Tag Archives: Lone Survivor

“DEEPWATER HORIZON” Review (✫✫✫✫)


Unexpected emergencies. Unexpected heroes.

The first thing that surprised me about Deepwater Horizon was realizing that it was rated PG-13. The violence in this movie is graphic and vivid, with its source material translating so well to the big screen that I question how different it really is from its actual events. Through every explosion, every flame set ablaze, every bone that is crushed, and every life that is taken, this is a film that seeks to honor its real-life subjects by showing us exactly what they went through. It is not for the average viewer, and it is definitely not for children. I would say younger than 17 is pushing it. 

In this adaptation of the 2010 BP oil spill directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Lone Survivor), Deepwater Horizon follows the oil-drilling crew in their final hours before the notable disaster. Mark Wahlberg plays Mike Williams, who has a family waiting for him at home. Gina Rodriguez plays Andrea, who has her boyfriend and a broken mustang back at shore. Kurt Russell is the hardened captain of the crew Jimmy Harrell. Dylan O’Brien plays Caleb, an oil driller who’s just trying to do his best job on-site. And then there’s John Malkovich, who plays the asshole that got everyone into this mess. 

The standout element of this picture, by far, is Berg’s treatment on this delicate topic. You might remember that I wasn’t very fond of his last film Lone Survivor, which I found to be too generic and predictable to do its source material justice. Here though, there’s nothing generic or predictable, not even in the opening shots. During an early breakfast conversation between Mike and his daughter, she innocently described to him her classroom speech about his job, explaining how her daddy “fights the dinosaurs” underneath the earth. While serving as sweet softener dialogue between these characters, it also doubles as exposition about his job, how he does it, what they do on a day-to-day basis, and what perils come with the occupation.

As she’s speaking, the coke she’s using to demonstrate suddenly bursts and floods the whole table. I’m thinking what would have happened if that coke was a few thousand feet bigger and was carrying oil instead of soda. 

This much is how Berg improves upon his technique from Lone Survivor to Deepwater Horizon. In Lone Survivor, our heroes were thrown into grisly escapades of war violence, with nothing building up beforehand to help us connect with these characters. Here, Berg connects us to the crewmembers’ humanity before ominously foreshadowing to their dreary fate. These are not normal movie characters. These are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters, all of whom are real people outside of the movie theater. They all have someone waiting for them at home, wrecked and nervous for their safety and survival. For the most part in war movies, our heroes more or less made the conscious decision to go fight for their country, regardless of who was waiting for them at home.

Deepwater Horizon’s heroes are different. None of these characters made the conscious decision to plant themselves square in the middle of danger. Nobody in the film was expecting the disaster to occur when it did or with how greatly it devastated them. This is a disaster picture first and foremost, and you’re frantically navigating the action with the film’s survivors as they look for a way past the spewing oil, the collapsing metal frames, the wild fires, and the empty sea gallows looming beneath them. This is a movie that completely understands what the real-life crewmembers were up against, and they bring you every detail of that disaster with nerve-wrecking alertness and urgency.

I have no qualms for this movie. At least, nothing that I can fairly hold against it. If you wanted to be picky, I suppose you could say that the editing was choppy and sometimes made the action hard to follow. But when you see the events unfold on screen, when the metal frames tip over and the rig catches on fire, you’re very quick to forgive the film for its tightly-edited action. After all, Deepwater’s residents barely had any time to process everything themselves. Why should we?

This is a masterful picture, guided delicately through its facts and events with its survivors and victims in mind. In its simplest state, Deepwater Horizon is a unique and riveting action film that perfectly captures the details of its real-life disaster. Through a more complex scope, it is a celebration of life, a commemoration for bravery, and a quiet mourning for the lives lost. 

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“TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION” Review (Zero Stars)

It damn well better be.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is a strong candidate for the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Not one of the worst. The worst. I detested every moronic minute of this obnoxious, illogical, idiotic, unfunny, offensive, trite, annoying, and prolonged experience that is more resemblant of a Chinese torture chamber than a form of entertainment. You couldn’t have binged watched a 24-hour marathon of Uwe Boll movies and shit out something as awful as this.

The plot. What is the plot of this monstrosity? I couldn’t tell you, and I’ve seen the film. I remember bits and pieces like a horrible morning hangover. Autobots and Decepticons destroyed Chicago in an epic battle. Decepticons came to Earth and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. The government is teaming up with the Decepticons to take down the Autobots. Mark Wahlberg discovers and reanimates Optimus Prime. The government attacks and blows up his house. An orgy of metal clanging and exploding ensues for two hours and 45 minutes.

I’m not going to spend much time thinking about the movie’s plot. Why should I, when the writer doesn’t bother to put in that much thought himself? Ehren Kruger has been the worst part of the Transformers movies for a long time now. Revenge of the Fallen was the first time where his mind-numbingly dumb and unfunny screenwriting infested the series like the bubonic plague. Dark of the Moon showed slight hope for him and his career.

Now he has written Age of Extinction. For his sake, I hope his career becomes just that.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is a truly mortifying and abominable experience. I am so disgusted and repulsed by its stench, I don’t know where to begin. The movie isn’t just bad. It transcends a level of stupidity and tastelessness to the point where it seems intentional. Stanley Tucci’s character, for instance, discovers an element called “Transformium” (Yes, that is the actual name). Dinosaurs, through some form of flawed logic, become Transformers. Mark Wahlberg kills a guy with a football. It’s like Michael Bay wasn’t just not trying: it’s like he was aggressively trying to make the dumbest, most disillusioned film he possibly could to alienate what few followers he has.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen bad Michael Bay movies before, including Pearl Harbor and the last two Transformers movies. But in those films, he at least seemed innocently clueless or ignorant to making a cohesive film, more interested in explosions and sexual innuendo to fuel his audience’s desperate need for testosterone. Here, he seems fully driven just to piss people off. There is nothing even slightly resembling story, plot, character development, or a conscious intelligence with this film. The film is literally it’s explosive trailer, except it extends for a nearly exasperating three hours instead of three minutes.

Is there any reason to talk about the actors? We know none of them are in here to act. They’re all here just so the film can have star power, but the film absolutely wastes and squanders all of their talents.

Wahlberg, for instance, needs no explanation. He was heartbreaking in Lone Survivor. He was a powerhouse in The Fighter. He was charismatic and intimidating in The Departed. He can be great in action movies. He’s done it before. How is it, then, that he gets stuck in the same tragic fate as Shia Labeouf did and just get stuck with running away from giant, convoluted machines and screaming loudly?

But its not just Wahlberg. Everyone suffers from stupid characterizations in the movie. T.J. Miller is killed off in the first 30 minutes. Kelsey Grammar’s character is the biggest idiot in an action movie since Paul Gleason’s character in Die Hard. For Pete’s sake, even Stanley Tucci’s unique charisma is completely erased and replaced with this cartoon of a character. What does that say about your film when you make Stanley Tucci look like a bad actor?

I’ve played this movie over and over again in my head, scanning it, desperately looking for any redeeming quality, if any, that I can find to give this movie even half of a star. I couldn’t. The first half of this film was bad enough, but for it to keep going with its obnoxious explosions, loud sound effects, terrible scripting, bad acting and even worse directing, I felt like I was getting punished for continuing to watch the movie. I have to believe that even if you like the Transformers movies, you still don’t like this movie.

To those reading this review, I plea to you: do not watch this movie. I know my plea will fall on deaf ears, and some of you will be unfortunate enough to give this movie a chance. I won’t be making that mistake again.

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