Tag Archive: Peter Berg


Review by C.J. Bunce

If you ever longed for the easygoing action movies from the 1970s like Smokey and the Bandit and Every Which Way But Loose, you may want to check out the new Netflix movie Spenser Confidential Like those films it has the big screen leading actor in Mark Wahlberg (The Italian Job, Shooter, Ted), playing the familiar Robert P. Parker character Spenser, the amiable co-star with Winston Duke (Black Panther, Us) as partner Hawk, the mouthy lead actress in Iliza Shlesinger (Instant Family, Forever 31) as Spenser’s ex Cissy, the snarky elder voice in Alan Arkin (Argo, Gattaca, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Sesame Street) as Spenser and Hawk’s mentor, and even the cute animal friend presence via a friendly hound dog (that’s Pearl).  And a cool ride (here, a primo 1984 Buick Riviera).

Just like with the big screen movie The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (reviewed here at borg), viewers should forget about what they’ve read in the novels or experienced in the 1980s TV series starring Robert Urich and Avery Brooks.  This is a trademark Mark Wahlberg movie, and he’s in familiar territory–Boston–and Wahlberg’s own real-life stint in jail brings a certain authenticity to his performance as a tough guy with a big mouth who can hold is own against much bigger thugs, emerging from the slammer.  Wahlberg’s character has bits of the roles he’s taken on in The Departed (cop), Shooter (strategist), The Italian Job (planner), The Perfect Storm (driven), 2 Guns (drugs), The Other Guys (buddy cop), even Ted (Bostonian), and the film comes from director Peter Berg, who audiences have seen team up with Wahlberg before in Mile 22, Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, and Lone Survivor.

Wahlberg’s ex-cop is a good guy who must act when he sees someone in trouble, which in turn gets him into trouble.  The story in Spenser Confidential is neither complex not action-packed.  But Arkin and Shlesinger add some humor to what is very much an extended episode of early 1980s prime time television.  It has the same quality that makes us keeping coming back for more in the reboot Magnum PI series and the new Stumptown series–actors we like, characters we like, and an easy mystery to solve.

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Robert B. Parker′s crime-solving duo made famous by Robert Urich and Avery Brooks in Spenser for Hire is getting its first movie adaptation with the Netflix Studios release, Spenser Confidential.  The film is billed as an action-comedy, and is based on Parker’s star characters from his 40 novels.  Parker used other writers for some of the novels in the series, and this film is reportedly loosely based on the novel Wonderland, penned by Ace Atkins.

The wise-cracking Bostonian Spenser is not new territory for Mark Wahlberg, who will join director Peter Berg in their fifth film project together.  In this first trailer, Wahlberg, the 2017 highest paid actor in the world, makes it hard to differentiate this from the roles he’s played in The Italian Job, The Departed, The Other Guys, Ted, Pain & Gain, Shooter, 2 Guns, Transformers: The Last Knight, and All the Money in the World. But like Tom Cruise and Dwayne Johnson, fans go to Wahlberg movies to see Wahlberg be Wahlberg.

Hawk will be played by Black Panther co-star Winston DukeSpenser Confidential co-stars Alan Arkin (Catch-22, Argo, Gattaca, So I Married an Axe Murderer, The Muppets), Iliza Shlesinger (Instant Family, Elder Millenial), Bokeem Woodbine (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ghostbusters: Afterlife), and Post Malone (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse).

Check out the first trailer for Spenser Confidential:

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One of the standout artists of the past 20 years, British artist Jock’s work has appeared on comic book covers and movie posters, and his concept art has provided the vision behind the look of movies like Dredd, Ex Machina, Battleship, and in the works is next year’s Star Wars: Episode VIII.  A new high-quality hardcover from Insight Editions available this month is showcasing some of his best images.  The Art of Jock establishes a new standard for photographic reproductions, with some of the very best color and crisp detail found in any recent coffee table edition we’ve reviewed.  It features hundreds of illustrations from a creator really only at the early stages of his career.

Born in Scotland as Mark Simpson, Jock broke into comics with the British sci-fi comic book 2000 A.D., and today is an internationally-recognized artist and Eisner Award nominee.  We’ve seen his work in DC Comics series like Green Arrow and Batman, in Marvel series like Savage Wolverine and Daredevil, in the Image series Wytches, and in Vertigo series Scalped and Losers.  Highlights of early sketches and final versions of his work on these series can be found in this book in large, full color pages.  Fans of Jock will love the many original comic book covers and interior art included.

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The Art of Jock was written by DC Comics editor Will Dennis, with commentary by Battleship director Peter Berg, and DC Comics’ Jim Lee and Scott Snyder.  But the most valuable insight is provided by the artist himself.  Jock recounts his process and critiques his own work, comparing his style between phases of his own development.

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It must be time again to analyze the importance of a good movie trailer.  A good movie trailer may not indicate a good movie is behind it, but if you can’t even create a good movie trailer from your movie footage then the movie behind it probably doesn’t stand a chance at being good.  Just take a look at all the horrible Batman v Superman movie trailers and this week’s unusually large barrage of over-exuberant advance reviews.

We now have a our first look at what could be a great disaster movie if it wasn’t about a real disaster that has nothing possibly entertaining to share–the failure of BP and the oil industry to properly see that its equipment did what it was supposed to instead of ruin the ocean, nature, and the planet.  But this trailer for Deepwater Horizon reveals–in the way only an exciting action genre movie trailer can–this movie is “inspired by the true story of real heroes”.  What?  Big explosions!  Cool!  Nail-biting tension!  Neato!  The cutesy family talking about daddy’s job feels a lot like an advertisement for… BP.  What is the story of the BP oil disaster?  Wouldn’t a movie about that story star Mark Ruffalo as a lawyer fighting to see that the BP execs get what they deserve?  A story of volunteers trying to save the fish and birds drowning in oil?  Instead we get a well-stocked action film cast with the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, and John Malkovich–a great cast–for another movie.

Without a doubt it is too early to judge a film by its trailer, but that’s not the point.  It’s up to the marketing folks at the studios to grab us and get us hooked.  This trailer misses the mark.  The solution?  Go back and try again.  Unless this is as good as it gets.

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Mark Wahlberg track suit Six Billion Dollar Man running

Damián Szifrón, who was nominated this year for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, was selected to write the screenplay for the reboot film of the classic 1970s Bionic Man tale.  The Six Billion Dollar Man, to star Mark Wahlberg (Ted, Shooter, The Italian Job) as Steve Austin, will be directed by Peter Berg (Battleship, Hancock).

“I couldn’t be more honored and grateful. Such a major challenge represents a great opportunity,” Szifrón said in a press release this week. “The themes surrounding this beloved property allow for the creation of a memorable sci-fi actioner as well as a bold spy thriller.  Expectations are high and I’ll do my best to deliver the strongest basis for an amazing cinematic experience.”

The Argentinian writer/director won numerous awards internationally for his film Wild Things, including the Oscar nod.  He has also penned and directed several Latin TV series.

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The film will be based on the characters in the classic TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man, and its source material, the novel Cyborg by Martin Caidin, reviewed previously at borg.com here.

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