Tag Archives: bill pullman

DARK WATERS (2019) – My rating: 9/10

Dark Waters is a legal thriller directed by Todd Haynes and written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan. It is based on the 2016 article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich, published in The New York Times Magazine. Parts of the story were also reported by Mariah Blake, whose 2015 article, “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia” was a National Magazine Award finalist and Sharon Lerner, whose series “Bad Chemistry” ran in the Intercept. Robert Bilott, the principal character in the film, also wrote a memoir, Exposure, detailing his 20-year legal battle against DuPont. I waited patiently for this movie to be released. I anticipated it would be quite the thriller when it opened. I was right, this is a well put together film.

When a farmer, Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp) shows up at attorney Robert Bilott’s (Mark Ruffalo) company asking for help because 190 of his prize cows have died due to something he’s sure DuPont has done, Robert’s life would never be the same. Robert starts to link a number of unexplained deaths to one of the world’s largest corporations, DuPont. In the process, he risks everything – his future, his wife Sarah Bilott (Anne Hathaway) his children and possibly, his own life  to expose the truth about PFOAs, the “forever chemicals.” Robert’s law firm represented chemical companies until the DuPont case landed in their laps.  Senior Partner Tom Terp (Tim Robbins) went to all lengths to provide whatever Robert needed to expose DuPont.

Dark Waters is a real eye-opener.  If you didn’t know the corruption and lies huge corporations are capable of or how far they’ll go to “retain the money” watch Dark Waters.  The discovery of one lawyer’s remarkedly sad find will blow you away.  We are all victims of PFOA, a chemical used to make hundreds of products but at certain temperatures and under certain conditions, end up in our bodies.  As much as 6 diseases have been linked to PFOAs.  DuPont, a beloved and respected corporation and inventors of Tephlon and a hundred other products that use PFOA, has been accused of poisoning the town of Parkersburg in West Virginia as well as the remainder of the world with its PFOAs. I think Dark Waters is a must-see for everyone.  I’m sure your dander will rise. The film received positive reviews from critics and has grossed $7 million. Please Check It Out!


THE EQUALIZER 2 (2018) – My rating: 7.5/10

“The Equalizer 2” (aka, The Equalizer II or EQ2) is a vigilante thriller, directed by Antoine Fuqua. It is a sequel to the 2014 film, The Equalizer, that was based on the TV series of the same name.  This is the fourth collaboration between Washington and Fuqua, following the “The Equalizer”, “Training Day” (2001), and “The Magnificent Seven” (2016).  I loved “The Equalizer” and was anxious to see “The Equalizer 2”.  I didn’t think the sequel wouldn’t live up to the original.  Perhaps Denzel should have lived by his principal not to make sequels of his own films.  Read on to see what changed.

A retired marine and intelligence operative, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) now lives in a diverse apartment complex in urban Massachusetts.  While working as a Lyft driver he also helps the less fortunate, aided by his friend Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo).  Anonymously McCall helps a local bookstore owner’s daughter, who had been kidnapped by her father (Adam Karst), he also mercilessly beats a group of men for drugging and raping a woman, as well as helps Sam Rubinstein (Orson Bean), an elderly Holocaust survivor, who is looking for a painting of his sister who was separated from him when they were transported to different camps.  In addition, after discovering his apartment courtyard has been vandalized, McCall accepts an offer to repaint the walls from Miles Whittaker (Ashton Sanders), a young resident with an artistic but troubled background. One day McCall’s friend, Susan, is called to investigate an apparent murder-suicide of an agent and his wife in Brussels along with DIA operative Dave York (Pedro Pascal), who is McCall’s former teammate. After the investigation, they return to their hotel where Susan encounters assailants. McCall sets out on a path of revenge after one of his friends is killed. With his hands full of all the ensuing investigations he finds himself enmeshed in, Robert McCall forges on to resolve the mystery.

All in all, the plots were good but a bit to many.  Denzel’s acting was superb, as usual.   The following parts were brilliantly acted by Bill Pullman as Brian Plummer, Jonathan Scarfe as Resnik, Kazy Tauginas as Ari and Garrett Golden as Kovac.  The pacing is what I really had a problem with.  McCall’s actions were the same as in the original.  He would make note of the time on his watch and complete his punishment to the guilty within the short period of time he allotted.  Watching McCall in action was outstanding and quite satisfying considering the reason his prey was his prey.  Reading papers, making decisions and pondering his thoughts was down right boring at times.  In other words, Fuqua needed to pick up the pace.  If there is to be another sequel, I hope the words of the many critics won’t go unnoticed.  I still enjoyed the “The Equalizer 2” and think you won’t be disappointed.


INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (2016) – My rating: 6.5/10

IndependenceDay_ResurgenceSummer of 2016 is not shaping up to be very good for adult movie goers. The children are having a blast. Movies like Finding Dory, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Zootopia, Alice through the Looking Glass and the Angry Birds Movie are making a killing at the box office with pretty good ratings. With a few exceptions, the adult movies like Hail Caesar, Money Monster, The Nice Guys, Neighbors 2, and Independence Day: Resurgence have been total disappointments. When I saw the supposedly dead Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner) in the trailer and heard Will Smith wasn’t going to be in the sequel, I figured Independence Day: Resurgence, “ID: Resurgence” was doomed. (I heard between unresolved money issues and lack of motivation toward big sci-fi block buster movies after his last one (After Earth) bombed was the reason Will backed out). After actually seeing ID: Resurgence, I can say (Will made the right decision) the special effects were fantastic but the overall movie stunk! Bill Pullman returned as President Whitmore and may have had the worse role of all. Sick, old and somewhat mentally impaired, the former president managed to perform some remarkable feats for someone in his condition. Speaking of condition, without saying too much, Dr. Okun displayed abilities unknown to a person who had been in his situation. I was so frustrated to see how they played the audience for stupid by even presenting the good doctor as they did. Thank goodness for one of my all time favorites, Jeff Goldblum as Davie Levinson and his father Judd Hirsch as Julius Levinson. Together they stole just about every scene they were in, adding some comedy and honesty to the story. Jessie T. Usher plays Dylan-Dubrow Hiller, Captain Steven and Jasmine Hiller’s son who is all grown up and a pilot and captain in ESD*. The gorgeous Liam Hemsworth plays Jake Morrison who is Dylan’s BFF and is a pilot and lieutenant in ESD*.  Jake’s parents were killed by the aliens in the first Independence Day, which caused him to grow up in an orphanage. Maika Monroe plays Patricia Whitmore, the former president’s daughter, all grown up and Jake’s fiancée. Sela Ward plays President Lanford who is the current president, which plays right into modern times since we are anticipating a female as president. Vivica Fox returns as Jasmine Hiller, who is now a hospital administrator and is only in a couple of scenes.  She mentions her husband’s accidental death, giving us an explanation for Will’s absence.

*FYI:  In case you are wondering what ESD stands for, here is the defination.  It’s fictional for this movie:

The Earth Space Defense (ESD) is a program that serves as an early warning system and united global defense unit against future extraterrestrial threats. It was founded by the United Nations on May 25, 1998. 

Other than the special effects, ID: Resurgence has little to offer. For me, it was too long, had too many battle scenes (they were tiring to watch over and over), had too many goofs in the story telling and didn’t really make us feel the threat. Everything seemed so routine and a lot of the fighting gear seemed cheap and a bit childish. I didn’t get the big block buster feel nor was I entertained as I usually am by these types of movies. In my opinion, no comparison to the original can be found in this sequel.  You should probably wait for the DVD or if you haven’t seen the original Independence day, rent it!