Exclusive Clip: Hacksaw Ridge

Posted on February 20, 2017 at 7:00 am

We are honored to present an exclusive clip from the Oscar-nominated film “Hacksaw Ridge,” directed by Mel Gibson. It is the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield, also nominated for an Oscar), a WWII medic who refused to fire a gun and saved the lives of more than 70 soldiers on Okinawa. The movie will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on February 21, 2017.

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Trailers, Previews, and Clips

Interview: “Hacksaw Ridge” Mel Gibson, Luke Bracey, Vince Vaughn

Posted on November 6, 2016 at 8:00 am

Copyright 2016 Warner Brothers
Copyright 2016 Warner Brothers

Mel Gibson’s first film as a director in ten years is “Hacksaw Ridge,” the true story of Desmond Doss, a medic in WWII who showed extraordinary courage and devotion, returning over and over again to rescue 75 wounded men under enemy fire in a battle in Okinawa. I spoke to Gibson, and to Vince Vaughn and Luke Bracey, who play soldiers in the film.

The movie’s battle scenes are intentionally brutal. “I don’t think I glamorized war,” Gibson said. “I made it look hard and hopefully realistic, at least that’s what the Okinawa guys told us. There’s not many of them left but it was an experience for them. I think is not really a war film, it’s a love story because a guy went in there through filial love determined never to kill anyone or harm anyone and he kept putting his life on the line to save lives so this is the greatest act of love you could perform, to sacrifice yourself for someone else so it’s a love story. It just happens to be in the worst place on earth.

Vaughn spoke about the challenge of portraying a the sergeant who trains and then takes into battle Doss and his unit.

I have a lot of military in my family and have done a lot of things throughout the years with the USO, so I had a good point of reference for start. And then being in a unique situation playing a sergeant, that you are training a new unit and that you’re actually going to carry them over to the battlefield, you really are going to feel responsible for these kids. You have got a lot of love for them and your job is ready to prepare them to be able to go to their training and as much as possible not kind of freak out during battle and to stay alive for themselves and for their brothers in arms.

Look, you are preparing for war, so the penalty of not being up to the task is death of yourself or the people in the unit. That’s why I think there is a bit of sense of humor in some of it because you want to reach people. You can’t just come and make them tone deaf because you are screaming at them the whole time. I think like everyone has their own unique way of doing it so I think there are moments when you are really hard, you are trying to get your point across to let them know what’s at stake and your intents. And then there is other times when you try to use it a little bit of a sense of humor to try to get them to laugh and to bring them together. And I think that this presents a unique situation. Here is a gentleman who is refusing to carry a gun. You just have to understand that from a military point of view this is close quarter battles you see the depiction of it in the movie, to be in a foxhole at night, sleeping with somebody and them on watch and someone approaches and they don’t have the means to defend themselves, then obviously no one would want to be in that situation. And I think made the true story and what is so powerful about Desmond is he had such a faith such a conviction and a calling and it really transcended the moment. There is something beautiful in that and I think that when you are true to your convictions and you do stay true to what you believe in, not only are you rewarded but actually everyone else around you is rewarded as well and I think you see that resonate in the film.

Bracey talked about the “intense physical aspect to this stuff especially, the battle scenes. You spend about two months filming that stuff and I think preparation for me it was obviously very physical but not just getting in shape. There is a mental aspect to the physical side in that commitment to everything you are doing. If you take the right attitude towards it you can really tolerate it in a positive way where you can try not to give up and everything you do, you know it’s going to hurt but you know there’s so much left to go as well so I enjoyed that aspect of it, and also just kind of delving into what is a man as well. At what point does a man goes from telling another a man to harden up to the point where can empathize with him.”

Filmmaking technology has changed very rapidly, and Gibson appreciated being able to take advantage of lighter, faster cameras and better special effects.

In the old days you had two stops either way for light but now it’s infinite and you can turn day into night with no problem. You can blow frames up without any loss of quality, you can flop the shot. I mean it’s just crazy what you can do with colors and the color palette. So technologically things really advanced and you can move pretty fast and shoot from the hip but I would say filmwise, in the world of films there are restrictions if you want to make an independent film and this is an independent film. So your budgets are restricted, you have less time to do it. This is a superhero movie so don’t get me wrong, but if he’s not wearing spandex you don’t get the budget.

A lot of things had to come together to make the image happen on screen. The thing with combat or war sequences on screen is it that they have to be clear, so clarity is required but within that wider framework of clarity, almost like a sporting or chess game, you have to have a strategy that is at least readable but it has to look like chaos amidst that. So in order for all the pyrotechnics, and the stunts and bullet hits and the camera guys, the actors, the extras, the stunts guys, everything, a lot of things have to come together so that you can catch it all on the screen so that logistically speaking little bit like juggling a few balls at the same time. But there’s a lot of people doing it. You don’t do these things alone and it’s really about synchronizing the departments, the various departments to come together to really get that image that you want. And after that the special effects that was great afterwards. But the earmark of great special effects is when you can’t see them. You don’t know what the practical stuff is from the stuff that you do afterwards. There’s both — there’s a lot of practical stuff like some 800 shots I think where they are special effects. I mean there’s muzzle flashes and tracers and dirt hits and stuff like that that were put in afterwards that really add so much. So technically speaking it’s a real scheduling juggling match.

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Actors Directors Interview

Hacksaw Ridge

Posted on November 3, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Copyright 2016 Warner Brothers

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) called himself a “conscientious supporter.”  He wanted to support the troops fighting in WWII; he just would not touch a gun. And so, after brutal bullying and assaults and a court-martial, he was permitted to “go into battle without a gun.” And so, as a part of the “Liberty Battalion” of Army’s 77th Infantry Division, he went into one of the most dangerous battles of the war, with no weapons, just a Bible and some syringes with morphine.

Mel Gibson‘s first film as a director in a decade combines themes he returns to again and again: personal courage in the face of overwhelming odds, sacrifice for others, inspiration, faith, and very graphic, agonizing mortification of the flesh. The first half of the film introduces us to Doss, growing up in Lynchburg, Virginia with an abusive, alcoholic father (Hugo Weaving), falling for a pretty nurse (Teresa Palmer), and wanting to help the war effort without killing anyone.

Then there is an extended section covering basic training, with a tough but not humorless sergeant played by one of the few Americans in the cast, Vince Vaughn. It sweetly and sometimes amusingly harks back to the classic WWII films, with assorted characters from very different parts of the country are thrown together and a tough sergeant who whips them into shape with insults and threats, but everyone knows it is really for their own good, to teach them what they need to know to survive. There is no category for a regular army guy who says he cannot even touch a gun. They do everything they can to get him to change his mind or leave the military, but he will not give up. He’s a guy who will walk an extra two miles because he likes the woods. He knows who he is and what he believes.

And then, he is in battle. And again, he will not give up. “Just let me get one more, Lord,” is his prayer as over and over, 75 times, he heads back into enemy fire to pick up wounded men — including two Japanese soldiers — and carefully lower each one over a sheer cliff with an improvised pulley.

The scenes in battle are as harrowing as any ever put on screen. We are in the midst of utter carnage and chaos. Gibson knows how to create a visceral experience to make us understand just how extraordinary the rescue mission was. In an interview, he once said that he hates war, but loves warriors. Both are evident in this stirring tribute to a true hero.

Parents should know that this film includes extremely graphic and disturbing wartime violence with grisly images of wounded and dead soldiers, bullying and a brutal beating, domestic violence, and a car accident. Characters use some mild language.

Family discussion: How does the sergeant prepare the soldiers for war? How does he promote teamwork? What should the military do with “conscientious supporters?”

If you like this, try: “We Were Soldiers” and “Sergeant York”

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New Film About WWII Hero Desmond Doss: Hacksaw Ridge

Posted on July 5, 2016 at 11:43 am

Copyright 2016 Lionsgate

Mel Gibson’s new film is “Hacksaw Ridge,” the true story of WWII medic Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield (“The Amazing Spider-Man”), who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, miraculously saved 75 men in a matter of hours without firing or carrying a gun.

He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon. He single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, under constant enemy gunfire and artillery bombardment.

Doss was a Seventh Day Adventist and a man of deep faith who saved the lives of men who had harassed him for refusing to carry a gun. He believed the war was just, but to kill under any circumstance was wrong. Doss was labeled the first conscientious objector (he called himself a “conscientious cooperator” as he volunteered) to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The film also stars Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths and Vince Vaughn and is coming to theaters nationwide November 4th, 2016.

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In Production Spiritual films

The Winners! Golden Globes 2016

Posted on January 11, 2016 at 12:13 am

Bring back Tina and Amy! Ricky Gervais was so intent on being outrageous he forgot to be funny for much of the 2016 Golden Globes broadcast. A running gag about being bored was just, well, boring. And the insults he swapped with Mel Gibson were tasteless. It’s fine to make fun of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who vote on these awards and who are trying to overcome the reputation of giving awards to filmmakers and studios in return for a little wining, dining, meeting, and greeting, but he repeatedly insisted that no one cares about the Golden Globes so that it went past insulting the HFPA and the nominees to insult the audience as well.

Copyright A24 2015
Copyright A24 2015

Winners included well-chosen long shots like the PBS series “Wolf Hall,” the Amazon series “Mozart in the Jungle” and its star Gael Garcia Bernal, and Rachel Bloom, co-creator and star of the CW musical comedy television series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and front-runners like “Inside Out” for best animated film. But there were also the usual GG puzzlers like Sam Smith’s “Spectre” theme, probably the worst James Bond song in decades and certainly the worst of the nominees. It was great to see “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm and “Empire’s” Taraji P. Henson get recognized for their outstanding work, and Henson gave one of the best speeches of the night, handing out cookies on her way to the stage, in honor of her character’s name, and showing the charm and the fire she draws on for her outrageous role. “Please wrap?” she responded to the teleprompter. “Wait a minute. I waited 20 years for this. You going to wait. Yeah, you going to give me a little more time.”

Presenters provided some bright spots, especially Jim Carrey (whose jokes about the Globes and movie star ego were as deft as Gervais’ were not), BFFs Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer (can’t wait to see the movie they’re writing) and Eva Longoria and America Ferrera, who were pointed but charming and funny about people who can’t tell Latina actresses apart.

It was great to see Brie Larson win for “Room,” and her speech was another highlight. “The Revenant” took home Best Drama, Best Actor, and Best Director awards. Matt Damon and “The Martian” won, oddly in the comedy categories. The most emotional award of the evening was Sylvester Stallone’s standing ovation win for “Creed.” Like Damon, he noted that it had been a very long time since his last Golden Globe and that he was much better able to appreciate it now. (He thanked his “imaginary friend Rocky Balboa,” but forgot to thank writer/director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordan, but tried to make up for it off camera.) Lady Gaga was also very emotional as she said her thank yous for her award (“American Horror Story”). Her elegant black dress was one of the most beautiful of the evening, along with the red cut-away gown and gorgeous necklace worn by another winner, Jennifer Lawrence, for “Joy.” “I want to be buried next to you!” she cried out to writer/director David O. Russell.

Copyright Warner Brothers 2015
Copyright Warner Brothers 2015

Another highlight was the clip reel tribute to DeMille award winner Denzel Washington, a fitting reminder of the dazzling work he has done over the years. He brought his entire family (missing one son) up on stage with him to accept the award, but forgot his glasses, so stumbled through the acceptance. On one hand, he knew he was getting the award and he is a professional performer, so he should have done better. On the other hand, the Globes are known for being a bit off-the-cuff (liquor is generously served to all attendees), and it was fun to see his interaction with his wife.

The winners are:

Best Picture – Drama
“The Revenant”

Best Picture – Comedy or Musical
“The Martian”

Best Director – Motion Picture
Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant”

Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Brie Larson, “Room”

Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”

Best Actor – Motion Picture Comedy
Matt Damon, “The Martian”

Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Aaron Sorkin, “Steve Jobs”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Son of Saul”

Best Animated Feature Film
“Inside Out”

Best Score – Motion Picture
Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight”

Best Song – Motion Picture
“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre,” by Sam Smith

Best TV Series, Drama
“Mr. Robot”

Best Actress – TV Series, Drama
Taraji P. Henson, “Empire”

Best Actor – TV Series, Drama
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”

Best TV Series, Comedy
“Mozart in the Jungle”

Best Actress – TV Series, Comedy or Musical
Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

Best Actor – TV Series, Comedy or Musical
Gael Garcia Bernal, “Mozart in the Jungle”

Supporting Actress – TV Series, Miniseries or Limited Series
Maura Tierney, “The Affair”

Supporting Actor – TV Series, Miniseries or Limited Series
Christian Slater, “Mr. Robot”

Limited Series or TV Movie
“Wolf Hall”

Best Actor – Limited Series or TV Movie
Oscar Isaac, “Show Me a Hero”

Best Actress – Limited Series or TV Movie
Lady Gaga, “American Horror Story: Hotel”

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