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Deepwater Horizon Review

Good

This reunion of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg feels like a natural successor to their previous collaboration Lone Survivor, another true story adapted into a movie that wallows in both heroism and violence. This film recounts the events of April 2010, when a drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana exploded, creating the biggest oil-spill in US history. It's the story of the people who were working there, and while there's a clear attempt to honour the memory of the 11 men who died that night, the cast and crew also want to create an entertaining action-disaster movie.

Wahlberg plays Mike, the chief technician on the Deepwater Horizon, an oil platform more than a half-hour flight from land. As the film opens, he kisses his wife (Kate Hudson) and daughter goodbye and heads off for a three-week shift alongside boss Jimmy (Kurt Russell), drilling foreman Jason (Ethan Suplee) and pilot Andrea (Gina Rodriguez). When some discrepancies delay their work, Mike finds himself under pressure from the corporate boss (John Malkovich) to get on with the work and get back on schedule. Under order to ignore some questionable safety tests, they carry on drilling until the well erupts, triggering a massive ball of flame.

After the increasingly tense build-up, the movie becomes a more traditional disaster movie, as characters run for their lives or dive into the inferno to save someone. Some of this is cleverly conceived and played out, including several striking set-pieces. But the main focus here is on rah-rah courage. The most heroic roles go to Wahlberg, Russell, O'Brien (as a driller) and Kirkpatrick (as a crane operator). While Malkovich chomps deliciously and villainously on the scenery. But the most engaging role goes to Rodriguez as a woman who is genuinely terrified about what's happening but still manages to do her job. She's the only person on-screen who feels like a real person, and the irony isn't lost that she's also the only woman among this crew of macho tough guys.

Continue reading: Deepwater Horizon Review

Lorenzo di Bonaventura - European premiere of 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' held at the Vue Leicester Square - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Monday 20th January 2014

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura

Lorenzo di Bonaventura - Los Angeles Premiere of 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' at the TCL Chinese Theatre - Red Carpet Arrivals - Hollywood, California, United States - Wednesday 15th January 2014

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura

Lorenzo di Bonaventura - Los Angeles premiere of 'RED 2' held at the Village Theatre - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 11th July 2013

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura

Lorenzo di Bonaventura - Last Stand Premiere LA Los Angeles California United States Monday 14th January 2013

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Grauman's Chinese Theatre - Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura Monday 23rd January 2012 Premiere of 'Man on a Ledge' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon Review


Good

With his usual disregard for story logic, Bay plunges us into another deafening metal-against-metal smackdown. Fortunately, this film is a lot more entertaining than Part 2, because it has a more linear plot. And it looks absolutely amazing.

With everything back to normal, Sam (LaBeouf) needs a job to impress his impossibly hot new girlfriend Carly (Huntington-Whiteley). Then strange things start happening around him. Again. And soon he realises that the Decepticons are back to wage war against the Autobot-human alliance. But he has to convince an arrogant government official (McDormand) to let him get involved with his old team (Duhamel, Gibson, Turturro and their Autobot buddies). All of this has something to do with a secret weapon that crashed onto the dark side of the moon in 1961, sparking the space race.

McDormand is easily the best thing about this film, even if her character has a dramatic personality shift halfway through the film. Malkovich is also terrific (as Sam's offbeat new boss), and Dempsey has his moments as well (as Carly's boss and cause of Sam's inferiority complex). Fortunately, the narrative is straightforward enough to give all of the actors the chance to make their mark, distinguishing themselves above the chaos.

Sadly, the same can't be said about the battling robots. While the first-rate animation has a staggering attention to detail, the deafening battles are still impossible to follow. They amount to an eye-catching display of whizzy effects as clanking robots bash each other senseless and destroy everything around them (Chicago gets the full destructive force for a change). Although at least they fit vaguely into the plot this time.

Meanwhile, lapses in even the most twisted logic are plentiful, including the fact that Sam seems to have metallic Transformer bones to resist injury as he's flung into walls and dropped from high places (not to mention Carly's magical white suit and heels). In other words, it's deeply preposterous and almost painfully boyish, but it's nowhere near as muddled as the last chapter. And besides keeping our eyes entertained, there are some great moments throughout the mayhem.

Red Review


OK
Based on the graphic novel, this action-comedy has a wacky tone that's entertaining but never involving. At least the strong all-star cast makes the most of the vivid characters, and the film's visual style keeps us watching even if there's nothing to it.

When "Retired, Extremely Dangerous" Frank Moses (Willis) has his quiet life disrupted by trigger-happy commandos he goes on the run, kidnapping a hapless pension clerk (Parker) to protect her from a ruthless high-tech hitman (Urban) who's chasing him. He then reassembles the old team from his black ops days, including smooth womaniser Joe (Freeman), paranoid nutjob Marvin (Malkovich) and seductive Victoria (Mirren). He even gets in touch with his former Russian nemesis Ivan (Cox). It all has something to do with a scandal involving the American Vice President (McMahon).

Continue reading: Red Review

Salt Review


Very Good
Intelligent filmmaking covers up the whopping plot holes in this action thriller. It's shot with confidence that makes it thoroughly enjoyable, with a few strong characters and a story that stays in constant motion.

Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is a skilled CIA operative devoted to both her husband (Diehl) and her country. Then a Russian spy (Olbrychski) tells her that she's actually a sleeper agent whose time has come. She denies this to her steely boss Ted (Schreiber) and hasty counter-intelligence agent Peabody (Ejiofor), but when things heat up she runs. Is she up to no good, or is she trying to stop the Russkies' evil plan? Sometimes it seems like even she isn't so sure.

Continue reading: Salt Review

Imagine That Review


Weak
Undemanding audiences may warm to the strong cast and crew of this family comedy, even though it's yet another example of a movie that's had all the life sucked out of it by the Hollywood studio system. In the end it isn't very funny, clever or engaging.

Evan (Murphy) is a high-flying financial executive who's not as attentive to his perky daughter Olivia (Shahidi) as he should be. Sharing custody with his ex (Parker), he only barely hears what Olivia says, and is shocked to discover that her imaginary friends are giving sound investment advice. So he starts using their tips at work, which both improves his job prospects and his relationship with Olivia. But this comes undone when his boss (Cox) offers a prime promotion to either him or his smarmy office rival (Church).

Continue reading: Imagine That Review

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Sienna Miller - Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, Lee Byung-Hun and Stephen Sommers Seoul, South Korea - 'G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra' Premiere held at the Shilla Hotel Wednesday 29th July 2009

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Sienna Miller

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Stephen Sommers - Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Stephen Sommers Sydney, Australia - 'Gi Joe: The Rise Of Cobra' press conference held at Sydney Harbour Monday 20th July 2009

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Stephen Sommers

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Los Angeles Film Festival Monday 22nd June 2009 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival - Premiere of 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' held at Mann Village Theatre - Arrivals Los Angeles, California

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Los Angeles Film Festival

Tranformers: Revenge Of The Fallen Review


Weak
Michael Bay makes his loudest, most bombastic movie yet (which is saying a lot) with a bloated action sequel so packed with special effects that it's virtually a cartoon. The humans barely register on screen, but it does look pretty cool.

Two years after teenaged Sam (LaBeouf) helped the alien Autobots fight off the evil Decepticons, he's ready to leave for university and start a long-distance relationship with his hot girlfriend Mikaela (Fox). But the Fallen, the deposed Decepticon leader, has other plans. And since Sam is the key to reviving their destructive plan, he's sucked back into the chaos along with Mikaela, his parents (Dunn and White), his new roommate (Rodriguez) and ex-agent Simmons (Turturro). They suddenly find themselves in Egypt, where a massive battle's about to begin.

Continue reading: Tranformers: Revenge Of The Fallen Review

Lorenzo di Bonaventura Monday 15th June 2009 'Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen' photocall at the Amstel Hotel Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Imagine That Review


Bad
Certain stars clearly don't care about their long-term entertainment legacy. For Robin Williams, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and especially Eddie Murphy, how they will be remembered artistically is a lot less important than earning that divorce/paternity/lawsuit/greed-induced paycheck. Take the latest from former SNL superstar Murphy -- Imagine That. Aimed directly at the grade school demographic (it's a co-production with Universal affiliate Nickelodeon), this story of a workaholic father who's desperate to find a way to reconnect with his distant daughter isn't particularly awful. It's definitely not Norbit or Daddy Day Care. But within this otherwise formulaic family film are elements so atrocious that they remove any heart Murphy manages to mine.

For Evan Danielson (Murphy), life centers solely on work. As a financial advisor for major companies and clients, he must stay ahead of the competition both outside and within the firm. His chief competition is the newly hired Johnny Whitefeather (Thomas Haden Church). Playing up his Native American connections, the rival undermines Evan's confidence and when their boss Tom Stevens (Ronny Cox) suggests he will be stepping down, the race to replace him is on. Unfortunately, our hero's plans are complicated by the arrival of his daughter Olivia (Yara Shahidi). Still lost in a world of imaginary friends and security blankets, she tries her dad's nerves -- that is, until her fantasy games start accurately predicting fiscal trends. Soon, Evan is desperate for Olivia's help, hoping it will land him the big promotion.

Continue reading: Imagine That Review

Lorenzo di Bonaventura - Lorenzo di Bonaventura and his family Hollywood, California - Los Angeles Premiere of 'Stardust' held at the Paramount Studio Theatre Sunday 29th July 2007

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura

Shooter Review


OK
As the hero of Shooter, Mark Wahlberg narrows his eyes into a piercing stare, delivers his bite-sized chunks of dialogue under his breath, and maintains a constant state of muscle flex so that each vein in his ropy arms sticks up like a speed bump on an elementary school driveway.

Wahlberg even boasts the ideal name: Bob Lee Swagger. The surname ensures he's all attitude. The fact that he goes by three monikers means he's a bona fide presidential assassin, situated in a class above Lee Harvey Oswald.

Continue reading: Shooter Review

Derailed Review


Weak
During a recent interview, Derailed star Jennifer Aniston admitted that a close friend figured out the movie's driving twist after watching the trailer. Was the comment high praise for her pal's psychic abilities or a none-too-subtle dig at the obviousness of the linear plot?

Sadly, it's the latter. Derailed opens with a tantalizing scenario that threatens to go down a host of intriguing avenues until novelist James Siegel and screenwriter Stuart Beattie opt for the obvious paths. Note to savvy readers: If you suspect someone is in cahoots with the movie's main killer, you're right. They are. Except for that one guy, who actually does die, though you'd be willing to wager $100 he'll turn up again in the end. He doesn't.

Continue reading: Derailed Review

Doom Review


Terrible
However low your expectations are for the movie take on the videogame Doom, lower them more. It's pretty obvious that this adaptation was never going to be a film of any serious artistic or social value, but those of us who are either fans of the game itself, video games in general, or even of its star, The Rock, were at least hoping for a good time. Instead, the big-screen Doom is low on both monsters and action, heavy on a dull, inaccurate, and a somewhat preachy story.

The game storyline for Doom is a classic one-man army tale: a lone, tough, nameless Marine is sent to Mars in order to restore peace after scientists working for mega-corporation UAC stationed there open a portal to Hell, and the demons are coming through in droves. While most gamers were mainly concerned with the then-groundbreaking first-person-shooter (FPS) gameplay (it was 1993, after all), the story was just creepy and supernatural enough to make shooting these imps and zombies a brainless blast.

Continue reading: Doom Review

Four Brothers Review


Very Good
Whoever heard of a "blaxploitation" movie with a white hero? Now you have: Four Brothers. John Singleton pays homage once again to what is apparently one of his favorite cinematic genres, but this time not quite as overt as with his remake of Shaft. And while Brothers can occasionally come off as cheesy as those '70s flicks that inspired it, it's also as much fun to watch with its zany cast of characters, wild action sequences, and booty-shakin' funk and soul soundtrack.

The story is a balls-out revenge tale, opening with the violent death of kindhearted old mother Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan) during a convenience store hold-up. Evelyn's funeral brings home her four adopted sons: mercurial bruiser Bobby (Mark Wahlberg), military man Angel (Tyrese), entrepreneurial Jeremiah (Andre Benjamin aka Outkast's Andre 3000), and semi-famous rocker Jack (Garrett Hedlund). Being back home together brings back memories of the "only woman who ever loved us," but also brings back their thuggish ways, especially when they find out mom's tragic accident may have been murder. That's when the fast-based, Charles Bronson-esque vigilante part of this tale kicks into high gear.

Continue reading: Four Brothers Review

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Lorenzo di Bonaventura Movies

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

This reunion of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg feels like a natural successor...

Transformers: Age of Extinction Movie Review

Transformers: Age of Extinction Movie Review

With each film in the Transformer saga, Michael Bay makes it clear that all he's...

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Movie Review

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Movie Review

There's nothing very original in this spy thriller, but director Branagh gives the film a...

RED 2 Movie Review

RED 2 Movie Review

That A-list cast of "retired, extremely dangerous" spies is back, coasting through another amiable but...

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Movie Review

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Movie Review

By ignoring everything that made 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra a hugely entertaining...

Side Effects Movie Review

Side Effects Movie Review

Thrillers don't get much more enjoyable than this one, which shifts cleverly from an issue-based...

The Last Stand Movie Review

The Last Stand Movie Review

Korean filmmaker Kim played with the Western genre before in his wacky 2008 pastiche The...

Man on a Ledge Movie Review

Man on a Ledge Movie Review

There's so little to this film that you've almost forgotten everything about it by the...

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Movie Review

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Movie Review

With his usual disregard for story logic, Bay plunges us into another deafening metal-against-metal smackdown....

Red Movie Review

Red Movie Review

Based on the graphic novel, this action-comedy has a wacky tone that's entertaining but never...

Salt Movie Review

Salt Movie Review

Intelligent filmmaking covers up the whopping plot holes in this action thriller. It's shot with...

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