Friday, 24 February 2012
DVD RACK-DENZEL WASHINGTON SPECIAL
This week Ryan Reynolds tries to contain legendary actor Denzel Washington in 'Safe House'. So this weeks 'DVD Rack' looks at some of Denzel's greatest works. Catch his new release review later.
TRAINING DAY: The one that got him the gong. The Academy loved Denzel's crooked take on mentoring young rookie cop Ethan Hawke so much they awarded him with the 'Best Actor' Oscar. This film is one of many that defines Washington's career and is also a great way to start this weeks feature. Especially since he plays a likable villain again in this weeks 'Safe House' with Ryan Reynolds and especially because it is Oscar weekend. This thrilling action-packed chiller takes us around the streets of L.A. and the limits of intimidation. Dark, compelling and truly a classic. This film has everything from a fitting soundtrack to even great acting performances from rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.
PHILADELPHIA: One of the most moving performances from Tom Hanks or any actor ever seen in cinemas. Playing a man battling AIDS and discrimination from the workplace Tom turns up the notch as he puts his heart and body into this work. He deserved every carat of his Oscar for this one. Standing alongside the 'other' top male actor of the nighties (our Denzel) the pair brought magic to the silver screens as Washington took 'Philadelphia's' case and sought liberty. From Bruce Springsteen's epic 'Streets Of Philadelphia' opener around town to Neil Young's deep 'Philadelphia' ending, this is an American classic. Harrowing yet inspirational and moving and real, this really was the genuine article that fought the fight that no one should have to, and still it won.
REMEMBER THE TITANS: A truly inspirational tale, whether you like Football or not. Washington along with Will Paton coaches a High-School team made up of black and white players in the tense and recently desegregated times of the early seventies. With racism still an issue Denzel helps unite a team, a community and its cultures in a profound piece. With thrilling sports scenes and even more emotionally dramatic ones this film is both thought-provoking and feel-good. With then-young T.V. stars Donald Faison ('Scrubs') and Ethan Suplee ('My Name Is Earl') and a youthful and skinny Ryan Gosling (ladies) and an even younger Hayden Panettiere this perfect picture has everything. From the statements made to the feelings that are touched down this movie starts tears and raises hairs. This true story is one of the realest and most genuine movies you'll watch. Truly inspirational.
DEJA VU: Denzel Washington as the good-natured, 'do the right thing', heroic leading man. This week and 'Training Day' aside, haven't we seen this all before? Yes, but it's all so good. In almost everyone of his movies, every year Mr. Washington brings this familiar, favourite character right when where fiending for him. Somehow as well it all feels fresh and new from the rest of the Hollywood fodder. This is because Denzel possess a one in a million, genuine quality and for that he really is the best actor of this generation and possibly the greatest black actor of all-time. This movie is so good it'd be most leading men's best, but with all of Washington's greats it gets lost somehow. That is until you find it out and watch. With Paula Patton and Jim Cavizel this Tony Scott great is another example of another classic director/actor combo.
UNSTOPPABLE: Now here's a runaway movie. Think you've seen it all before? Especially with Denzel? Well you haven't. Washington brings his trademark serious and charming talent to his and Tony Scott's second train related film (See the brilliant, 'Taking Of Pelham 123' remake). What results is a rip roaring, adrenaline fuelled, nail biter of a film, that will have you on the edge of your seat even after a second viewing. Chris Pine is also honestly, brilliant in this movie. As Kirk swaps the captain's chair for the conductors one. Rosario Dawson is also stunning in this picture and to believe that 'Unstoppable' is based on a true story is impossible. The fact remains however that even with all the other big budget blockbusters that year, Scott and Denzel's latest is one of the best.
THE HURRICANE: With so much in Denzel's classic career to choose from where do we start with the rest? Well how about this brilliant biopic (more portrayals coming)? This knocks you out. Denzel's ringside look of the life of the wrongly imprisoned Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter-the man that inspired the Bob Dylan protest song; 'The Hurricane' is a true modern great. It has the strength to go blow to blow with the best boxing movies. Round for round, pound for pound 'Ali' or 'Raging Bull'. This truly is a fighter.
ANTWONE FISHER: Denzel's directorial debut is a brilliant run out the gates. With Derek Luke leading the charge and Washington playing an inspiring and poignant psychiatrist.This true story, co-wrote by Antwone Fisher himself is a real, dark but necessary account of a mans life. The power of persevering over any pain is offered here at its highest measure. Not much can beat this.
MALCOLM X: The reason Denzel Washington won't portray Martin Luther King...because he's already made this other brave biopic. From the magnificent 'Mo' Better Blues', to the best basketball picture 'He Got Game' and the incredible 'Inside Man' Spike Lee and Mr. Washington have made some classics...but nothing...nothing tops this look at one of the most influential and inspiring figures of the last century from the best actor of our generation. TIM DAVID HARVEY.