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)
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.
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.
2 Guns (2013)
Director Baltasar Kormakur pulled out the big guns for his new Action/Comedy 2 Guns. With a cast that includes Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Bill Paxton, James Marsden, and Paula Patton, how could you go wrong? This is the question that I asked myself. My answer was that you most likely can’t go wrong. I was very excited to see this film, so I caught one of the first showings.
The film is about an undercover DEA agent (Washington) and an undercover Special Forces officer (Wahlberg) that team up to get close to a drug cartel. The catch: each man is unaware that the other is a cop.
2 Guns is a high caliber adventure that is fully loaded with twists and turns, plenty of action, an amazing cast of edgy characters, lots of laughs, and a whole lot of fun.
Denzel Washington is one actor that has never really disappointed me. He has always acted his heart out in every role that I have seen him in. He is certainly one of the greats. He is one of the most consistently solid actors of our time. His role in 2 Guns is evidence that he has no intention of changing his ways or slowing down. His character is suave and in control. He lets his presence be known on screen. If he were a Jedi, the force would be strong with this one.
Mark Wahlberg’s acting ability has noticeably improved over the years. It was never bad by any means, but he has definitely found his niche. He has always taken a no-nonsense approach to his acting. This has given his movies more intensity and energy. Over time, he has learned to develop a different personality to each of the characters that he plays. He has become very versatile. In 2 Guns, he somehow managed to be funny and a badass.
The witty banter exchanged between Washington and Wahlberg was hilarious. That, mixed with each man’s physical ability for violence made the movie very entertaining. Their characters played off of each other wonderfully.
Besides Haywire (2011), I have not seen Paxton in anything great for a while. This is his best film movie Frailty (2001). He played a good tough-guy in this film.
There was never a dull moment in this movie. If you are looking for a lot of action, some good laughs, great acting, and an overall awesome film experience, look no further than 2 Guns. This movie has everything. It’s the best Action/Comedy film so far this year, and will probably be the best of the year.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you enjoyed 2 Guns, then you will most likely enjoy:
Man of Steel (2013)
With the countless number of sequels, remakes, and superhero movies that are being spewed out these days, I have become very skeptical and picky when it comes to deciding which of these movies I will see and which I will avoid like the plague.
Honestly, Man of Steel was a difficult choice at first. My initial reaction was derision. I rolled my eyes and scoffed. How many Superman movies does this world really need?
Superman and Batman are probably my favorite superheroes. What I always enjoyed about those characters was the fact that they both had alter egos and they both were always trying to do good by helping people.
The thing is I like Batman better than Superman. Batman is more real. He puts on a costume and goes out, mostly at night, to right wrongs in his city. Batman is fed up with the scum in his city and he tries to clean up the streets. Superman on the other hand, is an alien from another planet who ends up on earth. Superman looks human, but has a number of superpowers that make him almost godlike. He disguises himself as a human, but puts on a costume when its time to fight the bad guys. He is faster than a speeding bullet, can fly, has x-ray vision, and is virtually invincible except around kryptonite, etc. etc. Superman is a godlike alien from another planet. Batman is a human vigilante. Which is more believable to you?
Following my initial reaction about the new Superman, I learned who all was cast in the movie. I raised one eyebrow as I contemplated the film’s potential. The cast includes Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff, Christopher Meloni, Antje Traue, and Ayelet Zurer. Great cast right? Except Henry Cavill is a dud and he was cast as Superman.
In my opinion, they needed a far superior actor to play the lead role. Sort of like Christian Bale played Batman. Instead they surrounded an almost nobody with an awesome cast. The part will boost Henry Cavill’s career, but that doesn’t make him a better actor. They needed someone like Mark Wahlberg, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jake Gyllenhaal, or even Matt Damon.
Still, the strong cast was enough to make me want to see Man of Steel. It also helped that Christopher Nolan produced the film and both he and David S. Goyer wrote the screenplay and story. Of course, Nolan and Goyer also both wrote The Dark Knight Trilogy, which Nolan also directed. However, Nolan did not direct Man of Steel, Zach Snyder did instead. Snyder is a capable director, but Nolan is far superior.
Man of Steel is about a boy who finds out that his parents on earth are not his real parents. It is believed that he was sent to earth from a different planet. These details are revealed to him by his earth parents after he figures out that he has super powers. Now he must learn what he was sent to earth to do and what type of man he will become.
The film was bursting at the seams with special effects. The aspects of Superman that I do not enjoy were highly prevalent in the movie. I don’t like the overuse of super powers and Michael Bay-esque explosions, along with multiple superhuman aliens in an endless battle of invulnerability. Everything in their path becomes obliterated and it all seems so unrealistic. With that being said, I expected the film to be that way. But, I also hoped that the film would concentrate more on the humans on earth than the aliens on Superman’s home planet. That hope was shattered. It became more about Superman stopping an alien invasion on earth than Superman just stopping bad guys on earth.
Although there were a few things about the movie that I did not like, I will admit that those things were done tastefully. The special effects were amazing. They were too much at times, but they were also insanely awesome at times. The cast was great, but Henry Cavill could have been replaced with someone better. Everybody else’s performance made up for his. It’s not that he was bad, but he just could have been much better. The supporting cast should not be better than the main character. That is not a solid foundation for a film.
Crowe, Costner, Shannon, Adams, and Lane all made the movie worth watching. They used their acting super powers to totally make the film.
Man of Steel is a worthy update to previous Superman movies. Even a superhero skeptic like myself, enjoyed the movie. With the obscene amount of action in the film, it will certainly be better on the big screen.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Pain & Gain (2013)
Michael Bay took a true story about bodybuilding thieves and kidnappers, and chewed it up and spit it out bigger and better than before. The producer and director has a tendency to go big or go home. Pain & Gain went huge with a super sized Mark Wahlberg, a bulkier Dwayne Johnson “The Rock”, and an extra beefed up Anthony Mackie.
I should not have enjoyed this movie, but I did. It is supposedly a true story, but you have to believe that with Michael Bay involved, the film could very well be far from the truth. Everything about the movie was way over-the-top.
The movie was raunchy, vulgar, and went totally off the deep end. It’s filled with drugs, cussing, nudity, and brutality. I was caught off guard at how funny the movie was though. I expected an action/adventure and I got an action/comedy. The story is pretty twisted and it needed a lot of comedy to help you get through it, so kudos to the filmmakers for recognizing this fact. The real story was probably not that funny. The real story was probably not that entertaining either.
If you are not a fan of dark comedy, then you might not like this movie. It is mostly filled with dark comedy and stupid comedy. After all, all brawn and no brains is the underlined theme of this film. The movie could also be considered very offensive. If you are easily offended, you might not like the film.
The characters were far out, but very well-acted. The casting was perfect. I don’t think that you could find a funnier bunch of giants anywhere. With that being said, if this movie had a different cast, it probably would have just been awful. I am certain that the actual people that the characters are based on are not nearly as likable as the actors who play them in the movie.
With how big Mark Wahlberg is now, if he could go back in time and fight his character in The Fighter (2010), he would beat the crap out of that guy. He gained 40lbs. to make Pain & Gain and he looks gigantic. Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” somehow became more enormous for his role. It just goes to show the dedication that these guys had to make the movie.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
If you liked Pain & Gain, then you will most likely enjoy:
2 Guns (2013)
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg teamed up together and against each other in an action/drama. This movie sounds good and looks even better. Great title. Great cast that also, most notably, includes James Marsden, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, Robert John Burke, Patrick Fischler, and Fred Ward. It is directed by Baltasar Kormakur.
I think that it is basically guaranteed to be a big hit. I will definitely check it out in the theatre.
The film is set to release on 8/2/13.
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:
Ted was without a doubt the funniest movie of 2012. The film weaves together more types of humor than I can imagine. It’s a crude, crass, vulgar, silly, raunchy, stupid, quirky, dark, dry, clever, witty, well written, laugh out loud, pee your pants, riot! It was absolutely and utterly hilarious! If you’re a fan of the TV show Family Guy, then you will love Ted. Both shows have the same type of comedy because they were both created by the same funnyman genius, Seth Macfarlane.
There are many similarities and differences to both shows. Family Guy is an animated TV show, while Ted is a live action movie with the title character being the only one that is computer animated. In Family Guy there is a talking baby and a talking dog, while in Ted there is a talking teddy bear that has come to life. Ted is able to get away with a lot more rude humor because it is rated R and unrated, while Family Guy is a little more toned down because it’s on TV.
If you are familiar with the TV show Family Guy, then you probably know that Mila Kunis supplies the voice of Meg Griffin and Seth Macfarlane contributes the voice of Peter Griffin. Kunis plays Mark Wahlberg’s girlfriend in Ted, and Macfarlane does the voice of Ted. Oddly enough Seth Macfarlane did the same voice for both Peter Griffin and Ted. They sound the same. He didn’t bother to make them different. Honestly, I don’t know which one is funnier.
Macfarlane does an excellent job directing the entire cast to make Ted as real as possible. It’s not long before you forget that Ted is not a living thing. The actors do a wonderful job interacting with something that is not even there. I think that Walhberg does an especially good job in his scenes with Ted and making them believable.
Mila Kunis is actually very likable in Ted as opposed to her character Meg in Family Guy, who everybody loves to hate.
Giovanni Ribisi adds an awesome lunatic character to the film. It is another one of many weird roles that he adds to his resume’ of crazy characters.
Patrick Stewart narrates the film and even he is quite comical.
If you are looking for a good laugh and are into all types of comedy, then this movie should do the trick.
I rate this movie a 9 out of 10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.