Deepwater Horizon (2016)

9_deepwater_horizon_poster

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)

 

Almost Famous (2000)

2000

A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies it on their concert tour. (IMDb)
In light of the quick and witty opening (Deschanel and McDormand have great mom-daughter chemistry) and satisfying end (“There’s still hope for you”) the middle feels a bit messy and tonally inconsistent (the airplane scene was hilarious but could have been a great serious moment), but probably appropriately so, given the film’s coming-of-age plot and wild rock ‘n roll tour setting. Themes of love, integrity, and fame pop in and out of the busy script–interesting, but not always fully impacting.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

how-to-lose-a-guy-in-10-days-17692

Benjamin Barry is an advertising executive and ladies’ man who, to win a big campaign, bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Andie Anderson covers the “How To” beat for “Composure” magazine and is assigned to write an article on “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days.” They meet in a bar shortly after the bet is made. (IMDb)
The delicious dramatic irony at the core of the plot here gives this rom-com a fresh and fun feel, even if it’s still fairly insubstantial and ends with the predictable “fall out then make up” formula. Hudson’s Andie and her mischievous antics are hysterical (4th quarter at the Knicks’ game and guys’ poker night are particular highlights), and McConaughey does well at playing the straight guy losing his patience. A solidly funny supporting cast of their respective best friends joins them.
6.5/10 (Alright)