Monday, 27 January 2014

We Own the Night



Starts out quite interestingly but rapidly deteriorates into a load of tosh.

The Yards



Another morose film from James Gray. It has potential but peters out badly.

Gosford Park



A bunch of renowned British actors have a ball in Robert Altman’s amusing film playing masters and servants.

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Warriors



Walter Hill’s hugely enjoyable film presents a disintegrating and depraved New York City and is inspired by Xenophon’s Anabasis, the attempt by 10,000 Greek mercenaries to return home to Greece after their failed mission to overthrow the Persian emperor.

Little Odessa



Depressing crime drama set among the Russian Jewish emigre community in New York. The climax is good and redeems the film somewhat.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Kansas City



Robert Altman’s excellent film interested in race, class and jazz.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

American Gangster



Are we really supposed to buy the apotheosis of a heroin dealer, his elevation to the status of a black rebel and business pioneer? The worst type of Hollywood hokum. A pity, because there is an interesting story to tell here – about the proliferation of drug culture in American cities, its connection to the Vietnam war and so on. Podgy Russell Crowe, who plays the crusading cop in the film, looks remarkably like Ricky Gervais.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Road to Perdition



This overly-earnest film is full of plot and character deficiencies and meanders towards a predictable and sentimental climax. Jude Law plays the worst and most unconvincing mafia assassin in cinematic history.

Public Enemies



Michael Mann infuses the John Dillinger myth with glamour and romance. A disappointing interpretation, though Johnny Depp is very good.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Dillinger



John Milius’ film starring Warren Oates is fair enough.

Spirited Away



Good Japanese animated film in the mould of Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz and so on.

Baby Face Nelson



Don Siegel’s film is dedicated to the FBI and its crusade against ‘trigger-happy punks’, but you still end up finding the robbers more interesting and entertaining than the cops. Mickey Rooney is miscast as the eponymous Baby Face Nelson.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Plunder Road



Good, laconic heist movie in the mould of Asphalt Jungle and other poetry of failure noirs.

Born to Kill



Robert Wise’s outrageously plotted film noir. Lawrence Tierney plays the psychotic killer, though more interesting are the mental foibles of the characters played by Claire Trevor, Elisha Cook Jr and Audrey Long.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Devil Thumbs A Ride



Another chilling performance from Lawrence Tierney as ruthless criminal ‘on the lam’ Steve Morgan in this very well written film noir.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Dillinger



Amazingly brutal gangster film starring the superb Lawrence Tierney as John Dillinger, public enemy number one. Screenplay by Philip Yordan.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Bodyguard



Good film noir involving dirty dealings in a meat processing factory, starring the very tough Lawrence Tierney and directed by Richard Fleischer.