Reel News: Week of Jan. 10 — Lone Survivor, Her, Legend of Hercules, August: Osage County, We Are What We Are

Upcoming Theatrical Releases

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Lone Survivor
Director: Peter Berg
R, 121 mins

LONE SURVIVOR, starring Mark Wahlberg, tells the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative who are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Based on The New York Times bestseller, this story of heroism, courage and survival directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) also stars Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana. (Synopsis by Universal Pictures)

An extremely graphic depiction of war and the bond between soldiers. Like the book, the heroics tend to be exaggerated, but the intense action and patriotism never become a distraction. There is an intimacy present that makes it work. See it.

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The Legend of Hercules
Director: Renny Harlin
PG-13; 99 mins

In the epic origin story THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero – the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. Through harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches, Hercules embarks on a legendary odyssey to overthrow the King and restore peace to the land. (Synopsis by Summit)

Though based on mythological story, this is a ridiculously teenage-age film. There is an audience for this type of movie, but if you’re not a middle school or early high school age boy, you will be-hard pressed to find anything enjoyable. Skip it.

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August: Osage County
Director: John Wells
R; 119 mins

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Letts’ play made its Broadway debut in December 2007 after premiering at Chicago’s legendary Steppenwolf Theatre earlier that year. It continued with a successful international run. (Synopsis by Weinstein)

This is a messy adaptation at best. The plot suffers from allowing the actors to attempt to out-act each other. Despite being Oscar bait, there is little to enjoy here. Skip it.

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Director: Spike Jonze
R; 126 mins

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need. (Synopsis by IMDB)

At its core, this is a riff on Pinocchio. The premise may be hard to get behind, but there is a profound, romantic drama here to enjoy. Jonze and Phoenix are at the top of their game. See it.

Upcoming DVD Releases

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We Are What We Are
Director: Jim Mickle
R; 100 mins

The Parkers have always kept to themselves, and for good reason. Behind closed doors, patriarch Frank rules his family with a rigorous fervor, determined to keep his ancestral customs intact at any cost. As a torrential rainstorm moves into the area, tragedy strikes and his daughters Iris and Rose are forced to assume responsibilities that extend beyond those of a typical family. As the unrelenting downpour continues to flood their small town, the local authorities begin to uncover clues thatbring them closer to the secret that the Parkers have held closely for so many years. (Synopsis by Entertainment One)

A gothic horror story that keeps the tension at a low boil. At the heart, it is a movie about family, which only adds to the scare. This is a welcome change from the shock horror of the last few years. See it.


  1. The Communicator says

    Lone Survivor – “Like the book, he heroics seem to be exaggerated.” Really? You actually wrote that? 19 men lost their lives in that mission. Men who were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for their brothers in arms.

    Typical media, you must take a cheap shot at the military at any given opportunity.

  2. Mark Elloff says

    Actually it is well reported by Ed Darak, author of Victory Point (about the same operation) and by other members of the military that Luttrell most likely inflated the numbers of insurgents his team faced.

    The official account for the Navy lists the insurgence as “…a much larger enemy force of more than 50 anti-coalition militia.” That is certainly less than is described in the book.

    Either way, I’m not sure I follow your argument that questioning the factual account of Luttrell’s book/film makes anyone less patriotic, lessen the sacrifice of members of the military, or is a cheap shot at the 19 SEAL’s who lost their lives.