‘The Equalizer’ Review

The Equalizer - 2014

Every few years, we’re treated to the perfect marriage of utterly generic material—usually in the guise of a revenge-style vigilante flick, sometimes with a twist or two thrown in—with a great, Oscar-caliber actor. The best example in recent years is Taken, of course, but The Brave One and Jack Reacher also fit comfortably into this category. The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington, is firmly rooted in this tradition and the flick delivers exactly what its ad campaign has promised: Denzel stoically, unstoppably kicking butt for the betterment of all mankind.

‘Tusk’ Review

Kevin Smith / AP

A few years back, Kevin Smith threw what can only be described as a snit fit regarding the critical reaction to Cop Out (2010). A rather dreadful, wholly generic, and utterly unfunny buddy “comedy” starring Bruce Willis (who reportedly walked all over Smith on set and mailed in his performance) and Tracy Morgan, critics savaged Cop Out.

‘The Drop’ Review

Tom Hardy and the dog Rocco / AP

It’s the simplest things that remind you of film’s primacy as a visual medium, things that simply don’t translate well to the written word: images of leaves of grass blowing in the wind, a subtle shift in lighting that darkens or brightens a mood. We feel these moments more than we actually notice them, letting the beauty or the dread sink into our gut as the images wash over our eyes.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Review

Guardians of the Galaxy - Feb 2014

“Awesome Mix Vol. 1” is the label on the cassette playing in Peter Quill’s Walkman when a giant space ship abducts him. The tape, a gift to the eight-or-so-year-old boy from his dying mother, is a collection of, well, awesome songs from the 1970s. They’re not the best ditties—pop FM staples such as “Hooked on a Feeling” and “O-O-H Child” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”—but they are all infectious, energy-filled trifles.