Earlier today, The New York Times published a fascinating, beautifully designed, and occasionally infuriating list of “The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century So Far.” Times critics A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis named their picks, with Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood claiming the prize as the best film of the last 16 and a half years. Their list also surveyed some directors for contributions, and in a separate piece, the Times listed the favorites from a half dozen of the biggest directors working today.
Depending on your point of view, today’s good news / bad news situation might be a good news / good news type of thing — Antoine Fuqua has dropped out of the long-developing Scarface remake, and though the director’s chair is now vacant, the project does have a very talented actor to lead it: Diego Luna, who most recently co-starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
I liked The Equalizer. I liked it more than The Magnificent Seven, which director Antoine Fuqua and star Denzel Washington made after The Equalizer (and is out in theaters today, read our review, plug plug plug plug plug). The Equalizer, loosely based on the TV show of the same name, was a very confident and occasionally very amusing action thriller that was fully self-aware. It’s basically a perfect basic cable movie; you pop in, you watch Denzel beat a room full of guys without breaking a sweat, and then you brush your tweet and go to bed. And the ending, where it basically becomes Home Alone in a Home Depot (they should have called the movie Home Depot Alone, that was a missed opportunity) was tremendous.
Peter Sarsgaard often plays guys you can’t help but hate. From his ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ character to his ‘An Education’ con man to his Chuck Traynor in ‘Lovelace,’ Sarsagaard has mastered playing seedy jerks who pray on the weaknesses of others. In Antoine Fuqua’s ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ Sarsgaard takes on the role of the bad guy once more.
You may not know Haley Bennett’s name yet, but by the end of the fall movie season you’ll certainly recognize her. The 28-year-old actress, who’s appeared in ‘Hardcore Henry’ and ‘The Equalizer,’ has been acting for almost a decade, but its her trio of upcoming films this year that are bound to put her on your radar.
Awards season may be underway with the official start of the Toronto Film Festival, but the fall of 2016 picks up right where summer left off with Antoine Fuqua’s ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ a loud and frenetic update of an old classic very few people were clamoring for. The question with any remake is why; why a new version and why one now? The movie just made its world premiere as the opening night film of TIFF 2016, and I still don’t have a satisfying answer to that question.