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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

2 Guns (2013)

Just diverting enough, thanks in large part to the weary charm of Denzel Washington's undercover DEA agent, and the earnest charm of Mark Wahlberg's undercover Navy investigator. (The wiseassery Wahlberg uses to cover the earnestness, alas, quickly wears thin.) Thanks also to a willingness to make almost everyone at least ... (R)

1.0 starsMatthew Lickona

American Gangster (2007)

Formula underworld drama poured into an epic template. Like Jiffy-brand waffle batter spread over an iron the size of a billiard table. "Based on a true story," it traces, in separate intertwined storylines, the converging upward paths of criminal and cop: the former (Denzel Washington) starting out as the servile ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Antwone Fisher (2002)

Written by the selfsame Antwone Fisher, in recollection of the time in his life when he was (by this account) a bottled-up, cork-blowing sailor who, through the solicitude of a nice girl and a Navy psychiatrist ("I love you, son"), confronted and conquered his inner turmoil over his abandonment by ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Bone Collector (1999)

Detective thriller in which the mental prowess of the master sleuth is glaringly spotlighted by reducing him to a quadriplegic: an almost literally disembodied brain. The arrangement vaguely suggests a high-tech variation on the modus operandi of the venerable Nero Wolfe, a voluntary shut-in (you will recall) who left the ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Book of Eli (2010)

Post-apocalyptic chic. In metallic monochrome, in sterilizing shafts of light, in portentous slo-mo, Denzel Washington safeguards the only extant copy of the King James Bible, with his archer's bow, shotgun, pistol, and terrible swift sword: the new Messiah. One of many head-scratchers is why on earth the tin-pot town boss ... (R)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Courage under Fire (1996)

Long overdue Hollywood solemnization of the Gulf War. The investigation of the first woman nominated (posthumously) for a combat Medal of Honor is expected to be a rubber-stamp procedure, leading posthaste to a photo-op at the White House, with the President draping the ribbon round the neck of the dead ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Crimson Tide (1995)

Continuing to circulate among the heroes of time-honored action genres — aviators (Top Gun), car racers (Days of Thunder), private detectives (The Last Boy Scout) — director Tony Scott here moves on to submariners, complete with map-and-pointer briefings, locker-room-style inspirational speeches ("Go, 'Bama!"), sonor-screen blips of incoming torpedoes, and so ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Cry Freedom (1987)

True story based on two books by Donald Woods, a former newspaper editor in South Africa. Woods himself is the main character, and as an "uninformed" liberal he makes a useful point of identification for much of the world's white population, specifically director Richard Attenborough and his same screenwriter from ... (PG)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Deja Vu (2006)

Requires you to park your reason, along with your car, outside the theater. A ferry boat blows up in post-Katrina New Orleans, killing 543, mainly returning Navy men and their welcoming families; and the uncounted body of a young woman bearing residue from the explosion has been fished out of ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Traditional hard-boiled private-eye stuff, set in the traditional time period (1948), but a little off the traditional beaten path (in the black community of South-Central L.A.). With this workmanlike adaptation of the first installment in Walter Mosley's series of Easy Rawlins detective novels, writer-director Carl Franklin graduates from low-budget independence ... (R)

3.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

The Equalizer (2014)

By day, Bob McCall (Denzel Washington, out for a walk), works for a home improvement retailer, but under cloak of darkness, the average Joe segues from Home Depot to lone despot, one Russian mobster at a time. Washington begins by saving the life of a young hooker (a badly miscast ... (R)

0.0 starsScott Marks

Fallen (1998)

Down-to-earth flatfoot (Denzel Washington, always good to look at, to watch closely, to study) on the trail of an otherworldly serial killer, a fallen angel called Azazel, who has the ability, while manifesting no form of his own, to move from body to body at the merest touch. This makes ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Fences (2016)

There’s only one fence in director and star Denzel Washington’s presentation of August Wilson’s play about an outsized personality and the world he finds himself squeezed into: the pine-plank job that trash man, father, and former Negro Leagues baseball star Troy Maxson builds around his backyard over the course of ... (PG-13)

2.0 starsMatthew Lickona

Flight (2012)

What is Flight? Is it a tough-minded look into the dangers of making heroes out of men who do amazing things? (Denzel Washington, an airline pilot who pulls off a miracle landing in a malfunctioning plane, but oh dear, it turns out he was drunk and high while he did ... (R)

1.0 starsMatthew Lickona

Glory (1989)

A less familiar but immeasurably meaningful chapter of Civil War history, a sort of precursory case of affirmative action, to do with the formation of the first black fighting unit in the United States. The unprecedented and unrepeatable circumstances of this story are special enough, unique enough, to refreshen even ... (R)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

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