Screen Junkies » The Dirty Dozen http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:40:14 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 The 7 Greatest War Movie Ensembles http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-7-greatest-war-movie-ensembles/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-7-greatest-war-movie-ensembles/#comments Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:03:26 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=253506 War's always more fun in a group.

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While many films follow the journey and trials of a single person, or a couple people, war films almost always seem to run the other direction, chronicling the lives of a group of men, no matter how disparate, who must all get through this thing together. Sometimes the story sticks to the action aspects, sometimes it focuses on the people or group, but individuals rarely go to war alone. So, in honor of Company of Heroes—and its own kickass crew, including Vinnie Jones, Neal McDonough and Tom Sizemore—dropping on Blu-ray™ and DVD on February 26th, we’ve compiled this list of the best war movie ensembles. Ten-hut!

The Dirty Dozen

There’s nothing not to like about the premise of The Dirty Dozen and its characters. A major is tasked with assembling a small group of felon-soldiers and having them infiltrate a stronghold chateau. These guys are underdogs, misfits, and patriots. It’s like a much bloodier version of the Bad News Bears. While the ensemble has Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson, and Donald Sutherland, the real standout here is the gruff and no-nonsense Jim Brown, who was one of the first big names to make his way from the world of sports to the world of film. He’s tough enough that it never seems like acting, which I guess made his job very easy for him.

The Wild Geese


This one may not resonate in the same fashion as the American films, but just because these soldiers are largely English, Irish and South African doesn’t mean they kick any less ass. Bonus points to this film for shifting the venue away from the more familiar WWII settings and pitting them against forces of a military coup on the verge of executing the nation’s leader. As the heroes breach the facility, they silently take out the sentries with cyanide-tipped arrows and cyanide gas. Awesome? Awesome.

Das Boot

The characters in submarine films better be pretty damn compelling and likable, because the audience is going to be in close quarters with these guys for 90 minutes, so the irritation factor could be high. Fortunately, Wolfgang Petersen is able to ratchet up the drama fast and furiously. Further, the story is told through a military journalist, rather than through an omniscient or brutally unreliable soldier narrator. Oh yeah…all the guys on the boats are Nazis, which may not make them the most likable lot, but their plight is very relatable, and you’re able to forget that these are the bad guys, which is a testament to not only the story but the performances of the actors.

Inglourious Basterds

I held out as long as I could. The basterds are a group of largely Jewish soldiers who take their Nazi-hunting to a very personal level, using brutal tactics to not only weaken German manpower but also create bad PR that weakens the resolve of the German war machine. These tactics include baseball bat assaults from the Bear Jew, frequent scalpings, and… STIGLITZ. They don’t all find their way home, but their cause is a noble one. So let’s celebrate that.

Tropic Thunder

The guys in Tropic Thunder don’t come out of the gate as hardened soldiers but rather mismatched, hilariously idiosyncratic actors. But by the time the story ends, adversity has been faced and the good guys win, it’s hard to view them as actors in retrospect, even with such hilarious intermittent fare as Simple Jack. Just like with real soldiers, the madness of war takes its toll, in a thinly veiled spoof of the true story of shooting Apocalypse Now. It’s silly and slapstick-y, but the action sequences are quite legit, and the audience walks away learning that not only is war hell, but movie shoots about war can be hell as well.

Three Kings

As mentioned above, war can be hell because of the brutality, but in the case of high-tech battles of recent memory, war can also be hellishly boring, like a high school chem class. Three Kings uses four everymen to document exactly how rote and boring even life on the front lines can be as we see Spike Jonze, Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney wrestle with their consciences as they’re torn between doing the right thing and getting really, really rich. They don’t set out to be heroes. Quite the opposite, actually. But they find their way after finally seeing the ravages of war.

Saving Private Ryan

Men rarely go to war alone, unless you’re John Rambo. So it’s no surprise that we more often see the ravages of war on groups of men, rather than individuals. Sure, they all cope their own way, but to see a group deteriorate or overcome collectively is part of the mystique of men in battle. Saving Private Ryan frames the journey of a group of men as they search for one man. The metaphor is hardly subtle, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. We see a medic, a schoolteacher, a translator, a hard-ass, another hard-ass and a regular Joe from Brooklyn all trek across Europe in the search for a lost soul in war. It’s beautifully done, and one of few films that’s really long because it needs to be, not because it wants to be.

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7 Classic Action Films Even A Film Snob Can Love http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-classic-action-films-even-a-film-snob-can-love/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/7-classic-action-films-even-a-film-snob-can-love/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2011 14:00:38 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=234644 Even film snobs like explosions from time to time.

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David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai came out on Blu-ray a few weeks ago, the latest in a series of classic movies recently given the HD upgrade. Film snobs know that this is one of the greatest action/adventure movies ever made – and since I’m feeling generous, here are seven classic action films that can satisfy both the boring-film snob and the action-craving frat boy in all of us.

Click here for more Sony “Action Unleashed” DVDs!

The Bridge on the River Kwai

In addition to being a classic action film featuring one of the all-time great screen ‘splosions, The Bridge on the River Kwai has many things a true film snobs will appreciate: immaculate compositions, a refined sense of tension and suspense, great performances from William Holden, Alec Guinness, and Sessue Hayakawa, and a classic and unforgettable score. On the other hand, action fans will appreciate the exciting plot and the famous railroad explosion at the climax of the movie.

The Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa‘s pioneering action movie has the battle scenes that both film snobs and their less-evolved brethren will appreciate, albeit for possibly different reasons. They’re exciting, dramatic, and technically impressive. But they’re also highly influential among later action movies. Just one example of this is Kurosawa’s use of slow-motion, now a familiar device in action movies to make something look extra badass.

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9 Classic Movies That Will Put Hair On Your Chest http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/9-classic-movies-that-will-put-hair-on-your-chest/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/9-classic-movies-that-will-put-hair-on-your-chest/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2011 13:00:41 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=230633 I may have taken this "chest hair" theme a bit too literally.

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Sick of having a smooth and disgustingly hairless chest? While there are medical options available to you, watching certain types of movies, many of them featuring the talents of such hirsute gentlemen as Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Richard Boone, and others. One such classic, The Guns of Navarone, will be released on Blu-ray on 10/18. If you can’t wait until then, watch any of these movies and your chest will be covered in a thick Austin Powers-like pelt in no time.

See the other Sony “Action Unleashed” DVDs! by clicking here

The Great Escape

One of the best WWII action movies ever made, The Great Escape follows a group of Allied POWs in a German prison camp, doing their damndest to, well, escape. The harrowingly claustrophobic tunnel scenes alone will make you sprout a tuft or two. And the famous motorcycle chase? Forget about it!

Von Ryan’s Express

The best movies to put hair on your chest are obviously those about World War II. After all, “The Greatest Generation” is called that due to the unprecedented and since unmatched level of chest hair among them. Here’s another WWII gem, this one starring none other than Frank Sinatra. It’s not quite at the level of The Great Escape but it’ll definitely have your chest blanketed in a thick coat of fur sooner rather than later.

The Dirty Dozen

Here’s a movie that is basically graduate-level chest hair production material. Take a look at this cast: Lee Marvin. Charles Bronson. Telly Savalas. Robert Ryan. Jim Brown. Ernest Borgnine. Just reading these names should cause your chest to feel a bit warmer. When you factor in the plot about a ragtag bunch of prisoners flambeing a bunch of Nazi party-goers, it’s practically a chest hair factory.

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