LONE SURVIVOR Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 55 days ago

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‘Tis the season for red, white and blue patriotism, which finds perfect cinematic expression in the pro-American military thriller Lone Survivor, which recently debuted on Blu-ray.  Based on The New York Times bestselling book “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10,” Lone Survivor doesn’t stop to ask any big questions about what we’re doing in the Middle East, let alone offer any Kubrick-ian treatise on the nature of war.  Instead, it simply dramatizes with harrowing effectiveness the true story of four heroic Navy SEALs who fought against the Taliban to the bitter end out of unmitigated love of country and their fellow American soldiers.

Hit the jump for my complete Lone Survivor Blu-ray review.

LONE SURVIVOR Sends Matt to Virginia to Rappel down Walls, Buzz through the Wilderness on a Helicopter, Fire Machine Guns, and More

by     Posted 84 days ago

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I am not a military man.  Not even close.  I fully support our nations’ military personnel and veterans because I could never do what they do in a million years.  I lack the discipline, the courage, and all-around necessary demeanor.  I have nothing but admiration for the men and women in our armed services, and I know I could never even walk an inch in their shoes.  And yet somehow, I was going to be taking part in an “Extreme SEAL Experience”.

A couple weeks ago, Universal Home Entertainment sent me to Virginia for the DVD/Blu-ray release of Peter Berg‘s Lone Survivor (click here to buy it).  During my trip, I got to participate in very light versions of SEAL training as well as speak with Berg and Lone Survivor author Marcus Luttrell.  Hit the jump for more.

New to Blu-ray: BREAKING BAD: The Complete Series, LONE SURVIVOR, ROBOCOP, and More

by     Posted 85 days ago

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include the non-limited edition complete series set of one of the greatest TV shows of all time, the latest from director Peter Berg, the supposedly “final” cut of Oliver Stone‘s historical epic Alexander, and a sci-fi remake from earlier this year that failed to make much of a splash.  Briefly:

Friday Box Office: RIDE ALONG Remains on Top; I, FRANKENSTEIN Shows Little Life

by     Posted 215 days ago

ride-along-kevin-hart-ice-cube-After it’s record-breaking debut last weekend, Ride Along will have no trouble staying in first place in its sophomore frame.  The Universal comedy earned an estimated $6.3 million from 2,759 locations on Friday and is expected to take in over $20 million through Sunday.  Second place will also belong to Universal, as Lone Survivor continues to over perform entering its third frame.

The fact that two holdovers are on top should clue you in to the fate of the week’s one and only new release: I, Frankenstein.  The latest take on Mary Shelley’s monster is from the producers of Underworld – a series that found a comfortable home in January with its last three features.  From 2,753 venues (almost all of them in higher-priced 3D or IMAX formats), I, Frankenstein earned an estimated $2.8 million on Friday.  That sets the film’s weekend outlook at $8 million or under, or less than half what Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters brought in at this time last year.  We’ll have complete box office details tomorrow.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Ride Along $6,300,000 $60.5
2.  Lone Survivor $3,600,000 $84.6
3.  I, Frankenstein $2,820,000 $2.82
4.  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit $2,615,000 $23.9
5.  The Nut Job $2,300,000 $30.2

12 YEARS A SLAVE Takes Home Best Picture at Critics Choice Awards; GRAVITY, AMERICAN HUSTLE, and LONE SURIVOR Win Genre Awards

by     Posted 224 days ago

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The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards were announced tonight, and 12 Years a Slave took home Best Picture.  The Critics’ Choice Awards have lined up with the Oscars in six of the last seven Best Pictures, but it’s worth noting that the Broadcast Film Critics Association spread the wealth around with genre awards to the other Oscar favorites, Gravity (Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie) and American Hustle (Best Comedy).  Lone Survivor only managed two Oscar nominations for the sound categories, but found some love here as the Best Action Movie.

Hit the jump for the full list of winners, including ten different acting awards.

Weekend Box Office: LONE SURVIVOR Clears $38.8 Million: THE LEGEND OF HERCULES Looks Less Than Legendary

by     Posted 228 days ago

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Lone Survivor easily dominated in its first weekend in wide release.  The real-life war drama took in an estimated $38.8 million from 2,876 locations – doubling its studio’s pre-release projection of $19 million.  Along with its surprising windfall, Lone Survivor now claims the second-highest January opening of all time, behind the $40 million of 2008’s Cloverfield.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Lone Survivor $38,511,000 $38.8
2.  Frozen $15,070,000 $317.6
3.  The Wolf of Wall Street $9,000,000 $78.5
4.  The Legend Of Hercules $8,600,000 $8.6
5.  American Hustle $8,600,000 $101.5
6.  The Hobbit 2 $8,015,000 $242.2
7.  August: Osage County $7,315,000 $7.8
8.  Saving Mr. Banks $6,578,000 $68.9
9.  Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones $6,300,000 $28.4
10.  Anchorman 2
$6,100,000 $118.5

More box office news after the jump.

Emile Hirsch Talks LONE SURVIVOR, What Peter Berg Made Him Do to Land the Role, the Honor of Portraying a Navy SEAL, Future Projects, and More

by     Posted 229 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is director Peter Berg’s (The RundownThe Kingdom) adaptation of the true-life memoir of Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor.  The powerful film tells the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission who try to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative, but are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.  The film stars Mark WahlbergTaylor KitschEmile HirschBen FosterEric BanaAlexander LudwigAli Suliman, and Rohan Chand.  For more on the film, here’s the latest trailer.

At the New York City press day, I landed an exclusive video interview with Emile Hirsch.  He talked about the challenges of making the film, the honor of portraying one of the Navy SEALs, the mood on set while they were filming, what Peter Berg made him do to land the role, the long gun fight sequence, upcoming projects, what he’s going to do to play John Belushi, and more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

Friday Box Office: LONE SURVIVOR Thrives, THE LEGEND OF HERCULES Dies

by     Posted 229 days ago

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Of the five movies opening nationwide as of Friday, only one was brand new – and it’s looking like a bit of a weakling.  The Legend of Hercules, the first of two movies this year to star the mythic strong man, opened to a disappointing $3 million from 2,104 locations.  That means that Hercules is likely to fall short of its (very modest) $10 million goal this weekend.  Considering Hercules is currently rocking a 2% on Rotten Tomatoes, however, things could be worse for the son of Zeus.

Among the four titles expanding their runs this weekend, the clear winner is Lone Survivor.  After two weeks in two locations, Universal’s military drama took in an estimated $14.4 million from 2,876 locations on Friday.  That puts Lone Survivor on track for first place with about $34 million this weekend.  That’s well above the $24 million originally projected and tops the $24.4 million that Zero Dark Thirty realized after its nationwide expansion at this time last year.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Lone Survivor $14,400,000 $14.7
2.  Frozen $3,111,000 $305.7
3.  Legend of Hercules $3,080,000 $3.08
4.  Wolf of Wall Street $2,726,000 $72.3
5.  American Hustle $2,580,000 $95.5
6.  August: Osage County $2,200,000 $2.7

Friday numbers for Her and August: Osage County after the jump:

Director Peter Berg Talks LONE SURVIVOR, Having SEALs On Set Every Day, Damon Lindelof’s THE LEFTOVERS, THE RUNDOWN Sequel, and More

by     Posted 231 days ago

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Opening tomorrow is director Peter Berg’s (The RundownThe Kingdom) adaptation of the true-life memoir of Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor.  The powerful film tells the story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission who try to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative, but are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.  The film stars Mark WahlbergTaylor KitschEmile HirschBen FosterEric BanaAlexander LudwigAli Suliman, and Rohan Chand.  For more on the film, here’s the latest trailer.

At the recent New York City press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Peter Berg.  He talked about the challenges of making the film, his assembly cut, the test screening process (and how the film scored a 96), what he asked the actors to do prior to filming, how he’s changed as a filmmaker, whether we will ever get a sequel to The Rundown, how he got involved with Damon Lindelof’s new HBO series The Leftovers, the possibility of another Friday Night Lights movie, and more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

Producer Randall Emmett Talks LONE SURVIVOR, Producing Team Structure, Production Challenges, Peter Berg’s Intense Passion & the Status of EVEREST

by     Posted 232 days ago

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Randall Emmett has come a long way since his gig as Mark Wahlberg’s assistant.  He’s got over 70 completed titles to his name.  Six of those films have 2013 release dates, one of which grossed over $131 million worldwide and another put $122 million in the bank, and now there’s Lone Survivor, which not only could be on its way to putting up a big number at the box office, but it’s also getting an awards season push.

The film is an adaptation of Marcus Luttrell’s book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, which recounts his true experience during a mission in the mountains of Afghanistan during which three of his Navy SEAL brothers lost their lives in an ambush.  In the film, Wahlberg steps in as Luttrell while Taylor Kitsch play Lieutenant Michael Murphy, Emile Hirsch portrays Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz and Ben Foster takes on the role of Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew Axelson. In the film, the four men are assigned to neutralize a high-level al-Qaeda operative, but find themselves totally isolated and fighting for their lives when their op is compromised. Hit the jump for more.

2014 Writers Guild Nominations Include HER, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, WOLF OF WALL STREET, and LONE SURVIVOR

by     Posted 237 days ago

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The Oscar precursors are in full swing.  Yesterday we got a look at the nominations for the Producers Guild Awards—a solid predictor for the Best Picture Oscar category—and today the Writers Guild of America has unveiled its nominations for the 2014 awards.  The Best Original Screenplay nominees include Nebraska, Her, and American Hustle, while the Best Adapted category is filled out by the likes of Before Midnight, Captain Phillips, and The Wolf of Wall Street.  The major surprise in today’s WGA announcements is the inclusion of Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor script for Best Adapted Screenplay and the befuddling absence of Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis for Original Screenplay.

Hit the jump for more, including the full list of WGA nominations and my analysis with regards to what this means for Oscar.  The 2014 WGA Awards will be held on February 1st.

Atlanta Readers: Win Passes to See LONE SURVIVOR

by     Posted 240 days ago

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This year, we’ve run plenty of pass giveaways for our Atlanta readers, and you guys have always shown up in full force.  For some of these movies, I received hundreds of entries, and it was always a bummer I could only pick a handful.  But we’re going to continue doing these, and we’ll be finishing out 2013 with a screening of Lone SurvivorI had mixed feelings on the movie, but I saw it with an audience, and they applauded at the end.  There was even a woman behind me who was crying.  Whatever qualms I had with the film, it’s never cynical and it hits hard.

I’m pleased to announce we’re giving away 20 admit-two passes for the Atlanta screening of Lone Survivor.  Hit the jump to find out how you can see the movie early and for free.  The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, and Taylor KitschLone Survivor opens in theaters nationwide on January 10th.

Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Eric Bana Talk LONE SURVIVOR, Working with Real Navy SEALs, and More

by     Posted 242 days ago

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It’s tough enough to perform in a film loaded with heart, military logistics, and action, but in Lone Survivor, Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Eric Bana were also tasked with delivering an authentic and admirable representation of real Navy SEALs who lost their lives in the hills of Afghanistan during a devastating mid-mission attack.

With the film now playing in limited release and its January 10th nationwide expansion approaching, all four actors sat down for a press conference in New York City to talk about working with the sole survivor of the real-life ambush, Marcus Luttrell, the connections they built with members of the SEAL community, the pressure to honor their sacrifice, and more. Hit the jump for the full discussion.

LONE SURVIVOR Review

by     Posted 247 days ago

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After watching Battleship and Lone Survivor, I have no doubt that director Peter Berg has a deep and earnest respect for America’s military.  While one movie is a silly blockbuster and the other is based on a true-story tragedy, they both celebrate the honor and dedication of men and women in uniform.  Where I take issue with Berg is how he expresses his adoration of the troops.  In Battleship, a movie with aliens, spaceships, and explosive pegs, throwing in an appreciation of sailors is a nice sentiment.  In Lone Survivor, appreciation isn’t a sentiment; it’s a cause.  Berg’s desire to honor the Navy SEALs who lost their lives on a FUBAR mission is admirable, but the film’s heavy emphasis on action makes physical endurance appear more commendable than deeds and intentions.

Peter Berg and Marcus Luttrell Talk LONE SURVIVOR, Cast and Crew Dedication, Making the Movie for the Right Reasons, Honoring Lives Lost, and More

by     Posted 252 days ago

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There’s no sitting through Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor without walking out deeply affected by the experience and if you read Marcus Luttrell’s book and/or this press conference transcript, you’ll understand why. The film is based on Luttrell’s New York Times bestseller and tells the tale of his true experience during a covert mission in the mountains of Afghanistan when he and three other Navy SEALs were ambushed by the enemy.

While in New York City ahead of Lone Survivor’s December 25th limited release, Luttrell himself sat down alongside Burg to run through the challenges of adapting his story for the screen, his experience working with stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster, and the need to work around classified information. Read about that, Berg’s extensive research, becoming the first civilian to embed with an active SEAL team, and loads more after the jump.

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