Denzel Washington is one of Americas great modern-day actors. The No. 1 reason an actor ascends to one of the greats is diversification of roles. Anyone can play the same character over and over. Washington is as convincing as a drug lord as he is as a high school football coach. And no one today plays the flawed hero better than Washington, evidenced in Devil in a Blue Dress, Man on Fire and like a half-dozen other feats of acting athletics. Count this performance among Washingtons deft displays of the antihero. Ryan Reynolds co-anchors, hes becoming a veteran of fast-moving action flicks and his style of playing another character thats in over his head compliments Washingtons charisma. And his charisma propels the story of a rogue CIA agent. Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson continue to be two of the best supporting actors in Hollywood. Safe House is a safe bet well worth a watch.
This Means War
Producer/director McG is known to over-stylize his action. He aims for over-the-top. What he usually gets is under-performing, unsatisfying films. Then, he takes a three-year hiatus to produce TV shows before subjecting himself to critics again. Take a look at his directorial filmography Charlies Angels in 2000, Charlies Angels: Full Throttle in 2003, We are Marshall in 2006 (his one non-action movie), and Terminator Salvation in 2009. This is his first foray into romantic comedy. Well its more like an action romantic comedy or AcRoCo (we totally just made that up). The film deals with a love triangle between two CIA operatives and a consumer product tester. The operatives are played by two actors on the rise Chris Pine, who is the new Captain Kirk and Tom Hardy, who plays the villain in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises. Reese Witherspoon is the love interest. The film doesnt add up to the sum of its parts. Its campy and goofy at times. But its an AcRoCo this means even though some guys will have to watch this romantic comedy, at least theres some over-the-top action worth a watch, if you have to.
Lets make this short and to the point. Heres a list of problems with the terribly named Shark Night. The setting takes place on a salt lake the lake thing was done to death by the time Lake Placid was made. The acting is so terrible that the actors with talent have to dummy themselves down to fit in the usually entertaining Donal Logue is cancelled out by the awesomely bad cast, which includes American Idol Katharine McPhee. The tone cannot make up its mind does it want to be a serious, bite-and-rip horror movie? Is it a ravage and revenge tale? Or is it an homage to the nonsensical, bloody bashes of drive-in movies in their heyday? The gory special effects arent enough to fix whats broken. If you havent gotten enough shark coverage on the local news, watch Jaws or Deep Blue Sea again and steer away from the dangerously dumb waters of Shark Night. Pass.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge