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Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)

Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)

What is not to like about the thought of Denzel Washington being an attorney?  His track record speaks for itself.  He is a man who can become anyone.  I do not remember the last time I was disappointed in a Denzel Washington movie.  He is one of the most consistently extraordinary actors of our time.  So, of course I wanted to see Roman J. Israel, Esq.

The film is about a stubborn savant, Roman J. Israel, Esq.  He is a diligent and methodical defense attorney, who is hopelessly stuck in his ways.  When his career is flipped upside down, it sends his ritualistic life spiraling out of control.

The movie was written and directed by Dan Gilroy and the noteworthy cast includes Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, and Tony Plana.

Great quote from the film:  “Every weapon is a tool if you hold it the right way.”

This is not a great movie.  This is a meticulous, one man freight train, and immersive performance by an iconic heavyweight, Denzel Washington.  This is eloquence in motion and an exercise in character.

In Roman J. Israel, Esq., Denzel becomes his character down to the gap in his front teeth, glasses, mini fro, headphones, precision in speech, mannerisms, and tendencies.  He is a diligent and unique man who sticks to his guns, and is still stubbornly listening to records and using paper files.  He is an eccentric-minded “Rain Man-like” attorney of sorts

The movie itself, is not anything special.  It is good until about halfway through and then it starts to lose its momentum.  Denzel keeps it afloat and it sort of redeems itself at the end.

Colin Farrell’s character wafts badass arrogance.  His role is a good one, but feels like an afterthought.

Overall this is a great performance in an about average movie.  Denzel takes a mediocre film and makes it watchable.  It is an Oscar caliber performance.  He is submerged in his character.  He has multiple performances that are better than this one, but his character dominance in this movie brings it up a notch and makes it worth seeing.

I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.


If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:


Training Day (2001)

The Hurricane (1999)

Flight (2012)

Déjà vu (2006)

American Gangster (2007)

Inside Man (2006)

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

Man on Fire (2004)

Antwone Fisher (2002)

John Q. (2002)

Remember the Titans (2000)

The Bone Collector (1999)

Philadelphia (1993)

Ricochet (1991)

Glory (1989)

2 Guns (2013)

The Equalizer (2014)

Out of Time (2003)


Trailer for Winter’s Tale (2014)

Winter's Tale Poster

Winter’s Tale (2014)


A burglar (Colin Farrell) falls in love with a woman (Jessica Brown Findlay) whose house he was going to rob.  After she dies, he finds that he has the power of reincarnation and he tries to bring her back to him.

The Film was written and directed by Akiva Goldsman and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Will Smith, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint, Kevin Durand, Matt Bomer, and Graham Greene.

This does not look like your average love story.  It is a story of reincarnation as almost a form of time travel.  The idea is intriguing and the cast is excellent.  I think I’ll have to check this one out.

The movie is set to release on 02/14/14 (Valentine’s Day)



Dead Man Down (2013)

Dead Man Down Poster

Dead Man Down (2013)

Dead Man Down is a tale about grief, pain, and especially revenge.  The film is a bit of a puzzle.  I especially enjoy movies that make you think and figure things out for yourself instead of spelling it all out for you.  This story pieces itself together little by little as events unfold and eventually everything becomes clear.  By doing this, the movie keeps your attention because you are focused on what will happen next.


Colin Farrell plays a man who is blackmailed by his neighbor (Noomi Rapace) after she witnesses him commit murder.  She now wants him to kill for her and get revenge on the man who has wronged her.

The film is directed by Niels Arden Oplev who is most known for directing the original foreign version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009).

Although the movie was filmed in New York, it has a foreign independent movie feel to it.  This is not only because there are a number of foreign actors and actresses in the film, but because the whole movie has an almost exotic feel to it.  Instead of focusing on landmarks to tell the viewers where the story is taking place, this movie almost does the opposite.  You can tell that it takes place in a big city, but the filmmakers decided to film in less obvious parts of the city.  Instead of getting big helicopter views, they give you a view from a rooftop or a balcony.  It seems like the story is intentionally confined to a smaller area.  Maybe this makes it easier for people all around the world to believe that what is happening in the film could actually be happening in their home town.  It is just an interesting aspect of filmmaking that I have never thought of before.

dead man down farrell

I like Colin Farrell but I am always a little leery of his movies because they are usually hit or miss.  Lately he has been choosing his characters a little more wisely (Seven Psychopaths (2012), Total Recall (2012), Horrible Bosses (2011)) and this movie was no exception.  His character is a no-nonsense tough guy and he plays the part well.

dead man down terrence howard

Terrence Howard brings a lot of energy and charisma to the film.  He has a very Denzel Washington-like way of taking over the scenes that he is in and making his presence known.  I think that this is his best role since The Brave One (2007).

After watching her delicate performance in the movie, Noomi Rapace has convinced me that I should check out her Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (2010) that she is most known for.  Her character in Dead Man Down seemed very genuine.

dead man down rapace

Armand Assante has basically a cameo appearance.  I was a little bummed that he wasn’t in more of the movie.

The movie was a little drawn out at times.  Some of the action sequences seemed a little convenient.  The story might be a little hard to follow if you’re not paying attention.  But, overall it was an entertaining and unique film.

I rate this movie a 7.5 out of 10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

dead man down walking together

Top 13 Current Redbox Movies

Top 13 Current Redbox Movies

red box

Having trouble deciding which movie to rent at the Redbox?  This list just might help you make a good decision on what to rent.  Hopefully it will save you from wasting your money renting a bad movie.

Along with my list, I have given my rating and a “Quickie” review.

Quickie review = A film review in 13 words or less.  If a title does not have a quickie review then you may click on it for my full review.

I cannot say that I have seen all of the movies that are currently available at the Redbox, but I have seen 62 of them.  Of those 62 titles, here are my top 13 favorite movies that are currently available at the Redbox:

Rank                           Title                             13movies Rating



1.         What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)          10         

            Quickie: Johnny Depp excellent!  Young Leonardo DiCaprio maybe even better.  Fun, touching, drama.  Great!

2.         The Machinist (2004)                                       10         

3.         Ted (2012)                                                      9         


4.         The Dark Knight Rises (2012)                      9         

            Quickie: A grand final chapter in the Christopher Nolan directed Batman Trilogy.  Epic film.

5.         The Raid: Redemption (2011)                       9          


6.         Looper (2012)                                                 8.5      

            Quickie: Joseph Gordon-Levitt + = Bruce Willis in a time travel thriller puzzle.

7.         Titanic (1997)                                                            8.5      

            Quickie: Who hasn’t seen this?  Ship sink.  Dreadful historical event.  Well made recreation.  Iceberg.

8.         Frankenweenie (2012)                                   8.5      


9.         Flight (2012)                                                  8         


10.       Moneyball (2011)                                           8         

            Quickie: Brad Pitt spectacular performance!  Jonah Hill proves acting capable.  Interesting, solid baseball story.

11.       Men in Black 3 (2012)                                   8         

            Quickie: As good as 1.  Josh Brolin as Tommy Lee Jones.  Will Smith reloaded.

12.       Total Recall (2012)                                        8         

            Quickie: Colin Farell in updated Schwarzenegger role.  More fun than original.  Kate Beckinsale badass!

13.       Lawless (2012)                                               8         

            Quickie: Shia LaBeouf gets big.  Tom Hardy tough.  Jessica Chastain shows, proves herself.  Bootleggers.


Those are in my opinion the best movies that are currently at the Redbox.

If you would like to read Top 13 Current Redbox Movies Vol. 2, click on this link. from 3/14/13

Click on this link for Vol. 3. from 4/21/13

Click on this link for Vol. 4. from 5/9/13

Now that you have seen my recommended Redbox movies, check out my list of movies to stay away from.  Click on the link below:

Top 13 Disappointing Current Redbox Movies

Here is how the rest of the movies currently at the Redbox that I have seen rate:



21 Jump Street (2012)                                                8         

            Quickie: Hilarious Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill buddy cop comedy.  One of funniest movies 2012.

The Grey (2011)                                                         8         

            Quickie: Liam Neeson fighting wolves bare-handed after a plane crash in Alaska.  Period.

Dark Shadows (2012)                                                            8         

            Quickie: Johnny Depp as a vampire in a comedy.  Rarely does he disappoint.

The Dictator (2012)                                                   8         

            Quickie: Sacha Baron Cohen’s funniest movie ever.  All levels of humor and raunch.  Absurdity.

War of the Worlds (2005)                                          8         

            Quickie: Tom Cruise fighting aliens to try to save the world.  Steven Spielberg directs.


The Bourne Identity (2002)                                       7.5      

            Quickie: Matt Damon gets amnesia.  He gets chased not knowing why.  He fights back.


Seven Psychopaths (2012)                                         7.5                  

            Quickie: Sam Rockwell steals the show.  Witty, dark comedy.  Clever characters.  Great dialogue!


Trouble with the Curve (2012)                                  7.5      

            Quickie: Amy Adams helps aging father Clint Eastwood try to keep baseball scout job.

The Bourne Legacy (2012)                                        7         

Quickie: Jeremy Renner replaces Matt Damon in the series and is more qualified.

Safe House (2012)                                                      7         

            Quickie: Ryan Reynolds tries to take fugitive Denzel Washington down.  Good action.  Good twists.

Paranorman (2012)                                                    7         

            Quickie: PG Suggested.  Delightful animated story about a kid who sees the dead.  Amusing.

The Watch (2012)                                                      7         

            Quickie: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, hysterical buddy comedy about aliens at Costco.

A Christmas Carol (2009)                                         7         

            Quickie: Amazing animation retelling of a classic story and voiced by Jim Carrey.


Alex Cross (2012)                                                       7         

            Quickie: Tyler Perry plays a game of cat and mouse with Matthew Fox.

Arthur Christmas (2011)                                           7         

            Quickie: Family friendly animated Christmas movie.  Fun to watch around the holidays.  Unique.

Seeking Justice (2011)                                               7         

            Quickie: Nicolas Cage wife assaulted.  Guy Pierce help.  Rift after favor not returned.  Solid.

Brake (2012)                                                               7         

            Quickie: Stephen Dorff kidnapped for information about the president.  Won’t give up.  Tense.  Exciting.

Stolen (2012)                                                              7         

Dredd (2012)                                                              6.5      


The Words (2012)                                                       6.5      

            Quickie: Bradley Cooper plagiarizes a story and it comes back to haunt him.

The Campaign (2012)                                                6.5      

            Quickie: Will Farrell runs against Zach Galifianakis.  Dirty politics and humor ensue.

The Expendables 2 (2012)                                         6.5      

            Quickie: Sylvester Stallone brings action hero friends back together for round 2 of battle.

Premium Rush (2012)                                                6.5      

            Quickie: Joseph Gordon-Levitt freestyle fast and furious bicycle messenger hide and seek

Wanderlust (2012)                                                     6.5      

            Quickie: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd turn into tree hugging hippies.  Funny moments.  Tacky moments.

The Raven (2012)                                                       6.5      

            Quickie: John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe investigating crimes that he wrote.  Good enough.

The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)                         6.5      

            Quickie: Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer try to slay lions while lions slay others.

Why Stop Now (2012)                                                6.5                  

            Quickie: Jesse Eisenberg tries to drug free mother and get into music school.  Laughs.


People like us (2012)                                                 6.5      

            Quickie: Dysfunctional drama.  Lost siblings try to find each other after father’s death.

Red Lights (2012)                                          6.5                  

            Quickie: Robert De Niro has mind powers.  Cillian Murphy Disagrees.  Their minds tango.


American Reunion (2012)                             6.5      

            Quickie: One sequel too many.  Funny parts.  Same old story.  Slight variation.  Decent enough.

A Thousand Words (2012)                             6.5      

            Quickie: Eddie Murphy shares life with tree.  He speaks, leaves fall.  Comical and stupid.

Being Flynn (2012)                                       6.5      

            Quickie: Robert De Niro, Paul Dano bad father son relationship.  They both write.

Spider-Man (2002)                                         6.5      

            Quickie: Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst are unpleasant.  Spiderman is okay.  Other cast helps.

The Avengers (2012)                                      6.5      

            Quickie: Cool Special effects technology.  Robert Downey Jr. carries the movie on his back.

The Expendables (2010)                                6         

            Quickie: Too many action heroes take away from plot.  Fun to watch though.

Officer Down (2013)                                      6         

            Quickie: Stephen Dorff tries to repair his life after being a dirty cop.  Mediocre.

The Three Stooges (2012)                              6         

            Quickie: Great impressions of original stooges.  Especially Curly.  Humorous at times.

Get the Gringo (2012)                                   6         

            Quickie: Mel Gibson goes to Mexican prison.  Trying getting out is the fun part.

Savages (2012)                                               6         

            Quickie: Benicio Del Toro and John Travolta make movie better.

The Liability (2012)                                       5.5      

            Quickie: Tim Roth is fun as a hit man.  Film dwindles halfway through.

That’s My Boy (2012)                                    5         

            Quickie: Bad movie that gets better towards the end.

All about Steve (2009)                                   5         

            Quickie: Sandra Bullock is funny at times.

Tropic Thunder (2008)                                  4.5      

            Quickie: Robert Downey Jr. is a riot as a black guy.

The Possession (2012)                                   4         

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)                    4         

            Quickie: The title says it all and that’s about it.

Fire with Fire (2012)                                     3         

In Bruges (2008)                                            2         

            Quickie: The only thing worse are the 2 movies below this one.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)              2         


The Paperboy (2012)                                      2         

Netflix Clouds

Are you a fan of Netflix?  Click on the following links below for Netflix related material:

Netflix Watch Instantly Movie Reviews September 2013

20 Best Drama Movies Based on Real Life Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

20 Best Classics Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Mind-bending Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Comedy Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Romantic Comedy Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best War/Military Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Gritty Action/Thriller Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly