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Entries in Denzel Washington (23)


The Magnificent...Two

Movie Stars still matter. As long as they're real movie stars and not just "leads". Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks both became famous in the 1980s and they continue to be two of the most reliable leading men thirty-ish years after their first hits. So nothing about the success of The Magnificent Seven and Sully is complicated or surprising. Congrats to those perennials. Here are the weekend box office charts:

01 The Magnificent Seven $35 NEW Review
02 Storks $21.8 NEW 
03 Sully $13.8 (cum. $92.3)  Review
04 Bridget Jones's Baby $4.5 (cum. $16.4) Review
05 Snowden $4.1 (cum. $15.1)
06 Blair Witch $3.9 (cum $16.1) Review & Remembering Blair Witch (1999)
07 Don't Breathe $3.8 (cum. $81.1)
08 Suicide Squad $3.1 (cum. $318.1) Review & Worst of Year
09 When the Bough Breaks $2.5 (cum. $26.6)
10 Kubo and the Two Strings $1.1 (cum $45.9) Review

(Excluding Previously Wide)
01 No Manches Frida $740K (cum. $10.3)
02 The Beatles: Eight Days a Week... $397K (cum. $1.4)
03 The Queen of Katwe $305K NEW 
04 The Hollars $273K (cum. $729K)
05 The Dressmaker $180K NEW
06 Don't Think Twice $132K (cum $4) Review 
07 Hunt for the Wilderpeople $78K (cum. $5) Review
08 Cafe Society $57K (cum. $10.9) Review 
09 Greater $55K (cum. $1.8)
10 Indignation $25K (cum $3.3) Review

While the inspirational drama Queen of Katwe didn't exactly sell out its shows this weekend at 52 locations, word of mouth has been so strong on that picture that we can expect it will expand well once that word of mouth has a chance to be heard. The Dressmaker wasn't quite as big a draw in select cities but Kate Winslet and the movie's wackiness (anyone longing for the days of hit Australian comedy imports of the 1990s should run to the theater) should help keep that one afloat for a bit.

What did you see this weekend?


Review: "The Magnificent Seven"

by Chris Feil

Drawing on the original iterations of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and the 1960 American remake by John Sturges, Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven arrives as another attempt to reanimate the American western.

Denzel Washington leads this bursting cast as Chisolm, corralling a ragtag mini-militia to help protect a small town from a violent and overbearing tycoon (Peter Sarsgaard). There are familiar faces (Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, Vincent D'Onofrio) and emerging talents (Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier) rounding out the Magnificent bunch with more shared attention to each player than you might be anticipating...

Click to read more ...


The Best Actor Competition... What is Going On Here? 

Only two men seem to have even remotely locked up their positions in the current Best Actor race and one of those only on reputation / material alone since no one has yet seen Denzel Washington's adaptation of Fences. So is it really Denzel for this third Oscar versus Casey Affleck for his first or is there more going on? There had better be since there are five nomination slots. Ten if you think of it in terms of Golden Globe excitement come year's end.

Since romantic male leads have historically had a tough time finding Oscar nominations from the male-heavy Academy body (romance is for girls. ewwwww, cooties) I know it looks weird to suggest that both Joel Edgerton and Ryan Gosling are looking likely but at this stage the field is what the field is. Gosling in particular, an actor whose work I've always deeply loved don't misunderstand, would seem like a clear miss. Think about it. He's headlining a musical which relies heavily on his effortless dreaminess, vibrant musicality, and physical grace. Not that those aren't award worthy attributes but Oscar is very gender-rigid about which adjectives are award worthy and if you say "dreamy, musical, and graceful" they'll think Best Actress. Which is why Emma Stone is much more locked up as a competitor at this stage, even though, musically speaking, she isn't as natural a dancer or musician. (Please note: Gosling also plays piano like a pro or can fake it better than pretty much any other actor I've ever seen.)

Edgerton & Gosling's chief competition looks like very young men (in terms of Oscar-voter tastes) in the form of Miles Teller (if his movie's a success), Dev Patel (if they don't do something fishy with the campaign), and Joe Alwyn (if he's tremendous in his debut and people love the movie). I know some are banking on Matthew McConaughey in Gold or Andrew Garfield in Silence (both sight unseen) but I'm suspicious in both cases. Just a hunch. 

That's where we'll find the gold.

The lack of heavy competition in this race means that Tom Hanks will finally be back after missing so recently for his arguably best work in Best Picture nominees. We can hope that the lack of excitement in this race (to date at least) will inspire more passion votes, too. If voters aren't feeling the leading men this year they could always look at off center giants like Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic. I'd be shocked if there's five stronger leading male performances than his this year -- not that "deserves" got much to do with it. 

The New Best Actor Chart - Thoughts? 


Movie News in 4 Questions and a Video

by Murtada

Today's movie news offered questions and head scratchers more than usual. So I’ll present you with the questions and maybe you can help me with the answers. Or just join in the bewilderment:

• Why would David Fincher want to direct the sequel to World War Z? Obviously Pitt is a favorite of his but a sequel, really? Is this related to the fact that HBO passed on the two series he was developing for the past couple of years?

• How will Margot Robbie play 4 foot 9 trapeze artist  Lillian Leitzel in Queen of the Air? Will they employ the inverse of whatever they did to make Meryl Streep taller in Julie and Julia (2009)?

• Do we care about the feud between The Rock and Vin Diesel? And doesn’t “candy ass” sound like a euphemism for something?

• What was the extent of Tony Kushner’s involvement in the script for Fences? It was always known that they were working from an August Wilson penned screenplay that both Kushner and Denzel Washington worked on polishing.

• And finally, if you've googled "Who is Awkwafina?" after the news broke out about the cast for Ocean's 8, here's a clue:

 Take it away, dear readers!


YNMS: Magnificent Seven, Girl on the Train, Cafe Society

It's a triple trailer mini breakdown. Are you a Yes, No or Maybe So on these three pictures?

Girl on the Train Trailer

YES. Emily Blunt deserves a big hit and she's always so watchable. Also: How is Allison Janney always so perfect? It's one of the great mysteries of the universe. The supporting cast is filled with solid players: Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Lisa Kudrow.
NO. Seems like the kind of picture that will be ruined before it opens with spoilers
MAYBE SO. Tate Taylor directed The Help which is better than people give it credit for being. Can he handle the thriller genre? That's quite a different skill set.

Magnificent Seven Trailer

YES. Chris Pratt being adorable again. He really sells it in this trailer. Denzel is reliable... even when he isn't trying (though we always wish he would try). The other cast members get no time in this trailer but Peter Sarsgaard is the villain and he deserves a showy role again. Also we welcome more Byung-hun Lee in our lives.
NO. Guns. guns. guns. Hollywood is like its own gun lobby really. All guns all the time. I bet like 40% of all movie posters have guns on them or something.
MAYBE SO. Is it is good as the film its remaking The Magnificent Seven (1960) which was itself a remake of The Seven Samurai (1954)

Cafe Society Trailer

YES. Jeannie Berlin looks fun as Jesse Eisenberg's mom and the premise has so much potential. Also Parker Posey as a platinum blonde sarcastic writer? Yes please. 
NO. Mobsters and showbiz? Good luck living up to Bullets Over Broadway. Dangerous film to reference cuz it's so damn funny and Woody movies haven't been that funny since. 
MAYBE SO.  Jesse Eisenberg says he's "half bored half fascinated"... even if that's true of the movie that's a win for modern day Woody pictures. We'll take half fascination. I don't know what any actor can bring to the stock hooker part anymore but if there's anyone that can maybe Anna Camp?


Looking Back, With Anger: Inside Man (2006)

Eric Blume here to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Spike Lee's Inside Man, which remains his biggest box office hit. 

When this tightly-plotted bank heist movie was released a decade ago, it promised a heavenly trio of huge stars:  Denzel Washington, two time Oscar winner; Clive Owen, fresh off his first nomination for Closer; and Jodie Foster, coming off two solo box office successes (Panic Room and Flightplan).  A decade later, only Washington (the least interesting actor of that trio) still works with annual frequency in major pictures.  He lends effortless dynamism and charisma in his usual everyman role. Unfortunately its been lazy sailing for him ever since with one major exception (Flight).

Watching Inside Man again, it’s the loss of both Owen and Foster as regular cinema fixtures that burns, which is ironic since the film demands little from them. [More...]

Click to read more ...


TV MVP of the Week: Younger, The Magicians, Grandfathered... 

I keep trying to get Team Experience to tell you what they're watching but they're weirdly shy about the small screen. But with the lines continually more blurred between screens we're trying to give television more room here. Nevertheless most of us do watch TV when we can squeeze it in between movies. 

Here's a few of our favorite things from the past week's viewing...

Patricia Field & Jacqueline Demetrio, Costume Design of Younger
Not since the glory days of Sex and the City has a show relied so beautifully on costumes (OK maybe Gossip Girl is up there, too) but in Younger they serve a purpose beyond aesthetics. Take for example the warrior-like costumes Miriam Shor's character wears, glittery armors, oversized jewelry and in one case a McQueen scarf that seemed to have the skulls of all her victims. That the very scarf was used by another character to reveal her weaknesses was pure brilliance.
-Jose Solis 

Gillian Anderson in The X-Files
We may quibble with the overall quality of this protracted sequel season of The X-Files but we should never complain about having more Gillian Anderson in our lives. [More...]

Click to read more ...