12 STRONG Review – FOREVER MY GIRL Review — Surprising Reactions to Both

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by Lisa Johnson Mandell

12 Strong Review12 Strong Review – Unlikely heroes are a bright spot in a never ending war

War movies are not usually my favorite genre, and even though 12 Strong stars the captivating Chris Hemsworth and the magnetic Michael Shannon, I was not looking forward to seeing it.

So I was happily surprised to find this film to be intriguing, compelling, exciting and enlightening—all the things a good movie of any genre should be. 

12 Strong is based on the true story of a 12-man special forces unit, among the first U.S. troops sent to Afghanistan to engage the Taliban in response to 9/11. They joined a band of local warriors on horseback to do battle against religious zealots with missiles, trucks and tanks.

Sure the film has its flaws, but they don’t come close to overwhelming the virtues of this directing debut by Nicolai Fuglsig. No matter how you feel about this war, this film encapsulates a fascinating example of the human struggle to understand, to survive and to defend. It stands as a fine tribute to the armed forces.

2 Hours 10 Minutes

Rated R

Forever My Girl ReviewForever My Girl Review — Sweet tea for the country music lover

This good natured film feels like an episode of Nashville mixed with an episode of Friday Night Lights, two television shows I happen to enjoy, in spite of their soapiness.

And while most critics are panning it, I ask, “What’s wrong with a good old fashioned story about star crossed lovers where people don’t drop the F-bomb every 10 seconds?”

Yes, it’s predictable: A handsome country star goes back to his Louisiana hometown where he left his high school sweetheart at the altar eight years before. You can figure out the rest on your own. But it’s got excellent country music and it’s sweet as pecan pie.

Starring a couple of actors who are relatively new on the scene, Jessica Rothe and Alex Roe, and directed by first timer Bethany Ashton Wolf, this is not a career maker for any of them. But after so many angst ridden movies released lately about the misery of foul-mouthed, obnoxious people, I found Forever My Girl to be refreshing.

1 Hour 44 Minutes

Rated PG

Get times and tickets at Fandango.com.


by Lisa Johnson Mandell

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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