NATURAL BORN KILLERS

1994; directed by Oliver Stone; written by Richard Rutowski, Oliver Stone and David Veloz; 122 mins

TOP TEN

If someone asked; “what were the 90s like?”, you should sit them down with the VHS of this and leave them alone for 2 hours. However, here is a film that’s gone way down in people’s opinion, almost to the point of being a whipping boy, for many, of every excess that was bad about that decade and also about its director. Certainly, if the stories of its making are anything to go by – which are scurrilously and thoroughly entertainingly documented in producer Jane Hamsher‘s book Killer Instinct – then it was a production that almost lived it’s own film. It’s a film that was at the pinnacle of the taboo-busting, “ultraviolent”, early Tarantino glut that came in the wake of Reservoir Dogs but its sheer surreality and bald-faced bombast also came at the tail end of the ten-film decade (1986-1995) of Oliver Stone. A film about media over-exposure that was released around the culmination of his own media over-exposure and escalating visual and narrative style. It’s all but forgotten today but I think it is a near-masterpiece, a deceptively well made movie and one of my ten favourite films of all time. Continue reading

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THE WAILING

2016; written and directed by Na Hong-jin; 156 mins

[Mild spoilers]

Ho-ly Jesus – this is good! Na Hong-jin’s previous films, The Chaser and The Yellow Sea, were quite something. He was compared to Michael Mann which was a justified appraisal from the off. His films were flawed but pretty damn near that mark. It was obvious, though, that Na had a great film in him and this is it! Us fans have had to wait six years but The Wailing was well worth the wait! Continue reading

LETHAL WEAPON 2

1989; directed by Richard Donner; Written by Jeffrey Boam, Shane Black and Warren Murphy; 114 mins

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and so this must’ve seemed par for the course back when it came out but looking at these older Hollywood crime flicks, it amazes me just how damn good they really are. This isn’t going to be a review about how everything is shit now, though. We’re going through a really great period of action films with things like The Raid, John Wick, The Bourne movies and Atomic Blonde but films like Lethal Weapon 2 do have a something that the new ones don’t. Continue reading

CASINO

1995; directed by Martin Scorsese; adapted by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese; 170 mins

It’s a strange beast, Casino. If someone asked you what you actually liked about the story and the characters, you’d be hard pressed to give an answer. “Mobsters. They’re quite interesting (in a morbid sort of way)”. Otherwise, you have a hard-nosed, unfun, career gambler, an uber-psycho gangster and the junkie Vegas hustler hanging on their coat tails. It’s a much harder film to like than GoodFellas but it’s so damn riveting! Continue reading

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

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