Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

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.

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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.)
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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.
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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.
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Blast of Silence

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

tn_blastofsilenceHere’s a movie I never heard of until Criterion released it a couple years ago. It’s a real raw, pulpy, hard boiled crime deal, low budget, filmed independently and released in 1961. It’s about a hitman from Cleveland coming into New York, staking out his target. Because it’s black and white and full of hard-nosed tough guy narration it makes you think of old noir movies, but because it was made in the ’60s it’s a more modern, realistic approach to dialogue and acting, all done in real locations, on real city streets, not always with permits.

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Steven Seagal: Lawman Season 2 Episodes 7-8

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

tn_lawman4seagalogicalcatchupEpisode 2.7: “The Innocents”

This episode opens in the SUV with Colonel Fortunato getting a phone call. “Is that the narc call we’ve been expecting?” Seagal asks/expositions. They go to back up narcotics in stopping a vehicle they suspect of transporting large quantities of the wicked substances. As they watch the stop go down Seagal observes, “That’s strange, man. They got two women in the vehicle.”

It gets stranger, Chief. As the dope dog sniffs around you notice they got a baby in the car too. “Just ain’t right” Seagal says. This theme goes back to the previous episode, Seagal’s indignation at people putting children at risk by having them around criminal activity.

It turns out it’s just weed, but it’s huge bricks with the weight already Sharpied on them. They use Fortunato’s phone to add it up and if the measurements are correct (which I bet they are, if you’re responsible enough to label each package I’m sure you’re gonna get it right) it’s just under 100 pounds.
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Steven Seagal: Lawman Season 2 Episodes 5-6

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

seagalogicalcatchup2Next week, if all goes as planned, I will be doing an in-depth analytical study that will completely reinvent film criticism forever as well as change the definition of what it means to be an American, a human, or a spiritual being. In my opinion. Obviously I’m toning that down a little so that your expectations are not too high, but it should be pretty good.

In the near future I also hope to review BORN TO RAISE HELL, the new Seagal movie that’s available in Region 2. But before I do either of those things I think it’s important to fulfill previous obligations, so I will be reviewing the last four episodes of season 2 (and the series?) of STEVEN SEAGAL: LAWMAN. At the end of those I will introduce a new still-evolving theory about the current state of Seagalogy. (read the rest of this shit…)

Red Hill

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

tn_redhill“Alice, have you seen my gun? I thought I packed it with the photos.”

That’s the first line in RED HILL. It describes kind of a random, odd occurrence, but it also tells us alot. Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) is a cop, he’s just moved, his gun is as important to him as his family memories– or he thought it was, but then he misplaced it. Now he’s looking for it because shit, he has to get to his first day of work here in the small town of Red Hill and he’s gonna look like an idiot if he shows up with no gun.

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Animal Kingdom

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

tn_animalkingdomThe cover for the upcoming American DVD of ANIMAL KINGDOM says “Australia’s answer to GOODFELLAS.” As if the U.S. released GOODFELLAS and said, “What say ye, Australia?” And Australia comes back, “Australia has no response to GOODFELLAS at this time.”

Twenty years pass, not a word. Suddenly, out of the blue, America’s phone rings.

“Thank you for calling America, how can I help you?”
“We have Australia on the line. Please hold.”
“Okay.”
“Hello?”
“Yes. This is America. To whom am I speaking, please?”
“Australia calling. We have prepared an answer re: GOODFELLAS. It’s called ANIMAL KINGDOM.”
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Steven Seagal: Lawman Season 2 Episodes 3-4

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

tn_lawman2Episode 2.3: “Crossfire”

As the episode opens Seagal explains that one of their duties is to protect the public from “bad guys” who drink and get rowdy. Once again the Seagal Squad report to the scene of a truck shot full of holes, this time owned by white people for once. Around the corner there’s another vehicle shot up, this one with two people inside, but they say they didn’t see anything. Seagal gently narrates that they have a “street code” that prevents them from telling the cops anything. There’s also a long shot of a stop sign, possibly a reference to the street code and smoke shop t-shirt phenomenon known as “stop snitching.”
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