Archives for posts with tag: John Malkovich

An organized crime story isn’t truly epic unless it’s told in Italian with a New Jersey accent. At least it feels that way sometimes. That’s an observation, not a value judgement. And yet there are so many other geographic and/or ethnic storytelling styles. You’d think someone could deconstruct the mob genre, substitute Martin Scorsese’s sensibilities for, say, James Dickey’s, and produce something totally different but qualitatively familiar. So John Brandon writes a novel, writer/director/actor Clark Duke interprets it, and “Arkansas” (2020) proves me right. It’s the “what,” not the “who,” that matters most. That’s an observation. And a value judgement.

“Burn After Reading” (2008) is a not-very-good espionage movie with George Clooney. It’s kinda stupid, actually. But it does have a lot of people I like in it (Brad Pitt, the dude from the movie about the guy who plays the drum, Frances what’s-her-face, John Malkovich), and there are some characters that made me laugh. It wasn’t like I thought two hours of my life had been stolen. But when it was over, I was like: “What was up with that?” Then I reminded myself it was a Coen brothers movie, which means that probably nothing was up with anything.

The one thing I’ve noticed about the last couple of Peter Berg movies is that Mark Wahlberg gets his ass whupped. First “Lone Survivor” and now “Deepwater Horizon” (2016), a retelling of the 2010 BP oil exploration disaster. (Good thing Berg isn’t doing the “Ted” series, otherwise the bear probably would have killed Marky Mark by now.) This one reminded me a little of 1970s disaster flicks (“The Towering Inferno,” “Earthquake”) where chaos is the star and we’re just trying to survive along with all the actors until the end. Things were a lot less gory 40 years ago, though.