1) THE EQUALIZER (R)
In the popular 1980s TV series "The Equalizer," British actor Edward Woodward played a retired secret agent who spent his golden years meting out brutal punishment on a variety of nasty criminals. The show tapped into the same vicarious vigilante bloodlust that viewers experienced from Charles Bronson's "Death Wish" movies.
There's probably not a better choice for the movie reboot than Denzel Washington. He adds a layer of gritty, steely assurance to the role of a good guy pushed reluctantly into action by sleazy Russian gangsters. Chloe Grace Moretz plays an abused teenage hooker who Denzel tries to save.
Director Antoine Fuqua, who steered Washington to his Oscar-winning performance in "Training Day," ratchets up the violence to a level than can only be described as sadistic. Although the movie begins well, it becomes increasingly absurd and repetitive as it goes along, degenerating into a series of brutally familiar scenes.
Still, Washington is money...and the movie delivers the goods for action fans. I just wish that Washington would find material more worthy of his talents.
Shawn says, "Denzel Washington reconnects with his "Training Day" persona and director for a nihilistic thriller that offers very little in the redemption department but everything in the 'violence-as-entertaining-sport' department."
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags
2) THE BOXTROLLS (PG)
"The Boxtrolls" is a stop-motion animated offering about a family of bizarre creatures raised by an orphan boy. Ben Kingsley, Tony Collette and Elle Fanning provide the voices. I didn't get a chance to screen it, but Shawn says:
"It's a skillfully created artsy animated feature that's too sophisticated for young kids and not nearly interesting enough for adults. Can't deny the craftsmanship...but completely uninteresting."
SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bag
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