Tag Archives: Wahlberg

Patriots Day

19 Dec

Wahlberg’s Dramatized ‘Patriots Day’ Won’t Suture Any Wounds

Mark Wahlberg as fictional BPD Sergeant Tommy Saunders in "Patriots Day." (Courtesy CBS Films)

So here comes the big cinematic rendering of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that rocked the city for the better part of a week and now seems destined to be etched into our collective history just below city-defining headliners like the Boston Tea Party, busing in the ‘70s and the murderous legacy of Whitey Bulger.

The good news about “Patriots Day,” which opens Wednesday, is that it delivers a modicum of cathartic release as well as an intriguing look behind the scenes as an active crime investigation takes shape. The bad news, however, is that it knowingly injects fiction into the mix in a way that nearly subverts the project’s mission of “getting it right,” as Boston-bred star and producer Mark Wahlberg has said repeatedly. In the process, the dramatization shortchanges those that were there — the heroes and the victims — and the character of our fair city.

Three screenwriters, including the director Peter Berg, are credited with the script. The studio’s publicists informed me that the sources ranged from conversations with the Boston Police Department and other local agencies that responded to news reports and “60 Minutes.” What they’ve cooked up feels like a cobbling together of news feeds condensed and sanitized into a singular heroic narrative that regularly brims with the Boston Strong motto.

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Pain & Gain

26 Apr

‘Pain & Gain’: Michael Bay gets you rethinking a rep as studio-incubated hack

“Pain & Gain” documents the American Dream gone amok in another Day-Glo Miami. Think of Tony Montana in “Scarface” and imagine comedic inepts such as Stan and Laurel wielding the Uzis and machetes and calling the shots. It’s not a pretty picture. One worthy of a few laughs perhaps, until you consider it’s based on a true story.

No joke.

Mark Wahlberg’s reliably effective as Daniel Lugo, an ex-con with jacked pecs, a silvery tongue and a tank full of big ideas. He starts out thinking small: Build a following at a niche middle-tier gym as the happening trainer; move in for a cut. Not a bad plan, and Daniel is a pretty amiable chap, but then he starts thinking of short cuts. One of his clients (an uproarious Tony Shalhoub, who at times seems to be channeling Joe Pesci from “Goodfellas”) made it big in unscrupulous ways and shares all the ins and outs with Daniel. There’s also an omnipresent TV guru (Ken Jeong) espousing get-rich-quick schemes, and somewhere in the middle a kidnap and extortion scheme is hatched.  Continue reading