Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Leon (aka The Professional)

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

tn_leonThese days Luc Besson is mostly thought of as a producer of action movies (DISTRICT B13, TAKEN, THE TRANSPORTER, UNLEASHED). But man, there was a time there a while back when his heart was in being a writer/director, and LEON aka THE PROFESSIONAL is a hell of a good action movie he did.

The year was 1994 and American crime movies were having sort of a resurgence. Young men with movie cameras were reading the Psalms of John Woo and rediscovering the joys of onscreen bullet discharge. It was the year of KILLING ZOE, THE LAST SEDUCTION, FRESH, the Alec Baldwin version of THE GETAWAY and of course DEATH WISH V: THE FACE OF DEATH.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Mesrine: Killer Instinct

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

tn_mesrine1MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT is part 1 of a 2 part French true-ish crime saga about Jacques Mesrine, international terror, mustachioed robber of banks and casinos, killer of forest rangers, escaper of prisons, etc. One of these lovable maniacs who make the world worse and the movies better. This review is just of the first part. Both parts have been available as an import for a while but I waited for the official American release, so I gotta wait another month for part 2.

Vincent Cassel (EASTERN PROMISES) plays Mesrine as a fun-loving, woman-enjoying dude, a charmer who wins you over when he’s caught robbing a house and without missing a beat just pretends to be a police officer responding to the robbery. In real life nobody likes some asshole that lies to the elderly and steals their shit, but through the filter of a movie we admire his cleverness. And hey, he could’ve just pistol whipped them and gotten similar results. He made a better choice. But he’s not a good man.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Exiled

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

tn_exiledAfter VENGEANCE heroically bloodshedded me in the face it was obviously time to check out some of these Johnnie To movies that I’ve been ignoring even though everybody and their blood brother has been recommending them to me over the years. It’s nice to see that while Hong Kong action cinema has lost the worldwide attention it had in the ’90s there’s still been some people keeping it alive. Mr. To definitely has a modern take on the types of emotions and style we love from that era. So here’s another one of his more recent ones, 2006’s EXILED.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Truck Turner

Friday, February 18th, 2011

tn_truckturnerEverybody knows Isaac Hayes’s music for SHAFT, but he also scored TRUCK TURNER. And while he was at it he decided to also star as Truck Turner. Why not? I guess at one point it was gonna be Robert Mitchum, which would’ve made for a really weird blaxploitation movie.

Under Hayes’s super-funky theme song the movie opens with a montage of vintage L.A. lowlife spots: liquor stores, blood banks, pawn shops, a corner where a bunch of old drunks have an awkward slap fight until a cop breaks it up. And I’m pretty sure those are real dudes. The montage also shows the signs for more than ten bail bonds places, which shows that our man Truck has alot of competition.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Vengeance

Monday, February 7th, 2011

tn_vengeanceIf a revenge movie is just called VENGEANCE, somebody might assume it’s gonna be obvious and unimaginative. In the case of Johnnie To’s VENGEANCE they’d be wrong – it’s elegant and poetically simple is what it is. Like a haiku with exit wounds. At this time I would like to ask that hypothetical somebody to admit that they would’ve been wrong.

In the opening scene a family is gunned down by three hitmen. Only the mother survives, and just barely. Her father, just known as Costello (Johnny Hallyday), comes to the hospital, vows to avenge her and gets minor details about the attackers by having her point at words in a newspaper. (read the rest of this shit…)

Le Samourai

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

tn_samouraiLE SAMOURAI is a movie I’ve meant to see for years. It just comes up so often when you’re into the shit I’m into. It was a big inspiration for THE KILLER and GHOST DOG, and probly THE AMERICAN, and since it’s both a crime movie and an instigator of that French wave that was new at the time it appeals to a broad range of movie buffs. People who wouldn’t normally watch too many French movies from the ’60s might watch it because it’s about a hitman, and vice versa. (‘Vice versa’ is Latin by the way, not French.)

So after hearing about it all these years it’s kind of a surprise still, ’cause it turns out I got the wrong impression. The way people talk about it I thought it was gonna be way more arty, way more slow and difficult, way more pretentious. But it’s a pretty straightforward crime movie in my opinion. It’s not fast-paced by modern standards, but it doesn’t have much fat on it either. Just alot of quiet. And a bird chirping.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Vice Squad

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

tn_vicesquadVICE SQUAD is a gritty 1982 movie about some L.A. cops trying to catch a murderous pimp. He’s a redneck pimp named Ramrod, played by the Busey-esque Wings Hauser, who I last saw as the evil sorcerer in BEASTMASTER 2. Hauser also sings a crazy song called “Neon Slime” that’s played over the opening credits and is so interesting it does an encore during the end credits so you can re-examine it. It takes two listens to really get it, I think.

Ramrod drives a Bronco, dresses kinda like Cowboy Curtis and has a gigantic photo of Elvis in his apartment. This guy is a real psycho, he gets rough with women in general and beats his hoes especially. One of them he beats so bad she dies, but he doesn’t realize it at the time. The Vice Squad, led by Detective Tom Walsh (Gary Swanson), guilt a hooker friend of the deceased named Princess (Season Hubley) into wearing a wire and helping them bust Ramrod. She’s hesitant but she does it, and it works.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Reindeer Games

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

tn_reindeergamesIn the popular song and cartoon RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, “reindeer games” are the fun group activities that all the popular reindeers enjoy but Rudolph is excluded from due to his low social caste. In the movie REINDEER GAMES the character “Monster” (Gary Sinise) uses it as a synonym for “funny business,” something that he threatens Rudy (Ben Affleck) not to participate in. This misuse of Christmas terminology doesn’t bother Rudy or probly occur to him, but it does bug him when Clarence Williams III keeps referring to “Santa’s dwarves.” So he does have a certain amount of respect for Christmas tradition.

REINDEER GAMES is not a Christmas movie in the sense that it’s about Christmas, or about somebody coming to a realization about the meaning of Christmas, at least not a very convincing one. But I can guarantee you this much: it takes place in December, with a heist planned for Christmas Eve, and with the participators all dressed as Santa Claus. So there are some discussions of cranberries and what not. Maybe a mention of sugar plums, I can’t remember for sure. (Have you ever had sugar plums? They’re actually really fuckin good. I wish I knew a place that sold them. I might have visions of them dancing in my head now that I remembered them.)
(read the rest of this shit…)

Christmas Holiday

Friday, December 24th, 2010

tn_christmasholidayEverybody knows about Christmas horror (BLACK CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS EVIL, the SILENT/DEADY NIGHT saga, etc.). And of course there’s Christmas action (DIE HARDs 1-2, the works of Shane Black). But did you ever notice there’s Christmas crime, too? I just reviewed SILENT PARTNER, and there’s THE ICE HARVEST, BAD SANTA and others. So I was using the Google.com websight to see if there were others and came across this interview with a guy who did a book just about Christmas movies. He chose this CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY as a movie he wishes were on DVD and that more people knew about.
(read the rest of this shit…)

The Silent Partner

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

tn_silentpartnerTHE SILENT PARTNER is a Christmas-time bank robbery thriller directed by one Daryl Duke and written by Curtis Hanson (director of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL and 8 MILE, writer of WHITE DOG). Elliott Gould – who I wouldn’t think would be that into Christmas, go figure – plays Miles, a Toronto teller at a bank inside one of those indoor shopping malls. (This was 1978.)

I think Miles sees himself as pretty cool, not a loser, even though he’s not having the success he’d like in wooing his co-worker Julie (Susannah York), and is later revealed to own a Superman lunchbox. Maybe having a cool name like Miles balances that out, I’m not sure. He also has a passion for rare fish, which he keeps in his aquarium, that’s what he spends his extra money on.
(read the rest of this shit…)