Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Transporter 2

Monday, March 27th, 2006

One day not too long ago I was sitting in a theater waiting to watch some movie, the identity of which has by now dissolved into the fountain of time. (that’s not a real saying, I just made it up. My audience deserves new sayings, not the same old shit they’ve heard before and understand.) And suddenly there was a trailer for a sequel that probaly nobody, and definitely not me, asked for. The movie of course was THE TRANSPORTER 2 in case you forgot which review you’re reading here. There was kicking, jumping, cars flipping, things exloding, a half naked lingerie wearing sexy nurse assassin with makeup smeared down her eyes Tammy Faye Baker style, that sort of thing. There was this ridiculous shot where The Transporter jumps his BMW from one parking garage into another and skids out right on the edge of the thing. All that flash and bang got me excited and I realized that somehow, even though I kind of hated THE TRANSPORTER, I wanted to see the sequel. I can’t remember ever being excited about a sequel to a movie I didn’t like. But like Jesus and the correctional system said, you gotta give a guy a second chance. (read the rest of this shit…)

Inside Man

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

INSIDE MAN has gotta be Spike Lee’s most mainstream joint ever. It’s a gimmicky bank robber thriller, not the type of story and characters he as a jointmaker is known for. You can go down his entire jointography and he’s never done this type of movie – it’s not as gritty and realistic as CLOCKERS, it’s not as meandering and novelistic as THE 25TH HOUR or SUMMER OF SAM, it’s not something he seems to be as passionate about as say MALCOLM X or the Jackie Robinson movie he’s been talking about doing for about 500 years that now is gonna be a Robert Redford Joint. (Yeah right Robert Redford, you had no idea Spike Lee wanted to do a Jackie Robinson movie. Who would’ve ever known Spike was interested in that sort of thing?)

So it’s not pure 100% grade A Spike Lee Joint which accounts for its lack of greatness, but I think it’s also kind of a good thing for Spike. He’s never made a movie completely lacking in merit (well, I haven’t seen SHE HATE ME yet) but he seems to get less and less focused as he gets older. Maybe doing one mainstream thriller will get him back in the mode of telling a somewhat concise story. I don’t know. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

This movie is directed by and starring Mr. Tommy Lee Jones (UNDER SIEGE) and it’s a western, even though it takes place today. It might be the first western with cell phones. As far as I could tell there were only two literal burials of Melquiades Estrada depicted in the movie so I figure the other one is some kind of metaphor.

Tommy plays Pete, a Texas ranch hand with unspecified past, and his best friend Melquiades is played by a guy named Julio Cesar Cedillo. He’s not in the movie as much as Pete though, because he’s dead. The movie opens with some good ol’ boys driving around with guns and they see a coyote chewing on something, and they shoot it. Then when they go to gather up the sweet, sweet coyote meat they notice that what the coyote was chewing on was The One Dead Body of Melquiades Estrada. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

This movie stars Steve McQueen as a bank robber, which automatically makes it worth seeing. And this is a good movie. But to be honest it doesn’t live up to its reputation or its potential. I know that Steve McQueen, like me, was someone who often could be spotted out and about striving for excellence. So I don’t think he would have a problem with me holding him to a high standard of achievement.

The first thing you’ll notice about the movie is that it’s very stylish. The opening and various other scenes use split-screen up the wazoo, splitting the screen into something like six different little boxes to show the different people intersecting for a heist. The cinematographer is Haskell Wexler (see TELL THEM WHO YOU ARE above for more on him) so despite all the showoffery in the editing alot of the footage is very handheld, documentary looking, like you’re there. Alot of the scenes are just dialogue-free footage of Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown fucking around. For example he flies in a glider or drives around really fast in a dune buggy. The dune buggy footage is pretty spectular, it seems like he’s about to flip over at any moment and you can’t help but notice he’s got no roll bars above his head. (read the rest of this shit…)

Thursday

Friday, February 17th, 2006

This poor bastard Skip Woods. How was he supposed to know? He stumbles across this winning formula of late ’90s independent quirky crime drama, and it just so happens that another individual, somebody named Quentin Tarantino, has already done it.

You gotta feel sorry for Skip. How was he supposed to know that Tarantino loved to take larger than life movie archetypes and show the mundane parts of their lives? Like this opening scene where three criminals who obviously don’t realize how annoying they are (Aaron Ekchart, Paulina Porezkova, James LeGros) stop in a convenience store after a big score to get coffee, and argue over the price until they end up killing the clerk and then have to pretend to work there when a cop comes in. And how could Skip have known that when he has the cop ask, for no reason, whether Eckhart prefers Picard or Kirk… that it JUST MIGHT look like he was some fuckin idiot jackass blatantly and embarassingly trying to copy the most superficial elements of Tarantino’s formula? (read the rest of this shit…)

Bubble

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

I might’ve mentioned before, I like this Steve Soderbergh guy. Number one, he knows what the fuck he’s doing. Number two, he does what the fuck he wants. He’s the epitome of the guy who does smart but crowdpleasing commercial movies (OCEAN’S 11, ERIN BROCKOVICH) then turns around and makes a crazy no budget weird ass movie (SCHIZOPOLIS, FULL FRONTAL). I wish he’d make more badass crime movies like THE LIMEY and OUT OF SIGHT but that’s just me. If I could tell him what to do that would violate number two (see above). A violation like that would probaly ruin the roll he’s on and all the sudden he’d start doing half-assed FINAL DESTINATION sequels or something.

Now that this guy has a best director Oscar (for TRAFFIC), a Criterion Edition (for SCHIZOPOLIS), an outlaw award winner (THE LIMEY) and the all important misunderstood sequel (OCEAN’S 12), he decided there was one thing he was missing: a series of six digitally shot improvisational movies starring non-actors in their real home towns to be released in theaters, on dvd and on cable all at the same time. BUBBLE is the first in this ridiculous experiment and let’s be honest here. Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re getting into, you do know what you’re getting into. First motherfucker that watches BUBBLE and complains that it’s not INDIANA JONES gets a knuckle sandwich. This is not designed to entertain the whole world. It’s designed to be the type of movie you shoot quickly with a low budget on hi-def video and release on DVD at the same time as theaters. (read the rest of this shit…)

Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Geez, I shouldn’t have put off seeing this movie so long considering it really is my beat. This is kind of a miracle actually. This is the rare DTV movie that could’ve passed for a low budget theatrical movie. The only thing really holding it back is being a prequel with a different star from the original, which is a real good reason not to release it in theaters. Going straight to video lowers the expectations and makes it only half count as a sequel or prequel, which gives it a better shot at working. And for me it did. Even if you don’t go for it I think you will be awed by its competence. This is definitely a landmark in DTV sequelization.

I love the original CARLITO’S WAY, but I haven’t seen it in years, so that probaly helps. I never knew this but DePalma’s movie was based on the second book in a series. The book was called After Hours, but they didn’t want it confused with the Scorsese movie of the same name so they called it CARLITO’S WAY, after the first book in the series. RISE TO POWER is actually adapted from the book Carlito’s Way, according to legend. (I haven’t read the books so who knows.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Match Point

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

MATCH POINT is the new Woody Allen picture. The title refers to tennis but to me it sounds like just some generic name of a place title like GOSFORD PARK or PACIFIC HEIGHTS or LAND OF THE DEAD. If it was up to me it would be called KEEP YOUR DICK IN YOUR PANTS. You know, like, “This winter, director Woody Allen invites you to… Keep Your Dick In Your Pants.”

This is the first Woody Allen movie in a long time that doesn’t seem exactly like every other Woody Allen movie. It takes place in London with a mostly british cast. Jonathan Rhys somebody (a guy from TITUS) plays a guy named Chris. He’s a former pro tennis player who’s kind of a cheapskate, always trying to bum shit off of people. So one day he’s taking advantage of a rich tennis student’s generosity when he falls for the guy’s sister (Emily Mortimer). And then as soon as that’s rolling he falls even harder for the guy’s fiancee (Scarlett Johansen [hubba hubba]). He wants Scarlett bad and tries to make a pass at her but it doesn’t work out. So what the hell, he marries Emily. He gets a good job out of it and her parents pay for him to have a nice apartment and shit. And she wants some babies, now. (read the rest of this shit…)

Crash (2005)

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Unfortunately this is not the pervy Cronenberg movie I’ve never gotten around to seeing about the people getting off on car crashes. This is the race relations movie directed by Paul Haggis, writer of Clint’s MILLION DOLLAR BABY. I gotta be honest, my reason for seeing this was not that I thought I would like it, but that I was just real damn curious. Because it got so many rave reviews, and Roger Ebert chose it as the best of the year, but every single person I knew who had seen it said it was corny, overwrought bullshit.

I hate to be a centrist but I think it falls somewhere in the middle. It seems well intentioned. It’s trying to point out different kinds of subconscious racism, it’s trying to show that people are complicated, racists maybe have a chance of being redeemed, people who don’t think they are racists might end up shooting a black dude, etc. It’s one of those movies where there’s a bunch of different characters tangentally connected by coincidence and you find out as the story unfolds what they have to do with each other, which can be fun. And there’s some good little moments and whatnot. One of the best scenes actually involves a cop trying to save somebody from a flipped car before it blows up. In other words, a scene you can see in every single episode of CHiPs. But this is better directed so it’s pretty intense. Also Tony Danza has a cameo. (read the rest of this shit…)

Hustle & Flow

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

I had a good feeling about this movie from right about the time the title came on the screen. It was a shot of a pimp (Terence Howard) and a ho (Taryn Manning) driving in a car, and it freeze frames to write the title in yellow ’70s style lettering.

I always like Terence Howard but I’ve never seen him in a lead role before. He’s always the supporting role that steals the movie. Here he has a lead role that steals the movie. I haven’t seen GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN but I would be surprised if Terence Howard’s performance in this movie doesn’t run a hundred circles around his co-star in that movie, both as an actor and as a rapper. True, he does mumble alot in this movie (you almost need subtitles) but I still feel his enunciation is better than Fifty Cents. (read the rest of this shit…)