Matthew Michael Carnahan

Matthew Michael Carnahan

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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

World War Z Review


Good

Starting as a clever Contagion-style investigative thriller, this fiercely paced apocalyptic adventure begins to fall apart early on when smart logic is jettisoned for the more visceral thrills of seeing Brad Pitt save the planet. Sadly, almost every major plot point makes no sense at all, and by the time the film reaches its corny finale, we can no longer suspend our disbelief. But at least it's packed with exciting set pieces that get our pulses racing.

It's set in the present day, as strange unrest breaks out around the world. And when the marauding hordes of undead arrive in Philadelphia, the Lane family barely escapes with their lives. Gerry (Pitt) is a former UN military officer who gets help from an ex-boss (Mokoena) to evacuate his wife (Enos) and children to the safety of an aircraft carrier off the coast. Then he's put to work on a globe-hopping mission to find the source of the infection, travelling first to ground zero in Korea, then to infection-free Israel and finally to a World Health centre in Wales. Along the way he picks up a sidekick in the form of feisty Israeli commando Segen (Kertesz).

The script is only ever interested in Gerry, so the filmmakers never bother deepening any other characters. There's some nice chemistry between Pitt and Kertesz, but she remains essentially irrelevant. As the film goes along, Pitt assumes the responsibilities of experts, soldiers and scientists, so he can singlehandedly solve the mystery. It's utterly preposterous, especially since he has to miraculously survive frequent zombie attacks that kill everyone else. And we won't speak of a shockingly ill-conceived plane crash, which removes what's left of the plot's credibility.

Continue reading: World War Z Review

Matthew Michael Carnahan - New York premiere of 'World War Z' -Arrivals - New York City, NY, United States - Monday 17th June 2013

Matthew Michael Carnahan

World War Z: How 2013's Most Ambitious Movie Got Made (Trailer)


Brad Pitt Matthew Michael Carnahan Marc Forster

A new trailer for Brad Pitt's spectacular looking new movie World War Z has hit the web, giving audiences an extended look at the Hollywood star playing a United Nations' researcher in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. The first trailer, released last year, gave us plenty of zombies, plenty of explosions and a whole lot of Brad Pitt running from things, though the latest clip taps into the character's story.

"Daddy, what's martial law?" asks his daughter around the breakfast table in the opening scene of the trailer - a news story about the apocalypse plays in the background. Soon enough, urban mayhem breaks out and Pitt is forced to leave his family to protect the world from the running dead. He sets out on a dangerous journey to find a cure, at one point asking how he can reach Russia, hinting at a geographically expansive movie. "I think these things have a weakness," he says.

Continue reading: World War Z: How 2013's Most Ambitious Movie Got Made (Trailer)

State Of Play Review


Good
Big government getting in bed with corrupt private conglomerates. The fresh-faced Congressman hell-bent on bringing said scandal to light. The uncovered infidelity which threatens his power base, and the crumpled investigative journalist who must resolve his personal interest in the story with the legitimate needs of the press and his own corporate bosses. This should be the basis for a crackerjack thriller -- and it actually was when BBC scribe Paul Abbott crafted the six-episode series State of Play back in 2003. As with most successful foreign exports, Hollywood came calling, and now we have the big screen version starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, and Helen Mirren. Instead of expanding the suspense, however, this ragtag, routine experience is effective, if perfunctory.

When the research assistant to brash young House member Stephen Collins (Affleck) dies in a mysterious accident, the press has a field day with the politician's possible adultery. Naturally, the Washington Globe and its crack staff, including reporter Cal McCaffrey (Crowe), blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams), and editor Cameron Lynne (Mirren), are exploring every angle. But there's a catch. You see, McCaffrey and Collins were college roommates, and they've maintained a strong friendship ever since. They've even shared the affections of the Congressman's current wife Anne (Robin Wright Penn).

Continue reading: State Of Play Review

Lions For Lambs Review


Weak
Lions for Lambs is an op-ed piece masquerading as a motion picture, a candid and cynical lecture series that indicts any institution remotely connected to the ongoing Iraqi conflict. The sentiments expressed should trigger discussions, but they don't add up to an interesting movie.

Earlier this year, screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan pressed similar buttons with his Middle East muscle thriller The Kingdom. He uses his current pulpit to chastise the Bush administration for blindly leading America into a winless war; the national media for blindly following our leaders in the weeks, months, and years following September 11; and Generation Y for retreating to its PlayStation consoles as opposed to penning protest letters to local politicians.

Continue reading: Lions For Lambs Review

The Kingdom (2007) Review


Weak
Peter Berg's The Kingdom will either rally those in the theater or piss off every single ticket holder in sight. It's gonna be awesome. Indeed, sardonic catcalls of "kill all the towelheads!" were shouted at the press screening I attended while the rest of the theater applauded with rigorous aplomb as Jennifer Garner jammed a knife into a Saudi terrorist's nether regions. This was all preceded by some daft bollock yammering on his cellphone during the opening credits while another patron quietly threatened castration. Only in New York, ladies and gents.

Why will people be so divisive, you ask? Well, in The Kingdom, a compound of Americans in the Saudi Arabia capital of Riyadh are bombed. Subsequently, the reaction team, led by Agent Manner (Kyle Chandler), falls victim to a much larger, hidden bomb that is disguised as an ambulance gurney. Berg employs Jamie Foxx to seduce, threaten, and charm his way into Saudi airspace as Agent Fleury, fighting to get his team of quickdraws into Riyadh to get all forensic with the crime scene. No such luck, Honcho: Seems that the local fuzz won't have any of it and keep a real vice on Fleury and his team's "oo-rah" attitude. That is until Prince Thamer gives tactical command over to the pandering Colonel Faris Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom), who sees eye-to-eye with the FBI team and their American-outlaw brand of badassery.

Continue reading: The Kingdom (2007) Review

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Matthew Michael Carnahan Movies

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

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

World War Z Movie Review

World War Z Movie Review

Starting as a clever Contagion-style investigative thriller, this fiercely paced apocalyptic adventure begins to fall...

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Lions for Lambs Movie Review

Lions for Lambs Movie Review

Lions for Lambs is an op-ed piece masquerading as a motion picture, a candid and...

The Kingdom (2007) Movie Review

The Kingdom (2007) Movie Review

Peter Berg's The Kingdom will either rally those in the theater or piss off every...

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