After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into the director's chair for this thriller, which mixes a real-life issue with a compelling procedural mystery. It's a gorgeously shot film with especially well-developed characters who bring intensity and emotion to every scene. And they're expertly played by Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen.
It's set on the Wind River native American reservation in Wyoming, a spectacular mountain landscape under a blanket of winter snow. An 18-year-old woman (Kelsey Asbille in flashbacks) has been found murdered in the wilderness, and FBI agent Jane (Olsen) has arrived to investigate. With no experience in this kind of situation, she gets help from local Fish & Wildlife officer Cory (Renner) as well as the reservation sheriff Ben (Graham Greene). But Cory is finding this case very difficult, as the victim was the best friend of his daughter, who was killed two years ago. This gives Cory a special desire to solve the case, no matter where it leads.
Without ever getting flashy, the plot grinds along with a variety of revelations that continually add more detail to the case, characters and, most intriguingly, community. Local customs and practices continually add unexpected wrinkles, all of which guides the very specific journeys Cory and Jane are taking through this situation. So in addition to a pointed comment on the situation of native Americans in US society, the film is also a powerfully introspective drama about two people travelling their own paths through this terrain.
Continue reading: Wind River Review
The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed for the true life adventures Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon, both films that spent too much time glorifying rah-rah heroism to properly tell their stories. But this dramatic thriller, which recounts the events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, is a startlingly visceral experience, allowing for a lot more humanity in the characters. Which actually makes them feel both more honest and more heroic.
Wahlberg plays Tommy, a street cop who feels like no one notices that he's rather good at his job. When two brothers (Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze) explode bombs at the marathon's finish line, Tommy leaps in to help the injured. And due to his local knowledge, he also helps advise FBI investigator Richard (Kevin Bacon), who is working with the local police commissioner (John Goodman). As the frantic manhunt for the bombers extends over the following days, Tommy's wife (Michelle Monaghan) tries to get him to rest, but he pushes on. And with the whole city helping the cops, the brothers are eventually chased into the neighbourhood of beat cop Jeffrey (J.K. Simmons) for an intense showdown.
This film manages to get the balance right between gritty action and inspiring heroics. Berg mixes documentary footage in seamlessly, grounding everything in reality, and he lets the actors draw out the flaws in these real-life people. This makes them much easier to identify with, which in turn makes the action sequences that much more involving. There's a shootout in here that is perhaps one of the most outrageous ones ever put on film, even more remarkable because it's true. And while Wahlberg is the only character who gets some proper depth, he plays Tommy beautifully, bouncing off everyone else in ways that add meaning and energy to the film.
Continue reading: Patriots Day Review
Alex Wolff, Kevin Bacon, Michael Beach, Peter Berg, Michelle Monaghan, James DuMont, Themo Melikidze and Jake Picking at the 2016 AFI FEST Closing Night Gala screening of Lionsgate's 'Patriots Day' held at El Capitan Theatre and Presented By Audi - Hollywood, California, United States - Thursday 17th November 2016
Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while grappling meaningfully with some very big topics. Set in present-day America, it's a story for today's social climate, but it feels like a classic Western in the way a pair of desperado bank robbers are pursued by a sly detective. It's also beautifully directed and skilfully acted to pull the audience all the way in.
In rural Texas, Tanner (Ben Foster) has just been released from prison when he agrees to help his brother Toby (Chris Pine) stage a series of small bank robberies to earn enough cash to guarantee a future for Toby's sons. Their mother has only recently died, and both are feeling a sense of pointlessness about life, willing to risk everything for a shot at something. But while Toby plans the heists carefully, Tanner is a hothead who continually attracts attention. Sure enough, Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges) catches their scent, working with his loyal but sarcastic partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham) to try to get one step ahead of the crimes. And since he's not looking forward to his impending retirement, Marcus is in no hurry.
Thankfully, director David Mackenzie (Starred Up) is in no hurry either, steadily building the suspense with each step in the story, keeping the focus tightly on the characters. This means that several scenes are breathlessly intense. There are so many intriguing things going on here that the film nearly bursts with resonance, from the old-versus-new world themes to the economic reality that has put Toby in this mess to begin with, and the corporate greed that's offering him a way out. Pine and Foster are perfectly cast in these roles, and both deliver layered performances that suggest at a more complex back-story than the one we learn. Opposite them, Bridges is the picture of calm, a terrific role that he seems to glide through effortlessly. But this is a carefully gauged performance that nails the tricky balance between tenacity, intelligence and grit.
Continue reading: Hell Or High Water Review
Mark Wahlberg is ready to take on the role of Steve Austin - probably after the comedy 'Daddy's Home' and the 'Blackwater Horizon' movie.
Mark Wahlberg is teaming up with Lone Survivor director Peter Berg for a feature-length version of the 1970s TV series The Six Million Dollar Man - inflated to The Six BILLION Dollar Man for a modern audience.
Wahlberg will play Steve Austin, former astronaut who, after a horrific plane crash, is saved by doctors and fitted with bionic replacements for both legs, his right arm and left eye. Austin suddenly becomes a force to be reckoned with and begins work as a secret agent for the Office of Scientific Intelligence.
The title kind of gives away the ending of this harrowing true story, which is worth a look despite its tendency to exaggerate the heroics. But it's also an unusually well-made military thriller that throws us right into the middle of the chaos with visceral filmmaking. And it's impossible to miss the point that these men rely on each other every moment of every day: they certainly can't survive alone.
The events take place in 2005 Afghanistan, where a Navy Seal team is sent into the mountains to find a feared Taliban leader (Azami). These men are like brothers, with Marcus (Wahlberg) leading Mike, Matt and Danny (Kitsch, Foster and Hirsch), under the command of Erik (Bana) back at the base. As they head out on their mission, everything goes to plan until they run into a group of innocent goatherds. Letting them go will compromise their mission, but it's clearly the right thing to do. And this decision sparks an escalating situation that seems increasingly hopeless.
From the very start, we know these Seals aren't normal soldiers: they undergo especially gruelling training and then bond tightly as colleagues, relying on their ruggedness, tenacity and camaraderie. Which of course allows writer-director Berg to portray them as superheroes. This is a problem, because it reduces the Afghans to faceless, murderous villains, at least until the much more complex final act in which an entire village risks its life to save an injured American soldier. And this strikingly moving sequence is the one we remember much more than the chest-pounding patriotism.
Continue reading: Lone Survivor Review
It's that time of year again! The nominations for this year's Razzies have been announced, with Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 - which made a ridiculous $814 million at the box office - leading the way with 11 nominations, including Worst Film and Worst Sequel. A spoof of the Academy Awards, this year's Razzies' picks arrived just one day before Thursday's Oscar nominations. So which directors, actors and actresses will have let out a giant, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO" when catching wind of the infamous nominations today? And perhaps more importantly, who should win (or lose). Which movies and performances really were the worst of the worst? Here goes.
Continue reading: Razzies Nominations: So, Who Made The Worst Movie Of The Year?
Peter Berg's 'Battleship' made a mere 63 million USD at the US box-office, prompting the director to turn on the third highest grossing film of all time, 'The Avengers', for soaking up audiences.
'Hancock' director Peter Berg wants to make a sequel to his 2012 movie 'Battleship', although he seems to think that it may be a flop. Berg has gone on to blame Marvel's 'The Avengers' for sweeping up at the box-office. With US audiences focused on the super hero team-up movie - which stars Liam Neeson, Rihanna and Taylor Kitsch - they went ahead and missed 'Battleship' in theatres.
Speaking to MTV news, the director explains: '''Battleship' is a film that I would definitely like to do a sequel to. The movie kicked butt internationally, but we kind of ran into a wall when 'Avengers' refused to go away. So, what I need everyone to do is go see 'Battleship' now that they've seen 'Avengers' five times. If they do that, we can definitely make a sequel.''
Alex (Kitsch) is a smart guy who has wasted his life so, after getting in trouble while impressing a hot girl (Decker), his Naval-officer brother (Skarsgard) drafts him into service. Later on a Pacific Rim war-game exercise, Alex ends up in charge of the only ship nearby after aliens invade earth and put a force-field around Hawaii. Working with his plucky crew (including Rihanna, Asano, Tui and Plemons), Alex must figure out how to out-wit these Transformer-like killers. By the way, the hot girl turns out to be the daughter of the admiral (Neeson).
Continue reading: Battleship Review
In order to make a documentary about the shady world of brand integration in films and television, Spurlock decides to sell his new project to the highest bidders. And discovers that there's a parallel world of public relations, advertising, product specialists and neuro-marketers who make a lot of money doing this. After a slow start, sponsors climb on board, and Spurlock makes sure to keep their products on-screen as he conducts interviews with experts.
But does this compromise his journalistic or artistic integrity?
Continue reading: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold Review
After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...
The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...
Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...
Deepwater Horizon is an American disaster film that is based upon the true story of...
The title kind of gives away the ending of this harrowing true story, which is...
Marcus Luttrell is a member of Navy SEAL Team 10 during a military mission dubbed...
You'd have to go back to 1998's Armageddon to find another film that so adeptly...
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Raucous and colourful, this comical action flick should be great fun, but a lack of...
Peter Berg's The Kingdom will either rally those in the theater or piss off every...
Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx leads an all-star ensemble in a timely thriller that tracks...