THE EQUALIZER || September 26th, 2014

TheBoxTrolls-poster Stop animation is definitely not my favorite form of animation. Obviously it is a huge undertaking and shows real talent when done effectively, but the moment I saw “The Boxtrolls” teaser over two years ago, I could tell I would not be entirely pumped about seeing it. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” which is also stop animation, happens to be one of my all-time favorite films but there is something about that and these Laika Production Company films (“ParaNorman”, “Coraline”) that are just somewhat creepy and do not beg to be seen. Somewhere between child’s nightmare and adult content, this is a perfect film for Halloween time and perhaps that what will be what gets me to see it.
50% PROBABLY
TheEqualizer-poster Denzel Washington can do no wrong. Teaming once again with director Antoine Fuqua, who helped bring Denzel to an Oscar for “Training Day”, the pair tackle the ’80s television series of the same title. With a mysterious past, this hardware store worker is anything but and when he gets close with Chloe Moretz and she is found beaten, he sets out to take down everyone involved. His fighting style sets the film apart from other revenge flicks, offering the bullet time attack sequences. Denzel carries this film above the retread line and delivers a great action flick that could bring about his first ever sequel.

AdvancedStyle-poster Taking a look at the older side of style and fashion, “Advanced Style” brings together street style photographer Ari Seth Cohen and director Lina Plioplyte to profile these aging women whose confidence and bravado have brought to them fame and fortune in an industry obsessed with the young and sexy. Any documentary that can empower women, especially aging women, is a welcomed feat and the trailer for this film brings a smile to my face, knowing that these women are not giving up and are getting the most out of life.
PASS
BelieveMe-poster Set to The Raconteurs “Salute Your Solution”, the trailer for “Believe Me” is as convincing as its main character is trying to me. Losing his scholarships in his last year of law school and falling heavily in debt, Sam gathers his three best friends and sets out to produce a fake charity and travel from stage to stage to preach a religious message that is just as fake. The con eventually involves Nick Offerman as a college worker, Christopher McDonald and Johanna Braddy, who back them, and Zachary Knighton (“Happy Endings”, as a fellow religious aficionado. The production quality is great, the humor is on display, and this music is a huge selling point.
25% MAYBE
DaysAndNights-poster Set over a Memorial Day weekend in the ’80s, a family comes together filled with a star studded cast including Katie Holmes, Ben Winshaw, Allison Janney, Jean Reno, and William Hurt, all of which look in top form. Discussing love and all that comes with it, this film is based on Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull”, a Russian play from the ’80s. “Days And Nights” is Christian Camargo’s directorial debut. Camargo is best known from his role as Brian Moser in the first season of “Dexter”.
25% MAYBE
FieldOfLostShoes-poster Set during the American Civil War, “Field Of Lost Shoes” is a period drama based on the true story of the Battle of New Market over the Shenandoah Valley. A group of teenage cadets previously shielded from the horrors of the war are called upon to defend the valley and even though some of the boys do not agree with what they are fighting for, they go along anyway. What took be aback during the trailer was that David Arquette, plays one of the generals barking out orders, seen briefly telling his men to fire. Sadly, this pales in comparison to fellow Civil War films and adds little to what we have already experienced regarding the subject matter.
PASS
GoodPeople-poster In James Franco’s weekly cinematic endeavor, this time only starring, “Good People” sees him struggling financially alongside his wife, played by Kate Hudson. When they find their downstairs neighbor dead and come across a bag full of money just by chance, they run the gambit of using the money to their advantage and getting away clean. But with Tom Wilkinson as a detective sniffing around the scene and bad guy Omar Sy (“The Intouchables”) looking for his money, Franco and Hudson are anything but safe. Despite this having a well-trodden storyline, the cast is competent enough to make this feel fresh.
THEATER
Hollidaysburg-poster Based on the same script as “Not Cool” and involved in the same contest show on Starz called “The Chair,” this romantic comedy has a much different tone than its sister film, this one titled “Hollidaysburg”. Also about a young woman returning home for the holidays during her first year of college, reconnecting with people from high school leads to some humorous moments. Smartly using a killer dramatic song like Radical Face’s “Welcome Home, Son”, this is another great example of expert marketing through strong imagery matched with the perfect song.
25% MAYBE
JackAndTheCuckooClockHeart-poster Not quite as creepy as Leika’s animated films, “Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is definitely almost there with a clunkier style of digital animationq. About a young boy with a clock where his heart should be, Jack is told to never fall in love which of course means that will draw the main conflict of the film. Meeting the most amazing girl, his competition falls in the evil eye patched young man who vies for her affection as well. “Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is the type of animated film I will pass on now but I feel could actually come into play when the Oscars roll around.
PASS
JimiAllIsByMySide-poster Taking a look at a year out of the life of Jimi Hendrix, “Jimi: All Is By My Side” follows Jimi through 1966-67, playing backup guitar and having not quite broken out in the music scene. Written and directed by Oscar-winning John Ridley (“12 Years A Slave”) the best choice Ridley made was casting OutKast’s André Benjamin as the iconic guitarist. Also starring the gorgeous Hayley Atwell and Imogen Poots, this is one of the very first portrayals of the legend in film and with an bright young cast and some amazing writing this could be a very memorable jaunt in the musician’s life as well.
50% PROBABLY
LastHijack-poster Blending live action and animation, “Last Hijack” delves into the world of Somali pirates. Although the subject matter feels like actual events and could possibly be part documentary as well, for the most part I would guess this is fictional as one man decides to go on one last mission to make enough money to support his family. Ever since “Captain Phillips” and even the actual story in the news, Hollywood and independent filmmakers alike have been fixated on this topic and with another film titled “Fishing Without Nets”, there is no telling when this story will dry up.
PASS
Lilting-poster In the second of two films starring Ben Winshaw this weekend (“Days And Nights” being the other), “Lilting sees him meeting with a Cambodian-Chinese mother mourning the loss of her son. The catch is, that woman’s son was also Winshaw’s lover and despite the language barrier between them, they use a translator to help find some common ground. With both dealing with a loss but the mother dealing with this sudden revelation, you can imagine the emotional roller coaster this film could be. Despite having complete faith in Winshaw, this sounds better on paper and feels a bit thin as far feature films go.
PASS
MasNegroQueLaNoche-poster In horror films, when you are given specific instructions like read this note before entering the scary looking house or take care of your creepy dead aunt’s black cat, you frigging follow those instructions. Because when you fail to, the worst possible things happen. In the case of Spanish horror film “Mas Negro Que La Noche” or “Darker Than Night”, that creepy dead aunt has left a giant mansion to her gorgeous niece. But when one of her parties in the old mansion gets out of control, the prized cat is found dead and all hell breaks lose. How hard is it to keep a cat alive?
25% MAYBE
AMatterOfFaith-poster Someone sure saw the movie “God’s Not Dead”. Although I did not, the trailer for that film and this new religious film “A Matter Of Faith” almost exactly the same. This time instead of a college student getting up in arms about religious matters, a college student’s father gets bent out of shape when one of his daughter’s professors teaches about evolutionism and not creationism. The problem I have when it comes to religion is people pushing their agenda on other people and that is exactly what this feels like and from my point of view, only makes that stereotype worse, harming the religious community more than helping.
PASS
NotCool-poster An entry into the Starz contest show “The Chair” YouTube sensation Shane Dawson directs this film titled “Not Cool” which was based on the same script that fellow release this week “Hollidaysburg” was based on. As college kids return home for the holidays, one formerly unpopular girl and the jock that never left his hometown spend a crazy time together, whether its completing a bucket list including taking a dump on an ex-girlfriends lawn or stealing a watermelon as they pretend to be a pregnant couple, only to fall and smash the watermelon, making it look like it kills the baby, this is a raunchy comedy in the same vein as “American Pie”.
25% MAYBE
ParisManhattan-poster “Paris-Manhattan” focuses around its main character, Alice, who, for lack of a better term, is obsessed with Woody Allen and his films. Constantly being pimped out by her family, she looks for love and when she finds it, it is taken away by her sister of all people. Now struggling with the idea of love, she messily finds her way into a romantic comedy scenario with another man that she is not necessarily attracted to. All of this is fine and well, but looking deeper into the film and seeing that Woody Allen actually stars in this film is quite the achievement, and almost, and i must emphasis almost, makes this a film worth seeing.
PASS
Plastic-poster Coming off a film like “Pain & Gain” and that unbelievably true story, “Plastic” which is inspired by a similar unfathomable tale takes a group of guys who are great at stealing money and puts them against the big fish. Of course, like any money caper, this team is caught and threatened, and in seeing what their loves could be as rich men, they double down. Starring Ed Speleers (“Downton Abbey”), Will Poulter (“The Maze Runner”), and Alfie Allen (“Game Of Thrones”), sadly this film feels too much like better films that have come before it.
PASS
Pride-poster In the summer of 1984, a mining strike in Wales put an entire community in a stressful, financial position. Seeing the news story and wanting to help, a group of gay and lesbian activists take it upon themselves to raise money for the miner’s families to support the union and their continued strike. The clash between the small-town miners and the gay and lesbian activists did not necessarily go over well and that is where “Pride” conjures most of its conflict and a lot of its comedy, as the clashing of these groups produces understanding on one hand while others push them away, believing them to have arterial motives. Starring Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, and  Imelda Staunton (“Harry Potter”), there is plenty of star power but the story itself feels entirely too familiar.
PASS
PrintTheLegend-poster As Netflix successfully continues to produce documentaries, “Print The Legend” looks like a solid and in-depth look at the world of 3D printing. Not only showing exactly what it is and where it came from and the level it has reached already in our lifetime, it also provides what every well-rounded documentary should include and that is the controversial side of the medium as well. Most people have heard about 3D printing because of the ability to print lethal guns with them and although innovations have come from this technology that allow for affordable limb replacements, the most press the tech gets is from the deaths the guns have caused. Do not be surprised if this is just the first of many more documentaries involving the 3D printer.
PASS
RunLikeHell-poster The middle of nowhere is never short of crazy homicidal maniacs and in “Run Like Hell” we get to meet even more. “Hostel” meets “The Hills Have Eyes,” a group of young adults stop to see some sights in the middle of the desert and when someone takes off with their car, they are stranded, left to find help from a small community filled with creeps. The blood starts to pour and in the trailer, we even get a glimpse at a man that calls himself the devil. The problem I see facing this film is that it takes place in the bright light of day. Nothing is less scary than turning a bright shining light on a dark and scary situation.
PASS
TheSong-poster Just recently Hollywood found out that they could tap into the religious community with films about faith and empowered Christians struggling with every day battles. “The Song” is another film in that vein, this time based on a Bible version titled “The Song of Solomon”. About a guitarist who marries his sweetheart and goes off to become a huge musician and faces struggles like fidelity and reaching too high, the problem I end having with these films are their heavy-handedness and watered down nature that makes the religious quality of the film stick out like a sore thumb.
PASS
TheTwoFacesOfJanuary-poster From the author of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” Patricia Highsmith and written by Hossein Amini who also wrote “Drive” and who also makes his directorial debut, “The Two Faces Of January” is filled with a brilliant crew from the get go. Add to that an amazing cast of Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac and you have yourself a strong first film right of the gate. Set in the ’60s, Mortensen and Dunst find themselves visiting Greece where they meet con artist turned tour guide Isaac. When Mortensen is involved with a murder at the hotel they are staying at, all three are put on the run, placing their new found friendship and possible romance to the test.
THEATER
TwoNightStand-poster Miles Teller is definitely making his romantic comedy rounds, with “The Spectacular Now”, the ensemble piece “That Awkward Moments” and now “Two Night Stand”, where a one night stand turns into more as he and the gorgeous Analeigh Tipton get stuck in an apartment building due to a snow storm. Having not really gotten along prior to finding out they were stuck, this becomes a worst case scenario that they attempt to stomach through. Also starring the up and coming Scott Mescudi (“Goodbye World”, “Need For Speed”), there is enough young star power to make this film look different while still hanging on to that normal romantic comedy feel.
50% PROBABLY

THEATER

  • The Equalizer
  • Good People
  • The Two Faces Of January

RENTAL

MOST LIKELY CATCH ON NETFLIX (75%)

PROBABLY CATCH ON NETFLIX (50%)

  • The Boxtrolls
  • Jimi: All Is By My Side
  • Two Night Stand

MIGHT CATCH ON NETFLIX (25%)

  • Believe Me
  • Days And Nights
  • Hollidaysburg
  • Mas Negro Que La Noche
  • Not Cool

PASS

  • Advanced Style
  • Field Of Lost Shoes
  • Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart
  • Last Hijack
  • Lilting
  • A Matter Of Faith
  • Paris-Manhattan
  • Plastic
  • Pride
  • Print The Legend
  • Run Like Hell
  • The Song

HELL NO

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