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

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)

Matthew Michael Carnahan

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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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