Tag Archives: mark wahlberg

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (2017) – My rating: 7/10

All the Money in the World is a 2017 crime thriller directed by Ridley Scott and written by David Scarpa.  It is based on John Pearson’s 1995 book, Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty. The film depicts J. Paul Getty’s refusal to cooperate with the extortion demands of a group of kidnappers from the organized crime Mafia group ‘Ndrangheta, who abducted his grandson John Paul Getty III in 1973.  The story is history and the outcome is well known.  I found the film a bit drawn out but well documented.

In 1973, 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Paul), (Charlie Plummer) grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, (Christopher Plummer) the world’s richest private citizen, is kidnapped in Rome by an organized crime ring. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of $17 million. Via flashbacks, it is shown that Paul’s parents, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) and John Paul Getty Jr. (Andrew Buchan), were divorced in 1971 due to Getty Jr.’s drug addiction. Gail rejected alimony in exchange for full custody of her children in the divorce settlement. Just living off her meager salary, she doesn’t have the means to pay the ransom. She visits Getty’s estate to beseech him to pay the ransom but he refuses because he feels that paying would encourage further kidnappings on his family members. The media picks up on the story, with many believing Gail to be rich herself and blaming her for the refusal to pay the ransom. Meanwhile, Getty asks Fletcher Chace (Mark Wahlberg), a Getty Oil negotiator and former CIA operative, to investigate the case and secure Paul’s release.

In the meanwhile, Paul is kept hostage in a remote location in Italy. Initially his captors, particularly Cinquanta (Romain Duris), are tolerant with him because his quiet and submissive demeanor causes them few problems. However, things grow increasingly tense as weeks go by without the ransom being paid.  Things get worse when one of the kidnappers accidentally shows his face to Paul, prompting one of the others to kill him for his foolish mistake. His burned and disfigured body is recovered in the river.  Investigators erroneously identify the body as Paul.

After repeated negotiations with Gail and Chace, and frustration from the captors at how long the process was taking, they lower the asking price to $4 million. Getty finally decides to contribute to the ransom, but only $1 million (the maximum amount he can claim as tax deductible). Additionally, he will only contribute if Gail signs a legal document waiving her parental access rights to Paul and her other children, giving them to Getty’s son.

The kidnappers cut off one of Paul’s ears and mail it to a major newspaper, claiming that they will continue mutilating him until the ransom is paid. Berated by an exasperated Chace, Getty finally relents and agrees to pay the full ransom, also voiding the parental agreement with Gail.

You might think this is the end of the saga, but it isn’t.  What happens next is both exciting and unexpected.  Also, the film explains what happens to John Paul Getty (the grandfather), his money and his grandson.  You will also learn what’s is store for the kidnappers and John Paul Getty, III’s mother and siblings.  In my opinion, “All the Money in the World” is a descent movie, which you can probably catch on DVD by now.  I urge you to check it out!

[All the money in the World has Oscar nominated Christopher Plummer for Best Actor]

DADDY’S HOME 2 (2017) – My rating: 7/10

Daddy’s Home 2 is a comedy sequel to Daddy’s Home directed by Sean Anders and written by Anders and John Morris.  While it was descent, it wasn’t as good.  It starts out pretty mundane before it builds up to the comedy you though you came to see and there’s not quite enough of that to make it the hit of the original.

Daddy’s Home 2 is all set from the events of the first film with Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg) and Sara Mayron (Linda Cardellini) divorced from each other with 2 children, Dylan Mayron (Owen Vaccaro) and Megan Mayron (Scarlett Estevez).  Sara is now Sara Whitaker and remarried to Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) with a new baby (Griffy).  Dusty Mayron is also remarried to Karen (Alessandra Ambrosio) who is divorced from Roger (John Cena), they have 1 child, Adrianna (DiDi Costine) who is now Dusty’s difficult stepdaughter. In this sequel, Dusty and Brad who are now  “besties” must deal with their fathers, who are coming to visit for the holidays.  It’s going to be quite the showdown right from the start, when they meet at the airport. Brad’s father Don Whitaker (John Lithgow), who is sweet and kind vs Dusty’s father, Kurt Mayron (Mel Gibson) who is rugged and manly, must find a way to get along during their stay. The criticisms start to fly from Kurt immediately but most of it goes over Don’s head because he so nice.  The airport scenes give Daddy’s Home 2 a lift but that might be the pinnacle of the movie for most.  There are a few more remotely funny scenes but nothing earth shattering.  There are some pretty good lessons to be learned about getting along and surviving extended family situations but all in all, I recommend waiting for Blu-ray or DVD.

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (2017) – My rating: 8/10

Transformers: The last Knight is why I bother to critique movies.  From all that I read from the critics, I almost didn’t go to see this sequel.  While it wasn’t the greatest sequel, it was far from the worse.  Of course this is my opinion, which is all relative.  I enjoyed it enough to recommend it and give it a decent rating.  I really don’t know what the critics are looking for.  I was entertained and the acting was good.  The story was good as well as the special effects and action.  As a matter of fact, I was happy to not see endless destruction of cities and buildings where they normally take place.  I’m not sure what prompted the low scores or bad write ups for this movie.

The last Knight starts in the year 484 AD, with a battle being fought between the Saxons and King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and his army, who are reluctantly relying on wizard Merlin (Stanley Tucci) to win the war.  However, Merlin, who previously forged an alliance with the Knights of Iacon, a group of twelve Transformers hidden on Earth, is off begging the knights to help him in this time of need.  Unable to help, a transformer presented Merlin with an alien staff to help King Arthur triumph over the Saxons instead.

Moving to modern day; most governments on Earth have declared Transformers illegal, and have created a multinational Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) to eliminate alien robots. Despite the absence of Optimus Prime (who left the planet in search of his creator), new Transformers are continually arriving on Earth.  The latest ship to arrive crash-lands in Chicago and is found by a group of children. When a TRF mecha confronts the kids, they are saved by Izabella, (Isabela Moner) a survivor of the Battle of Chicago, and her Transformer companions, Sqweeks and Canopy, but Canopy is killed by the TRF in the process. Bumblebee and Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) arrive to help the children to escape.

In the meanwhile, on the far reaches of the Solar System, Optimus Prime discovers that Cybertron, the Transformers’ home world, which is now disassembled into pieces, is heading directly for Earth. Optimus finds the being in control of Cybertron’s movement is a sorceress named Quintessa, (Gemma Chan) who professes to be the maker he is searching for. According to Quintessa’s story, the staff that the knights gave to Merlin was stolen from her.  Using her powers, she places Optimus Prime under her control, dubs him “Nemesis Prime,” and charges him with the task of recovering the staff. She also alleges, Earth is actually Cybertron’s “ancient enemy” Unicron, and she intends to drain his life force so that Cybertron can be restored.

Eventually, Yeager is tracked to the junkyard hideout where several old Transformers, Autobots, Dinobots, Decepticons, Jimmy, (Jerrod Carmichael) a close friend and employee of Yeager’s and Izabella live, as well as manage repairs of the surviving incoming Transformers and all that comes with them.  Yeager is approached by Cogman, (Jim Carter) the Transformer envoy and loyal butler of British Lord, Sir Edmund Burton, (Anthony Hopkins) who takes him and Bumblebee to England to meet his master. There, Yeager also meets Viviane Wembly, (Laura Haddock) an Oxford professor and last descendant of Merlin. Burton explains that he is the last living member of the “Witwiccan” order, an ancient brotherhood dedicated to guarding the secret history of Transformers on Earth.

From this point, you have a pretty good plot.  Transformers are now banned from Earth, there’s a newly formed group who are responsible for keeping the Transformers from entering called TRF, a British Lord is trying to get the last descendant of Merlin along with Yeager to retrieve the staff (that was given to Quintessa) and also use the emblem fused onto his arm by a Transformer against Quintessa to stop her from destroying Earth and Optimus Prime.  Of course there’s endless twist and turns I can’t tell you about at this point, as not to spoil the movie. The special effects are awesome, the acting is great and the action is plentiful.  This is not a bad sequel — I was entertained and not bored or disappointed.  However, I don’t think you need to spend the extra money for 3D.  If you like the Transformer series, you should check this one out!



DEEPWATER HORIZON (2016) – My rating: 8/10

deepwaterhorizonDeepwater Horizon is an intense drama based on a true story.  On April 20, 2010, Transocean, a private contractor that operates Deepwater Horizon, an oil drilling rig, is set to begin drilling off the south coast of Louisiana on behalf of BP.  Chief Electronics Technician Michael “Mike” Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and rig supervisor James “Jimmy” Harrell (Kurt Russell) are surprised to learn that the workers assigned to pour the concrete foundation intended to keep the well stable are being sent home early without conducting a pressure test, at the insistence of BP managers Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) and Robert Kaluza (Brad Leland).  Mike confronts the BP managers (Donald and Robert) refusing to take the rig out unless the proper safety test are conducted.   Donald comes up with an acceptable test and Jimmy reluctantly accepts.  All seems well but in fact, the test put more stress on the rig, weakening the foundation that was already crumbling.  Without waiting for the results of the test, Donald orders the well to be opened.

Ultimately, the foundation fails causing a blowout that kills several men.  Unable to seal the well, oil ignites killing more of the workers.  As a result, the rig blows up in parts as the oil spews into the ocean, causing one of the biggest oil disasters on record.  How the crew handles the fire and works toward getting the environment under control, as well as escaping is remarkable, exciting and emotional.  The end of the film shows the actual men who were killed and the BP managers responsible.  Deepwater Horizon is now on DVD/Blu-Ray and is definitely worth watching.  Check it out!

[DEEPWATER HORIZON is nominated for Sound Editing and Visual Effects]


ENTOURAGE (2015) – My rating: 8.5/10

EntourageIf you were a fan of the HBO series, Entourage, then you will absolutely love this movie. If you were not a fan or never saw the series, you may still like Entourage but not as much. I was a huge fan of the series and I loved the movie. The liberties HBO took with the series was so remarkable and entertaining, I found myself each week wanting more. The sadist moment for me was when the series ended. The entourage is made up of 4 friends from Queens, NY who came to Los Angeles to make it on the movie scene. Actually, there is only one movie star on board, Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), who is extremely good looking and charismatic. Also included is Vince’s half brother, Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon) who is also an actor but hardly a star and also likes to cook. Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly) is Vince’s best friend since childhood and his manager, who happens to be the most reliable and level headed of the group. Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) who started out as the driver, invested in a tequila business and is now a millionaire but still drives the group around as though he is still just getting started. Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) is Vincent’s aggressively, ruthless agent, while not a member of the original 4, is someone who rounds out the team called Entourage. Like the series, Entourage is full of sex, fun and games, highs and lows, egos, successes and failures, emotions, battles, love, money, flaring tempers, disappointments and deceptions. There were more than 45 cameos in this movie from Warren Buffett to Mike Tyson. There are lots of laughs, a gay wedding, a birth, a whole lot of sex and a whole lot of partying. Stars like Mark Wahlberg, Billy Bob Thornton and Rex Lee help to make this film fun and entertaining. The plot is about Vince starring in and directing a movie called Hyde, which is behind schedule and over budget. Still, Vince needs a little more money to finish the project. The fun begins when Ari has to convince the investors to give up the rest of the money needed to complete the film. So much is on the line and so many egos and positions are at risk. Let the Hollywood games begin. Very enjoyable, lots of laughs, lots of tight spots. Check it out!

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (2014) – My rating: 8.5/10

TransformersAgeOfExtinctionThe only reason I gave Transformers an 8.5 is because of it’s non-stop action and story telling.  I didn’t really care for the endless plots within plots but I realize it’s getting harder and harder to make these sequels interesting and meaningful.  How many times can we humans be rescued by these unwanted machines (Autobots) and how many villains are out there trying to get a piece of the autobot action?  Cade Yeager (Mark Walhberg) a struggling inventor, and his 17-year old daughter Tessa Yeager (Nicola Peltz) along with Shane Dyson (Jack Reynor) who plays Tessa’s not so secret boyfriend, battle the bad guys together.

Transformers: Age of Extinction begins millions of years ago, during the Cretaceous period which include dinosaurs. According to the story, Beings or Creators detonate many seeds causing the dinosaur’s extinction on Earth.  The story then picks up 4 years after the battle in Chicago, we’re now focused on Cade Yeager and his business partner, Lucas Flannery (T. J. Miller).  Down and out, Cade purchases an old truck he is planning to strip down and sell for parts.  The truck turns out to be Optimus Prime who is in dire need of repair.

In the meanwhile, Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), a CIA agent is assigned to hunt down the remaining Decepticons but is secretly hunting down Autobots as well.  Harold gets help from a Transformer named Lockdown, who is a bounty hunter and along with Harold, kills Rachet.  Cade tries to repair Optimus, after his identity is discovered and Optimus activates the remaining Autobots: Bumblebee, Hound, Drift and Crosshairs.

Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci is head of the KSI Corporation and has perfected Transformin, which is the metal the Transformers are made of.  Joshua has also imprisoned Brains, the Autobot’s Drone sidekick to decode dead Transformers’ brains, Megatron being one of them, for use in human made Transformer brains.  As a result, KSI’s ultimate Transformer, Galvaton is created.  To complicate matters a little more, James Sovoy (Titus Welliver) is a field leader of Cemetery Wind, an elite CIA unit tracking Decepticons and Transformers along with Harold. James makes up the third bad guy and greedy human to round out this band of bandits.  There are so many players, one can get pretty confused.  You have the original Transformers (Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Leadfoot, and Brains), The bounty hunter (Lockdown), the man made Transformer (Galvaton) and a new species called Dinobots.  You also have the bad guys versus the good guys and all that’s in between.

As usual, the original Transformers prevail and gives a speech about morals, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Transformers: Age of Extinction is 2 hours and 47 minutes long but keeps moving so that you don’t really notice the time.  It started in Chicago and ended up in China.  The destruction was enough to declare the world a dismal, hopeless, disaster.  In case you didn’t get it, this movie was all about getting the Seed, the only one left that could annihilate the Earth.  Overall, lots and lots of action — worthy of the big screen.   In order to put closure to this story so that it makes perfect since, take a leap of faith and buy a ticket, you probably will like it.

THE LONE SURVIVOR (2013) – My rating 9/10

TheLoneSurvivorSome movies make you laugh, some make you cry and others just bring out all of your emotions.  The Lone Survivor made me incredibly sad.  On one level, I felt anger towards my fellow Americans for not treating our war veterans and heroes with the honor, respect and admiration they deserve.  On another level, I felt grief and sadness to the point of sobbing right there in the movie theater.  This movie is being compared to Saving Private Ryan and that’s a reasonable comparison given the extreme graphic exploitation of the soldiers as they were engaged in battle.  The Lone Survivor is a significant true story of a mission, “Operation Red Wings”, gone bad in June of 2005.  4 Navy Seals were ambushed  south of Sawtalo Sar in Afghanistan. Their mission was to take down one of the Taliban’s most notorious leaders, Ahmad Shah.   Mark Wahlberg played Hospital Corpsman First Class Marcus Luttrell,   and Taylor Kitch played Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, the team leader.   The Lone Survivor is a “Should See” movie for all adults.  There are profound messages in the story — See it any way you can, DVD or the big screen, it’s worth both your time and money.

[The LONE SURVIVOR is nominated for Achievement in Sound Editing and Achievement in Sound Mixing]