COP CAR

2015; directed by Jon Watts; written by Christopher Ford and Jon Watts; 84 mins

If there is a promising trend in Hollywood at all right now, it’s their newfound habit of picking up indie directors to do blockbuster fare. Much as I am not the greatest fan of superhero movies, it has to be said, they started it and other studios have followed suit. Firstly, Jon Favreau and Kenneth Branagh got picked up by Marvel to do Iron Man and Thor respectively and then, this year, Jordan Vogt-Roberts graduated from teen escapism The Kings of Summer to franchise behemoth Kong: Skull Island. Continue reading

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BLACKHAT

2015; directed by Michael Mann; written by Morgan Davis Foehl; 133 mins

He’s been off the boil for a while and I need this to be good! Is it Terry Gilliam? Is it Oliver Stone? No, it’s Michael Mann: director of some great movies back in the day and rubbish ones recently. This bombed, critically and financially but for the most part… I liked it! Continue reading

THIEF

1981; adapted and directed by Michael Mann; 118 mins

Unbelievably, it’s taken this long to get a Michael Mann movie up on the blog but what a way to start! From the beginning – well – movie beginning. He was already a small screen veteran and I understand that his TV prison movie, The Jericho Mile is a great watch but let’s jump straight to the feature films and talk about a film which is the leaping off point for so many of his concerns and themes that would coalesce later on into his greatest crime flicks such as Heat and Collateral. Continue reading

JFK

1991; directed by Oliver Stone; adapted by Zachary Sklar and Oliver Stone; 198 mins

“I mean, how the Hell do you know who your daddy is? Cos your momma told you so!”

These words, spoken by compromised Assassination investigation team member Bill Broussard, are emblematic, for me, of the whole movie. It’s a quote that’s always stuck out. Just in time for thousands of key assassination-related documents to be released publicly for the first time, I had turfed up the director’s cut DVD of Oliver Stone’s 1991 classic. Does it still hold up? Well, if you disregard the ongoing turnover of credible evidence – yes. It does. Roger Ebert, in his Great Movies review of this film, said one of the most pertinent things I think has ever been said about cinema; “I believe that films are the wrong medium for fact. Fact belongs in print. Films are about emotions”. It’d be much more fitting to put this film alongside David Fincher’s Zodiac than any Michael Moore doco. Broussard’s line illustrates that facts are forever at the behest of emotions when human folly is involved. This film, more than any other, proves that truth. Continue reading

THE THIRD MAN

1949; directed by Carol Reed; adapted by Graham Greene; 100 mins

Harry Lime is dead. This is a shock for friend and dimestore novelist, Holly Martins, who’s just turned up in Vienna specifically to catch up with him. What a way to start one of the greatest movies of all time! Your main character, played by your biggest star, isn’t going to be dead, he’s already there! This is just the start of a noir thriller that, almost 70 years on, still holds up as a stylish, rip-roaring crime classic! Continue reading

CARLOS

2010; directed by Olivier Assayas; adapted by Olivier Assayas, Dan Franck and Daniel Leconte; 339 mins

“The man who hijacked the world”

In a recent interview, the filmmaker and critic Alex Cox complained that critics have become “hucksters”, touting and selling films to audiences rather than being honest about a film. I agree with him up to a point but I do think that there is a slight element of whore-ishness that enters into it when you really love a film but you know it’s a tough sell. This is definitely the case with Carlos, which is one of my absolute favourite films but bear in mind that whilst – Yes! – I am selling this movie to you, I honestly love it to bits and I want to share it because it’s such an exciting movie! Continue reading

CARLITO’S WAY

1993; directed by Brian De Palma; adapted by David Koepp; 134 mins

I’m on and off with Brian De Palma, love Mission: Impossible, Redacted: crap. His 1983 gangster epic, Scarface, starring Al Pacino didn’t really work for me. People say Carlito’s Way is Scarface‘s sober cousin but Braindead looks sober compared to that film! This is still big, brash, slick, stylised movie-making with big emotions, big scores and big violence… but I really liked it! Continue reading