A look at the sniper in movies

We’ve been watching snipers in movies going back to 1941 when actor Gary Cooper portrayed Medal of Honor recipient Alvin York in the film Sergeant York.  Alvin York was actually a Corporal when he earned his Medal of Honor in … Read more

‘2 Guns’ fires high-velocity action

Paula Patton is Denzel Washington's control officer and lover in '2 Guns'
Paula Patton is Denzel Washington’s control officer and lover in ‘2 Guns’

“Bobby” (Denzel Washington) takes “Stig” (Mark Wahlberg) with him across the border into Mexico, for a meeting with the leader of a drug cartel that Bobby had made a deal with.  Bobby would give “Papi Greco” (Edward James Olmos) some fake passports that would not be detected and in return he would get $100,000 worth of cocaine.  But for some reason, Papi Greco gives him the cash and refuses to exchange it for cocaine.

Read more‘2 Guns’ fires high-velocity action

‘Pain & Gain’ doesn’t hurt… much… but is Michael Bay’s best since ‘The Rock’

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Mark Wahlberg in 'Pain & Gain'
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Mark Wahlberg in ‘Pain & Gain’

[rating=3]Starring:  Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Michael Rispoli and Kelli Lefkovitz
Writer(s):  Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (screenplay), based on the articles written by Pete Collins
Director(s):  Michael Bay

The new film from director Michael Bay, Pain & Gain, is based on a true story involving kidnapping, torture and murder.  The criminals were bodybuilders who worked out at the same gym in Miami.  “Daniel Lugo” (Wahlberg) was a personal trainer at the gym, which was owned by “John Mese” (Corddry).  Lugo got himself hired by promising to triple the membership, which he did.  But he wanted more from life, especially after attending a success seminar put on by “Johnny Wu” (Jeong); who divided people into two groups.  Doers and Donters.  Lugo wanted to be a doer.

Read more‘Pain & Gain’ doesn’t hurt… much… but is Michael Bay’s best since ‘The Rock’

It isn’t NYC that needs repair in ‘Broken City’ – it’s the script

Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg and Jeffrey Wright in the mayor's office in a scene from 'Broken City'
Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg and Jeffrey Wright in the mayor’s office in a scene from ‘Broken City’

[rating=2]Starring:  Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal, Natalie Martinez, Kyle Chandler and Michael Beach
Director(s):  Allen Hughes
Writer(s):  Brian Tucker

For nearly ten years now there is a “black list” published annually in Hollywood.  It supposedly contains the best “unproduced” scripts out there.  Broken City was on this list for several years until it finally escaped from “development hell” … but perhaps it should have been left there.

Read moreIt isn’t NYC that needs repair in ‘Broken City’ – it’s the script

Flawed ‘Ted’ reveals Seth MacFarlane’s limits as a storyteller

Mark Wahlberg stars with a computer-animated stuffed bear in 'Ted'
Mark Wahlberg stars with a computer-animated stuffed bear in ‘Ted’

[rating=2]Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, the voice of Seth MacFarlane, Giovanni Ribisi
Director(s): Seth MacFarlane
Writer(s): Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild

The true star of Ted, the new crass-talking-teddy-bear movie, isn’t lead Mark Wahlberg, gleefully playing in his Boston sandbox, or even the undeniably huggable CGI bear playing the title role. No, this is of, by and for the man who wrote, directed and voices Ted, Family Guy creator and voice actor Seth MacFarlane, who makes his feature-length debut with this movie, and in doing so, shows that the confines of an animated network show might actually be a structural necessity.

Read moreFlawed ‘Ted’ reveals Seth MacFarlane’s limits as a storyteller

‘Four Brothers’ is a smart, fun film from director John Singleton

From left to right: Garrett Hedlund, Tyrese Gibson, Mark Wahlberg and André Benjamin in ‘Four Brothers’

There is something to be said about straight up action flicks that don’t pretend to be something else. I respect films like that, because they are unapologetic in their tone and treatment of violence. But sometimes in the process they become something more. Something with heart and intelligence. A well-crafted action flick can truly be a great film.

That’s what I found with Four Brothers.

Read more‘Four Brothers’ is a smart, fun film from director John Singleton