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Beirut (2018)


Beirut (2018)

Beirut looked intriguing to me because the always dapper Jon Hamm was finally given the main lead in a serious film.  He has always been likable in every role that I have seen him.  Of course, his boost to stardom was in the leading part in the Mad Men (2007-2015) series.

The film is about a hostage situation that summons a former U.S. diplomat back to war-torn Beirut in an attempt to save his old friend.

The movie was directed by Brad Anderson and the noteworthy cast includes Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike, Mark Pellegrino, Dean Norris, Shea Whigam, Douglas Hodge, Larry Pine, Ben Affan, and Mohamed Attougui.

The filmmakers did a superb job creating a believable Beirut in 1982 and thereafter.  The not-so-peaceful Middle East was very apparent in the movie.  There was a sort of gloomy undertone to the film and this gave the movie a much darker feel to it.

It was nice to see Jon Hamm in a leading role carrying a film.  He brought a level of class and finesse to his character that made the movie exciting, where it otherwise may have lacked with someone else playing his part.

Rosamund Pike did a good job in the movie.  However, I felt like her character could have been developed better.  She is a strong actress, but this film did not allow her a strong presence.  I felt like her performance in Hostiles (2017) and Gone Girl (2014) were far better than her performance in Beirut because she was able to give those other characters more substance.

Beirut is not a movie that you are going to want to watch over and over again because of the subject matter.  However, it is a well-made, above average film that is worth the watch.

I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

12 Strong (2018)

Lone Survivor (2013)

American Sniper (2014)

The Kite Runner (2007)

Chappaquiddick (2017)

The Post (2017)

Lincoln (2012)

Captain Phillips (2013)

Darkest Hour (2017)

No Escape (2015)

American Assassin (2017)

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All the Money in the World (2017)


All the Money in the World (2017)

When I think of All the Money in the World, it is hard not to think about everything that happened with Kevin Spacey and the bad publicity that surrounded this film because of him.  It is my understanding that the movie was just about completed when the news came out about his sexual allegations.

(This is my review of All the Money in the World, but I feel that it is important to talk first about the cloud of negativity that hovered over this movie before its release.  There is a certain amount of hypocrisy that has been a part of the Hollywood machine for many years.  It still is today).

I think that the producers of the movie agreed that All the Money in the World was guaranteed to bomb at the box office because of Spacey.  So how did they resolve this problem?  The same way that Netflix resolved their Spacey problem with the infamous House of Cards firing, they cut him out of the film completely.  They brought Christopher Plummer in to replace him.  Then they had to reshoot all of Spacey’s scenes with Plummer instead.  How that will pan out with the Netflix Original Series House of Cards is yet to be seen, but that is a topic for a different day.

Spacey was originally billed second.  His character was a big deal to the film.  They had to bring in the other actors and redo a good chunk of the whole movie so that they could replace him.  This all had to be done with only weeks remaining until the film was due to be released!

I read that it took about 9 days to completely reshoot the necessary scenes to cut Kevin Spacey completely out of All the Money in the World.  That is insane if you think about it.  Ridley Scott did what they thought would be impossible to try to salvage the film.

Now, if that was not enough, more controversy instantly surfaced about the reshoots.  Apparently, Walhberg negotiated that he would get paid somewhere in the millions of dollars if he had to film any extra scenes.  He has a good agent and he is one of the highest paid actors out there, so this comes as no surprise right?  Wrong.  To stir things up more, now all of a sudden, people were complaining because he got paid far more than Michelle Williams or any of the other actors for his reshoots.  They were paid thousands and he was paid millions.  The complaint was that there should be closer to equal pay for all involved.

I am all for women’s rights.  I am glad that they were able to erase Spacey from this film because of his sexual misconduct.  They should have cracked down on all of that years ago.  We all know, and they all know that people in power in Hollywood have been taking advantage of that power for far too long and nothing has really been done about it until recently.

However, I believe in the free market.  People should be able to negotiate their worth.  They get paid for what they contribute.  The superstars get paid more because they bring more to the table.  That is how it always has been and how it always should be.  If you want to look at equal pay between men and women in Hollywood, I think you need to look deeper into the fact that Hollywood treats women like objects.  Hollywood writers do not write many quality roles for women.  Instead women are seen as window dressing and men are made out to be the heroes.  That is not a problem with the actors or actresses.  That is a problem with the filmmakers, and ultimately the big production companies that have gotten big for a reason, because they know how to make money.

What does Mark Wahlberg do when he hears that many people believe that he got overpaid and he is looked at as being part of the problem?  Marky Mark turns around and donates all of the extra millions of dollars that he made for reshoots to “Time’s Up” in Michelle Williams name.

All of the Money in the World is based on true events.  It is about a teenage boy who is kidnapped and held for ransom because his grandfather is the richest man in the world.  The grandfather will not pay the ransom, and the boy’s mother is forced to do whatever is in her power to try to get her son back.

The movie was directed by Ridley Scott and the noteworthy cast includes Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Plummer, Romain Duris, Charlie Shotwell, Andrew Buchan, and Marco Leonardi.

Ridley Scott generally knows how to get a film done right.  He has got the process down.  Sometimes the expectation is higher than the outcome, however.  This is the case with this movie.  It is well made to a point.  It jumps around a lot.  Usually that is OK to tell a story, but it makes this film feel a little choppy.  It also seems to take away from how we feel about the characters in the story.  We are not given much of a chance to really like and care about the people in the movie.  If we do not care much about the characters, then we do not care much about what happens to them.

I think that this disconnect exists in the movie because it is in fact, based on true events.  They follow the story line of what happened in real life, but they do not give you much reason to like the characters.  This strongly takes away from how good the movie could be.  It is good up to a point, without the possibility of being better.

Christopher Plummer got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this movie.  He was part of the film for 9 days of reshoots.  With all of the chaos that surrounded All the Money in the World, it seems like Hollywood was just throwing the movie a bone when they nominated Plummer for an Oscar.  He is a solid actor and he was good in this film, but not Oscar good.  Not even close.  I think that this is a case of Hollywood trying to recoup their investment and show praise for Ridley Scott’s ability to get the job done that needed to get done.  If there is an Oscar nomination of any kind for a movie, it pretty much guarantees that people will see it.  It is sort of like the media.  They tell you what they want you to hear.  In this case, they tell you what they want you to watch.

I cannot help but wonder, what the other version of the film with Spacey was like.  With my tainted view of him as an actor at this point, I would have hated the movie.  It was definitely the right thing to do replacing him.  I used to be big fan of Spacey, but it is amazing how quickly your view of someone changes once their true colors bleed through.

Overall, the movie was good, but not that good.  It is an interesting true story that was certainly worth telling.  It felt rushed, because it actually was rushed.  I feel that with more thought placed on character development, the movie could have been a lot better.

I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

Captain Phillips (2013)

John Q. (2002)

Proof of Life (2000)

Hostage (2005)

Inside Man (2006)

The Negotiator (1998)

Ransom (1996)

Broken City (2013)

Lone Survivor (2013)

12 Strong (2018)


12 Strong (2018)

Besides what I saw in the trailer, I was not aware of the true story that this film depicts.  How was this not more widely publicized?

12 Strong is a true story about 12 Special Forces soldiers sent on a covert operation in Afghanistan, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  They are the first boots on the ground.  The group teams up with an Afghan leader, and together on horseback, they try to take down the Taliban.

The movie is based on the book “Horse Soldiers” by Doug Stanton.  It is directed by Nicolai Fuglsig.

The noteworthy cast includes Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Navid Negahban, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill, Austin Stowell, Rob Riggle, William Fichter, Fahim Fazli, Numan Acar, and Taylor Sheridan.

12 Strong is the best war movie that I have seen since American Sniper (2014).  It is done in a similar style as Lone Survivor (2013).  It is an amazing untold story that everyone should know about.  It tells the story about America’s immediate response after the 9/11 attacks.

This is easily Chris Hemsworth’s best film.  His role as a soldier was quite believable.

Michael Shannon and Michael Pena also give very likable performances.

The flow to the story was very fluid.  I credit the film quality to the unknown director Nicolai Fuglsig.  A film with such epic proportions cannot be easy to direct.  Especially one this good.

The convincing sets and realistic battle scenes make you feel like you are watching on the battlefield.  It is a war movie, so there is a lot of quality brutal violence.  The special effects are good, but not overdone.

The story itself, was what was most surprising to me.  The U.S. sends twelve men into Afghanistan to respond to the 19 terrorists that took out the World Trade Center.  The covert operation sees those twelve men joining forces with Afghan soldiers on horseback to try to systematically takedown the Taliban.  Horses against tanks, rockets, and other heavy artillery.  Who would’ve thought?

That is fascinating to me.  It’s the 21st century.  The greatest country in the world is attacked with their own planes.  And, their response is on horses in the desert.  Reading that out loud sounds pretty harsh.  But, that is why this is such an interesting and incredible story.  This is not me talking down about the story it all.  That is me praising it.  If you have not seen it and it sounds interesting to you, go see it now!

I rate this movie a on a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

Lone Survivor (2013)

American Sniper (2014)

Fury (2014)

Unbroken (2014)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

The Pianist (2002)

We Were Soldiers (2002)

The 15:17 to Paris (2018)

The 15:17 to Paris (2018)


The 15:17 to Paris (2018)

The legendary Clint Eastwood took a big risk casting the actual people that his film is about to star in it.  This concept immediately sparked my interest enough for me to be really excited about seeing The 15:17 to Paris.

I intentionally did not watch much of the trailer for this film, nor did I read anything about it.  This is because I vaguely remembered hearing about this story, watching the news and reading about what happened after this event took place, not too long ago.  I did not remember a lot of what happened and I did not want to spoil the movie by knowing all about it beforehand.

With all of the vile stories of terrorism and mass-murder we hear happening all over the news in this crazy world that we live in, it’s nice to recognize the heroes that fight back against the evil that is unleashed around them.  That is what The 15:17 to Paris is.  It is a story about the ones that fought back to try to protect their fellow man because they were not about to go down without a fight.  This movie is the story of three friends who grew up together and how they happened to be on a train to Paris at the time of a gruesome terrorist attack aimed at everyone on board.

The movie was based on the book by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Jeffrey E. Stern.  It was produced and directed by Clint Eastwood.

The cast includes the three men the film is about: Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos.  The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, P.J. Byrne, Thomas Lennon, Tony Hale, Jaleel White, and Steve Coulter.

I heard that initially the MPAA rating system wanted to make the movie rated R.  This upset Eastwood and he had to raise a big fuss to win the PG-13 rating.  I’m not sure if any scenes were cut from the film to achieve the PG-13 rating, but I found no reason that there should’ve been an R rating.  There was hardly any swearing, no nudity, and only some violence.  The violence was not excessive and was very necessary to tell the story accurately.  Nothing else warranted an R rating.  Could it be a way of censoring Eastwood’s film so less people could see it?  That will likely never be revealed, but I wouldn’t put it past Hollywood for pulling a move like that.  Good old Clint!  Always fighting for what he thinks is right.  He doesn’t care if Hollywood doesn’t back him.  He has built an astounding career on getting his movies made no matter what.  In a lot of ways, he is that powerful protagonist character that he has portrayed on screen so many times.  I think he felt that this story needed to be told and he wanted the perspective of the real people to make it more accurate.

The film is not going to win any awards for its acting.  These three men are not actors.  These are real people.  Realizing this fact while watching the movie actually made it more powerful.  It made me approach my view of the movie in a different way.  It doesn’t matter that the dialogue was not delivered by seasoned actors.  This is an obvious detail in Eastwood’s vision.  It simply matters that their story was told.  Who better to tell it than the real people themselves?

The 15:17 to Paris depicts an incredible true story of heroism and courage.

The movie is not loaded with action and special effects.  It sheds light on a story that a lot of people didn’t pay much attention to.  It reminds us of the good in people.  Humanity in helping others because that is the right thing to do.  These men didn’t think twice about their own safety.  They just did what they had to do.

I watched this film two nights ago and I have thought about it since.  The more that I think about it, the more I like it.  You are not going to leave the movie in awe.  However, it will make you contemplate what you saw.  Maybe you will be more grateful for what you have.

 

I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

American Sniper (2014)

Lone Survivor (2013)

World Trade Center (2006)

Captain Phillips (2013)

12 Strong (2018)

United 93 (2006)

Lone Survivor (2013)


Lone Survivor Poster

Lone Survivor (2013)

 

You will laugh, and you will cry.  They live, they fight, and they die.

I was very excited to see Lone Survivor.  When I learned of the movie months ago, I knew it would be one that I had to see.  Recently, I heard from numerous people that the film was amazing, and that just made me want to see it more.  These days, if Mark Wahlberg is in a movie, you can basically expect gold.

Film Title: Lone Survivor

The film is based on the book with the same title which was written by Marcus Luttrell and is based on his true story.  It’s about a group of Navy SEALS on a covert operation in Afghanistan that goes horribly wrong.  Four SEALS are left severely outnumbered and outgunned and behind enemy lines.  Unable to make radio contact, they are forced to stand together as one and try desperately to fight the local Taliban for their survival.

The movie was directed by Peter Berg and the noteworthy cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, Yousif Azami, Ali Suliman, Alexander Ludwig, and Jerry Ferrara.

I had vaguely heard of the mission that was portrayed in Lone Survivor, but ultimately, I hardly new any of the details before watching the film.  I’m not sure how much of the story went by the book, and what was fictionalized for pure entertainment purposes.  I have not read the book, but it would be interesting to see how it differs from the movie.

Lone Survivor is a superb depiction of the camaraderie and brotherhood that is commonly found in the Navy SEALS.  The actors walked the walk, and talked the talk.  They were large, bulky instruments that were trained to kill and trained to survive.  They fight like soldiers and they curse like soldiers.  This film does not edit itself for a lighter rating.  It’s as real as I’ve ever seen.  Prepare yourself to be shocked.

Lone Survivor Barracks

This movie has some of the most insanely realistic and severely intense battle scenes that I have ever seen in a film.  Although I knew that I was in a theatre watching a film, it was as if I was watching real footage of actual soldiers at war, and not actors pretending for a camera.

Lone Survivor is a trip into hostile territory.  The movie reminded me of how I felt about Saving Private Ryan (1998) when I saw it for the first time.  It’s an epic achievement.  The film changes the way that you look at the war movie genre.  It raises the bar and leaves huge shoes to fill for any future war movie.  It’s a game changer.  I have a feeling that this movie will be hard to beat for years to come.  The genre has now been reestablished.

The cast was a force to be reckoned with.  Everyone was awesome.  Wahlberg stood out above the rest and he continues to add to the arsenal of reasons why I like him.  He has become one of my favorite actors.  He is a consistent entertainer in the movie world and that is a rare thing in this day and age.

Lone Survivor Wahlberg

This movie should be an Oscar contender.  It would be a crime if it didn’t win something.  It would be an excellent way to honor all of the Navy SEALS that fought for their brothers standing next to them.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Note: Lone Survivor could deserve a higher rating, but it has to live up to the test of time before it gets one from me.

There was a bit of a disturbance in the densely populated theatre where I watched this film.  A man in the same row as mine was yelling obscenities during the first half of the movie.  He started to violently strike the seats in front of him before he was finally removed from the premises.  I was unable to give my full attention to the first part of the movie because of this distraction.  It was unfortunate, but when I watch the movie for a second time, my rating could possibly change.

The Best Movies of 2013


The Best Movies of 2013

2013 is not over yet, but the last couple months of the year always seems to have a ton of new releases that get crammed in just in time to be considered for the current year’s Academy Awards.

We are in the midst of the beginning of the end of the year, so I thought it would be fitting to list all of the best movies that have been released so far this year.  I will list what I think are the best movies so far this year, and the rest of my list will consist of other great movies that did not quite make the cut.  The movies that did not make the cut were still pretty awesome and worth seeing.

Click on each movie for my full review, rating, trailer, and poster artwork for that film.

So, without further ado, here is the list:

The Best Movies of 2013 (in alphabetical order)

2 Guns (2013)

42 (2013)

All is Lost (2013)

American Hustle (2013)

Captain Phillips (2013)

Gravity (2013)

The Iceman (2012)

Lone Survivor (2013)

Out of the Furnace (2013)

Prisoners (2013)

Best Sequels:

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Red 2 (2013)

Other Great Movies that did not make the cut (in alphabetical order)

The Big Wedding (2013)

Broken City (2013)

Bullet to the Head (2012)

The Conjuring (2013)

Escape Plan (2013)

Gangster Squad (2013)

The Heat (2013)

Jobs (2013)

Man of Steel (2013)

Mud (2012)

Oblivion (2013)

Oz The Great and Powerful (2013)

The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

The Purge (2013)

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Violet & Daisy (2011)

White House Down (2013)

The Wolverine (2013)

World War Z (2013)

Because the year is not over yet, I will continue to add to this list.  That is of course, if I see a movie that is good enough to be on it.  Considering the list of movies that are set to release before the end of the year, I’m sure that I will have no problem adding to this list.  I hope that you will come back to www.brockingmovies.com to see any additions to the list.

The Most Anticipated Movies Coming to Theatres in December 2013


Movie Tickets Curtain Popcorn

The Most Anticipated Movies Coming to Theatres in December 2013

Click on each title below for a brief synopsis, trailer, movie poster and release date of each film.

The Monuments Men (2013)

Out of the Furnace (2013) (Click on this link for my full review.)

American Hustle (2013)

Anchorman: The Legend Continues (2013)

Lone Survivor (2013) (Click on this link for my full review.)

Grudge Match (2013)

47 Ronin (2013)

If you would like to read my reviews on 24 films that are currently out in theatres, simply click on the link below:

Now In Theatres Movie Reviews August 30th – September 5th

Trailer for Lone Survivor (2013)


Lone Survivor Poster

Lone Survivor (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)

The film is directed by Peter Berg.  The noteworthy cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Ludwig, Jerry Ferrera, and Scott Elrod.

This cast in a film based on a true story about a NAVY SEAL operation gone bad.  What else is there for me to say?  I’ll see it.

The film is set to release on 12/27/13.

Broken City (2013)


broken city cover

Broken City (2013)

Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe both let their presence be known in Broken City.  Each man carries himself with such tenacity and vigor that when you put them both in the same movie together, you are certainly in for a show.  Put them both in the same scene, and you are in for fireworks.

In this film, Crowe reminds us all just how powerful his acting can be.  He seemed like he was very comfortable with his part and was having a lot of fun with it.  That aspect of it was pretty obvious and made the movie more enjoyable.

broken city cheers

Wahlberg has been choosing his movie roles very carefully lately, and makes yet another wise choice.  He has definitely shown us that he can act with the best of them and delivers another very raw, intense performance.  Obviously he is the lead in this film and he was billed first before Russell Crowe, but I think that he has rightfully earned that position.  He has paid his dues and has reached the superstar status.

The movie is pretty dark.  It is filled with deceit, dirty cops and politicians, murder, and violence.  It’s almost scary how well it was all depicted.  It was all very well written, well directed, and skillfully filmed.  It was all rounded out by a superb supporting cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey Wright, and Kyle Chandler.  The latter three of those four are all very solid character actors and they were all at their best.

barry pepperkyle chandler broken city

I have noticed a trend recently.  Female lead characters have not had much of a chance to develop their characters in movies.  It just seems that more and more, actresses are not given too many lines or very big roles in larger movies as of late.  They may be main characters, but the men usually dominate the film.  Obviously this happens a lot in movies, but usually when the movie has a big budget and a high caliber cast, it also gets a couple of strong female lead characters to go with it.  Broken City continued the trend of weak or underdeveloped female lead characters.  This may have taken a little bit away from the movie, but at the same time could have contributed to how and why the male characters went off the deep end.  Their female counterparts were a little too withdrawn.

wright wahlberg broken city

Broken City was reminiscent of old Humphrey Bogart private detective movies such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), or The Big Sleep (1946).  Of course it is a new age and more intense film than those were, but it just reminded me of them while I was watching it.  Those were classic films that were fun to watch.

Overall, Broken City was a very strong, entertaining film.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

If you enjoyed Broken City, then you will probably like:

2 Guns (2013)

Pain & Gain (2013)

Ted (2012)

American Hustle (2013)

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

Lone Survivor (2013)

crown zeta broken city