Archives for posts with tag: Viola Davis

Mix a World War II flick (ragtag bunch becomes lean, mean fighting machine) with a martial arts flick (bloodily elaborate fight scenes), plus a smidge of “Real Housewives of West Africa” and you’ve pretty much got “The Woman King” (2022). Viola Davis plays the tough-as-nails leader of a crack, nineteenth century fighting unit. She’s beset by better equipped foes, palace intrigue and past trauma. Meanwhile, new recruits go through basic training. Cue the climactic battle scene, followed by a fit-for-Oprah denouement. It’s above-average, extremely violent entertainment for general audiences, with slave-trade subplot complexities that may resonate more deeply for some.

Back in 2005, when there was more of a distinction between theater movies and TV movies, longtime television star and second-tier cinematic leading man Tom Selleck began TV movie franchise based on Robert B. Parker’s detective novels. Although formulaic, “Jesse Stone: Stone Cold” benefits from Parker’s rich dialogue, as well as Viola Davis and Mimi Rogers in supporting roles. Selleck gets to play something familiar (a sleuth, this time as a small-town Massachusetts police chief) yet not (one with a drinking problem and a sordid past). It’s good, as far as TV movies go, back when there was a distinction.

If you skip your daughter’s cello recital to do big-time lawyer stuff, some CIA-trained psychopath is going to kill half of Philadelphia. That is the main lesson to be learned from “Law Abiding Citizen”(2009), in which Jamie Foxx is the big-time lawyer and Gerard Butler is the CIA-trained psychopath. I might be oversimplifying. I was too caught up in all the big, sloppy revenge Butler was taking on an American legal system that promotes expediency over justice (I am a long-time fan of big, sloppy revenge). If the sloppiness makes you feel guilty, the ending will bail you out.