Theirs is the Fury

Everyone is talking about David Ayers’ new project Suicide Squad spreading rumors and guessing at casting. But let’s take a minute to look at Fury, Ayer’s World War II tank crew ode. The film is compelling, sad, and brings to life the true courage of those who worked in the tank squads.

During World War II the Axis’ tankers were far superior to those of the Allies. Most tank squad lasted about six weeks but the story follows a team that has been together for four years. When their gunner is killed, the position is filled by Norman Ellison, a military typist. He has not seen battle and is not used to the brutality. But working under “War Daddy” he quickly sees what the war really is: death and destruction. As the tanks move through the German landscape, Ellison bonds with his team and, when it comes to a final show down, they band together to hold off the Germans.

The cast works well together. Each actor takes their role and makes it their own. You’d never believe that they are the guy from Interview with the Vampire and the kid in Percy Jackson and the jackass from The Walking Dead. Brad Pitt, Jon Bernthal, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, and Michael Peña round out Fury’s squad and each one brings something to their role whether it is innocence, leadership or faith.

But is the realm of the movie that affects you. Ayer doesn’t shy away from the hard truth of war: violence and cruelty ran rampant. Soldiers on both sides committed offenses. You see the terror in their eyes. You realize how desperate the Allie was coming for soldiers near the end of the war. You see the struggles of having les advanced equipment. This is not a feel good movie but an ode to those who served.
I had some one tell me the movie was missing something. Not a lot of time is spent the men’s home lives. They don’t reminisce 1413227235_4much about their lives at home but pictures of their loved ones are clearly shown. This helps keep the story in the now and focusing on the present action. But the biggest thing missing is there is no happy conclusion at the end of the film. There is so write up about how the team managed to complete their task and win the war. This is because Fury is a fictional tale. Ayers used a composite of different stories about tank teams to create this one story. So while it doesn’t give you the kind of closure you expect from most war movies, it is still a brutal look at a different section of the military during WWII.

Overall, Fury is a moving film. It looks at the complex world of war with realism. You hate the characters and you love them. It helps us realize what people did to secure our freedom, something we often take for granted.


Summer Showdown Part 1

Expectation can make or break a movie. No matter how good or bad it is, if it’s not what the fans are expecting the value of the movie changes. Expectations have a huge impact on Sometimes movies are sadly disappointing (like Monster University) while other surprised you (World War Z).

Mike Wazowski Gets Braces

The movie I have most been excited for was Monsters University. I loved the original and couldn’t wait to see how Mike and Sully became best friends. I imagined the movie taking place as a bed time story to little Boo (arguably the best character in the series). What I got was disappointment.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITYThe film starts with Mike and Sully as young children visiting the Monster’s Inc. In a brief tale of the popular vs. unpopular, Mike decides he wants to be a scarer. Fast forward to college and Mike is majoring in scaring though he is not at all scary. Sully waltzes through classes discounting rhetoric because he is naturally scary. Young Mike and Sully clash as their philosophies in life affect their course work. They learn to be friends when they compete in the Scare Games, a Revenge of the Nerd style Greek games with very little humor and a lot of heart ache.

In fact, the movie focuses so much on the ideas of popularity, that it drags the film down. Mike’s underdog is heart breaking but at the same time you don’t like him. It’s hard to like Sully either. He’s mean, disrespectful, and a cheater.  The resolution ends with hippie rhetoric that friends are more important than your life goals.

Meant to be a heartwarming tale of teamwork and friendship, Monster’s University lacks the humor and originality of the first film. While it is entertaining to see why Randall hates Sully and Mike, the loss of Boo and screams of “Mike Wazowski” cause this tale to fall flat.  Don’t expect a tale as charming and funny as the first, and you may enjoy it more.

Pitt’s Best Movie since Interview with a Vampire

My boyfriend talked me into World War Z. I had no interest. Super-fast zombies dog piling up a wall with no regards for the book? Pass; I’d rather watch cartoon monsters.  But then I was glad he convinces me.

Brad Pitt plays a former United Nations investigator who sees the zombie attacks first hand. He, his wife and daughters daughters manage to escape the city and are transported to a military ship. Gerry is asked to visit South Korea where the word “zombie” was first used.  What he finds is are other leads taking him around the world. Shipped from place to place and escaping zombies, Pitt actually finds a way to deter the undead.a_560x375
The book is set up as an oral history. Characters describe events that happened before, during, and after the zombie war.  For an action movie to move forward there should be central characters moving in the present. Pitt goes from the static UN interviewer to an investigator actively trying to find the cause of the zombie plague. Taking some bits and pieces of content from the book, the story moves forward briskly and keeps viewers involved. The stories are collected in a fluid tale.

The movie focuses less on the action and more on the drama. Taking a page out of The Walking Dead’s playbook, the movie is at its best when you can cut the tension with a knife. The final scenes when Gerry is in the lab are terrifying and keep you on the edge of your seat.

Reflecting on the book, it is sad the movie is not a faithful adaptation. But what would be the best way to do so? I think it would make a fabulous TV series. TV would handle the format well and real time could be spent on developing each history, the events and the character.  While not faithful, the movie is entertaining.

Surprisingly I choose zombies over cartoon monsters this time.