Tag Archives: Denzel Washington

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: Watch Viola Davis And Chadwick Boseman In First Trailer

Netflix has revealed the first official trailer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a 1920s blues movie from filmmaker George C. Wolfe and starring the late, great Chadwick Boseman and the always magnificent Viola Davis.

Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), her ambitious horn player (Chadwick Boseman), and the white management determined to control the legendary “Mother of the Blues.” Adapted from August Wilson’s play of the same name, the excellent cast also includes Colman Domingo, Michael Potts, Glynn Turman, Dusan Brown, and Taylour Paige. 

Check out the tremendous trailer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom below:

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The Equalizer 2 Trailer: Denzel Is Back

Sony released the first trailer for the upcoming action sequel, The Equalizer 2, which continues Denzel Washington’s Robert McCall continuing his determination to serve unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed. This time around though, things look personal.

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The Magnificent Seven: Guns-A-Blazin’ In First Trailer

The first trailer for Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven is out and it’s chock-full of slam-bang action, and an eclectic ensemble cast including Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke.

Check out the trailer below:

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SNL: 38.4 – Christina Applegate/Passion Pit

After last Saturday’s horrific outing, I spent the week placing offerings at my shrine to the great Colin Quinn in the hopes that it would pay off with a better episode this week. I wasn’t even asking for it to be good, just that it didn’t suck donkey balls.

Man, my house smelling like a pothead’s van for a week really paid off.

Everyone knew that the cold open was going to be the VP debate. In my review of the premiere, I said that Taran Killam’s Paul Ryan impression needed work. Apparently he heard my concerns because this week it was spot on. It really was better than I could have imagined. Add in the ridiculous water drinking, with the hamster bottle being the highlight, and I was in heaven.

And if the already strong sketch needed any help… Usain Bolt. That was so unexpected but enjoyable. I had completely forgotten about Ryan’s inflated athletic abilities, such great material there.

The monologue was okay. Usually I don’t like when the hosts do a random musical number because it never really seems to fit in, but I always forget that Christina Applegate can sing. Of course it was also nice that she gave Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker a shout out.

The Gillette commercial with Jerry Sandusky was just odd. There’s a good chance I have missed a story concerning Jerry Sandusky and shaving and perhaps that’s where the idea came from, but yea, it was weird.

If I had to choose one recurring sketch that I dislike more than all others, it would probably be Fred Armisen as the annoying producer turned talk show host. If I had to choose a second recurring sketch that I dislike more than all others excluding the previously mentioned, it would be The Californians. The moment the SoapNet logo comes on I just want to fast forward. At least this time it had Taran Killam as the wedding planner.

Next up was the second best sketch of the night, “Tech Talk” aka “First World Problems”. This seems like one they’ve had on the blocks for a while now and decided to go with it this week. Fantastic execution. Describing the new iPhone as “three sheets of paper stapled together” had me rolling. Best parts were the “traditional sarcastic dance” and of course the complaints about American products.

The next sketch was a prerecorded movie trailer for “Give Us All Our Daughters Back”. So many great impressions in this one. Bill Hader as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christina Applegate as Uma Thurman, Bobby Moynihan as Steven Seagal- they were all good. The best though was Jay Pharaoh with his Denzel Washington impression. “Are you a porpoise or a narwhal?”
The most disturbing part of the sketch was when I realized that not only would my husband watch that movie, he would love that movie. If Chuck Norris were added to that cast, he would probably have that movie showing on a continual loop.

I think it’s a mark of a good show when the musical guest comes up and you think “already?”. Passion Pit was on tap and they are good. One of those somewhat obscure bands that divides the internet between the “I LOVE PASSION PIT” and the “who the hell are these people? Come on SNL, why don’t you get some bands on that people have actually heard of or care about.” crowds.

Weekend Update had one of my least favorite guests and one of my favorite guests. Jean K Jean is sort of amusing but really I could do without him. More than anything he reminds me of Keenan Thompson’s character Pierre Escargot on Take That.

However, Nasim Pedrad’s Arianna Huffington? I could watch her all day long. I don’t know that I would even recognize the real Arianna Huffington if I came across her in a dark alley, but I get a little giddy when I see Nasim appear as her.

After Weekend Update the show moved into that mine field that makes me nervous each week. Which barrel scrapping sketches made the cut? This week I was extremely pleased to see that my favorite sketch of the night aired in this slot. There’s a good chance I loved the “Siren Song” sketch as much as I did because I’m a woman in my mid-30’s and therefore by default have fond memories of chick music from the 90’s, but there’s an equally good chance that this sketch was just perfect. I’m going with perfect. Jason Sudeikis was Odysseus, tied to the mast to avoid the song of the sirens, played by Cecily Strong, Christina Applegate and Kate McKinnon. They tried to lure Odysseus in with such hits like Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” and Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much”. And what mention of 90’s music would be complete without TLC’s “No Scrubs”?

There was a return to the high school with “Hell-o-Ween” which was mildly entertaining and then a “Dance Class” sketch that was a bit on the odd side. What it really made obvious though, is how much alike Christina Applegate and Kristin Wiig are. I don’t know if Applegate was trying to impersonate Wiig, impersonating a strange Fosse obsessed dance instructor but damn, it was a little eerie. The voice, the expressions, everything- odd.

Biggest things from this episode- hello Jason Sudeikis and Kate McKinnon! This is by far the most, and best, we’ve seen of Sudeikis so far this season and he was on top of it this episode. Kate McKinnon is literally living the dream right now. It’s only her second season right? And she has been the go to girl for almost every episode. I can’t imagine she won’t be bumped up to cast member either at some point in this season or definitely by next season.

She’s already gotten to announce the show so what else is there?

Which brings me to a question- where is Aidy Bryant? Has she just had a run of bad luck and all her sketches have been cut? That just doesn’t seem possible. Surely they can find some place for her. We’ve seen plenty of Cecily Strong and Tim Robinson (more Strong than Robinson) and only a few snippets of Aidy Bryant. She was the new cast member I was most looking forward to so her absence is strongly felt.

Dear Ms. Bryant,
 If you want or need help writing some sketches that will make the final cut, just give me a call. I’m sure we can work something out that will blow their minds and force them to give you some airtime.

The Ironbunny.

I’m really glad this episode was as great as it was because next week the host and musical guest is Bruno Mars. Unless your name is Justin Timberlake, you don’t really have any business pulling double duty. Here’s hoping for the best, while bracing for the worst.

Grizzly Review: Safe House

For years, Denzel Washington has created one of the best resumes in Hollywood by essentially just playing himself. Take a minute and think of the first five Denzel movies that come to mind. For me, it’s Training Day, John Q., Man on Fire, Glory, and American Gangster. If your list is in any way similar to mine, think about Denzel’s performances in all of those movies. Were it not for maybe the clothes he was wearing, or the setting of the scene, do you think you could even discern certain Denzel performances from others?

If you can, you must be really good at crosswords and “Where’s Waldo?” because I seriously can’t even begin to tell them apart. Still, I believe that that’s a big part of Denzel’s appeal. You know what to expect, and it works every time. If it worked the first 12 times, there’s a pretty big chance that it’s going to work a 13th time. In the newest vehicle for Denzel, Safe House, he plays Tobin Frost. In the mid 80s and up until the late 90s, Frost was one of the top CIA agents in the world. He went rouge in 2002 for unknown reasons, and has been on the run from the US government ever since.

Discovered in South Africa, Frost is placed in the care of Matt Weston, a young and optimistic CIA agent who has spent the last year working as a safe house operator, never able to see any real action. Frost is brought in by an extraction team led by Daniel Kiefer (Robert Patrick), but the location of the house is compromised, and with the extraction team dead, Weston is in charge of Frost’s whereabouts.

Back at his apartment, Weston has a beautiful French girlfriend with whom he is madly in love with, and vice versa. The obvious conflict with having a relationship in his line of work makes it extremely hard to explain to her what is going on among all of the commotion. The subplot of Weston’s lady friend makes for interesting character development later in the film when he must make the difficult choice between the safety of the woman he loves, and the strong feelings he has for her.

Stateside, orders from Catherine Linklater (Vera Farmiga), David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson), and Harlan Whitford (Sam Shepard), three of the agency’s executive officers, instruct Weston to successfully bring Frost out to a new safe house in rural South Africa. While trying to get to their location, Weston and Frost are being tracked by a group of men after a file that Frost has hidden. Inside the file is very valuable information that may just be the end of government secrecy as we know it.

Safe House is Denzel’s first film since 2010’s Unstoppable, his second train movie after The Taking of Pelham 123. Safe House is an extremely welcome return to form for Denzel, who turns in a fantastically familiar performance as Tobin Frost. Ryan Reynolds is also surprisingly effective as the up and coming CIA agent who just wants to do the right thing. Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, and Sam Shepard all do wonderfully in their supporting roles, but Gleeson really steals the show, as usual, playing yet another diverse character to add to his already eclectic resume.

The chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington is dynamite. Their banter is often revealing, quick, and engrossing, serving as an equal to the heart-racing action sequences littered throughout the film. They both seem very comfortable in their characters, and even more comfortable with each other, which makes for some wonderfully tense and sometimes hilarious scenes between the two. I’d love to see them star in a comedy together with Ryan Reynolds leading the way instead of Denzel, because honestly, they make a great pair.

Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Safe House makes good use of the effective shaky cam style that has been popular for a few years now, editing together some stylish action sequences, as well as some tense dialogue that moves the film along at a very brisk pace, to say the least, because once the action starts, it doesn’t let up until the end credits roll, something that can’t be said for a lot of the other “action-packed” spy movies that have been released recently.

The fast paced but intelligent script by first time feature film screenwriter, David Guggenheim, manages to be action packed but also contains a considerable amount of character development as well as good enough dialogue that doesn’t distract from the movie’s serious tone. The biggest success in the screenplay, though, is its integration of culture to service its plot, including a breathtaking arena sequence that segways nicely into a display of South Africa’s slums, including a nice cameo performance by Ruben Blades.

All in all, Safe House is a thrilling ride that is better than it has any right to be, offering a slew of excellent performances, some great action, and a script that takes you on a wild ride through the mind of a traitor, as well as through South Africa’s best and worst. If you liked the trailer, you’ll love the movie, as the advertising doesn’t misrepresent the film like many other previews that we see on TV. Safe House, among many other things, is entirely predictable from the first scene, but that shouldn’t stop you from what is otherwise a thrilling ride at the movies.

4/5 Bears