Thursday, October 2, 2014
Rapid Reviews: The Equalizer and This Is Where I Leave You
The anticipated collaboration between Training Day director, Antoine Fuqua, and actor Denzel Washington, who received an Oscar Nomination for his role as a crooked cop, has opened to some impressive box office numbers and wavering reviews. Yet, The Equalizer is a far cry from the earlier success the tag-team attained over a decade ago.
While Training Day exemplified clever writing, gritty performances and a perfect up-tempo pacing, The Equalizer struggles in each of these important areas. Denzel is in usual form, but nothing spectacular. And as a result, the rest of the feature's flimsy components fail to sustain a winning effort. Outstretched to a fault and including the unforgivable trait of having events transpire conveniently for the plot's sake, The Equalizer unravels in a disappointing manner.
Perhaps elevated expectations enhance my dissatisfaction, but the fact remains that The Equalizer misuses its elements of action and suffers from severe pacing issues. If you're seeking out a worthwhile trip to your local movie theatre, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.
Stars: 2 stars out of 4
Another film currently out in theatres is the Tina Fey and Jason Bateman dramedy, This Is Where I Leave You. The film proves to be a letdown on multiple levels. While it struggles to scrape by on it's humor, the jokes are few and far between. Even when the movie swindles a laugh out of you, it's never very sustained.
Rather than deliver a high volume of comedy, screenwriter and author Jonathan Trooper attempts to lure the audience with dramatics, all of which feel insincere and misplaced. Unlike some other recent Saturday Night Live alumni who have tackled serious acting with natural ease (i.e. Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader in The Skeleton Twins), Tina Fey has proven to be a bit out of her league. I will always appreciate her knack for perfectly timed humor, yet every storyline involving Fey's character is flimsy and ineffective.
Then there's Jason Bateman. I've been an admittedly harsh critique of his in the past, however, I found an reasonable amount of appreciation in this role. But despite my affinity for Bateman's performance, a prolonged ending and over-dramatized vibe prove to be the overriding factors.
Stars: 2 stars out of 4