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
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.
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
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
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 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