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This is a movie I have been pushing for a while, one I have written reviews about and one that I have helped sponsor a showing of. I am so proud of my good friends Lorrel Manning, Michael Cuomo and the rest of the cast and crew for sticking with this project and getting it to the point of a theatrical release.
The award-winning, critically-acclaimed feature film HAPPY NEW YEAR, written and directed by K. LORREL MANNING and starring MICHAEL CUOMO, finally gets its theatrical release on DECEMBER 7 at the QUAD CINEMAS (34 W. 13th, NY NY 10011)!!
A strong opening weekend is a MUST for the future life of any film released these days, particularly independent films. Join the HAPPY NEW YEAR team! Come show your support by buying a ticket (or 10) to one of the 15 shows opening weekend (DECEMBER 7, 8 and 9) .
SHOWTIMES are: 1:00, 3:10, 5:25, 7:45 and 10:05pm
Each screening on December 7, 8 and 9 (with the exception of the 10:05 screenings) will be followed by a special Q&A talk with writer/director K. LORREL MANNING and lead actor/producer MICHAEL CUOMO and a list of special guests.***FOR ADVANCE TIX
PURCHASE FROM MOVIETICKETS.COM (click on link below)
Be sure to check out http://happynewyearfilm.com to get more information, see additional trailers and to learn about the cast. If you are in or near the NYC area or can be during this time, TRUST ME this is a movie you want to go see. If you are a Veteran tell them at the ticket window and you WILL receive a special discount.
A week ago today I went to the theater and watched Act of Valor. Beforehand I had read through many of the personal and professional movie critic write-ups about the movie. I saw all the negatives that people had written; it was nothing more than recruiter movie, the acting was bad, and the end was predictable.
So let me start with answering these critiques before I move into my review.
Act of Valor is as much a recruiting movie as Blackhawk Down, Green Berets, or The Hurt Locker. It was a war-based action movie. There is no Navy recruiter advertisement before, during or after the movie. There is nothing that shows being a Seal is easy and for everyone. In fact it shows that you have to leave your family with no notice, that you can really get hurt and you can die. There is nothing “recruiting” about it. It shows dudes that are in great shape, who have awesome guns and toys and they go to bad places and kill bad dudes. How is that different from just about any other war-based action movie.
Another one was that is was bad acting. Hmm, if all I cared about what quality top-notch acting, I would never watch a movie that didn’t have either Clint Eastwood, Don Cheadle or Jack Nicholson in it. I mean come on, was Blue Brothers, The Matrix or Star Wars known for great acting? I didn’t think so. But they were really good movies. They provided entertainment for the viewer. They, like many other movies which are really good in the popular opinion or ticket sales, are just entertaining. They either make you laugh, cry, or take you away from reality and for a hour or two make you forget about all the other crap in life. That is what Act of Valor does too. But this movie is far and above beyond that, because these “bad actors” are the real deal. When you consider they never went to theater classes, grew up bouncing from commercial or sitcom to some other acting gig, then they are actually pretty good actors in my book. (more…)
I wanted to take a second and wish all the readers of this blog a wonderful and Happy New Year. 2011 has been a pretty crazy year and I can’t believe it is already winding down to an end. I am also anxious to see what 2012 will bring us. I mean if you look back at where we were on Dec 31st, 2010 who knew that Qaddafi, Bin Laden and Kim-Jong Il would all be dead this year, 2 of them at the hands of Americans, who knows maybe all three?
Between making Bin Laden into fish crap, Arab Spring uprising, Japan almost getting taken off the map (and this time not by us) and the supposed end of the war in Iraq 2011 has been a very eventful year.
In 2011 I was lucky enough to be part of the film project Happy New Year (www.happynewyearfilm.com). I was privileged to host a screening of it at the 2011 Milblog Conference in Washington DC and of course have stayed very close to my friends, Michael, Lorrell and Joe in promoting it and getting the word out. I am also always talking to my good friend Mike Scott from the film Severe Clear (www.severeclearthemovie.com) and am working a couple of different projects with him. I also worked very close with my good friend Matt Goss (www.mattgoss.biz) on an awesome Veterans Day Show I helped host by giving almost 100 Veterans and their guests a great night out with Dinner (thanks to Caesars Palace) and a show in Matt’s theater, The Gossy Room.
Matt and I are already working with Caesars for an even bigger show in 2012. In addition I am working on a new film project in 2012 which promises to be an awe-inspiring full-length independent feature film called Bards of War. Produced and Directed by one of my closest friends, Scott Kesterson it will no doubt be an eye-opening experience for most of America on what the real stories are coming out of Afghanistan as told by the Bards, the soldiers. Tonight at midnight the Facebook page for the project will go live and within days the website should be up and developing also. Until then swing by the twitter page at www.twitter.com/bardsofwar and follow. For anyone that has followed Scott’s work in the past, you will be very pleased with this project and the film.
So as you can see, Bouhammer.com is already very active in several big things for the new year and it has not even started yet. Who knows what else is in store for the site and the blog. Then again who knows what is in store for our country and our military.
Thanks again for taking the time to care and read this blog and I hope you continue to follow it and like what you see into 2012.
I was recently made aware of this great tribute written about my late friend Tim Hetherington, who was killed in Libya. Veteran Richard Allen Smith wrote a nice heart-warming peice about the impace that Tim and Tim’s work (RESTREPO) made on him personally.
Hetherington’s Restrepo depicted all of that. The reality of war. The tragedy, the camaraderie, the absurdity, and the ridiculous things you do to keep yourself sane. I may not have known Tim Hetherington, but his work has had a greater affect on me than most of my personal relationships, let alone any movie, could ever possibly have. That’s why when I learned of his death in Libya I was absolutely floored. I spent the whole day in a fog. It was like reliving the days that we lost guys in Afghanistan all over again.
I am very proud to announce that Bouhammer.com in partnership with One Light Left films will be presenting a special screening of the critically-acclaimed film Happy New Year at this year’s 6th Annual Milblog conference in Arlington, VA on April 29th.
Coming straight off a a multi-city film festival tour, which began with the famous South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, TX. The Directory/Writer of the original play and then feature film, Mr. Lorrell Manning will be sitting on one of the panels of the Milblog Conference titled “War and Film”. More information about the panel and the conference can be found at http://milblogconference.milblogging.com/conference-panels/
Joining Mr. Manning at the special screening on Friday Afternoon at 2:15 PM sharp is Lead Actor/Producer Michael Cuomo and Military Advisor and supporting actor Joseph Harrell. Immediately following the screening, I will be facilitating a Q&A session with all three gentlemen.
HAPPY NEW YEAR is the story of “Sgt. Cole Lewis” who, mentally and physically scarred by his time served in Iraq and Afghanistan, finds humanity, compassion and friendship in a group of similarly injured veterans in the psychiatric ward at a remote Veterans Hospital. The group, ranging from guys left behind from WWII and Vietnam, to those recently injured in the Middle East, slowly become Lewis’ new family. Along with them, he will attempt to redefine his sense of self, and find a new place in the world. Through humor and pathos, Lewis becomes a ray of hope in the ward, as the men find a way to combat their post-war grief. However, just as their luck starts to change, Lewis soon faces his fiercest battle yet.
I have been working with the creators and stars of this feature movie since watching a personal screening of the movie, last December in NYC. I was convinced at that point that this was something all people need to see. This movie does not glamorize war-fighting, and it also does not victimize those who fight it. Instead it shows the good and bad sides of recovery, to include how our warriors find humor in the worst of times, how true leaders emerge from the shadows and how different people deal with their wounds in different ways.
Not every story ends tragically or happy, sometimes they are in between. Sometimes what is one person’s tragedy is someone else’s happiness.
The screening is free and will start at 2:15PM sharp.
If you are attending the 2011 Milblog Conference, I look forward to you joining me at this very special screening.
NOTE-This is the third movie screening that has been sponsored by Bouhammer.com. The first was of the documentary At War at the 2009 Milblog Conference, the second was of RESTREPO in July, 2010 at the New York State Museum.
Tonight at 9PM EST the critically acclaimed documentary, RESTREPO will air in its entirety on National Geographic Channel. I have talked about RESTREPO several times on this blog not only in reviewing it but also in the Screening that Bouhammer.com did of the movie at the New York State Museum. You can see all the posts I have written about the movie, to include 3 separate posts in review of it at http://www.bouhammer.com/?s=restrepo&submit=Go
Last week I received an advance screener DVD of the movie that will air tonight on National Geographic Channel. Even though I had seen it already, there is a lot to take in and I was glad to have the opportunity to view the movie again.
If you have seen it already, it is worth seeing again. If you haven’t then take some time and watch it tonight on NGC, preferably on HD if you have it. It is a lot to take in and consider. If you can, record it so you can go back and watch it again.
I was just made aware of this upcoming documentary today by the boys over at VAMC and after watching it I can say I like what I see so far.
This is the third in a list of movies that follow the Cinema Verite style of film-making. The first was Scott Kesterson’s AT WAR, and the second was the recently released RESTREPO by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger.
This movie, Battle for Hearts and Minds was filmed by Danfung Dennis while he was embedded with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in 2009.
The expected release of this documentary is slated for 2011. Keep an eye out for it and know you heard about it here first, on Bouhammer.com
I stumbled across this other review of the movie RESTREPO that was written on the USO’s website. I thought it was fitting to post this one today since today marks the anniversary of the day that PFC Juan “Doc” Restrepo was killed in the Korengal Valley.
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I hosted a screening of this movie along with SGT Brendan O’Byrne and Director Tim Hetherington a few weeks back at the Albany. Be sure to check the movie’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/restrepothemovie?v=app_4949752878 to find where the movie is playing around the country.
This is the third and final blog entry in the series about the showing of RESTREPO last week at the New York State Museum’s Huxley Theater in Albany, NY. Part I talked about the movie itself, Part II talked about the book that compliments it and the soon to be famous soldier from the book and movie.
This final blog entry is about what happened after the showing of the movie….
When the movie ended, the audience erupted in applause. I figured most were moved and emotionally manipulated by the movie and my suspicions were correct. After those that couldn’t stay left, the others from the overflow area came into the main theater and took the empty seats. Again the theater was filled along with many who were standing along the outside walls.
Bouhammer, Brendan and Tim at answering questions.Photo by LTC Paul Fanning
Joining me at the front of the theater was filmmaker and director Tim Hetherington and Brendan O’Byrne. Brendan was a Sergeant that was in 2nd platoon and was interviewed and talked about many times in Sebastian Junger’s book “WAR”. It is also Brendan’s face on the cover of the book and it is Brendan on the cover of the poster for RESTREPO. Tim was Sebastian’s partner in their project to document the deployment of the men at the Korengal outpost and outpost RESTREPO. They were the stars of the show, I was simply facilitating the Q&A and adding some commentary when needed based on my experience in the military and in Afghanistan.
The Q&A sessions took on more of a feel of a town-hall meeting (as Tim pointed out later). The questions did not go in the path I thought and hoped, as in they were not all about the movie. I thought people would ask “Why did that happen…” or “What did you think when….?”. There was some of that, but not near as much as I thought there would be. Due to the recent press coverage about Afghanistan, GEN McCrystal resigning, etc, there were a lot of questions about US policy in Afghanistan, military strategy and general WHYs? “Why are we there?”, “Why haven’t we had more progress?” and other questions of that nature.
Brendan watching Tim answering a questions. Photo by LTC Paul Fanning
It was obvious that there were some ultra-left (President) Bush hating Democrats and there were some very conservative Republicans in the audience. They tended to turn what was supposed to be questions into just general statements based on their political views. I tried to steer away from them as quickly as possible, but it was hard to do and not offend someone. Regardless of what the political view was the overall feeling was of respect for the soldiers.
The questions started heating up to the point of there were more than I could count. I did my best to go from left to right and spreading around the room as much as possible. At one point I looked over to Dr. Siegfried and saw that he was giving me the five minute sign. After a few more questions I wrapped it up. I apologized for not taking any more questions, again thanked every one for coming out and reminded everyone to tell their friends and family about the movie and to go see it wherever they can in the country.
As people were leaving the theater, both Brendan and Tim were outside signing movie posters, postcards, copies of “WAR” that were sold that night and just generally talking to people. As this was going on I leaned over to ask Tim and Brendan if they wanted to go out and grab a beer after we were done. They both readily agreed and said they would love to.
Tim, Bouhammer, and Brendan after the screening. Photo by LTC Paul Fanning
Two of my teammates from Afghanistan that I have talked about many times before on this blog, Prophet and Puss, were at the showing that night and were still hanging around. I asked Puss if he knew of a local watering-hole and he said he knew of a good German pub. Once we left the museum, the five of us headed over the pub and settled into a back table. For the next couple of hours Brendan, Tim, Prophet, Puss and myself all raised our glasses to honor those who were no longer with us anymore and proceeded to talk about our families, the war in Afghanistan, comparing it to other war experiences, the strategy and overall war policy. That night over a few smooth Hefeweizen beers we solved all the problems in Afghanistan, just too bad it never left the table. However if the President or GEN Petreaus were with us, they would have gotten some earful on what it would take to make things right.
As the bar closed, we all exchanged phone numbers, email addresses and promised to stay in contact. We also all agreed that we made some great friends that night and were glad that we did. As I look back, I realized that the night will go down as another in my list of accomplishments that have come about as a result of me starting this simple blog. Due to my blogging I was asked to help host this movie, then I was asked to facilitate the Q&A, and then I met some great guys who have hearts of gold and minds of warriors. Tim may be a photo-journalist, but he has hung with some of the greatest warriors in the worst of areas in the world.
The Bouhammer [boo-ham-er] blog is owned by a 22-year Retired Army First Sergeant. It is now one of the leading and award-winning blogs written primarily on operations in Afghanistan and other military related topics. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy what you see. If you care about what is happening in the land where the attacks of 9/11 were planned and if you care about our military, this is the blog for you. Click Here to Contact Bouhammer
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