Denzel Washington

Fallen Movie Denzel

The good news is that Halloween is mere days away, Silver Shamrock! The bad news? Schlocktober has come to a close. Sad. However, Cargill and I have saved a truly great flick for the feature’s last gasp. For our final exploration of underrated 90s horror this month, we touch upon the cop-versus-demon flick Fallen. And now that we’ve touched upon it,  we might actually be possessed by it. Only time will tell. Happy Halloween, Junkies! You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #29 Directly

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Denzel Washington in The Equalizer

Denzel Washington has never done a sequel. That has to be extremely rare for an actor of his caliber, especially one who does his share of popular action movies. But the projects he chooses, even those of a genre prone to franchises, tend not to lend themselves to sequels. Maybe there could be an Unstoppable 2 or a Deja Vu All Over Again or another tale involving one of his many detective characters, but there’s apparently been no interest. Inside Man was supposed to spawn a follow-up, but that was canceled. Now we’re about to find out if Washington’s latest hit, The Equalizer, will give him his first movie series. The Equalizer 2 has actually been in development for a while, but so far the actor hasn’t signed on. The sequel likely won’t go forward without him, so let’s just assume he will be on board in order to imagine what’s next for Robert McCall. As far as I can tell, by the end of the first movie, McCall seems to have killed everybody who has anything do with the Russian mafia and their prostitution trade. Probably not, but let’s suppose that’s the case. We don’t need a sequel that has anything to do with that storyline. No additional Russian criminals going after McCall as revenge, no loose ends, no more bad guys up the ladder of business with a link to the one teen prostitute who he decided to care about. The Equalizer is based on a TV series where every week […]

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arnold-schwarzenegger-commando

If you’re never seen the TV series of The Equalizer, the movie probably won’t inspire you to seek it out. Well, maybe for some of the before-they-were-stars guest appearances, including Steve Buscemi (a clip of that one was recently seen in The Wolf of Wall Street) and Melissa Leo, who is now in the movie adaptation. And maybe the episode where Adam Ant plays the villain. For the premise itself, though, it’s not that tight of a link. The show and its theatrical successor aren’t especially distinct, and there are as or more relevant movies that just don’t share the name so aren’t as obvious necessary predecessors. Fortunately, here’s another installment of our column where we recommend movies to go back and watch after seeing a lesser new release. Not that all the selected titles are truly better movies, but of course that’s all subjective. What’s important is that they’re either somehow related or are necessary classics or both. This week, we have a couple of movies for which The Equalizer feels like a sequel (is this where I get to make a “Sequalizer” joke?), a few that are thematically similar or feature notable parallels, a few that are sort of referenced in the new movie and as always some that are earlier works of talent involved in the current release. The following list alludes to plot points in The Equalizer and therefore may include spoilers. Read on after you’ve seen the new movie or just don’t care.

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The Equalizer

Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer would like you to believe that it’s a different kind of action film – specifically, a different kind of “wow, Denzel Washington really likes offing people” action film – as it opens in an unexpected fashion: with a Mark Twain quote and approximately forty-five minutes of routine-filled inaction that seems to belong to another movie entirely. By the time Fuqua and Washington get to the “offing people” section of the feature (rest assured, as pleasingly boring as the first act of The Equalizer may be, it’s all just lulling build-up to the blood-and-bullets spectacular that dominates its later sections), the film fully transitions from a cerebral send-up of action films to something so gory and insane that it practically demands that its audience stand up and cheer. They might not be clapping for the right reasons, however.

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The Equalizer Movie

If there’s a preferable Denzel Washington model, it’s the one that doesn’t just kick ass, but makes no qualms about handing it back to the person whose ass he just obliterated. The scary Washington. The quiet, calm, collected one who doesn’t even seem that mad — until it’s too late. You know what I’m talking about. So it’s good to see with The Equalizer trailer that the film isn’t a rehash of a supremely cheesy 80s TV show, but a vehicle for the man to showcase his divine badassery yet again. The film, according to Washington in an interview with USA Today, is only really related to it’s television predecessor through name only; that’s where the similarities end and the bloodshed begins. “The title doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s the material,” Washington said. “It’s a classic story, the innocent girl and the guy coming in to save the day and kick some butt. You’ll get some popcorn and escape for a couple of hours.” The trailer lays it out nicely. Washington’s character is a sweet, normal man working retail who just so happens to have led a past life as a government operative. When he crosses paths with a troubled, but innocent young woman (Chloe Moretz) who’s abducted and brutalized by thugs, he morphs back into his former self to come to her rescue. He may have assured Moretz that there aren’t many knights left  in the world, but he’s doing his best to take back what he said. It’s just unfortunate that the men […]

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Man on Fire Movie

It was inevitable. We had been getting along too well. But here finally in our ninth episode of Junkfood Cinema, a line in the sand has been drawn. Cargill and I engage in a comparative examination of both versions of Man on Fire. That’s right, Tony Scott‘s gritty revenge vehicle for Denzel Washington was in fact a remake. But whereas I fancy the original with Scott Glenn in the Creasy role, Cargill is more partial to the remake. Truth be told, this wasn’t much of a shootout. We both have elements of each iteration of Man on Fire that we adore, but that doesn’t stop us from taking these two versions apart piece by piece. PIECE BY PIECE! Deciding which version you prefer is between you and these films, but it’s our job to arrange the meeting, and we’re all out of bubble gum. You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #9 Directly

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review 2 guns

You’d be forgiven for walking into 2 Guns with modest expectations of it being little more than a passable buddy action/comedy. After all, this hasn’t exactly been a banner year for the sub-genre thanks to recent releases like R.I.P.D. and The Lone Ranger stinking up the movie houses, and beyond Paul Feig’s The Heat you’d be hard pressed to name an example that was even pretty good. But regardless of how you enter 2 Guns you’ll be walking out with a big goddamn smile on your face because this is one of the most consistently entertaining buddy cop movies in years. Bobby (Denzel Washington) is an undercover DEA agent paired up with an undercover Navy officer named Stig (Mark Wahlberg), and they’re both working against the clock to take down a murderous Mexican drug lord. Their plan hits a few snags though, chief among them the fact that both men think the other is actually a criminal, but vying for that top position is a robbery that sees the duo on the hook for over forty million dollars in dirty money. Disowned by their respective agencies and on the run from both the good guys and the bad guys, Bobby and Stig are forced to work together if they want to make it out of this mess alive. Look, I didn’t say it was all that original, but that doesn’t stop it from being a hell of a lot of fun.

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2-guns

The first trailer released for director Baltasar Kormákur’s (Contraband) upcoming buddy cop actioner, 2 Guns, was one of those trailers you might have been better off not watching. It was a full three minutes of footage, it laid the film’s plot out linearly, basically from beginning to end, and for most people that’s probably enough to get into “spoiling the movie” territory. For people who generally like to preserve the newness of their theater going experience and were too cautious to delve into that first ad, the new red band trailer released for the film might offer up an acceptable alternative, however. This new collection of footage doesn’t say much about the story at all, and it’s such a context-free mishmash of loud noises and macho posturing that it’s unlikely to do anything other than whet your appetite and let you know that the film stars Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, and Paula Patton’s underwear.

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Iron Man Extended Look

Today in life imitating art news, Robert Downey Jr. is one step closer to becoming an actual genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist. Forbes has released their annual list of Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actors, and the Iron Man star comes in at a firm number one, having made $75m between June 2012 and June 2013. There is no contesting that Downey Jr. is box office gold. He has starred in six films that have all grossed over $500m, and The Avengers and Iron Man 3 both earned over $1b during their runs. The Avengers, the third-highest grossing movie of all time, featured Downey Jr. once more in his beloved Tony Stark role – and it’s easy to argue that he stole many a scene throughout the blockbuster.

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gibson

What is Casting Couch? It’s the news column that answers important questions like, what’s next for Denzel Washington? Which two Community cast members are going to do film work together? And how is that kid from Mud doing finding another job? You may had thought you’d seen the last of Mel Gibson, but a handful of public meltdowns can’t kill a career that had reached the heights of his, they can only cool it off for a few years. Is the public ready to dip their toes back into the Gibson waters to see if they’re still feeling manic and racist? That’s what Sylvester Stallone may soon find out, because Showbiz411 is claiming to have a source close to the matters that says Gibson has been hired to play the villain in The Expendables 3. It’s a rumor, but one they seem pretty confident of. If it does prove to be true, are you willing to give such a vital actor a shot at a second chance? Or does antisemitism and demanding blow jobs from everyone in a ten block radius earn someone a lifetime black mark in your book?

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trailer 2 guns

Hey everyone… we’re finally getting a new buddy cop movie! Kind of. The genre was an industry unto itself throughout the ’80s and into the ’90s, but somewhere along the line Hollywood stopped producing them. Or they at least stopped producing good ones. (I’m looking at you Cop Out.) The drought may be ending this summer though as we’re getting two high profile buddy cop flicks. First up is the Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy comedy The Heat on June 28th, and then in early August things kick in to high gear with 2 Guns. The Baltasar Kormákur-directed film stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as good guys playing bad guys who don’t know that the other is actually a good guy too. Crazy! An assignment goes awry, and the two are forced to work together to bring down the real bad guy. Explosions and insults ensue. Check out the first trailer for 2 Guns below, but be warned… it’s the entire movie in three minutes.

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Washington and Fuqua

There has already been a tremendous amount of back and forth when it comes to finding a director who will stick with the Denzel Washington-starring The Equalizer adaptation, as both Nicolas Winding Refn (who seemed like a particularly inspired pick) and Rupert Wyatt have backed out on the project, even with a highly bankable star like Washington locked to lead. Now Deadline Hollywood reports that Olympus Has Fallen and Training Day director Antoine Fuqua is in “early talks” to helm the film, which would re-team him with his Training Day star (and Oscar winner) Washington. The outlet reports that the pair have wanted to work together since their success and that The Equalizer is viewed as a proper project for the two to reteam on. Deadline also reports on some of the changes made to the film from the original TV series, sharing that it has been “tailored to Washington’s skills. He’ll play a solitary, monastic figure who hates injustice and devotes himself to helping people who are being victimized.” If The Equalizer can actually hold on to a director, it will likely start filming in Boston later this spring.

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Rupert Wyatt

Briefly: Despite reportedly being in talks with Sony to helm their long-gestating The Equalizer feature, director Rupert Wyatt will not take on the project, which still has Denzel Washington set to star. Deadline Hollywood reports that scheduling conflicts have kept Wyatt from the project, though the outlet also vows that the studio “will lock in a helmer shortly.” Stay tuned.

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news_denzel washington

The Equalizer was originally one of those cheesy action shows from the ’80s: think MacGyver or The A-Team. It starred Edward Woodward as an ex-CIA operative who had quit the company and was living out his retirement as a sort of pro bono operative for hire who would find people in need of help by posting a classified ad in the paper that read, “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer. 212-555-4200.” Seeing as this show is a fairly cheesy thing from the ’80s that very few people actually remember, of course Hollywood wants to bring it back as a big screen adaptation. The only problem is, Sony has been working to put the project together, and they’ve been having some trouble finding a director. According to a new report from Heat Vision, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn was originally attached to helm the film, but he eventually dropped off of the project after butting heads with its attached star, Denzel Washington. Apparently getting an acting nomination for Flight must have Washington riding high, because you’d think the guy would realize that his career has been less than stellar lately and maybe allowing a hot director like Refn to come on board one of his projects and do his thing would be a smart move. All of this spilt milk might not matter though, because the new news is that, after going through a short list of directors over the past few weeks, Sony has decided that they […]

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Best Actor

It’s an honor to just be nominated, right? You hear that politely said every year, even though you know it’s total hogwash for the four silver medallist of Oscar season. In reality, it’s not just an honor to be nominated; it’s quite easily a shot of go-go juice to an actor’s career. However, when the field of Best Actor nominees is populated almost entirely with people who have won before, it becomes an academic exercise. Best Actor is a category reserved (mostly) for seasoned actors who have been around the block a few times. There are occasional dark horses who come on strong, but the first-time nominees and those breaking out of genre roles usually show up in the Best Supporting Actor category. Yet every year, there seems to be one or two races in the Big Six that appear to be a lock. This year, we see that run in the Best Actor category, even though all of the nominees did fine work. It’s a popularity contest, to be sure, but it’s also an oft-accurate gauge of the best performance out there. (Because, let’s face it, if it were just a popularity category, where the hell is George Clooney this year?) Read on for the nominations and my predicted winner in red…

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Nicolas Winding Refn

Looks like fans of 1980’s crime television series The Equalizer, Denzel Washington, and Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn are going to have to recalibrate their expectations, as the helmer has just dropped out of the Washington-starring feature adaptation of the show. Collider exclusively reports that “the deal fell apart at the last minute due to unknown reasons,” though it seems fair to suspect that scheduling could be an issue – Sony still wants to shoot the film in May, and Refn will surely be busy promoting his Only God Forgives around that time (the film opens on May 23) and gearing up for both his Logan’s Run remake and Button Man adaptation. Washington signed up for the part way back in July, with Refn coming on board just last month. Washington remains attached to the project, and Sony is reportedly looking for a new helmer to get the project in front of cameras this spring. Like the show, the film will focus on Robert McCall (Washington), a retired intelligence agent who dabbles in private eye work, with a special flair for “equalizing” the odds for clients who come to him with complicated problems. The film features a script by Richard Wenk, who is currently working on that Grayskull script and most recently penned The Expendables 2. Wenk also, amusingly enough, co-produced The Girl Next Door and directed one episode of the Sweet Valley High television show back in the ’90s. Suddenly, we’re insanely excited about his Equalizer.

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Flight

Flight has without a doubt the best opening scene of any film in Robert Zemeckis‘ career. Granted, that’s due more to the glorious and fully nude form of Nadine Velazquez walking around a motel room while audiences pretend to be watching Denzel Washington than it is to the director’s myriad skills. Eye candy aside though the scene makes a bold and immediate statement that this is not your niece’s typical candy-ass, motion-captured Zemeckis fluff. Instead, this is going to be a return to form for a talented director rediscovering the dramas, moral complexities and adult themes possible with live-action filmmaking. If only someone had shared the plan with the film’s writer. Whip Whitaker (Washington) wakes after an all-nighter with a naked stewardess beside him, finishes off a beer and a line of coke, gets dressed and heads to work. He’s an airline pilot, and his morning flight is full and ready for takeoff. A possible mechanical failure causes a loss of control shortly after they leave the tarmac, but Whitaker’s quick thinking leads to an extraordinary maneuver and a controlled crash landing that results in minimum casualties. He’s immediately hailed as a hero, but when a routine investigation threatens to reveal the condition he was in while flying and send him to jail for life he discovers this is one impending crash he may not be able to control.

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For anyone who has been clamoring for Robert Zemeckis‘s return to live-action, Flight should appease those fans of the director who haven’t embraced his recent motion-capture adventures. This isn’t exactly a triumphant comeback, but with Flight he mostly knows what buttons to push in order to please. It’s a true testament to Denzel Washington‘s performance that the blunt drama doesn’t fall on its face. Washington has major obstacles to overcome in making the character of Whip Whitaker as empathetic as he is. From frame one, Zemeckis and screenwriter John Gatins unflatteringly show us who this guy is: a bad father, an alcoholic, a coke addict. There is nothing to admire about him, not even his surface level charms, which are best showcased in scenes between Washington and John Goodman.

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Adapting “classic” TV shows into big screen features is a risky venture that more often than not results in disappointment. But this year’s critical and box-office hit redo of 21 Jump Street shows that it can work if the right people are involved (as opposed to say, the folks behind Dark Shadows). The Equalizer was a cool CBS show from the ’80s about an ex-secret agent who now used his very particular set of skills to help those in need. Unless they’re illiterate. Because the only way to reach him is by answering the want ad he places in NYC newspapers. Edward Woodward played the title character, Robert McCall, and for four seasons he took out the trash with style, grace, and a stainless steel Walther PPK pistol. Per Deadline Wherever (via Cinema Blend), Denzel Washington has officially signed on for the big screen adaptation of the series. The hope is this will be the beginning of a new franchise, the first for Washington (unless you count Deja Vu and the upcoming sequel Deja Vu Again). The details from the series will be altered, but the gist of the story, an ex-agent who uses his deadly skills to protect strangers, remains the same. Production is slated to begin next April.

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A long, long, loooong time ago, director Robert Zemeckis made live-action films – and good ones, too! Stuff like Back to the Future and Back to the Future Part II and Romancing the Stone and Contact and a whole mess of others (you can even count Who Framed Roger Rabbit, if you want), but he jettisoned that entire portion of his career to pursue performance capture technology. Which is why we have films like The Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol – the motion capture stuff of your Uncanny Valley nightmares. But Zemeckis has finally returned to live-action films (rejoice, those of you who hate motion capture as much as I do) with the Denzel Washington-starring Flight. With shades of the real-life “Miracle on the Hudson” story, the mystery thriller sees Washington starring as Whip Whitaker, “a seasoned airline pilot who miraculously crash-lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault, and what really happened on that plane?” This first trailer won’t tell you the answer to that, but it might make you want to find out for yourself.

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published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C
published: 11.18.2014
B+
published: 11.14.2014
B+


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