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Blue Ruin Adds Dash Of Realism To Coen’s Bloody Footprints

By on May 7, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

Revenge films are in vogue. And as much as I enjoy Denzel Washington exacting vengeance in the genre classic Man on Fire, or laugh at the studios coming up with another excuse for Liam Neeson to hunt down his targets in Taken 3, or look forward to Mads Mikkelsen taking a break from chewing up the scenery in Hannibal to provide some vengeance spaghetti Western style in The Salvation; I find the genre pretty forgettable. With no shortage of such films the question is what makes Blue Ruin memorable?

Writer/Director Jeremy Saulnier deserves most of the credit by focusing the story on someone completely lacking the “special set of skills” that Neesson is constantly highlighting.… Read the rest

Favorite Scenes: Preemptive Launch from Crimson Tide

By on May 6, 2014 in Favorite, Scenes | 0 comments

Often scenes have stronger memories for me than the films themselves. Not much about Crimson Tide sticks with me. I remember it as an echo of greater films like Run Silent, Run Deep and Das Boot. But what does resonate for me is the scene-chewing that Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman bring in their fight for command of the ship. There have been many scenes like it where a captain and a first officer clash as they each try to uphold their individual beliefs. Such clashes have been featured in historical classics like Mutiny on the Bounty and modern sci-fi films like Star Trek, but no modern scene crackles with the tension that Washington and Hackman bring to the screen:

 

 

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The Raid 2: Body Count Is In The House!

By on Apr 21, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

Great films have moments in them that make you think, “This is something special.”

There is a moment in the opening of Saving Private Ryan during the Normandy Beach invasion scene where the audience realizes it’s in for level of violence that it’s not prepared for. Likewise there is a moment in Donnie Yen’s film Ip Man where the normally peaceful grandmaster mows down a group of Japanese black belt karate students in front of his captors, with the intent to maim. Then there is the famous hammer scene in Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy where a brutal hallway fight involving knives, sticks, and the aforementioned hammer turns into an altogether different art form not unsimilar to dance.… Read the rest

Brief Reviews: Headhunters, The Killer Inside Me, and End of Watch

By on Apr 9, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

This week’s Brief Reviews, I’ve lined up three films with a criminal theme.

Headhunters

Easily the film with the highest production value and sharpest cinematography, Headhunters is a surprisingly unsatisfying experience. Based on bestselling Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s crime fiction, Headhunters tells the tale of an art thief who makes the misstep of stealing a painting from a former special forces soldier who specialized in tracking people. A great setup which the film executes as if the producers of CSI made their own version of No Country for Old Men. Perhaps it is telling that director Morten Tyldum spent the majority of his career heading a Norwegian TV series.… Read the rest

Gorgeous New Trailer For Jupiter Ascending Means The Matte Artists Deserve A Raise

By on Mar 28, 2014 in Previews | 0 comments

There are many problems with the Wachowskis’ upcoming film Jupiter Ascending. It is anchored by two leads, in Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, who are fine in comedies but neither of whom could sell snow cones in the desert when it comes creating layered characters. It has a tantrum throwing villain that looks like a combination of Ra from Stargate and Ard (aka “it’s my Loknar you bitch!”) from Heavy Metal. And at first blush its plot seems simple even by YA standards.

So why am I previewing the trailer? It’s gorgeous. As if the Wachowskis combined the visuals of the underrated Sunshine with a mash-up of Minority Report and Fifth Element.… Read the rest