Flags of Our Fathers

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Steven Spielberg
  • Writers: James Bradley, Ron Powers, William Broyles Jr, Paul Haggis
  • Genres: Action, Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach, Jesse Bradford, Neal McDonough, Barry Pepper, Robert Patrick, Paul Walker, Jamie Bell, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery

The story focuses on seven US Marines of the 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, Sgt. Mike Strank, Pfc. Rene Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes, Cpl. Harlon Block, Pfc. Franklin Sousley, Sgt. Hank Hansen, and Pfc. Ralph Ignatowski, as well as their Navy Corpsman, PhM2. John “Doc” Bradley.

In December 1944, U.S. Marines train at Camp Tarawa, Hawaii. They train by climbing a large mountain and getting in Higgins boats. The Marines then set sail across the Pacific, and it is revealed that they are headed to the small island of Iwo Jima, located less than 700 miles from the Japanese mainland. As Captain Severance puts it, they will be fighting on Japanese soil, and will expect tough resistance. A few days later, the armada arrives off the coast of Iwo Jima and the ships of the US Navy open fire on suspected Japanese positions. On the night before the landings, Mike is put in charge of second platoon.

The next day, February 19, 1945, the Marines hit the beach in landing craft and meet no resistance. Ralph, aka “Iggy”, suspects that the Navy killed all the Japanese defenders, as do most of the Marines. After several tense minutes the Marines advance forward and the Japanese open fire. The battle is extremely intense, and the Marines take heavy casualties. Japanese heavy artillery opens fire upon the Marines on shore, as well as the Navy ships. After several attempts, Second Platoon takes out a Japanese pillbox which was pinning them down. They advance forward, as do many other Marines. The battle begins to calm down and the beachheads are secure. Two days later the Marines attack Mount Suribachi under a rain of Japanese artillery and machine gun fire, as the Navy bombards the mountain. It is here that Doc saves the lives of several Marines under fire which later earns him the Navy Cross. Finally, the mountain is secure. For the next four nights, the Marines take cover in foxholes as Japanese soldiers charge through the mist.

In September the war ends and Doc, Rene and Ira go home. Ira tries to move on but is never able to escape his unwanted fame. One day in 1952 after being released from jail, he hitchhikes over 1,300 miles to Texas to see Harlon Block’s family. He tells Ed Block, Harlon’s father that Harlon was indeed at the base of the flag in the famous photograph. In 1954, the USMC War Memorial is dedicated and the three flag raisers see each one last time. In 1955 Ira dies of exposure after a night of drinking. That same year Doc drove to a town where Iggy’s mom lived and told her how Iggy died, though it is implied that he lied. Rene has little success as the business offers he received on the bond drive are no longer offered to him. He spends the rest of his life as a high school janitor, dying in 1979. Doc is the only successful one. He buys the funeral home he worked at before the war and runs it for the rest of his life. In 1995, as he is on his death bed, he tells his son James how after the flag raising Captain Severance took the men swimming. He then dies peacefully. In a final flashback to 1945, the men swim in the ocean after raising the flags.

Defiance

  • Directors: Edward Zwick
  • Producers: Edward Zwick, Pieter Jan Brugge
  • Writers: Clayton Frohman, Edward Zwick
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller, War
  • Actors: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, George MacKay

The film opens with on-screen text stating: “A true story”. It is August 1941 and Nazi forces are sweeping through Eastern Europe, targeting Jewish people. Among the survivors not killed or restricted to ghettoes are the Bielski brothers: Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber), Asael (Jamie Bell), Aron (George MacKay). Their parents are dead, slain by the local police under orders from the occupying Germans. The brothers flee to the forest, vowing to avenge their parents.

They encounter other Jewish escapees hiding in the forest and the brothers take them under their protection and leadership. Over the next year, they shelter a growing number of refugees, raiding local farms for food and supplies, moving their camp whenever they are discovered by the Germans. Tuvia kills the local police chief responsible for his parents’ deaths and the brothers stage raids on the Germans and their collaborators, however Jewish casualties cause Tuvia to reconsider this approach because of the resulting risk to the hiding Jews. A long-time sibling rivalry between the two eldest brothers, Tuvia and Zus, fuels a disagreement between them about their future: as winter approaches, Zus elects to leave his brothers and the camp and join a local company of Soviet partisans, while his older brother Tuvia remains with the camp as their leader. An arrangement is made between the two groups in which the Soviet partisans agree to protect the Jewish camp in exchange for supplies.

After a winter of sickness, starvation, and constant hiding, the camp learns that the Germans are about to attack them in force. The Soviets refuse to help them and they evacuate the camp as German dive-bombers strike. A delaying force stays behind, led by Asael. The defense does not last long, with only Asael and another surviving to rejoin the rest of the group, who, at the edge of the forest, are confronted with a seemingly impassable marsh. They cross the marsh, but are immediately attacked by German infantry supported by a tank. Just as all seems lost, the Germans are assaulted from the rear by a partisan force led by Zus, who has grown disenchanted with the Soviets’ anti-Semitism. As the survivors escape into the forest, the film ends as on-screen text states that they survived another two years, ultimately growing to a total of 1,200 Jews. Original photographs of the real-life characters are shown, including Tuvia Bielski in his Polish Army uniform, and tells their ultimate fates: that Asael was killed in action shortly afterwards, but Tuvia, Zus and Aron survived the war and emigrated to America, and that the descendents of the people they saved now number in the tens of thousands.

Jumper

  • Directors: Doug Liman
  • Producers: Simon Kinberg, Lucas Foster, Jay Sanders, Stacy Maes
  • Writers: David S Goyer, Jim Uhls, Simon Kinberg, Steven Gould
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Samuel L Jackson, Rachel Bilson, Michael Rooker, Diane Lane, AnnaSophia Robb, Max Thieriot, Teddy Dunn, Kristen Stewart, Jesse James

The movie starts with a young David Rice (Thieriot), a 15-year-old student in Ann Arbor, Michigan, discovering that he has the ability to “jump”, teleporting to any location he has seen after falling into a frozen river while recovering a snow globe for Millie (Robb) that was thrown onto the river by school bully Mark (James). He decides to leave his alcoholic father, William (Rooker), his mother Mary (Lane), having left him when he was five, and goes to New York City, but before that he leaves the snow globe for Millie to symbolize that he is still alive. While in New York, he uses his power to rob a bank for funds. He repeats this many times over the years, sometimes leaving IOU notes as a joke. Eight years later, David (Christensen) lives a luxurious life from his penthouse apartment, its walls covered with pictures of places around the world which he “jumps” to on a daily basis. However, a lead from the bank robbery he did when he was 15 has finally led a man named Roland Cox (Jackson) to David, who knows of his ability and has the technology to disable him – electrified restraints. However, as Roland believes someone is protecting David, he hesitates in killing him long enough for David to escape. Roland tells his associates to be prepared at the various sites that David has on his walls.

David jumps to Millie’s apartment and is quickly caught by the Paladins. Risking his life, David manages to teleport the entire apartment to a nearby river, including Millie and the Paladins, but seemingly falls unconscious in the process. However, the couple are then teleported to the library where David made his first jump – along with Roland. David recovers first, grabs Roland and teleports him to a cave high above the Grand Canyon. Before departing, David tells Roland that he could have killed him, proving that he is not the abomination Roland believes him to be. Sometime later, David and Millie travel to Mary’s home, and David learns that he has a sister named Sophie (Stewart), and that Mary herself was a Paladin; when David was five, he began jumping, so she left to avoid having to kill her own son. She asks him to leave, giving him a head start before she must hunt him down; David and Millie jump to an unknown location.