Tag: Crime

2015, Movies

Sicario (2015, Denis Villeneuve)

This is an extraordinarily tense and well-directed thriller about the escalation and increased militarization of the Ward on Drugs. For the most part, I really, really liked Sicario, but I struggled with something and I’m not sure whether or not it could have ended better. SPOILERS

2017, Movies

TIFF 2017 Racer and the Jailbird (2017, Michaël R. Roskam)

This is an entertaining, albeit slight, amalgam of the bank heist genre with one of those romances where the two alpha leads, who do risky things in their professional lives, fall in love with each other, but which is pretty much entirely ruined by an absolutely bonkers left turn (well, a series of left turns) …

2014, Movies

Cold in July (2014, Jim Mickle)

I’m not sure exactly what to say about this bizarre film that offers a new twist (or several) on the age old “redemption through violence” theme in American cinema. The plot goes a very different way than I would have ever expected which is to the novel’s credit, I guess. But that big left turn …

1968, Movies

The Bride Wore Black (1968, Francois Truffaut)

This has to be seen as the spiritual predecessor to Kill Bill, even if Tarantino insists he’s never seen it. The overall plot is just too similar, though Tarantino made far superior films. (I suppose it’s also possible someone just told him the plot, or he read the novel. SPOILER ALERT

2006, Movies

Cocaine Cowboys (2006, Billy Corben)

I have heard about this film from a number of people and wonder if we watched the same movie. This is a poorly made film that absolutely reeks of early digital technology (even if 2006 would suggest it wasn’t made with early digital technology). Why is it that so many people are okay with watching …

2016, Movies

Triple 9 (2016, John Hillcoat)

I am always flabbergasted by movies with huge, all-star casts that somehow suck. I am particularly flabbergasted when it seems obvious to me that these actors could have easily figured out the movie was going to suck. Such a movie is Triple 9, a film which somehow includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Woody …

2016, Movies

Just Not Married (2016, Uduak-Obong Patrick)

This film means well. It tells the age-old story of an elder (an older brother in this case) trying to prevent a younger family member following him into a life of crime. Many of the elements from these stories are present, and some of them are handled well. And it’s funny, at times.

2016, Philosophy, Science, Society

Detective School

If I have learned one thing from immersing myself in too many true crime podcasts, TV series and movies, it’s this: most detectives have never been taught to think. There seems to be an obsession with relying on instinct and (supposed) “known knowns” and nothing else; no rigorous investigation techniques, no awareness of the infamous …

2014, Movies

1971 (2014, Johanna Hamilton)

This is an interesting, albeit brief, look at a crime in 1971 that resulted in the first ever whistle blowing on the American government (to my knowledge, anyway). A bunch of radical hippies broke into an FBI office and released the files to the press and Congress. The film is your standard talking heads + …

2016, Movies

Tickled (2016, David Farrier, Dylan reeve)

It’s rare for me to see a movie that shocks me, that leaves me unable to process what I’ve seen for hours afterward. But this is one such movie. The GF and I kept having parts of conversations for hours afterward where we attempted and failed to process what we had seen. You should see …

1958, Movies

Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958, Mario Monicelli)

This is supposedly one of the classic Italian comedies, considered an all-time great film by numerous people. It is apparently a parody of Rififi, a classic film I have yet to see. So, one of the reasons it’s lost on me would be because I haven’t seen the target of its satire. Maybe that’s why …

1980, Movies, TV

Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

In 1980, there was no real way for for North American audiences to digest non-English language television. So, on occasions when multiple-episode television programs made there way over to North America, they were screened at film festivals as “films.” A number of European “art house” films from the ’70s and ’80s are actually made-for-tv. It …

2013, Movies

Bethlehem (2013, Yuval Adler)

This is a reasonably compelling film that appear to apply a sort of naturalistic crime drama lens to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. There’s no soundtrack and everyone is working at being as realistic as possible in their performances. But the conflict really does feel like it’s been reduced to a crime story: an informant is put …

2009, Movies

Backyard (2009, Carlos Carrera)

This is an ambitious film, based on a true story, that centres around a female cop and some other women trying to end an epidemic of violence against women and murder in Juarez. It takes the general serial killer tropes and expands them into a more serious, almost Traffic-style drama. I really wanted to like …

2010, Movies

Animal Kingdom (2010, David Michod)

This is like a blue collar gangster film with Italian Americans replaced by Aussies. This film has excellent acting and I like how incompetent the criminals are. It’s refreshing. But I struggle with the plot. You know the expression “Stranger than fiction”? Well, this plot is a little of that. Apparently it was fairly loosely …

2012, Movies

The Angel’s Share (2012, Ken Loach)

This is a reasonably entertaining comedy about redemption and how we value things. It suffers a little in terms of not being sure about whether it’s a redemption dramedy or a crime caper, but it’s pleasant enough that you don’t mind. 6/10

2013, Movies

Deep Dark Canyon (2013, Abe Levy, Silver Tree)

This is a poorly made film. It’s evident from the first 5-10 minutes that this movie is not very good; tonally everything is off. I was actually surprised to find out that they had directed other films, because this movie feels like the work of first time filmmakers. They introduce the feud and interpersonal relationships …

Movies

The Company You Keep (2012, Robert Redford)

So, the first thing that’s off with this is the ages: Redford is significantly too old to play his character and most of the other (admittedly fine actor) friends of Robert Redford are also slightly too old for their characters. But it’s more his daughter’s age that is ridiculous. Was this the novel? Was this …

1997, Movies

Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino)

I saw this years and years ago, and I didn’t like it. I don’t know why. I guess it was just the stubborn thing for me to do. I didn’t like Pulp Fiction the first time, either. I guess I can see why people thought of this as some kind of misstep from the wonder …

2007, Movies

American Gangster (2007, Ridley Scott)

This review is of the extended version, not the theatrical version. This movies tries to balance a number of competing crime genre tropes: the true crime story, the drug dealer biography, the police procedural; it often feels like a couple separate films put together. It’s ambitious but I’m not sure it’s entirely successful. However, how …

2012, Movies

Killing Them Softly (2012, Andrew Dominik)

Like a serious Other Guys. This is an artsy-fartsy gangster film, but unlike so many of its ilk, it’s actually executed well. It’s a little heavy handed in its theme and tying it to the country’s economic woes, but the point is well taken. The cast is excellent, as is the direction (mostly). This is …

2014, Movies

The Drop (2014, Michael R. Roskam)

Are there not crime movies with Protestant or Jewish small time criminals? (Actually, I can think of some Jewish ones, but not Protestant). Or maybe some atheists? The Catholic gangster/criminal thing is a little done to death at this point, no? The characters aren’t likable or compelling and, until the twist, there’s not much compelling …

2010, TV

Boardwalk Empire (2010)

SPOILERS!!! Had Boardwalk Empire premiered in 2000 instead of 2010 – hell, had it premiered in 2005 instead of 2010 – I think we’d think about it very differently. (Or, at the very least, I would.) It’s a show full of great actors, with great costumes and sets and a fantastic sense of place. If …

2009, Movies

Ajami (2009, Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani)

This is an ambitious, compelling, complex portrait of daily life (with a little crime thrown in for good measure) in Israel. In its ambition, it’s trying to be Short Cuts or Traffic but in execution it’s more Babel or Crash (okay, it’s not that bad). Though the actors appear to be amateurs, they are very …

2015, Movies

Thought Crimes (2015, Erin Lee Carr)

This is a provocative and morally ambiguous film about the so-called “Cannibal Cop”, the NYPD police officer who was charged and convicted of conspiracy to kidnap women, without kidnapping any women, and certainly without eating anyone. The film is not the best technically made film you will ever seen. The pacing isn’t perfect and some …

2014, Movies

Killer Legends (2014, Joshua Zeman)

I remember sort of enjoying Cropsey, finding it kind of frustratingly made, but compelling enough to give it a pretty decent rating. I didn’t write a review, so I have no idea exactly what I liked/disliked about it. But watching this film, which could be called Cropsey II, I worry I was far too generous.