Posts Tagged ‘Mark Wahlberg’

The Gambler PosterWith only seven days to pay off his Gambling debts a narcissistic lecturer finds himself in hot water and running out of time.

Based on Fyodor Dostoevsky novella and James Toback’s the Gambler, director Rupert Wyatt’s offering is a well-paced and a wonderfully shot piece of drama entertainment in its own right. It’s tension builds as the days countdown for the debut to get paid back which is complemented by the music and downtown Los Angeles on location setting.

In her limited screen time Jessica Lange gives a meaty performance as Mark Wahlberg’s character’s mother, Roberta. Both John Goodman and Michael K. Williams are exceptional as the loan sharks. Brie Larson is great as Amy but her student character and Jim Bennett never really feel connected enough to emphasise the danger they are in.

The dialogue is profanity laced, in-keeping with the environment and the world in which Mark Wahlberg’s Jim Bennett resides. Wahlberg is perfectly cast, reliably superb as the sharp unlikeable venomous literature professor. With snappy dialogue and timed mannerisms he achieves a believable performance. That said, under the cool pretence and intense pressure on the backdrop of impending doom at times he feels a little too fearless. William Monahan’s dialogue rolls of Wahlberg’s Jim tongue as he searches for redemption. Still as he plays it out more than adequately you can’t help but feel for his characters sensibility.

It’s not an easy watch given the unsavoury main character but just like the character’s plight it isn’t meant to be. Recommend for that reason.

The Transformers are being hunted down by humans with the help of an interstellar bounty hunter. Optimus Prime aided by a human inventor set about to stop another annihilation by a device called the seed.

There’s no doubt that the action set ups, sound design and special effects are fantastic. However, any trace of characterisation from the original TV series is all but extinct. The Transformer characters once again are given little dialogue nor interaction with each other, with the Dinobots not even getting a line of dialogue.

The Transformers on screen are as empty and soulless as the transformer copies created by an entrepreneur inventor/military contractor played by Stanley Tucci in a subplot with his company having the ability to create their own Transformers. Kelsey Grammar is on form but his evil Harold Attinger motivations are as interchangeable as his ties – queue disgruntled, unappreciated, shady CIA character. Sophia Myles talents are simply under utilised.

With a vast world of 1980’s characters at their finger tips that could be updated/developed writer Ehren Kruger and director Michael Bay fail to use any of these typesets or even any basic personality dynamics from the series. Bring back Star Scream, Jazz, Soundwave and the others that prompted the people to make these movies in the first place – Glavatron (voiced by Frank Welker) is wasted. Age of Extinction borrows plot elements from Prometheus and Man of Steel to name a few instead of using anything Tranformer-esque.

T.J. Miller’s likable character Lucas Flannery is disposed of in the first 20 minutes and its remaining few redeeming features Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz battle on trying to avoid cliché after cliché, also Optimus Prime has some character development. Actually if Shia
Labeouf’s Sam had been by replaced Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager it may have been a better film series, that said, if Sam returned with Cade it would make some good character interaction but I digress, it’s a one man and robot show with everything else falling short and brushed over thinly with new elements being added needlessly. Age of Extinction makes Dark of the Moon look like the Godfather.

Given its lengthy running time its themes and plot are never fully developed. Should the writers and producers have gone back to the source material the fans and film goers would have thanked them for it. This instalment once again banks on viewers desire to see a Transformers film and of course we come in masses but are once short changed as it doesn’t deliver – it’s like a shiny brand new convertible without an engine, looks good and cool but it is vacant.

It’s clear that the talents behind of Age of Extinction have no love for Transformers (but are great at the movie business) – sadly not recommended.