Film Review – THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 (2009)

Image result for the taking of pelham 123 blu-rayTaking of Pelham 123, The (2009; USA/UK; DeLuxe; 106m) ∗∗½  d. Tony Scott; w. Brian Helgeland; ph. Tobias A. Schliessler; m. Harry Gregson-Williams.  Cast: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Michael Rispoli, James Gandolfini, Victor Gojcaj, Ramon Rodriguez, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, John Benjamin Hickey, Alex Kaluzhsky, Gary Basaraba, Katherine Sigismund, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Jake Richard Siciliano. Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day’s work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime. Scott’s dizzying visuals and frantic editing sucks the tension from this inferior remake that lacks the sardonic wit of the original. Washington, as usual, adds class, whilst Travolta over reaches as the chief villain. Based on the novel by John Godey. Previously filmed in 1974 and 1998 (for TV). [15]

Film Review – UNSTOPPABLE (2010)

Image result for unstoppable 2010 blu-rayUnstoppable (2010; USA; DeLuxe; 98m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Tony Scott; w. Mark Bomback; ph. Ben Seresin; m. Harry Gregson-Williams.  Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suples, Kevin Dunn, Kevin Corrigan, Lew Temple, T.J. Miller, Kevin Chapman, Jessy Schram, David Warshofskyt, Andy Umberger, Elizabeth Mathis, Meagan Tandy, Dylan Bruce. With an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train barrelling toward a city, a veteran engineer and a young conductor race against the clock to prevent a catastrophe. Fast-paced, crowd-pleasing thrill ride. Washington and Pine make for a great combination as unlikely heroes. Superbly directed and edited it makes the most of its popcorn script.  The film was loosely based on the real-life CSX 8888 incident in the U.S. state of Ohio in 2001. Unfortunately, the film was Scott’s final one before his death in 2012. [12]

Film Review – SAFE HOUSE (2012)

Safe House (2012; USA/South Africa/Japan; Colour; 115m) ∗∗∗  d. Daniel Espinosa; w. David Guggenheim; ph. Oliver Wood; m. Ramin Djawadi.  Cast: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Rubén Blades, Nora Arnezeder, Robert Patrick, Liam Cunningham, Joel Kinnaman, Fares Fares. A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge. Washington and Reynolds are main assets of otherwise routine espionage action thriller. The action scenes lose tension due to haphazard nature of the editing and the script lacks depth in characterisation and plot. [15]

Film Review – FLIGHT (2012)

Flight (2012; USA; DeLuxe; 138m) ∗∗∗½  d. Robert Zemeckis; w. John Gatins; ph. Don Burgess; m. Alan Silvestri.  Cast: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, Nadine Velazquez, Bruce Greenwood, Melissa Leo, James Badge Dale, Tamara Tunie, Brian Geraghty, Garcelle Beauvais, Michael Beasley, Rhoda Griffis, E. Roger Mitchell, Dylan Kussman. An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling. Intense study of a man’s denial of his alcohol and substance abuse and self-destructive tendencies. The film often glosses over the more extreme struggles of the addicted, but Washington is superb as the hero pilot with a secret to hide. [15]

Film Review Round-up – THE EQUALIZER (2014); CALVARY (2014) and MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (2014)

51oyKeg-TOL._SY300_Equalizer, The (2014; USA; DeLuxe; 131m) ∗∗∗  d. Antoine Fuqua; w. Richard Wenk; ph. Mauro Fiore; m. Harry Gregson-Williams; ed. John Refoua.  Cast: Denzel Washington, Chloë Grace Moretz, Melissa Leo, Haley Bennett, Marton Csokas, Dan Bilzerian, Bill Pullman, Vladimir Kulich, Johnny Messner, Robert Wahlberg, David Harbour, Meredith Prunty, Chanty Sok, David Meunier. In this big-screen adaptation of the cult ‘80s TV show, McCall believes he has put his past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by –— he has to help her. Washington adds class to this exceedingly violent crowd-pleaser. Much of the plot stretches credulity, but there are passages that allow characters to breathe too. Fuqua’s intrusively flashy approach to the subject matter occasionally strangles the action set-pieces. Original TV series devised by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim. [15]

51IK9Y74doL._SY300_Calvary (2014; Ireland/UK; Colour; 100m) ∗∗∗  d. John Michael McDonagh; w. John Michael McDonagh; ph. Larry Smith; m. Patrick Cassidy; ed. Chris Gill.  Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Kelly Reilly, Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson, David Wilmot, Dylan Moran, Marie-Josée Croze, Killian Scott, Isaach De Bankolé. After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him. This parable has a sharply observed script and a powerful performance from Gleason with a subject matter that is both thought-provoking and shocking. [15]

51Yj1OhZlLL._SY300_Magic in the Moonlight (2014; USA; DeLuxe; 97m) ∗∗∗  d. Woody Allen; w. Woody Allen; ph. Darius Khondji; ed. Alisa Lepselter.  Cast: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Eileen Atkins, Simon McBurney, Hamish Linklater, Erica Leerhsen, Jeremy Shamos, Antonia Clarke, Natasha Andrews, Valérie Beaulieu, Peter Wollasch, Jürgen Zwingel, Wolfgang Pissors, Sébastien Siroux, Catherine McCormack. Set in the south of France in the 1920s during the glamorous Jazz Age, it’s a romantic comedy about a master magician (Firth) trying to expose a psychic medium (Stone) as a fake. Firth is engaging and Stone charming, but the romantic elements fail to gell in this otherwise light confection that occasionally amuses. [12]