Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the first Hollywood movie in 25 years to star an all-Asian cast, “Crazy Rich Asians,” the new Mark Wahlberg shoot ’em up “Mile 22,” and the mystery thriller “Never Saw it Coming.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the glitz-glammy rom com, “Crazy Rich Asians,” the new Mark Wahlberg actioner “Mile 22,” and the mystery thriller “Never Saw it Coming.”
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the first Hollywood movie in 25 years to star an all-Asian cast, “Crazy Rich Asians,” the new Mark Wahlberg shoot ’em up “Mile 22,” and the mystery thriller “Never Saw it Coming.”
If director Peter Berg’s oeuvre could be boiled down to one sentence it might read something like, “American heroes battle against overwhelming odds.“ Films like “Lone Survivor,“ “The Kingdom“ and “Patriot Games“ have carved out a singular niche for Berg in the action genre. True to form, his new film “Mile 22 “ pits Berg regular Mark Wahlberg and a small team of “problem solvers” against the military might of a corrupt government.
Wahlberg plays CIA operative James Silva, a fast talker and thinker who “only responds to two things, intelligence and pain.“ He heads a team who fight the “new wars,“ the conflicts that don’t make the front pages. They live in a world of violence and “unknown knowns.” “This is dark work,“ Silva says.
Their search for deadly radioactive powder, fear powder as Silva calls it, leads to Li Noor (Iko Uwais), a Southeast Asian informant who wants out of Indonesia. The informant has a disk containing the location of the deadly stuff but will only give the code to open the disc if they guarantee his safe transport out of the country. Trouble is, the corrupt government will do whatever it takes to keep him in their borders.
“Mile 22“ is a violent movie. How violent? The GNP of some small countries probably couldn’t cover Berg’s bullet budget. By the time the informant is scraping one of his victims Max back and forth against a broken, jagged window you may wonder how many more unusual ways there are to off a person. Their handler, played by John Malkovich, says they are involved in “a higher form of patriotism” but the film’s hyper kinetic editing and palpable joy in blowing away the bad guys suggest their elevated patriotism may have a hint of psychopathy mixed in.
Large sections of the film play like a first person shooter video game. There’s even a “scoreboard” where the vital statistics of the team are listed and then go dark as they are killed.
“Mile 22“ wants to make a statement about the murky depths our protectors brave to keep us safe but ends up expending more ammunition than insight.
Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the true-to-life thrills of “Deepwater Horizon,” Tim Burton’s X-Men-esque “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children,” the thriller “Imperium” and the ripped-from-the-headlines documentary “The Lovers and the Despot.”
Director Peter Berg makes manly-men movies about tough guys willing to sacrifice all in the service of others. Films like “The Kingdom,” based on the 1996 bombing of the Khobar housing complex and “Lone Survivor,” his look at the unsuccessful United States Navy SEALs counter-insurgent mission Operation Red Wings, are loud action movies bound together by testosterone and sentiment.
His latest, “Deepwater Horizon,” based on the worst oil spill in US history, fits comfortably alongside “The Kingdom” and “Lone Survivor.” All three are true life tales, ripped from recent headlines, and each of them are loud, in-your-face movies that feel more motivated by muscle than brains.
Mark Wahlberg is Mike Williams, husband to Felicia (Kate Hudson), father to an adorable little girl and the chief engineer of the offshore oil drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. In April 2010 he left for a routine twenty-one day stint aboard the rig that turned disastrous when an uncontrollable gusher of crude oil caused an explosion that ultimately left 11 of the 126 crew members dead.
It takes an hour of getting to know everyone, like British Petroleum executive Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich), no-nonsense crew chief Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell) and rig mechanic Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez), before disaster strikes, both literally and narratively. When the rig blows it takes with it any semblance of storyline, replacing with plot with forty minutes of relentless, fiery action.
Berg doesn’t just want to show you the hellish circumstances that destroyed Deepwater Horizon, he wants you to leave the theatre feeling as though you were there. Fireballs light up the screen as the sound of twisted, breaking metal fills your ears. It’s effective, if a little repetitive after thirty minutes or so. The characters get a little lost in the commotion and are frequently hard to see through the plumes of smoke that decorate the screen.
As an action movie and a story of resilience “Deepwater Horizon” is a visceral experience. As a tribute to the men who lost their lives in the blast it feels less thought through. The In Memoriam roll honours those lost, but feels tacked on after the bombast that precedes it.
Also strange by its absence is any comment on the devastating ecological consequences of the event.
“Deepwater Horizon” is a showcase for Berg’s muscular filmmaking but could have used a little more nuance.
Cut Bank director Matt Shakman has something in common with 35 mm film fanatics Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. For his movie debut the director insisted on shooting on film rather than digital.
“I’m an analogue kind of guy,” he says. “To do this movie, which is about a town that feels trapped in a distant era, it felt right to shoot it on film. We had to find a way to deal with the financial impact of it, but I found a solution to that. I gave up my salary in order to do it.
“I’ll only get a chance to make a first movie once and to make it on film feels special. I may never get a chance to do it again.”
Set in the hamlet of Cut Bank Montana, the action begins when auto mechanic Dwayne (Liam Hemsworth) accidentally videotapes the murder of the local postman (Bruce Dern). He reports the crime to the local sheriff (John Malkovich), hoping for reward money, but there are complications in the form of the suspicious father of his girlfriend (Billy Bob Thornton), a postal inspector (Oliver Platt) and a reclusive man (Michael Stuhlbarg) violently obsessed with getting his mail.
The script appeared on Hollywood’s 2009 black list of the best unproduced films and has been in Shakman’s hands for five years.
In the beginning he simply loved the twisty-turny story. “Then,” he says, “I [became] like a dog chasing a rabbit at the track. You get these tantalizing elements that start to make everything feel more real.
“When someone like John Malkovich signs on it is so helpful for so many reasons. One, the pleasure, personally, of getting to work with one of my heroes. Two, he certainly helps tell other actors that this is a party worth coming to and the third thing is just the business reality of having a person in the film who can help you with financing.”
Shakman says he knows after the film’s theatrical run “a lot of people will see Cut Bank on their iPads,” and while he prefers the communal experience of watching movies with an audience, he knows times are changing. “They’ll also watch Breaking Bad [on their tablets], so the line has blurred very much between the two kinds of content. It’s all just become stories and where you choose to find them and how you want them delivered.”