Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Road to Perdition

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

ROAD TO PERDITION is that gangster movie that came out to pretty good reviews a couple years ago that we all forgot about already, but I never saw it until now so I’m late to the party I guess. Please disregard.

This movie is modeled after old fashioned gangsters movies. But it’s based on a comic book by Max Allan Collins. The comic book itself is modeled after LONE WOLF AND CUB, either the Japanese comic books or the great movies based on the comic books, I’m not sure which. Also I’m guessing it’s a little bit based on some real life historical type business since it’s got Al Capone and whatsisdick Nitti in there and I think somebody said Elliot Ness is in the comic book, and maybe some other historical figures like Thomas Jefferson or Voltaire or one of those guys. As you know I don’t read comic strips, but I have read a good book by Collins called TWO FOR THE MONEY. Actually it’s two books reprinted as one by Hardcase Crime, taken from the Nolan series, which is modeled after Richard Stark’s Parker series. (read the rest of this shit…)

Brick

Friday, April 14th, 2006

BRICK sounds like a good name for a blaxploitation movie about a dude named Brick, but that’s not what it is. It’s actually a detective movie starring all teenagers. There are only two grown ups in the whole movie, and one of them, incidentally, is Shaft.

At first I thought it was like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: THE ADAPTATION where a bunch of kids made the movie but they didn’t know very many grownups who would hang out in the backyward with them so they just got their friends from class to play adults. But then I realized no, it’s just a gimmick. It’s kind of like those movies like BUGSY MALONE and HAWK JONES where it’s kids playing adult type characters. Or like that episode of M.A.S.H. where a magic genie turns them all into kids but they have little kid-sized army uniforms and they build a tree house and do combat surgery in there. Or what about Veggie Tales, it’s like that only instead of vegetables as the Bible it’s teens as hard boiled noir type characters. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Godfather

Saturday, April 8th, 2006

That’s right, the god damn GODFATHER. I mean, what is there even left to say about THE GODFATHER? Well, I’ll tell you.

Bear with me though, I’m about to mention Steven Seagal again. Yesterday I was reading Seagal’s entry on wikipedia when I came across a section talking about the field of Seagalogy, mentioning me as the inventor and linking to a separate entry just about me. I couldn’t believe it. After all I’ve been through – getting rejected from the Online Film Critics Society, being hated by the newsies on Ain’t It Cool for years, failing to stop the Iraq war and even, as you can see above, watching GARFIELD – after all that struggle, here I am, acknowledged in reference material, and described as a “noted internet film critic.”

Can you believe that? Noted. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Ice Harvest

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

I was excited about this at one point, but I missed it when it was in theaters. I thought it was a diamond heist movie starring Billy Bob Thornton, but it turns out Billy Bob is the co-star and there are no diamonds. The ice in the title is literal, because it’s winter. Christmas Eve, to be exact. There’s not snow though, just frozen rain, which is not something you see in Christmas movies very often, and rings true to me since here we’re lucky to even see that. (I don’t know about Kansas.)

It’s not exactly a heist movie because like RESERVOIR DOGS or something you never see the theft itself. John Cusack (the rich man’s Scott Baio) is a Kansas mob lawyer and Billy Bob Thornton (ON DEADLY GROUND) is his partner in skimming. They have just stolen upwards of $2 million from their boss, but can’t leave town yet due to the ice. The movie is about them trying to hang out and play it cool for a few hours before they can leave. They figure the boss won’t know about the missing money until they’re gone, but this seems to be incorrect since Cusack keeps seeing an enforcer played by Mike Starr (ON DEADLY GROUND) going around town looking for them. (read the rest of this shit…)

Mean Guns

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

A while back I reviewed this sci-fi action movie called EQUILIBRIUM and I complained about the cliche of using techno music in all the action scenes. I asked why somebody didn’t try out some different styles of music on some action scenes. A while later a guy named Jonathan Lee wrote to inform me of a movie called MEAN GUNS where they did just that, they used mambo music during all the action (and other parts of the movie).

The only recognizable stars are Ice-T and Christopher Lambert, and then there’s a bunch of other people. Mario Van Peebles was not available. Anyway, “The Syndicate” has recently bought a prison somehow, and the day before the grand opening Ice-T calls a bunch of criminals there for big meeting, like THE WARRIORS. (read the rest of this shit…)

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…)