Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

Boot Camp

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

tn_bootcampHere’s one of these movies I come across by accident in the video store, I never heard of it before but I’m compelled to bring it home. See, it takes place at one of those camps where parents send their problem or perceived-as-a-problem teens to, and pay to have them tormented and worked to the bone and the idea is that just being treated like shit in a different way than at home will make up for whatever caused them to do drugs or listen to Slayer or whatever and turn them into productive members of society. I remember during the ’80s watching Sally Jessy Raphael promote these places on her show. I always wanted to send her to dig holes and do push ups while a dude spits at her and calls her a pig. See if it made her show better.
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A Perfect Murder

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

tn_perfectmurderWith DIAL M FOR MURDER fresh on my mind I was really curious how they updated it in the 1998 remake A PERFECT MURDER. In this one Michael Douglas plays the scheming husband, Gwyneth Paltrow is the wife and Viggo Mortensen (when he was still a rising character actor and not yet the guy from LORD OF THE RINGS) is her boyfriend.

The basics are all there. The husband knows the wife is cheating, he blackmails someone else into doing the deed, but she ends up killing the guy, and he has to desperately maneuver to cover his tracks, ultimately being undone by a mistake he made after giving the would-be killer a key to the apartment. But within that framework they do all kinds of things to update, expand, complicate and alter things. Some of it is kinda clever in the way it will surprise you if you’re expecting everything to go the same as in the Hitchcock version (I can’t say “the original,” because that would be the play by Frederick Knott, credited as the basis of this). (read the rest of this shit…)

Dial M For Murder 3D

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

tn_dialmformurderDIAL M FOR MURDER is a minimalistic talk ‘n murder from our boy Alfred Hitchcock circa 1954. It doesn’t have the same “all in one shot” camera gimmick as ROPE (which was 6 years earlier), but it’s similar because 95% of it takes place in one apartment where an arrogant guy thinks he can get away with murder and an inquisitive guy tries to outsmart him and figure out what went down.

The attempted mastermind is Tony (Ray Milland), whose wife Margot (Grace Kelly) has an American boyfriend named Mark (Robert Cummings), so that would be the motive. Margot and Mark have called it off and tried to keep it a secret, but Tony has known for a long time and has put alot of work into staking out an old college acquaintance named Swann (Anthony Dawson) so he can find dirt on him and blackmail him into doing a murder.

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The Assault

Monday, March 4th, 2013

tn_assaultTHE ASSAULT (which is American for L’ASSAUT) is almost like a French remake of DELTA FORCE. It’s based on the true story of a hijacking of a French airliner in Algeria. Four Muslim extremists posing as passport inspectors take control of the plane on the runway. They demand the release of two captured mujahadeen, and they try to fly the plane to Paris. But it takes them half the movie just to get the stairs detached from the plane, and then they find out they only have enough fuel to get to Marseille. (read the rest of this shit…)

Limitless

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

tn_limitlessIn the beginning of LIMITLESS, Bradley Cooper is actually pretty limited. He somehow has a contract to write a sci-fi novel, but it’s overdue and he hasn’t even started. He doesn’t seem to know how to clean his apartment or brush his hair. His ex-girlfriend (Abbey Cornish from SUCKER PUNCH) is still supporting him, but bristles at his attempts to rekindle their love. He also has an ex-wife who won’t even talk to him. At least he doesn’t have the drug problems he had back when he lost her.

Then he runs into his ex-brother-in-law/dealer on the street, reluctantly goes for a drink with him and ends up leaving with one free sample of a pill this guy claims has been approved by the FDA and will go on the market soon for $850 a pop. Supposedly we only use 20% of our brains and this unlocks our access to the rest. I’ve read that that we-only-use-part-of-our-brain thing is an urban legend, but maybe this guy just doesn’t understand how the pill works. However they do it, they unlimit you. (read the rest of this shit…)

K-19: The Widowmaker

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

tn_k-19Well, I was stupid to write off K-19 all these years. I don’t know why I did. I didn’t even know what it’s about. I think I knew K-19 wasn’t a mountain, it’s a submarine. I knew it had kind of an audacious name but was directed by this year’s #1 Oscar snub, Kathryn Bigelow. That should’ve been enough, but I never heard anything too good about it and didn’t feel the need to see it.

Maybe it’s the submarine thing. I know this is blasphemy to alot of people, but I never even got into that one submarine movie that everybody loves that’s by the director of DIE HARD and PREDATOR. I’ve tried and it’s fine and everything but I just can’t get myself excited about it like everybody else. Maybe I’m subconsciously rebelling against my old man, who worked on subs. I never went that way. I’m a proud surface dweller. Strictly a land man. Vote no on Atlantis.
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Eye See You

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

tn_eyeseeyouaka D-TOX

Here’s a movie that brings a new angle to my Badass Auteur Theory. If this starred Ben Affleck or Ewan McGregor or somebody it would just be a mediocre stalker thriller from the director of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. But since it stars Sylvester Stallone we can only see it in the context of his body of work. It forces us to look at it as a Sylvester Stallone vehicle and compare it to CLIFFHANGER and stuff. So it has the advantage of being an interesting tangent in his filmography.

Stallone plays Jake Malloy, former city cop turned FBI agent. The wikipedia entry makes me think he was supposed to be a Seattle cop, but I didn’t pick up on that from the movie and it wasn’t filmed here. Anyway, he’s on the trail of a serial killer who targets cops. He’s been chasing this guy for 6 months but he’s not in so deep he doesn’t have a personal life. He buys an expensive ring so he can propose to his girl (Dina Meyer), so I think you know what that means. He better own a black suit. (read the rest of this shit…)

Alex Cross

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

tn_alexcrossI have no familiarity with this Alex Cross character, either from the books by James Patterson or the two previous movies starring Morgan Freeman. But when they do a new one starring the guy from the Madea movies and from the director of STEALTH and the bad guy is Matthew Fox as a perverted ex-military, scuba-diving, charcoal-drawing, mixed martial artist assassin/rapist I figure it might be worth a look. And it is.

I’m not saying this is a good or even passable movie. It seems more like a fake parody movie from within another movie or a TV show than an actual thing that professional people would purposely make and release. But I mean that as a compliment. This is some awesomely stupid bullshit right here. You will like it. Or at least I did.
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Zero Dark Thirty

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

tn_zerodarkthirtyOkay, we were all horses pulling the Kathryn Bigelow bandwagon, right? We loved her for POINT BREAK and NEAR DARK, mostly. Also BLUE STEEL and STRANGE DAYS and all that. But did any of us ever predict Respectable Kathryn Bigelow would come about, and if so, did we guess how fuckin good that Bigelow would turn out to be? I sure didn’t.

The respect came for THE HURT LOCKER in 2008. It got the Oscar for best picture and she got best director, the only woman to receive that honor so far. It also had one of those career-exploding performances, the one that launched Jeremy Renner, at the time known mainly for playing Jeffrey Dahmer, into the guy who has two Oscar nominations and co-starred in big ass movies like THE AVENGERS and GHOST PROTOCOL and starred in THE BOURNE LEGACY and hosted Saturday Night Live and all this. I loved THE HURT LOCKER, which I saw as an ingeniously structured suspense thriller and character drama for its time that also worked as a deconstruction of many of our favorite action movie tropes. So I had high expectations for ZERO DARK THIRTY, and somehow it exceeded them.
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Argo

Monday, January 7th, 2013

tn_argoARGO is based on an amazing true story, recently declassified and told in this great Wired article. During the Iran hostage crisis, it turns out, the CIA managed to rescue a group of stranded American workers using an unusual cover story: they were part of a Canadian film crew scouting exotic locations for a STAR WARS inspired sci-fi fantasy epic. John Chambers, the genius makeup artist behind the PLANET OF APES series (and played by John Goodman here), had done “some contract work” for the CIA according to the article (let’s hope he gets a whole series of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE style thrillers) and helped to set up real Hollywood producers and offices for the fake movie. The now-worshipped-by-nerds comic book artist Jack Kirby (seen only in a cameo here, played by DEATH WISH V’s Michael Parks) provided the artwork that they used as pre-production set and costume designs.
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