Review: Home Is Where the Part Is in ‘Equalizer II’

In 2014’s Equalizer, we were introduced to Denzel Washington’s Robert McCall, a presumed dead former CIA operative who has left his former life while haunted by the death of his wife and ready to while away his golden years working at a hardware store. But when human cruelty presents itself in the form of a teen prostitute on the run from bad guys, McCall uses his skills for good and finds new purpose in his life.

Four years later, we catch up with McCall as an observant Lyft driver, opening his heart to an elderly Holocaust survivor (Orson Bean) in search of a portrait of his sister from his childhood home, offering encouragement to a soldier heading off for his first tour of duty, and, of course, using his skills for those in need – like a near lifeless girl dropped in his vehicle by some partying businessmen who meet with a violent comeuppance. McCall’s kindness carries over to his everyday life, where he recoups a young child used as a pawn in a divorce and sets about handling the defacing of his apartment building while befriending an impressionable teen (Ashton Sanders) with artistic talent and burgeoning gang ties.

McCall has seemingly settled into his new life and found some contentment, but the loss of his wife still haunts him, as we learn when his old friend Susan (Melissa Leo) comes to visit on her birthday. It seems that McCall has refused to return to the home they once shared and make his peace with his former life and Susan is there to urge him to do so.

Much like McCall, Susan still has some ties to her former life, being called in to investigate a killing that has been staged to look like a murder-suicide in Brussels. She reunites with her former colleague, Dave (Pedro Pascal), who is now working for Interpol, and it’s not long before their investigation leads to a fatal attack on Susan. Though she managed to keep his status off the radar for years, Robert is forced to re-enter the world he was once part of in order to track down her killer.

This leads to McCall having to make his presence known to those who presumed him dead, making this a second “homecoming” he had to come to terms with. As we’ve seen across two films, McCall is a principled man. But events change people and a reckoning for past actions must be met. The themes of answering to the past reign heavy over this film, with McCall serving as the beacon of justice in a chaotic world, and he soon finds it’s not so easy to go home again.

It’s interesting that in their distinguished careers, this is the first time that Washington or director Antoine Fuqua have been involved in a sequel, but to their credit, it feels like a more fleshed out script and a settled-in-his-skin character. While violent, McCall’s character is more strategic in his retribution, while providing a character you can root for given his heart and spirit as a man. It took four years for a sequel to be made, but Washington and Fuqua have a history of taking solid projects, and sure enough the script makes it worthwhile. Where does Robert McCall go from here? We’re not sure, but the Equalizer is a film series we’d like to see continue.

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Posted by Ari Coine

‘The Equalizer 2’ Beats ‘Mamma Mia!’ Sequel With $35 Million Box Office Weekend

Denzel Washington is hard to beat, as The Equalizer 2 bested Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again with a $35.8 million weekend. In fairness, the Mamma Mia sequel was close behind with a solid $34.3 million debut. Here’s this weekend’s top 10:

  1. The Equalizer 2Denzel Washington is 63 and continues to be a box office champ. $35.8 million.
  2. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – A $34.3 million isn’t bad, and considering the movie coast just $75 million, it should make a decent profit.
  3. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation – Animated flick takes in $21.3 million in its second weekend.
  4. Ant-Man and the Wasp – Marvel picture collects $16.1 million and to date it’s made over $164 million stateside.
  5. Incredibles 2 – Pixar hit makes $11.5 million.
  6. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – It makes $11 million and the hit feature has amassed $1.2 billion worldwide.
  7. Skyscraper Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson film collects $10.9 million and it has disappointed with just $46 million domestically.
  8. The First Purge – Origin story to storied franchise takes in $4.9 million.
  9. Unfriended: Dark Web – Although it make just $3.4 million, the movie’s budget is just $1 million! Thus, not a bad weekend for the thriller.
  10. Sorry to Bother YouLakeith Stanfield comedy/drama collects $2.8 million.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Hailee Steinfeld Gets Transformed With Coming of Age Tale ‘Bumblebee’

Hailee Steinfeld, seen last year in Pitch Perfect 3, also contributed her song “Capital Letters” on the hit film Fifty Shades Freed. Along with her flourishing career as a pop star, the Oscar nominated actress is also featured in Bumblebee, the highly anticipated Transformers spinoff.

It’s so fun to come out here and see the excitement on something that we worked so hard on,” said Steinfeld who attended this year’s Comic-Con. “It’s crazy because this turnaround feels like forever but it’s actually quite fast for everything they have to do in post production. I’m excited and I’m even more excited walking here because of the fans.”

Click on the media bar to hear Hailee Steinfeld discuss how Bumblebee is as character driven as the original Transformers film (both flicks are, amidst all the effects, coming of age tales).

Bumblee opens nationwide December 21.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Back To ‘Back’: Michael J. Fox Recalls His ‘Future’ Past

It’s a bit surreal to think that now, to get to the futuristic 2015 world shown in Back to the Future 2, you would have to fire up the Delorean and go back in time. But the franchise is now 33 years old — the first movie hit theaters in July 1985 — yet it remains a fan favorite today. At the time, it was the first starring role for Michael J. Fox, whose star was rising thanks to the TV show Family Ties. Fox famously had to shoot most of Back to the Future during nights and weekends, because it was filmed while Family Ties was still in production. And even though the schedule was grueling, Fox looks back at the original film as being one of the highlights of his career. (Click on the media bar below to hear Michael J. Fox)

 

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Posted by AC

 

For Cher, ‘Mamma Mia’ Was One Big Party

Back in the ’70s, Cher and ABBA were contemporaries on music’s pop charts, so it makes perfect sense for Cher to have signed on for a role in the movie sequel featuring more of ABBA’s hits, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. Cher joins fellow Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Colin Firth in the film’s cast, and she told us that making the movie was one of the most enjoyable experiences she’s had in Hollywood. (Click on the media bar below to hear Cher)

 

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is playing now in theaters.

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Posted by AC

Denzel’s Double-Take: Oscar-Winner Washington Tries Something New

Denzel Washington has been in plenty of hit movies during his long Hollywood career. But, surprisingly enough, he’s never returned to the same role twice … until now. With The Equalizer 2, Washington told us he’s breaking new ground in his Oscar-winning career. (Click on the media bar below to hear Denzel Washington)

The Equalizer 2 is in theaters now.

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Posted by AC

Bella Thorne Communicates With Spirit World In ‘I Still See You’ Trailer

Bella Thorne teams up with her Midnight Sun director Scott Speer in I Still See You, a supernatural thriller that’s set ten years after an apocalyptic event led the Earth to be haunted by ghosts. Humans and spirits (they’re called “remnants” in the trailer) essentially live together side by side, and unfortunately Roni (Thorne) believes her life is in danger by a malevolent ghost. The 100’s Richard Harmon is Kirk, a classmate of Roni’s who helps her find discover the identity of the ghost.

The film, based on the Daniel Waters novel Break My Heart One Thousand Times, looks like a story that will have a great twist at the end. Check out the trailer and tell us what you think!

Co-starring Dermot Mulroney, I Still See You opens October 12.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Henry Cavill Relished Practical Stunt Opportunities With ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’

Henry Cavill as August Walker in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT, from Paramount Pictures and Skydance

Henry Cavill stars in Mission: Impossible – Fallout as August Walker, a CIA operative who ends up butting heads with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the IMF team on their latest job. Thanks to his work as Superman, Henry Cavill knows a thing or two about doing action scenes, but he relished working on practical stunts with his latest film.

“I was excited about going to everywhere in the world, not just Paris, and doing these things for real,” said Cavill. “It was more of an opportunity. I got to meet the stunt team and work with them on building and developing stuff and then do it. I take pride in that.”

Click on the media bar to hear Cavill discuss how the stunts were created in Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, opens nationwide July 27.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

 

As ‘The Dark Knight’ Turns 10, Christian Bale Looks Back

It was 10 years that The Dark Knight premiered in theaters nationwide, breaking all first-day and opening weekend box-office records at the time. (It earned $18.5 million from its midnight screenings alone.) The film continued the dark, introspective tone that director Christopher Nolan had introduced in Batman Begins, and once again featured Christian Bale as the brooding Caped Crusader (and, of course, alter-ego Bruce Wayne). Bale told us that he agreed 100% with Nolan’s vision for the character, and he wouldn’t want to play him any other way. (Click on the media bar below to hear Christian Bale)

Of course, as has been the case throughout Batman’s history, some little changes are made from film to film. For Bale, the most significant difference between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight came from the wardrobe department — he says the Bat-Suit for “The Dark Knight” was much, much better than the first one he wore. (Click on the media bar below to hear Christian Bale)

Just as Bale won accolades for his portrayal of his darker Batman, the late Heath Ledger was praised for the way he played Batman’s nemesis, the Joker. In fact, Ledger posthumously won an Oscar for the role. Bale recalls working with Ledger and how the two of them made a conscious effort to avoid the campy, “wink to the camera” approach that had been used in previous incarnations of “Batman.” (Click on the media bar below to hear Christian Bale)

 

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Posted by AC

 

 

 

‘Cloak & Dagger’ Delivers A Different Kind Of Superhero Show

With most superhero shows, you have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to get. And it’s a good formula — it’s worked for many shows, for many years. But with Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, the creators and producers wanted to try something new, and the show’s star, Olivia Holt, says the different approach serves the show really well. (Click on the media bar below to hear Olivia Holt)

Cloak & Dagger airs Thursdays at 8/7c on Freeform.

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Posted by AC