Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

Sabotage

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

tn_sabotageBListen all y’all, SABOTAGE is a great vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger right now. It’s a good mix of what you expect from him and what you don’t. It’s a movie that benefits from his Huge Movie Star presence. He can just walk in and the legendary badass backstory of his character, DEA squad leader John “Breacher” Wharton, manifests physically before our eyes. He can strut and bark commands and joke and you fully believe that his unruly team of trained killers – even big Joe Manganiello, who towers over him – respect, fear, and look up to him like he’s their dad.

I think this here is the perfect approach to Old Man Arnold: not making self-deprecating jokes like in the okay THE LAST STAND, but just being Arnold while proudly rocking a thick stripe of white hair around the edges. Yeah, I’m 66, who the fuck cares? I’m Arnold. Are you gonna be Arnold when you get to be my age?
(read the rest of this shit…)

Devil in a Blue Dress

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

tn_devilinabluedressIt looks like  I’m continuing my informal and logo-free History of Black Film series a little bit into March. It could be argued that this is because I got side-tracked writing about ROBOCOP and then went out of town and got snowed in there and got behind schedule on my reviews. But in my opinion I’m really doing it in protest of the injustice of Black History Month being slotted in the shortest month.

I also want to admit that at the beginning I said I was gonna be exploring obscure black action stars, then instead I’ve been looking at lesser known black directors, not really the same thing at all. That’s not because the whole thing was poorly planned and thought out on my part, it’s because you gotta be fluid about these things and follow your creative instincts.

DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS is another one where a black director adapts one installment in a mystery series by a black writer. Not that that’s a big category, I’m just saying that’s a parallel to COTTON COMES TO HARLEM. The director is Carl Franklin (ONE FALSE MOVE), the author is Walter Mosley and the mystery-solver is Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, later a private eye but as of this story an a WWII vet laid off from an airplane factory having a hard time getting work until a white P.I. played by Tom Sizemore (SPOILER: I don’t know if you should trust this guy) pays him to look for a white woman (Jennifer Beals) who hangs out in black underground clubs that a white man (but not white woman) would have trouble slipping into without causing a problem.
(read the rest of this shit…)

The Bird With the Crystal Plumage

Friday, October 25th, 2013

tn_birdwithcrystalTHE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE is a Dario Argento movie I hadn’t seen before. This is his directational debut, so it shows what he was up to before the ones I’m most familiar with, DEEP RED, SUSPIRIA and INFERNO. He’s not yet the sicko artiste who made those three, but you can see him headed in that direction.

An American writer (Tony Musante) visiting Italy happens to be walking across the street from an art gallery one night when he sees a struggle going on inside. He runs over but can’t get into the large, plate glass storefront. He knocks on the window but is forced to just watch as a stabbed woman lays bleeding on the floor inside. Then he gets trapped behind another wall of glass. Another passerby brings cops in time to save the woman, but this American at the scene of the crime, and planning to leave the country soon, that doesn’t look too good. So they confiscate his passport.
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Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) + Goblin live review

Monday, October 21st, 2013

tn_deepredI hope this isn’t oversharing, but my first Dario Argento movie was PROFONDO ROSSO, which we call DEEP RED here in the states. I don’t think I knew anything about it when I rented it on a mysterious, seedy looking VHS tape that called it “DEEP RED HATCHET MURDERS.” That’s not the worst title because it is, in fact, about a series of murders, though some of them are done with knives and not hatchets. So the “hatchet” part is kinda misleading. The plural on the “murders,” though, that part was dead on. There’s a bunch of them.

The story begins in Cronenbergian fashion as psychic medium Helga Ulmann (Macha Meril) is doing a public demonstration of her skills, and is suddenly overcome when she senses evil thoughts by someone in the room. Our protagonist is David Hemmings (Dildano from BABARELLA) as British jazz pianist Marcus Daly, who happens to be walking beneath an apartment window as Helga is murdered in a genuinely shocking burst of violence (she’s hit from behind with… yeah, I guess it’s a hatchet, her head crashes through the window and then she drops-throat first onto the edge of the remaining glass. Ouch! And all up there on display like he’s watching an opera. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: The Da Vinci Code

Sunday, September 1st, 2013
2007

2006

tn_davincicodeHonestly, DA THE VINCI CODE or whatever is not a movie I ever though I’d watch. Some of the things going against it are:

a. didn’t look interesting to me
2. book I never cared about
III. director Ron Howard is competent but kind of a square director in my opinion, not somebody whose movies I ever get excited for and
d. in my opinion Akiva Goldsman is the writer of BATMAN AND ROBIN.

And I would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for this Summer Movie Flashback I got myself into. There just wasn’t another significant summer of 2006 movie I hadn’t seen. Right up until the last minute I was actually planning to do MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND just ’cause I thought that would be easier to stomach, but I decided that would be dishonorable. This one was obviously part of some cultural phenomenon of the time and is more representative of that summer. (read the rest of this shit…)

Final Move

Friday, July 12th, 2013

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When I found out that Matt Schulze (OUT OF REACH, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, FAST FIVE, BLADE, BLADE II, THE TRANSPORTER) actually got to be the lead in a movie where he is a psychic chess expert trying to stop a serial killer I knew I had to watch it and review it for my column over on Daily Grindhouse. So that’s what I did.

click here to read it

Jack Reacher

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

tn_jackreacherJACK REACHER is the latest in a line of movies based on a pulp character using the character’s name as the title and not making enough money to continue as a series like they probly planned (see also JOHN CARTER, ALEX CROSS, PARKER, HITCHCOCK). This one’s specifically from a book called One Shot by Lee Child, ninth in the Reacher series. I don’t know the books, just the complaint by many readers that it’s important for him to be a big intimidating guy and not a little guy in a little leather jacket like Tom Cruise always plays. So this would probly bother me if I had read them. (read the rest of this shit…)

Fists of Steel

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

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I didn’t post about this while I was out of town, so if you missed it:

I accidentally discovered a doozy of an only-on-VHS-Vietnam-vet-ex-boxing-champion-with-metal-hand-bones-sent-on-secret-mission-to-Hawaii-to-kill-Henry-Silva movie called FISTS OF STEEL. Not the best movie I’ve seen for this column so far, but definitely the craziest. Details on Daily Grindhouse.

Color of Night

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

tn_colorofnightBruceI know Valentine’s Day is a made-up greeting card company holiday, but that doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate by watching the notoriously bad Bruce Willis sex movie that you guys voted #1 in the outlawvern.com “Review Suggestions” feature. If my movie watching happens to match up with the agendas of Hershey’s Chocolate and the local florists then so be it. It seemed right anyway.

I never saw this before. Of course I knew its reputation. It won “Worst Picture” from those Razzies assholes but also Best Sex Scenes of All Time from those Maxim assholes. So I was surprised when I watched the opening scene. A woman is getting dressed and putting on makeup. She’s very manic and keeps freaking out and having a fit. She messily smears lipstick all over her mouth. She gets her purse and starts to put a handgun in it, for protection I assume. But then she hesitates, thinks about it, puts it in her mouth instead. Real suddenly, as if on a whim.

But then she decides not to blow her brains out. She decides to give the gun a blowjob. And that’s where director Richard Rush (THE STUNT MAN) decided to put his director’s credit. If I had known it was gonna be nuts like this I would’ve watched this a long time ago. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

tn_girlwithdragonI haven’t read the Stieg Larsson DRAGON TATTOO books, but I liked the Swedish movies. Or at least the first two. Lisbeth Salander is a cool pulpy heroine, a unique type of badass with an interesting, complex relationship with this reporter dude she’s fucking/investigating with. I enjoyed (if you can call it that) her adventures and hoped things would turn out well for her and her dragon. (read the rest of this shit…)