Movie Notes

Lone Survivor


Navy Seal training looks a tad challenging

“It pays to be a winner.”

“I like having buddies that I can depend on, and I would like them to be able to depend on me.”

“There’s a storm inside of us. A burning. A river. A drive. An unrelenting desire to push yourself harder and further than anyone could think possible. Pushing ourselves into those cold, dark corners where the bad things live; where the bad things fight. We want that fight at the highest fight. The loudest, darkest, coldest, most unpleasant of the unpleasant fights.”

Slow, CU the guys sleeping. Connect to back home. Show physically fit without making it the point of the scene.

Exercising. Pushing selves hard. Competitive. It is the point of that little vignette. Banter. The mission is introduced.

Serious work. Rooting technique

Show the enemy – they are really bad. Ruthless.

“A lot of moving parts.” – doubt

Importance last home.

Silliness. Seriousness. Strange frogman speech. Recite it perfectly.

“Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing.”

During the speech, the mission starts. Serious, life-threatening work. They are after the really bad, bad guys.

Conceal and cover doesn’t make for good movie. The audience can’t see the character in the setting. Can’t see the gravity of of the situation.

They’re rather out in the open.

I love good binoculars


Ask what your team wants. Let them recommend.

Mark Walberg has a good concerned face – furrowed brow.


Constant communication.

Banter. Funny, humanizes.

Slow realization of the goats – the danger. Let it build. One by one, they notice. “Do you see this?” “What the f*ck is this?”

“A cursed OP.” “It’s just Afghanistan.”

They actually did a pretty god job of conceal and cover.

What do you do when things go wrong. So much at stake.

Someone gives the orders.

TiC (Troops in Contact)

Direct eye contact. Even soft, held eye contact.

Parallel story: juxtaposition: boy running down, SEALS climbing up

So much communication. Nothing happens w/o communication.

Holy shit. So intense. What do you do. Living is better than dying. Getting out is better than getting pinned.

Well, crap. That didn’t go well.

“Suck it the f*ck up.”

They need to find a better way down rocks.

“I am the reaper.”

Don’t they wear armor?

They sit around a bit.

What do people say when they are about to die? What do they say every single time? Tell __________ that I love them. Well, why would you wait until you’re dying?


That breathing is gross.

The shot to the head was harsh.

Aren’t there strategies and formations for dealing with being surrounded, outmanned, and maximizing terrain, time, etc.

Whoa. Is that busted bone out of his leg?

Is he left-handed?

People will help. (X-ref: Even infants have an instinct to help.)

Whoa. That villager sets out walking.

Couldn’t a SEAL take four guys? I guess not shot up and with a busted leg.

He doesn’t do a very good job trying to communicate. Words don’t work with differing languages; use images.

UnderArmor and Mechanix

He acts a bit like an animal. Like we would expect one of the “primitive” captors we would capture.

Quite a few nick-of-time salvations.

“You are never out of the fight.”

Not all military operations (even American!) go as planned. I wonder what percentage go as planned? Few.

War is the worst thing ever. But you do have to fight the bad guys. Even take the fight to them. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.


Captain Phillips

Tom Hanks’ accent comes and goes. That’s a little distracting.

Who are his kids? Where are they? Why mention them once and never again? Where is the wife going?

I’m not convinced that 25 guys in a tanker would be afraid of four guys in a… dinghy.

Why not just unhook their ladder after they hook it? Without the ladder there is no way they are getting on. You could stay ducked below the SOLID STEEL gunwales.

Why are there no weapons, or no protocol for overpowering / outsmarting pirates?

Tom Hanks’ character is a commanding boss. Now he is not.

Who is the protagonist? Captain Phillips? The Navy? The SEALS?

Special forces are bad a$$.

It really is sucky to kill the three penniless, desperate guys and throw the fourth in prison for 33 years, when the war lord is directly responsible… and not just for that one pirate attack.

Big Bad Wolves

2013. Israeli film. Written and directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado.


My  notes:

A very good thriller.

Cool opening: all slow mo for a long time. The title is in the scene! (In wood on top of the abandoned house)

Straight to another tense, somewhat violent scene: from emotionally tense to physically tense

Boy recording the beating: Very 2014! This will happen more in the future… and therefore in future films

A “Who Done It”

A surprising lead… or a criminal playing cat and mouse? Do criminals do that in real life? No. Just like there are no big gun battles in big cities.

Oh dear.

Story plays out as it would in real life: al characters do exactly what they would.

Who’s the guy with the camera?

Slow tension building with testing the screaming. Nice. Too slow?

Police man who won’t leave a case. Cliche. Good example of doing what is right when it is not easy (or allowed).

How come the teacher can’t prove his innocence?

The video increases the heat.

Tough police boss. A bit cliche?

Whoa: you’re not a cop anymore. Civilians can do whatever they want.

Concurrent stories: the kidnapping, the demoted police, the dad who can’t see his daughter, the writer/pyscho.

How do all these fuckers have so much time?

Why is the demoted police chasing the teacher?

Boy, he sure ditched the police easily.

Why is the writer following the teacher? Or the police? Why does the writer have a gun?

The cop had better be aware of his surroundings. It would be embarrassing if the writer could follow him, drive into the same forest, and track him.

And… he did.

All warfare is based on deception. The pyscho has power. So the secret is to trick him into believing he has the power. Assess; then destroy.

Boom! It’s the daughter’s dad!

The teacher doesn’t seem like the molester.

Good acting.

The stalling is a bit funny.

Mom calls. “We’re coming over.”

The teacher finally speaks up. And makes good points. Casts doubt.

The music is funny.

The cake baking??

Why isn’t the teacher convincing the writer that he is innocent.

More stalling!

There would be more screaming.

A man on a horse rides up!

More interruptions!

The police could pull his gag out.

Whoa. Whoa. Nice punch in the gut. He was supposed to pick up his daughter. But was with his secretary.

Twist! The grandpa gets involved. That monkeys up the captured men’s plan.

Whoa. Another twist. The grandfather mistakes the pedophile. The cop looks more like a pedophile. Funny.

Something is going to go wrong with the blowtorch. Gross.

Whoa. Dad and granddad are insane.

Gradndad is watching the captives. They can’t do their plan.

There would be much more blood and sweat after that torture.

Dramatic irony with the cake!

So no buried head.

Parallel story: the bike and the car!

What? The police’s daughter is missing?!


Did he smile?

Boom. They couldn’t find that secret room? Not convincing. But terrifying, nonetheless.

American Hustle

———– My notes ———–

  • 10:00 – 13:30 voice-over is outstanding!
  • The characters and the orchestration of the characters is masterful.
  • The motivation of each character is unclear and/or forced.
  • Christian Bale is good.
  • Why are they setting up the mayor? He is a good guy.
  • What’s with Amy Adams’ accent? It comes and goes.
  • Why did she scream on the toilet?
  • The FBI guy is as good at conning as the con man. (Update: No he is not.)
  • The whole thing is one breath away from collapsing. At all times. Yikes!
  • I don’t buy the low-life, alcoholic who is super wise and insightful. Even when drunk. Maybe such a person exists. I have never met one.
  • Why are they doing this to the mayor?
  • Why does Irving care if his wife cheats?
  • The women are so manipulative. Like mythological archetypes.
  • Why is she telling him that? Why now?
  • You can find good stuff. But you really have to look.
  • Wayne Dyer’s book, ‘The Power of Intention” was published in 2005. How was Rosaline reading it in 1980?
  • Irving is getting it from all sides.
  • FBI, Richard “Richie” DiMaso, guy pushed so hard. At any cost.
  • What are Irving and Rosaline getting out of this?
  • It’s a modern Macbeth! With a name borrowed from Romeo and Juliet.
  • The wrap up is pretty quick. All right at the end. I would like to see this story mapped out; outlined.
  • I like the semi-stilted dialog.

———– Quotes I liked ———–

  • “Everyone at the bottom crosses paths eventually.”
  • “It was almost scary how easy it was to take money from desperate people.”
  • “When I was around her, I felt joy. Fucking joy and love.”
  • “She was the Picasso of passive-aggressive karate.”
  • “She had me. I was her mark.”
  • “The key to people is what they believe; what they want to believe.”
  • “People believe what they want to believe. Now, who’s the master? The painter or the forger?”
  • “That’s the way the world works.”
  • “Crazy thing about people: the more you say “No” the more they want in on something. It is so stupid.”
  • “Someone people can pin their hopes and dreams on.”
  • “You’re pretty wild.”
  • “No more fake shit.”
  • “We dream and we build. We never give up.”
  • “You’re nothing to me until you’re everything.”
  • “End up with Rosaline in the dead space. Floating in some dead space with the furniture and the curtains. And I was your lifeline out, and you were mine.”
  • “The loss of his friendship would haunt me the rest of my life.”
  • “You can fool yourself for just so long. And then your next reinvention better have your feet on the damn ground.”
  • “The art of survival is a story that never ends.”

The Queen of Versailles

The attitude in the home is pleasant. And it comes from her. She seems like a happy, strong person. There is not one moment of her being cranky or unhappy. There are no moments of her snapping at people. She is never in a bad mood. Maybe she tiptoes around her husband. Maybe she is afraid that he doesn’t need or love him. She definitely needs him.

The tension in their relationship is a classic case of the husband working hard and the wife spending as much (or more) as they earn. He will resent her for her spending. It happens in millions of homes across all economic levels. Just stop spending. Regardless of income. Consumption is always shameful.

She loves attention. She seems to make everything about her but doesn’t seem to get touchy or take it personally when it isn’t about her.

The filmmaker did a remarkable job.

The nanny talks a lot about missing her family and how poor her family is. That does not compute.

Jackie’s breasts get bigger (and unsettling / freaky) during the course of the film.

The consumption of the lady is shameful.

He sure sits a lot. Geez.

Why do they have peacocks?

He says he doesn’t get any joy from his marriage. He says it is like having another child.

The lady gets each child so many gifts that the kids don’t even know what they’re getting; they seem dazed.

“Former Beauty Queen” is a tragic phrase.

Since the film: Jackie wants her own reality show. But the Siegels signed over the rights to their life story to make the film. So David has sued the filmmakers. Twice. Also, Westgate had record profits in 2012 and looks to have an even better 2013.