Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mark Wahlberg

Once rapper Marky Mark, Wahlberg has become a major Hollywood player producing television shows for HBO (Entourage, How to Make It in America, In Treatment and Boardwalk Empire) as well as Oscar nominated films like The Fighter. He has even expanded into reality show turf with the A+E show Wahlburgers. The show chronicles the activities of the Boston restaurant he owns with brother Donnie and brother Paul runs. The Entourage movie is currently filming and Ted 2 has been announced. Wahlberg has appeared in three David O Russell directed movies, Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees and The Fighter. He has received two Oscar nominations, the first for Best Supporting Actor in The Departed and second as producer for The Fighter's Best Picture nod. His career is very diverse at this point and it was difficult to select which movies to highlight.

The Perfect Storm
A true story about the Andrea Gail which was caught in the Perfect Storm of 1991, the movie is based on the 1997 book by Sebastian Junger. The crew of the ship is portrayed by George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John Hawkes, William Fichtner and John C Reilly. The ensemble cast also includes Diane Lane, Karen Allen, Cherry Jones, Janet Wright and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. It was nominated for two Oscars for sound and visual effects and it won a BAFTA for visual effects. The characters have enough depth to root for them and elevate the movie to more than just a special effects showcase. The Perfect Storm is available to rent OnDemand and has been airing on IFC.

The Italian Job
A remake of the 1969 original, The Italian Job is a fun action comedy with a strong ensemble cast that includes Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def and Edward Norton. The characters and plot of the two versions are very different. The movie is a solid, fun caper in the genre of the Oceans movies and the Fast and the Furious franchise. The reboot pays homage to the original and both share the use of Mini Coopers for use in big heist scenes. The remake came out in 2003, at the time of a rebranding and expansion of the Mini under new distribution and production by BMW as the MINI. The new movie was a critical and commercial success and there has been a rumored sequel, The Brazilian Job, for years. The Italian Job is streaming on Netflix.

The Fighter
David O Russell directed the true story of two boxing brothers from Lowell, Massachusetts, Micky "Irish" Ward and Dicky Eklund. Christian Bale lost significant weight to look like the emaciated Eklund who struggled with drug addiction. The movie received seven Oscar nominations including Best Supporting Actress for Amy Adams. Both Bale and Melissa Leo won Oscars for their supporting roles. The list of ways to earn an Oscar nomination like adapting an accent, significant weight loss or gain, and/or pretty girls gone ugly, now seems to include being directed by Russell. The film is a powerful story of Micky's drive to succeed. His family is at the same time supportive and a hurdle to his success. The Fighter is available to rent OnDemand. 

The Fighter is also the degree to the next artist in the Six Degrees Series, Amy Adams. Adams and the next two actors in the series have also all starred in David O Russell pictures. 

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