(In theaters, January 2007) This flip-side to Flags Of Our Fathers is a better film in most respects: the structure is tighter, the characters are more interesting, and there’s definitely more dramatic tension amongst a band of soldier historically fated to lose. The film, taking place almost entirely in Japanese, nevertheless feels immediate and relevant: Director Clint Eastwood was able to accomplish a film that transcends linguistic borders without even seeming to. The battle of Iwo Jima is fascinating regardless of which side gets the spotlight, but there’s an extra dramatic dimension in seeing it from the “other” point of view. The historical recreation is impressive and so are some of the scenes. What I really would like to see, though, is a mash-up between Eastwood’s two Iwo Jima films, an action-oriented war film presenting a look at the battle from both sides, wrapping up in under 90 minutes.