Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Natural Born Killers

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Years ago I saw NATURAL BORN KILLERS, and I hated it. But that was years ago. Like Woody Harrelson says in the opening scene about the last time he ate key lime pie, I was a different person then. I’ve mellowed over the years. I’m more open to crazy shit and mega-acting. I’m not as strident about certain things. I’m ready to appreciate it as a weird crime movie, maybe, even if it still comes off as a ridiculously heavy-handed message movie about the most obvious fucking message in the world (have you noticed how the media exploits violence?). So let’s give it the same respect we give the pie. Let’s give it its day in court.

Of course, I got no clue why somebody would be skeptical about key lime pie. Maybe that’s the best clue into Mickey Knox’s derangement. Quentin Tarantino sure liked writing about pie when he was young. He wrote the original script this was based on but would only accept a “story by” credit after it was heavily re-written by Oliver Stone, Stone’s buddy Richard Rutowski and David PERMANENT MIDNIGHT Veloz.
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U Turn

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Before seeing SAVAGES I wanted to catch up on some of the recent Oliver Stone pictures that I’d skipped. It turns out this one is 15 years old, so you could argue that I’m a little behind on Stone. Do you guys know if JFK is any good? What about PLATOON?

This is his most straight-forward crime genre picture before SAVAGES so I figured it was a good one to check out. Based on the book Stray Dogs by John Ridley (RED TAILS, UNDERCOVER BROTHER), it’s about this dirtbag Bobby (Sean Penn), an ex-tennis player in debt whose fancy-ass car breaks down in the middle of Tiny Desert Town, Hell (actually Superior, Arizona) on his way to delivering a bunch of cash to the guy who cut off some of his fingers, and then things get way worse. But he fucks Jennifer Lopez at least. (read the rest of this shit…)

Get the Gringo

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Well, I don’t want to start up the ol’ Mel Gibson debate again. We all know how that goes. At some point somebody’s gonna point out that he didn’t kill anybody, so why is he persona non grata in Hollywood? Well, because of multiple crazed incidents where he threw raging tirades about Jews, blacks, rape and cutting off his girlfriend’s head. Yep, he pretty much hit all of them except gays. And him being a movie star we still start to forget about it after a while and want to forgive him, but then every time he seems to be almost in the clear he does another one. Like he wants to be caught.

So I can understand why some people might not want to work with him. Don’t pretend like you don’t. If he was just a guy and not the star (and director) of movies we love you wouldn’t want to share a shift with him or invite him over for the family barbecue, and you fuckin know it.
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Savages

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

SAVAGES is the new crime film from Oliver Stone, about two young idealistic pot entrepreneurs taking on a ruthless Mexican cartel (which is one of the most common types of cartels). The tale is narrated to us by O (GREEN LANTERN’s girlfriend Blake Lively) who is the shared lover of botany genius/philanthropist Ben (Aaron KICKASS Johnson) and Iraq vet/muscle-of-the-operation Chon (Taylor JOHN CARTER Kitsch). The two grew up together as surf bums in Laguna Beach and then one day decided to bring home marijuana seeds from Afghanistan and create a new strain. And the shit blew up like Apple. (read the rest of this shit…)

Wrong Turn at Tahoe

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Back when I saw the insane Lee Daniels mother-fucking assassin movie SHADOWBOXER I admitted that Cuba Gooding Jr. was good in it, but made fun of the generic covers of some of his other straight to video movies. Back then one or more people stood up for WRONG TURN AT TAHOE. I don’t think I believed them.

Since then I liked Gooding in HIT LIST, and started to realize that I was unfair to dismiss him as a DTV star. Just ’cause he did all that mugging on all those trailers for comedies I never saw doesn’t mean he can’t do other shit. I even kind of liked him in RED TAILS – not a popular stance, but an honest one. And I can’t continue to hold that ugly purple shirt from BOYZ N THE HOOD against him. It was the ’90s, it was a different time. At least he wasn’t wearing Zubaz.

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Bullet in the Head

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I don’t think I’ve seen John Woo’s BULLET IN THE HEAD since the early ’90s. It was a double feature with HARD BOILED, and I remember seeing a guy walk out during a scene involving American P.O.W.s. I thought it was crazy that after the unparalleled gun violence of HARD BOILED there would be violence in the next movie that somebody couldn’t take. But obviously with the historical context it cuts a little closer to the bone, especially if that guy was a vet. That’s what’s amazing about this movie: made after THE KILLER but before HARD BOILED, it has the fun, brotherhood and crazy action of the best Woo while feeling more personal, more emotional than any of them.
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The Son of No One

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

tn_sonofnooneTHE SON OF NO ONE is the new one from Dito Montiel, who got onto my radar thanks to the unexpectedly interesting FIGHTING. This one also stars Channing Tatum, this time as a rookie NYC cop. Katie Holmes plays his wife. Al Pacino plays his cop dad’s partner. Ray Liotta plays his boss. Tracy Morgan plays his mentally disturbed childhood best friend. Juliette Binoche plays a reporter for a leftie weekly who seems poised to ruin his life by exposing a secret from his past. How the hell did I never hear about this movie until the day before it came out DTV?

Oh yeah, for the obvious reason. It’s not very good. But I’ll put it in the respectable try column if I ever start using a column-based system for categorizing movies, and if I remember this movie at that point, which seems doubtful, but you never know. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Sugarland Express

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

tn_sugarlandspielbergTHE SUGARLAND EXPRESS is the feature debut of young TV director Steve Spielberg. It’s hard to think of it as his first real movie when DUEL was so damn good, but officially it’s the first one he made for theatrical release. Things have really changed, haven’t they? You don’t get hungry young up-and-comers starting out in TV and then making a splash in movies. There’s great TV now but it’s not a place for visionary directors.

To commemorate the 2 (two) new Spielberg movies that came out recently I decided to finally get aorund to watching all the Spielberg movies I’ve never actually seen. This is gonna include a couple that you guys will be surprised by because everybody else in the world saw them a long time ago. But mostly it will be the “lesser” Spielbergs. Not JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS or E.T. (read the rest of this shit…)

In Bruges

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

tn_inbrugesIN BRUGES is an intimate crime story about two hitmen – I know, but hear me out – forced to stay in the titular Belgian town while things cool down after a job gone wrong. Ken (Brendan Gleeson) is the veteran who’s happy to take advantage of the down time to relax and look at tourist spots, Ray (Colin Farrell) is his young partner who has no interest and pouts like a kid dragged along on the wrong vacation. He’s also the one that fucked up the job and is racked with guilt and depression.
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Elite Squad 2

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

tn_elitesquad2aka ELITE SQUAD: THE ENEMY WITHIN (title on American poster)
ELITE TROOP 2: NOW THE ENEMY IS ANOTHER ONE (bootleg-sounding literal translation)
ELITE SQUAD (title on marquee at the Uptown in Seattle)

ELITE SQUAD 2 (as the subtitle on the title screen says) is the 2010 follow-up to the 2007 Brazilian police epic. Same director (Jose Padilha), still writing along with Braulio Mantovani (CITY OF GOD). Wagner Moura returns as Nascimento, head of B.O.P.E., the paramilitary police unit that fights the drug gangs in the favelas of Rio. This is supposed to be quite a few years later, because the baby that was born in part 1 is now a sullen teenager. Luckily they don’t make Moura wear old man makeup or anything, they just ask you to go with it.
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