Currently browsing the "Mark Wahlberg" tag.

Review: Spenser Confidential (Netflix)

This Netflix title caught my eye because I was a fan of the TV series “Spenser for Hire” (starring the late Robert Urich) in the mid-1980s and was curious how a new movie version of the crime drama might play out with Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. The film is directed by Peter Berg who’s worked with Wahlberg several times in the past decade, in big-screen features like Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, Mile 22 and Lone Survivor. Spenser Confidential would be weak for a theatrical release, but it’s entertaining enough for Netflix streaming – for nostalgia’s sake and/or if you just like watching Wahlberg do his thing. Check, check.

Review: Instant Family

Instant Family is an instant charmer. It’s a message movie that balances the funny with the feels and could very well raise critical awareness and interest in foster care and adoption. The film was written and directed by Sean Anders (Daddy’s Home) who drew on his own family story for inspiration. Just like the main characters in Instant Family, Anders and his wife took in three siblings born to a drug addict mom. Their journey was fraught with challenges – and laughter. So they decided to put that experience into the cinematic universe to help demystify the foster care and adoption process and celebrate the true meaning of family.

Patriots Day

The Boston Marathon bombing is like so many of our recent tragedies. We remember where we were when it happened and were glued to the news, trying to come to terms with the horrifying display of carnage born from hatred. Then over the following days we watched and waited as the perpetrators were identified, killed, and captured. Patriots Day is essentially this story told through one Boston cop’s eyes. Mark Wallberg is Sgt. Tommy Saunders, a cop who’s made some mistakes and has been forced to be a Marathon traffic cop, so he just happens to be there when the bombs go off, which throws him into the middle of the hunt for the perps who may be planning more attacks. You know what’s going to happen, so there aren’t many surprises, but the film is fast paced with enough detail to make it extremely absorbing, and it works!

Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon is a well-cast but fairly standard disaster movie that attempts to put a human face on the worst oil disaster in U.S. history. On April 20, 2010, an explosion rocked the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon (owned by Transocean and operated by BP) during a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico, triggering an environmental disaster that sent an estimated 210 million gallons of oil sweeping and seeping its way to the shores of Louisiana and beyond. The movie, “inspired by the true story”, isn’t so much about the environmental impact or the blame game that ensued, but rather about the human toll. We are reminded that eleven people died that day (their remains never found), and that among the victims and survivors were untold stories of bravery and heroism.

Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor is difficult to watch. So difficult, in fact, that I covered my eyes for the majority of the second half. It’s a hard-core war movie. It’s intense. Brutal. Bloody. And depressing. So unless you have the stomach for long battle scenes pitting a small band of brothers against a largely unseen enemy in the mountains of Afghanistan, then I suggest you take a pass.

2 Guns

Full disclosure: I will go see anything with Marky Mark, um, I mean Mark Wahlberg in it. Don’t judge. Everybody’s got their something. That doesn’t mean I like everything he’s in (I’m looking at you Broken City). But I did like 2 Guns. Why? Because it’s got Wahlberg with the added bonus of Denzel Washington, and they were really fun together.  I enjoyed the banter between the two, which is borderline flirtatious.(Perhaps in the sequel, they’ll actually hook up.) It was silly fun, but it is also violent and the plot is completely convoluted. So it’s not for everyone.

Pain & Gain

Usually, when a movie is based on a true story, it’s inspirational, dramatic, transformational, or heartwarming… or some combination thereof. This one is just plain absurd. And tragic. And gross. And yes, pretty darn funny in a “You can’t be serious. That did not just happen!” sort of way. And did I mention it stars a very buff and often shirtless Mark Wahlberg? Just throwin’ that out there, so you have all the facts at hand when weighing your cinematic options.

Broken City

Broken City is a broken movie. Sorry, it had to be said. But even an all-star cast can’t fix this noirish clunker. I always wonder about movies released in January. If they were any good, the studio would release them in December in time for award nominations. January is a dumping ground for the studios’ leftover junk, and that’s why Broken City is out now.

The Fighter

Every once in a while a movie comes along that has a little something for everyone. I think The Fighter is one of those movies. In fact, I think it may be my favorite movie of the year. It’s the total package: A really good story (based on a true one), a powerful mix of drama, romance, humor and heart, and stellar performances across the board. You don’t have to be a boxing fan to step into the ring for this one. It’s a chick flick wrapped in a sports drama.

The Other Guys

Hmmmm. This movie isn’t bad. But it sure is weird. My inclination is to say “skip it”, but a lot of people laughed, a lot, during the course of this movie. They also groaned a lot, “ewwwwww”ed a lot, and said “Say Whaaaat?” a lot. So who am I to judge?