REVIEW ~ “BIG EYES” (2014)

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“Big Eyes” is the story of the very famous tale of 1950’s art sensation “Walter Keane” (Christoph Waltz), known for painting waifish children with large, eerie eyes, and was scandalously revealed to have been stealing recognition for the work which was actually painted by his wife, “Margaret Keane” (Amy Adams), the whole time.
(Note: Release date for this film is 25th of December, 2014)

2 things of note here: 1. This is not your typical Tim Burton movie. If you want another ‘Beetlejuice’ or ‘Nightmare before Christmas’ type movie, this isn’t it. Maybe a little ‘Ed Wood’, but then no..not really!! It’s a completely off the map of his usual as it’s a biography/drama. 2. Oddly enough I could not get the chorus of the Cheap Trick song “Big Eyes” out of my head while watching this movie. It fit it so perfectly..yeah I know..it’s just me. 😀
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This story is narrated throughout by real-life San Francisco Examiner columnist “Dick Nolan” (Danny Huston) many times noting his own personal thoughts/feelings from ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak. Beginning in the what I presume to be the early 1950’s, we see Margaret walk out on her first marriage, with her young ‘muse’ daughter “Jane” (Delaney Raye) in tow. She meets fellow-artist Walter while selling her works and drawing caricatures in the park in San Francisco’s North Beach area. They start dating and she becomes intoxicated by him with his stories of all his travels along with the fact that he’s lived in Paris where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and drew inspiration for his many Montmartre street scenes and was an considered an ‘acclaimed’ artist there though he’s actually in real estate – go figure. In order to keep her ex-husband at bay as concerns about custody rights arise (since single mothers of the era weren’t treated kindly in the court system), she decides to marry Walter, despite the unease of her close friend “DeeAnn” (Krysten Ritter) who is only to aware of his womanizing reputation that proceeds him. A mistake leads to Walter taking credit for Margaret’s work, and before long, it’s a lie they are both complicit in feeding at the beginning.
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With a shotgun Hawaiian wedding & honeymoon behind them, we see Walter back to shopping his paintings around town using his talent not only as a salesman, but his adeptness as a showman and self-promoter shopping not only his own work per-se’, but Margaret’s as well. Finally convincing local big-shot club owner “Enrico Banducci” (Jon Polito) to show the paintings at the famous nightclub “The Hungry i” where it seems the patrons finding themselves more inclined towards Margaret’s work rather than his. As all the works are signed “Keane” you see where this story is heading as the lie becomes harder & harder to expose as Margaret’s art is becoming a complete world cultural phenonmenon like nothing ever before seen in the art world. Walter is giving away special originals to everyone from movie stars to politicians & dignitaries and biggest coo of all, Andy Warhol gives him a shout-out compliment. Although all along we can see his true agenda is he just wants to be around the famous and be famous. Before we can blink, we see Walter opening his own gallery across the street no less from a rather hipster-for the time-local gallery curator “Ruben” (Jason Schwartzman) selling prints, posters, postcards..being interviewed on TV explaining the creation process, his ‘motivation’ behind the portraits. All of this is being watched by Margaret as she sits in her studio painstakingly painting away. big eyes 4

As we watch the lie slowly but surely start to unfold, we also see that while Walter is as charming as can be on the outside, his inside reveals what a smarmy character he really is as Margaret finds out about lie after lie he’s told. His whole past is truly just that, one big lie as he was never an artist and seemly stole someone else’s paintings even before they met. Margaret, on the other hand seems almost helpless to stop it as the betrayal is not only shocking to her and her now almost grown daughter (Madeleine Arthur steps in as teenage Jane) who has figured out the big picture here also. But seemingly they are both to frightened of Walter at this point, whose drinking exacerbates his rollercoaster moods, to reveal the true painter behind as her paintings are now monopolized to the tune of a very large enterprise, labeled as “an infinity of kitsch” by new York Times art critic “John Canaday” played wonderfully by Terence Stamp, one of the major influences of the art world at that time.
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As Margaret finally runs away again from another bad marriage, she finds herself back in Hawaii painting without an outlet when comes a knock at the door in the form of Jehovah’s Witness ladies. Now I always thought though they were always friendly enough, it just never failed that they came at the most inopportune of moments like when you just poured milk on your cereal & such and were mostly just tolerated. I never though it actually worked as a recruitment strategy, but alas I am proven wrong as that is just how Margaret finally gets the wherewithall to stand up for herself. They move on to an all out confrontation with an over-the-top circus quality type trial lead a bit humorously by James Saito as the judge. In the end it all comes down to a ‘draw-off’ which as we know only Margaret can win and does as she is finally recognized as the true artist behind “Big Eyes”.

The performances are strong here by both Waltz & Adams though not as strong for me as say American Hustle in which she was pure gold in. Though with Best Actress category being rather light this year, I can definitely see Adams getting another nomination for this role. Big eyes panel

– Seen on November 14th, 2014 at Academy Screening with Q & A following the screening: Tim Burton, Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, Lynette Howell

Grade: B-

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REVIEW ~ “THE GAMBLER” (2014)

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Note: This films release date is Dec. 19th, 2014; this review contains no spoilers

Matk Wahlberg as Jim Bennett

Matk Wahlberg as Jim Bennett

In case you didn’t garner this from the title of the film, “Jim Bennett” (Mark Wahlberg aka always Marky Mark to me) is a consummate, addicted high-stakes gambler..he is also a college literature professor with a tad bit of a problem. He has played a little too hard and fast with what I like to call OPM ~ Other People’s Money. Now he is in a pool of quicksand seemingly without a ladder. gambler 4

First there “Neville” (Michael Kenneth Williams) with whom Bennett borrows from using himself & his own life as collateral as he pits creditor against creditor a few times over. The operator of the gambling ring is “Mister Lee” (Alvin Ing), to whom Bennett’s money is supposed to go to first and gives him 7 days to pay back 260K debt he has incurred with loss after loss at the blackjack & roulette tables. gambler 3But as he layers his debts one on top of another, he starts to owe more than just one person who threatens to kill him if he doesn’t pay. He even borrows from his well-to-do mother, “Roberta” (Jessica Lange) though as he’s done this before more than once, it’s seemingly his last card to play until it’s not and despite all of this he just can’t stop. Even when his college-student girlfriend “Amy” (Brie Larson) walks out on him as he gambles his last chance away. gambler 2

His last shot at redemption is to finally get to the lowest point in his life, as all addicts must, but being that Bennett is actually smarter than most, he develops a plan to get himself out of all of it, but to succeed he must first hit up the last person on earth with whom he can actually borrow from, “Frank” (John Goodman). What happens with all his plays to get out of his mess of a life is the jist of this whole story and what I forsaw as a predictable ending.. or was it?? I will leave that up to you to see as it can go many different ways.

The acting here is done well enough, though no real standouts except maybe Goodman who always does quite wonderfully making things a bit darkly funny while keeping true to the ‘bad guy’ portrait and a quick bit from Richard Shiff as the “Jeweler” which is also a bit comedic. (The great George Kennedy does a quick cameo if you can spot it!) Wahlberg dropped 60lbs in just a few months for this role and it’s very apparent how quickly he did this as not only is he the thinnest I’ve ever seen him, but even his lips have a sickly blue-ish, white pallor to them. His hair however..is great! 🙂 Gambler 1

While this film isn’t great, it is entertaining enough. One of the things I simply loved about it is the filming of it in and all over Los Angeles..not just one simple area..but all over from K-town(Koreatown) to the beaches of the Palisades, USC to Casino Morongo and back on over to the legendary Playboy Mansion, which serves as home to Roberta. As I was honored to be sitting in a Q & A afterwards with the legendary producer, Irwin Winkler ~ think everything from’They Shoot Horses Don’t They’, to the ‘Rocky’ franchise (spoiler Mr. Winkler confirmed there will be a Rocky 6 upcoming), ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Raging Bull’, and the ‘The Mechanic’ to name just a few on his high-profile list of films, but who noted he has lived in Los Angeles for 50 years and there were neighborhoods he still hadn’t known about that they used. Mark Wahlberg insisted they keep the movie here though as Los Angeles really serves as it’s own character fabric of this film so much so. Also speaking was his son, David Winkler, no slouch in his credits either. I also didn’t know this is a remake of the 1974 version of the same name starring James Caan. The Winkler’s noted they had never liked the ending of that film and decided to remake it with a few changes to the storyline and ending.

So there you have it. It’s an entertaining enough of a watch but come contender time, I don’t see it being up there.

Grade: C

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REVIEW: “THE IMITATION GAME” (2014)

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Note: “The Imitation Game” release date in the U.S. is November 28th, 2014 ~ this review contains no spoilers as the movie is based on historical fact already known.

Do you know who Alan Turing is? I’m going to guess not. After you watch this movie you will most likely be saddened by this fact as I know I was.

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) was a master mathematician who finds himself plunged into the secret code-breaking underbelly world of Bletchley Circle in World War II when he’s hired by the British government – along with a team of code breakers – to crack Nazi Germany’s supposedly impenetrable Enigma code and end the war. He makes no friends in his inner circle all throughout his life, but not due to the fact that he doesn’t want them, he is one of those people who are of such true genius they never really learned how to be socially adept. the ig 1

Turing wrestles with a multitude of impediments – shyness, homosexuality (which at the time was illegal) and the overriding pressure of heading up such a mammoth venture would be daunting for anyone trying to stay true to his heart and his extraordinary skill along the way. Not only was Turing unconventional, but his methods were as well. His deterrents included Naval High “Commander Denniston” (Charles Dance) who tries to shut him down more than once, and in the beginning, most of his team, the somewhat caddish “Hugh Alexander”(Matthew Goode), Keira Knightley as “Joan Clarke”, who becomes Turing’s main confidant and for a moment in time, his fiance, the spy amongst them, “John Cairncross” (Allen Leech) and “Peter Hilton” (Matthew Beard) who’s heartbreaking moment occurs when he realizes even though they have broken the code, they most likely can’t save his brother serving on a naval ship due to the nature of the beast that is war and the secret games that must still be played to ensure the safety of millions rather than just one. the ig 3 Mark Strong comes in as MI6 specialist “Stewart Menzies” another small but brilliant turn here as he is probably the only one that has Turing’s back during all this..well him and the man who lives at 10 Downing Street at the time, Winston Churchill that is. 😀 the ig 2 I would also be remiss in not mentioning Rory Kinnear as “Nock” the police detective who is really at the root of Turings out-ing so to speak as he, along with “Sergeant Staehl” (Tom Goodman-Hill) & “Supt. Smith” (Steven Waddington) are the ‘bobbies’ who dig into Turings past after a reported robbery at his home. Even though once Nock interrogates Turing and finds out his whole story, he is reluctant to move forward, the damage has already been done.

the ig 4 The story behind this film is just as harrowing as the one being solved. Here is a man who should have been touted as a worldwide hero in history books everywhere, who’s face should probably be on some type of pound currency, yet we’ve never heard of him as he was persecuted by his own nation for being homosexual and made to either undergo chemical castration or serve 2 years in prison because of this fact. Think of all the people in the city you live in ~ as it might not have existed if not for Alan Turing. Here is a man who saved 14 MILLION lives, yet killed himself due to the fact he was shunned by his own country instead of celebrated just because of who he was sexually. And yes, he was the inventor of what was for years referred to as the ‘Turing Machine’ yes ladies and gentlemen..what we now call ‘computers’. Finally in 2013 this was changed by Queen Elizabeth and rightfully so because it’s the true shame of a nation to deny this man his rightful place in it.
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This film is a tour de force for me, not only because of it’s place in history, but because of the man himself. I believe this powerful film will stay with me for some time to come and I can only hope it does the same for anyone who sees it. It even more elevated by strong performances across the board of not only Cumberbatch, who is definitely in the performance of his career so far, but his strong supporting cast as even Knightly, who usually dismal performances can break up the direction of a film, carries on well. Come Oscar time I’m betting on the fact we will see some nominations here of not only film, but performances as well.

Grade: A

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John Wick Review

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Because I love this review of John Wick also so if anyone hasn’t seen it yet..definitely do!!

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“I heard you punched my son. Why?”

“He stole John Wick’s car.”

“…Oh.”

That’s John Wick for you: darkly humorous, full of action, and made with its own rules in mind. This is far from perfect, but it’s the type of action film that isn’t produced enough these days, one that employs an incredibly simplistic structure, but one that still succeeds aesthetically and violently and creatively. It’s loads of fun, and it looks gorgeous.

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Review ~ “ROSEWATER” (2014)

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Being a fan of Jon Stewart it maybe shouldn’t come as a surprise that his first foray into film is politically based. After all, he became famous for his comedic Daily Show diatribes against the US political system, corrupt world leaders and human rights atrocities. However, in his new film, Stewart uses the starting point of journalist Maziar Bahari’s (Gael Garcia Bernal) 118 day imprisonment for being a supposed spy in Iran, to craft a film condemning of any leadership that values not only political and religious hyperbole, but focuses mainly on the ignorance of its own people. Though Rosewater is inspirational, has it’s heart in the right place and is outright funny at times, something I didn’t expect, though again, considering the writer/director, I probably should have, it is missing the oompha that could make it a really good political film rather than just an average one as it’s not a very moving or probably understandable film to those who don’t really follow politics.                                                                                 RW_00624.JPG

The film begins 11 days before Maziar’s imprisonment, as the Iranian-Canadian “NewsWeek” reporter travels to Iran to report on the historic 2009 presidential election. When arriving at the airport, Bahari meets “Davood” (Dimitri Leonidas), a taxi driver who helps him get access to parts of Tehran where the different political factions reside. They interview a young supporter “Alireza” (Amir El-Masry) for Ahmadinejad (president at the time) who furiously denies that Western media’s reports of possible vote rigging in the upcoming election are true. rosewater 4Then Davood brings Bahari to see another side, a group of young Mousavi supporters. These “dissenters” have formed their own system of education known as “Dish University,” a set of illegally obtained satellite dishes streaming in news from around the globe. As we follow along to the election sites I can only tell you this…after seeing our own elections the other day, we should be ashamed we don’t take this privilege for what it’s worth as you can see what it’s like when they actually do..though that would be the only thing I could see they have one upped us on as we know from history, the elections themselves don’t go well and demonstrations in the street ensue with not only many deaths, but arrests as well.

The heart of this true story is what happens when Maziar is arrested and imprisoned for being a ‘Western spy’. He is put in the prison’s solitary confinement and interrogation rooms, subjected arbitrarily to absurd lines of questions, harsh beatings and other methods of torture by the prisons main information extractor “Rosewater” (Kim Bodnia). While Maziar’s attitude shifts between amused, confused, hopeless, hopeful, and even suicidal, he is visited by the spirits of his long dead father “Baba Akbar” (Haluk Bilginer) who was imprisoned during previous regimes, and his sister “Maryam” (Golshifteh Farahani) again, also imprisoned for a long spell, whom he has long conversations with over what to do. In the end, he gives a forced confession though it ends up not being satisfactory, it did bring him to the attention of the world.  Along with everything his very pregnant, British wife, “Paola” (Claire Foy) does on her behalf, and his mother “Moloojoon” (Shohreh Aghdashloo) vigilance, the next thing we see is Hillary Clinton speaking about him on worldwide TV condemning his imprisonment, demanding his release and them bowing down to the pressure of the situation to do so.  rosewater 3

 

Performance wise, this movie really doesn’t do anything in a standout way, which let’s face it, it could have. As a Gael fan, I questioned at times the choice for him in this role, but maybe that’s because I’m so used to him playing the roles he is 100% suited for. While I liked this movie, with its jarring tonal shifts, it doesn’t deliver on the tone I thought it would. I think it will go over well with a political savy Jon Stewart crowd, but not much beyond that.

(Release date: Friday, November 14th, 2014)

Grade: C-

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Review: “WHIPLASH” (2014)

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Before I saw this movie, someone said to me “Oh, it looks like a jazz version of “FAME”. A more mis-informed statement could not be ever spoken! A “Fame” remake this movie is not..If you love music, most especially jazz and have heard all those stories about the inner circle of the jazz greats..this is your movie.. With my basic knowledge of music and somewhat better at knowing those stories, I was able to follow along well. But “Whiplash” is a quite darkly, somewhat disturbing movie about 19 y/o “Andrew” played superbly here by Miles Teller, who eats, lives and breathes being a drummer, who wants so badly to be ‘remembered’ in this life as one of the world’s best he will do and put up with almost anything..again, almost..  His journey through what was at times, hard for me to watch as I’ve experienced people in my life like this, is what this movie is about..to be specific about a year of said journey at New York’s elite Conservatorium of Music, Shaffer Academy. And that is about the only thing that would hold a similarity to something like ‘Fame’ is both being held at a music academy schools.

This film begs the question of how far an artist should be pushed to achieve greatness. It’s a devastating portrait filled literally with blood, sweat and tears, leaving our hearts pounding as fast as the intense drumming. The music is quite extraordinary too. “Terence Fletcher” (J.K. Simmons) is the conservatorium’s god maker; we immediately sense how vital it is to Andrew that Fletcher notices him. What follows was for me the hard part of watching as It is the cruel, callous way Fletcher operates that gets under our skin as he offers some of the students words of encouragement, elicits some personal information only before using it against them with biting undercut. Simply said, he is a monster disguised as a teacher. Bullying and abuse come in many forms not just student to student, but teacher to student happens far more often than we realize and this is in large, what this movie is about. The humiliation, bullying, and violence towards all the students in his class are all part of the mix with chairs being hurled, faces slapped and students stripped down to size. Watching blood drip onto the drum kit from Andrew’s overtaxed fingers and hands, while close to exhaustion, is unsettling to say the least.  whiplash 1

Just as it seems as though Andrew’s fortunes are looking up, when he is singled out by Fletcher and simultaneously gets a date with the pretty student he’s had a crush on for sometime “Nicole” (Melissa Benoist) who sells popcorn at the movie theatre he frequents, though neither opportunity turns out as expected. In the background is Andrew’s father “Jim” (Paul Reiser), a disillusioned, failed writer who quietly supports his son but clearly doesn’t understand musical aspirations or what drives him.  Teller drums with the passion of a man literally possessed, the physicality of the performance is truly astounding. As for Simmons, his performance is breathtaking as we are captivated by every tiny expression on his distinctive features. The way he turns from violent abuser to a gentle man is truly quite impressive. Having been a fan of his since his turn in HBO’s ‘Oz’ ~ this is a role of a lifetime.  whiplash 2

It occurred to me during one devastatingly harder scenes to watch that this movie can truly be as tense as any psychological thriller, complete with it’s own type of terrifying moments.  But it also has the operatic highs that only music can bring. For instance that show-stopping sequence at the end of the film when the music wins, is the moment when our hearts can soar and think maybe..just maybe it was all worth it in the end as we applaud.

The performances by Teller and Simmons are the soul of this film and what truly make this movie what it is. I hope that they garner the attention they deserve come nomination time.

Grade: B+
After seeing this film a second time last night at an Oscar screening with Dir: Damien Chazelle & J.K.Simmons doing a fun, lively Q & A afterwards.. I gotta up the grade to an A ~ as this film and most definitely it’s performances are Oscar worthy. jk whiplash 1

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Review x 2 ~ “NIGHTCRAWLER” & “THE EQUALIZER”

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Jake Gyllenhaal plays “Lou Bloom”, a man clearly desperate not only in his quest for work as a crime ‘journalist’ in this quite creepy, psychological mayhem of a film, but also as someone so desperate to become a star of his own making in this crime contingent world, that he resorts to just about anything and everything to do so as he’s basically just an unemployed thief and an all around just plain weird dude.

Set on the streets of Los Angeles itself, which can be fun as I recognized almost every location and remember even driving by a few of them as they were filming, we get a really crazy, scary glimpse into the world that happens pretty much every day here, and scarily enough, we don’t even notice it anymore. But what probably got me the most of all of it, I honestly believe that some of what happens with Gyllenhaal’s character Lou actually really does go on. Just take a real look at the news sometimes, or what the paparazzi do here just to get a shot of someone and you too will step back a second and think twice about this movie.

This movie is all about taking the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles and make them seem unsafe. Film a car chase (albeit a really good one at that) that gets your blood pumping and your heart rate up, and make the storytelling interesting, absorbing, creepy, disturbing, and even nervously funny. That’s what I think Director Dan Gilroy pulls off here as for 95% percent of movie and I will admit I was pretty freaked out through most if it, I laughed, I cringed, and I sat numb and transfixed. Only small undeveloped parts of this movie,  like how they just accepted him in the inner circle of new commentators, a disregard for the L.A.P.D ever pulling over a excessively speeding motorist over and over again, how at one point in the middle the character did annoy me to the point of well..complete annoyance.. and an ending that might not have lived up to the movie as a whole, could keep me from calling this truly flawless. nightcrawler 1But those are minor points and some of them just my own feelings as that I know I wouldn’t let this person anywhere near the actual news casting people. ha!  Would I endorse this film as completely realistic? Probably not. I do watch the news, though definitely not everyday and it doesn’t seem fathomable that dead bodies with grisly images would actually be shown all the time like this on television, but again, we have seen it.  But no matter what, you can’t deny how fascinating or how original these proceedings are. Nightcrawler is one bitch of a ride. And sadly, I almost feel guilty for recommending it. But I will. 🙂

As the movie plays out you realize you really don’t know anything about Lou Bloom except for the fact that he becomes obsessed with filming crime scenes in order to pocket some cold hard cash. He uses a police monitor, finds out where crimes are committed, and captures the hideous crimes on video camera. He gets paid monster dollars for these trysts but eventually gets in over his head when finally at one scene, he gets there before the police. nightcrawler 2There’s an investigation on him, he almost gets charged for murder, but what Bloom might be seriously lacking in social skills, he is smarter than everyone. He starts to blackmail his newswoman, his co-workers, all the while he just slaps on his sunglasses, gives a steely face outward demeanor, and pretty much gives the middle finger to anyone who might get in his way. There is a weird Travis Bickle a la Taxi Driver feel to this character that Gyllenhaal really exudes well.

nightcrawler 3Now the rest of the cast of Nightcrawler is almost just as creepy and definitely as noteworthy. Their roles are equal parts nasty, mean-spirited, unethical, and cold. Bill Paxton as “Joe Loder” is as always, reliable playing a supporting role as a fellow rival to Bloom. He’s jealous, angry, and ultimately pays the price for being his crime scene, videotaping rival. Rene Russo “Nina Romina” (who happens to be married to the director in real life) looks great and is fantastic at playing the coy and somewhat frigid as she manages the news station where Bloom sells his videos. She wants ratings, wants respect, and doesn’t give a shit about what’s right and what’s wrong. Then we have Riz Ahmed as “Rick” Bloom’s sidekick/assistant and he’s startlingly effective. He may be poor and unwanted, but he still has a sense of decency and with a few un-choice words, while he goes down in a wave of flames.

All in all, this movie will stick with you for a while after as I saw it a week ago, and it most definitely has done so. Oh, and I haven’t watched the news since.  ha! 😀

Grade:  B-

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SECOND REVIEW – “THE EQUALIZER”

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NOTE: As this movie has been out for awhile, but I was gone and not able to see it till just this week..I did a double header of this and “Nightcrawler” (oh my bum hurt after so long in the seat..trust me!! :D) But it was well worth it.  Both movies had enough edge to them to keep me motivated to watch.

Firstly, I did not know nor would I have guessed that this movie was inspired by the classic TV series, The Equalizer as I don’t remember at all watching it as a kid, I was more a Dynasty child!!..ha!  The film here stars Denzel Washington as “Robert McCall”, a mild-mannered some what of a “mystery man” who spends his days working at a hardware megastore and his nights as an insomniac drinking tea and reading the classics at a local diner When a young girl from the diner “Teri” (Chloe Grace Moretz) finds herself in over her head with the Russian mob, Robert can’t ignore it. Instead, he steps outside of his quiet, controlled world to help her. But what starts out as an attempt to help the troubled teen soon turns into a battle against a crazy vicious pimp and his crime syndicate. equalizer 2

Despite his normal job and his simple life, it soon becomes very clear that McCall isn’t just an ordinary guy taking on an extraordinary situation ~ nor is he just another determined cop. He has a very specific skill set as well as the training that enables him to walk unarmed into a room full of bad guys and kill every last one of them (in shockingly brutal ways) in 30 seconds or less, using a variety of makeshift weapons. And he manages to do it all in the coolest, smoothest way possible. But the character also has his share of quirks ~ from his strange obsession with his stopwatch to an almost superhuman ability to case a room with his almost MacGyver-like tactics. And though his occasionally over-the-top behavior can border on laughable, it also makes him different, like the kind of character that you’d expect to find in the latest flood of superhero type movies. But this isn’t your basic PG-13 movie. It’s dark and gritty and sometimes shockingly, graphically violent, though, at the same time, it’s also undeniably entertaining with a great villain in Marton Csokas as “Teddy”. You know I love my villains when they are played well..and he does a great job here.
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Still, The Equalizer isn’t a fast-moving film. It builds slowly, a little to slowly at times, but taking its time to introduce the characters and to make sure that everyone in the audience knows what a good guy McCall is. It’s also much longer than it needs to be. But Washington carries it all in a way that seems effortless because there’s just something about him that makes even the film’s slow moments seem bearable.

Time and time again, Washington has proven himself to be tough but lovable & reliable if not also adaptable. And in The Equalizer, he gives his role both classic charm and ferocity, making it an extreme but enjoyable enough of a thriller.

Grade: C+

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