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The Cromwell family makes this worthwhile
on May 28, 2012
The worst part of movies dealing with war or soldiers during a specific time period is that they often feel like recruitment videos. Either that or they shove patriotism down your throat. "Memorial Day" isn't like that at all, which is a relief. What really balances out the entire movie is the time Kyle spends with his grandfather. James Cromwell's heartfelt performance is really fantastic. His emotion gives much needed heart to a story like this. The thing about grandfathers is that they're supposed to always have a story to tell and have words of wisdom. Bud is the epitome of that, but he waits to reveal that until somebody makes him talk.
The time Kyle and Bud spend together inspires Kyle to start a collection of his own once he becomes a soldier as an adult and has a family of his own. This is the other big intriguing aspect of the war drama. Seeing Kyle collect things throughout the movie only makes you realize what he's eventually going to tell his son one day, which is kind of heartwarming. The last five minutes of the movie are also its bread and butter. It's as if the entire movie was written to give those few scenes more impact and it works so well. It's just a series of really passionate performances along with perhaps the most memorable scene to take place on that porch in the entire movie.
Many of the other performances feel uninspired. Maybe it's just the way Hollywood writes soldiers, but most of them are pretty forgettable here other than Kyle. John Cromwell is pretty exceptional in his full length feature film debut though. Everyone else outside of the main cast just feels like filler. Ho-hum is an acceptable way to describe the majority of the movie as things like the score, battlefield sequences, and lines of dialogue will be a distant memory at best. Although roaming shots of the countryside are extremely colorful on the Blu-ray edition of the movie.
"Memorial Day" is mostly watchable thanks to the performances of John and James Cromwell. The story does its best to reel you in and feel for these characters, but may feel like it's stringing you along with no pay off in sight at times. There are certainly worse war related movies you could spend your hard earned money on.
Special features include Audio Commentary with Director Sam Fischer, Writer Marc Conklin, and Actor John Cromwell and a less than two minute Behind the Scenes featurette.
"Memorial Day" is being released as a single disc DVD and a single disc Blu-ray starting tomorrow, May 29. The movie is not rated, is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio in 1080p High-Definition and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. It is approximately 104 minutes in length. "Memorial Day" will be available in most retail outlets and online stores.