Tag Archives: crime

Dial M For Murder 4/5

Dial M For Murder

Pretty damn good procedural murder/detective story from Hitchcock, where the cool, meticulous planner becomes unravelled by little deviations from the plan.

The only thing that seems unbelievable is what man in his right mind is tired of being married to Grace Kelly?

In the police inspector, I see the spiritual parent of Columbo.

The Place Beyond the Pines 3.5/5

The Place Beyond the Pines

A rather overambitious movie that actually chops its 3 acts into 3 related, continuous but distinct stories, looking at fatherhood, and how absence and presence of a father (both literally, and absent by not paying attention) can affect the son, in a cycle. It’s a look at the whole ‘the children pay for the sins of the father’ type thing, I guess, but more subtle than that.

I liked it, but I think the first act works the best for me, and I’d’ve liked to have seen that through to a more satisfying conclusion, and the veering off into a new story threw me, but it actually worked well once you adjusted.

The third story, however, suffered from two problems. It really felt like an unresolved solution to what went before for the most part (but not wholly) was the first problem, and the actual personality/behaviour of one of the main characters felt quite hokey and just not earned or authentic to the story. We miss out some necessary dramatic glue, too, informing us about one of the father-son relationships, and how it got to be the way it was.

Having said all that, it was a very well made and acted movie, and I enjoyed it, and am glad I finally got around to watching it.

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels + Snatch – 132

Snatch

Sam and Mark talk about a few movies and games watched/played since last time, and about Guy Ritchie’s first two commercial movies, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 4.5/5

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Amazing debut from Guy Ritchie, who combines colourful characters and some dazzling camerawork with funny, highly-stylized dialogue. Even non-actors shine reasonably well in this (Lennie McLean and Vinnie Jones), and it’s cool to see some guys who I still enjoy seeing – specifically Jason Statham and Jason Flemyng – and whilst it does have rough spots and some sections that clearly have non actors in speaking roles, it trundles along nicely, guiding the viewer through the convoluted plot with a confident hand, and borrowing part from Tarantino’s snappy dialogue, part from an old British tradition of loveable rogues that stretch back to The Italian Job and on to old black and white comedy caper movies with Peter Sellers, Alistair Sim and Alec Guinness.

Marvellous.

Snatch 4.5/5

Snatch

Whilst Guy Ritchie’s directing career has been up and down (and I’m glad it’s now on the up, after his rather fine take on Sherlock Holmes), this reminds you why he deserves to still be in the game. Okay, there’s some overflashy visual flourishes, but we have a convoluted, multi-character story that sprawls all over, but Ritchie keeps is straight enough to follow, entertaining enough to keep you interested till the end, and shows us some rather good comedy-gangster monologues along the way.

THIS IS FUN.

Pusher 2012 3/5

Pusher

A remake of the Nicolas Winding Refn movie of 1996, this does not reach the same levels of intensity and claustrophobia as that one, but it’s not a bad crime thriller in its own right.

Richard Coyle is pretty damn good in the central performance, and the supporting cast are decent. Nice music design, and some nice cinematography of London. Feels realistic in many spots. However, some of the bit players aren’t great actors, and spoil some of the short scenes.

The Heat 3.5/5

The Heat

If you’re fine with a constant stream of profanities, which I am, then this is the movie for you.

I’ve always liked Bullock as a comedienne, and this pairing with McCarthy is pretty fun. It’s not great, but it’s pretty good and chugs along nicely with the odd overindulgent scene. The villains could be a bit stronger (I got some of them mixed up to be honest), but that’s offset with McCarthy’s great BAH-STAN family that cracks me up.

Enjoyable, lightweight profanity-bombing comedy.

God Bless America 4/5

God Bless America

This is the only liberal revenge fantasy movie I know of. It turns the usual vigilante/justified killer genre movie on its head by changing the target of the anger-fuelled killings from the usual right-wing demons like foreigners, lefties and the underclass into liberal hate-figures like reality show judges, those horrible right-wing commentators who are always loathsome to any decent person, and so on. And feels satisfying for it.

This was terrific. I thought the direction was clean and elegant without being showy, the story was smart, the dialogue was a little Tarantino-esque and Diablo Cody-esque (which I think Goldthwaite lampooned himself, by lifting dialogue from Jackie Brown and directly referencing Juno) but in a good, fun way, and the last act was quite ferocious. the opening scene bothered me a little, as it was just too ferocious for my taste.

Joel Murray in particular was terrific.

You have to see this, it is currently streaming on Netflix US.

Hound of the Baskervilles 1959 3.5/5

Hound of the Baskervilles

Fine Hammer take on Sherlock Holmes from Peter Cushing. Christopher Lee is also present and rather good as Sir Henry Baskerville, and I liked that the Watson in this was rather capable and less of a bumbling audience-substitute who only serves to listen and admire Holmes. This is Hammer of course, so we get the bombastic school and more blood and violence than more conventional versions, but it’s good fun. Cushing was a great Holmes, it’s a shame he didn’t play Holmes again for Hammer.

Movie: This Gun for Hire: Tight film noir that is the prototype for all solitary movie assassins 7/10

This Gun for Hire (1942)

Containing Alan Ladd’s first starring role as a stone-cold killer, this is an excellent, though twisty (and rather contrived) plotted piece apparently based on a story by Graham Greene. Ladd is magnificent here as Raven, and I think the first instance of the solitary assassin movie archetype that we see in assorted movies, such as Le Samourai (whose main character Jeff probably saw this movie way too many times), through to Jean Reno’s Leon in The Professional.

Veronica Lake also stars and is rather fine in this movie as a singing magician (yep, that’s right) wo gets involved in this plot about revenge, stolen formulas, traitors and trains.
A classic noir in all senses – the brooding characters, the beautiful women, and the tough dialogue all add up to make this an excellent way to pass 80 minutes.

Overall: 7/10
Rewatchability: Yearly
Age suitability: Early teens or even mature 10 year olds + upwards.