Film Review:Riveting ‘Deepwater Horizon’ captivates throughout
shows Mark Wahlberg in a scene from, “Deepwater Horizon.” (David Lee/Summit
Los Angeles (AP) -
We all know how “Deepwater Horizon “ ends. When the BP oil rig exploded in
the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, 11 people died and millions of gallons of oil
spewed into the waters and up against the Gulf shores in the worst
environmental disaster in U.S. history.
The story of the
aftermath, even 6 years later, is still being written. The
how-did-it-happen is another thing, and the point of director Peter Berg’s
intensely thrilling indictment of the greed and gross negligence that
contributed to the horrific outcome.
Like the best true
stories translated to film, this well-known ending works for Berg, not
against him. He and writers Matthew Sand and Matthew Michael Carnahan know,
as Ron Howard did with “Apollo 13” and James Cameron knew with “Titanic,”
that it’s not about whether they live or they die or if the ship goes down
or all are saved. It’s about the process and those decisions, big or small,
corrupt or well-intentioned, that made this disaster inevitable.
Based on a New York
Times article, “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hours,” the film is about the
crew — the men and women aboard just doing their jobs. Mark Wahlberg
anchors as Mike Williams, a no-nonsense engineer, who leaves his wife (Kate
Hudson) and precocious daughter at home for his dangerous job on the rig.
An early scene with a school science project spells out exactly what he and
his co-workers do and foreshadows what will go wrong. It’s the kind of set
up that on paper likely seems too cutesy, but here, it not only works, it
actually builds tension rather effectively.
rises above expectations of what a movie like this is capable of at every
turn — restrained where you think it might go too big or sentimental, and
genuinely affecting when you think you’re gearing up for an eye-roll.
Wahlberg may be an easy punchline, but he’s an underrated everyman and at
his subdued best here. Even Hudson, in the generally thankless
concerned-wife role, makes it seem worthwhile.
It’s a welcome step up
for Berg, too, whose patriotic bombast and cliche romanticism overwhelmed
“Lone Survivor.” Here, you really internalize the plight and rage of the
workers, even though most people in the audience aren’t likely to ever set
foot on an oil rig.
When Kurt Russell’s
crew leader Jimmy Harrell gets angry at the corporate brass for having
neglected to perform some critical safety tests, you’re angry right along
with him. The execs like Don Vidrine (a perfectly slimy John Malkovich) see
only that they’re behind schedule and over budget and are cutting corners
with abandon even as the rig seems to be faltering underneath them.
Jimmy and Mike
eventually convince them to run a few tests — a white knuckle endeavor for
everyone involved and, well, you can torture a statistic until it talks and
it seems it might be the same for a pressure test. So they proceed, and, of
course, things go spectacularly wrong.
It is a spectacle
indeed — a must-see horror of fire and oil as this unbelievably massive
structure explodes and crumbles around all the people we’ve gotten to know,
like Gina Rodriguez’s Andrea Fleytas, Dylan O’Brien’s Caleb Holloway and
Ethan Suplee’s Jason Anderson. It’s the rare film that can make you care
about, and be able to tell the difference between, over a dozen characters.
I would have liked to
have seen more of the rescue efforts from the Navy, more of the aftermath,
but Berg keeps things focused, and the movie is likely better off for it.
“Deepwater Horizon” achieves that impossible balance of being a tribute to
the workers who both perished and survived that day and a searing critique
of the rotten system that put them there in the first place.
“Deepwater Horizon,” a
Lionsgate release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of
America for “for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing
images, and brief strong language.” Running time: 107 minutes. Three and a
half stars out of four.
Mott the Dog: Pop’s All Stars keep Pattaya rockin’
Pattaya All Stars/Band of Smiles rockin’ it up at The Venue.
A small trip out of
Pattaya down Siam Country Club Road towards Lake Mabprachan takes you past
The Venue, one of Pattaya’s premier rock‘n’roll pubs. On a recent visit
there Mott the Dog was entertained by a great double bill of Pop’s Pattaya
All Stars (a super group of local Thai musicians, the crème de la crème if
you like) and a set by the Band of Smiles, which is Pop’s Pattaya All Stars
plus the addition of Rick and Harpic Bryant.
Walking through the
door our group was warmly welcomed by The Venue’s manageress Saruda Mokarat
and shown to a bunch of tables well located at the side of the stage, with
Pop already rockin’ away and leading his All Stars through their paces.
They opened with a couple of instrumentals until breaking into Gary Moore’s
“Still Got the Blues”, which really set the mood for a great musical
The ever vigilant Pop
noticed one patron wearing a vintage UFO t-shirt so next up we got “Doctor
Doctor”. Needless to say the t-shirt wearer was soon leaping about all over
the place in ecstasy. Ae, the lead singer for the All Stars is a real
talent and can turn his hand to any form of music, but he really excels on
the out and out rockers.
The All Stars kept on
rockin’ until it came time to change the bands banner and become the Band of
Smiles. The opening number “Nutbush City Limits” smoothly segued into “The
Riverboat Song” and they were up and flying.
Harpic has developed
into one of the finest singers, a real joy to hear and watch. Husband Rick
drives away at the rhythm guitar plus playing the odd solo when he can fit
it in. But this gives the band that extra powerful drive, allowing Pop to
let rip on guitar. Rick’s presence also leaves space for the other
musicians on stage to shine as well. With Big-T thrashing out the beat on
the drums, Au driving the band along on bass and Toto (the magician of the
keyboards) weaving his spells, what you are listening to is genuinely down
and dirty rock music.
The band not only
played brilliantly but also put on a show too, with constant movement on
stage and shapes being thrown at every opportunity. The Band of Smiles set
came to its conclusion with a raucous version of Led Zeppelin’s
“Rock‘n’Roll” with Harpic and Pop bringing the house down. The audience
demanded more and finally got what they asked for, with Harpic taking center
stage for a solo version of “Mercedes Benz” (shut your eyes for a second and
you could have been at the Royal Albert Hall listening to Janis Joplin.)
By no means finished,
this brought Pop’s Pattaya All Stars back on the stage and not wishing to be
outdone they came out with a point to prove. They tore into the heavier end
of their material, paying homage to the likes of Uriah Heep, Motorhead and
Golden Earring and they literally had the audience in the palm of their
hands. After several rocking numbers things were brought to a conclusion by
a simply stunning version of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”, with Pop’s
guitar solo at the end faultless. But still the crowd would not let them
go, and we got some Chuck Berry to send us on our way.
Live music at The Venue
offers a great evening out and Pop’s Pattaya All Stars play Tuesdays,
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (you have to be a bit lucky to catch the
whole of the Band of Smiles). If you are out that way and have at least a
few rock & roll bones in your body, be sure to call in - you will not be
Astley never stops appreciating ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’
Astley poses for photos in New York to promote his first album of new music
in 23 years. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Nekesa Mumbi Moody
New York (AP) — Rick Astley
exiled himself from music for a good part of the last three decades, but he
never really left pop’s consciousness.
For one, hits like “Never Gonna Give
You Up” and “It Would Take A Strong Strong Man,” derided by critics as
cheesy at the time, have endured. Then there’s the whole rick-rolling
phenomenon — when a promised link on a web site turns out instead to be an
At first, Astley was annoyed by
rick-rolling. Then his daughter helped him realize that it was cool — and
that it helped boost his profile during his fallow years by keeping his
boyish face in ours.
He’s even more appreciative now as he
releases “50,” his first album of new music in 23 years.
“The idea of me releasing a new record
now — I need every bit of help I can get,” he quipped.
He may not have needed it as much as he
thought: The album debuted at the top of the charts in his native United
Kingdom, and when he performed his first U.S. shows in New York and Los
Angeles over the summer, they sold out. He wrapped up a short U.S. tour
earlier this month.
The still boyish-looking Astley
recently sat down with The Associated Press to talk about life after his
’80s pop success, rick-rolling and what music means to him now.
AP: During your break, did you
ever long to get back to music?
Astley: I think you never lose
that feeling of — ‘cause you know I still got an ego— whether you retire or
not. I mean, it’s still there and there is a little voice on your shoulder
sort of saying, ‘You’re better than him.’... I think that is one the lucky
things about what I chose to do and what I love to do, you know ... it is a
young person’s world really, but you know an old boy like me can still make
a record and can still make a bit of a splash.
AP: You think the whole
‘rick-roll’ thing was good for you?
Astley: Absolutely it was
because I think if you’re doing anything like music or movies, there is so
much competition. ... And also there have been some really, really clever
things done with that song. It has not just been rick-roll. There have
been so many different things. One of my favorites is they got (President
Barack) Obama to sing “Never Gonna Give You Up” (in a mash-up video) or say
it at least, which I thought was brilliant. I mean, it’s obviously somebody
with too much time on their hands, but they also did that with “Mad Men” as
AP: There are some artists who
only want to perform their new songs. What’s your take?
Astley: I’m not really in that
camp, to be honest, because I had a long break from it, so it’s not like I
have been singing those tunes for 30 years. You know, I am fully aware of
the fact that the only reason — you know we had a No. 1 album in the U.K.
with this record — it’s like the reason it got played on the radio with the
first couple of tunes and stuff. ... When we play live and stuff, there is a
part of me thinking, ‘Great, we are going to finish “Never Gonna Give You
Up,” and I know every single person in this room or in this field knows that
tune.’ They might not all like it, but I know they all know it.
AP: What do you think of your
music legacy? Are you resentful that some dismissed your music at the time?
Astley: No. I mean if I’d been a
journalist and I had been reviewing my records ... you know I’m not so sure
what I would think of it either. I mean, I think there are some really
great strong pop songs ... but just looking at it you kind of think. ‘Well
yeah, but it’s a bit manufactured. ‘ ... I don’t hold any grudges for people
who had a go at me, you know what I mean? That’s for sure.
In ‘Voyage,’ the history of life
on a very big screen
This image shows a scene
from “Voyage of Time,” by filmmaker Terrence Malick. (IMAX via AP)
Los Angeles (AP) -
About 20 years ago, Andrew Knoll, a professor of natural history and NASA
consultant, was sitting in his office at Harvard when he got a strange phone
“The person on the
other end of the line said, ‘My name is Terry Malick. I’m interested in
making a film about the history of life. I’m going to be in Cambridge next
month. Could we have lunch?” Knoll recalls. “I must admit, it was probably
halfway through lunch when it just dawned on me: ‘Hey, this guy made
Malick, who never does
interviews or public appearances, is perhaps the movies’ most secretive
filmmaker and for years, the project was the subject of whispers and rumor.
Meanwhile, as he was churning out films like “The Tree of Life” and “The
Thin Red Line,” Malick was quietly and persistently pursuing a long-held
dream of seemingly impossible ambition: to make a movie about life as we
Now viewers of Malick’s
“Voyage of Time”, set to land in IMAX theaters this month, will find a film
of vast majesty that welcomes all comers with open arms. The movie goes so
far as to include yourself, whenever you examine a little rock, or a leaf.
You and they, as you will see, belong to the same story.”
For a filmmaker who has
always been animated by a profound and inexhaustible sense of wonder,
“Voyage of Time” is perhaps Malick distilled down to his essence. There’s
no story except for the elemental marveling and metaphysical quest that make
the backbone of the director’s other films. (“The Tree of Life” memorably
widened its scope of a Texas family to include the universe and dinosaurs.)
The film’s basis is in
science (Knoll served as chief science adviser) but it’s told with a poetic
rapture at the miracles and mysteries of life. The 45-minute film,
narrated by Brad Pitt, travels from the Big Bang to today, merging
the personal with the universal, filled with awe for “every atom, every
The film was made with
a mix of shooting around the globe with IMAX cameras, footage gleaned from
the Hubble telescope, re-creations and a sizable amount of digital effects
of prehistoric times that were overseen by Dan Glass (“The Matrix,” ‘’Batman
Begins”). Malick occasionally met with Knoll and other scientists to go
over the chronology and evolutions.
“It’s this history and
theoretical future seen through the eyes of one of our greatest artists,”
says Sarah Green, a regular producer of Malick’s. “I think it can play day
and night, absolutely. We have a G rating. There’s nobody who can be kept
out of it. But there’s obviously some very mature thinking.”
A 90-minute version
narrated by Cate Blanchett where the journey is a little less guided will
also be released sometime next year. But “Voyage of Time: The IMAX
Experience” will play like a science documentary in IMAX’s museum network,
in aquariums and science centers.
Malick’s film had been
a known project for years at IMAX but it wasn’t until a few years ago that
it began coming together. Greg Foster, chief executive of IMAX, had been
interested in finding new life in the exhibitor’s legacy business of nature
documentaries through less traditional films. After a call from Malick, he
flew out to meet him in Austin, Texas, and see the movie.
“I won’t pretend, there
aren’t some bucket-list realities to this. There aren’t a lot of
opportunities to work with Terrence Malick. He doesn’t make a lot of
movies,” says Foster. “And when he does, and he makes one that’s designed
for our format, you have to ask yourself if it’s too good to be true.”
The film will remain in
IMAX theaters for months if not years.
“It’s not going to
change much over the next 30 years in terms of the world,” says Foster.
“It’s the kind of thing that’s going to stick around. We won’t know how
this movie is doing for six months.”
Like most of Malick’s
movies, “Voyage of Time” is as lofty as it is basic, immense as it is
intimate, spiritual as it is scientific. When preparing the film, Malick
shared with producers an Albert Einstein quotation that guided the entire
“The most beautiful
thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art
and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause
to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead - his eyes are
Film Review: ‘The Magnificent Seven’ rides again, with more guns
Byung-hun Lee, Ethan Hawke, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Denzel Washington, Chris
Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio and Martin Sensmeier appear in a scene from “The
Magnificent Seven.” (Sam Emerson/Sony Pictures via AP)
Los Angeles (AP) -
Deciding to remake “The Magnificent Seven “ with a fresh batch of movie
stars is certainly no sin. John Sturges’ 1960 tome, itself a remake of
Akira Kurosawa’s classic “Seven Samurai,” is a fun confection of star power
and charismatic bravado, sure, but held in such high esteem probably more
because of Elmer Bernstein’s iconic score than anything else. Plus, who
doesn’t enjoy a ragtag group of outlaws banding together to defeat a
But director Antoine
Fuqua doesn’t exactly elevate that now well-trod premise in this dutiful and
solid rehashing of the seven gunmen who attempt to save a terrorized town,
even if he does up the shoot-em-up action (and body count). Bernstein’s
score is given a few nods throughout the film, but saved in full for the
final credits. Thus, it’s left to the actors to carry us through the over
two-hour running time.
You could do worse than
putting it all in the capable hands of Denzel Washington, with some help
from Chris Pratt. Washington, as the steely-eyed bounty hunter Sam Chisolm,
is the de facto leader, the Yul Brynner of the group. His out-of-use heart
starts beating again when the recently widowed Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett)
begs him to return to her small farming town of Rose Creek to save them from
the terror of greedy industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, played with delicious,
over-the-top menace by Peter Sarsgaard.
Bogue is running a
mining operation nearby and wants their land, too. He’ll either pay the
residents of Rose Creek an unfairly low price for it or force them to leave
(already a less compelling idea than taking the food they’ve grown, but this
“farming town” does very little farming anyway). Fuqua takes no time easing
into the story, starting out with an all-out massacre in the town.
For about an hour,
things are fairly fun as Chisolm recruits the other six. Pratt’s Josh
Faraday is the first up — a bemused gambler with enemies to spare and a
fondness for whiskey who signs up for the mission to try to win back his
horse. They find a legendary Civil War vet Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan
Hawke) and his blade-wielding buddy Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee) — who gets
to put his own spin on the memorable gun vs. knife duel.
There’s the bearlike,
shell-shocked tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), the Mexican gunslinger
Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and an exiled Native American, Red Harvest
(Martin Sensmeier). It’s a delightfully diverse little group, but
unfortunately the script, credited to “True Detective” creator Nic
Pizzolatto and “The Equalizer” scribe Richard Wenk, doesn’t spend much time
getting to know these men. What is there isn’t nearly clever, funny or
insightful enough to make up for that. It felt like no one ever quite
agreed on what the tone should be. Fun? Nihilistic? Folksy? Irreverent?
Sincere? It’s all over the place and it’s not good. The actors do their
best, but when even Pratt struggles to sell a joke, you know you’re in
All dialogue, however,
gets drowned out eventually as the movie gives way to the extremely long and
frustratingly illogical final showdown with a Marvel-sized body count that
nonetheless provides some exhilarating moments for Washington, Pratt and a
few others. The pieces are there but never quite come together. By the
time Bernstein’s score plays and the credits start rolling, it’s a little
too late to do anything besides make you even more nostalgic for what came
Seven,” a Sony Pictures release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture
Association of America for “extended and intense sequences of Western
violence, and for historical smoking, some language and suggestive
material.” Running time: 132 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.
Scholars who studied liars, put pants on rats win Ig Nobels
Thwaites (left) accepts the Ig Nobel prize in biology for creating
prosthetic extensions of his limbs that allowed him to move like and roam in
the company of goats. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston, Mass. (AP) - A Swede who
wrote a trilogy about collecting bugs, an Egyptian doctor who put pants on
rats to study their sex lives and a British researcher who lived like an
animal have been named winners of the Ig Nobels, the annual spoof prizes for
quirky scientific achievement.
The winners were honored - or maybe
dishonored - in a zany ceremony at Harvard University last month.
The 26th annual event featured a paper
airplane air raid and a tic-tac-toe contest with a brain surgeon, a rocket
scientist and four real Nobel laureates.
Aeorodrome Eric Workman acts as a target for paper airplanes during the Ig
Nobel award ceremonies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Sept. 22.
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Winners receive $10 trillion cash
prizes — in virtually worthless Zimbabwean money.
This year’s Ig Nobels, sponsored by the
science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research, included research by
Fredrik Sjoberg, who published three volumes about collecting hoverflies on
the sparsely populated Swedish island where he lives.
It sounds downright dull, but Sjoberg’s
books are a hit in his homeland, and the first volume’s English translation,
“The Fly Trap,” has earned rave reviews.
“I had written books for 15 years (read
by no one) when I finally understood it’s a good thing to write about
something you really know, no matter what that might be,” Sjoberg said in an
email, describing the award as the pinnacle of his career.
“The Ig Nobel Prize beats everything,”
he said. “At last I hope to become a rock star. Leather pants, dark
sunglasses, groupies. All that.”
Ahmed Shafik decided rats needed pants.
He dressed his rodents in polyester,
cotton, wool and polyester-cotton blend pants to determine the different
textiles’ effects on sex drive. The professor at Cairo University in Egypt,
who died in 2007, found that rats that wore polyester or polyester blend
pants displayed less sexual activity, perhaps because of the electrostatic
charges created by polyester. He suggested that the results could be
applied to humans.
The study did not explain how he
measured a rat’s waist and inseam.
Charles Foster, a fellow at the
University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, won for literally living like an
animal. He spent months mimicking a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer and a
bird in an attempt to see the world through their eyes, then wrote a book,
“Being a Beast,” about his experiences.
He lived as a badger in a hole in a
Welsh hillside; rummaged like a fox through trash cans in London’s East End
looking for scraps of chicken tikka masala and pepperoni pizza; and was
tracked by bloodhounds through the Scottish countryside to learn what it’s
like to be a deer.
It wasn’t much fun.
“I was hunted down quite quickly,” he
Andreas Sprenger was part of a team at
the University of Luebeck in Germany that found that if you have an itch on
one arm, you can relieve it by looking in a mirror and scratching the
opposite arm. Sound silly? But imagine, Sprenger said via email, if you
have a skin condition with an intolerable itch, you can scratch the other
arm to relieve it without rubbing the affected arm raw.
Gordon Logan, a professor of psychology
at Vanderbilt University, and colleagues from Canada and Europe won for
their research on lying. Their study of more than 1,000 people who are ages
6 to 77 — “From junior to senior Pinocchio: A cross-sectional lifespan
investigation of deception” — found that young adults are the best liars.
How do the scientists know their
subjects weren’t lying to them?
“We don’t,” Logan said.
Film Review: ‘Blair Witch Project’ sequel gets lost in the woods
Curry is shown in a scene from “Blair Witch.”
(Chris Helcermanas-Benge/Lionsgate via AP)
Los Angeles (AP) - People will
have different reactions to the new “The Blair Witch Project” sequel, but
one thing we all probably can agree on is this: We need to hurry up and
clear-cut that haunted forest in Maryland, once and for all.
Even environmentalists would agree —
what about a nice big parking lot? — after sitting through the harrowing
“Blair Witch,” which takes place in the same creepy woods where three
student filmmakers disappeared in the original.
Why either a new batch of kids or a new
clutch of filmmakers have suited up to tramp around the Black Hills in
search of the same angry witch is puzzling. There’s an old saying that you
can never go home again. It is advice neither team took — and so they’re
“Blair Witch “ borrows most of the
skeleton of the original 1999 film but ups the scariness at the cost of
coherency. Director Adam Wingard also strays from the found-footage concept
and sometimes doesn’t even pretend that what we’re seeing was shot by anyone
in the group. That suspension of disbelief is important or why try a direct
sequel at all? (By the way, we’re totally ignoring the quickie 2000 sequel
“Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.”)
First a primer, in case you just
wandered out of a haunted forest: “The Blair Witch Project” was a cultural
sensation. Shot for an initial budget of less than $50,000, it grossed just
shy of $248 million, sparking trends in both found-footage horror and
Its faux-documentary premise was that
it was just stitched-together footage taken by three student filmmakers who
went missing while witch hunting. Directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sแnchez
did such a good job that audiences initially really believed three souls had
The original was quaint horror by
today’s standard, more psychologically traumatizing and not at all gory.
The three students gradually turn on each other in the face of escalating
hysteria — really just piles of rocks and weird stick figures.
It ended with a snot-nosed, half-faced
apology by one victim. In the sequel, her brother (James Allen McCune) is
determined to find out what happened 20 years ago. So he and three friends
(Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid), incredibly, suit up to tramp
in the same creepy woods. By this time it should be clear that no one
should ever wander off alone, even to relieve themselves. Do these kids
This time, our heroes are joined by
some locals (Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry) who know the woods — but may
have their own agenda — and writer Simon Barrett has weaved in a sly lesson
about our confidence in high-tech gizmos. The group seems invincible with
their GPS, digital walkie-talkies, memory cards and earpieces. (They even
brought a drone.) Good luck with that, guys.
This sequel gets progressively messy
while “The Blair Witch Project” grew progressively taut. In this movie, the
filmmakers throw out a lot of elements that are dead ends — double-crossing,
infections and time shifts. The film really only rights itself in the
final, breathtaking sequences when the title character applies her special
brand of pressure.
So, for those keeping score, it’s:
Nosey Kids, 0; Blair Witch, 2.
It’s time to bulldoze, right?
“Blair Witch,” a Lionsgate, Vertigo
Entertainment, Room 101 and Snoot Entertainment release, is rated R by the
Motion Picture Association of America for “language, terror and some
disturbing images.” Running time: 89 minutes. Two stars out of four.
In ‘Deepwater Horizon,’ an ecological disaster’s human toll
Williams (center) an electrician and survivor on the Deepwater Horizon oil
rig, poses with Peter Berg (left) director of the film “Deepwater Horizon,”
and cast member Mark Wahlberg at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto. (Photo
by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Toronto (AP) - The name
Deepwater Horizon is synonymous to most with environmental catastrophe and
corporate negligence. For Mike Williams, who survived the April 2010
oil-rig explosion by plunging into the Gulf of Mexico from several stories
up, it was about something else.
“My 11 brothers that got killed were
immediately forgotten,” Williams said, speaking from his Sulphur Springs,
Texas, home. “We understand the oil. It’s bad, yes. The birds are dying
and the shrimp and the crabs and all that stuff. But those aren’t brothers,
sisters, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters. Shrimp can come back. People, you
can’t bring those guys back.”
21, 2010, file photo shows a large plume of smoke rising from BP’s Deepwater
Horizon offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Peter Berg’s film “Deepwater Horizon”
puts the spotlight of a big-budget disaster movie on the human toll of a
real-life tragedy. Mark Wahlberg stars as Williams, a central figure in an
earlier “60 Minutes” segment that focused on the Deepwater Horizon workers.
“There are probably several different
ways you could tell this story or any story, but I liked this approach,”
says Berg (“Friday Night Lights,” ‘’Battleship”). “I was very moved by the
fact that 11 men lost their lives and I didn’t even know that before the ’60
Made for over $100 million by
Lionsgate, “Deepwater Horizon” gives the true story the kind of action-film
treatment usually reserved for caped crusaders. A mock oil rig, 85 percent
to scale, was built at an old Six Flags in Louisiana out of more than 3
million pounds of steel — one of the largest film sets ever erected. The
film, based on a New York Times article that detailed the events
surrounding the explosion, burrows into the details and politics of life on
the rig leading up to the chaos-inducing blowout.
“It’s great that the studio would take
the risk to make a movie that has no sequel potential,” says Wahlberg. “At
a time when we get bombarded with superhero movies and other stuff that’s
pretty mind-numbing, it’s nice to have a really smart, adult movie that has
Though director J.C. Chandor originally
helmed the project, Berg came aboard to lend the film a more movie
star-based approach. “This film works on many levels and I think one of
them is just a big-ass action film in the best possible way,” Berg says.
Berg’s last film, “Lone Survivor,”
similarly sought to pay tribute to a hardened community (the US Navy SEALS)
with kinetic verisimilitude. Many of the rig workers have small roles in
the film or served as consultants, including Williams.
“Once the family members and loved ones
heard that they were making a movie, they were all completely against it
because they assumed that Hollywood was going to make a movie about the
environmental disaster and their loved ones would be overlooked again,” says
Wahlberg. “Once we were able to communicate to them what our intentions
were, what the movie was going to be, then they all came onboard. We wanted
to honor those people.”
Some may take issue that one of the
largest environmental disasters in history has been reduced to a fiery
action movie. “Deepwater Horizon” spends little time on the millions of
barrels of oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days after the
explosion. Nor is there much scrutiny of BP, which was found primarily
responsible for the spill by a federal judge in 2014. It has paid billions
in cleanup costs, penalties and settlements.
“When it came down to who decided what,
pointing figures, we didn’t want to do that,” says Wahlberg. “These guys do
a very dangerous job.”
The primary figure of corporate greed
is encapsulated by rig supervisor Donald Vidrine (played by John Malkovich
with a devilish Cajun accent), who was found guilty of a misdemeanor
pollution charge for a shoddy pressure test that precipitated the
explosion. In the film, a money-centric, behind-schedule BP is seen as
recklessly rushing past safety regulations.
Williams, an electrician who has given
up the oil business to home-school his kids, says Berg told the story “right
down the middle.” He hopes the film makes people more aware of the “dirty,
dangerous, potentially toxic business” that fuels their cars.
“More than likely, the people who see
this film are going to get in a car and drive to the theater,” he says. “Or
even if they take public transportation, it still has to have some kind of
fuel source. And even if it’s electric-powered, it still has to have
grease, it still has to have tires — all, of course, petroleum products.
When they make that connection, it will be a deeper connection to the men
“It’s the least I can do to speak for
them,” says Williams, “because I’m still here and they’re not.”
Dan Brown’s next thriller,
‘Origin,’ coming next fall
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York (AP) - Dan Brown’s next
thriller is set to come out next fall.
The plot and settings are, for now, a
Publisher Doubleday announced last week
that the novel is called “Origin” and is scheduled for Sept. 26, 2017. The
story will feature Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, the protagonist for
Brown’s mega-selling “The Da Vinci Code” and such blockbusters as “Inferno”
and “Angels & Demons.” According to Doubleday, “Origin” will feature
Brown’s usual blend of “codes, science, religion, history, art and
architecture.” Brown has guided readers on worldwide tours in his previous
works, but there is no word yet on where “Origins” will lead to.
Doubleday isn’t commenting on the
book’s geography, but does say Langdon will find himself in “the dangerous
intersection of humankind’s two most enduring questions.”
Goldie Hawn’s key to romance with Kurt Russell? No marriage
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are shown in this Dec. 14, 2015, file
photo. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
London (AP) - Goldie Hawn
says the key to her successful 33-year Hollywood romance with Kurt
Russell is that they never got married.
The actress appeared on the chat
show “Loose Women” on Britain’s ITV last week. She says she “would have
been long divorced” if she had gotten married. She says choosing not to
get married “gives you the freedom to make decisions one way or the
other,” adding that she and Russell “liked the choice.”
Hawn says “not every relationship
works” and adds that movie stars may have “a harder time because the
camera is on them all the time.”
Hawn has a son, Wyatt, with Russell
and two children from her marriage to Bill Hudson: actors Oliver and
Disney to make
live-action ‘Lion King,’ Favreau directing
Jon Favreau will
direct the new “Lion King.”
(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
New York (AP) - The animated
classic “The Lion King” will be the latest Disney film to get a
Disney announced last week that Jon Favreau, who
helmed the box-office hit “Jungle Book” remake, will direct the new
“Lion King.” He’s also at work on a “Jungle Book” sequel.
The circle of life now inevitably leads to
live-action remakes for Disney classics. The new “Lion King” follows in
the wake of similar remakes for “The Jungle Book,” ‘’Cinderella,”
‘’Pete’s Dragon” and the upcoming “Beauty and the Beast.”
The original 1994 “Lion King” grossed US$968.8
million and won two Oscars, including one for the Elton John song “Can
You Feel the Love Tonight.” The Grammy-winning soundtrack sold more
than 14 million copies and the hit Broadway musical has been running for