Posts Tagged ‘Crime’
A women running down an empty country road at night, her bare legs flashing in the moonlight from beneath her trench coat; one of the classic opening shots. And it is from what is considered to be one the classic film noirs with Ralph Meeker as Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer that has somehow previously escaped me.
The woman, Christina, escaped from a lunatic asylum, flags down Hammer who gives her a ride. Then his car is forced off the road by a couple of thugs. Afterwards semi-conscious Hammer hears Christina being tortured to death. Partly out of wanting revenge and partly just from his PI instincts that something big is behind her death he starts investing into the woman’s background. Read the rest of this entry »
I remember when Spaced came out. Channel Four gave it a really bad promotion – not even hinting at all the science-fictional references in it – so I just expected some rubbish, twenty-something flat-sharing sitcom. So, after promoting from friends, I only finally caught up with it on DVD. And I ended up loving it of course, though it does vary a bit during the run. Then more recently Shaun Of The Dead came along. Whilst for the most part it worked, I had issues were the comedy and the horror (in particular the tragic stuff) did not really work together and it kind of unravels in the final minutes.
Now Hot Fuzz has arrived and it’s sort of perfect. It celebrates the essential naffness of the British policeman, at least cinematically. Something to do with the uniform and lack of guns, but the only UK cop films that have succeeded (and there’s very few of them full stop) are plain clothes efforts like The Sweeney. This time the plot works with comedy and the integration of the ‘US Cop Buddy Movie’ genre into a West Country small town is excellent. This is helped by the film-makers not being shy to include elements of other genres like Hammer horror and television crime dramas like Midsomer Murders. It also helps that they have managed to secure an utterly unprecedented number of quality actors for every single role, no mater how small. In Midsomer you know the most famous guest actor is the murderer, in Hot Fuzz everyone is famous. Read the rest of this entry »
So Brick is a modern noir set in an American high school… We get the usual elements of the genre – a loner hero, his brainiac side-kick, a crippled villain, his henchmen, various femme fatales and dames that you just know are going to break the hero’s heart. All in a high school – the ‘cops’ that the hero has to work around for instance, are replaced by the school authorities. Writer-director Rian Johnson could have produced a farce but he plays it, bar a couple of key moments, with a straight bat and it really works. The characters tough-guy Chandleresque slang (with ‘brick’ being an example) takes a bit of getting used to, but once your brain makes the leap it all makes sense.
Just caught up with ‘controversial’ Kidulthood… and for me it’s basically an updated version of classic 70s / 80s kid’s television school drama Grange Hill with themes of bullying, drug taking, shop-lifting, teenage promiscuity, pregnancy and the rest. And all the better for it and obviously now you can photo the victim after you’ve mashed them (some nicely gratuitous violence here) plus I can’t remember any of the Hill lot going as far as swapping sexual favours for drugs.
There’s a decent script by Noel Clark – best know for playing Mickey in the recent Dr Who – who also puts in a fantastic performance as the small time bully and villain Sam. You’ll forget Mickey in about five minutes. Jamie Winston, daughter of Ray, also shines as a slag with a heart of gold. Read the rest of this entry »
Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead is from that sub-genre of crime, the heist movie; in this case the robbery of a ‘mom and pop’ jewelry store. Ironically mom and pop are going to be robbed by their own sons. Harking back to noir traditions, it all goes terrible wrong and the film plays out the consequences of the failed robbery for each of the various parties involved, interspersed with flashbacks showing how the robbery came about from the different perspectives of each of the characters.
Andy, the oldest son, is played with dead weight solidity by the always brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman. He’s mired in the middle of middle-aged depression, with a failing marriage, a stultifying job and drug addiction. The only time he was recently happy was on a holiday in Rio and he desperately wants to get back there with is wife – the ever gorgeous Marisa Tomei -permanently. So he lures his brother Hank into a plan to rob their parent’s jewelry business. They’re insured, nobody gets hurt right? Hank, played with a jittery edgy by Ethan Hawke, doesn’t need much persuading. He’s several months in the hole with child payments to his ex-wife (plus the kid needs and extra hundred bucks to go an a class trip to see The Lion King). And he wants to get away with his lover too. Who just happens to be Andy’s wife… Read the rest of this entry »