The film's title tells the tale: "Lone Survivor," but that revelation doesn't begin to convey the intense, gut-wrenching Afghan war mission of the four SEALs featured. Seldom has a film so powerfully thrust the viewer into the violent action, communicating desperation and determination as well as dedicated brotherhood. This makes the tragedy that unfolds all the more horrific.
Names matter. The names of the protagonists, Alvin and Lance, in "Prince Avalanche" reveal a lot: old-fashioned Alvin plays by the rules -- even his overalls are strait-laced. He can skin a squirrel and set up a tent, neither of which Lance can -- or wants to -- do.
It’s difficult to embrace a film as downright emotionally and often physically ugly as director William Friedkin’s Killer Joe. Yes, it trades on many of the familiar elements of film noir, anchored in a murder scheme for money. But unlike the best of those, it lacks the grace, wit and humanity embedded in cautionary tales.