Thursday, June 21, 2012

(30) Stars of Summer - Day 21: Laurence Fishburne

We're just nine days away from the finish line, everyone.

You've got it by now, but once again here are the rules. Check out this list of all the month's actors with links to what's available on Netflix Instant. If you're not a Netflix subscriber, maybe this will help.

Day 1: Jimmy Stewart
Day 2: Catherine Deneuve
Day 3: Christopher Lee
Day 4: Bette Davis
Day 5: Nicolas Cage
Day 6: Diane Keaton 
Day 7: Orson Welles 
Day 8: Catherine Keener 
Day 9: Kurt Russell
Day 10: Pam Grier
Day 11: Clint Eastwood
Day 12: Susan Sarandon 
Day 13: Cary Grant 
Day 14: Barbara Stanwyck 
Day 15: Keith David 
Day 16: Frances McDormand 
Day 17: Gary Oldman 
Day 18: Marilyn Monroe 
Day 19: Dick Miller 
Day 20: Jennifer Jason Leigh


  1. The Death and Life of Bobby Z (2007)

    Paul Walker is a criminal who is broken out of prison so he can impersonate world-famous drug dealer Bobby Z, Dave-style. Laurence Fishburne plays another in his long line of cops and bureaucrats. It makes little narrative sense and is pretty bad in that post-Tarantino way, but it's very watchable. The cast (with the exception of Paul Walker) is overqualified.

  2. Predators (2010)

    The spirit of Roger Corman is alive and well in this science fiction action film. It's not "great," but it sure is a lot of fun, as a whole group of so-called "predators" from Earch have to do battle with predators of the alien variety.

    SPOILERS - Fishburne has a small role, but it's a hoot. He doesn't just go crazy, he goes BRANDO crazy.

    1. Sorry - "Earth," not "Earch." Earch is where that Engineer was at the beginning of Prometheus.

    2. Ha! I'm pretty sure you just made my whole day.

  3. Higher Learning(1995)
    Fishburne is the linchpin in John Singleton's drama about three separate students facing different kinds of social and racial tension at a university. While heavy-handed(what movie that deals with race isn't?) and weakened by uneven performances(Michael Rappaport, Ice Cube and Fishburne are fantastic. Omar Epps is passable. Kristy Swanson is lifeless.), it's a movie that sticks with you and while not up to snuff with "Do The Right Thing", is still worth recommending.

  4. King Of New York (1991)

    Cool-as-ice crime crime thriller was largely responsible for Christopher Walken's resurgence in the 90's, and he is fantastic in it.

    Fishburne is at the tail-end of the Young Punk phase of his career and getting ready to become Dignity For Hire, and he is also exceptionally good.

    Maybe not the most substantial movie, plot-wise, but really entertaining.

  5. Deep Cover

    Larry Fishburne (am I the only one who misses when he was Larry?) is an undercover cop who begins to lose himself to the role he's playing. It's not bad, but it's pretty forgettable. Jeff Goldblum is always interesting to watch, and here he's downright fascinating as a drug-addled attorney. Worth a look, but FritzFassbender made a better choice of back-when-he-was-Larry crime movies, King of New York. Watch that one instead.


    There was no place for this franchise to go but up after the dead-on-arrival first "FF4" movie. Unfortunately Gruffud (too young) and Alba (wrong personality) are still miscast as Mr. and Mrs. Fantastic, Evans' Torch and Chiklis' 'Thing' still think they're cool and/or funny (they're not, though Chris now gets the benefit of Marvel universe love) and McMahon still seems to be posing for a paycheck. That so much of the movie's attention is focused on the one-dimensional Silver Surfer (with Fishburne's voice giving his intergalactic ramblings more depth and heft than they deserve) seems to be director Tim Story's way of keeping us from growing even more bored with our underwhelming heroes and OK-at-best SFX/action scenes. The "FF4" movies in the Y2K decade are a reminder of how lucky we were that most Marvel movies (even the mediocre one's) turned out as good as they did.