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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)


Movie Picture of the Day 8/15/13

Training Day Washington Hawke Guns Fence

Ethan Hawke is starting to wonder what he has gotten himself into with Denzel Washington in the gritty thriller Training Day (2001).

2 Guns (2013)

2 Guns Poster 2

2 Guns (2013)

Director Baltasar Kormakur pulled out the big guns for his new Action/Comedy 2 Guns.  With a cast that includes Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Bill Paxton, James Marsden, and Paula Patton, how could you go wrong?  This is the question that I asked myself.  My answer was that you most likely can’t go wrong.  I was very excited to see this film, so I caught one of the first showings.

2 Guns Washington Wahlberg

The film is about an undercover DEA agent (Washington) and an undercover Special Forces officer (Wahlberg) that team up to get close to a drug cartel.  The catch: each man is unaware that the other is a cop.

The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Edward James Olmos, Fred Ward, Robert John Duke, and Patrick Fischler.

2 Guns Patton Washington

2 Guns is a high caliber adventure that is fully loaded with twists and turns, plenty of action, an amazing cast of edgy characters, lots of laughs, and a whole lot of fun.

Denzel Washington is one actor that has never really disappointed me.  He has always acted his heart out in every role that I have seen him in.  He is certainly one of the greats.  He is one of the most consistently solid actors of our time.  His role in 2 Guns is evidence that he has no intention of changing his ways or slowing down.  His character is suave and in control.  He lets his presence be known on screen.  If he were a Jedi, the force would be strong with this one.

2 Guns Wahlberg Washington Car

Mark Wahlberg’s acting ability has noticeably improved over the years.  It was never bad by any means, but he has definitely found his niche.  He has always taken a no-nonsense approach to his acting.  This has given his movies more intensity and energy.  Over time, he has learned to develop a different personality to each of the characters that he plays.  He has become very versatile.  In 2 Guns, he somehow managed to be funny and a badass.

The witty banter exchanged between Washington and Wahlberg was hilarious.  That, mixed with each man’s physical ability for violence made the movie very entertaining.  Their characters played off of each other wonderfully.

Besides Haywire (2011), I have not seen Paxton in anything great for a while.  This is his best film movie Frailty (2001).  He played a good tough-guy in this film.

There was never a dull moment in this movie.  If you are looking for a lot of action, some good laughs, great acting, and an overall awesome film experience, look no further than 2 Guns.  This movie has everything.  It’s the best Action/Comedy film so far this year, and will probably be the best of the year.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

If you enjoyed 2 Guns, then you will most likely enjoy:

Broken City (2013)

Pain & Gain (2013)

Flight (2012)

Red 2 (2013)

Ted (2012)

Movie Picture of the Day 7/22/13

The Hurricane Washington in the ring

Denzel Washington was explosive as Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in the film The Hurricane (1999).

Happy Birthday to Ray Allen

Ray Allen

Happy Birthday to Ray Allen!  The greatest 3-point shooter to ever live turns 38 years old today.

He Got Game Washington Allen

Allen acted opposite Denzel Washington in the movie He Got Game (1998).  Apparently he was also in Harvard Man (2001), which I have not seen.

Miami Heat's Lebron James hails 'best game' after forcing NBA finals to game seven - video

Ray is an okay actor, but an amazing basketball player.  Most recently he can be credited for winning the 2013 NBA Finals for the Miami Heat.  The San Antonio Spurs had the Heat backed into a corner.  Lebron James couldn’t finish, so it took a real superstar (Ray Allen) to knock down a 3-pointer at the buzzer in game 6, that ultimately won the Championship.  It was a dagger through the heart of the Spurs and Allen did the stabbing.  If it weren’t for Ray, the Heat would have lost.

2008 NBA Finals Allen Bryant

Ray Allen has probably the purest shot that I have ever seen.  I will never forget the 2008 NBA Finals when he helped the Boston Celtics claim victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ray Allen Celtics

It was tough to see him leave the Celtics and go over to the darkside.  In my mind he will always be a Celtic.  He definitely Got Game!

Trailer for 2 Guns (2013)

2 guns poster

2 Guns (2013)

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg teamed up together and against each other in an action/drama.  This movie sounds good and looks even better.  Great title.  Great cast that also, most notably, includes James Marsden, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, Robert John Burke, Patrick Fischler, and Fred Ward.  It is directed by Baltasar Kormakur.

I think that it is basically guaranteed to be a big hit.  I will definitely check it out in the theatre.

The film is set to release on 8/2/13.

Top 13 Current Redbox Movies Vol. 2

Top 13 Current Redbox Movies Vol. 2

red box 

If you are thinking about renting a movie from the Redbox, you might want to read this list to help you decide exactly which movie to rent.

Here is another edition of my top 13 current Redbox movies, back by popular demand.

Click on this link to read Current Redbox Movie Reviews September 2013

Click on this link to read Current Redbox Movie Reviews August 2013

Click on this link to read Current Redbox Movie Reviews July 2013

Click on this link to read Vol. 1 from 2/10/13.

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

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

I have updated the list based on all the movies that are currently available to rent at the Redbox as of 3/14/13.  They will change some of the titles weekly, but the list should still be pretty accurate for a while and hopefully be able to help you find a good movie to rent.  I have included the DVD covers and previews.  If a movie doesn’t have a cover or preview above it, simply click on the title for my full review of the movie along with the poster artwork and preview.

I do not claim to have seen all of the movies that are currently available at the Redbox, but I have seen 67 of them.  Of those 67 movies, here is the list of my top 13 Current Redbox movies:

What's Eating Gilbert Grape cover

1.  What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)     My Rating: 10

2.  The Machinist (2004) 

3.  Ted (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises cover

4.  The Dark Knight Rises (2012)               My Rating: 9

5.  The Raid: Redemption (2011)

6.  Skyfall (2012)

7.  End of Watch (2012)

looper levitt willis cover

8.  Looper (2012)                                           My Rating: 8.5

titanic blu ray cover

9.  Titanic (1997)                                            My Rating: 8.5

10.  Frankenweenie (2012)

11.  Flight (2012)

12.  Sinister (2012)

moneyball cover

13.  Moneyball (2011)                                     My Rating: 8

You really can’t go wrong with any movie on this list.  Next time you’re going to the Redbox, I recommend consulting this list.  They are in my opinion, the best current Redbox movies.

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

 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

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

Flight (2012)

Flight poster

Flight (2012)

Flight transports you into the depths of a dark and lonely place only to bring you back feeling better about it all.  Alcoholism, drug addiction, loss, grief, sorrow, anger, and pain are all symptoms of this darkness.

Is it a feel good movie?  No, but you will probably feel better about it at the end.  Not because it is over, but because of how it ended.

The film is about a hero pilot (Denzel Washington) who crash-lands a doomed plane like no other pilot could.  The pilot has a drug and alcohol problem and is therefore under investigation to decide whether or not he was the root cause of the plane going down.

Some parts of the film were hard to watch.  It all got a little bit more intense than I had anticipated and that caught me by surprise.  This was not a bad thing, but it is hard to enjoy watching appalling scenes in a movie and feel good about them.  These scenes would not have been so hard to watch if they had not been depicted so well.  That being said, the severe moments were very necessary to the rest of the movie and kudos to the cast and director for making them so powerful.


Robert Zemeckis did a wonderful job directing Flight.  The flying sequences in the movie were remarkable, but the performances by the all-star cast were what really made the film.

Denzel Washington supplied his best acting since American Gangster (2007) or Déjà vu (2006).  The raw emotion and realism that he brought to his character is enough in itself for me to recommend that you watch this film.

flight washington rain

Don Cheadle and Bruce Greenwood were both at the top of their game.

Although he played such a skuzzy character, John Goodman portrayed that character very well.

Each actor and actress played so well off of the other that it seemed to bring their acting ability to its highest potential.

Even though some parts of the film were very extreme, I think that it is absolutely worth the watch.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

If you liked Flight, then you will most likely enjoy:

2 Guns (2013)

flight upside down plane