The Accountant

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An autistic but brilliant young boy grows up to be a skilled accountant – whose clients work for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations.

Out of the two films Ben Affleck has starred in this year, I’d only look forward to a sequel to one of them, and that’s this one. The Accountant is one of not very many movies to come out this year that keeps you on the edge of your seat without constantly featuring loud gunshots, screeching cars, and a large body count, although there’s a mix of all of that in the film’s touch of action sequences. Affleck is spot-on as a protagonist who’s personality is quite complicated due to his condition – friendly to some but dangerous to others. His character’s complexity is what makes him so fascinating and sympathetic. Affleck is incredibly committed and mentally balanced in the way he portrays his character, leading to his character to feel very real and deep in the way he was developed. I can definitely say his role in this film is up there among his other excellent work this decade in The Town, Argo, and Gone Girl. Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, and Jon Bernthal lead a decent yet interesting ensemble of supporting characters and all play their parts remarkably well. There’s a lot to their characters that you don’t know by only watching the trailers, which is something that helps keep the thrills going throughout. There’s a compelling aspect of the film in the way it examines its characters, revealing things to you one by one, and even though it one point it gets about too complicated and you wish it just wasn’t, there’s a gripping aspect to every big character in the film, even themes that are similar to those in director Gavin O’Connor’s previous films. Speaking of O’Connor, he directs the film very well, notably the film’s action sequences, with excellent sound editing and choreography, making it feel less like a Hollywood-style action scene and more like a scene featuring action that advances the plot. Even though there aren’t many throughout the movie, I like that it was constructed as if it were an action movie, although it’s hard to put it under the action genre, I’d rather say it’s a drama thriller with some mystery thrown in there, too.

The Accountant plays out as if it’s an episode of Daredevil, crossed with the Jason Bourne franchise and with a little bit of Rain Man in there as well. It’s somewhat a vigilante thriller but at the same time, it’s a deep character drama that features an autistic protagonist. I really liked the mix of the two genres. Although this movie is far from perfect, I can’t say critics have been praising it enough with its underwhelming reviews. I feel like most critics were let down by their expectations rather by their films, as the trailer advertised the film as one thing and instead it was something much bigger. The Accountant turned out to be very different than I expected, and I was alright with that. It gets over-complicated at one point and some of the plot points and the tone aren’t balanced like they should be. However, I was still very entertained by The Accountant, and I appreciate the cast and directing. You may be let down if you’re looking for just an action movie or just a drama, as this movie is a mix of many great things, but I’d recommend this film for movie-goers looking for a great movie to keep them on the edge of their seat.

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The Magnificent Seven (2016)

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The past few years have been packed with remakes and reboots of all sorts of classics, and not many of them have turned out to be very original. The Magnificent Seven, unfortunately, is lacking of the originality I expected from a similar yet distinct remake. This film feels a lot more like a re-imagination than a remake, as the only thing kept from the original is the concept. In The Magnificent Seven, a group of seven men (as the title suggests) are hired by a woman to avenge her husband’s death, so they set out against a corrupt industrialist and his ruthless army. Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke lead the cast as mercenaries fighting for righteousness. Having seen the original Magnificent Seven starring Yul Brynner, I can say I am satisfied in terms of a remake like this one. The directing is mostly on-point, with impressive cinematography and entertaining action. The score from the late James Horner, who was tragically killed last year in a plane crash, is a great one for his last. My main problem with the film is that despite the film’s efforts to take its concept to a new place, new isn’t the right word to describe this film. Everything feels to familiar and tacked on. The story feels cliched but it also loses itself in the third act. One thing I noticed was how over-the-top everything was, from the dialogue to the story to the performances. The dialogue is too obvious and the humor unsuccessful, and none of the jokes seem to hit their mark. Denzel Washington doesn’t get much to work with besides a handful of guns loaded with bullets. Chris Pratt delivers an underwhelming performance as a constantly joking character who seems to be the most over-the-top of the cast, as well as Vincent D’Onofrio and Ethan Hawke who make jokes out of their performances. Some of the characters could have been more interesting, if only they had more development. One thing that isn’t surprising, as a film released in the 21st century, is that everything is too over-dramatized and it doesn’t flow as well as it did in the ’60s when it was directed by John Sturges. The final battle is an epic shootout between armies of heroes and villains but ultimately drags for too long. I’ve come to love the Western genre more every time I watch a Western film. Get a good story and script, and you can even make a perfect one today (see True Grit, Django Unchained, and The Hateful Eight). However, it’s difficult to work with one that lacks originality and reliability on anything but lengthy action sequences. Perhaps this film would have been better if it wasn’t limited to a strong PG-13 rating, and was written by someone more reliable in the world of Hollywood (yes, I’m thinking about Tarantino, even though he wouldn’t ever sign up for something even twice as original as this).

The Magnificent Seven is a fun Western action film directed solidly by Antoine Fuqua, but not much more. It tends to slow down, the attempts at comedy always miss, and everything feels way too over-the-top and out of place. I wouldn’t recommend this one for a watch in theaters, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it for most of its runtime, despite its major problems.

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Deepwater Horizon

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Deepwater Horizon is a thrilling dramatization of the April 2010 disaster when the offshore drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded and ultimately created the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The movie focuses on the crew’s struggles to make it off the rig alive.
Deepwater Horizon re-teams director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor) with star Mark Wahlberg for another intense true story that does not disappoint. Berg impressively recreates the tragic events focused on in the film, and brings in well-written and emotionally powerful characters. Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, and Gina Rodriguez make up a great ensemble cast of workers fighting for their lives to get back to those they leave. The characters are all given a good touch of development, and the choices they make in attempt to survive feel very human. There’s also a great message about human nature that I won’t ruin for you, but you’ll catch it in the first act. Berg also bring us some incredible cinematography, making the disaster feel dangerously realistic. The sound editing and visual effects pull you into the oil disaster and often take your breath away. It’s easy to make a disaster film like this a mindless visually packed thriller (for example, this year’s The Finest Hours), but when you are able to make the technical aspect of the film something truly special, and have an interesting script, it can turn out to be something unique. Deepwater Horizon dares to be brutal, heart-racing, and ultimately gut-punching, which makes it an unpassable adventure worth seeing on the big screen.
Deepwater Horizon is intense, marvelously shot, emotionally powerful, and kept me on the edge of my seat of the entire second half of the film. Peter Berg has proved himself a master of covering dramatic events like this through film, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll bring us with Patriots Day later this year. If you’re looking for a movie to go see in theaters, you should definitely consider Deepwater Horizon.
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