Review: ‘Patriot’s Day’

The terror attack on the 2013 Boston Marathon is the subject of the new Peter Berg movie Patriot’s Day, a story of one cities courage and strength in the face of adversity. The film follows the attack and the events following as the FBI and Boston police begin the manhunt for the people responsible for the senseless act. Mark Wahlberg leads an all star cast in this powerful rendition that will give you a first hand account of the men and women behind the scenes work that brought the terrorists to justice.

Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) is a Boston police officer at the center of the action after brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Themo Melikidze) plant man made bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon killing and wounding spectators and participants. Following the events, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in the FBI’s Boston field office (Kevin Bacon) and Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick (Michael Beach) assemble a task force to hunt down those responsible for the heinous attack. We’re introduced to victims of the attacks including Jessica Kensky (Rachel Brosnahan) and Patrick Downes (Christopher O’Shea), a young married couple injured during at the finish line, Officer Sean Collier (Jake Picking), a young MIT security guard who encounters the brothers on the run and Dun Meng (Jimmy O. Yang), a young Chinese native abducted by the brothers during their escape and Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K. Simmons), one of the men responsible in the completion of the manhunt. Each story gives us insight into the effects the attacks had on a multitude of people throughout the Greater Boston area.

Director Peter Berg, a veteran to strong telling of dramatic content, provides a carefully crafted telling of the events by focusing on the emotional aspect of those effected without over politicizing. It allows the audience to experience the aftermath of a horrific attack and the work that goes into catching the bombers. The pace is thrilling and the acting is superb. Patriots Day is a wonderful film that honors the men and women of Boston and the strength of that great city. It’s a film not to be missed.

Stars:

4 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

No

Trailer:

New on Bluray/DVD – Kevin Bacon is both charming & smarmy in ‘Cop Car’

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A corrupt small-town sheriff is on the hunt for two runaway kids who took his car on a joy ride in Cop Car, an unnervingly funny thriller now available on Digital HD and On Demand, and debuting on Blu-rayTM and DVD on September 29, 2015, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

When a pair of 10-year-olds find an abandoned cop car in a field and take it for a joyride, it seems like they could kill themselves at any moment. But things only get worse when the small-town sheriff goes looking for his missing car—and the illicit cargo he left in the trunk—and the kids find themselves at the center of a deadly game of cat and mouse they don’t understand. The only way out is to go as fast as their cop car can take them.

Last month, Liz reviewed Cop Car, and had this to say about Kevin Bacon.

Bacon never disappoints me with his uncanny ability to be both charming and smarmy all in one.

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Review: ‘Black Mass’ – Depp Shines as the Oscar Season Kicks Off

Black Mass

After a series of box office disappointments, Johnny Depp returns with his finest performance of his career in Black Mass, the story of the rise and fall of Whitey Bulger, Boston’s most notorious gangster. Based on the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill and directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), this period crime drama is captivating in it’s ruthless storytelling, which grabs you from the very beginning and pulls you closer with each passing scene. Oscar needs to stand up and take notice because Black Mass is the first real contender for this year’s award season.

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James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) is a recently released convict and the leader of The Winter Hill Gang  and one of the most respect men in South Boston. John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) is an FBI agent who’s recently returned to Boston to head a task force to rid the city of the Italian mob. James and John grew up on the streets of South Boston together and Connelly knows the influence of Bulger. Knowing that the best way to infiltrate organized crime is from the inside, Connelly, along with Whitey’s brother, Billy Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch), a state senator and Boston public figure, strike a deal with Whitey to trade secrets and take down Boston’s Italian Mafia, a deal that would catapult Whitey from small time crime boss to the king of Boston.

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Director Scott Cooper, working from a script by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow), tells Bulger and Connelly’s story over a series of decades which culminates in Bulger making the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Each act of the story perfectly illustrates the challenges each character involved in this unholy alliance face leading to life altering situations and decisions that no one can turn back from. Cooper is gifted with an amazing cast lead by the memorizing Depp who turns in an Oscar winning performance. Depp, who is barely recognizable as the godfather of the Irish Mob, is relentless in his commitment to the character and his portrayal is both haunting and meticulous in his execution.

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Joel Edgerton embodies the invincibility and arrogance of his character with ease and turns in the performance of a lifetime. Benedict Cumberbatch is limited in his screen time, but he makes the most of every scene by portraying the confidence and calmness of an American politician and brother of a notorious gangster. My one wish for this film would have been for a bit more interaction between Depp and Cumberbatch as both actors were ripe for some great scenes. The rest of the cast, which includes Rory Cochrane, Kevin Bacon, Adam Scott, and David Harbour, were outstanding in this supporting roles.

Overall, Black Mass is a fantastic crime drama with plenty of drama and wonderful performances and one that demands to be seen. Don’t miss this film.

Stars:

4 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

None

Trailer:

Liz’s Review: Kevin Bacon brings the unexpected in ‘COP CAR’.

Cop Car posterAs a kid, curiosity probably should have gotten me killed a slew of times. Running away wasn’t really my thing, but playing with the boys in the woods, rough housing and climbing things I probably shouldn’t have went hand in hand with ballet lessons and dressing up as Princess Leia. In the new film COP CAR, two young boys come upon what appears to be an abandoned sheriff’s vehicle in the middle of nowhere. Coming to the naive conclusion that no one is coming back for the car, they take it upon themselves to claim the vehicle as their own and go on one hell of a joyride. Unbeknownst to them, it’s shady owner has secrets hiding within the vehicle. An innocent coming of age tale spins wildly out of control as the boys decide between right and wrong and the threats of grownups with their own agenda.Cop Car-00005Kevin Bacon gives an outstanding performance as the infamous Sheriff Kretzer. This man is a master as manipulation. Watching his character get in and out of dangerous scenarios is fascinating and frightening. Bacon never disappoints me with his uncanny ability to be both charming and smarmy all in one. (He was totally booked for sit down interviews this time. I was disappointed as I dream of being able to say that “I am 0 degrees from Kevin Bacon.” Next time, sir. Next time.) Cop Car-00008The young boys that we want so desperately to get away are played heroically by James Freedson-Jackson and Hays Wellford. Both performances should be lauded as total success stories. These two young boys have careers ahead of them, for sure. Freedson-Jackson plays the more dominant of the pair  with gusto and complete ownership. Wellford, as the meeker young man, is heartfelt and thoughtful. It makes me wonder the amount of time these kids spent  together prior to and during filming. Their chemistry is organic and beyond solid. Camryn Manheim plays a concerned local woman, putting the boys on blast to the authorities. I love Manheim in everything from Ghost Whisperer to her innumerable guest appearances on what feels like every television series since the mid-90’s. Shea Whigman, one of my favorite actors from Boardwalk Empire, makes a phenomenal appearance in this film. Setting the bar high is the name of his game and he blows us away.Cop Car-00007The film’s pace starts out free and easy, throwing you into a false sense of stability. Ramping up and never stopping until the final frame, Cop Car really took me by surprise. It was a purely intriguing script and I was never bored. Fare warning: it is quite violent but totally worth it. Great performances, fantastic story, completely unexpected, I really dug this film. It is crystal clear why director Jon Watts was brought on to helm the UNTITLED SPIDER-MAN REBOOT for 2017. This gives me so much hope for the franchise. Beyond looking forward to more from this talented man.Cop Car-00009COP CAR opens in theaters today, August 7th.

Kevin Bacon (THE FOLLOWING, HBO’s TAKING CHANCE, MYSTIC RIVER) stars in director Jon Watts’ delightful throwback thriller COP CAR.   When two good-natured but rebellious young boys (Hays Wellford of INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE and James Freedson-Jackson) stumble across an abandoned cop car hidden in a secluded glade they decide to take it for a quick joyride.  Their bad decision unleashes the ire of the county sheriff (Kevin Bacon) and leads to brutal consequences.  COP CAR  firmly establishes Jon Watts as a master of minimalist suspense and a directing force that will soon extend well beyond the independent landscape—Watts has just signed on to helm the UNTITLED SPIDER-MAN REBOOT for 2017.

Warner Bros Debuts New ‘Black Mass’ Trailer

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Warner Bros. Pictures has revealed the new Black Mass trailer and we have it for you below!

Three-time Oscar nominee Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetFinding Neverland, the Pirates of the Caribbean films) stars as notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger in the drama Black Mass, directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart).

The film also stars Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty) as FBI Agent John Connolly; Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) as Whitey’s brother, powerful State Senator Billy Bulger; Rory Cochrane (Argo) as Steve Flemmi, Whitey’s closest partner in crime; Jesse Plemons (TV’s “Fargo”) as Whitey’s main henchman, Kevin Weeks; and Kevin Bacon (Crazy, Stupid, Love, TV’s “The Following”) as FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles McGuire.

In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly (Edgerton) persuades Irish mobster Jimmy Bulger (Depp) to collaborate with the FBI in order to eliminate their common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement while consolidating his power and becoming one of the most ruthless and dangerous gangsters in Boston history.

Cooper directed Black Mass from a screenplay by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, based on the book by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. John Lesher, Brian Oliver, Scott Cooper, Patrick McCormick and Tyler Thompson produced the film, with Brett Ratner, James Packer, Peter Mallouk, Ray Mallouk, Christopher Woodrow, Brett Granstaff, Gary Granstaff, Phil Hunt and Compton Ross serving as executive producers.

The film also stars W Earl Brown (Draft Day) as Bulger hit man Johnny Martorano; David Harbour (End of Watch) as FBI Agent John Morris, who is complicit in the deal between Bulger and Connolly; Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey) as Lindsey Cyr, Whitey’s former girlfriend and mother of his only child; Julianne Nicholson (August: Osage County) as John Connolly’s wife, Marianne; Corey Stoll (Ant-Man) as federal prosecutor Fred Wyshak; Peter Sarsgaard (Blue Jasmine) as Brian Halloran; Adam Scott (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) as FBI Agent Robert Fitzpatrick; and Juno Temple (Maleficent) as Flemmi’s young mistress, who is also his own stepdaughter, Deborah Hussey.

The behind-the-scenes creative team was led by director of photography Masanobu Takayanagi (Silver Linings Playbook, Out of the Furnace), production designer Stefania Cella (The Great Beauty), Oscar-nominated editor David Rosenbloom (The Insider), and costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone (Foxcatcher).

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Cross Creek Pictures and RatPac-Dune Entertainment, a Cross Creek Pictures Production in association with Le Grisbi Productions, Free State Pictures and Head Gear Films, a Scott Cooper Film.

Black Mass hits theaters worldwide beginning September 18, 2015, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Trailer for Johnny Depp’s ‘Black Mass’ has Arrived

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Warner Bros. Pictures has released the trailer for director Scott Cooper’s crime drama Black Mass and we have it for you to view below!

The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

The film stars Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Jesse Plemons, Corey Stoll, Rory Cochrane, Sienna Miller and Adam Scott.

Black Mass is opening in theaters on September 18.