Four Brothers (2005)

Bullets will fly and the blood will flow when four adopted brothers seek revenge for their mom’s death. Thanks to their various backgrounds, the bond these brothers share comes with many conflicts and loads of drama. Mark Wahlberg shines above everyone else with his street wisdom and take no prisoners attitude. The dark overtone of this movie (based in Detroit) is backed by brilliant character performances and their gritty attitudes.

Live by Night (2016)

Live by Night wants to be a bad ass gangster flick, yet doesn’t bring enough to the table to even be considered good. There isn’t a director out there who makes a great movie every time out and Ben Affleck will take some heat for this one. The setting and costume designs are pretty good, but the story itself is all over the place and isn’t strong enough to keep you interested or even awake long enough to care.

Monster Trucks (2016)

Monster Trucks is going to bomb at the box office, the studios thought so before it was released and the critics absolutely hate it. I’m not even trying to go against the crowd here, but I don’t understand how everyone hates this movie. I laughed a lot, not because its stupid or silly, but because I was entertained. Adults may not enjoy this story or its characters, but every kid should have a ball with these loveable creatures. There’s plenty of stunts and crazy driving sequences to help keep the story moving along, so don’t judge a movie by its reviews.

Patriots Day (2016)

I am not from Boston, but close enough that I’ve visited there so many times through out my life. My uncle lives there, I’ve done a lot of fun stuff there as a kid, and Patriots Day gave me one of the deepest personal connections I’ve ever had with a movie. I got choked up, I cried, and I got angry that such an event happened to so many innocent people, while ruining one of the city’s time-honoured traditions. This movie is not perfect, there’s a lot of extra baggage here that really doesn’t need to be in this story, yet if anyone lived through these events, there is an eerie feeling about everything that needed to be told. Patriots Day is about survivors and heroes, those who risked their lives to stop two insane boys who had the ability to stop the world for a couple of days with their visions of destroying the freedom of ordinary people.

The Departed (2006)

The Departed is a great story about conflict, greed, privilege, drama, double-crossing, and all out anarchy thanks to its brilliant cast. DiCaprio, Damon, Wahlberg, Baldwin, Sheen, Farmiga, and Nicholson show you that growing up on the Catholic rich streets of Boston can take you to the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. You’ll probably get confused on who is working for who or who is ratting on who, but when the final bullet is fired you’ll be shocked at who comes out on top. The Departed and The Town would be the top movies to show how gritty and dirty Boston can be.

The Fighter (2010)

Boxing movies usually focus on rags to riches kind of stories, focusing on guys who struggle to make it to the top. The Fighter is a true story about a guy who can’t escape his brother’s shadow despite the tarnish legacy he has. Mark Wahlberg is good here, but not great, and is outshined by Christian Bale. No one can ever say Bale doesn’t put everything into a character, because you wouldn’t even recognize him here, it’s that good. This story centers around one of the craziest families ever, which means everyone who survives this mess is truly a saint.

Mystic River (2003)

Mystic River may be a calm river in the Boston area, yet these waters are also the home to some very dark secrets. I don’t feel Sean Penn deserved an Oscar for this performance, but his character is the driving force behind this story that is a slow burn to a finale you won’t expect. Clint Eastwood does a great job leading you down several different paths to the killer, who we may or may not know from the beginning. This story gets solid performances from Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, and Laurence Fishburne, which reminds us that the bonds of friendship are deep, but breakable.

Edge of Darkness (2010)

Most people think Boston is a nice place, little do they know that some very dark stuff happens in Bean town and it isn’t for the faint of heart. I would consider Edge of Darkness a new twist on the typical government cover up story, just because a Boston detective gets involved with nuclear secrets. Usually these stories don’t get that the attention of street cops, but with Mel Gibson, one always has to expect him to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong. There’s a high body count in this film so don’t let the trailer fool you.

Hidden Figures (2016)

Sometimes all a person needs is the opportunity. Hidden Figures showcased the hard work, determination, and suffering of three women who were really the backbone of the space program. This film will tug at your heart-strings because no matter what happens, good or bad, these ladies never catch a break. Their desire to break through the ceiling of segregation is really the focal point here, with amazing performances from everyone. You’ll wonder why these people were treated so wrong, but come to understand that was how the country operated in those days. Hidden Figures is a must watch for any movie fans or history buffs.

A Monster Calls (2016)

It only took the second new movie of 2017 to make me ball. A Monster Calls was a phenomenal movie because of the brilliant performance of Lewis MacDougall. It would be shame if he didn’t win any awards for this role, which was raw, powerful, and heart breaking. I didn’t know what to expect here, but this little boy is the heart and soul of this film. No matter often we see this story played out in real life, A Monster Calls shows all of us that there are ways to cope with sickness and that we all have the ability to overcome the worse.