Deepwater Horizon (2016)


A dramatization of the disaster in April 2010, when the offshore drilling rig called the Deepwater Horizon exploded, resulting in the worst oil spill in American history. (IMDb)
The build-up is perfect, right from the chilling opening “spoiler” audio: Excellent foreshadows (see the coke can) and an eerie soundtrack keep you on the edge of your seat amidst the well-crafted sense of normalcy (the jargon-heavy dialogue does a great job here), with the classic tension between money and safety excellently executed (Malkovich’s Vidrine is a chilling adversary). The explosion-heavy scenes that follow start to tire, but an emotionally potent epilogue is suitably cathartic.
8/10 (Great)



Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)


The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets. (IMDb)
A few new faces, a lot of the same old shit (cars, explosions, a model to take by the hand everywhere, a plot that’s cheesy and/or confusing and exposited by boring dialogue) with some new things to groan at (enough pop songs and product placement already) but some saving graces too (Sam’s restlessness, the Dylan twist, the hopeless feeling before the final battle–the latter of which finally paired the impressive CGI with some coherent and cool action sequences; see the glass building collapse).
6/10 (Mediocre)

Rounders (1998)


A young man is a reformed gambler who must return to playing big stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks. (IMDb)

The many poker scenes throughout here are certainly entertaining, with Damon’s soft voiceovers filling you in on all the fascinating features of the game, but they aren’t enough to make up for a plot that feels more like a poker player’s pipe dream than a legitimate drama: It’s too easy and cliche and fumbles the potential of its two interesting lead characters (Norton’s Worm especially begged for more study). All told, it’s a good flick–just needed more focus on the story and less on the poker.


Burn After Reading (2008)

A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it. (IMDb)
Pitt is a definite highlight here; his manic, dim, gum-chewing gym employee is a riot, the best of an already eclectic cast of characters. The espionage plot is outrageous and not entirely cohesive or coherent, but a comedic gem of a final scene with Simmons makes it clear that this was intentional. It still feels like a cop-out though, and what could have been a great film considering its proven directors and loaded cast is just a good one–funny and entertaining, but not altogether brilliant.
7/10 (Good)