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…)
Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category
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.
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 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 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 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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aka 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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JUICE is an early ’90s “hood movie” about four young friends in New York who fall into some stupid shit. Tired of getting picked on by the Puerto Rican kids and the cops and not having money, they decide to get a gun (just one between them) and rob a little mini-mart where the guy is an asshole and yells at them sometimes. It’s not exactly The Thomas Crown Affair they’re trying to pull off, but they’re amateurs so they fuck up this small time crime and have to deal with the aftermath. (read the rest of this shit…)
THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE, the new film from the director of ONCE WERE WARRIORS and THE EDGE, is the fascinating true story of a man forced to be a lookalike decoy version of Uday Hussein, the most depraved of Saddam Hussein’s two sons. But shit, I can’t lie to you – Lee Tamahori is also the director of xXx: STATE OF THE UNION and NEXT, and the story is mostly bullshit other than how the poor guy got mixed up in this business. In fact, on the DVD Tamahori talks about how he wasn’t interested in doing a true story, saying it with disgust as if we’re all on the same page and he doesn’t have to explain why it would be boring to tell an incredible truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story. But oh well. I still thought it was worth watching. (read the rest of this shit…)
Despite the prestigious WWE Studios logo I had no reason to believe in this crime thriller starring the long-haired pro wrestler now credited as “Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque.” I looked up the director (Artie Mandelberg), he’s a TV guy going back to Moonlighting. The writer (Dylan Schaffer) had no credits before this one. I almost didn’t rent it, but I thought it was funny that ’90s indie queen Parker Posey was in a WWE movie. I forgot she’d already worked with Triple H in BLADE 3. Could they be on their way to becoming this generation’s William Powell and Myrna Loy? (read the rest of this shit…)