Screened Out – The Magnificent Seven

By : Stephen Miller
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Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard

Westerns are pure American mythology, you’d think… The Magnificent Seven is based on a classic Akira Kurosawa film, Seven Samurai. Talented director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) tries to update the story with a multi-ethnic cast and some clever lines. But this is just amore violent, shallower copy.

“I seek righteousness, but I’ll take revenge,” says Emma Cullen (Bennett) after her husband is killed in cold blood.

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Screened Out – Black Mass

By : Stephen Miller
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Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll

In Catholic parlance, a Black Mass is a satanic inversion of the Holy Mass, where one sacrificed others instead of oneself, and no good can come of it. The metaphor fits this dark, slow, unforgiving film – a mob biopic about James “Whitey” Bulger. It’s a cold, methodical, violent piece about a cold, methodical, violent character.

With this as a theme, Black Mass is watchable, but it never illuminates Bulger to us – specifically, why he does what he does. He’s one note: just pure evil. People are loyal to him and we never find out why except for fear.

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