Based on True Events:

Masterminds (** 1/2) AND Deepwater Horizon (***)

fmastermindsfeatTwo recent film releases covering headline-making events can now be found in local multiplexes. One of these is based on a story that made local headlines nearly twenty years ago and will certainly ring familiar to anyone who was living in or near this area in the fall of 1997 while the other depicts events from less than decade ago that still resonate and will for some time to come.

Masterminds is based on the true crime caper involving the theft of over a ton of cash by a down-on-his-luck security guard from Kings Mountain, NC named David Ghantt. The case still remains one of the largest robberies in US history.

Ghantt’s plan was to steal the money and high tail it to Mexico while waiting on  former co-worker Kelly Campbell, who instigated the plan, to join him there and share in the bounty. What Ghantt didn’t know was that Campbell had no intentions to join him and the plan was merely a way for Ghantt to score the money for Campbell and her lover, Steve Chambers.

Masterminds plays up the comedy angle in a very broad way with actors Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis filling the aforementioned roles of, respectively, Ghantt, Campbell, Chambers and the hit man sent to exterminate Ghantt. As directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite), the film is funny enough in spots but tends to run out of steam before it reaches its conclusion. Still, Masterminds has enough good will to keep it going and to get a reserved recommendation from yours truly. You may laugh quite a bit as long as you aren’t looking for sophisticated humor.

fdeepwaterhorizonDeepwater Horizon on the other hand is a solid dramatization of the devastating oil spill that occurred off the coast of Louisiana in April 2010. The Deepwater Horizon of the film’s title, which was a floating oil rig, literally exploded and took the lives of nearly a dozen crew members in the process and also sent an enormous mount of oil into the water before its containment.

Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell head the rig’s crew in the film while John Malkovich, doing what he does best, represents the corporate interests of BP. The opening section of the film is a bit draggy but once director Peter Berg restages the actual explosion-which is quite a doozy-it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the film even if its subject is a a modern tragedy.

If there’s a quibble to made then it would be that Berg and company don’t do enough finger pointing at the true culprits responsible for this horrific event but the film is so well staged that it’s easy to forgive it for what it doesn’t achieve. It may be a surface level exploration of those events but it’s still a rousing one to be sure.

Photos: Kurt Russell in Deep Water Horizon; Zach Galifinakis, Owen Wilson & Kristen Wiig in Masterminds

The Carmike Theater’s website doesn’t give full information past Thursday, Oct., 6, but all these movies are playing there as of the 6th, and may be playing throughout the area after that date.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.