Wednesday, September 21, 2011

365 Movies #177 "Running Scared"

What looks on the surface to be another low rent, straight to DVD crime action flick is actually a wild ride with a wonderful performance from Paul Walker. I really wasn't a fan of his before I saw this, but he rocks here. Walker is most famous for the "Fast and Furious" franchise, but this film is so much better.

Walker plays a low level thug named Joey who happens to be a devoted husband and father doing what he can to get by. When he is tasked to get rid of a gun that killed a dirty cop. When he hides the gun in his house instead of ditching it, events unfold that put himself and his family in grave danger.

This film has some really gritty moments (which we all know I like) and some truly stunning visuals. I love the feel of the film from beginning to end. A great supporting cast consisting of Cameron Bright (Joey's son's best friend Oleg), Vera Farmiga (Joey's wife), Chazz Palminteri, Ivana Milicevic, Karel Roden and Michael Cudlitz. Who are all these people? Well, Bright has gone on to work on the "Twilight" series as Alec and was in "Ultraviolet", "Thank You for Smoking", "X-Men: Last Stand" and "Juno". Talk about a busy young actor. Farmiga is best known for "Up in The Air" and "The Departed". Palminteri is a mob film staple known for "The Usual Suspects", "Mulholland Falls" and "A Bronx Tale" and also played a dayplayer thug in the 80s classic "THE LAST DRAGON". Hotty Milicevic, has made the rounds as a Bond girl in "Casino Royale" and worked on one of Tom Cruise's better films in "Vanilla Sky". I will always remember Michael Cudlitz asking John Cusack if he wanted to "do some blow" after reading him a poem in "Grosse Pointe Blank" though he's worked on other projects like "Lost", "24" and a wonderful role on "Band of Brothers" as Sgt. Denver 'Bull' Randleman. Karel Roden has done "RockNRolla", "The Bourne Supremacy", "Hellboy" and even "Orphan" with Farmiga.

I almost forgot John Noble of "Fringe" fame, who was also Denethor in "The Lord of the Rings" and David Warshofsky from "THE MINUS MAN" , "There Will Be Blood" and "Taken".

I am definitely going to have to go back and check out director Wayne Kramer's other stuff. I truly enjoyed his "The Cooler" and look forward to exploring the rest of his work.


Raising Funds for "Camp"!

Well kids, I know you want to help raise money for a meaningful film, but I think you'd also just like to see me get shot. So here is an opportunity to do both. Watch the video. Follow the instructions...make me suffer for my art. These are the guys that did "Coyote County Loser"!!!

365 Movies Day #176 "Warlock"

When an evil bastard and Warlock (hence the name of the film) played by the marvelous Julian Sands, escapes burning at the stake by mystically whisking himself a few hundred years into the future, he doesn't play around. He goes on a rampage trying to destroy the world. Only a witch hunter from his time who manages to cross over as well can stop him.

Now Sands has done some fantastic work on films like "Room with a View", "Boxing Helena", "Naked Lunch" and "The Killing Fields". This is his first feature on the blog. "Warlock" was the first film I remember him from and I remember being chilled by his portrayal. He is such a creepy menacing badguy that you could believe very easily that he is the devil himself.

Also important to note here that the writer of this film is David Twohy, who gave us the "Chronicles of Riddick" films (another of my favorites). He definitely knows how to craft a cool story.

Overall this one is a blast and one of my favorites.


365 Movies Day #175 "Leviathan"

You just can't go wrong with Peter Weller. Even if it's kind of a rip off of "Alien" and "The Thing", seeing him and Ernie Hudson kick ass together is worth the watch. This film is brought to you by George P. Cosmatos, who passed in 2005. He was also responsible for films like "Rambo II" and "Cobra".

Now this is Weller's first hit on the blog and it won't be his last. Expect to see more on films like "Screamers" and who can forget him in his ultimate role as RoboCop?! Ernie Hudson is best known for "Ghostbusters" and "The Crow", but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The film is about a team of undesea miners some time in the future who are 3 miles below the ocean's surface and on their last days of a 90 day mission. When they find a sunken Russian vessel, everything goes to hell and they find themselves the prey of one of Stan Winston's freakiest creations. The film, again, borrows much from "Alien" and "The Thing", but it's super cool. My only gripe is that the ending is a bit weak and rushed, but it's definitely a fun flick.

The rest of the crew are played by some solid folks. Richard Crenna, best known as Trautman from the "Rambo" series and who sadly passed in 2003, plays the station's doctor. Suit techie and British cutie Willie is played by Amanda Pays of the old "Flash" and "Max Headroom" series. Daniel Stern ("Home Alone", "City Slickers") plays cheauvenist pig, Six Pack. Mechanic wiz Cobb is played by Hector Elizondo ("Pretty Woman"). Rounding out the crew are Bowman, played by Lisa Eilbacher and DeJesus, played by Michael Carmine. Carmine died the year this film was released. He was only 30 years old.

With none of these folks being seen before on the blog, thankfully we have Meg Foster as the evil coroprate no-gooder. Meg was also in "THE MINUS MAN" and "THEY LIVE" though some of you who have been around for a bit may remember her as Cagney from Cagney and Lacy!!!

Good B-movie sci-fi horror with a fun cast and some excellent monster effects by Mr. Stan Winston. Hope you enjoy.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

365 Movies Day #174 "Much Ado About Nothing"

To close out the Branagh three film set also including "DEAD AGAIN" and "OTHELLO" we go back to Shakespeare and probably my most favorite of Branagh's films. My favorite of the Shakespearean comedies and done with some incredibly interesting casting choices...that work!

I mean where else can you see Denzel Washington and Keaunu Reeves play brothers? Or Reeves do Shakespeare for that matter? Michael Keaton knocks out an incredibly funny role as Dogberry. Brian Blessed (of "Flash Gordon" and Shakespearean regular) makes an appearance as does a very young Kate Beckinsale ("Underworld"). And of course, the film stars both Branagh and then wife Emma Thompson.

Again, it's Shakespeare so I'm not going to go much into the plot other than to say that it has action, intrigue, love and comedy. Being that it is a comedy, there is also a happy ending. Nobody does Shakespeare quite like Branagh.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

365 Movies Day #173 "Dead Again"

Continuing the Kenneth Branagh (yesterday's "OTHELLO")tribute, this is one of his first films as a director back in 1991.  It stars Branagh and his former wife Emma Thompson ("Harry Potter" series and "Stranger that Fiction") as re-incarnated star-crossed lovers.  Sounds sweet, right?  Except that in the past life, Branagh's character murdered Thompson.  Will history repeat itself?  Find out.

Rounding out the cast are Robin Williams (his first time on the blog), Andy Garcia ("THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE DEAD") and character actor Wayne Knight (Newman from "Seinfeld").  The film is a wonderful equal parts love story and murder mystery.  The flashbacks are elegantly done and the twists are interesting and exciting.  Branagh is an excellent storyteller and this is one of his early ventures outside the world of Shakespeare.  Definitely one to check out.


Friday, September 16, 2011

365 Movies Day #172 "Othello"

In honor of watching Kenneth Branagh's "Thor" last night for the first time and being completely blown away, I'm going to spend three days on some of his films. I mean, I'm not a big Thor fan in the first place, but Branagh not only made the character interesting, but it may be the best comic book movie I have seen since "Batman Begins".

Now Branagh is most famous for his Shakespearean adaptations, so in an effort to praise the man and add some culture to the blog after a string of Takashi Miike films, I give you his version of "Othello".

The film stars Laurence Fishburne ("EVENT HORIZON") in the title role and Branagh himself as the infamous Iago. For those unfamiliar with the story, HERE is a great place to catch up...and you really need to get out more.

The acting is spot on with Branagh delivering a marvelous performance as well as doing a phenomenal directing job. All of his Shakespearean films are just brilliant and this one in particular is one of my favorites.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

365 Movies Day #171 "Dead or Alive: Final"

This film is a serious what the hell is Miike smoking? Set in the far future where most of the world is destroyed and most of humanity is drugged into complacency. Children are outlawed and human-like battle replicants duel it out in the streets. While you think Miike is about to tie a neat little bow around it all toward the end of the film, explaining why it's a trilogy, it instead ends with a penis-headed robot and gay sex. Yep, it's out there.

Miike's credits so far from the blog include "AUDITION", "SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO", "DEAD OR ALIVE" and "DEAD OR ALIVE 2". Shô Aikawa and Riki Takeuchi star again and again, the link between the first two films is "almost" revealed.

It's got some great action sequences, a fun story and some touching moments with some cool visual effects. It does feel a little bit like he flushed the series down the toilet at the end though. Not my favorite of the three, but worth mentioning in conjunction with the other two. If you enjoy the first two, you have to see this, but don't expect any vast enlightenment. Although, I prefer penis robot to a David Lynch ending any day.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

365 Movies Day #170 "The Prophecy"

This one is an old favorite of mine. Probably Christopher Walken at his most bad ass and that's saying something. Not his first time to the blog ("KILL THE IRISHMAN" and "THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE DEAD"), Walken is fantastic in this as Gabriel, an angel descended to earth with an extreme distaste for humans. His goal is to bring about an end to a long running war in heaven and lets just say he's not on the good side.

Standing in his way are fellow angel Simon, played by Eric "I was almost Marty McFly" Stoltz, and priest turned cop, Thomas Daggett, played by Elias Koteas. Now Stoltz is surprisingly a newcomer to the blog with this film. I have dug him in a lot of stuff that isn't necessarily mainstream film shlog. You'll probably hear more from him later, but definitely not for short-lived Galactica follow-up "Caprica". Koteas was mentioned before for "DEFENDOR" and while this role is one of his best, I will always remember him as Casey Jones from "TMNT". Also new to the blog is Virginia Madsen (sister to Michael and has done flicks like "Sideways" and "The Number 23").

One of the coolest performances is an early sign from the stars that Viggo Mortensen was a talented SOB. He plays Lucifer in this film in a way that will send shivers up your spine. Last time we gave props to him was for his masterful badassery in "EASTERN PROMISES".

This was also director Gregory Widen's first and only feature film, which is sad because it rocked. You may recognize his work as a writer more. No? Well if you're a "Highlander" fan, you owe it all to this guy. He wrote the original as well as "Backdraft". With all the crappy filmmakers out there, THIS is a guy who needed to work more. We miss you Greg, come back.


More Actors Who Should Play Brothers

Well the first time I did this, it was an experiment with a top 10 list. It's worked like gangbusters. The original LIST OF ACTORS WHO SHOULD PLAY BROTHERS is one of the most visited posts on the blog. So, I've revisited it and using some reader comments/suggestions and a few more personal insights have added 10 more sets of actors to the list.

Now a lot of this is based on personal observation. You may not agree with all of them, but I hope you can at least find the method to my madness. Have fun with this and feel free to leave your own suggestions!

1.)Paul Schneider and Nick Chinlund

Now I dug Schneider in "Assassination of Jesse James" and "LARS AND THE REAL GIRL" and Chinlund is a personal favorite of mine from his appearances in the Riddick films and "Tears of the Sun". I think the two of them together could pull off a great brother combo. They definitely have a similar look and could both pull off the rough edgy demeanor if called upon. Two fine actors.

2.) Tom Welling and Cillian Murphy

Look at the cheek bone structure, the nose, the lips. It's nearly uncanny. Now they aren't identical twins or anything, but there is definitely a "family resemblance". If you are living under a rock, you might not recognize Welling as SUPERMAN or Murphy as The Scarecrow or the lead in Danny Boyle's "SUNSHINE" or "28 Days Later". Both are exceptionally talented and could definitely make a great pair of siblings.

3.) James Purefoy and Thomas Jane

So yeah, I used Thomas Jane with Aaron Eckhart in the last version of this. So, you can throw Eckhart in for the family reunion as well. Jane has been a regular to the blog with "STANDER", "DARK COUNTRY" and "KILLSHOT" all being selections for the 365 Movies project. Purefoy is best known for "Resident Evil", "Rome" and "Camelot". These two look like they came out of a cloning vat together. I was watching "Ironclad" with Purefoy the other day and kept seeing Jane in there. Crazy.

4.) Brandon Slagle and Peter Dinklage

Now Brandon Slagle isn't a household name...yet, but he damn well should be. He's one of the hardest working cats I know in independent film; writing, directing and acting in tons of great projects. He is also the former frontman of industrial metal band Die Section. He's a multi-talented dude and a great friend. That said, the man looks just like Peter Dinklage. Dinklage is another fantastically talented actor as you can see from his lead role in "THE STATION AGENT" or his I-was-born-for-this-role performance on George R.R. Martin's fantastic "Game of Thrones" series. Heck, I guess they should have snagged up Mr. Slagle to play Jaime Lannister!

Check Brandon out HERE!

5.) Skeet Ulrich and Johnny Depp

This is borderline creepy and suggested by a reader. Talk about cloning! Ulrich had his big breakthrough in "Scream" and worked on two excellent, yet short lived series in the form of "Miracles" and "Jericho". Depp is...well...he's Johnny Fricking Depp. If you don't know who he is, you probably aren't reading this anyway. Enjoy your cave.

6.) Nicky Katt and Billy Zane

Embarrassing revelation time. I am far from gay, but if I were forced to participate in such activities, I would seek out Mr. Zane. I'm only slightly ashamed. He first impressed me in "DEMON KNIGHT" and of course his performances in "Dead Calm", "Titanic" and "Sniper" were also awesome, not to mention his brief cameo in "Zoolander". Nicky Katt is slightly less known, but has worked on projects like "Dazed and Confused", "Sin City", "Strange Days" and "Grindhouse". There is definitely a family resemblance. Oh, and this was reader suggested...I am not obsessed...I'm not...

7.) Ryan Gosling and Ben Foster

Talk about a couple of talented young actors. Ryan Gosling has knocked them out of the park with "Half Nelson", "LARS AND THE REAL GIRL" and soon to be hit "Drive" from Nicholas Winding Refn (also no stranger to the blog). Foster is just chilling in films like "3:10 to Yuma", "30 Days of Night" and "Alpha Dog" and also great in flicks like "The Punisher", "The Mechanic" and "PANDORUM". Not identical, but definitely a brotherly look about them and it would just be amazing to see these two fantastic actors working together.

8.) James McAvoy and Jeremy Renner

Okay hotshot, which one was in "28 Weeks Later"? "Wanted"? You may know if you're sharp. I get these two confused all the time. For the record, Renner did "28 Weeks Later" (the first role I remember him in) as well as fantastic performances in "The Town" (stole the film) and "Hurt Locker". McAvoy did "Wanted" along with "Atonement" and "The Last King of Scotland". Both are now a part of the Marvel Universe as well with McAvoy as Professor X in the new "X-Men: First Class" and Renner as Hawkeye in the upcoming "Avengers" flick. This one is definitely an uncanny match.

9.) Hugh Jackman and Russel Crowe

Now this one may be the biggest stretch so far by looks, but these two of Australia's finest are always linked in my mind. Both are excellent at pulling off the gruff character and I can see them interchangeable in so many roles. Jackman is most memorable as "Wolverine" and for his role opposite Christian Bale in "The Prestige". Crowe has been all over the place but a couple roles you may not remember him from are "Virtuosity" (where he played the chilling Sid 6.7) and "The Quick and the Dead" where he played gunslinger turned holy man, Cort. Again, there is a limited resemblance which is good enough for Hollywood siblings, but there is just something about these two that belongs together.

10.) Charlie Hunnman and Chris Hemsworth

I love Hunnman in "Sons of Anarchy" and Hemsworth was great as Kirk's father in the latest "Trek" well as a hell of a "Thor". With the scruffy look going on, they could both be brothers in some Norse adventure film. Hollywood should get cracking on that pronto!!!

Hope you enjoyed the latest list. Stay tuned for more top 10 lists.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

365 Movies Day #169 "Lars and the Real Girl"

A truly sweet tale about a young man's love...for a sex doll. Yep, that's right, Craig Gillespie, who recently gave us the new "Fright Night" remake made a touching film about a sex doll. And who says we don't get original stuff anymore!?

Ryan Gosling stars as Lars. Now Gosling has done some amazing stuff. From "Half Nelson" to the upcoming Nicolas Winding Refn ("PUSHER", "PUSHER 2", "PUSHER 3", "VALHALLA RISING" and "BRONSON") film "Drive" he's proved himself a hell of an actor. This film is another fine example of his work.

There is nothing creepy about Lars. He's a likable guy. You want to reach out to him. Help him crack his shell. You feel his pain and his fears. I was so surprised by how wonderful it was. The supporting cast is great as well. I loved Paul Schneider in "The Assassination of Jesse James" and in this film, he plays Lars' older brother who, along with his wife (played by Emily Mortimer of "Shutter Island" and "Transsiberian") look after him. Patricia Clarkson of "THE STATION AGENT" also makes an appearance as does Joshua Peace of "DEVIL".

Definitely a great film! Check it out.


365 Movies Day #168 "Mother Night"

Based on the story by Kurt Vonnegut, the man behind such classics as "Harrison Bergeron" and "Slaughterhouse-Five", this is one of Nick Nolte's finest. Nolte (who we addressed before for his lead role on "EXTREME PREJUDICE" is flawless in his portrayal of Howard Campbell Jr., a playwright living in Germany prior to WWII who is commissioned by spy, Major Frank Wirtanen (played by John Goodman...his first time to the blog), to infiltrate the Nazis and pass information to the US government. To do this, Campbell starts an incredibly racist hate-filled radio show listing the faults of the Jew and calling himself "The Last Free American". Meanwhile, he tries to hold on to his wife, played by the lovely Sheryl Lee ("Winter's Bone", "Twin Peaks"). After the war, Campbell is eventually caught by the Israeli's and is writing his memoirs for his trial. This sets the stage for the film.

The film is a wonderful love-story and a tale of what is really worth living for. What defines a hero? To what lengths would someone go for their beliefs? All great questions addressed in the film. As much as it is serious, even chilling at times, it definitely has it's comic elements. For instance the Fuhrer of Harlem, played by Frankie Faison ("Red Dragon", "The Thomas Crown Affair"). His white supremacist cohorts ('s absurd) are also bumbling to the point of amusement and Alan Arkin ("SUNSHINE CLEANING", "THE ROCKETEER" also adds some witty and touching moments.

There are definitely some surreal twists and turns (to be expected from Vonnegut), but it never loses it's edge. It's such a passionate film and you can't help but feel so deeply for Campbell and his situation. It's such a fantastic story. The film also features Kirsten Dunst.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

365 Movies Day #167 "Dead or Alive 2: Tôbôsha"

Miike outdoes himself here by inserting some incredibly beautiful moments in a movie filled with gritty ultra-violent action, insane violence, perversion and comedy. The story seems all over the place, but it has a central thread and decipherability that would make David Lynch proud.

I'm going to steal the description of the plot from imdb. "Two contract killers cross paths in the middle of the same job and realize they are childhood friends." It's so much more than this and really is some of the most innovative, visually impressive and creative storytelling I've seen...and clearly the work of a madman.

We've talked about Miike a couple of times before with his first installment of "DEAD OR ALIVE", "AUDITION" and "SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO". DoA2 is definitely his most off the wall, but simultaneously beautiful film I've seen so far.

Interestingly, Miike uses the same two leads in this sequel as the original film, though in completely new roles. Riki Takeuchi and Shô Aikawa are fantastic to watch. Staple Miike actor Renji Ishibashi from all of the before mentioned Miike films also makes an appearance.

Like I said, a lot of disturbing stuff here (to be expected from Miike), but some great story and wonderful moments as well. Check it out!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

365 Movies Day #166 "Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane"

Before he was making badass movies like "Narc" and "The A-Team", Joe Carnahan was just a guy with a dream, no money and a plan. When his no-budget crime flick "Blood, Guts Bullets and Octane" got picked up by Sundance it launched a career many would be envious of. And (inspired by Robert Rodriguez)he did it for only $7000.

The story is interesting. Two down on their luck car salesmen played by Carnahan and Dan Leis (who was also in Carnahan's "Narc") are offered the deal of a lifetime...take loads of cash for just allowing a car to sit on their lot for awhile. Sounds simple? Well, every hitman and bad apple from all over is out to get that car.

What happens is a lot of fast-paced, high-intensity dialogue including a great Johnny Cash discussion, innovative action sequences (for the budget) and a story that twists and turns more than expected. Carnahan makes fun flicks and it's not surprising that his first feature delivers.

Very cool and highly recommended for anyone looking to make a low budget film!


365 Movies Day #165 "Encounter at Raven's Gate"

A movie so obscure I can't even find a proper trailer to post here. Instead, check out clips from the show reel of one of the actor's, Terry Camilleri. "Encounter at Raven's Gate" is a seedy little Australian film about two brother's and the rest of their local counterparts being trapped in one of the creepiest UFO incidents I have ever seen on film.

When the "aliens" (you never actually see them) visit, EVERYTHING turns crazy in a completely interesting and disturbing way. It truly creeped me out. Like "CHOPPER", the film is mainly cast from working Australian talent that would barely be recognizable in the states. That isn't to say that the acting isn't well delivered. The sheriff, the two brothers and Celine O'Leary (the leading lady) are all especially fun.

Basically, Richard and his wife Rachel (O'Leary) are living out in the wastes as Richard obsessively struggles to find a hidden water source that will make them rich. Meanwhile, his brother Eddie, a tough miscreant, has just gotten out of jail and comes to stay with them. With Richard overly focused on work, a forbidden love interest develops between Eddie and Rachel, which is interesting enough, but then add in the fact that creepy mind-bending aliens have come to wreak havoc and you have yourself a decent sci-fi romp. Ignore the imdb reviews and check this one out. You won't be disappointed.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

365 Movies Day #164 "Chopper"

Before Eric Bana was known in America he had already given perhaps the best performance of his career in this 2000 semi-biographical film of infamous and highly entertaining Aussie criminal Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read. Bana is another "Black Hawk Down" veteran who may have been unfairly kicked in the teeth for the "Hulk" film and a less than stellar opening of "Troy". I've never found him a particularly compelling actor (though not bad). Then I saw "Chopper". Holy crap!

And you need someone impressive to play Chopper Read. Basically, Read is a small time thug who, with creativity and ingenuity, became one of the most entertaining and well-loved criminals in world history. Always a sucker for the media, his books (upon which the films are based) tell a semi-autobiographical account(self-admitted stretches to the truth) of his life. I haven't read the books, but they catapulted him to stardom.

Director Andrew Dominik followed this film up with the exceptional "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and just wrapped "Cogan's Trade" (also with Pitt) in Lousiana...they didn't call me to audition.

It's somewhat gritty and somewhat funny and all entertaining. Made even more so, by the fact that Read EXISTS! Want to see more of the real Chopper Read? Here he is with some life advice:

What about Chopper Read ringtones:

Or administering a driver's test?



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

365 Movies Day #163 "Dead Snow"

You can't talk zombie movies anymore without this one coming up and while it's not my favorite, it is one for the books. This Norwegian film sets a group of medical school students on a ski trip in a remote wilderness. Instead of a weekend of relaxation, booze, sex and cool film references, they find Nazi zombies.

Some great kills and effects in this. It also is really good about catching you off guard and zigging when it should have zagged. The zombies are slick. The "kids" are funny. Overall it's a pretty entertaining zombie romp.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

365 Movies Day #162 "Dead or Alive"

After seeing this film, I am convinced that Takashi Miike is a total madman, but luckily, like Charlie Sheen, his madness is at least entertaining for the rest of us. Filled with depravity, but telling a story that is much like a deranged Japanese version of "Heat" (up until the the total kick in the teeth ending), this is a classic example of Miike at his best.

I've featured a couple of Miike's other films here, like lovely drama turned nightmare horror "AUDITION" and wacky Asian western featuring Quentin Tarantino"SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO". While I didn't care for "Ichi the Killer" much, this film pushes the same borders but with a more compelling storyline. Again, the end is a total sucker punch and a sure sign that Miike is nuts.

If you like Miike, asian action or just really off-the-wall films where you might witness a chick being humped by a dog, a guy murdered while sodomizing another guy, or other "did he really just do that" moments, then this is the film for you!

Monday, September 5, 2011

365 Movies Day #161 "Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang"

Probably the most solid performance from Val Kilmer since "Tombstone" and one of Robert Downey Jr's finest, "Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang" is an incredibly underrated and wonderful film that should be at or near the top of everyone's must see list.

Downey plays a small-time down-and-out crook who, in the oddest of ways, stumbles into the high lifestyle of a Hollywood actor. During the whirlwind of success and oddity he finds himself investigating a murder involving his long lost sweetheart as well as hardass homosexual detective Gay Perry (Kilmer).

The noir-esque, but incredibly funny and refreshing storytelling narration from Downey helps to make the film epic. Great performances from Kilmer (also mentioned int he blog for "KILL THE IRISHMAN"), Downey (newcomer to the blog), Michelle Monaghan (who plays Downey's highschool crush Harmony and was also in "Due Date", "Source Code" and "Gone Baby Gone"), Corbin Bernsen (of "LA Law" and "Major League" fame), Dash Mihok (in a much better film than his appearances in "Punisher: War Zone" or "I am Legend"), hilarious comedian Larry Miller ("Pretty Woman", "THE MINUS MAN", "Mad About You") and even Robert Downey Jr.'s own son, Indio Falconer Downey (who plays his character as a youth) make the film memorable as well.

It's funny, it's got action, it's got great characters and dialogue and a fantastic story that will surely impress. But what else can you expect from the directorial debut of Shane Black, who is more famous for writing films like "Lethal Weapon", "The Monster Squad", "The Last Boyscout" and "Long Kiss Goodnight"? I sure hopes he gets back to directing soon. He's BRILLIANT!!!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

365 Movies Day #160 "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"

Thanks GOD for the writer's strike! When Joss Whedon (the man responsible for "Buffy", "Firefly" and the upcoming "Avengers", not to mention the "Astonishing X-Men" comic series) can't make big budget films he resorts to web comedy masterpieces.

This romantic, musical comedy about aspiring super-villain Dr. Horrible, played by the wonderful Neal Patrick Harris. Facing his day to day struggle to be the coolest super villain on earth, but being constantly thwarted by his heroic nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion of "Firefly" and "SLITHER"), Dr. Horrible (aka Billy) is also hopelessly in love with the lovely Penny, played by Felicia Day ("The Guild", "Eureeka"). What comes to pass is just marvelous. Yes, there is lots of singing. Yes, Fillion plays a total douchebag in the form of Hammer. Yes, Harris is totally loveable as the evil protagonist of the film.

I'm actually surprised when people say they haven't seen this. It's probably one of the best things to come out in years and it was all a web series production. You can (and I have) purchase the DVD through Amazon or search it out online. It's so good, you'll want to watch it multiple times.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

365 Movies Day #159 "Shooters"

Trailer provided by Video Detective

In the same vein as "PUSHER", this film deals with the gritty underbelly of society. Louis Dempsey ("Troy", "Revolver") plays Gilly, a small time thug who just got out of prison for taking the fall for his best mate J, played by Andrew Howard ("Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", "Revolver", "Limitless", "I Spit on Your Grave"). J is getting into some pretty heavy stuff dealing with the likes of big name crooks like Max Bell (Adrian Dunbar of "The Crying Game"), Jackie Junior (Gerard Butler of "300", "RockNRolla" and "Gamer") and Freddy Guns (Ioan Gruffud of "Fantastic Four", "King Arthur" and "Blackhawk Down"). Will he bury both of them beneath the weight of his expansion?

Howard is just phenomenal in this as the nearly schizophrenic J. Coked up and on the edge, he plays it to the edge and back. Really the most impressive performance of the film. Dunbar is menacing and Dempsey is stoic, but Howard steals the film. "Two and a Half Men" fans will also recognize Melanie Lynskey from the show as J's wife, who is trying to hold it together in all the chaos.

It's not as wonderful as "Pusher", but it's definitely worth the watch and if you love crime drama, this is a winner.


365 Movies Day #158 "The War Game"

Some technical difficulties with my brain prevented me from posting this yesterday. You can actually watch the whole film via the above link or check it out on netflix. Surprisingly made in 1965, this British docu-drama provides a worst-case scenario of nuclear war that is incredibly chilling. It actually has the feel of something someone did today and made it look like it occurred in the 60s.

Not surprisingly, with it's gritty content and bleak, factual representation of the true nature of nuclear war (no "duck and cover" or school desks can protect you from the blast nonsense), the film was banned by the BBC. It's eerily disturbing and a compelling peace of fact/fiction that is well ahead of it's time.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

365 Movies #157 "Devil"

Wow. Did Hollywood really make a movie that could totally work as a low-budget indy? Yep, they totally did. Of course, with M. Night Shyamalan as Producer/writer it's not surprising. Hey! Lay off. I forgive him for "The Happening" and I actually enjoyed everything else he's done (YES, I liked "Lady in the Water"). Shyamalan's last film to hit the blog was one of his firsts with "WIDE AWAKE". This one is more in line with his usual heady horror film.

Basically, 5 people are stuck in an elevator together (very well explained). One of them is the devil and only the devil makes it out alive, but who is it? Our five captives are played by Geoffrey Arend (yes he is the "The snozzberries taste like snozzberries." guy from "Super Troopers"), Bokeem Woodbine ("BLACK DYNAMITE"), Bojana Novakovic ("Edge of Darkness", "Drag Me to Hell"), Jenny O'Hara ("Mystic River", "Matchstick Men") and Logan Marshall-Green ("The OC" and Scott's eagerly awaited "Prometheus"). Chris Messina plays Detective Bowden, a man with a haunted past who, while investigating a suicide is thrown into the middle of the devil's game. Jacob Vargas (the guy with the bulletproof coat in "Traffic") plays our narrator and religious security guard who is wise to what's happening.

The story is well developed, with good twists and turns. With most of the film taking place in an elevator, it's neat to see them pull of the horror/suspense element. It's not as earth shattering (no pun intended) as "BURIED" in that regard, but it's pretty cool. Another familiar faces to the blog is Joe Cobden. He played Dwight, the building maintenance guy in this film and was a cop in "BLINDNESS".

Director John Erick Dowdle was also responsible for "Quarantine" and "The Poughkeepsie Tapes". I've yet to see either, but after this, I'll have to look them up.