilling and fun to watch the rest of the movie really dragged in spots. Jessica Chastain was fantastic and deserves the nomination for Best Actress but the whole thing didn’t capture me like the last thirty minutes or The Hurt Locker did. This is a little long, check back tomorrow for Beasts of the Southern Wild and Silver Linings Playbook

#2 Posted by AiurFlux (899 posts) -

Kind of disagree with you on a few things. I don't think the movie should be out in 20 years, now is the time to do it. There's interest in it now. There's joy in it now that we got that fucking son of a bitch. Some of the guys in DEVGRU are coming out, well one at least, and talking about the raid on the compound. One of the guys wrote a book called "No Easy Day" (in reference to the SEAL motto of "The only easy day was yesterday," being that DEVGRU is formerly known as SEAL Team Six and consists of handpicked SEALs from the other teams) about the raid.

Also some people have already forgotten what was taken from the. People within the United States seem to have this ADHD about 9/11 and don't give a fuck about it anymore. There are people that are 11 years old that didn't watch those towers fall. I heard a statistic awhile ago where something like 80-90 percent of people in Afghanistan don't even know about 9/11. They think that the US is just there as a foreign invader and don't know that animals hijacked planes and flew them into two of the most famous and recognizable buildings on the planet.

I have no problem with Maya's back story not being explained. This is about one thing and one thing only, the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Nothing else takes paramount over that. I think the film neglecting any back story is smart because it remains focused on the goal just like these people were focused on that same goal for years. Plus they did condense 10 years into two hours so give them a little credit for cutting out shit that wasn't needed. The torture scene when that one guy, I forget his name, say that the terrorist will break because it's just biology was perfect. That gave all the insight into the minds of these people that you needed. They will hurt, they will kill, they will torture, and they will break you to get what they want.

It's a heck of a lot better than Silver Linings Playbook. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were good, but the characters were not believable in the slightest. At times it was painful to watch.

But hey, assholes and opinions. I still think Zero Dark Thirty is the second best movie this year. Lincoln is probably first.

#3 Posted by rentfn (1267 posts) -

@AiurFlux: Thanks for reading!!! I think they did a good job with the torture scenes. This was rumored to come out before the election and everyone was saying this was going to fuel the Obama hype machine. I think this film shines a negative light on the polices Obama put into place. They were getting a lot of information and leads under the Bush polices and when Obama took office everything slowed down. It even took over a hundred days to get the mission green lighted. I know a lot of book and other media is coming out about these events. I just see something strange about putting a price tag on these events. I see it as people making money instead of informing people, which isn't exactly what they are doing. Did you like the Hurt Locker??

I think we have different tastes in movies because I friggin loved Silver Linings Playbook and I hope you will tear into that review when I post it!!! I haven't seen Lincoln yet but I hope to this weekend.

#4 Posted by boj4ngles (287 posts) -

@rentfn said:

@AiurFlux: Thanks for reading!!! I think they did a good job with the torture scenes. This was rumored to come out before the election and everyone was saying this was going to fuel the Obama hype machine. I think this film shines a negative light on the polices Obama put into place. They were getting a lot of information and leads under the Bush polices and when Obama took office everything slowed down. It even took over a hundred days to get the mission green lighted. I know a lot of book and other media is coming out about these events. I just see something strange about putting a price tag on these events. I see it as people making money instead of informing people, which isn't exactly what they are doing. Did you like the Hurt Locker??

I think we have different tastes in movies because I friggin loved Silver Linings Playbook and I hope you will tear into that review when I post it!!! I haven't seen Lincoln yet but I hope to this weekend.

If you got the impression that the film was trying to shine a negative light on Obama then you didn't keep track of the timeline. The Bin Laden unit was shutdown during Bush's second term and was only reopened in Obama's first term. I understand if it was confusing though because the film did a poor job of showing the passage of time and chronological context. I guess it was critical of Obama in the context of interrogation policy, but I'll get more into that below.

Overall I thought the film was entertaining and well made. However as someone who was 16 at the time of 9/11 and has since then had friends and family serve (and be wounded) in the wars that resulted, I had mixed feelings about the historical narrative. I have casually studied the politics, strategy, and tactics of the war of terror for over ten years now through news and books and here are my thoughts.

  1. Zero Dark Thirty (ZDT) is a memoir and a hit piece as well. The character Maya is based off of a real CIA officer who reportedly gave Bigellow, (the film's director) access to classified material and was an unofficial but principal consultant in the film's creation. Therefore it is a story according to someone with opinions and agendas that we the audience do not know. This is usually not a problem in cinema but in this case it is because ZDT is presenting itself as an accurate portrayal of events. However it is clearly a blame game. The overall message is that bureaucratic dysfunction and a lack of political will are why it took so long to get Bin Laden. In reality however, there are other arguments out there, namely that Donald Rumsfeld was so busy with turf wars between the DOD and CIA that they botched the battle of Tora Bora and then invaded Iraq so that the DOD could have something to do. The film also has a very specific ax to grind which brings me to point 2:
  2. Torture. The film is unabashedly pro-torture. It has numerous scenes where characters use torture to extract accurate and actionable intelligence from prisoners. It makes the implicit argument if Obama had not shut down the black sights and the extraordinary rendition programs then we would have been able to get Bin Laden sooner. It also makes a more advanced version of the "ticking time bomb" argument where there are at any given time, numerous terror plots being worked on and torture is one of many ways to uncover them. Now I am not necessarily pro or anti torture. From what I've read over the years, it is sometimes effective and sometimes ineffective. I've also come to understand that the US government agencies are not very good at administering it effectively and that they had more success when they had other countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt conduct torture for them. The film is providing a one dimensional and narrow examination of torture and this is a problem because in the near future, when our soldiers have left Afghanistan and Iraq, and we can finally acknowledge that we lost those wars, one of the points of contention for those who want to issue blame will be over Rules of Engagement, or ROE. There will be many arguments that if only we had allowed our soldiers to more aggressively prosecute the war then they would have had better success. There will be arguments that liberal political backlash over issues like torture made it difficult for the war to be conducted. In the big picture, Zero Dark Thirty contributes to this debate in a way that is not constructive because it is not deep or serious. And finally 3:
  3. As I walked away from the theater, I was left pondering over just how much we don't know about the war on terror and why it has been such a disaster. In particular, we don't know the role of Pakistan and why two presidents, (Bush and Obama) have failed to get them to be transparent and cooperative partners in the war. It is baffling how Karzai, our supposed man in Afghanistan has seemed to be more of a nuisance than a problem for ten years and yet has survived due to American support. One thing I did like about the film though is how it drove home a very clear, obvious point that people had forgotten for a very long time. The war on terror is about Bin Laden and 9/11. All the bullshit about freedom vs. global jihad, proliferation of WMD, stopping failed states, Iraq, it is all bullshit. If we had killed Bin Laden back in 2001, it would have saved the lives of thousands of American servicemen/women and untold thousands of civilians who died in bogus wars.

I liked it, but it was disappointing at the same time. And back to your main subject, yes I too hear it is getting Oscar buzz but in my opinion doesn't deserve one.

#5 Edited by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

I really hate this trend of making movies out of stuff that happened so soon, it really stinks of "I WANT THE BIN LADEN MOVIE BEFORE ANYONE ELSE!", so they make it as quick as possible. I thought the Hurt Locker was pretty mediocre like the past 3 best picture winners.

The movies I will be rooting for are Django Unchained but more surprisingly Silver Linings Playbook, that movie really hit home for be and Bradley Cooper and Robert Deniro were fantastic, a really believable crazy father and son duo.

#6 Posted by zombie2011 (4941 posts) -

I really hated the main character in this movie, I found her to be quite annoying. She started out awesome then she turned into a complete cunt, screaming at everyone and writing on that dudes window every day like a whinny teenager.

#7 Posted by rentfn (1267 posts) -

@boj4ngles: Thanks so much for your response. I haven't read very much on this stuff so it was great to read what you had to say. I also don't know how to feel about torture but I'm sure this movie isn't the right place to get ideas from. I can't imagine being in that position but I'm sure I would be saying anything I could to get them to stop even if it was false info.

@Bourbon_Warrior: I really liked Silver Linings too. I'm going to try and post my thoughts on it tonight. I would love to hear what you have to say too!!!

@zombie2011: I didn't think she was that awful. I liked the reminding the guy by writing on the window. Time was ticking by while they did nothing.

#8 Posted by EpicSteve (6444 posts) -

@AiurFlux said:

Kind of disagree with you on a few things. I don't think the movie should be out in 20 years, now is the time to do it. There's interest in it now. There's joy in it now that we got that fucking son of a bitch. Some of the guys in DEVGRU are coming out, well one at least, and talking about the raid on the compound. One of the guys wrote a book called "No Easy Day" (in reference to the SEAL motto of "The only easy day was yesterday," being that DEVGRU is formerly known as SEAL Team Six and consists of handpicked SEALs from the other teams) about the raid.

Also some people have already forgotten what was taken from the. People within the United States seem to have this ADHD about 9/11 and don't give a fuck about it anymore. There are people that are 11 years old that didn't watch those towers fall. I heard a statistic awhile ago where something like 80-90 percent of people in Afghanistan don't even know about 9/11. They think that the US is just there as a foreign invader and don't know that animals hijacked planes and flew them into two of the most famous and recognizable buildings on the planet.

I have no problem with Maya's back story not being explained. This is about one thing and one thing only, the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Nothing else takes paramount over that. I think the film neglecting any back story is smart because it remains focused on the goal just like these people were focused on that same goal for years. Plus they did condense 10 years into two hours so give them a little credit for cutting out shit that wasn't needed. The torture scene when that one guy, I forget his name, say that the terrorist will break because it's just biology was perfect. That gave all the insight into the minds of these people that you needed. They will hurt, they will kill, they will torture, and they will break you to get what they want.

It's a heck of a lot better than Silver Linings Playbook. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were good, but the characters were not believable in the slightest. At times it was painful to watch.

But hey, assholes and opinions. I still think Zero Dark Thirty is the second best movie this year. Lincoln is probably first.

During my deployment I made it a thing to see if Afghans knew about 9/11. Of course all the english speaking educated ones that worked with the government were aware. More tribal and illiterate were aware there was an attack, but don't really know the details.

#9 Posted by AiurFlux (899 posts) -

@rentfn said:

@AiurFlux: Thanks for reading!!! I think they did a good job with the torture scenes. This was rumored to come out before the election and everyone was saying this was going to fuel the Obama hype machine. I think this film shines a negative light on the polices Obama put into place. They were getting a lot of information and leads under the Bush polices and when Obama took office everything slowed down. It even took over a hundred days to get the mission green lighted. I know a lot of book and other media is coming out about these events. I just see something strange about putting a price tag on these events. I see it as people making money instead of informing people, which isn't exactly what they are doing. Did you like the Hurt Locker??

I think we have different tastes in movies because I friggin loved Silver Linings Playbook and I hope you will tear into that review when I post it!!! I haven't seen Lincoln yet but I hope to this weekend.

I think it's anti and pro Obama and Bush. It clearly shows that torture does and does not work. They did not break that prisoner that they were torturing in the film and they did not stop the attack in Saudi Arabia that they were pushing for intel on. Then they clearly call bullshit on Obama after he bans it's use by the military. So it's on both sides of the fence, which I think is fine. In war things are not black and white, sometimes there is a grey area. A fact that's in everyday life that people seem to neglect. There isn't just good and evil, but there is evil that can do good and good that can cause evil.

But I do absolutely agree with you about profiting off of this. Movies about wars have been made of course but jumping on something so quickly does seem shitty. Topical, but shitty. It would have been nice to see them give at least a portion of the money made to the families of soldiers that served their country and died. There's a book by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle called American Sniper. The money goes to soldiers, I actually think all of it. That's how it should be done. EA released a map pack for Medal of Honor Warfighter based off of the movie based off of the real life event and are donating 1 dollar to Veteran's associations which I also think is being a cheap cocksucker move. I'm sure the pack is 15 bucks and they're also profiting off of real world events so they could surely donate at least 50%. But that's asking to much from EA.

I also know that SEALs have said they won't watch the movie because of how it's portrayed and the fact that it's profiting like it is.

As for the Hurt Locker, I liked it. But like we've already said where is the line? When do you stop telling a story for the sake of telling the story and when are you blatantly profiting off of the sacrifices of soldiers? And not just their lives, but their families. Some of these guys lose their wives, girlfriends, sons and daughters because of what they do. My brother lost his wife and daughter because he went away one to many times. In a 12 month period in 09 he had 1 month off, the rest was on duty or training. The way we treat soldiers at times makes me sick to my stomach. Same with teachers and cops. These are the people that should be lifted up as heroes but instead some bitch that lip-synchs on stage, some moron that can read some lines for a camera, and some asshole that can beat a woman the the brink of hospitalization can have a bigger following and are instead the idols with millions of dollars and private jets. It's fucked up.

So I don't know. On one hand I like that stories like this are told but on the other should they be. We need to remember all this information is still classified, for a reason.