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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Bay’

John Krasinski

John Krasinski

“13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI” My rating: B 

144 minutes  | MPAA rating; R

“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is an effective combat docudrama in the vein of “Blackhawk Down” and “Lone Survivor.”

But what really makes it noteworthy is the man behind it: director Michael Bay, simultaneously one of our most successful (in box office terms, anyway) and most despised filmmakers.

Here he re-creates Sept. 11, 2012 — when Islamic fighters stormed a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

Bay’s reputation rests on big, noisy, empty entertainments like the “Transformers” movies, which have been calibrated to a preschooler’s attention span. The prevailing attitude among cineastes is that while one cannot prove that Bay has no soul, there’s been no evidence of one in any of his films.

“13 Hours” is a major departure for Bay, a minute-by-minute dramatization of a recent (and hugely controversial) historic event presented with a minimum of Hollywood hokum and a real feel for the professional warriors who are its heroes.

The film takes no stand on American foreign policy in the Mideast and ignores the subsequent political fallout over how the State Department under Hillary Clinton handled the crisis.

Instead it concentrates on the actions of a handful of former Navy SEALs, Army Rangers and U.S. Marines employed as CIA security contractors who risked their lives to save their fellow Americans.

The central figure is Jack Silva (John Krasinski), who, faced with limited job opportunities at home, once again finds himself a security grunt for Uncle Sam. Leaving behind his wife and daughters, he’s the latest addition to a “secret” CIA operation in Benghazi, and through his eyes we get oriented to a confusing and dangerous situation.

As security chief Tyrone Woods (James Badge Dale) explains, the two dozen or so American analysts living in a walled intelligence compound don’t officially exist — although the Libyans would have to be idiots not to realize what’s going on. (more…)

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“TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON” My rating: C (Opens wide June 29)

153 minutes | Audience rating: PG-13

I’m not going to tell you that Michael Bay has no soul. Only that I’ve never seen evidence of one in any of his films.

The irony, of course, is that by commercial standards Bay is the filmmaker of his generation, able to hits the mass audience’s sweet spot with a fusion of flash, noise, endless f/x and eye-blurring action.

Characterization? Content? Subtext?

Who needs ‘em?

(more…)

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