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:
American Sniper (2014)
The Kite Runner (2007)
No Escape (2015)
American Assassin (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:
John Q. (2002)
Proof of Life (2000)
Inside Man (2006)
The Negotiator (1998)
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:
American Sniper (2014)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
The Pianist (2002)
We Were Soldiers (2002)
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
If you would like to read my reviews on 24 films that are currently out in theatres, simply click on the link below:
Lone Survivor (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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: