Melanie Dishman's archive

Anyone who attended last week’s screening of “Dirt! The Movie,” the public service documentary project sponsored by the Magnolia Garden Club and the City of Beaumont, will realize that Christopher Nolan’s movie gives an accurate depiction of mankind’s future fate — and it’s not good.

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In what could be dubbed the “Network” for the new millennium, writer and first-time feature director Dan Gilroy taps into our morbid fascination with the grisly sensationalism that passes for evening news, all seen through the eyes of one of the most fascinating characters on screen this year.

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No living actor plays the curmudgeon better than Bill Murray. He’s become the Walter Matthau of his time. All through this, I could see Murray channeling that “Bad News Bears” grumpiness of Matthau as he plays Vincent Van Nuys in this first feature from writer/director Theodore Melfi, who should get down on his knees and thank Murray for saying “yes” to the role.

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This is not in the same league as “Saving Private Ryan,” but like that World War II film, this one also deals in graphic, visceral realism that gives it more weight than the old “B” war pictures that obviously inspired it. Call it “five guys and a tank” for the quasi family of men trapped inside the metal bucket called a Sherman tank in the final days leading to the end of the war.

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The Equalizer film poster, courtesy of rottentomatoes.com

About the only thing this movie and the old television series have in common is the title. Replacing British actor Edward Woodward, who starred in the show that ran for four seasons beginning in 1985, is Denzel Washington, who teams up again with “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua for an updated take on the enigmatic character of Robert McCall.

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