The Equalizer 2 – Official Trailer 1

I participated in a thread on Twitter with C. Robert Cargill (co-writer of Sinister, Sinister 2 and Doctor Strange) where he was talking about The Equalizer 2 and it’s director, Antoine Fuqua (who also directed the first movie).

I described Fuqua as ‘the thinking man’s Michael Bay,’ and it’s an apt comparison because if you look at the trailer below you’ll see some very kinetic action set pieces, buoyed by quiet, introspective moments.

It’s a pretty impressive trailer that takes the movie more in the direction of the television series (starring Edward Woodward) that it’s  based upon.

And apropos of nothing, does ‘EQ2’ vaguely remind you of the the name of a coleoneor perfume?

As usual, let me know what you think below.  

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The Magnificent Seven – Review

screenshot-2016-09-23-21-57-45Antoine Fuqua, arguably one of preeminent action directors working today, has once again teamed with Denzel Washington, whom he worked with on Training Day in 2001 and The Equalizer in 2014 with his reboot of John Sturges’ 1960 Western, The Magnificent Seven.

And it’s a good movie, though to call it ‘magnificent’ is a bit of hyperbole though the reason that it attracted so much attention on its initial release is probably the least unimportant thing about it.

And that was the fuss made over its  diverse cast, though when you look at history of the American West, what’s more inaccurate were the portrayals that pictured it as entirely occupied by white people, to the exclusion of tNative Americans, Chinese and African-Americans that were present as well.

As I said earlier, it’s not a great movie, though it’s well done, entertaining and at times pretty amusing.

Though there are some moments where present day filming techniques and CGI get in the way of the illusion (which I go into in my video) but those instances are relatively few and far between.

It runs a bit long and could have used some trimming, though when all is said and done. it’s a pretty good time.

Triple 9 Official Trailers 1 & 2

Can I say that John Hillcoat’s Triple 9 looks awesome?  Heist/police thriller are a guilty pleasure of mine because when they’re done well, they’re a thing of beauty.

In particular I enjoyed Bruce Malmuth’s Nighthawks (a Sylvester Stallone vehicle about a terrorist on the loose in New York, and the cops in pursuit of said terrorists), Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day (David Ayer’s story is only kept aloft by Fuqua’s direction and Denzel Washington’s acting), Spike Lee’s Inside Man and Frank Oz’s The Score, to name a few.

And I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the reboot (what?) of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, directed by Jean-Francois Richet, which is a really entertaining movie and better in its way than the original.

Southpaw – Review

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“A boxing movie that overcomes the limitations of the genre.”

If you’ve seen one sports movie–be the subject golf, basketball, football. boxing, etc–you’ve just about seen them all.

And that’s because, while the sport being played may change, they these types of movies follow a, by now, predictable version of Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey,‘ where the main character reaches the pinnacle of their career, is brought low, which enables them to realize all that they have taking for granted, in the end making them better people and redeeming them in the eyes of the people that they love.

And there’s a reason things become formulaic:  When movies that use them work, they can be beautiful things to behold.

And Southpaw in all its brutal, bloody beauty, delivers big time.

Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the light heavyweight champion, at the top of the world and his game, till an untimely death–which curiously the movie for the most part abandons once it serves its purpose of breaking down Hope, so he can rise again–sends him into a downward spiral that he spends most of the move coming out of. t

As I mentioned earlier, it’s nothing that you haven’t seen before, though the intensity that Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Miguel Gomez bring to the story manage to make the material seem almost fresh.

And considering how many times this story has been told, that’s quite an accomplishment.

‘The Equalizer’ Review

The Equalizer movie poster

“Having OCD Was Probably Never So Awesome.”

Boyhood ran for 2 hours and 45 minutes, and after awhile it felt as if Richard Linklater had it in for me because what started out as an interesting theatrical experiment devolved into a bizarre and inhumane form of punishment.

By way of comparison, Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer ran for an hour and half, yet felt significantly shorter.

Now, to be fair, no people are killed in Boyhood–though there should have been at least one death, especially during what I like to call the ‘chainsaw blade scene’–but the violence in The Equalizer more often than not happened to people that deserved it, so it came off as cathartic, as opposed to gratuitous (which isn’t to say that there wasn’t a lot of it).

In fact, it’s odd to see a movie where the audience is actively rooting for someone to kill someone else, which wasn’t uncommon (at least at the showing I caught).

Part of what made Denzel Washington’s portrayal of Robert McCall so interesting is that the character has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which means that he’s developed quite a few repetitive behaviors and rituals, the point being that his condition was what made him such an efficient killer.

I have read reviews that compared this tendency to that of Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbach) in the BBC’s Sherlock, though it’s not a valid comparison because in the case of Sherlock you’re watching a representation of a mental process Holmes is going through to arrive at a certain conclusion, while in the case of McCall you’re looking at him plot the motion of what physical action he’s about to commit to.

The Equalizer, based upon a CBS television series that aired in 1985, starring Edward Woodward, moves briskly and almost feels like a guilty pleasure of sorts, which isn’t a bad thing.

 

 

‘The Equalizer’ – Trailer Two

The Equalizer is going to be a monster, despite the R-rating.  Denzel Washington is as reliable as it gets, as far as consistently entertaining actors go.  I also like how the characters that he tends to play don’t overcompensate in terms of their physicality, by which I mean you can see from the trailer that Washington is a tad paunchy, yet he’ll still believably kick you ass.

That it’s being directed by Antoine Fuqua pretty much ensures that it’s an event.

Besides, I can only see Guardians of the Galaxy so many times…

‘The Prince’ Trailer

From what I can tell from the trailer Brian A. Miller‘s The Prince has nothing at all to do with Machiavelli’s book, which is a pity because I think it would be particularly neat to see a bad guy who treated it as his moral compass.

That being said, the ‘Prince’ is this particular instance is Paul (Jason Patric), who was known by that moniker when he was an assassin.  Now he works as a mechanic–I have no idea why.  It seems to me that it would be good job to take if he wanted to stay under the radar, but seeing that we’re talking about movies and assassins are generally really well-paid, I am not quite seeing it.

In any case, somehow his activities in that prior life are discovered by Omar (Bruce Willis, unfortunately not Michael K. Williams), who apparently had someone he loved killed by the Prince, and wants payback.

So he kidnaps Paul’s daughter.

Now you’re probably wondering if I just forgot to include Liam Neeson, and you’d be right because it does sound like a more morally ambiguous version of Taken.

And what is it with John Cusack, who plays ‘Sam?’  This is the second movie that I have seen him in where he plays second fiddle to another actor.  The first was Frozen Ground, with Nick Cage (great movie, by the way) and now this.  And that’s not meant to be critical of Jason Patric, though Cusack could probably bring a greater earnestness to the role.

And also, doesn’t it also sound like an Antoine Fuqua movie?  It feels like something that he was, at the the very least, considered for because it fits perfectly with the type of films he tends to work on.