The Equalizer 2. I hope they just quietly let this franchise slip into obsolescence. Too much going on here plot-wise, and this edition of McCall seems to have a haranguing Cosby-esque vibe where the first one had more charm. I think the highlight for me was seeing Donald Cerrone’s bit part.
Prisoners. The older I get, torture scenes in movies are just more and more unbearable. I fear we still haven’t appreciated Hugh Jackman enough. Nerdy Terrence Howard is a treat! Gyllenhaal’s character is so weird and I love that they don’t delve into it. much He just is.
The Equalizer. Second viewing (the first). I wish there were a prequel about Marton Csokas’ character.
The Equalizer. Average, with a few bright points here and there. I love the diner scenes. They build Denzel’s character as the precise, exacting, confident type, but I like the hints of compulsive behavior beyond that. Not just the careful folding of the kitchen towel, or the tea ritual, or the perfectly crisp button-ups, tucked in. There’s the opening and closing the door, flicking the lights on and off, maybe even the car window opening and closing, rearranging the skulls. Nice little wrinkle.
Visually its a mess. It reminded me of the colorfully shifty, dizzying jumps and zooms that Tony Scott used in Man on Fire, except without the thoughtfulness and consistency with mood. Also weakly similar to that movie: there is an art to “walking away slowly from an explosion” scenes, and you have to earn it. You can’t just shove one in the middle of the movie.
I enjoyed the fight scenes. But have to mention something that drove me crazy: the Sherlock Holmes-ian superpower thing in the office brawl. I’m talking about the thing where time is paused or slowed for a moment, where we get to see how the hero analyzes and calculates all the situational details before getting in a rumble – who is where, what weapons they have, the layout of the room. I don’t mind this sort of movie cliché, or this way of making the hero look awesome. That’s fine. What made it frustrating was that the movie had already shown us those details. I assume it was done to heighten the tension beforehand. But it’s draining to show a guy sitting ready with a knife, and then show us Denzel noticing the guy has a knife. I love that stopwatch, though.
All that said: whatever Denzel has, I want it. He’s got charm coming out the ears. And Marton Csokas is awesome.
Oblivion. If you have seen and enjoyed a science fiction movie, you will probably find something to like here, where they’re all mixed and mashed into a movie that’s far from perfect, but more than good enough. Easy to find plotlines and moods from movies like Moon, Solaris, the new Solaris, 2001, The Matrix, WALL·E, Star Wars, Star Trek. (I particularly like the space-captain-retiring-to-California parallels with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Generations). I would have been okay with more time exploring the love/memory/identity stuff and less generic action, but no biggie. Outside of the plot, a few areas I was impressed by: camerawork with a smart sense of space and geography; world/technology design and general gorgeousness; and a good soundtrack by M83, et al.