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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)

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Pain & Gain (2013)


Pain and Gain Poster

Pain & Gain (2013)

Michael Bay took a true story about bodybuilding thieves and kidnappers, and chewed it up and spit it out bigger and better than before.  The producer and director has a tendency to go big or go home.  Pain & Gain went huge with a super sized Mark Wahlberg, a bulkier Dwayne Johnson “The Rock”, and an extra beefed up Anthony Mackie.

Pain & Gain Trio

I should not have enjoyed this movie, but I did.  It is supposedly a true story, but you have to believe that with Michael Bay involved, the film could very well be far from the truth.  Everything about the movie was way over-the-top.

Pain & Gain Over the top

The movie was raunchy, vulgar, and went totally off the deep end.  It’s filled with drugs, cussing, nudity, and brutality.  I was caught off guard at how funny the movie was though.  I expected an action/adventure and I got an action/comedy.  The story is pretty twisted and it needed a lot of comedy to help you get through it, so kudos to the filmmakers for recognizing this fact.  The real story was probably not that funny.  The real story was probably not that entertaining either.

If you are not a fan of dark comedy, then you might not like this movie.  It is mostly filled with dark comedy and stupid comedy.  After all, all brawn and no brains is the underlined theme of this film.  The movie could also be considered very offensive.  If you are easily offended, you might not like the film.

Pain & Gain Wahlberg hit

The rest of the notable cast includes Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Michael Risponi, Larry Hankin, Tony Plana, and Peter Stormare.

The characters were far out, but very well-acted.  The casting was perfect.  I don’t think that you could find a funnier bunch of giants anywhere.  With that being said, if this movie had a different cast, it probably would have just been awful.  I am certain that the actual people that the characters are based on are not nearly as likable as the actors who play them in the movie.

Pain & Gain Wahlberg Pool

With how big Mark Wahlberg is now, if he could go back in time and fight his character in The Fighter (2010), he would beat the crap out of that guy.  He gained 40lbs. to make Pain & Gain and he looks gigantic.  Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” somehow became more enormous for his role.  It just goes to show the dedication that these guys had to make the movie.

Pain & Gain Johnson Crazy

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

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

If you liked Pain & Gain, then you will most likely enjoy:

2 Guns (2013)

Broken City (2013)

Ted (2013)