Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Kill the Irishman

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

tn_killtheirishmanFrom the director of PUNISHER #2 and the star of PUNISHER #3 comes a solid, entertaining period gangster movie. It’s a biopic of Danny Greene, an Irish American union president, gang enforcer and dodger of car bombs in Cleveland, Ohio circa early ’60s through late ’70s. If it had been done as two separate movies maybe it would’ve got an arthouse release and some critical respect, but they did it as one so it was barely released by Anchor Bay and nobody ever heard of it.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Police Story

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

tn_policestoryPOLICE STORY, directed by and starring circa-1985 Jackie Chan, starts out seeming more serious than most of his movies. Jackie and a bunch of other cops have to raid a huge shantytown looking for drug dealers, and it leads to a chaotic shootout through narrow paths and rickety structures. One of the cops is so scared he actually pisses his pants, and it’s played for humiliation, not for laughs. These guys know that alot of people are about to be killed, including some of them.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Freebie and the Bean

Monday, May 16th, 2011

tn_freebieFREEBIE AND THE BEAN is an early example of the buddy cop movie, but it seems like it was made after that was a long-established genre, and by a director who got bored and tried to subvert it at every possible turn. The director in question is Richard Rush in 1974, before he did THE STUNT MAN. The story seems fairly by-the-numbers after we’ve seen so many other movies of this type, but that doesn’t prevent the whole thing from seeming really fuckin odd, sometimes in ways that it’s hard to put your finger on.
(read the rest of this shit…)

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.
(read the rest of this shit…)

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.
(read the rest of this shit…)

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.
(read the rest of this shit…)

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.

(read the rest of this shit…)

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.
(read the rest of this shit…)

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…)