Robert De Niro has been gearing up what’s been known …
Usually the first thing added to a film when it is remade is glitz. American films from the 1970s had their own distinct, philosophical quality to them, something that inevitably gets lost in translation when the material is put to screen again by a new team of filmmakers. Still, the one thing I didn’t anticipate while watching screenwriter William Monahan and star Mark Wahlberg tackle The Gambler was a lack of visceral thrills. Director Rupert Wyatt’s film nails the look of 1974’s The Gambler, but it lacks the feel of the original.
In today’s trailer-analyzing, spoiler-focused culture, it’s a wonderful thing simply to be surprised by a film. The trailer for 2 Guns promised a bland, straightforward action movie starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg: wisecracks, gunfire, car chase, kidnapped girlfriend sets up an explosive climax. The actual film has all of those things in it, but they are connected in complex and unusual ways that remove all of the blandness and make the film much more enjoyable than might be expected.
Best known in the English-speaking world for his Hollywood thriller, Contraband, starring Mark Wahlberg, Baltasar Kormákur returns to his native Iceland to direct the tale of one of its modern legends. In 1984, a fishing boat sunk off the coast of Westman Islands, killing its entire crew with the sole exception of the unassuming Gulli (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson). Incredibly, despite being overweight and a heavy drinker, he survived by swimming for up to six hours through the treacherous waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, becoming a national hero and scientific phenomenon in the process.
If cinema has anything to say about it, the modern American dream is best typified by a grandiose level of entitlement in those who covet it most of all. Just a month ago, we saw Spring Breakers, a nightmarish, neon piece of grotesquerie, compelling experimental art about nubile young women trying to attain their hedonistic Western utopia by stealing from and killing people who dared get in their way, consequences be damned.