REVIEW: UNSTOPPABLE

CAST

Denzel Washington (Safe House)
Chris Pine (Wonder Woman)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City II)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Kevin Corrigan (Ordinary World)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
Jessy Schram (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Andy Umberger (The Accountant)
Dylan Bruce (Heroes Reborn)
Aisha Hinds (Cult)
Meagan Tandy (Batwoman)
Jeff Wincott (Blue Bloods)

While moving a train pulled by AWVR AC4400CW’s #777 and #767 at the Veteran Allegheny and West Virginia Railroad (AWVR) trainyard in the fictional city of Fuller, Pennsylvania, the two hostlers, Dewey and Gilleece, take ill-advised shortcuts and accidentally allow the engine to leave the train-yard on its own power without the air brakes engaged. Initially believing the train to be a “coaster”, yardmaster Connie Hooper orders Dewey, Gilleece, and chief welder Ned Oldham to drive and catch up the train to stop it. When Oldham finds that the train has already passed where it was supposed to be, they realize that the train is running on full power and now poses a dangerous threat. Dewey and Gilleece manage to catch up to 777 using a high railing truck but fail to board the train in time. Hooper alerts Oscar Galvin, director of operations for AWVR, and also instructs the local and state police and sheriffs to secure all the grade crossings to prevent injury. Visiting Federal Railroad Administration safety inspector Scott Werner warns that 8 cars being pulled by 777 contain highly toxic, and highly flammable molten phenol which would be a major disaster if the train should crash or derail in a populated area. Triple 7 is also pulling around 5000 gallons of diesel fuel which also poses a serious threat. News of the runaway train soon becomes a media event.However, Hooper suggests they purposely derail the train, but Galvin disagrees and believes they can safely stop the train by lashing it behind two slower-moving diesel engines helmed by veteran engineer Judd Stewart, slowing it down long enough for AWVR employee and former U.S. Marine Ryan Scott to descend via helicopter to 777’s cab and stop the train manually. Though the lashing initially works, a sudden hard bump knocked Scott out and derailed the two diesel engines, causing them to explode, which ultimately kills Stewart in the process. They realize that 777, traveling at its current speed, will certainly derail on “Devil’s Curve”, a tight, elevated portion of track in the middle of the city of Stanton and would supposedly crash into a large fuel depot near the curve on the eastern side of the state. Plans are made to purposely derail the train outside the town of Arklow using a portable derailer.Meanwhile, retiring AWVR engineer Frank Barnes and conductor Will Colson, a new hire looking to turn his life around after an incident with his now estranged wife, are pulling several cars with SD40-2 #1206 from Stanton. Though originally aware of 777 coasting away from the Fuller train yard, they are ordered at the last minute to pull into a Repair-In-Place track, making it just in time as 777 races by and clipping the last few cars they are pulling. Barnes observes that 777 has an open knuckle, which if they could catch up to the engine, they could use to couple it to 777 and use their own brakes to slow the train before it reaches Stanton. As Colson unhitches their cars to give them the best chance of catching up, Barnes reports his plan to Hooper and Galvin and warns them that the derailing idea will not work given 777’s momentum, but Galvin threatens to fire Barnes if he continues. Given that AWVR has already given him a forced early retirement notice, Barnes ignores Galvin and sets 1206 on course to catch up with 777. As 777 passes Arklow, police attempt to shoot the fuel shutoff switch on the engine, but fail to hit it. As Barnes predicts, the train barrels go through the derailers without slowing down. Hooper and Werner fully support Barnes’ plan and take over control of the situation from Galvin.Barnes and Colson catch up to 777 and attempt to engage the coupling. Their attempts to connect with 777 cause the grain car seal to break and leak grain at a blinding rate. Colson notices the locking pin on the coupler is not engaged. He attempts to kick it in but the couple again impacts 1206 and Colson gets his right foot crushed in the process. However, he is able to hold on enough to fully engage the locking pin. Barnes works his way across 777 to its cab, manually engaging the brakes on the freight cars along the way, while Colson engages 1206’s dynamic brakes, which initially slow down 777, but would prove to be no match for 777’s speed. They are able to reduce the speed slow enough to clear the Stanton Curve without derailing by using the independent brake, but 777 remains out of control and threatens to crash into the Stanton train yard. Despite attempting to reach the locomotive by jumping on the cars, Barnes finds his path blocked to 777’s cab, but Oldham arrives in his truck with a police convoy and drives on a parallel road to the tracks. Colson jumps to Oldham’s truck, and Oldham drives him up to the front of 777 allowing Colson to get into the cab and engage the brakes. 777 is safely stopped before it reaches the end of the line.Barnes, Colson, and Oldham are heralded as heroes, with Barnes retiring (with full benefits) and Colson reuniting with his wife and child. Hooper is promoted to Galvin’s former position for her leadership, and Dewey goes to work into the fast food industry, indicating he was fired.Perhaps not a classic, but crowd-pleasing enterainment, professionally done and almost guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face.

 

REVIEW: FLIGHT

Starring

Denzel Washington (The Equalizer)
Don Cheadle (Avengers: Endgame)
Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes)
Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek)
John Goodman (Argo)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Tamara Tunie (Snake Eyes)
Nadine Velazquez (My Name is Evil)
Brian Geraghty (ATM)
Peter Gerety (K-Pax)
James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3)
Ravi Kapoor (Ad Astra)
Bethany Anne Lind (Reprisal)

Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)Airline pilot Captain William “Whip” Whitaker Sr. uses cocaine to wake up after a night of little sleep in his Orlando hotel room. He pilots SouthJet Flight 227 to Atlanta, which experiences severe turbulence at takeoff. Co-pilot Ken Evans takes over while Whip discreetly mixes vodka in his orange juice and falls asleep at the controls. He is jolted awake as the plane goes into a steep dive. Meanwhile, heroin addict Nicole Maggen is on the verge of being evicted. She overdoses on heroin and has to be wheeled out of the house by a paramedic. SouthJet Flight 227 flies inverted overhead in the midst of its rapid descent. Unable to regain control, Whip is forced to make a controlled crash landing in an open field, losing consciousness on impact.Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, and Bruce Greenwood in Flight (2012)Whip awakens in an Atlanta hospital with moderate injuries and is greeted by his old friend Charlie Anderson, who represents the airline’s pilots union. He tells Whip that he managed to save 96 out of 102, losing two crew members and four passengers, but mentions his copilot is in a coma. Whip sneaks away for a cigarette in the stairwell and meets Nicole, who is recovering from her heroin overdose in the same hospital. The next morning, his friend and drug dealer Harling Mays picks him up from the hospital.Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)Having retired to his late father’s farm, Whip meets Charlie and attorney Hugh Lang, who explain that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) performed a drug test while he was unconscious. Results showed that Whip was intoxicated during the flight. Hugh promises to get the toxicology report voided on technical grounds. Meanwhile, Whip visits and soon becomes intimate with Nicole, but Whip’s drinking habits clash with Nicole’s attempts to stay drug-free. Later at a crew member, Trina’s, funeral, he attempts to persuade a surviving flight attendant, Margaret Thomason, to tell the NTSB that he was sober.Denzel Washington and Bruce Greenwood in Flight (2012)Whip pays a visit to his co-pilot Ken Evans after he awakens from his coma. Evans has likely lost much of his ability to walk and may never pilot an airplane again. Although upset, Evans has no intention of telling the NTSB that Whip was drinking. Nicole decides to separate from Whip, following his failed attempts to stay sober. Hounding Whip, the media catches him drunk after he spontaneously drives to the home of his ex-wife and son, both of whom resent him. He stays with Charlie until the NTSB hearing, vowing not to drink. The night before the hearing, Charlie and Hugh move Whip to a guarded hotel room with no alcohol. Although his minibar is empty, he finds the door to an adjacent room unlocked and raids its minibar instead.Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)Whip is discovered by Charlie the next morning, passed out and still drunk. Harling is called, who revives him with cocaine. At the hearing, lead NTSB investigator Ellen Block explains that a damaged elevator assembly jackscrew was the primary cause of the crash. She commends Whip on his valor and skill and notes that no other pilot was able to land the plane in trial simulations of the crash. She then reveals that two empty vodka bottles were found in the plane’s trash, despite the fact that beverages had not been served to passengers due to the severe turbulence, and that Whip’s test was excluded for technical reasons. The only other member of the crew to test positive for alcohol was Trina, who died in the crash, and with whom Whip had spent the night before. Whip, unable to bring himself to blame Trina for his actions, admits to being intoxicated the day of the crash. Whip is then arrested.Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)Thirteen months later, an imprisoned Whip tells a support group of fellow inmates that he is glad to be sober and does not regret doing the right thing. Whip is seen looking at pictures of Nicole, family, and friends on the wall of his cell, along with greeting cards congratulating him on being sober for a year. He is working to rebuild his relationship with his son, who visits to talk with him about a college application essay on “the most fascinating person that I’ve never met.” His son begins by asking, “Who are you?” As a plane flies overhead, Whip replies, “That’s a good question.”Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)Washington gives what is nothing less than a performance of a lifetime in this tension filled film dealing with a pilot wrestling with inner demons. The aviation sequences are stunning and the crash one of the most breathtaking ever filmed. 

REVIEW: THE BOOK OF ELI

Starring

Denzel Washington (Flight)
Gary Oldman (Bram Stokers Dracula)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone)
Jennifer Beals (Lie To Me)
Evan Jones (Gangster Squad)
Frances de la Tour (The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)
Tom Waits (Domino)
Chris Browning (Agen Carter)
Malcolm McDowell as Lombardi (Star Trek: Generations)
Richard Cetrone (Thor)

Denzel Washington and Evan Jones in The Book of Eli (2010)Thirty years after a nuclear apocalypse, Eli travels on foot across the wasteland of the former United States. He demonstrates uncanny survival and fighting skills, hunting wildlife and defeating a group of marauders. Searching for water, he arrives in a ramshackle town ruled by a warlord named Carnegie, who seeks to control the people through the power of a certain book, which his henchmen have been unable to find.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)Eli barters with a store owner, the Engineer, to recharge the battery of his portable music player. At the town bar, he is attacked by a gang of bikers but swiftly kills them all. Impressed, Carnegie invites Eli to join his employ, but Eli declines. Realizing Eli is a literate man like himself, Carnegie forces him to stay the night under guard. After Carnegie’s blind mistress Claudia brings Eli food and water, Carnegie orders her daughter Solara to seduce Eli, but he rebuffs her. Solara sees Eli has a book, and he offers to share his food, saying grace before they eat. In the morning, Carnegie overhears Solara repeat the prayer to her mother, and realizes Eli has the book he has been seeking – a Bible.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)Eli sneaks away, but Carnegie and his henchmen confront him in the street. When Eli refuses to give up the book, Carnegie orders him killed; the ensuing battle leaves Eli untouched, but many henchmen dead and Carnegie shot in the leg. Solara catches up to Eli and leads him to the town’s water supply, hoping to accompany him on his travels, but he traps her inside and continues alone. Solara escapes and is ambushed by two bandits who attempt to rape her, but Eli reappears and kills them. Continuing toward the west coast, Eli explains his mission: his book is the last remaining copy of the Bible, as all other copies were intentionally destroyed following the nuclear war. He says that he was led to the book by a voice in his head, directing him to travel westward to a place it would be safe, and assuring that he would be protected and guided on his journey.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)At an isolated house, Eli and Solara fall into a trap but manage to allay the suspicions of the residents, George and Martha, who invite them in for tea. Realizing that the couple are cannibals, Eli and Solara attempt to leave just as Carnegie and his men arrive. In the ensuing shootout, George, Martha, and many of Carnegie’s men are killed, and Eli and Solara are captured. Threatening to kill Solara, Carnegie forces Eli to surrender the Bible before shooting him and leaving him for dead, departing with his caravan. Solara escapes, destroying one truck with a hand grenade and driving back in another to find Eli. With his remaining vehicle low on fuel, Carnegie returns to town. Solara finds Eli, and they drive until they reach the Golden Gate Bridge, and row to Alcatraz Island, where they find a group intent on preserving what remains of literature and music. Eli tells the guards that he has a copy of the Bible. Taken inside, Eli is revealed to be blind, and dictates the New King James Version of the Bible from memory to Lombardi, the sanctuary’s leader.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)In the town, the Engineer opens Eli’s locked Bible, which Carnegie discovers is in Braille. Claudia, pretending she cannot remember how to read it, tells Carnegie that his leg wound has become infected and the loss of his enforcers has led the people to run amok. At the sanctuary, Eli has died, but not before reciting the entire book. A printing press begins producing copies of the Bible, and Lombardi places one on a bookshelf between the Tanakh and the Quran. Offered sanctuary, Solara chooses to return home, taking up Eli’s machete and other possessions.This film is masterfully shot. Solid cast that you really become invested in. Beautiful! Definably an Epic of Biblical Proportions.

REVIEW: TRAINING DAY (2001)

CAST

Denzel Washington (The Taking of Pelham 123)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Scott Glenn (Daredevil)
Tom Berenger (Platoon)
Harris Yulin (Ghostbusters 2)
Raymond J. Barry (Alias)
Cliff Curtis (Jubilee)
Snoop Dogg (Scary Movie V)
Eva Mendes (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Raymond Cruz (My Name Is Earl)
Fran Kranz (Dollhouse)
Terry Crews (Get Smart)
Denzel Whitaker (The Purge TV)
Macy Gray (Fuller House)
Nick Chinlund (Con Air)
Noel Gugliemi (The Fast and The Furious)
Peter Greene (The Mask)

The film follows a day in the life of Los Angeles Police Department officer Jake Hoyt, who is scheduled to be evaluated by Detective Alonzo Harris, a highly decorated LAPD narcotics officer, for a possible promotion. Riding around in Alonzo’s car, they begin the day by catching some college kids buying cannabis from a street gang. Alonzo confiscates the drugs and tells Jake to smoke it – Jake refuses at first, only to comply when Alonzo threatens him at gunpoint, with the explanation that refusing an offer on the street could get him killed. After smoking it, Alonzo informs him that the weed was laced with PCP. They then pay a brief visit to Roger, an old friend of Alonzo’s who is also a drug dealer and former police officer. Back in the car, Jake notices a teenage girl being sexually assaulted and runs out to subdue the attackers while Alonzo watches. Alonzo tells the girl to leave and allows the men to go free, despite Jake’s disapproval. Jake finds the girl’s wallet on the ground and takes it.
Alonzo and Jake later apprehend a wheelchair-bound dealer named Blue, finding crack rocks and a loaded handgun on him. In exchange for his freedom, Blue reveals his associate: Kevin “Sandman” Miller, who is in prison. Alonzo takes Jake to Sandman’s home in Watts, where he uses a fake search warrant to steal $40,000 from the premises. However, Sandman’s wife realizes the scam and calls out to nearby gang members, who open fire. The two officers barely escape.
For lunch, the duo visit Alonzo’s Salvadoran mistress, Sara, and their young son at Baldwin Village. Afterwards, Alonzo meets with a trio of high-ranking police officials dubbed as the “Three Wise Men” – they tell Alonzo that they know the Russian Mafia is hunting him for an incident over the weekend in Las Vegas and suggest that he leave town, but he insists that he has control of the situation and gets permission to “cash in an account”. Alonzo thus gives them Sandman’s drug money for an arrest warrant.
Alonzo takes Jake and four other narcotics officers back to Roger’s house – using the warrant, they seize $4 million from underneath the floor of his kitchen, but Jake refuses to take his share of the cash. Alonzo then kills Roger and arranges for the scene to appear like a justified shooting. Jake refuses to cooperate and after being threatened, seizes Alonzo’s shotgun, prompting a Mexican standoff. However, Alonzo calms his associates and claims that the LAPD will run a blood test on Jake (identifying the PCP he smoked), the result of which he can falsify in exchange for Jake’s cooperation. Jake reluctantly gives in.
Alonzo drives Jake to the home of a Sureño named Smiley, allegedly to run an errand. He furtively abandons Jake as Jake reluctantly plays poker with Smiley and his fellow gang members. A tense conversation ensues in which Smiley reveals Alonzo’s situation: by midnight, Alonzo must pay $1 million to the Russian Mafia for killing one of their men in Las Vegas, or be killed himself. Jake realizes too late that Alonzo had paid Smiley to kill him, and is beaten and dragged to the bathtub for execution. The gang search Jake to find the wallet dropped by the teenage girl, who is revealed to be Smiley’s cousin. Smiley calls her, who confirms that Jake risked his life to defend her. In gratitude, Smiley lets Jake go.
Jake returns to Sara’s apartment and attempts to arrest Alonzo, but a gunfight and chase ensues, which ends with Jake subduing Alonzo in his escape vehicle. The local gang members and residents begin congregating to watch. Alonzo tries to get the crowd on his side by offering a reward to whoever kills Jake; but instead, they allow Jake to walk away with the money. Alonzo attempts to flee via Los Angeles International Airport, but is found and killed by Russian Mafia hitmen in a street shooting. Jake returns home with Alonzo’s money (having said earlier that the money will serve as his evidence corroborating Alonzo’s crimes of the day), and Alonzo’s death is broadcast over the news, touting him as a heroic officer serving a high risk warrant.The end result is nothing less than a brilliant thriller. Hawke and Washington make for a phenomenal double act and the pace only occasionally lets up to allow the characters time to breathe and establish the depth that makes you care for them more. Highly recommended.

REVIEW: MAN ON FIRE

 

CAST

Denzel Washington (The Equalizer)
Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black)
Marc Anthony (Hackers)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Giancarlo Giannini (Hannibal)
Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall)
Jesús Ochoa (Only God Knows)
Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2)

In 2003, burnt-out ex-CIA (SAD/SOG) Paramilitary operations officer and former U.S. Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance officer John Creasy (Denzel Washington) visits his old comrade Paul Rayburn (Christopher Walken), who runs a security firm in Mexico. Because of the extremely high rate of kidnappings in Mexico City for ransoms, wealthy businessman Samuel Ramos (Marc Anthony) hires Creasy through Rayburn to guard his nine-year-old daughter “Pita” (Dakota Fanning). However, Samuel is having money problems and intends to keep Creasy on only long enough to satisfy the requirements to renew his kidnap and ransom insurance on Pita. Creasy suffers from alcoholism, depression and severe guilt as a result of his former black ops work. Drinking heavily, Creasy attempts suicide with his pistol, but the cartridge fails to fire when he pulls the trigger. He calls Rayburn, who says that “a bullet always tells the truth.” At first, Creasy distances himself from Pita, but soon he becomes a surrogate father to the girl, allowing him to stop drinking and find a purpose in his life.One day, while Creasy is escorting Pita from her piano lesson, a group of gunmen try to kidnap her. Creasy kills four of the kidnappers, including two corrupt policemen, in a shoot out, but he is shot multiple times and collapses from his wounds, and the abductors escape with Pita, who Creasy had commanded to flee, but returned to the collapsed Creasy. Creasy is hospitalized, but is moved to a veterinary hospital by Miguel Manzano (Giancarlo Giannini), a senior agent of the Agencia Federal de Investigación (AFI), who suspects Creasy will be killed by rogue police. Meanwhile, the Ramoses agree to deliver a dead drop ransom of US$10 million per the instructions of “La Voz” (“The Voice”) (Roberto Sosa), the mastermind behind the kidnapping ring. Samuel’s attorney, Jordan Kalfus (Mickey Rourke), and police detective Victor Fuentes (Jesús Ochoa) arrange for the ransom money to be collected from Samuel’s kidnapping insurance policy, then delivered to the kidnappers. The drop, however, is ambushed by members of “La Hermandad”, a powerful crime syndicate composed of corrupt police officers, who steal the money and kill The Voice’s nephew in the process. The Voice notifies the Ramoses that Pita will be killed in retribution.Creasy leaves the hospital before fully recovering, swearing to Pita’s mother Lisa (Radha Mitchell) that he will kill everyone involved in her daughter’s abduction. Rayburn helps Creasy purchase black market firearms, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and explosives. Mariana Guerrero (Rachel Ticotin), a journalist investigating kidnappings, and Manzano also offer their support. Creasy tracks down low-level operatives involved in various stages of the kidnapping, torturing each for information about other operatives, then killing them in brutal ways, eventually learning from Fuentes, who is revealed to be the “president” of “La Hermandad”, that the bags they stole at the ransom drop contained only $2.5 million of actual currency while the rest was blank paper.Creasy finds Kalfus murdered and then finds evidence of his questionable financial dealings with Samuel. He confronts Samuel and Lisa for the truth behind the kidnapping. Samuel confesses to Creasy and Lisa that he agreed to Kalfus’ plan to stage Pita’s kidnapping, so he could pay off business debts by fraudulently collecting the insurance money. He planned to keep $5 million for himself and split the rest between Kalfus and the kidnappers. He was told that Pita would watch cartoons for a couple days and be returned after the ransom was paid, but Fuentes, who had been promised a cut of the money by Kalfus, became greedy and betrayed him and Samuel to try and take the entire ransom for himself. Samuel held Kalfus responsible for the botched drop and confesses to killing him after learning that Kalfus knew about Fuentes’ corruption. Creasy then leaves Samuel with a pistol and the misfired round, which works for Samuel when he commits suicide.Using the information provided by Creasy, The Voice’s identity is revealed by Manzano to be Daniel Sánchez, who Mariana exposes on the front page of her newspaper. Creasy sneaks into the home of Sánchez’s ex-wife and children, and is shot by his brother Aurelio (Gero Camilo), whom Creasy then captures. Creasy calls Daniel Sánchez and threatens to kill all of his family unless he gives himself up, but Sánchez reveals that Pita is still alive, and offers her in exchange for Aurelio and Creasy. Creasy and Pita share a tearful goodbye before he surrenders himself to Sánchez’ men, as Pita is released into her mother’s arms. Creasy dies peacefully from his gunshot injuries. Daniel Sánchez is later killed by Manzano during an AFI arrest raid.Style trumps substance in Man on Fire, a slick, brooding reunion of Crimson Tide star Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott. Prolific screenwriter Brian Helgeland (Mystic River, L.A. Confidential) sets a solid emotional foundation for Washington’s tormented character, and Scott’s stylistic excess compensates for a distended plot that’s both repellently violent and viscerally absorbing. Man on Fire is roughly on par with Scott’s similar 1990 film Revenge, efficiently satisfying Washington’s incendiary bloodlust under a heavy blanket of humid, doom-laden atmosphere

REVIEW: INSIDE MAN

CAST

Denzel Washington (The Equalizer)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
Jodie Foster (The Brave One)
Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange)
Kim Director (Blair Witch 2)
Ken Leung (Lost)

A man named Dalton Russell sits in an unidentified cell and narrates a story of how he has committed the perfect robbery. In New York, masked robbers, dressed as painters and using variants of the name “Steve” as aliases, seize control of a Manhattan bank and take the patrons and employees hostage. They divide the hostages into groups and hold them in different rooms, forcing them to don painters clothes identical to their own. The robbers rotate the hostages among various rooms and occasionally insert themselves covertly into the groups. They also take turns working on an unspecified project involving demolishing the floor in one of the bank’s storage rooms.Police surround the bank and Detectives Keith Frazier and Bill Mitchell take charge of the negotiations. Russell, the leader of the robbers, demands food and the police supply them with pizzas whose boxes include listening devices. The bugs pick up a language which the police identify as Albanian. They discover, however, that the conversations are in fact propaganda recordings of deceased Albanian communist dictator Enver Hoxha, implying that the robbers anticipated the attempted surveillance.When Arthur Case, chairman of the board of directors and founder of the bank, hears of the robbery taking place, he hires “fixer” Madeleine White to try to protect the contents of his safe deposit box within the bank. White arranges a conversation with Russell, who allows her to enter the bank and inspect the contents of the box, which include documents from Nazi Germany. Russell implies that Case started his bank with money that he received from the Nazis for unspecified services, resulting in the deaths of many Jewish people during World War II. White tells Russell that Case will pay him a substantial sum if he destroys the contents of the box. Frazier demands to inspect the hostages before allowing the robbers to leave and Russell takes him on a tour of the bank. As he is being shown out, Frazier attacks Russell, but is restrained by another of the robbers. Afterwards he explains that he deliberately tried to provoke Russell and judges that the man is not a killer. However, this is disproven when the robbers execute one of the hostages.The execution prompts the ESU team into action. They plan to storm the bank and use rubber bullets to knock out those inside. Frazier discovers that the robbers have planted a listening device on the police; aware of the police plans, the robbers detonate smoke grenades and release the hostages. The police detain and question everyone but are unable to distinguish the identically dressed hostages from the robbers. A search of the bank reveals the robbers’ weapons were plastic replicas. They find props for faking the execution, but no money or valuables appear to have been stolen. With no way to identify the suspects and unsure if a crime has even been committed, Frazier’s superior orders him to drop the case.Frazier, however, searches the bank’s records and finds that safe deposit box #392 has never appeared on any records since the bank’s founding in 1948. He obtains a search warrant to open it. He is then confronted by White, who informs him of Case’s Nazi dealings. She attempts to persuade Frazier to drop his investigation, but he refuses, playing a recording of an incriminating conversation that she had with him. White confronts Case who admits that the box contained diamonds and a ring that he had taken from a Jewish friend whom he had betrayed to the Nazis.  Russell repeats his opening monologue, but with the revelation that he is in fact hiding behind a fake wall the robbers had constructed inside the bank’s supply room. He emerges a week after the robbery with the contents of Case’s safe deposit box, including incriminating documents and several bags of diamonds. On his way out, he bumps into Frazier, who does not recognize him. When Frazier opens the safe deposit box, he finds the ring and a note from Russell. Frazier confronts Case and urges White to contact the Office of War Crimes Issues at the State Department about Case’s war crimes. At home, Frazier finds a loose diamond, slipped into his pocket by Russell.It’s not a flawless film by any means: the last reel doesn’t quite match up to what preceded it, and the script doesn’t really get you near the skin of the characters (even if it does serve up some delicious, not entirely expected moments). Yet as heist movies go, this is one of the better examples of recent times, with plenty of reasons to recommend it.

REVIEW: COURAGE UNDER FIRE

CAST

Denzel Washington (The Equalizer)
Meg Ryan (Anastasia)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Young Guns)
Matt Damon (The MArtian)
Bronson Pinchot (Lois & Clark)
Seth Gilliam (Oz)
Regina Taylor (Children of The Dust)
Michael Moriarty (Troll)
Željko Ivanek (Heores)
Scott Glenn (Daredevil)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Sean Astin (Lord of The Rings)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance)
Bruce McGill (Lincoln)

While serving in the Gulf War, Lieutenant Colonel Serling (Denzel Washington) accidentally destroys one of his own tanks during a confusing night-time battle, killing his friend, Captain Boylar. The US Army covers up the details and transfers Serling to a desk job.Later, Serling is assigned to determine if Captain Karen Emma Walden (Meg Ryan) should be the first woman to receive a (posthumous) Medal of Honor. She was the commander of a Medevac Huey that was sent to rescue the crew of a shot-down Black Hawk. When she encountered a T-54, her crew destroyed it by dropping a fuel bladder onto the tank and igniting it with a flare gun. However, her own helicopter was shot down soon after. The two crews were unable to join forces, and when the survivors were rescued the next day, Walden was reported dead.Serling notices inconsistencies between the testimonies of Walden’s crew. Specialist Andrew Ilario (Matt Damon), the medic, praises Walden strongly. However, Staff Sergeant John Monfriez (Lou Diamond Phillips) claims that Walden was a coward and that he led the crew in combat and improvised the fuel bladder weapon. Sergeant Altameyer, who is dying in a hospital, complains about a fire. Warrant Officer One Rady, the co-pilot, was injured early on and unconscious throughout. Furthermore, the crew of the Black Hawk claim that they heard firing from an M16, but Ilario and Monfriez deny they had one.Under pressure from the White House and his commander, Brigadier General Hershberg (Michael Moriarty), to wrap things up quickly, Serling leaks the story to newspaper reporter Tony Gartner (Scott Glenn) to prevent another cover-up. When Serling grills Monfriez during a car ride, Monfriez forces him to get out of the vehicle at gunpoint, then commits suicide by driving into an oncoming train. Serling tracks Ilario down, and Ilario finally tells him the truth. Monfriez wanted to flee, which would mean abandoning Rady. When Walden refused, he pulled a gun on her. Walden then shot an enemy who appeared behind Monfriez, but Monfriez thought Walden was firing at him and shot her in the stomach, before backing off. The next morning, the enemy attacked again as a rescue party approached. Walden covered her men’s retreat, firing an M16. However, Monfriez told the rescuers that Walden was dead, so they left without her. Napalm was then dropped on the entire area. Altameyer tried to expose Monfriez’s lie at the time, but was too injured to speak, and Ilario was too scared of the court-martial Walden had threatened them with and remained silent.Serling presents his final report to Hershberg. Walden’s young daughter receives the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony. Later, Serling tells the truth to the Boylars about the manner of their son’s death and says he cannot ask for forgiveness. The Boylars tell Serling he must put down the burden at some point and grant him their forgiveness. In the last moments, Serling has a flashback of when he was standing by Boylar’s destroyed tank and a medevac Huey was lifting off with his friend’s body. Serling suddenly realises Walden was the Huey pilot.Truly compelling direction and very special character portrayal make this an extremely enjoyable, very dramatic movie.

 

REVIEW: THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123

 

CAST

Denzel Washington (Training Day
John Travolta (The Punisher)
James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly)
Victor Gojcaj (Unstoppable)
John Turtrro (Transformers)
Luis Guzman (Traffic)
Ramón Rodríguez (Pride and Glory)
Michael Rispoli (Pain & Gain)
Aunjanue Ellis (Ray)

 

https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/dvd/sony/APlusDetailPages/Pelham/Pelham_1_L.jpgA man calling himself Ryder hijacks Pelham 123, a New York City Subway 6 train that departed from Pelham Bay Park station at 1:23 p.m. Ryder is accompanied by three other heavily armed men: Bashkim, Emri and former train operator Phil Ramos. They uncouple the front car from the rest of the train and take the passengers hostage. MTA employee Walter Garber is working the Rail Control Center as a train dispatcher and receives a ransom call from Ryder, who demands $10 million in cash be paid within 60 minutes. Ryder warns that every minute past the deadline they force him to wait, he will execute a hostage.

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Bashkim kills a plainclothes Transit Police officer who approaches him after recognizing that something is amiss. He and Ramos then allow all the passengers not in the front car to be released except for the motorman. Garber reluctantly negotiates with Ryder and develops a rapport, while Ramos and Emri set up Internet access in the tunnel. Ryder uses his laptop to watch the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunge nearly 1,000 points during the next hour in response to the hostage-taking. One of the passenger’s laptops also connects to the Internet, and the computer’s webcam is activated. The webcam allows the people in the control center to observe Ryder and Ramos. Lieutenant Camonetti of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit enters the RCC to take over negotiations and Garber is ordered to leave the premises. The change infuriates Ryder, who shoots and kills the train’s motorman in order to force Camonetti to bring Garber back. Garber blames Camonetti for the motorman’s death.
MV5BZmUzYzg5YmMtNDI0ZC00NmRjLWFkN2ItY2RlZWIyNTQ2OTZlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTc5MDI5NjE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Camonetti learns that Garber is being investigated for allegedly accepting a $35,000 bribe over a contract for new subway cars. Ryder also discovers the allegations through online news reports after Ramos told Ryder that Garber was a “big-shot” at the MTA and should not be dispatching trains and forces Garber to confess by threatening to kill a passenger. Garber explains that he was offered the bribe while deciding between two companies for a train contract, but also tells Ryder that he used the money to pay for his child’s college tuition and insists that he would have made the same decision without the financial offer. Ryder expresses his admiration for Garber’s willingness to risk himself to save a stranger. Meanwhile, the Mayor agrees to deliver the ransom money to Ryder and orders the NYPD to deliver it. On the way to the delivery point, the police are involved in an accident and fail to get the money there in time. Garber attempts to bluff Ryder by telling him the money has been dropped off, unaware that Ryder has been monitoring events on his laptop and knows he’s being lied to. An enraged Ryder threatens to execute one of the children hostages and the child’s mother. Another hostage, a former soldier, sacrifices himself to save the mother and child and is killed. A short gunfight erupts after an NYPD sniper is bitten by a rat and accidentally discharges his weapon, killing Ramos.
dc-comics-crisis-on-infinite-earths-crossoverBased on clues that Garber receives during his conversations with Ryder, the NYPD discover that Ryder’s real name is Dennis Ford. He was a manager at a private equity firm before being sentenced to prison for investment fraud. Ford had agreed to a plea bargain for a three-year sentence, but was instead sentenced to ten years by the judge. One of the Mayor’s aides mentions the extreme drop in the major stock indexes in response to the train hijacking, and the Mayor deduces that Ryder is actually attempting to manipulate the market via put options. Ryder demands that Garber himself deliver the ransom money, and Garber is given a pistol and flown to the terminal to make the drop. Ryder brings Garber aboard and orders him to operate the train to the next station, where he and the hijackers exit the train during a brief stop. Ryder then uses a device to rig the train to go on without them. Garber manages to separate himself from Ryder at a railway crossing and then follows him as he escapes to the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Ryder parts from Bashkim and Emri, who are later shot dead after being surrounded by police.
imagesThe train comes to a halt safely, and police learn that Ryder is no longer on board. Ryder hails a taxi while Garber follows him in a truck. Ryder checks his laptop and finds that his scheme has amassed a $307 million profit. He leaves the cab on the Manhattan Bridge and takes the bridge’s pedestrian walkway but Garber catches up to him. Garber holds Ryder at gunpoint, and Ryder gives him a 10-second ultimatum to pull the trigger. In the final seconds of the countdown, Ryder pulls out his gun and forces Garber to shoot him. As he lies dying, Ryder tells Garber that he considers him a hero. Garber should be glad that he avenged the motorman’s death by killing Ryder. Afterward, the mayor thanks Garber for saving the hostages and reassures him about his bribery charges. The film concludes with Garber walking into his home carrying a bag of groceries, including a half-gallon of milk he promised his wife, Theresa, he’d bring home earlier in the film.MV5BMTQzZjNhZTItNjQ1MC00Yzg5LTgyZmItOWE1Y2I2Zjg3NDYxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTc5MDI5NjE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Pelham works pretty well as a thriller because the Tony Scott-Denzel Washington teaming always seems to do so and adding Travolta, always fun as a villain, is another nice touch. it doesn’t always leave you engaged in what’s happening, whether because the plot or the action lacks humanity. Still it’s held together by good acting and solid direction and for that alone it’s worth a ride.

 

REVIEW: FALLEN

CAST

Denzel Washington (Training Day)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games)
Embeth Davidtz (The Amazing Spider-Man)
James Gandolfini (8mm)
Elias Koteas (Shutter Island)
Robert Joy (Land of The Dead)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Aida Turturro (Junior)
Barry Shabaka Henley (Heroes)
Ray Xifo (Stargate SG.1)
Cress Williams (Black Lightning)
Michael Shamus Wiles (Breaking Bad)
Jason George (Station 19)
Graham Beckel (LA Confidential)

 

MV5BMTcxNDk5MzQ4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDk2OTIwMjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1513,1000_AL_A voiceover says that this is the story of how the narrator almost died. NYPD Detective John Hobbes visits serial killer named Edgar Reese, who he helped capture, on death row. Reese grabs Hobbes’ hand and says something in an unknown language, later identified as Aramaic. After Reese is executed, Hobbes and his partner Jonesy investigate a string of murders by an apparent copycat killer. Hobbes, through hints given initially by Reese, and later by the apparent copycat killer, tracks down a woman named Gretta Milano, the daughter of a former detective. Gretta explains that her father, a detective in the same city killed himself after being accused of a series of demonic-themed murders. Hobbes goes to the Milano family’s lake-house, and finds books concerning demonic possession, and sees the name Azazel written on a wall.MV5BODE2MjIzNDI4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTk2OTIwMjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1489,1000_AL_Hobbes inquires after the name to Gretta, who gravely advises him to drop the case to protect his life and family. Gretta explains that Azazel is a fallen angel with the power to possess human beings by touch. Hobbes realizes that Azazel, while possessing Edgar Reese, touched Hobbes before the execution, but was not able to possess him. Gretta explains that the demon will try to ruin his life by another way, and warns him of the inevitability of Azazel’s victory. Azazel finds Hobbes at his precinct, and through his coworkers, torments him. Hobbes reveals his knowledge of Azazel’s true identity, to which the demon responds, “Beware my wrath”, and disappears into the city.
MV5BODE2MjIzNDI4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTk2OTIwMjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1489,1000_AL_To provoke Hobbes, Azazel possesses his nephew Sam and attacks John’s intellectually disabled brother Art in their home. He flees into other people on the street, ending up in a schoolteacher. As the teacher, Azazel draws a gun and forces Hobbes to shoot his host in front of a group of bystanders. Azazel boasts to Hobbes that even if his current host body is killed, he can transfer to any new host body in the surrounding area, without even needing to touch them. Lieutenant Stanton informs Hobbes that his fingerprints were found at one of the murder scenes and along with the bizarre circumstances of the shooting of the teacher Azazel possessed, he has become a suspect for all the murders. Azazel inhabits several of the witnesses and gives false accounts that the shooting was unprovoked, thereby throwing further suspicion on Hobbes, framing him for the crime. He also comes into his home and murders his brother, whilst also marking Sam. Hobbes then takes his nephew to Gretta’s house, to keep him safe.

Hobbes, after consulting with Gretta, formulates a plan to end Azazel. He escapes to the lakeside cabin where he originally found Azazel’s name and draws the demon to him. Stanton and Jonesy show up, to talk to Hobbes. Jonesy, possessed by Azazel, kills Stanton and pursues Hobbes into the cabin. After ambushing the demon, Hobbes shoots Jonesy in the stomach. Azazel takes possession of Hobbes’ body and learns that Hobbes has poisoned himself. He frantically searches the remote wilderness for another host, but succumbs to the poison and dies. Azazel, in a voiceover, reminds the viewer this is the story of how he almost died. A cat, who becomes possessed by Azazel, emerges from underneath the cabin.

Fallen is a dark supernatural thriller that is definitely worth watching. The plot is very clever, beautifully constructed and acted, with a superbly thought-provoking ending. Denzel Washington does a really good job as the homicide detective Hobbes being chased by the fallen angel, Azazel. Excellent support is provided by John Goodman as his partner. The film is genuinely creepy in places and Azazel’s transference from person to person produces some really good scenes. Overall, this movie was excellent, thanks to the superb acting from all the cast, and the great direction of the film.

REVIEW: OUT OF TIME

 

 

CAST

Denzel Washington (Training Day)
Eva Mendes (Ghost Rider)
Sanaa Lathan (The Cleveland Show)
Dean Cain (Lois & Clark)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Robert Baker (Hick)
Alex Carter (The Island)
Nora Dunn (New Girl)

 

MV5BNDE1NDhjNDUtODRiZS00NTA3LTlmMTAtZWIyNTBkMDEzOWM5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc0Njg2Mzg@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1500,1000_AL_Matthias “Matt” Lee Whitlock (Denzel Washington) is the respected Chief of Police of the fictional small town of Banyan Key, Florida. He has recently executed a successful, high-profile drug bust that turned up $450,000 in drug money. Although he enjoys his job, his drinking while on duty is an obvious character flaw, exacerbated by his pending divorce from his wife, homicide detective Alex Diaz Whitlock (Eva Mendes). Matt is currently seeing local resident Anne Merai-Harrison (Sanaa Lathan) – whose husband Chris (Dean Cain), a former professional quarterback turned security guard, abuses her. Matt’s friend, Chae (John Billingsley), a medical examiner, jokingly wants them to use the $450,000 to go into business together. Matt, however, finds out that Anne has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
MV5BMzc3MDg5NzA5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzg5MDQ2NA@@._V1_Anne intends to reward Matt’s loyalty to her by making him the sole beneficiary of her $1,000,000 life insurance policy. Matt tries to find a way to give Anne some hope and suggests that she should travel to Switzerland to undergo a newly developed treatment. The problem is that Anne has been living beyond her means and does not have any money. Desperate to help her, Matt bends the rules and lends her the $450,000 so she can make the trip. When the $450,000 goes up in flames in a suspicious house fire that kills Anne and Chris, Matt finds himself in a great deal of trouble. Not only is the money now gone, but Matt knows that even though he is innocent, circumstantial evidence – such as the insurance policy and the fact that he had been seeing Anne – could make him the prime suspect.
MV5BMTQxMDg2MTEyMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzAwMTQ2NA@@._V1_The Drug Enforcement Administration agents call the next day to get the payment in order to bust a higher drug lord using currency serial numbers, Matt responds erratically. He also finds about a person whom Anne has been visited by. He finds that the money is with that guy and that Alex is about to bust him. He rushes to the hotel and accidentally kills him, takes the money and flees. Although he is seen by the police, he is thought to have come to protect Alex. Later that evening, Alex finds that Matt is Anne’s sole beneficiary and also that he has been visiting her. At the same time, Matt receives a distress call from Anne and unofficially goes to save her, using the money. He kills her husband, but then Anne reveals that she had planned all of this and shoots him.
MV5BMTk5OTE2MjEzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjEwMTQ2NA@@._V1_When she is about to kill Matt, Alex kills her as she had traced him using a GPS tracker and asks him whether he planned to elope with the money. But Matt reveals that he has not brought the money with him. When the irritated DEA agents come to arrest Matt as he had promised the money delivery by noon and it was 7pm, he says that his man was sent to Miami, and simultaneously Chae appears with the money, telling a wrong address and that he could not find the DEA office. So the DEA agents leave with the money and Matt has no charges on him. Later when Matt is on medical leave, Alex visits him and says she has decided to drop the divorce and move back with Matt. Chae also brings news that Matt owns 1 million USD, which is Anne’s insurance. But Alex says that he will reject it and they move indoors to make love.MV5BMTMxNTE5NTgzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTAwMTQ2NA@@._V1_This film looked as if it could be fantastically corny and uninteresting, however it turned out to be a genuinely brilliant thriller. This film keeps you on the edge of your seat as your never quite sure whats going to happen next.