Deepwater Horizon Review

 

Written by Nelson Cumming

I originally didn’t care about seeing Deepwater Horizon until a friend recommended it to me and when I learned about the subject matter. I’m glad I listened and learned. Learning is good. Listening is good. Everything is good. There are good performances, tension, and explosions. Yes, you heard me, explosions. I praised explosions.

Well, explosions are what you expect when you mix gallons and gallons of crude oil spurting out at high pressure with a single spark. This movie is based on the true story of the BP oil spill and the majority of the story consists of the workers trying to escape the oil rig that’s burning down in front of them.

Explosions, Explosions, Explosions

To elaborate on the explosions I believe they helped add narrative stakes to the story. In other words, I believed in the threat of death that the majority of characters are trying to avoid. There are about twenty to thirty minutes of explosions during the narrative climax. That’s enough to make Michael Bay jealous expect that in Deepwater Horizon, the explosions served a purpose.

Dedicated Cinematography

What I also cannot believe is the effort a cinematographer called Enrique Chediak does. He is doing long shots of the oil rig and spins the camera nearly 360 degrees around the large area, he gets the low angle close-up shots of the workers being flung around the room like a ragdoll, he also gets into the ocean and shoots footage of the pipes from the inside struggling to handle the pressure. He was awesome.

A Trinity of Good Acting

The other thing I have to compliment on is the performances of Mark Whalberg, Kurt Russell, and John Malkovich. Whalberg plays his role as the hero with determination, knowledge and empathy for his workers; Russell is the Commander in Chief and he is just a legitimate tough guy when you see what he does under adversity and Malkovich is good at playing the cringeworthy, bad guy. Malkovich plays a BP worker.

There is great chemistry with Malkovich and Russell. You need to see the political game Malkovich tries to play and how much Russell tries to relent. Russell’s reaction to Malkovich when he realizes he caused the explosion was the best part of the story. After all the business pressure and the physical damage, you fully realize Russell is the Winner and Malkovich is the loser. The performances were not Oscar worthy but they were admirable.

Minor Criticisms: I am Picky

Despite all this praise, the movie did have a lot of little problems. Most of which happened in the first quarter The dialogue for the first 20 minutes was boring to say the least and the foreshadowing scenes were so obvious that I nearly felt patronized. They were little things but a lot of them were only mildly annoying like the feeling you get when a fly is buzzing around you constantly. At least it wasn’t as painful as a slap to the face or a kick to the crotch.

Does Deepwater Horizon match up to a lot of the great disaster movies I have seen in recent years: No. Does Deepwater Horizon leave me happy to have seen it: Yes ***1/2

The Magificent Seven Review

magnificant-7

Written by Nelson Cumming

Get ready of some inception-like philosophy here folks. The Magnificent Seven is a remake of a remake of a remake. 2016 has been a year of sequels and remakes and The Magnificent Seven is the most remakest- remake of the year. If you have seen a western (or better yet a movie) you have seen this movie. Despite that, The Magnificent Seven delivers a basic minimum requirement for a casual viewer to enjoy.

The premise will be familiar to any western fan as it involves a bad guy Bartholomew Bourke (Peter Sarsgaard) taking over a town called Rose Creek. Motivated by a very hefty payment, Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) a bounty hunter, aims to usurp Bourke and restore Rose Creek to its people. Chisolm realizes that he cannot take over without a little help. So recruit six others to make up The Magnificent Seven.

The first third: A slog

Like The Hateful Eight, The Magnificent Seven starts off very slow. Aside from the first scene where Bourke takes Rose Creek by storm, the narrative pacing is slow and plodding. This section what I like to call “the recruitment section” where Chisolm recruits the six other protagonists who are followed by Emma Cullen Haley Bennett, the girl who hires them.

The dialogue in this section does not help. The dialogue consists of same lines you hear from any other western. When Chisolm asks Cullen when she makes the killer proposal if she is doing this for revenge she responds “I seek righteousness. But I will go for revenge”. Who expected a Catholic girl in the west in the 19th century to say that!

To Movie Studios: Fix The Southern Accent Please

After seeing such movies as The Hateful Eight, The Revenant and now The Hateful Eight. I have to say that I cannot hear a lot of dialogue that is spoken in a thick southern accent. I strain my ears trying to decipher the words. Then after a while, I think “stuff it” and make assumptions of the dialogue based the characters and the context.

To actors and studios around the world: If you want to create a memorable character or a character that has real meaning, make sure they speak well enough so we understand them. I talked to a ton of people about Tom Hardy in The Revenant and a lot of them didn’t know what he was saying.
I didn’t know what half the people were saying The Magnificent Seven due to their thick southern accents. Please fix that accent Hollywood.

The Actions Spoke Louder than the Words

After the poor start, The Magnificent Sever gets better as the action scenes were entertaining. At least with The Magnificent Seven, all seven members were working together to help defend prepare for a gigantic enemy onslaught. They try to teach the civilians their combat skills and prepare traps. Think of it like Home Alone except on a macro level and without the comedy (which is a good thing)

The action sequences were a ton of gunfight with lots of different gimmicks from the seven to keep the action from becoming monotonous. One of them is a native American who shoots arrows, another is an Asian American who fights with knives and another just likes to bludgeon people but the violence is not too graphic or bloody

Despite the length of the action sequences, none of them drag out. I have to applaud the filmmakers and set designers for that. Different people with different places with different weapons with various outcomes keep the sequences interesting.

Overall, The Magnificent Seven is not a poor remake but not is it a great one. A lot of things in this movie I have seen many times before and there were very few things that felt fresh and inventive. It is a mildly entertaining carbon copy of the originals but it is a carbon copy of the mass produced line nonetheless. I did not feel ripped off, but nor did I feel there was a reason for this remake to exist **3/4