Browse Month: October 2016

RECAP: The Equalizer

The Equalizer (2014): Antoine Fuqua

Denzel Washington has spent much of his career being America’s sexiest man, charming all moviegoers with his million-dollar smile and 2.3 billion-dollar worldwide box office handsomeness.

In the current century he’s discovered a new talent: ass kicking. With Man on Fire, The Book of Eli, and 2 Guns, Denzel’s occupied a niche quickly expanding in Hollywood: old guys killing people.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Loner badass Bob McCall right wrongs across Boston, sells lumber in spare time.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Huntsman: Winter’s War

The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016): Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Following the 2012 release of Snow White and the Huntsman, Universal chose to expand on this fairy tale. They cut out Snow White and kept The Huntsman.

Like the 2012 source material, Chris Hemsworth plays the titular huntsman, and like the 2012 source material, he supports a cast of warrior queens and princesses. Charlize Theron is back, joined by Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain, making Winter’s War one of 2016’s sexiest casts.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A queen betrayed by a lover turns her entire world to ice, kidnaps its children, and raises them into an army  Continue Reading

RECAP: Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher (2012): Christopher McQuarrie

Lee Child’s novel One Shot served as the source material for Jack Reacher. Four years on, I can’t decide which title is better.

“One Shot” is practically meaningless, the least sexy title in recent memory. On the other hand, “Jack Reacher” is…quite a name. Better to be weird than boring.

Jack Reacher limped into theaters and strode out with more than $200 million global box office. That’s money that Tom Cruise gets you.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An off-the-grid ex-military cop investigates the alleged murder of five Pittsburgh citizens by a former Army sniper.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Hardcore Henry

Hardcore Henry (2015): Ilya Naishuller

The video game industry has spent the last decade making its games more cinematic. It follows that the film industry would return the favor.

Hardcore Henry is a film shot entirely in first person, using GoPro cameras attached to stunt actors’ heads, with limited editing, to show us the violent route of a cyborg lover to rescue his wife.

The film was released in 2015 in Russia and 2016 in the US.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Henry, newly raised from the dead and part robot, fights through Moscow to reach Akan, the man who kidnapped his wife, Estelle. Continue Reading

RECAP: The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The Magnificent Seven (1960): John Sturgis

Hollywood has remade so many films in its century-plus of moviemaking that it can be forgiven remaking remakes. Ideas might cost nothing, but filming those ideas is expensive.

Widely regarded (by Americans, anyway) as Japan’s finest film, John Sturgis remade The Seven Samurai as The Magnifcent Seven. America and Mexico never had samurai, so Sturgis and company threw in the best New World equivalents: gunslingers.

And the stars lined up in droves. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn all feature. Clint Eastwood was busy that year, perhaps. The septumvirate helps elevate the film into one of the gold standards of Westerns.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Seven magnificent hired guns help save a Mexican village from perennial food thieves.  Continue Reading