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Generation Kill Battalion Unit Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone, Lee Tergesen, Jon Huertas, Stark Sands, Billy Lush, Jonah Lotan, Wilson Bethel, Pawel Szajda, Chance Kelly, Eric Ladin,

Generation Kill: an honest and accurate account of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq – told from the perspective of a journalist riding with an elite Marine battalion. Several things come together to make this an exceptional miniseries: i) the ensemble cast is phenomenal – you don’t for a second feel like they’re not real soldiers or real people spittin’, shittin’ and singin‘ their way through a dangerous and unfamiliar country; ii) the dialogue, interactions, plot and shooting style make this feel ultrarealistic: you’re sitting in the Humvee with the battalion; seeing their choices, struggles and the ‘greyness’ of the scenarios in which they’re left to operate in – corpses everywhere, very little action, not much heroics, and all part of the larger, poorly-led mess of an invasion. You also get a warts and all picture of the military: how the chain of command has the wrong people are in the wrong places; how some degenerates make it to the front line; the misuse of army personnel and equipment; and how they have the power to wipe out entire villages with a single decision. Despite the eye-opening shocks, action, and tension the most enjoyable parts are the inane chat and time-filling banter between the troops – and moments like the unit singing Drowing Pool’sLet the Hajis hit the floor , Teenage Dirtbag, or Sk8er Boi are pure television. The only gripe I have is that some of the night-time scenes are infuriatingly dark and impossible to see anything – let alone follow what’s happening. Generation Kill is everything that you want from television (entertaining, informative, political) and everything you’d expect from the man behind The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Streets. Credible and incredible television.

Score: 9/10

Generation Kill Logo Title Card Crosshair Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone, Lee Tergesen, Jon Huertas, Stark Sands, Billy Lush, Jonah Lotan, Wilson Bethel, Pawel Szajda, Chance Kelly, Eric Ladin,

Top Gun 01 Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Kelly McGillis, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, Rick Rossovich, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, Maverick, Iceman, Goose, Charlie, Slider, Viper

Top Gun: a hot-headed fighter-pilot is sent to train with the top 1% at the Air Force’s finest training school – Top Gun. This is one of those films I watched in complete disbelief, why is it that this has become such a popular, ‘must see’ movie? The best thing about it is the music, but even that’s criminally overused: Danger Zone pops up 3 times, and Berlin’s Take My Breath Away appears 4 times!! The aerial combat scenes (central to the plot) aren’t quite as fluent and obvious as you’d expect – with limited shots and a lot of rough cuts: it relied more on the pilot’s communications to keep you informed. Not much to say about the script, other than it’s terrible, beyond hammy, and packed with so much innuendo that they had to have deliberately been going for a campy vibe: one character actually shouts “I want some butts”. Kilmer and Cruise don’t have to do much other than oil up, stand about in towels covered in sweat beads, square up chest to chest and erotically whisper lines like…

“You’re dangerous”
“Yea, I know”
“You’re reckless”
“What about it”

It’s a film jammed with so much machismo that it unknowingly ends up mincing it’s way over to the ‘camp classic’ section.

Score: 4/10

Top Gun 02 Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Kelly McGillis, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, Rick Rossovich, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, Maverick, Iceman, Goose, Charlie, Slider, Viper

“I was invaded!”