This week The Herald's resident movie expert George Byrne has the lowdown on 'The Equalizer' and 'Maps to the Stars'
'The Equalizer' is a far cry from the 80s TV show of the same name, which starred Edward Woodward.
In fact, the name is pretty much the only thing they have in common - as George points out, this big screen incarnation stars Denzel Washington who, unlike Woodward, executes his own violence.
"I suspect they're looking at a potential franchise here," says George, "He's only a few years younger than Liam Neeson so there's plenty of scope for the middle aged action man!
"He's teaming up with Antoine Fuqua who he worked with on Training Day, and then he won the Oscar. I don't think there'll be any Oscars for this but It's a perfectly serviceable action film.
"It's perfectly entertaining. I wonder if John Michael McDonagh might do a proper Irish remake and set it in Woodies DIY in Tallaght?"
'Maps to the Stars' is a Hollywood satire constructed around a ghost story, which is not entirely successful, but the performances are outstanding from Julianne Moore to John Cusack, Olivia Williams, and Mia Wasikowska.
"There's a lot to like, notably the performances," says George.
"It's essentially a satire on Hollywood, basically telling us Hollywood is a terrible place, not that anyone who had seen Sunset Boulevard fifty years ago, or the play, or Get Shorty, or The Canyons last year didn't know!"
He adds, "It's a bit heavy handed but the performances make it. Julianne Moore is great, Cuask is great, Mia Wasikowska, who was brilliant in that film last year walking across the dessert with the camels, brilliant, and Robert Pattinson who was in that good Aussie film, The Rover a few weeks back, brilliant.
"It doesn't quite tie together but it's much better than Cosmopolis but if you like good acting, it's great."
Denzel Washington can’t run but he can hide. The 59-year-old two-time Oscar-winner has terrible knee problems, courtesy of a sports-mad youth, and says his physical activity these days is limited to boxing and an exercise bike. Jogging is not an option. Hiding in plain sight, on the other hand, is something of a forte.
Although David Cronenberg's latest creation, Maps to the Stars, is set in Hollywood, in many respects Hollywood is just a backdrop. The family melodrama around which it revolves could as easily take place in Meath, granted it's extreme, but extremes can happen anywhere.
You might think a Hollywood star would be touchy when it comes to failure. Not Julianne Moore. The red-head lets out a big laugh when we discuss the rather delicate subject of the Academy Awards. Four Oscar nominations - including twice at the 2003 ceremony, where she was up for Best Actress for Far From Heaven and Best Supporting for The Hours - and how many has she won? "Zero!" she cries, rocking back on her seat.
David Cronenberg is best known for quirky psychological horror films like Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers and Crash, but in his latest movie he turns his lens back on itself to take a caustic look at Hollywood. In Maps to the Stars, which was released here yesterday, Julianne Moore gives an astonishingly brave performance as Havana Segrand, a fading, paranoid movie actress whose fragile grip on reality slips entirely after she hires a strange young girl as her personal assistant.