Monday, 29 September 2014
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Thud...thud...THUD! The music from this usually quiet residence is booming all the way down the street! Here's guessing the parents are out of town tonight. There's so much under-aged smoking and drinking going on that the paperwork is going to be a killer. There's so many teens here that even the front lawn is lined with what looks like extra fodder for the next slasher movie. They may as well be as an ominous car pulls up outside, smoking more than they are. It's classic American muscle turned into fat. The paint job is rust. As this car stops, a backfire of gun shot rings out like James Brown screaming that he feels good and kids everywhere jump, duck and throw their hands over their eyes and ears in fear. They all stand still as a big figure lumbers towards the door and into the house slowly but with authority. The red sea of what looks like an entire fraternity parts for a Moses dressed in a long overcoat that looks like it could only be thrown on like a horses saddle or with a fork-lift over those broad shoulders. What he's wearing on his head can only be described as something that was hunted the night before. It should be on the mantle-piece here as a trophy. Someone tries to steal it...big mistake! Smoking a stogie like cigarettes are for school kids this man makes his way round the attendance laughing, dancing and taunting to nothing but blank faces of no reaction. He makes his way upstairs. There's no more laughing now. He pulls something out his inside coat pocket...his finger on the trigger. He heads to the bedroom door. There's not a soul around now. Thud...thud...THUD! Knocks on the door! "Hey this rooms taken"! Replies a voice inside. Thud...thud...THUD! Accusations of hearing deficits and threats of violence come next. Then this cocky kids face drops as he hears that whirring sound. It sounds like an eerie scream or an engine starting. The dim line of light from under the door starts to flicker and dim like electric failure. The door handle vibrates like its about to fly off. Metal coils and then spirals out as a drill-bit comes bursting through the handle before the door flies open and the dark room is enveloped in blinding light. The formidable figure smoking emerges from the shadows, holding a drill in his hand like a dentist from hell about to make one killing of a filling. He grins and evil grin and walks towards the bed. Heeeeres Johnnyyyyyy!!!
The Candyman. Say his name five times! John Candy! John Candy! John Candy! John Candy! John Candy! Still this family man is no horror like that clever, alternate Youtube trailer for 'Mrs. Doubtfire'. In an Autumn season that's leaves are leaving the Summer behind and descending towards the fall at an alarming rate you know its time for his favourite films like Bill Murray's 'Groundhog Day' or that one where Nicholas Cage wakes up to his old life (if only). Just when you got angry at Christmas trees and commercials going up all too early in department stores, here's one guy whose festive films are welcome all year round like his fellow late, great partner in comedy crime John Hughes. Now both these dear John's are dearly departed, movies wont be the magical same in these modern times. Just like the late, great big hearted James Avery and his Uncle Phil in 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air', John Candy will always be everyones 'Uncle Buck'. An uncle whose head seems immune to bowling balls unlike clowns noses are to his left hook. An uncle who will literally get you shovelling pancakes into your mouth every morning and likes to talk dirty to the washing machine with all his load. He's not as bad as he sounds however...just don't let him near your finest, "unbreakable" china. Sure he may threaten your boyfriend with an axe and with shaving your head whilst you sleep, but just wait until you see what he does with a quarter and a cruel headteachers Enrique Iglesias like mole! I'm really selling this aren't I? Really though what looks like an uncle whose last babysitting gig was in a correctional facility is actually John Candy's greatest moment in his classic movie history and catalogue. As heart-warming and poignant as it is rib-tickling hilarious, they really...REALLY and truly don't make films like this anymore now the two Johnny's are gone. No matter what you consider your number one film, this will be among your fond favourites. It's sacrilege if it isn't. What do I mean? Well how about some more? Hows this for you? Even 'Anchorman' isn't as funny as this! Once more with feeling, Burgundy ain't got nothing on Buck and the man from 'Uncle' has even more in the trunk of the rustiest, beat down car that even millionaires wish they could own like a Delorean.
Candy is the man. I like him. His wife likes him. His customers like him. Because he's the real article (like this tribute). What you see is what you get. More like love. That's what everyone has got for him. Like families gathering round the table at thanksgiving to join hands of appreciation. No matter where they are in the world. Using all the 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' that will get them there! Just like John with a Ron moustache teaming up with the other funniest man on the planet, Steve Martin for a comedy caper that still dead rings true today, (see 'Date...Due'). The best shower ring salesman you'll ever meet, who could even sell you a Casio watch like it was draped, straight out of a commercial. A man who messes around with Ray Charles and like to sleep with his hand between two pillows. How about them Bears!? Del Griffith, there's no one like him...and everyone really does like him. Both 'Buck' and 'Automobiles'' Del stand side to side like John Candy and Hughes as two of the best of the best. Whichever you prefer depends on the season. Both films are as relentlessly funny as John is unamiously charismatic. Still it won't just be tears of laughter that are shed. As this man reaches dark depths whilst managing to keep a smile on our faces he explores some family matters that show there's more than meets the glazed eye of these kids films with growing pains lessons learned. From the loss of love to ones hope, the comedian with the biggest heart shows he has more soul than most first saw, proving he's not just a classy comedian and stand-up guy, but a real, true, genuine actor of talent too. From his Second City, Toronto beginnings of the Canadian Walk Of Fame to classic, horn section cameos with more Hughes in 'Home Alone', this lovable Canadian like Jim Carrey and Mike Myers showed this country was as funny as it was nice. No joke! It may be 20 years since this man tragically passed of a heart attack in Mexico, all too young at 43 years, but this man still remains one of the worlds favourite and most movie requested funny men. Kevin James may be funny like a new Candy but as close as some think the 'Hitch' and 'King Of Queens' star is, he's no popsicle.
Imagine if John was still here today! Of uppermost importance it would be great for his family who have our thoughts, but for the entertainment he blessed sake, just think. Think of all the modern movies and even if he had his own long-running sitcom. Cheers to that. He may already be one of the greatest of all time, but just imagine. We wish he was still here! Earning his 'Stripes' as he made a Tom Hanks sidekick 'Splash' and waded his way through his meaty career like that 'Candy vs Food', whole cow steak on 'The Great Outdoors' and his hilarious first bite that brings a whole new level to cubism. We wish we could still see him take it out of this world and human race with Mel Brooks for the comedy star wars of 'Spaceballs'. Like 'Wagons East' and 'Canadian Bacon' dedicated to his loving memory. From Speilberg's '1941' to a 'Summer Rental' and all the classic 'Blues Brothers' and 'National Lampoon' cameos this man had so many amazing appearances everytime that unmistakable expression came into frame, even if it was at gunpoint. Even for every 'Saturday Night Live' snub (he got it eventually) there was a 'Brewsters Millions' with another comic legend Richard Pryor. Also for every 'Ghostbusters' missed opportunity there was his 'Camp Candy' family cartoon being picked up by Marvel comics...you just knew he was a superhero. Some dramatic roles that showed more of the troubled deep of this actors ability came with 'Only The Lonely' and a part in Oliver Stone's 'JFK'. Still as this great mans career was coming to an all too tragic and premature close he had the last laugh with 'Cool Runnings'. A film that is as movingly inspiring as it is evergreen enjoyable. A beautiful moment, some of this films best and groundbreaking scenes may come from what the four Jamaican bobsledders do in the face of all kinds of adversity, especially the finale, but just check the photo finish. John was right behind them every step of the way in an honest and heartfelt performance of constant, fondly funny laughs and even more relentless fighting spirit. Just another classic this man and his wife and family can be proud of. What a career and quite simply what a guy! With his Planes, Uncles and Bob-sleds, big-three of 'Uncle Buck', 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' and 'Cool Runnings' it's almost all too, sadly poignant that these films end with freeze-frame still of his face. Still even in the mourning of its nostalgia its just another picture of a career that will always be replayed and remembered. No matter the age. Everyone wants Candy!
Friday, 26 September 2014
131 Minutes. Starring: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Marton Csokas, Bill Pullman & Melissa Leo. Director: Antoine Fuqua.
Seconds out! They say all men are created equal...until Denzel shows them whose boss! From 'Mississippi Masala' to 'Philadelphia', Washington is one of todays best actors and greatest of all time. Capital like D.C. and still reaching heights today. Between all the 'Unstoppable' and '2 Gun' action, the man who has played and portrayed 'Malcolm X' and Rubin 'The Hurricane' Carter, still soars at Academy level with trips like 'Flight'. Now he re-up, teams up with the director who ring sided his Oscar, one, two combo of a bad cop played so, damn good in his Best Actor 'Training Day' graduation. Together Washington and Fuqua show the man who once played a boxer is still dancing at sixty like Ali with a hurricane of bee stinging action that floats between the post blockbuster, pre-Oscar season of Hollywood that is usually reserved for boring thrillers and unfunny comedies. Matter of fact the actor that takes what would normally be straight to DVD action fodder if landed on a lesser actors table, and turns it into one old fashioned thrilling film night shows he's more than still the man that's still got it. Still a 'Man On Fire' with the director that brought the best out of him like the 'Mo Better Blues' of 'Inside Man' Spike Lee showing 'He Got Game', Washington and Fuqua form his new actor/director combo since the tragic passing of 'The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3' and 'Deja Vu' director Tony Scott. Together again after giving rookie cop Ethan Hawke one hell of a first day this heaven sent partnership show they are still all chess no checkers.
With one eye on the old CBS show 'The Equalizer' from the eighties starring Edward Woodward, Antoine and Denzel give us the perfect 90's thriller in this new millenium, set to a beautiful but bleak backdrop of the brilliant city of Boston like Affleck films. Playing an ex Black Ops soldier responding to the vigilante call of duty to the modern man in warfare and gone girls, Washington lends a helping, fast combat hand to those in need, behind his shop front at Home Depot. This film doing for the hardware store business what Ben Stiller's 'The Watch' did for an extended commercial for Costco, but boy does it make for a brilliant backdrop for a formidable finale, with all the tools...literally. Today these warehouses of business are for action films, what running upstairs is for the horror genre, no matter how many times you 'Scream' for them not to...and just wait until they kill the lights and make it rain without a cloud in the sky...oh how simple and sublime Hollywood special effects can get, especially on a budget. Still behind all the 'Book Of Eli' and 'Safe House' hand to hand combat, that has been as much a calling card to middle-aged Washington, as his sudden single tear, tearing through restraint emotion, there's more. The Marvin Gaye of acting shows so much more soul. Denzel can do more with one gesture that years of choreographing couldn't measure. Now for every cool as hell, turning the gun on you slight of hand, there's a heaven sent tribute to a late wife in a split second that seems all to raw to not be real. Even if there's a quick and dead darkness that lies behind the man that reads Hemingway in a Hooper illustrated middle of the night cafe, there's an evergreen lovable quality to a man as genuine as he is that realness talented. Speaking of this storytelling, between quoting Twain and referencing the classic mortality moral story of 'The Old Man And The Sea', which everyone should be spending an earnest night with, we even see more heart from the 'Training Day' director who took us to the hoods of the hood. Leaving some so shocked they even thought his second name was an insult. Little did they see there was so much more depth and distinction to this inspired director who showed 'White House Down' how Olympus really falls. This isn't just more ultraviolence than Del Rey in bullets and brawn. There's heart and art.
It's enough of a rap sheet to give this man all the big guns for his acting arsenal. Just like former 'Star Wars', 'Lord Of The Rings' and 'Bourne' franchisee Marton Csokas who with this and 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'Sin City-A Dame To Kill For' is having his best, most in-demand year. Who else has that many big number franchises in 2014? Still someone should tell casting directors that this guy is from New Zealand and not Russia, however one thing authenticated is this actors amazing ability to play it so, damn dark and bad. Here he makes the word villain even more vile you want him dead even more than our Equalizer, ready to neutralise and cancel him out does. Still our secret service man borrowing store brought goods for the night has plenty of majesty on his side, even an 'Independence Day', ultimate president on a 'look twice, that's who you think it is' Bill Pullman looking to resurrect his 90's sci-fi career moment like Bill Paxton in Denzel's last film. Now raise and tap your glasses a couple of times and hope for another speech. I propose another toast! Then there's 'Fighter' veteran actress of the moment Melissa Leo, who from chameleonic turns in everything that's anything from 'Oblivion' to 'Prisoners' is showing and proving the dynamic versatility that is making her filmography just the beginnings of something iconic. Then there's Chloe. Miss Grace Moretz, shy of a high-school graduation is having her own prom moment in Hollywood, following her 'Kick Ass' entrance and classic reworking wonder of King's 'Carrie'. This young queen who is right now showing cinema purists that beautiful acting benefits 'If I Stay', already has the legacy makings of a legend before her or our time, far grown from a child star. We all wish we achieved this much by this age. If Jennifer Lawrence will be the new Meryl Streep in decades time, this girl will catch even more fire than Katniss in just a few more. Just think of what her career will look like or where it will be when she's Meryl's age...or Denzel's even! After protecting a young Dakota Fanning in 'Man Of Fire', Washington now has protective chemistry with Chloe as she goes from the girl made to say the 'C' word to one showing a Jodie Foster, 'Taxi Driver' scorned and ruined, childhood dream of a better over bitter life to the desires of predatory men. Even with short changed screen time, this may be Denzel's film but she's the crux catalyst. Just check the hurt hope for a happy ending to the books Washington is reading. Desperation has never been so passionately inspired. As this hit-man looking after hit-girl, fatherly figure fights the hands of pop time and times his revenge down to a split, watch precise second this is bound to find itself in the tenth. This is the new series Denzel's rich catalogue of classics has been missing and he and this new franchise can keep going. Dollar for dollar, brick for brick. Tell me what you see when you look at a man like him? A knight in shining armour in a world where men like that don't exist anymore between all the pimps and players. Thank God for the man dancing like a Gladys Knight Pip. Who knows one day this man could bring more change and play Obama, because in Washington we still have a hero. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
This s### is bananas! Really! B-A-N-A-N-A-S! There's Ryan Reynolds sitting on the edge of a New Jersey highway bridge, on the turnpike overlooking the skyline of Manhattan, New York City. He's drawing in crayon and shaking his legs whilst singing along to Gwen Stefani's 'Hollerback Girl'. No doubt this really is bananas. B-A-N-A...you get it! Then he turns to us and talks directly, makes some jokes about a change of underwear and before you know it he leaps off the bridge and right into the middle, back passenger seat of an SUV, sandwiched between two thugs he greets in Spanish, telling one that there's no easy way to say he's pregnant. "Seeend me an aaangel in the mooorning baaaaby"! The soundtrack changes as punches start pulling, legs get kicked, necks get snapped and cars and exiting passengers take hits on the freeway. A motorcyclist in front has had enough and in one swift motion turns around off his bike and starts reeling off automatic bullets from his machine gun at the SUV that's now tossing and turning on its side across the road. As he locks eyes with Reynolds through the sunroof, Ryan shows him what he was colouring in before pointing to a rather crude doodle. Making this picture perfect he takes a sword out his back and in one crash, bang and wallop we see the cyclists helmet behind the winding down window of the truck. Although this rolling head is held in the hands of Reynolds whilst he waves hello to his friend Tom! "F### me"! Right?! Alas don't worry Ryan Reynolds is not wanted for murder. He's wanted for Marvel as he returns as ex, X-Men, Wade Wilson, A.K.A. Deadpool, Stan Lee's crudest, cult anti-superhero. Boy is this going to be a great movie, judging from the C.G.I. assisted, accompany actors in a raw but polished scene that feels like a trailer and is one we hope makes the final cut of this new blade. After making D.C.'s Lantern green with envy, super-talented and sarcastic Reynolds is back in full gimp regalia following his classic, cocky and charismatic 'Wolverine' origin cameo, before all that surgery and a classic after credits teaser that really rolled heads and hinted at the classic Deadpool direct audience addressing that the comics are fourth wall breaking famous for. Looking to follow the cell by cell, comic-book sacred text blueprint, Marvel, after all the internet campaigning by fans, finally looks to have another huge hit on their hands.
As if they need another one however. This is a franchise that has been owning children and adults captive and vivid imaginations and escapism through countless comic-book and cartoons for generations now. Lets not even begin to talk about their side products from school lunchboxes to city street fashions too...and hey we all know whose going to own your next fancy dress party. With even more spin-offs this formidable franchise even owns the small-screen with the second season of 'The Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' about to do battle with D.C.'s 'Gotham', 'Flash' and 'Green Arrow' and every other 'True Blood' and 'Walking Dead' cult series to break good across your Netflix and television sets. If you think this is great and missed 'The First Avenger' sequel being set in the traditional texture of the old hope and glories past, then you will revel in the return of Hayley Atwell to the call of duty of an 'Agent Carter' series. Thank you to all those Marvel 'One Shots' hey? Still right now to really marvel at Stan Lee's franchise is to go to the cinemas. They have been big screen, blockbuster Summer stays for a couple of decades now from the real origin beginnings of the 'X-Men' trilogy to the 'Fantastic Four' double. Still it was yet another team the red, flicking comic books where famous for that needed another assembling. With the unbolting of the 'Iron Man' film painting over the rust of Robert Downey Jnr's pre-redemption, raw career it all began again, as this was the reactor core catalyst for a superhero explosion that would even put D.C. Comics in their second place. Despite the fact that in the same Summer of Stark 'The Dark Knight' and its Oscar winning Heath Ledger's ace in the hole Joker was the real magic trick. In fact the greatest superhero film and villain of all time that even all these Marvels couldn't top. Still, today even a Superman versus Batman film that will be the dawn of a Wonder Woman and even Aquaman, Justice League cant top these guys. After the metal man came a different type of 'Incredible Hulk' and then arguably the funnest film in the thunderbolt of lightening that was 'Thor'. Then before making history in the future, Marvel took it back to where it all started in the past with their original hero 'Captain America' in his second World War. They all came together and formed 'The Avengers' and what a film that was.
With all that success it was time to go back to the drawing board. Especially with many sequels, spin-offs and reboots inbetween. Phase 2 started with the conclusion of the 'Iron Man' trilogy that joined another 'Wolverine' origin story in Japan and the 'Thor-The Dark World' sensational sequel that continued the Avenger protagonist Loki brotherly dynamic and sibling rivalry. Still as great as the second phases first year was it's had nothing on this year. 2014 may just be Marvel's best year at the movies. Next year may bring the 'Age Of Ultron' highly anticipated and eagerly awaited sequel but now this is the age of Avengers too. It all started with the post-Spring to Summer blockbuster rush of bringing 'Captain America' off ice for 'The Winter Soldier' sequel that closed the door on Oscar season to begin the popcorn one. Still in a spy thriller set in modern day Washington D.C. that tied into S.H.I.E.L.D. and even brought in Academy veteran Robert Redford this film matched stunning set-pieces with superior storytelling. The best solo Avenger film to date flew with its Falcon sidekick and just when you thought Marvel where done they did it all again and as for 'The Winter Soldier' himself...the plot thickens. In a comic-book world where villains are just as fanboy and girl popular as heroes...here's one who is both. Following 'Winter' came the 'Spider-Man' sequel that showed Tobey Maguire's previous incarnation which Peter Parker was truly 'Amazing' and superior. The uncanny Andrew Garfield and his Gwen Stacey, Emma Stone won hearts again after their formidable first film, but this was all about the enemies uniting from Paul Giamatti's metal Rhino to all the Doc Oc and Vulture hints. Still it was Jamie Foxx's shock and effervescent awe Electro character and Dane DeHaan's Green Goblin that left everyone else all colours of envy. After this the Summer of Godzilla's, Transformers and Planet Of Apes didn't know what was hitting them especially in the classic remake of the 'X-Men-Days Of Future Past' cult comic strip that was an epic excuse to crossover and collaborate all the major players from the original 'X' trilogy and new 'First Class' part origin/reboot franchise from Captain Picard to James McAvoy and Gandalf to Michael Fassbender. It was all clawed together by a wonderful Wolverine and was the ultimate time hop that showed you just how long and great this running franchise of franchisees has been. Then if THAT wasn't enough ownership of the big, bold and bountiful blockbuster circuit, a thief, two thugs, an assassin and a maniac assembled for what you could call 'The Avengers-The Next Generation' in an out of this world, star war, space-hop opera we all now know and love as 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'. This number one hit made Chris Pratt a star (lord) before 'Jurassic World', gave the science fiction queen and 'Avatar' blue and 'Star Trek' red shirt of Zoe Saldana her green day. All whilst turning a wrestling star into a drole destroyer, whilst turning ladies man Bradley Cooper into a talking racoon and the gruff of Vin Diesel into a three worded tree. This truly is the age of 'I Am Groot'.
Now forget about Phase 3...this is Phase infinity and believe me Deadpool and the recent rights to other darker, cult favourites Blade, Ghost Rider, The Punisher and Daredevil will have some company and some realer, due reboots too, adding to this awesome franchise framework. As for the kids, Disney are about to add a 'Big Hero 6' to the computer generated 'Toy Story' market. Marvel are even stretching to give Mr. Fantastic and his family the X-Men and Avenger rivalling franchise they deserve. Besides Chris Evans can't play both Captain America and the Human Torch, no matter how John Blaze he was. Isn't that right...erm Ryan Reynolds?! Still with all these rights it's still wrong that Marvel and their sub-studios cant get Spider-Man and Wolverine together to join the ultimate Avengers. Still these hugely popular characters have more spin-offs of their own. The 'Sinister Six' villain movie will further Spidey's web and also showcase more of the amazing Dane DeHaan's apt angst take on Harry Osborne. You can also expect the third 'TASM' following this ones devastating finale in 2018, when Andrew Garfield will almost be a 40 year old high-school student. Still, he's doing it well at the baby faced age of 30 and with all those extra curricula activities no wonder he's getting held back some years. As for Hugh Jackman, fans want another Wolverine film like the want a R.D.J. 'Iron Man 4' (stay tuned), but for now if you thought 'D.O.F.P' was great in the wake of Jennifer Lawrence catching fire and the real Quicksilver (boy this is going to be rights related awkward and amazing) getting a 100 meters and winning, head start, then just you wait. The next X-Men team up is quite simply called 'Apocalypse' and finally has 'Gambit' on deck...with a solo performance to precursor all this. We may feel sorry for the underrated 'John Carter' hero of the also unfairly criticized Wolverine origin film , which now thanks to this last one is now wiped off the timeline like Edward Norton, but we can't wait to see what ace Channing Tatum has in the hole. Marvel just keep playing their cards right.
Still the Marvel cinematic universe has even more tricks up their sleeve and their hot hand that started with its Iron will in 2008 is set to run even longer than a decade plus, as Marvel have more films confirmed until 2019 and you know it wont be over then either. From the 'Doctor Strange' name-drop in Cap 2 and the Johnny Depp to Jon Hamm rumors to another cult, other-universe set to be explored with the 'Inhumans' rumors are rampant, from the fake to the founded. First up is a different kind of Avenger as Paul Rudd looks to rise to all sorts of heights as 'Ant-Man' with a bracketed 'G' in front. How crazy silly the "slapping the bass" comedian will look taller than skyscrapers (didn't you see the 'Anchorman 2' promotional posters?) remains to be IMAX Seen but this guy has the charisma to pull it off and besides after 'Ultron' Marvel will need something to tower over the battle of Terminators and a T-Rex next year. Also stay tuned for another classic comic-book character and first black hero to take animal shape-shifting form in a 'Black Panther' movie years down the line. Everyone from 'Guardians' henchmen Djimon Hounshou ("who?!") to Denzel Washington (at almost 60, but still all 'Equalizer' action this guy may be too old...BUT perfect for the Panthers father and original Black Panther in what could be a classic cameo) have been rumoured, but check the 'Ultimate Avengers' animated feature cover it looks a lot like 'Django' unplugged, Electro himself Jamie Foxx. Lets not forget Luke Cage either, hey Terry Crews?! With a 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' follow-up announced before the first wonderful, wild card film even came out and a rumoured Avengers 'Civil War' classic comic-book remake, follow-up (I'm sorry guys you need the rights to some X-Men for that), sequels are about to begin all sorts of new phases for our cast of characters and their own popular spin-off co-stars from wonder women Lady Sif and Agent Hill to all the Hollywood celebrities that you can now play superhero six degrees of separation with. Now after this year we can't wait to see how Cap and Bucky fare together or apart, for better or worse in the next Captain America film with Hawkeye bowing in with his arrow. Needless to say the brotherly banter and battle between Loki and Odin's son in the next Thor after the cliffhanger that left everyone wanting more Tom Hiddleston is also all too long away. Lets not even get started on the overdue, new solo movie for 'The Incredible Hulk'. How about a 'World War'? Or if you want more Iron Man how about reuniting them in a collabo film like their comics? Black Widow sort of did it with Cap. All this and we haven't even got to Thanos yet...as great as Josh Brolin's brilliant cameo was. The intergalactic giant villain that teases and ties this all together could be the link that brings all the Marvel teams together in an out of this world war that would be anything but civil. This Detective Comics is what you may call 'Fear Itself'. The Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Guardians Of The Galaxy and all the other Marvels? Now that would be an assembling! Suit up!
Friday, 12 September 2014
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
What do you see when you look at Denzel Washington? The worst cop to ever spend a 'Training Day' with? That 'T.V. Guy' off 'Philadelphia' that wants you to explain everything to him like he's a six year old? Malcolm X? Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter? James Bond? The Black Panther? A guy that's a little bit too Danny Glover for this s###? One whose 'Glory' days are behind him? Or quite simply an Academy Oscar winner? One of not only our generation and African-American's best, but more maturely and rightfully so one of the best actors that Hollywood and the wider world has ever seen. Still on top of his A game today. Albeit suffering from the ignorant underrating that even fellow big names Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and his friend Tom Hanks get today despite their outstanding output? BINGO! You got it! This man didn't just follow in the footsteps of Sidney Poitier and Morgan Freeman to pave the way for the likes of Will Smith and Jamie Foxx. This isn't black and white, or young and old. They haven't made black and white movies for decades now. This is bigger than race, age, gender or any stereotype. Denzel is right there with the DiCaprio's, McConaughey's, his new co-star and the aforementioned actors. The best of the best. Yesterday, right now and forever.
As of right now however, Denzel Washington is 'The Equalizer'. A hitman like hero in a new action attacking thriller that features some brilliant, 'Book Of Eli' hand-to-hand combat. Reuniting him with 'Training Day' director Antoine Fuqua, this may not exactly be Oscar territory like 'Philadelphia' co-star Tom Hanks' starboard turn with 'Captain Phillips' last year (that's right we still think he was snubbed), but that's O.K. Not everything has to be and besides we know the 'Flight' plan of this actor is still on an Academy track. Also based on an old T.V. show, 'The Equalizer' could give this amazing actors equally formidable filmography its first franchise later in his career. Much like when Tom Cruise brought 'Jack Reacher's' stories to life a couple if years back. Speaking of Cruise, Washington has just taken over his role in 'The Magnificent Seven', again with Fuqua. Thanks to this new entertaining movie rumours are also rife for a new 007, or Marvel's own 'Black Panther' movie (in playing literally the worlds first black superhero, Washington may be a little too seasoned. Although he'd make the perfect, classic cameo for the father of our hero and the actual, original Black Panther). Even if these names where just thrown around with the light hearted idea of the 'Green Lantern', like he was once again fighting with 'Safe House' co-star Ryan Reynolds. Still the fact that Denzel's name rings some truth with these roles show critics the almost sixty year old is anything but past it. As the veteran acts alongside the greatest, youngest talent around in Chloe Grace-Moretz (watch out Jennifer Lawrence), who gives a Jodie Foster, 'Taxi Driver' like betrayed innocence to her role, Washington shows he's still a capital talent. A man that can seemingly take what looks like B-movie fodder, straight to DVD release, Cuba Gooding Jnr territory movie ideas to an inspired mainstream. Making them look like classic, hallmark 90's thrillers we all miss. Just like last years comic-book, 'Bad Boys' fun partnering with Mark Wahlberg for the buddy, criminal cop '2 Guns' last year. A film that snuck into the Summer season of blockbusters like this one is doing between all the Marvel, monsters and falling leaves. Or the Hawaiian shirt peddling of the race against crime, cool caper 'Out Of Time'. Denzel has been doing this for years before 1990.
You've got to be who you are in this world, no matter what. Thankfully Denzel Hayes Washington is great. Truly. There's a certain likeability and integrity he brings to even the smallest moments in every film that tells you that this isn't just subtly, amazing acting, but this guy is actually one of the nicest people this industry could hope to ever have. You see it in the trailer of his new movie, helping a co-worker take her ring off at a robbers gun-point while gently reassuring her its O.K. Or admitting to John Travolta in 'The Taking Of Pelham 1, 2, 3' what he did with that money, again with the threat of someone else under the gun. Or his light hearted to deep soul conversations with Chris Pine in 'Unstoppable' as the late, great Tony Scott's twin train movies with D.W. couldn't be more different, dynamic and definitve. You can even see it in real life on T.V. shows where when the presenter tells him its great to have him he replies with a big smile and upmost genuineness, "my pleasure". Or when he presented an award with his daughter and when it was his turn to speak he fluffed his lines and graciously said with that familiar warmth, "see I'm messing up too". Denzel may even say it best in this new 'Equalizer' movie when Moretz asks him what his new book is about and he tells her its about a knight in shining armour, but one that lives in a world where knights don't exist anymore. This isn't just a metaphor for his character, this is a literal look at Denzel Washington's career. Even in what seems like a fake and fickle world of the Hollywood, entertainment industry, thank God for the genuine Denzel. A heaven sent career began with some theatre study and even some Fruit Of The Loom commercials. Remember Grapes? But the big break for this big actor came in a George Clooney 'E.R.' form when Denzel played a dishy young doctor in the medical drama 'St. Elsewhere' for many seasons. Its entire six year run in fact. Then after earning some T.V. movie credits Denzel met the recentely dearly departed Richard Attenborough and received a 'Best Supporting Actor' Academy Award nomination for the 'Gandhi' directors 'Cry Freedom'. If he wasn't a big star before then he was now, but a simple nomination wasn't enough. In 1989 one year before a decade him and Hanks would share in ownership he found 'Glory'.
"And the Oscar goes to Denzel Washington"! In supporting Morgan Freeman and a Matthew Broderick who looked to have taken his last day off in the 'Ferris Bueller' eighties, Denzel struck gold with 'Glory' in the same year he tackled race and war on a British front for the film 'For Queen and Country'. An incredible film throughout but his final flag carrying, agonisingly, tear strained moment may have sealed the Academy envelope whilst showing us all just how much simmering, pent up emotion this actor has locked up, ready to burst out over the next 25 years. It wouldn't be until 2001 where Denzel would win at the Academy again-despite nominations- where he's go one better winning the best actor award for his classic crooked cop in the terrific, dynamite 'Training Day', all whilst honouring almost every black actor that came before him in his acceptance speech. Even without the Daniel Day-Lewis trophy cabinet (there's where some of his Oscars went), Denzel's consistently relentless output has been a lifetime achievement since. His supporting nomination helped his fellow 90's defining and still today refining Tom Hanks win a 'Best Actor' Oscar for the landmark 'Philadelphia'. A complete classic that did previously ignored justice to victims of HIV in the bewildered wake of Los Angeles Lakers, basketball star Magic Johnson's announcement, years before last years brilliant Oscar dominating 'Dallas Buyers Club' did. Now today we'd love to see a reunion and spiritual sequel from the perfect pair and dynamic duo who will always share a brotherly love. Even before there was more at stake in Philly, the worlds best actor teamed up with one of its definitive directors for a couple of classics. Spike Lee's direction behind all the socially conscious lessons learned and earned is like a jazz piece and his 'Mo Better Blues' with Washington's trumpet playing soloist blew that up in more ways than one. If you thought this real and raw performance and picture was a classic then a couple years later came their take on 'Malcolm X'. A bold and beautiful biopic that remains one of Denzel's classically greatest, but still criminally underrated roles to this date...and you wonder why the nicest man in movies is not playing Martin Luther King and leaving it to the great impression of Jamie Foxx. Spike and Denzel's incredible, inspired and influential portrait of the great Malcolm X can be described in a few simple but poignant words, justice in a time of injustice. It sums up subject and matter and how the man himself and his film was received in more ways than one. Following this Lee and Washington reunited for 'He Got Game' with basketball hot shooter Ray Allen and soundtrack slam dunks Public Enemy in one of the game and its changers greatest scores in cinema. Spike's greatest commercial success came with Washington in their collective peak for the bank job with a safe door twist, 'Inside Man' that was inspired storytelling and filmmaking in all its sobering, not scene stealing twists and turns. Still neither had nothing on the mark made by X.
'The Pelican Brief', a classy legal thriller with Julia Roberts came next, before the submarine submerged, pressure filled, sinking drama of 'Crimson Tide' was a classic code that launched Washington to a new stratosphere, showing he could take the power from gnarly greats like Gene Hackman. Exuding an effervescent confidence that was anything but arrogant, Denzel proudly proclaimed he was here to stay. 'Much Ado Nothing', 'The Preachers Daughter' and the call of duty to a modern warfare of the classic 'Courage Under Fire' with Meg Ryan and Matt Damon showed more of the sensational same. Then Denzel-like Dylan sang-came in like a hurricane. Playing the brutually, wrongfully incarcerated boxer Rubin Carter for 'The Hurricane', Denzel should have been given his second Academy belt for this knockout, even though there was campaigning complaining to the Academy for those who didn't believe in Carter's innocence. Even more underrated then Will Smith's incredible portrait biopic of 'Ali' (and this writers still convinced Washington's Carter makes an inspired nod, ringside crowd cameo in that flick, just check the Frazier fight), when its all said and done this film will belong in the red corner of Denzel's heavyweight pictures. You can clearly see that from the behind the prison phone glass acting that is as heartbreaking as it is groundbreaking. Dialling through to the new millennium and Denzel kept it in the field of sports with a race issue theme for the inspired and beautiful game changing 'Remember The Titans'. With this and the first black basketball teams 'Glory Road' journey Disney showed they where more than just a Mickey Mouse franchise and one that was able to take the terrible and tough issues of racism and injustice and turn them into an inspirational story and message of equality. A right that belongs to everybody.
Then following his Oscar moment where he found himself next to the great Sidney Poitier as he showed he could go even badder than Tom Hanks in 'Road To Perdition', Denzel had a change of heart and pace after the medical emergency 'John Q'. Co-starring in Derek Luke's inspired turn as 'Antwone Fisher', Washington earned his first directing credit and he looked more than comfortable in the chair that read his surname for another unfairly overlooked film in his so epic its often taken for granted filmography. Still a testament to the fact that this man can direct, heres hoping we'll see him behind the camera a few more times, maybe even in a later career duality like Clint Eastwood who is shaping an even better legacy now than the legend he made himself before then. Still, Denzel's just so charismatic and classic in front of the camera that its hard to keep him off the screens. From the political punch of 'The Manchurian Candidate' to the repeated success with Scott for 'Deja Vu' and the explosive revenge for a young girl 'Man On Fire' that is even more of an 'Equalizer' precursor than 'Training Day'. Despite being a courtside Laker fan this man is more like the no nonsense, hard working, efficient output of the film equivalent of basketball great Tim Duncan, but for every regular win comes a championship too. Just like his portrayal of Frank Lucas for the godfather of mob classics 'American Gangster', that had far more heart and soul than those violent, so-called 'Goodfellas'. Then of course there's the emotionally grounding, under the influence 'Flight' that even shows Denzel can bring the sympathy and the Academy out of the human side of abhorrent and disgracefully, negligent behaviour, especially behind the controls of an aircraft in this disaster paranoia, day and age. How bold do you want it? From 'The Great Debators' conversation to 'The Devil In A Blue Dress' detection. A 'Mad Max', 'Book Of Eli' to an action packed powerful, anything but 'Safe House'. The superbly supernatural possessed, fantastic, fantasy 'Fallen' to the 'Rear-Window' testament of the body of 'The Bone Collector'. From every credit to every frame this Washington reaches new heights even today. This guy truly is 'Unstoppable'. You had enough yet? Because he can keep going. Brick for brick, dollar for dollar, film for film, legacy for legend. Right now there is no equal.