Closeup: Mark Wahlberg
This week the artist formerly known as Marky Mark goes big, in several senses of the word, as a bodybuilding bank robber in Michael Bay’s action comedy Pain & Gain, opposite the artist formerly known as The Rock. Admittedly, Marky’s career has not been 100%, ahem, “Good Vibrations,” but considering he started out as a one hit wonder-slash-underwear model, his batting average is better than it has any right to be — as the Mark Wahlberg section on Blockbuster On Demand more than demonstrates. Feel it feel it!
The first big movie Wahlberg starred in and still the best: he plays a slightly dim kid from the San Fernando Valley with a big heart and an even bigger package who finds himself in the tail end of porn’s glory years. The visual audacity of Paul Thomas Anderson and a stellar supporting cast of Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Heather Graham, Don Cheadle, and Burt Reynolds makes this one a modern classic.
Wahlberg, George Clooney, and John C. Reilly play the crew on a swordfishing boat that takes a couple of wrong turns and makes a couple of bad decisions to wind up between two storms and a hurricane. If you ever wondered what it’s like to die in a freak accident at sea, this movie more than delivers.
Based on the true story of how Judas Priest replaced their lead singer, this movie has Wahlberg as the frontman of a Steel Dragon tribute band who ends up onstage and on tour with his heroes, with all the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll that entails — though it’s largely kept offscreen to keep our hero sympathetic. Jennifer Aniston costars as his faithful girlfriend.
There are not many pleasures better than a good old-fashioned heist film, and this one is better than most: Walhberg joins Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Seth Green and Edward Norton on Donald Sutherland’s team for, say it with me, one last job. Great action Read More