Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Street Kings 2: Motor City

Friday, May 6th, 2011

tn_streetkings2I know what you’re thinking: if I had remembered that there was a STREET KINGS 1 I think I would be surprised to find out that there’s a STREET KINGS 2. Well, this is a new movement of unexpected DTV franchises along with S.W.A.T. and SMOKIN’ ACES. To my surprise it also fits with the current trend of increasingly high quality DTV sequels.
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The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Monday, April 25th, 2011

tn_alicecreedTHE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED is a simple story about two kidnappers and their hostage. And it’s not one of those stories where they become friends. It’s a simple, well-executed thriller and especially before the plot starts thickening this thing is deeply unsettling.

It had me right from the great opening scene: a montage of these two nefarious individuals (Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan) shopping at a hardware store and then preparing an abandoned house as a kidnapping hideout. It just goes through step-by-step as they add locks, cover windows, soundproof the walls, put together a bed with chains on it… it’s like a sinister version of one of those home makeover shows.
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Elite Squad

Friday, April 8th, 2011

tn_elitesquadELITE SQUAD is a 2007 Brazilian movie about BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais), the titular squad of Brazilian military police. They’re basically a special forces unit, but unlike in the U.S. their job is to go after their own citizens. If you saw CITY OF GOD you know how the drug gangs control the favelas of Rio, so you can imagine what the supercops would have to be like in that world. They wear berets and they got a logo straight out of STARSHIP TROOPERS. (read the rest of this shit…)

A Bittersweet Life

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

tn_bittersweetlifeKim Sun-Woo (Lee Byung-hun, the ninja-in-white from GI JOE) is the liver of the titular life, and at first I gotta say it mostly seems sweet. He works at a hotel (but really he’s an enforcer) and he seems to be very good at his job. In fact he’s very good at other people’s jobs too, because when some slacker isn’t there to take care of some rowdy guests from a rival gang Kim goes downstairs and personally martial arts the shit out of them.
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The Man From Nowhere

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

tn_manfromnowhereTHE MAN FROM NOWHERE is a Korean crime picture that was Korea’s highest grossing movie in 2010 and is new to DVD here in North America. The region free male of the title is Cha Tae-Sik (Won Bin), a young handsome dude who runs a pawn shop. He lives next door to a single mother who unbeknownsted to him has just stolen a big bag of heroin from a dude.

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Killing Zoe

Friday, March 4th, 2011

tn_killingzoeToday I’d like to give a little nod to one of the undervalued sidekicks of cinema, the Steve James of filmatists. Roger Avary shares with Quentin Tarantino the best original screenplay Oscar for PULP FICTION. I always thought he was supposed to have just written the Bruce-Willis-lays-around-in-bed-talking-cute-with-a-French-lady portion, but Wikipedia says the accidental shooting of Marvin (SPOILER) and The Miracle of the Bullets That Totally Miss both came from an earlier screenplay by Avary. The two worked at a video store together (and also as production assistants on Dolph Lundgren’s MAXIMUM POTENTIAL workout video) and collaborated alot when they were coming up. For example Avary’s script was rewritten by Tarantino into TRUE ROMANCE, then Avary came in later on when Tony Scott was making the movie and wanted rewrites. He also wrote a little bit of NATURAL BORN KILLERS and the shit Steven Wright says on the radio in RESERVOIR DOGS and Tarantino was credited as executive producer on this one.

By the time of JACKIE BROWN Tarantino and Avary didn’t really seem to be working together anymore, so to people who haven’t paid attention to him since then it would be easy to think he might’ve just been a lucky buddy of Tarantino’s, riding in on the ol’ ’70s TV show referencing coattails. I think he’s since proven himself capable of standing on his own, it’s just that all his movies end up being misunderstood or underappreciated: he wrote and directed RULES OF ATTRACTION and wrote SILENT HILL and BEOWULF. All movies I like that a whole lot of people hate.

It’s gotta be hard living under the shadow of Tarantino, because #1 nobody can really live up to him and #2 the chin part of the shadow is just gigantic (wocka wocka). But I think Avary’s got some talent.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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