Posts Tagged ‘Film’

Ryan Gosling Drive

This film is being sold by the Hollywood marketing machine, as a slick Fast and Furious car chase movie. To look at the trailer you would expect explosions and automotive mayhem galore. The reality is quite different however. This is a dark brooding heist movie with  Steve McQueen overtones that transcends movie marketing templates.

Getaway wheelman Gosling is the man with no name, more Pale Rider than Vin Diesel and the plot is paced  like No Country for Old Men, rather than the turbocharged antics of the blockbuster Fast franchise.

Drive was adapted from James Sallis’ 2005 crime novel, by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter  Hossein Amini. It won Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn the Best Director award at the Cannes film festival. Gosling chose Refn personally, after seeing such classics as the Pusher Trilogy and the truely deranged Bronson.

The artful cinematography comes courtesy of Newton Thomas Sigel. His atmospheric camera work makes the City of Los Angeles the voluptuous co-star of this movie, a brooding and unforgiving backdrop to a truly gripping crime story.

The plot concerns Gosling, a stuntman and part time getaway driver and the relationship he develops with his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son. When Irene’s husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) comes home from prison, he finds himself owing a debt he cannot repay. Gosling offers to help out and events quickly career out of control. A special Crimezine shout out also goes to the villainous Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and Nino played by Ron ‘Hellboy’ Pearlman.

The film has several very violent scenes, that have come under the scrutiny of critics. Crimezine feels that cinema audiences have been soft soaped for too long. Violence has consequences. A fact that Drive bravely faces up to.

Crimezine saw the screening of this movie at Falbrook Laemlle theatre Los Angeles, just a few blocks from Reseda Boulevard where Gosling’s character works. At one point a local restaurant on Sherman Way is name checked in the movie Do you know where that is? asks the character, to which some one in the audience shouted out Yeah, and the food is terrible. How we laughed.

So if you want to see a movie that is too cool for school this weekend head out for a Drive and when people get hurt remember to duck for cover because the blood and gore spurts high and wide.

Crimezine loves Jason Statham. It is that simple. Jase is more London than the Thames. More East end than a pint of jellied eels in Kray brothers boozer the Blind Beggar. The geezer has a big personality and it takes a special kind of film to accommodate this.

Unfortunately Blitz is not that film. First of all there is the title. For Londoner’s the word Blitz (Short for the German word Blitzkrieg , or lightening war.) means the ariel bombing campaign the Nazis used to attack the city during World War Two. Here it is used to describe a creepy cop killer who decides to go on a murder spree after Jase gives him a well deserved clump over the head with a pool cue. Getting whacked on the noggin with blunt instruments is par for the course in the world of East end villainy, as common place as pie and mash, so it seems a tad unlikely that getting justly thumped in a pool hall rumble would lead to such a long trail of dead cops.

Psychological motivation is not this films strong point quite obviously.

Retro cliche features big however. Jase plays a hard drinking, hard hitting, fast-talking cop, in the Dirty Harry, Sweeney, Life on Mars mould. Although the film is set in the present day, the dialogue and attitudes are straight out of the 1970’s. ( sample dialogue: You’re not bad—for a shirt lifter.) Trouble is, real cops are not like that, and very few were like that even in the hard-partying misogynist seventies. A police department comprised almost entirely of alcoholics and drug addicts takes this film into the world of witless parody. At first this is unintentionally amusing, but soon it becomes yawnsome and annoying.

Then there is the screen play. There are so many holes in the plot that any sense of  reality quickly disappears, into a netherworld of  goofy  set pieces. Like an Ealing comedy gone wrong, we are expected to believe that  London’ s finest  arrest the serial killer, but are forced to release him only hours later, along with a large amount of money stolen from his last victim. This, despite the fact that heroic Jase has established a credible link between the killer and the victims.  Political corectness gone wrong is the heavy handed reasoning here, but by this stage of the game, the stench of bullshit is so bad, it is overpowering the aroma of the mounting corpse count.

Statham plays the outsider far better than the cop, even if it is a maverick cop. The obvious attraction of this film is that Jase is back on the manor in London, rather than chasing racial stereotypes around Southern California in an Audi. Trouble is, this idea is far more engaging than the actuality. No doubt  the hard hitting Statham can return to home turf in a convincing crime film, unfortunately Blitz is not that film.

The enjoyment of Blitz can be improved greatly,  by taking a shot of Scotch every time  a tired cop show cliche tumbles out of someones lips, but be warned,  you will need an iron constitution to see the movie out.

Maybe you should save your pounds sterling governor, go see Killer Elite instead.

Cheer up luv: it’s a noir marathon weekend!

Crime is happening down at the L.A. County museum of Art’s Bing Theatre and it is happening BIG. Noir fans will be happy to hear that Bogart is Back! The great man stars in Nicholas Ray’s acclaimed 50’s Noir classic “In a Lonely Place” The film will be screening Friday, with Robert Altman’s  classic 1973 version of Raymond Chandler’s, “The Long Goodbye” with a crumpled Elliot Gould, as hard drinking gumshoe Phillip Marlowe.

In further cinematic  hijinks Luis Brunel’s surreal 1962 film “The Exterminating Angel” is showing, followed by David Lynch’s super weird Mystery thriller “Mullholland Drive”.

But if you feel  like you still need some Noir action, head down to the Aero theatre in Santa Monica where they are showing the 1974 Film Noir masterpiece “Chinatown” along with the 1990 sequel “The two Jakes” where Oscar-winning screen writer Robert Towne will be making an appearance.

If you don’t live in LA, or you cannot make these showings Crimezine whole heartedly recommends you see the movies anyway, Netflicks—make ’em work for you.

Crimezine Lincoln Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer

Crimezine likes the Lincoln Lawyer, almost as much as we like Michael Connelly himself. So what if he is living in Florida these days, rather than the Golden City of LA. If a man likes ’gator filled swamps, Hurricanes and flies as big as birds that is his decision.

Levity aside, congratulations to our favorite adopted Angeleno on the success of the film adaptation of his premier Mickey Haller novel The Lincoln Lawyer.

When Crimezine first read this book back in 2005 we assumed this usurper to the Harry Bosche crown was a cunning ploy devised by Connelley’s Agent/ Publishers so that  they could all cash in on the  vogue for legal genre novels. But here at Crimezine we are almost as cynical as Haller himself and we are proud to admit that we are now Champions of the Haller Ouvre.

Bosch fans should check out the excellent novel Brass Verdict which is a Bosch/Haller hybrid. Also check out  The Reversal, which also features Bosch in the investigation of a child murder case. Haller also makes a brief appearance in Nine Dragons  but you already knew that didn’t you Crimeziners, pay attention at the back!

In Michael’s latest Haller novel, The Fifth Witness, a recession hit Haller deals with the defense of a foreclosed client, accused of killing a banker, who is trying to take her house. (Maybe you can read this in the back of your town car, for extra verisimilitude (Snigger)).

Completists will insist that we mention the collection of  Short stories The Dark End of the Street in which Mickey appears in the tale, The Perfect Triangle.

Crimezines spies in Hollywood report that Matthew McConaughey will be appearing in a sequel to the Lincoln lawyer. We wish him luck, parking is hell in Beverly Hills these days.

Jason Statham, Film the mechanic, Charles Bronson

The Mechanic

When it comes to wise cracking crime action films Jason Statham is undoubtably the man of the moment, as fans of  films such as Transporter and Crank will agree. The fact that he has been asked to reprise the role of Arthur Bishop, previously played in the original 1972 film by the legendary Charles Bronson, shows that Hollywood loves his wise cracking charisma and tough guy histronics too.

The new film is similar to the classic version in that Statham plays a super assassin who trains an apprentice in the shape of  Steve (Ben Foster) the son of his murdered friend Harry, played by Donald Sutherland. Youth training schemes are all very well, but duplicity and double cross quickly lead to the kind of Statham  head mashing we know and love.  Expect explosions and plenty of them,  along with strong and brutal violence, as they say in the trade.

After shooting the original 1971 film Director Michael Winner, surely the world’s most flamboyant bon vivant,went on to shoot  Charles Bronson in the The Stone Killer and the Death Wish films.   Crimezine  feels a movie marathon coming on! Why not join us?

Cleveland. The 1970’s. The Mafia. It is time for the Danny Greene story, and let me tell you crime fans, it has been worth the wait. Greene like most racketeers was a nasty piece of work. Former US Marine, former head of the  International longshoremen’s Association and 100% hardcore mobster.

Greene graduated from embezzling union funds to providing muscle  for mob bosses Alex “Shondor” Birns, Frank “Little Frank” Brancato, and John Nardi, where he quickly gained a reputation as a violent and ruthless enforcer, using explosives to spectacular and lethal effect.

As with many high echelon mobsters  power and ego caused  Greene to think he was not only smarter than the cops but the mafia too, a mistake that would cost him dear. Many crime fans will have seen the excellent biography channel documentary on Danny Greene. I urge you to do so if you haven’t already.

A new movie: Kill the Irishman covering the Danny Greene story will be released in March 2011. Loosely based on: To Kill the Irishman: The War That Crippled the Mafia, by former cop Rick Porello. Regarded by many as semi-articulate this book is not to be recommended. The movie however, has a fantastic cast including Ray Stevensen, Val Kilmer and the crimetastic Christopher Walken. Also starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Paul Sorvino, Steven R. Schirripa, Robert Davi and Mike Starr. The film is a who’s who of all your favorite mafia cameo actors. Even professional thug/ soccer star Vinnie Jones makes an appearance, so watch your head when you are getting out of the limo at the premier.

Reckless vanity, the luck of the Irish and the undeniable crime lord charisma that made Danny Greene so popular in the media, will undoubtably make this film the crime hit of the year.

A measure of  Danny Greene ‘the man the mob couldn’t kill’ can be gained from a comment Jimmy ‘sleeping with the fishes’ Hoffa reportedly made to teamsters boss Louis Triscaro, “Stay away from that guy. There’s something wrong with him.” Enjoy the film and don’t forget to check underneath your car…

Lou Ford is a sociopath. He also happens to be the town sheriff. You know bad things will happen, but quite how bad will have even the most seasoned veteran of crime fiction cringing. Murder, betrayal, sadomasochism, sexual abuse…blackmail, more murder…
Jim Thompson(1906-77) was a cult writer who lived on the edge of society. He is as legendary for his life of failure and alcoholism as he is for his writing. A number of his books have been adapted for screen plays including The Getaway and The Grifters.  The Killer Inside Me was first adapted for screen in 1976– starring Stacey Keach as Lou Ford. In 2010 the latest version of The Killer Inside Me is released  starring Casey Afflek and Jessica Alba. I would however recommend reading the book, as Thompson’s dark and twisted narrative has never been equaled on screen. The mild mannered Ford and his sickness as he describes it —you can almost feel sympathy— but by the time Thompson has drawn you in; revealed the true depth of that sickness, you like Sheriff Ford will be unable to escape, from either the novels dark narrative or the world of Jim Thompson.