Deepwater Horizon film

Oil Spills, Bank Robberies, and Fake X-Men: September 30's New Movies

Friday, September 30, 2016 Rob Samuelson

This weekend is the last before Hollywood studios go all out with their Oscar drives. As such, it's a little bizarre. There's one that could be an awards contender, but it's unlikely. The other two, not so much. Each has potential to be good, though, even if not in the way that gets Oscar nominations.

Photo credit: Deepwater Horizon/Facebook


Deepwater Horizon
Director: Peter Berg
Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M. Griffin, Gina Rodriguez, Kate Hudson


The 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was a disaster that spurred my first political engagement -- I have bought gas from a BP station once since the environmental calamity they were too careless to prevent. Considering that I now write about politics for my day job, you could say it mattered a great deal to me. Why, then, am I struggling to gather excitement for Deepwater Horizon? It's mostly because filmmaker J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost, A Most Violent Year) left the project before it began shooting, robbing us of a third potential great movie from him this decade.

Replacing Chandor (who remains a producer) is Peter Berg, a director whose movies receive shrugs and variations of the phrase, “It's fine,” more often than not. It doesn't help that leading man Mark Wahlberg hasn't done much worthwhile since his supporting role in The Departed a decade ago. Anything can happen, of course, but this one arrives with a sense of “what could have been.”

Masterminds
Director: Jared Hess
Writers: Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer, Emily Spivey
Starring: Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson



When I was in high school a little movie called Napolean Dynamite hit theaters. It was low key and featured now-iconic images of off-kilter clothing and people from a small Midwestern town. All of my friends loved it and I saw it six times in about a two-month span. Problem was, I didn't like it the first time. By round three or four, I wanted to strangle every one of my friends. By the sixth go ‘round, I thought I was being punished for committing genocide in a former life.

And now Napolean Dynamite director Jared Hess has a new movie. I know deep in my bones this is a terrible thing to think, but I might be a little excited for Masterminds. The cast, which includes Kristen Wiig and Zach Galifianakis as a pair of losers who plan a bank heist. Joining them are Wiig’s fellow new Ghostbusters, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. It's a promising cast and a fine premise. But Hess, though. Hess...

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Jane Goldman
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench



Tim Burton returns this weekend with another story about misfits with weird, gothic affectations. This time, though, he riffs on classic X-Men comics with a tale about a school of “special” adolescents who must band together to overcome a society that theoretically hates and fears them.

Joining Burton are Eva Green (Casino Royale) and Asa Butterfield (Hugo), a pair of eerie screen presences. This could very well end up as paint-by-numbers Burton, but with Johnny Depp nowhere to be seen, there might be some room for this film to achieve freshness.

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