Picks of the week
(R, 130 minutes, Sony): For all of “The Equalizer’s” overkill, Denzel Washington retains an admirable air of seriousness, embodying Robert McCall as a believable figure of purity and protection, even when he’s going after his opponents with methodical, thoughtfully choreographed sadism. But finally – and, at over two hours, finally is a long time coming – even Washington’s handsomely reassuring screen presence can’t keep “The Equalizer” from being another preposterous, but somehow also bland, exercise in predictability and fetishistic carnage. In another movie, Washington’s McCall might have been the beginning of a promising new franchise.
Contains strong bloody violence and profanity throughout, including some sexual references. Extras: “Home Mart: Taking Care of Business One Bolt at a Time” featurette on the film’s climactic Home Mart sequence; “Children of the Night” in which co-star Chloe Grace Moretz discusses her character and the research she did to play the young, exploited girl. On Blu-ray: behind-the-scenes featurettes “Inside The Equalizer” on the creative process of re-imagining and bringing Robert McCall to life; “Denzel Washington: A Different Kind of Superhero,” how Washington trained for his physically demanding role; “Equalizer Vision: Antoine Fuqua,” a firsthand look at the movie-making process from the director and “One Man Army: Training and Fighting” discussion with Washington, co-star Martin Csokas and stunt coordinator Keith Woulard; a “Vengeance Mode” featurette with Washington and Fuqua breaking down the deadliest moves in major action sequences.
(R, 102 minutes, Lionsgate): It’s hard to describe “Tusk” in a way that fully captures its unapologetically demented weirdness. Something of a departure even for writer-director Kevin Smith – whose burgeoning oeuvre now spans sex farce, horror, romance, fantasy and documentary – the film is a hybrid of fairy tale, gothic horror, psychological thriller and comedy. It’s the saga of a Canadian lunatic (played by Michael Parks) who lures an American traveler (Justin Long) into his home and then imprisons him for the purpose of transforming the man into a walrus. If you think it sounds like “The Human Centipede,” minus the coprophagia and with a few more laughs, you’re not far off. Contains violent and disturbing imagery, some gore, crude language and sexual content. Extras: deleted scenes, commentary with Smith, “20 Years to Tusk” and making-of featurettes, and SModcast #259: “The Walrus and the Carpenter” (the original podcast that inspired the film).